The Dravidaryan Invasion Theory


What makes an Indian? Is it the passport? The genetics? The culture? The religion? The food? The fashion? All of the above? It’s a question that’s been hotly debated amongst the citizens of the Indian Republic since the bloody partition and independence of 1947. Praise of India’s diversity finds purchasing power both inside and outside its borders, but this diversity does come at a cost. Between religion, caste, ethnicity, language, and so many other identities, India at times seems to tear from its seams. Harbingers of hatred need no excuse to dig into the annals of history finding division and discord that can be applied today. One proposed division takes us to the time of India’s infancy. From the southern tip of the grand Indian peninsula came an ideology that posited that Dravidians, a speculative group of people who speak Dravidian languages, as the original inhabitants of the subcontinent. The patriarch of this ideology, EV Ramaswamy, known as Periyar amongst his faithful, spewed venom and violence against the “invader” north Indians and their Brahmin patriarchs and progeny.

But how accurate is this notion? Was there an idyllic, secular, and rational society prior to when the first horse hooves of the steppe stampeded into India? Did these “Aryans” bring a foreign religion called Hinduism into India as well and impose it on the Dravidians who followed a now lost faith? Half truths at least; full falsehoods at most.

Societies are stories. They are the fallout of generations of narrations about our past and who we are. Jawaharlal Nehru, freedom fighter and India’s first Prime Minister, sought to weave an “Idea of India” that was a composite tapestry of Hindu and Muslim fabrics. That tapestry has been torn to shreds for several decades now. Instead, it has been Hindutva that has supplanted the Nehruvian sacrament as the sacred fire of the yajna of yore engulfs Indians politics and a common Indian identity built on Dharma gains popularity.

But not all bow to the ritual of these ancients.

Politics Is War

There are few places where historical invasions animate the populace more than India. While much of this headspace is focused on more recent Islamic invasions of the medieval era as well as British imperialism of the colonial era, in some pockets of India, headaches originate from invasions in a time where history wasn’t even recorded in India. A missing memory of the subcontinent.

Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.


These battles are highlighted in the deep south of India, Tamil Nadu and lately have entered elite academic debates on caste. The conflict in Tamil Nadu is over the ancient peopling of India with an onus on the enigmatic Aryans. But this piece is not going to exclusively focus on the migration of the Aryans into India; there are many that do. What we will examine are the many migrations into and within India as well as the present political consequences. But first, let’s establish some quick background.


There are many stellar pieces on the peopling of India. A few I recommend are Razib Khan’s comprehensive piece, Stark Truth About Aryans: A Story of India and Aryāṃśa’s Sons of the Indus: The Indians; I will give a bare and brief synopsis below:

  • The aboriginal Indian, whose genes run through the blood of nearly everyone from the Indian subcontinent, descended into the subcontinent around 50,000-70,000 years ago. This population would become known as AASI – Ancient Ancestral South Indian.
  • The Iranian hunter-gatherer would enter India around 10,000 years ago and mix with aboriginals to form the Indians who gave rise to the Indus Saraswati Civilization.
  • The steppe component entered India most probably in waves after 2000 BCE to 1000 BCE. They are usually the big hubbub as they are posited to be the legendary Aryans, but more on this later.
  • The Austronesian component would enter from southeast Asia at a similar time of 2000 BCE to 1000 BCE.

There are other migrations into and outflows from the subcontinent as well, but for now let’s call the aforementioned out as the prominent ones we know of today. Feel free to dive into the 2 pieces I mentioned prior. I highly recommend them as they are treasure troves of information.



One of the most potent lines of rhetoric that stems from Hindutva discourse is that it is fundamentally an indigenous rights movement. “Indigenous rights” – that phrase is a sacred cow today. Conjuring the bloody European campaign of terror that walked in lock step with colonialism, those who were crushed under the European heel are today demanding their reparations and retribution. In Western discourse, you cannot dare to cross these lines of persuasion. Indigeneity evokes powerful emotions and a primordial attachment to the land, where the spirits of ancestors connect to the soil itself.

