North Indian Protohistory and Vedic Aryans

Authors: Suraj Bhan

Year: 2006, Volume: 1, Page/Article: 1-6, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/aa.06115

Download PDF


During the last two decades, some eccentric attempts have been made to identify the Indus Civilization with the Rig Vedic culture. Their conclusions are based on wrong assumptions claiming that (1) the Harappan sites have recently yielded the evidence of fire altars, sacrificial pits and true horse, so well known to the Rig Veda, (2) that the Rig Vedic Saraswati was a mighty perennial river system parallel to the Indus and was the nucleus of Indus Civilization, (3) that the date of the Rig Veda goes back to the third millennium BC, the era of the Indus Civilization before the desertion of Kalibangan around 1900 BC and (4) that the Rig Vedic Aryans knew fortified cities, sea trade and state- based society. The protagonists of the thesis are selective in using only a fragment of the Vedic literature and comparing it with untested archaeological evidence. Their interpretation of the Rig Veda is based on distorted understanding of myths and metaphors of the ritual text. The present article is an attempt to take a holistic view of Proto historic archaeology of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and of the Vedic literature as a whole for a broad and more trustworthy cultural correlation. The approach here is to give an over view of the protohistoric cultural manifestation in the sub-continent and to outline the cultural pattern known from the Vedic literature. It will be followed by a discussion to correlate the Vedic evidence with archaeological cultural evidence in chronological, geographical and cultural context.