What is the Aryan Invasion Theory?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Aryan Invasion Theory is a group of people known as Aryans who invaded northern India and wiped out the Indus Valley Civilization in the 20th century. Critics argue that the hypothesis has no archaeological or genetic basis and was devised to support the British conquest of India.

Aryan Invasion Theory

The entire Aryan Invasion Theory has lately been called into question due to additional genetic studies, which are still being debated today.

  • The excavations of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Lothal in the 1920s proved that northern India already had a complex society when the Indo-Aryans arrived.
  • Similar to the Germanic migrations during the Fall of the Western Roman Empire or the Kassite invasion of Babylonia, nomadic people transitioned into an advanced urban civilization.
  • Previously, the concept proposed that sophisticated Aryans would gravitate toward a rudimentary indigenous population.
  • For a brief moment, this possibility was considered a hostile invasion of northern India.
  • The destruction of the Indus Valley civilization at the time of the Indo-Aryan migrations seems to provide independent credence for such claims.
  • This theory was put forth by the archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler in the middle of the 20th century.
  • Wheeler famously claimed that the god “Indra stands accused” of the collapse of the Civilization and that the numerous unburied corpses discovered in the top levels of Mohenjo-Daro were the victims of conquest wars.


What is the Aryan Invasion Theory?

According to the Aryan Invasion Theory, promoted in the twentieth century, the Indus Valley Civilization was wiped out by a group of people known as Aryans who entered northern India. Detractors of the hypothesis claim that it was invented to support the British invasion of India and has no archaeological or genetic validity.

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