But where Hindutva’s call of indigeneity faces hurtles is the proposed ancient migrations into India. Keep in mind that migrations have occurred across the world, yet this notion of indigeneity is only challenged in India. The nomadic Mexica people would clear out the valley of Mexico before they established Tenochtitlan and became the Aztecs. A substantial genetic portion and culture of the ancestors of the emblematic Greeks, Romans, hell, so many Europeans come from the steppe in the model we are discussing. The ancient Egyptians did not speak Arabic nor had a 1 to 1 genetic makeup to modern Egyptians. The massive Bantu expansion across Sub-Saharan Africa was not a Mandelan march of peace. Yet it is only in India that this standard of indigeneity is upheld. Indra, who rides an Indian elephant and blesses the agricultural Indian with rain for their crops, is a steppe central Asian god; but Zeus and Thor are decidedly Greek and Nordic. I think you see the double standard here.


While much attention and ire surrounds the entry of the Aryans into India, little is sounded around the Dravidians. And therein lies the hypocrisy. Politics flows from emotion first, then logic.

As we established prior, the Indian population is a mixture of 3 large waves or migrations. This 2nd migration consists of a group that was related to, but distinct from, Iranian agriculturalists in the Zagros mountains. In the shadow of the Zagros is where the people of Elam flourished. From around 3200-540 BCE, the Elamites formed the eastern frontier of the Fertile Crescent. The Elamites worshipped a menagerie of gods, many of whom they shared with Akkadian Mesopotamians, and spoke a purported language isolate; but some believe it had a cognate. The proposed cousin is to the east, in the Indus Saraswati Civilization; a civilization that the Elamites traded with frequently. The proposition is that the ancestors of the Zagros farmers of Elam kept moving east and mingled with the AASI Indians eventually forming the base population for the Indus Saraswati peoples (and much of the genetic makeup of modern Indians themselves). Ironically, this means there was an earlier set of Indo-Iranians prior to the Indo-European speaking Indo-Iranians. History indeed loves to rhyme and repeat!

Whether the Elamites were Dravidian cousins or not, we know that there was a split between those Neolithic farmers that ended up in the Zagros and those that ended up in Himalayas. This is evidenced from recent genetic studies confirming that a woman from the ancient Indus Saraswati site of Rakhigarhi was void of any Iranian Zagros farmer ancestry. The logic of these subsequent discoveries hints that farming may have even been reared independently in India in the cradles of its holy rivers.


But how do we know that the Indus Saraswati people were Dravidian? Well now we start getting to “homeland” for these Dravidians, in the southern realms of this ancient Indian civilization. The southern stretches were primarily spread across Sindh, Gujarat, as well as parts of Baluchistan and Maharashtra. We find geographic toponyms across this region with Dravidian-esque influence. Additionally, we have some scant linguistic evidence dealing with elephants. The hypothesized Proto-Dravidian word, “pīlu,” which meant splitting and supposedly references a tooth or tusk, is found in Mesopotamia circa 1400 BCE via the Akkadian pīri or pīru meaning elephant. This would make sense as trade did exist between both these lands. Regarding the northern realms, things are a bit more murky. Some hypothesize that they spoke a language that was completely wiped out or an ancestor of a language isolate found in Gilgit-Baltistan called Burushaski. However, if we go by the prior rhetoric of evidence, things get even more muddy. Of course the northern subcontinent is dominated by Indo-Aryan toponyms, yet more curiously are recent findings showing Sanskrit words related to music and trade that bear eerie resemblance to Sumerian words, indicating some form of contact. But for now, we’ll stick to more mainstream theories.

Returning to the model of steppe migration, it seems that this was concurrent with both a Dravidian migration into peninsular India as well as a thrust of AASI enriched Indians towards the northwest. This great Indian churn reminiscent of the Samudra Manthan motif or “churning of the cosmic ocean” in the Hindu Puranas is what produced the precursors of Indian culture and society today. The modern Indian was being assembled in this churn. Even more ingredients were added to the mixture through the east through Munda migrations from Southeast Asia. These migrants would particularly populate the DNA of India’s tribals or “adivasis;” a misnomer meaning “first inhabitants” that has been hijacked by political interests to misclassify these tribals as the original people of the Indian subcontinent. As we’ve seen, this is simply not the case.


As these Dravidians reached Tamil Nadu, they too brought with them Vedic culture. This is something that will cause heartburn to the fanciful separatists of Tamil Nationalist bent, but the earliest Tamil literature of the Sangam Era extols the Vedas and Vedic gods such as Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, and Indra. Even the much vilified Tamil Brahmins find praise in the earliest of Tamil texts. There was no separate secular notion in the Tamil nation. This was an Aryan land.

The True Aryan

Politicized almost beyond repair, the term “Aryan” is hotly debated amongst historians, geneticists, archeologists, and edgy internet posters across the globe. But why not ask the Aryans themselves?

