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Dr Ambedkar rejected Aryan Invasion Theory with facts and logic

Every six months someone comes up with a fresh and reinforced version of an AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory) in a leading Indian or foreign publication. The desire to keep this issue alive has significant political intent behind it. Recently, Shashi Tharoor shared another new ‘research’ on AIT.

This may be a matter of surprise for the so-called Ambedkarites but this is a firm truth that Dr Ambedkar rejected and debunked AIT with facts and logic.

When it comes to AIT, there are several questions which need to be answered by those who reject it. And Dr Ambedkar answered each and every question in great detail. So let’s start:

Was Aryan a different race?

The very first assumption which those who support AIT makes is that ‘Aryan’ was a different ‘race’ which invaded India and attacked the native Indian race which was then called as ‘Dasyu’.

To answer this question, Dr Ambedkar cited both the views, the view which supports AIT and the view which oppose AIT [1], but obviously as both the views were completely contradicting, he thought it’s best to know the testimony of Rigveda. He chose Rigveda because it is the earliest Veda and its testimony will be accepted by all.

By making Rigveda as the foundation of his opinion, Dr Ambedkar made an observation that [2]:

An examination of the Vedic literature shows that there occur two words in the Rig Veda—one is Arya (अर्य) with a short ‘a’ and the other is Arya (आर्य) with a long ‘a’. The word Arya (अर्य) with a short ‘a’ is used in the Rig Veda in 88 places. In what sense is it used? The word is used in four different senses: as (1) enemy, (2) respectable person, (3) name for India, and (4) owner, Vaishya or citizen. The word (आर्य) with a long ‘a’ is used in the Rig Veda in 31 places. But in none of these is the word used in the sense of race.

So Dr Ambedkar explained that both the terms ‘अर्य’ and ‘आर्य’ are used in many different senses but none of the words is used in the sense of race. Hence, Dr Ambedkar concluded that [3] (emphasis added) :

From the foregoing discussion, the one indisputable conclusion which follows is that the terms ‘Arya’ and’ ‘Arya’ which occur in the Vedas have not been used in the racial sense at all.

Dr Ambedkar even quoted Max Muller to strength his viewpoint. It is a general believe that Max Muller supported AIT, but it is not the complete truth. He evolved his views from Time-to-Time. As Dr Ambedkar quoted Max Muller [4], where he said:

There is no Aryan race in blood; Aryan, in scientific language, is utterly inapplicable to race. It means language and nothing but language; and if we speak of Aryan race at all, we should know that it means no more than… Aryan speech.

So Dr Ambedkar not only himself clarified with facts that ‘Aryan’ is not some ‘race’ but he even quoted Max Müller who agreed that ‘Aryan’ is not a race but speech.

The Arctic home theory

For people like me who oppose AIT, the next challenge after answering on ‘race’ is The Arctic Home Theory.

To explain in-short, Arctic Home Theory says that Vedas originally belongs to Arctic region and not to India. Mr Tilak and many other scholars supported this view. But Dr Ambedkar answered this theory with ease. He said [5]:

This is, of course, a very original theory. There is only one point which seems to have been overlooked. The horse is a favourite animal of the Vedic Aryans. It was most intimately connected with their life and their religion. That the queens vied with one another to copulate with the horse in the Ashvamedha Yajna shows what place the horse had acquired in the life of the Vedic Aryans. Question is: was the horse to be found in the Arctic region? If the answer is in the negative, the Arctic home theory becomes very precarious.

Dr Ambedkar countered this “Arctic Home Theory” brilliantly. As you have read, he countered this theory by raising a very valid question. As all the students of Vedas know that horses occupy a strong position in Vedas. We find countless references to horses in Vedas. And It is known that horses were not found in Arctic region so there is no possibility that Vedas were composed in Arctic region.

If you want a detailed counter of “Arctic Home Theory” then read “Scientific Knowledge in the Vedas, pp.4-21” by Dr P.V. Vartak

Aryans Invaded India?

The motive behind peddling AIT is to prove that Aryans invaded India.

Regarding this, Dr Ambedkar said [6]:

So far as the Rig Veda is concerned, there is not a particle of evidence suggesting the invasion of India by the Aryans from outside India.

To strengthen his argument that Aryans never invaded India, Dr Ambedkar quoted Prof. D. S. Triveda [7], who noted down:

the rivers are addressed as ‘my Ganges, my Yamuna, my Saraswati’ and so on. No foreigner would ever address a river in such familiar and endearing terms unless by long association he had developed an emotion about it.

This is a noteworthy point! If Aryans had invaded India then why would they call “Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati” as “my Ganges, my Yamuna, my Saraswati”? They way they addressed these rivers reflects that they were emotionally connected with them. And such connection is completely impossible for an invader.

Who were Dasa and Dasyu?

This is the most important section of the article.

Those who have read about AIT knows that the foundation argument of it is that Dasas or Dasyus were original residents of India to whom Aryans attacked, defeated and then conquered India. Dr Ambedkar completely debunked this narrative with pointed facts and arguments.

But firstly, let me explain little bit background to you all:

Those who say that Aryans conquered India and attacked Dasyus, say it on the basis that there are many verses in the Vedas (especially in Rigveda) which narrates that there was an ongoing fight between Aryans and Dasyus.

