Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
At the outset, I must say that I have a very different take on this entire concept. So my answer may or may not go down well with purists on either side of the theory. I don’t intend to hurt any sentiments here. I’m just sharing my PoV.
I have a basic issue with people who claim to be ‘natives’ of a particular place. What does the word ‘native’ to a particular region mean? Somebody who has been living on that land for a long time. Since when? Since the beginning of time. ‘Since the beginning of time’? Really? Like how? Did they just sprout out of the ground? No, right? They way I see it, the ancestors of every ‘native’ of today was a nomad at some point of time. Yes, I believe that all the countries of the world were part of one big landmass. So it is only common sense to understand that people moved constantly from one place to another in search of food and water…much like other animals.
By and by, when the nomadic groups became larger and larger, people chose certain areas to settle down for longer periods, typically near rivers where people were assured of food and water. The land around these areas were fertile and gradually people started to grow things. This gave rise to the first settlements.
This happened at various parts of the world. And it happened on the Indian subcontinent as well. Being a naturally fertile land surrounded on three sides by oceans and with a multitude of rivers (Ganga, Brahmaputra, Kaveri, etc.) all over the peninsula, it was only natural that the number of groups that chose to make this region their home was higher.
This trend was seen across all regions which were fertile – China on the banks of the Yangtze, Egypt on the banks of the Nile, Peru on the banks of the Amazon, Madagascar, etc.
So here’s the picture. You have a very fertile land where people have been living for a while. Then come in the late-comers, allegedly from beyond the mountain ranges in the north.
They were also nomads in search of new lands to settle down in. And they probably had an upper hand over the simple folk who lived tilling land and managing livestock, by having weapons making them look like some lords. The pale-skinned warriors from the northern regions probably looked intimidating and powerful to the simpletons of the subcontinent.
The Metal Age arrived more or less at the same time all over the world. The power of a set of people depended on how they used their metal. Some made farming tools, others made complex weapons. It was just a matter of need.
The meeker and less-equipped earlier settlers either moved away giving their lands to the new ‘lords’ to comfortably settle down in the land they had so lovingly tended to. I feel that it is ethically wrong to claim that the Aryans ‘conquered’ and ‘defeated’ the Dravidian people. A defeat would happen only if there had been a battle. In all probability, the locals would have been too petrified to even put up a fight against the newcomers.
And they addressed them as ‘Arya’, an ancient word of address that meant ‘My Lord’. Clearly the divide had been formed of Aryans and non-Aryans. And the newcomers had been (not so subtly) made aware of the elevated position they were apparently in.
The word ‘dravida’, as I understand it, was used to just refer to the southern region of the subcontinent. So the people of the region came to be referred to as Dravidian people. I would not like to think that the Dravidian people remained confined to the southern regions, though. I’m sure there were travelers among them to the northern regions as well. Probably the numbers were lesser, thanks to the lack of sophisticated travel equipment. But people still traveled far and wide. Some even crossed the sea to discover new lands to settle down in.
The Aryan tribes quickly gained the upper hand in local administration as they were more organized and their social hierarchy was quite clearly defined. And this gave rise to occupational divisions of society, which has today come to be known as the much hated ‘caste system’. What was started in good intent has been distorted and come to be considered as a social evil today. The Aryans combined their political and social customs with those of the local natives and thus, all our present day cultures and traditions were formed.
Today we are a mixed bag. We have dark-skinned people in the northern regions, we have fair-skinned people in the southern regions. and we have all shades of brown-skinned people that we can probably think of all over the country. Many people have married inter-culturally and present day India is one melting pot of hundreds of different cultures and traditions and skin-colors.
I don’t understand the need to be in constant denial of the settlement of Aryan tribes on the Indian subcontinent anyway. And I don’t see the need to demonize them either. They are as much a part of this land and you or me. This is like considering a late admission student to a classroom as an outsider for the rest of her time in the school. And it helps to remind ourselves once in a while that even our ancestors migrated to our present land ages ago. The only bad factor here is the theory that they usurped lands inhabited by others. That could be a possibility. Because, as I said, they were probably better equipped with weapons. It was matter of survival for them, not for political gains or the colonization culture that came in much later. They are not a superior race and just enjoyed that false status thanks to the ignorance and naivete of simple people they managed to intimidate for centuries. It’s high time they woke up and smelt the coffee.
P.S.: I have absolutely no knowledge of all those ‘haplo’, ‘diplo’, ‘whatever-plo’ genetic group jargon. Whatever I wrote is out of sheer common-sense. Nothing more.
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