The term “Arya” originally occurs in the Vedas referring those who adhere to Vedic norms or spoke the Vedic tongue, Sanskrit. Perhaps in an even narrower context in the earlier verses, it refers to those belonging to the Pūru tribe or its eponymous sub-tribe, the Bharatas. In later verses, we see this “Arya” term expanded to other Vedic tribes as well as being using in an abstract sense denoting “pure” or “noble.” Later Indian literature steadies on the dual definitions of “noble” or someone who adheres to Dharmic norms as an “Aryan.”

The common characterization of these Vedic peoples is that they came into India and wiped out the natives, completely destroying their culture and bringing their traditions as the new centerpiece of Indian civilization. But this is not true either. With climate and geological changes, the Indus Saraswati civilization waned eventually collapsing prior to the entry of the steppe people. These steppe people would come into India and indeed would conquer, but they would then be integrated completely. They came, they saw, they conquered, and then they were swallowed.


The people who wrote the Vedas were in love and reverent to the land of India. The rivers, mountains, plains, forests, even the literal dirt itself was holy to them. Their gods were flanked with Indian flora and fauna. They delved into philosophies and rituals alien to the wider world. They were a profoundly unique people who would not be who they were if they did not live and die in India.

Over time, many of the gods who found the most praise in the Vedas, the lords of the elements such as Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc…, would give way to other divinities who would eclipse them in prominence. Vishnu’s greatness could be gleaned throughout the early Vedic verses as he was frequently paired with Indra, Surya, Agni, and light itself. He was referenced as the guardian of the highest home, where a soul that has broken the cycle of reincarnation resides. The dawn of Vishnu and Shiva would arrive with the transition to the Puranas and Itihasa epics. In the Yajurveda, Narayana, a popular epithet for Vishnu, is mentioned as the supreme being. The icon of the Pashupati seal of the Indus, Shiva, known as Rudra in the Vedas also makes frequent appearances as a lord of storms and destruction. Adorned with a cobra for a necklace, his home in the Himalayas, the sacred Ganga river springing from his matted locks, and donning leopard skin, Shiva’s iconic Indian brand radiates his local roots.

But it is in the tales of the Dark Lord that we see a glimpse of which gods would rule the Indian mind. While popular narratives would tell you that a skin color apartheid was enforced by the steppe folk, what’s curious is that dark skin gods would become their supreme deities. They would even beg the gods for dark skin children. The Brihadarayanka Upanishad devotes verses (6.4.16) denoting the high merits and methods needed to conceive dark skinned children; merits and methods that were greater than those needed for lighter shades. Vishnu, whose avatars and epithets possess names frequently alluding to his dark skin color, would rise as a zenith of the Hindu pantheon over the ages. A possible peek into the rise of Vishnu’s prominence lies in the tale of Govardhan.


Krishna, Vishnu’s incarnation, watched as his adoptive father, Nand, prepared to pray to Indra to bless them with rain. The young Krishna would chide his father for fearfully worshipping a god who had grown jealous and arrogant with power. He instead told his father and the villagers to pray to the mountain Govardhan and revere their cattle for those were the true guaranteers of their agricultural success. An incensed Indra would send a terrible torrent on Krishna’s home, Braj, flooding the land. The legend climaxes with Krishna lifting Govardhan with his finger, protecting Braj from the storm, and humbling Indra into obeisance. Perhaps this represents the transition of which god(s) curried the most favor with the ancient Indians. Perhaps not, but it is a convenient tale.

As we continue along the lines of “whataboutery” regarding these Aryans, one eventually reaches a meditating monk under a tree. The Buddhist and Jain traditions, known as Śramanism, are postulated as rebellions or descendants of pre-Aryan Dravidian Indian religion. Yet as we’ve already established the deep roots of Hinduism in pre-steppe India, we must also establish the Aryan roots of Buddhism and Jainism. Both religions recognize caste as a feature of Indian society and even endorse it in some scriptures. Buddha self-designates his way as the Arya Dharma, a reviving of the true way of the Vedas not the corrupted version of his time. He colors his commentary with decidedly Hindu motifs that link his message and incarnation with the great tales and people of India’s Vedic past. Śramanism was a descendent of Vedic thought that would run parallel to orthodox ancient Hinduism (or Brahminism as it is maliciously termed by academia and activists), and both became intertwining strands of a common multifarious Indian Dharma, borrowing from each other with ease and synchronizing concepts with harmony.

