Aryas of Aryavarta
Over the years, there has been extensive research carried out by scholars on the topic of the origin and identity of the Aryans and Dravidians. The common theories are Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) and Aryan Migration Theory (AMT). The validity of both theories has been disputed by the recent DNA evidence. The research by Prof. V Shinde et.al (3) states that that there was no Aryan invasion or migration, and both have been proved to be false with the recent DNA evidence. The term Arya is in existence in the most ancient literary work Rig Veda. It means “the noble people,” and later it was adopted as Aryan by other cultures for the profound meaning it contained.
The purpose of this article is to specifically explore what Rig Veda (RV) and Manusmriti (MS) have documented about Aryas and non-Aryas. In both cases, Arya is used to describe an elite class of people, who followed the Vedic deities Indra and Agni. Details about their origin, geographical presence and social life patterns from Rig Veda and Manusmriti serve as a literary evidence to prove that Aryas were indigenous people, initially living in the region to the east of the Indus river. In fact, the battle of Dasharajna, documented in the Rig Veda, indicates that Aryas took possession of the cattle wealth and land of the subsequently conquered regions to the west of the Indus river.
In addition to literary evidence, there is also archaeological evidence from an approximately similar time-period and geography, in the form of Indus Valley seals, artefacts, fire altars and burials. Many seals contain figures of deities, priests, episodes of Rig Veda in picture form. A key to the underlying hypothesis is that these seals were meant to convey specific information about the religious practices of the Vedic yajnas. The ritual practices as depicted in Indus seals are the socio-religious practices that were observed by Aryas around 3500 years ago in the Indus valley region, that was the hub of Vedic culture. The pictures of deities in the archaeological evidence of Indus seals match with the description of Vedic episodes and socio-religious practices in the Rig Veda. Furthermore, the location and time period of ancient Indus civilization sites approximately correspond to the geographical description of Arya tribes. Both these strengthen the hypothesis that Aryas were indigenous people. Aryas did not migrate to the land of Bharatavarsha from other parts of the world because the socio religious practices were unique, observed only in this land, and not practiced anywhere else.