History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2015: Q.2 (c)
2(c)”Archaeology knows of no Aryans; only literature knows of Aryans.” Examine critically.
The composers of the Rig Veda described themselves as Arya. The Vedic literature talks about the political life ,the social life, the economic life and the religious life of the Aryans. The texts also deal in details about the gods and goddesses of the Aryans and the assemblies like sabha and samiti. It also mentions cattle rearing, agricultural activity, crafts like cart making, carpentry, metal working etc as their main occupations.
There are also references in the Rig veda to various kind of forts, attacks on walled cities, and the epithet Purandara (destroyer of forts) given to the god Indra but the archaeological records do not point towards any such wars and destruction.
But there do exist archaeological evidences which point towards settlement of the people in the north-west and north India during the vedic age:
(1) The family books of the Rig Veda samhita refers to the land of sapta-sindhu or the seven rivers that is the Indus, its five tributaries, and the saraswati(Ghaggar-Hakra) which still exist except the saraswati which disappeared.
(2)The Painted grey ware has a very extensive distribution, stretching from Himalayan foothills to the Malwa plateau in central India, and from the Bahawalpur region of Pakistan to Kaushambi near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. However, The main distribution of the sites are in the Indo-Gangetic divide, Sutlej basin and upper Ganga plains.
(3)The important evidence for the PGW material culture is available from excavated sites such as Hastinapur, Alamgirpur, Ahichchtra, Allahpur, Mathura, Kampil etc. The structural remains at the sites consist of wattle and daub and mud huts, baked and unbaked bricks, artefacts of stone, bone and terracotta.A fire altar has also been found at Jakhera.
(4)The iron objects have also been found and evidence of cultivation of rice, wheat and barley is also available. Bones of cattle, sheep and pigs have been discovered. Horse bones have been found at Hastinapur.
Based on the above mentioned archaeological evidences it would be incorrect to say that ”Archaeology knows of no Aryans”.
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