Political Picassos

“War is deceit,” so said the Prophet Muhammad ages ago amongst the sands of Arabia. Many movements that outwardly appear to be extremely ideological in fact are power struggles for resources on ground. Periyar and his cohort of powerful landed castes in Tamil Nadu, used the garb of Dravidianism and mythical millennia old battles to oust the franchised Brahmins from their powerful positions in Tamil society. Endowed with British cooperation and historical success, the Brahmins of the Tamil country occupied both landlord and administrative roles in the colonial era as well as possessed a culture that strongly emphasized education. Periyar’s poison would flow across the veins of Tamil society with an intense animus of hatred directed towards the Tamil Brahmins. The offensive attire of fanciful rhetoric and minimalistic reductions of ancient migrations resulted in the gradual emigration of many Tamil Brahmins from Tamil Nadu. Additionally, we see almost anti-semitic-like conspiracy theories surrounding the minuscule yet prosperous Brahmin minority, where many blame every evil and sin of society on the conniving control and domination of Brahmins.


The power vacuum left by the Brahmins would be taken up by castes allied with Periyar. To buttress diatribes against the Brahmins, Periyar made it a point to paint Brahmins as Aryan invaders who imposed their religion on the Dravidian society, which he deemed as “secular” and “rational” as opposed to the “superstitious” and oppressive Aryan faith of Hinduism. Periyar would go so far in his malice towards Brahmins so as to encourage the literal hunting and killing of Brahmins in Tamil Nadu. While Dravidianism was supposed to be a panacea to casteism, still we see it unfortunately practiced in Tamil Nadu today. Meanwhile, increasingly violent and xenophobic oratory attempts to cleave the great Tamil culture from the Indian civilization.


So ironic this is, as much of India owes itself to Tamil Nadu. From the wise Vedanta philosopher, Ramanuja, whose ideas catapulted the Bhakti movement across all of India to the great Chola emperors (who funny enough referred to themselves as Aryans) who carried the Tamil crown across the subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Tamil Nadu functioned as the incubator and refuge of a Hinduism ravaged in the north during medieval invasions. Scores of Tamil scientists, especially the former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, would push Indian technology and capability forward making the lives of all Indians better. Yet today, it is Periyar’s ideology that dominates the Tamil political sphere.

One of the more disturbing parts about the effect of such simplistic takes on ancient Indian migrations is a niche form of genetic supremacy that is developing. While some embellish the stature of their steppe DNA, others claim themselves as the true aboriginal of the land due to their large proportion of AASI lineage. They go so far as even asking for reparations based on this poppycock of logic. While there is some correlation between mixes of steppe, IVC, and AASI lineages around caste, it is an imperfect and a diverse amount that is in the end, a mixture. All Indians are an amalgamation of these people to various degrees. There is almost no pure steppe, IVC, or AASI person in the subcontinent (the Andaman Nicobar people may be sole exception on the AASI front). The movement towards heightened caste consciousness combined with the advocation of an almost racial element to caste could be potentially disastrous for India.

India’s history is one of syncretism and synchronization. Multiple identities, ideas, and itihasas were welded together by the Vedic verses millennia ago. Both the Brahmins and Śramanas or priests and ascetics traversed the Indian expanse and spread the message of Dharma. Still, they all agreed on the inherent divinity and sacredness of the subcontinent, of Bhārata. That is what distinguishes these people, these ideas, and these philosophies from the rest of the world. Indeed, as one delves into the story of India, a story that encapsulates much of human history and audacity of both thought and action, one attains the truth in the Mahabharata’s triumphant epilogue:

Whatever is here, may be found elsewhere; what is not cannot be found anywhere else.


This is a repost originally published in The Emissary. Follow on Twitter for updates!

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43 thoughts on “The Dravidaryan Invasion Theory”

  1. Well kudos to your articulation i enjoyed it. Randall Carlson in his latest podcast with Joe Rogan is pushing the idea that cataclysm and rapid climate changes occured recently which led to the “changes” whose consequences we face till today.

    1. This sounds extremely banal. If you look at a long enough historical period, you will fund several cataclysms and climate change events. Do you have any quick examples? I have no inclination to watch the podcast.

