archaeological work on the Harappan and post-Harappan period and
refinements in linguistic studies have led to the rejection of this theory. A
perspective on the Vedic period needs us to keep in mind the earlier events
such as the decline of the Harappan cities and the archaeological cultures that
succeeded them in various parts of northern India. Significantly, the emphasis
in interpreting the history of the Vedic period is slowly moving from an over
dependence on Vedic literary sources to that of a proper use of archaeological
Development of Aryan Language and Culture Since the theory of an
Aryan race has now been discarded and that of an Aryan invasion of northern
India is also rejected, the focuss has, therefore, shifted to the questions of
how the Indo-Aryan language entered India, developed the way it did, and
why it came to be gradually established as the major linguistic system of
northern India. Historical evidence suggests that the Indo-Aryan language
developed as an intrusion into northern India. Language can be transmitted in
a variety of ways, such as by migrations, by pastoralists (who, although
nomadic, have a close relation with settled communities), or by traders.
Invasion and conquest are not the exclusive methods of spreading a
language. The evidence from the multiplicity of archaeological cultures
representing diverse peoples and the influence of non-Aryan speakers on
Indo-Aryan language suggests a different idea, namely, the possibility of
peoples of different cultures coming into contact and making linguistic and
cultural adjustments. Besides, the emphasis has shifted somewhat from the
centrality of the Indo-Aryan language and religious practices, to attempts to
reconstruct the society of the time using both archaeological and literary data.
Studies relating to language and religion therefore, are becoming part of the
larger picture of the different facets of the societies of that period.
It was earlier held that the invading Aryans established a state system in
northern India by subjugating the indigenous people, who were made to work
for them. If there was no large-scale invasion, as is argued now, then other
reasons have to be found for the evolution of the state in northern India. This
was obviously a very gradual process which took place over several
centuries, involving a wide variety of factors.
Reconstruction of Vedic Society