Aryans, Early Christians and their Travel Plans

  1. In Robert D. Kaplan’s South Asia’s Geography of Conflict (warning: pdf), there is a section about the history of India. He writes
  2. “Aryans may have infiltrated from the Iranian plateau, and together with the subcontinent’s autochthonous inhabitants were part of a process that consolidated the political organization of the Gangetic Plain in northern India around 1000 B.C.”

    Once upon a time, the Aryan Invasion Theory was considered infallible; now everyone agrees that there was no invasion. AIT morphed into the Aryan Migration Theory, Two Wave Migration theory, trickle down theory etc. Now that too has become: may have happened.

  3. In a blog post, Ajay Makken, MP (Cong) writes about Homeland security
  4. India has been a land where people have mastered fusion, a land, a place where perhaps the first Jews arrived, soon after Jerusalem fell, where perhaps Christians came back as early as 3rd Century and had settlements on shores of India as early as 4th Century, where perhaps the Parsis came in 7thCentury after being driven away from Iran and even now, in the last century we have Bahai’s who were driven from their mother land and who came and sought refuge in India.

    He mentions the date of Christian arrival as 3rd century, discounting the myth of St. Thomas (52 CE). According to Pope Benedict, St. Thomas went only as far as Western India. According to Romila Thapar, there is no historical evidence to the claim that he was martyred in Mylapore. According to her, the first coming of Christians is associated with the migration of Persian Christians led by Thomas Cana around 345 CE.

Hat Tip to Dhruva, Pragmatic Euphony

6 Comments

  1. apropos your tirade against, “Aryans may have infiltrated from the Iranian plateau”,

    why do we have to see everything in black and white? while its true that AIT and AMT are no longer accepted on account of scale, there is no need to bristle at the mere suggestion of an Iranian/Bactrian origin for the early Aryans or their language.

    its common sense that Aryans or rather early Brahmins were outsiders who migrated to most pasts of India. now, finding whether this migration originated from the Indus-Saraswathi valley or further from the Iranian plateau doesn’t seem like a make or break moment in history. the question probably lies in Indian pre-history.

  2. Jk,
    On a unrelated note, I am planning to read Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300 by Romila Thapar. The author is a bit of polarising figure and the book seems to have been highly appreciated or condemned depending on which end of political spectrum one is. I am curious to know your view about the book. I am just trying to read it as a curious layman, who likes to think he can appreciate a good book regardless of his own biases 🙂

    1. Sri,

      It is not an easy read. The author is definitely a polarizing figure since she comes from the Marxist school. I use her books mostly as reference.

  3. Balaji,

    You are contradicting yourself. On the one hand you mention, it is commonsense that Aryans are outsiders. And you also mention that it is possible that they came from the Indus-Sarasvati valley. The Sarasvati valley is in India.

  4. don’t know why you deleted my comment, but there was no contradiction.

    I said Aryan speakers were outsiders to most parts of later India. For example a brahmin settlement (agraharam) in Mylapore (chennai) around the Sangam age was clearly a case of outsiders migrating to that place. So its not particularly important to argue whether they came from the Indus-Saraswathi valley or the Iranian plateau.

    1. Balaji,

      I am sorry that your comment got deleted; it has been restored. All I did was upgrade WordPress to the recent version.

      Now regarding the AIT/AMT thing. The debate and controversy is regarding their arrival in Rajasthan and Punjab and not their spread around India after the dessication of Sarasvati. For a historian from Mylapore, it would still matter from where they came.

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