      1. In the Human history, they are pushing forward that a comet/comets hit the earth in 11,600 years ago which led to the glacier melting episode at extraordinary fast rate in North America which resulted in the climate change events.
        Another instance he mentioned that around 540-570CE, an exogenic ( which according to him is a Sun induced effect) occured around the earth which pushed the earth into dark ages. ( He calls it mini ice age in Europe) leading to agricultural failures for many years.
        One more instance I recall, he talks that the average temperature of the earth in 1100-1400 was 4° more than today which led to agricultural surplus in the European states after the dark ages which resulted in the bubonic plague in the European countries. He doesn’t necessarily points that bubonic plague was the only consequence of the global warming but he asserts that one of the causes could be attributed to the global warming giving the fertile ground for microbes.

    1. I actually want them to try to secede once, and we would finally once and all for know who sided with them and who sides with india.

      1. Your entire exposure to the south seems to be through random tweets by random people.

        Punjab had a more serious secession movement than anything in the south. Your obsession with stuff said and done by DMK-type politicians borders on the pathological. Their obsessions aren’t (and have never been) shared by the general populations of their states, which you don’t get because you don’t seem to have any more exposure to these societies than you do to, say Botswana’s. And you refuse to listen to those who know more about both south and north (and have the ability to compare), than you do.

        1. ‘ Your obsession with stuff said and done by DMK-type politicians borders on the pathological. Their obsessions aren’t (and have never been) shared by the general populations of their states,’

          Oh, is it why Dravidian parties have been ruling the state for last 50 odd years? Of course people don’t share their obsession , just vote for these parties. Right?

          And who said that i minimize the Punjab problem. Both Kashmir and Punjab in the North had tried to secede. And the reason for that everyone gets, just not articulated in the manner i do.

          1. Perhaps you should delve deeper into the history. We can exclude all states other than TN from this discussion because there are no explicit “Dravidian” parties there as far as I know. (Commies in Kerala are a different beast.)

            Any secessionist aspirations the DMK types may have had died out by the mid 1960s, once Tamil Nadu state was carved out of Madras and when the pols discovered that the public really didn’t care for their obsessions. Until 1967, every CM in Madras or TN was a Congress-person. Yeah, since then it’s been TweedleDee/TweedleDum (DMK/AIADMK), but as far as I know, the issues they fight elections on are populist ones (roti kapda stuff) just like anywhere else in the country.

            I will say again: your knowledge of the south is extremely shallow and superficial. I’m not sure why you claim to be an expert on this. The same criticism that many Indians level at Westerners, of labeling pols like Modi as fascist based on cherrypicked comments and actions, can be labeled at you when you caricature the south.

  2. “ What makes an Indian? Is it the passport? The genetics? The culture? The religion? The food? The fashion? All of the above? “

    In one word. Hindu areas.

    Non Hindu areas – seceded.
    Less Hindu areas – tried to secede but couldn’t.
    More Hindu areas – India

    1. Mate, no offense and this isn’t personal but this is just pure cringe inducing bottom-of-the-barrel rubbish that no one past the age of 10 should be spouting. If you’re Indian this just reflects badly on the country’s education system.

      1. Perhaps it does.

        But its still more accurate than the views spouted by Indian origin folks living in the west, who visit India for vacations and think they know all about India.

  3. Good article. Is it possible that people of Indus saraswati civilization already knew about wisdom of Vedas etc in their language ? because its clear that Yoga is rooted in that culture, so Yoga essentially is part of process of enlightenment or Moksha which is ultimate aim of Vedas anyhow

  4. Quick correction: it’s not “Austronesian” but “Austro-Asiatic”. These are two different language groups. The former includes Malay, Indonesian, and Polynesian. The latter includes Munda and Vietnamese.

  5. yet this notion of indigeneity is only challenged in India

    I don’t know if this is some obscure Twitter battle, but I’m not aware of any such serious challenge that the general public is conscious of. If “Dravidians” try to challenge it, just show the latest DNA results, which prove conclusively that they have some “Aryan” in them too, just like all Indians plus our immediate neighbors.

    This is where I think our nationalists are going off the rails. Instead of using DNA evidence (that every country was built on relatively recent migrations) to bolster their indigeneity claims, they are trying to ignore or misrepresent it.

    1. That would be easy right? But for that to happen the “nationalists” themselves have to settle on AIT vs OIT.

      Even then, the “Dravidians” would look at the Indian clade and point out how they are at the other end of the clade – and their Steppe ancestry would be just another conspiracy.

