Aryan invasion/migration theory receives a body blow; Entire South Asia is having the Harappan DNA, finds Rakhigarhi research project
The findings of Rakhigarhi Project can prove to be a game changer setting aside the long imposed view that Aryans were invaders and Harrapans were Dravidians killed by Aryans. Here is all that you want to know about the Rakhigarhi Project.
What is Rakihgarhi Project?
Rakhigarhi Project of International significance was established in 2011-12. It was headed by Professor Vasant Shinde of Deccan College, Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Deemed University. The Archeological excavations were conducted jointly between Deccan College and the Department of Archeology and Museums, Government of Haryana and Prof. Shinde led the team of excavators. Dr. Niraj Rai, then from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad and Prof. David Reich from Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, USA led the team of Genetic scientists for ancient DNA studies.
Rakhigarhi in Hissar District of Haryana, is the largest city of the Harappan Civilization located almost in the middle of the Saraswati basin. Along with settlement, the Cemetery of the Harappans was also excavated and the remains from that were subjected to scientific research, including DNA studies. Though the site was under occupation from Early Harappan (5500 BCE-2600 BCE) to Mature Harappan (2600 BCE 1900 BCE), the cemetery belongs to the Mature (Urban) phase of the Harappan Culture dated from 2500-1900 BCE, based on material remains found in them.
This important research, which will change perspective of not only Indian History but also World History, was being awaited by scholars and common people alike for long.
There were many theories about the genetic origin of the people of the Harappan Civilization. “They could resemble Southeast Asian hunter-gathers or they could resemble Neolithic Iranians farmers or they could even resemble Steppe pastoralists. Sir Mortimer Wheeler, one of the excavators of the site of Harappa in Pakistan even proposed that the Harappans were Dravidians and they were killed by the invading Aryans- these all were plausible hypotheses and myths prior to the ancient DNA findings.
- The ancient DNA results completely reject the theory of Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmers as source of ancestry to the Harappan population. This research also demolishes the hypothesis about mass human migration during Harappan time from outside the South Asia or even before.
- The hunter-gathers in South Asia have independent origin and they are the authors of the settled way of life in this part of the world. They do not contain any genome from either Steppe region or ancient Iranian farmers. The genetic continuity from hunter-gatherer to the modern times is visible in the DNA results. The same hunter-gatherer communities developed into agricultural communities around 7000 BCE and they are the authors of the Harappan Civilization that was founded in the middle of the third millennium BCE. The genetic identity remained the same throughout but the development in the material culture continued as an ongoing cultureal process resulting into the transformation from hunter-gathers to the agriculture communities and from rural culture to urban civilization.
- This important breakthrough research completely sets aside the Aryan Migration /Invasion Theory. The skeletal remains found in the upper part of the Citadel area of Mohenjo daro belonged to those who died due to floods and not massacred by the Aryans as hypothesized by Sir Mortimer Wheeler. The Aryan Invasion Theory is based on very flimsy ground.
- This research also establishes the fact that the Vedic culture was developed by the indigenous people of South Asia. Our premise that the Harappans were the Vedic people thus has received strong corroborative scientific evidence based on ancient DNA studies.
- This research for the first time established the fact that the people of the Harappan Civilization are the ancestor of the most of the population of South Asia. For the first time this research indicates that there is a movement of the people from east to west. The Harppan people’s presence is evident at sites like Gonur in Turkmenistan and Sahr-i- Sokhta in Iran. As the Harappans traded with Mesompotamia, Egypt, Persian Gulf and almost all over South Asia, there is bound to be movement of the people resulting into a mixed genetic history. India had heterogeneous population right from the beginning of settled life and all of them have contributed to the development of this region.
- The idea of farming in South Asia did not come with the people from Middle East. It was developed by the indigenous people of South Asia. There is a hint that the South Asian ancient farmers began to move towards Middle East. Probably the idea of settled life and domestication went from South Asia to the Middle East and not the vice versa.