But dear readers, is this information that there was a continuous conflict between two groups is sufficient for us to conclude that there was an invasion? Absolutely Not!

In fact, Dr Ambedkar noted down [8]:

This may show the occurrence of sporadic riots between the two. It is certainly not evidence of a conquest or subjugation.

So Dr Ambedkar made it very clear that “such instances of a fight” may show us sporadic riots but it is not the evidence of any conquest.

Then Dr Ambedkar provided very valuable information [9] by citing four references of Rigveda which shows that despite conflicts, Aryans and Dasyus made several mutual agreements and stood united against common enemies. Those four references of Rigveda cited by Dr Ambedkar are: Rigveda 6.33.3, Rigveda 7.83.1, Rigveda 8.51.9 and Rigveda 10.102.3

Then Dr Ambedkar gave a solid proof which clarifies that the fight between Aryans and Dasyus was not because they were from different races but because they had different religions. Dr Ambedkar quoted several verses from Rigveda which backs his stand. Read all those verses quoted by him:

Verses quoted by Ambedkar

After that, Dr Ambedkar quoted 3 verses from Rigveda which clarifies that the difference between ‘Aryans’ and ‘Dasyus was not racial [10]. Let’s read which and what are those verses:

Rig Veda, vi.22.10.—“Oh, Vajri, thou hast made Aryas of Dasas, good men out of bad by your power. Give us the same power so that with it we may overcome our enemies.”

Rig Veda, x.49.3, (says Indra).—“I have deprived the Dasyus of the title of Aryas.”

Rig Veda, i. 151.8—“Oh, Indra, find out who is an Arya and who is a Dasyu and separate them.”

After quoting these three verses, Dr Ambedkar concluded this section by writing down [11]:

What do these verses indicate? They indicate that the distinction between the Aryans on the one hand and the Dasas and Dasyus on the other was not a racial distinction of colour or physiognomy. That is why a Dasa or Dasyu could become an Arya. That is why Indra was given the task to separate them from the Arya.

Aryans were white and Dasyus were black?

Because those who support AIT lacks evidence, they pass remarks like, ‘Aryans were white and Dasyus were black’. But Dr Ambedkar thrashed these silly arguments easily by quoting extracts from Vedas.

Dr Ambedkar quoted three verses from Vedas [12] which prove that Aryans had no colour prejudice.

  • He quoted Rigveda 1.117.8 which narrates the story where Ashwins (Vedic Gods) arranged a marriage between a black boy and white girl. This shows that Aryans were not just white but even black.
  • He quoted Rigved 1.117.5 which refer colour of a lady as golden.
  • He then quoted Rigveda 2.3.9 where Aryans are invoking Devas to bless them with a son of tawny (reddish brown) complexion.

End commented [13]:

These instances show that the Vedic Aryans had no colour prejudice. How could they have? The Vedic Aryans were not of one colour. Their complexion varied; some were of copper complexion, some white, and some black. Rama the son of Dasharatha has been described as Shyama i.e., dark in complexion, so is Krishna the descendant of the Yadus, another Aryan clan. The Rishi Dirghatamas, who is the author of many mantras of the Rig Veda must have been of dark colour if his name was given to him after his complexion. Kanva is an Aryan rishi of great repute. But according to the description given in Rig Veda—x.31.11—he was of dark colour.

After debunking the arguments of those who back AIT, Dr Ambedkar said [14]:

That the theory of the Aryan race set up by Western writers falls to the ground at every point, goes without saying.

He further said [15]:

In the first place, the theory is based on nothing but pleasing assumptions and inferences based on such assumptions. In the second place, the theory is a perversion of scientific investigation. It is not allowed to evolve out of facts. On the contrary, the theory is preconceived and facts are selected to prove it. The theory of the Aryan race is just an assumption and no more.

He expressed his anger against AIT by saying [16]:

The Aryan race theory is so absurd that it ought to have been dead long ago.

Dr Ambedkar again made a good point against people who invented AIT [17]:

The originators of the Aryan race theory are so eager to establish their case that they have no patience to see what absurdities they land themselves in. They start on a mission to prove what they want to prove and do not hesitate to pick such evidence from the Vedas as they think is good for them.

Conclusion

It is indeed telling that there are some who claim to be the followers of Dr Ambedkar and at the same time, they support Aryan Invasion Theory just for the cause of political and social dominance. They seem to be followers of Dr Ambedkar for namesake, considering they comfortably go against Ambedkar’s ideology when it suits their agenda. I for one, don’t subscribe to many of his beliefs and thus, his beliefs don’t bind me. But for the people who claim to be his staunch followers, perhaps this dichotomy in belief must be rationalised by them. Perhaps his teachers should take precedence over creating fault lines in the unity of the country.

References: All references are from the book ‘Who Were The Shudras?’ Relevant page numbers for each reference are provided below. The PDF version of the book can be found here.

[1]: pp.60-61. [2]&[3] p.62. [4]: p. 61. [5]: pp.67-68. [6]&[7]  p.68. [8]&[9]: p.69. [10]&[11]: p.72. [12]: p. 77.  [13]: p. 77-78. [14]: p.72. [15]: p.73. [16] & [17] P.75.

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