      1. No idea. I’m agnostic on this question and will wait for future evidence (or new ways of thinking). Even without getting into the language question (i.e., OIT vs AIT), it’s reasonably clear that a bunch of mostly males from the steppe regions mixed with people already settled in the Indian subcontinent between 2k and 1k BC (i.e., the R1a haplogroup and others). On the one hand, there is their total lack of remembrance of foreign origins and veneration of Indian geography. On the other hand, they have a significant yet much less-than-overwhelming contribution to our genomes (unlike in N. or W. Europe). Also no archaeological artifacts of either a migration or an invasion. So it’s very hard to figure out what happened.

        1. Ok. There is Govardhan Math at Puri in india. They trace back their tradition(of Shankracharya) to 3000 BCE. also what about those sophisticated tools found in sound india dating back to 3 lakh year or so ? is it possible that Indus valley and Aryan civilization lived together at same time and mixed with each other ? Do you know about Charles Leadbeater? he was member of theosophical society and occultist. His one of pupil was Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher. Leadbeater went into Krishanmurti’s past lives and written book named “Life of Alycelone”.available online. In one life of Krishanmurti, he was born in 10,000 BCE in Puri and he was sent to learn Vedanta by his parents. In another life in India around 4,000 bc he was born as prince and he mentions about kind Dhristrashtra. maybe u can see it online. and also pls tell me what reply do i give to pakistani lunatics who says to me in youtube comments that you aryans did same thing as ghori ghaznavi did to you. But they fail to see that those seers who wrote Upanishads were far far spiritual and sophisticated than those crazy fanatics they adore

          1. “they trace back their tradition(of Shankracharya) to 3000 BCE”
            No they don’t, they trace it back to 500 BCE, where mainstream historians put him at 7th century AD.

      2. ‘pls clarify if aryan migration happen or aryan invasion (rape, genocides etc) ?’

        Dravidian Holocaust happened.

  6. Dravidianists are just bog tier Marxist Brahmin haters, but Hindutva gives them unlimited fodder by downplaying the Non-Aryan heritage of Hinduism and making these constant appeals to Vedic Primacy, something that Buddhists,Jains&Charvakas have already rejected.

    But how do we know that the Indus Saraswati people were Dravidian?
    WE DON’T, its a possibility but its also possible that they got wiped out of existence, they were facing the same aggressive male dominant migrations that conquered Europe. IVC was doomed, they had no martial culture to mount a resistance. I bet even AASI Tribes could’ve conquered them.

    As these Dravidians reached Tamil Nadu, they too brought with them Vedic culture.
    Why would Dravidians already have Vedic Culture when Aryans were still in the middle of conquering the North? Sangam Era doesn’t document the Dravidian migration to South, if it ever happened that is! It is just as likely that Dravidian is an AASI language.

    Tamil Nadu functioned as the incubator and refuge of a Hinduism ravaged in the north during medieval invasions
    Hinduism in TN is not the same as the “Hinduism” of the North. How did Tamils “preserve” North’s Hinduism? Tamils don’t celebrate Holi or Chat Puja.

    1. @Enigma
      One of the reasons to be skeptical that dravidian = AASI, as I understand is the time depth of divergence within the family. It would require that proto-dravidian was a lone survivor of a near extinction of the broader family. Not impossible but highly contingent. Another issue is that many of the more AASI regions of the subcon, like the eastern Gangetic basin, don’t seem to have dravidian substrate influence. The western regions, despite lower AASI to neolithic farmer ratio, appear to be better candidates for the substrate

    2. The people had spearheads, axheads, arrowheads, and built by far the most impressive city walls in the world at the time. They certainly had a martial culture – you don’t develop such cultural uniformity and state scale without militarist conquest.

      And the latest data would seem to suggest that the steppe invaders entered India after the IVC had already fragmented and begun to decline. The Vedic people at least (entered the Punjab (i.e. sapta sindhu) first, which was at the edge of IVC / post-IVC territory, and the concentration of steppe genetic contribution would suggest that the main focus of migrations out of the Punjab was into the Ganga valley, not into the Indus Valley.

      1. This! It is repackaged “noble savage” type bunk to claim that Bronze Age peoples did not have a martial culture. Pacifism does not meaningfully appear anywhere till recent times. While the ones who gave Indians our ancestry were the most successful Steppe incursion, that doesn’t mean Sindhu Sarasvati Civilization (SSC) did not face invaders before them.

        If you work through thought experiments, in all likelihood what happened was this:

        1. SSC’s urban centers were weakened by climate change like many other Bronze Age civilizations.

        2. Population scattered and thinned out. The remnants retained some of their culture, but it could not flourish, since the networks were broken up by the upheaval.

