Who were the Aryans and Where Aryans came from?

The word Aryan is usually taken to mean a race but actually it is the name of a language than the people. Hence according to the famous German scholar Max Mueller the term Aryan meant language rather than race. The people who spoke this language came to be called Aryans.

 As there is a controversy about the location of the original home of the Aryans nothing can be said definitely about the same. The German scholar headed by Kossina placed the original home of the Aryans in the North European plain. The great Indian nationalist Tilak argued that the Aryan came from the North Pole. According to some the original home of the Aryans was Cappadocia while the famous scholar Brandenstein claimed the Ural Sea near Caspian as the original home of the Aryans. But responsible linguists and archaeologists have agreed in regarding the possible region of origin as relatively limited and lying somewhere between the Danube and Oxus.

A few Indian scholars, however, advocated the views that the Aryans were the original inhabitants of India and the question of their migration to India naturally did not arise. In support of their views these scholars refer to Sapta Sindhu because the Aryans called Sapta Sindhu as their own country. Moreover, the Vedic literature did not mention any other country other than India. Thirdly, Rig Veda is the only extent literature of the Aryans, which is available only in India. Fourthly, while dealing with geographical locations the Vedas deal with the physical features of the Punjab and its adjoining areas. Hence these scholars suggest that the Aryans did not come to India from outside. They were rather the original settlers of India.

Some Indian scholars notably Dr. B.K. Ghosh, refute the theory of Indian origin of the Aryans. At the same time scholars like Prof. Giles suggest the Austro-Hungarian Steppe as the original homeland of the Aryans. They left their home for some unknown reason and a section of them entered the modern Iran while the others came over to India.

The Aryan invasion of India seems to synchronize with the destruction of Harappa about 1500 B.C. They at first entered north-west of India and later migrated into northern India through the passes of Hindukush Mountain. They settled in the Valley of Kabul River and the Punjab. However, the land of the Five Rivers did not fall into the hands of the immigrants without a deadly struggle. In fact, the dark-skinned dasyus or dasas who lived in fortified area put up a tough fight and this struggle with the non-Aryans gradually led to a considerable extension of Aryan domination towards the east. As a result, they gradually settled in the Ganges-Jamuna valley and in course of time they conquered the whole of northern India and called it Aryavarta.