Aryan

ETHNONYM: Vedic Indians, now usually known to linguists as Indo-Aryan or Indo-Iranian


These early speakers of Vedic Sanskrit, an Indo-European language, invaded the Indian subcontinent from the northwest in about 1500 B . C ., although there is considerable disagreement about this date. Their descendants today form the great bulk of the population in Nepal, Pakistan, northern India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, though they do not identify themselves primarily as Aryans.

The term, arya in Sanskrit, means "noble," no doubt in reference to their dominant position in the society they invaded so long ago. They introduced to the Indo-Gangetic Plain the horse-drawn chariot and the Brahmanic religion still known to us from the four sacred books called Vedas. The earlier Indus Valley civilization, in all probability not Aryan in its language, was already destroyed or moribund by the time of their arrival. Archeologically, their early presence in India is marked by the distribution of Painted Gray Ware. The lands they occupied were called Aryavarta and are dealt with in the oldest Sanskrit literature, which is our chief source on the early Aryans.

Although the term "Aryan" has been used by European writers since 1835, it has fallen into disfavor among recent scholars because of its abuse by Nazi propagandists half a century ago, who imagined that northern and central Europeans were the purest representatives of an "Aryan race." Today the term "Aryan" is still used in discussion of early Indian History and in relation to the Subfamily of Indo-Aryan Languages. The last word on usage was in fact written over a Century ago by Max Müller: "I have declared again and again that if I say Aryans, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language. . . . To me an ethnologist who speaks of the Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary, or a brachycephalic grammar."

For many centuries after their arrival in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the Aryans lived as horsemen and cattle herders, clearing patches in the forests and inhabiting small villages, rather than living in the ancient towns that their ancestors had probably helped bring to ruin. Only with the start of the Indian Iron Age (about 700 B . C .) did Aryan towns begin to emerge; this development presumes a background of settled farming in the plains by that era.

There has been much speculation about the subsequent development of northern Indian society and the Aryans' further colonization of the subcontinent; about relations Between them and the conquered "Dasas" or "Dasyu" (names meaning "slaves" and probably referring to remnants of the earlier Indus Valley population); and about the rise of the caste system. During the Vedic period (about 1500 to 800 B . C .) the Aryans developed the enormously elaborate rituals of Brahmanism, the forerunner of Hinduism; and they formed a stratified society in which the rudiments of the caste system were already apparent. Thus there was a priestly caste (Brahmana), a ruling noble caste (Rajanya), a warrior caste (Kshatriya), and the menial caste (Sudra). Prior to the Mauryan Empire (321 to 185 B . C .) there was no organized Aryan government with a class of bureaucrats to administer the land throughout India. Instead, there were numerous ruling chieftains ( rajan ) who commanded their armies and were assisted by purohitas, men who counseled and protected the rulers with their magical skills. As larger kingdoms emerged the purohita became like a combined archbishop and prime minister, consecrating the king, giving him political counsel, and performing major sacrifices for him. The introduction of iron technology led to urbanization, and by 500 B . C . many of these kingdoms had an important merchant class in the towns who were already using copper and silver coins. Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha, came from the ruling family of one such kingdom (Kosala, now in Bihar State).

See also Castes, Hindu

Bibliography

Burrow, Thomas (1975). "The Early Aryans." In A Cultural History of India, edited by A. L. Basham, 20-29. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Childe, Vere Gordon (1926). The Aryans: A Study of Indo-European Origins. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd. Reprint. 1987. New York: Dorset Press.


Thapar, Romila (1980). "India before and after the Mauryan Empire." In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology, edited by Andrew Sherratt, 257-261. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

PAUL HOCKINGS

Also read article about Aryan from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

layla
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Nov 17, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
what type of games do they play that would be a little helpfull
Gomathi
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Sep 13, 2011 @ 11:11 am
I completely disagree with this article. the so called Aryan and Dravidian history is nothing but a fake story as like Hamitic theory. I would request people to read the below link to know more on Aryan / Dravidian theory.

Speaking of the Aryan invasion theory, it would probably be an oversimplification to say: "Germans invented it, British used it," but not by much. The concept of the Aryans as a race and the associated idea of the 'Aryan nation' were very much a part of the ideology of German nationalism. For reasons known only to them, Indian educational authorities have continued to propagate this obsolete fiction that degrades and divides her people. They have allowed their political biases and career interests to take precedence over the education of children. They continue to propagate a version that has no scientific basis.

Nazi medalBefore getting to the role played by German nationalism, it is useful first to take a brief look at what the word Arya does mean. After Hitler and the Nazi atrocities, most people, especially Europeans, are understandably reluctant to be reminded of the word. But that was a European crime; Indians had no part in it. The real Aryans have lived in India for thousands of years without committing anything remotely resembling the Nazi horrors. So there is no need to be diffident in examining the origins of the European misuse of the word. In any event, history demands it.

Sanskrit Hindu ScriptureThe first point to note is that the idea of the Aryans as foreigners who invaded India and destroyed the existing Harappan Civilization is a modern European invention; it receives no support whatsoever from Indian records - literary or archaeological. The same is true of the notion of the Aryans as a race; it finds no support in Indian literature or tradition. The word 'Arya' in Sanskrit means noble and never a race.
Satish
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Jun 27, 2012 @ 1:01 am
The Indus valley civilization that promoted the notion of Aryan Invasion theory is long dead, this was a convenient tool under the European settlers in India to firstly subjugate the local populace and later hijack their culture which they found quite advanced. The dates mentioned are to say the least quite incorrect, since by the timelines quoted, the Indian civilization was indulging in philosophical, scientific and business spheres in a very advanced manner. My request, before lifting or writing wikipedia-ish articles, I'd suggest some basic research at least on topics of importance.
DARSHANA
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Oct 15, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
what is the indian culture. and do all indians smell bad?
Mr Ahir
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Dec 14, 2012 @ 3:15 pm
Every different geological location determines its own unique features in different species and distinct facial and body characteristics in humans. Humans are all believed to have originated from Africa and rudiments of distinct facial features and characteristics are immediately apparent in different people in different countries of Africa. People in Kenya, for example, are tall and skinny, Ghanaians have unique facial and well built body features, mountain tribes have a large chest feature to cope with a thinner atmospheric environment. However, the description you give is that these are all different tribes of Africa, And not different races? So why the aryans and Dravidians? I agree with your previous commentators, there is no evidence for the aryan invasion theory either in the Indian cultural paradigms, custom, or literature.
Go to the Ahir section of this site read my comments.
mexicansmurf
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Feb 26, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
fuck u bithces spam me hahahahahahhahahahhaahshshhahahahahahahhahahahhaahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahhahaha

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