        3. This condition persisted for a few centuries. Into this situation, Steppe nomads came in, likely fought and won wars in certain places (Indo-Gangetic plain?), but assimilated in different ways in different regions. It is not inconceivable that c. 1600 BCE, Steppe peoples heard reports of SSC’s decline and that prompted them to come in. Remember that the northern edge of SSC was close to BMAC and it is quite likely Steppe peoples and SSC were aware of each other.

        4. SSC’s core urban centers had disappeared, but smaller towns and rural settlements certainly existed. They eventually absorbed Steppe peoples and the two cultures merged.

        If I had to bet:

        1. Caste system is SSC in origin. Their extraordinary cities were likely built and maintained by a population structured along caste lines.

        2. Lots of cultural elements in Upanishads were a result of fusion with SSC remnants

        3. Brahmins and priestly caste resulted from an integration of Steppe elites and SSC priests

        4. Jainism is probably a remnant ideology from SSC with Sanskrit providing the scriptural overlay (just look at where it has historically flourished: all along Western India from Gujarat through Karnataka).

        5. The alien non-Arya builders of Mahabharata were probably SSC and those stories encode interactions from early in the Steppe migration.

    3. “Hinduism in TN is not the same as the “Hinduism” of the North. How did Tamils “preserve” North’s Hinduism? Tamils don’t celebrate Holi or Chat Puja.”

      I disagree. When you move vertically there are quite a few similarities – the reverence of grama devatas, particularly the feminine ones that get the title of “Amman” or “mata,” (the symbolic messaging is quite consistent re Prakriti, even if that term isnt used) very similar mythology, the use of similar agamas like the Panacaratra…Hinduism is bound to have differences based on region and country, but there’s far more overarching similarities than differences.

  7. Side note: The history here is most interesting and gives rise to a matter of current concern. From my brief acquaintance with the history of the subcontinent, I note that it has changed/evolved from outside influences of commerce, migration and invasion. The past couple of generations has seen a change in that there has been considerable outmigration to both the Western World and to a number of eastern countries as well though the latter seem more temporary, such as for employment. It brings the question as to whether these migrants feel that change within the country is neither proximate nor in the desired direction and thus opportunity is found elsewhere. If so, it would certainly have cultural effects for some time to come.

  8. \Endowed with British cooperation and historical success, the Brahmins of the Tamil country occupied both landlord and administrative roles in the colonial era as well as possessed a culture that strongly emphasized education. \.
    I don’t agree Tamil brahmins as a class were big time landlords, even though some individual brahmins owned large acres of lands

    One of the best known Tamil literary , philological star is U.V.Swaminatha Iyer (
    He wrote his autobiography (“En sarithiram”) gowning up in Thanjavur Delta in the 19th century. His autobiography gives a very good snapshot of social relations and positions in the 19th century. No brahmin he comes across or hears about is landlord ; in fact brahmins are barely above poverty level ; a respectable poverty. They had social prestige but not much property.

  9. All theories will sound nice until bhakts find a good explanation for why Sinhalese are buddhists. Although caste is present in SL, the fact that both SL Tamil and SL Sinhala are of similar genetic composition will burst this theory of dravidoaryan migration.

    I don’t know why Northies are fascinated by Periyar and Dravidianism. Here everyone votes for them, my grandmother who is Iyer votes for DMK, and Thiruma. Beat that xD.

    The fact is everyone knows that Periyar fought to eradicate caste and although he has done a good enough job, we are slowly reverting back to casteist ways. Everyone knows he lost legitimacy after 1950’s when he married his adopted daughter. These speeches which you quote are quite later, when he tried to make himself relevant in TN after Anna’s successes.

    This piece looks something like that US ambassador who waded into the hijab controversy trying to interfere without a crumb of context. Everyone who is familiar with the political history of Tamil Nadu knows the fabric of this politics. The key theme in TN Politics is that personally, most of them are pieces of shit(this includes all from Periyar to Annamalai), but every politician is remembered for the positive work done, despite their individual personalities.

    1. What makes u believe that northies are fascinated by Dravidianism or periyar? Half of the time it’s the Dravidian lament that N-india doesn’t give them appropriate space.

      On the contrary, If this blog is any indicator , than it seems it’s non northies who are fascinated by aryans, and can go on hours on that topic. While the northies ( their descendants) are least concerned.

