Rakhigarhi was “Aryan”, Mr Witzel …. Part 2

The role of rice in Vedic Yajna is something that defines the identity of the original Vedic Aryans

Rakhigarhi was “Aryan”, Mr Witzel
Rakhigarhi was “Aryan”, Mr Witzel

Part 1 of this series can be ‘accessed ‘ here. This is Part 2.

Can language be identified by genetics?

Another issue in Mr. Witzel’s comment is about how he pinpoints the identity of the people that he calls Aryans. He identifies them by the language – “the *speakers* of Indo-Aryan”.

Spoke-wheeled chariot and horses determine the Aryan-ness and characterise the people as Vedic! Witzel and others quote the Vedas as authority for this!

I never knew that linguistic research can be so easy that just by studying the genetic origins of a person one can tell the language he spoke! If DNA can tell the language a person spoke, it is certainly not a big deal to identify the languages spoken by say, the pre-historic people of Adichanallur in South East Tamilnadu.

Dated at 2500-2200 BCE, the skeletal remains of Adichanallur were found to have belonged to four races, namely, Caucasoids, Mongoloids, Negroids and Australoids, with none of them resembling contemporary Tamil People. The presence of these four races is absolutely not in sync with present-day dwellers. How they reached this part of Tamilnadu from the presently known regions of these races might give a new migratory route. Instead, if we link them with the language we speak, is it scientifically tenable to make a conclusion something like – that they brought Tamil to present-day Tamilnadu?

The Adichanallur specimens challenge one of the findings of the genetic study of Narasimhan et al. If Caucasoid had their origins in Central Europe or in central Steppe how did some of them reach this part of India at 2500-2200 BCE when their genetic markers were still hovering around BMAC between 2100 – 1700 BCE?

This means that there is many a slip in-between and Indian population history is not as easy as can be explained by an Aryan Invasion that is supposed to have brought a sophisticated language along with it. India’s location in a prime population blooming tropics, surrounded by oceans and drained by numerous rivers since Holocene offers a logical and plausible location for autochthonous growth of population with simultaneous growth of accessories like its own language and culture.

For saying this, if people like me are branded as “nationalist/ Hindutva person”, then the counterpart of it makes the likes of Mr. Witzel as anti-Indian and anti-Hindu, as Hindutva has its base in being a Hindu. Will he accept this identity for him?

Was Harappan Aryan?

Coming to the next and the last part of his comment, by rejecting the ‘Swat evidence’ of Narasimhan et al and subscribing to Shinde-Rai finding of indigenous strain in Rakhigarhi specimen, we are wrongly maintaining that Harappan was Aryan and be happy that ‘problem (is) solved’!

But the fact is that not just Harappan but the entire land of Bharat had been Aryan from an undated past. It was not caused by an Aryan Invasion. Central Asians or anybody could have come to India at any time or many times in the past, but how does it justify that they were the Vedic people?

In this entire issue of Aryan Invasion, one must be clear of what actually makes the culture Vedic?

Is it the spoke-wheeled chariot?

Yes, according to Mr. Witzel. In the same comment on Rakhigarhi DNA study, he refers to the buried chariot excavated at Sinauli and observes,

“.. this is not a spoke-wheeled chariot but a cart with two *full* wheels, as is known from Harappa and Daimabad (see attached pictures). The usual confusion between chariots and wagons/carts, but exploited here for obvious political reasons: “No Aryan invasion” ”

Does the animal pulling the chariot determine Aryan-ness?

Yes, according to Mr. Witzel. His further comment on Sinauli-finding goes like this:

The draft animals will have been oxen, as in the Harappan and Daimabad cases. These were not “horse ridden chariots” as one newspaper had it: LOL.”

Spoke-wheeled chariot and horses determine the Aryan-ness and characterise the people as Vedic! Witzel and others quote the Vedas as authority for this!

Rice, the staple food for natives of India from time immemorial also happens to be the staple food for Gods worshipped through Yajna

Nothing can be more ridiculous and unscientific than this, as the very identity of the Vedic people is the fire ritual, the Yajna and not chariots and horses. Anybody from anywhere in the world could have had chariots and horses but the fire-ritual of the kind done in Vedic society is unique for the Vedic culture only.

The basic fire ritual of the Vedic culture is called ‘aupāsana’.  Aupāsana is done every day at twilights throughout one’s life and at no time this fire is extinguished.  From father to son, this fire travels down the generations endlessly. The fire for every other Vedic Yajna is taken from this Aupāsana fire. The one and only offering done in this fire is RICE.

Without rice, no aupāsana can be done. Without aupāsana, no other yajna can be done and no Samskaras can be done. Rice is so basic to the Vedic society.

Now the question is, did the Central Asians know about rice?

They could have brought chariots and horses but did they bring rice – a grain very essential for doing the Vedic yajna?

Did they grow rice in the steppes or learned about it anywhere en route to India identified by Witzel?

The simple fact is rice is not grown in those regions due to the absence of supportive climatic conditions.

As per the AIT, they started Vedic life after reaching the IVC. But rice was already known to the IVC people and importantly in the present context of Rakhigarhi (IVC), a parallel archaeo-botanical study established that rice was grown in Rakhigarhi 6000 years ago! This is enough proof that the central Asians who were supposed to have entered the IVC in the 2nd millennium BCE, had learnt the use of rice in the Yajna – assuming they developed the concept of Yajna by themselves – from the native, indigenous people of the IVC. A rational interpretation would, however, treat the central Asians as learning the very technique of Yajna from the natives and not as developing a Yajna all in a sudden by themselves and making the native rice as integral to the Yajna.

Rice, the staple food for natives of India from time immemorial also happens to be the staple food for Gods worshipped through Yajna. More importantly, in the Yajna for departed ancestors (sharadha) only cooked rice is offered. Having their ancestral homes in Central Asia, isn’t it illogical to expect them to have devised a Yajna for their ancestors in which the offering is a food that doesn’t grow in their ancestral land? So the role of rice in Vedic Yajna is something that defines the identity of the original Vedic Aryans.

To be Continued…

Dr Jayasree Saranathan

Dr. Jayasree Saranathan is a researcher, writer and astrologer with a Ph.D. in Astrology. Her research areas include Indology, Hindu Epics, Tamil Sangam literature and Astro-meteorology.


  1. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that Alexander the Great, Mahmud of Ghazni, Mohammed Gauri, and 100s of others invaded India also to get access to its sweet, fragrant varieties of rice and sugarcane jaggery which were sold in bazaars of Baghdad and merchandised beyond into Kurdistan, Istanbul, Egypt, Macedonia and Italy.

  2. Would be great if the term ARYA was used instead of the colonial Christian European term of ARYAN. Also would be even greater to stop using racial profiles of people based on a racist European colonial agenda during the 18th century which saw European Christians define races according to their worth based in skin colour and how much Caucasian features they had. For most of human history south and east Asia where far more economically, technologically and culturally powerful than Europe. That only changed with 500 years of imperial slavery of the world by the church, priesthood and their noble classes of Royal households.


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