      1. While the northies ( their descendants)
        Saurav, how many times do you need to be reminded, until it reaches your Thick Skull? All Indians have a mixture of ANI+ASI ancestry, that makes most Indians “ARYAN” “DRAVIDIAN” and “ABORIGINAL” at the same time.

  10. Good eclectic treatment of the subject. In assessing the whole, perhaps a little more focus towards the parts.

    Shiva worship – Primary schools and popular veneration (Father and Son) exist only in the South. The worship is almost institutional and having royal sanction that exceeds any other deity. The Shiva worshipping tribes must have moved South from somewhere in the Saraswati downstream.

    Krishna worship – Again the more truer and realistic tales are in the Gujarat-Saurashtra region. The tribes must have moved eastwards to the Gangetic regions where they recreated the birthplaces and legends around Krishna’s birth.

    Rama worship – The Ikshvaku lineage is one of the rare lineages that has a solid link with a ethnobotanical subject – sugarcane cultivation. Also variously referenced within various sources as a non-Arya lineage that was eventually Sanskritised.

    Indra Worship – the first Prime of the Arya deity pantheon. Punjab/Haryana/Uttarakhand belt where the Vedas were composed. Core area of the IVC. Loses his position to Vishnu after the 4.2 kya aridification event.

  11. Look like another poor attempt to show Tamils wer bad and aryan wer native.

    Sangam literture dont have word “brahmin” and the word veda found hardly 2 or 3 place out of 2000 ancient poems. These anti-dravidian/tamil especially brahmin bloat propaganda of brahmin being deep rooted part of sangam era based of word “anthanar” and “parpanar” both doesn’t sound like brahmin or corrupted word of brahmin neither these word found in any vedic text. Anthanar mean monk or saint, parpanar mean scholar or predictor. only after post sangam era, brahmin hide themselve into these words. confedaration of tamils started somewhere around 350BC-280BC and there is no doubt brahmin do exist in sangam era. But in very marginal level and had no significant influence on ancient tamil.

    similarity between sankrit and sumerian musically is another pseduoscholar attempt to show indigenous aryan theory. These sanskrit musical note found in south india not in north india. Scholar claim Dravidian have five notes and sanskrit and sumerian have seven notes. And also claim
    “the Dravidian names of instruments did not show resemblance to Sumerian names, except for just a couple of terms, which too seem to be of Sanskrit origin” .
    If its really sanskrit origin then early north india sanskrit text would have been reproduced it not in south. And scholar is musicology with no knowledge in tamil claim all these. for eg he show similarity between sanskrit “kinnara” and sumerian “nar”. kinnara meaning in sanskrit kim+nara = whether a man. he justify by relating it to anthropomorphic mythical being. All these dont make sense. In tamil its called kinnaram. he claim it might have derived from sanskrit word kinnara. what really funny is in tamil +am is suffix most sanskrit word which end +a suffix these people concluded its sanskrit loan word. just like tamil +am/+um sound do exist in akkadian. akkd- narutu(m)
    tamil kinnaram= kin+nar+am here “NAR” is ” FIBER/THREAD/STRING”,
    KIN might be kinnam means boul, kindu/kundu sound like scope/shape. KINNARAM- boul with string. Not just one,there are many misinterpretation done by him. That why he cant make it in reputed journal like nature or science but end up blogs and whatsapp university
    His work only popular among OITian who love to hate dravidian origin of harappan/tamil/E V ramasamy aka periya.

    1. But in very marginal level and had no significant influence on ancient tamil.

      This is some top tier Dravidian Copium lmao Vedic Gods dominated the minds of Sangam Era Tamils but Brahmins had negligible influence? Right… And EVR Naicker wasn’t a Tamilian. 4 of the 5 Dravidian states don’t give a flying fuck about Dravidian Identity and seek to Aryanize/Sanskritize their cultures.

      brahmin hide themselve into these words.
      Bitch, why would I “hide” in my home? Tamil Brahmins are Tamilians.
      We don’t need the approval of frothing at the mouth Marxists.

      You’re exactly like the Hindutva OIT clowns you laugh at, you desperately want to remove and isolate the Sanskritic additions to Tamil Heritage despite the fact that the pure Non-vedic era of Tamil Nadu is undocumented by history.

      You want that pure non-vedic influenced Tamil culture even though that doesn’t exist. Even your genetics are not pure Dravidian, you’re all just racial purist clowns in the 21st Century. You and guys like Saurav are exactly the same.

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