The main strands of the Hindu Civilization are the gift of the Aryans’ minds. The most striking feature of Aryan culture is its stability and continuity, even to this day. It is therefore interesting to know whether the Aryans were indigenous peoples or if they came from outside of India. This leads to the problem of the original homeland of the Aryans. However, it is desirable to refer to some important theories regarding the Aryan original homeland.
Filippo Susseti discovered the affinity between Sanskrit and some principal European languages in the 16th century. In 1786, Sir William Jones pointed out in his famous address to the Asiatic Society of Bengal that the similarity among the languages such as Sanskrit, Persian, Greek, and Roman could be accounted for by the fact that they originated from a parent language called “Indo-European.” Further research by eminent scholars has shown that languages belonging to the Indo-European family are found in an area extending from the Gangetic Valley of India to the Atlantic Basin in Europe. Max Mueller lent further support to this theory by stating that the Aryan linguistic term and the word did not denote a race.
For a long time, it was believed that the Indian areas were the original homeland of the Aryans. According to A.C. Das, Ganganath Jha, and G.S. Trivedi, the original homeland of the Aryans was the Sapta Sindhu or the Punjab. The Sapta Sindhu was irrigated by seven rivers: the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Bias, Sutlej, and Saraswati. Their view was that the geographical conditions described in the Rigveda pointed to this region. India was connected to Western Asia by land, and the Aryans migrated from Sapta Sindhu to the West. Therefore, the original cradle of the Aryans was the Sapta Sindhu, which included the beautiful valley of Kashmir to the north and Gandhara to the west. Its southern boundary was Rajputana, and the eastern boundary covered the Gangetic.
The late Bal Gangadhar Tilak believed that the original home of the Aryans was the Arctic region. This view was propounded by him in his book “The Arctic Home of Aryans.” Working on the theory that the Earth is losing heat day by day, Tilak came to the conclusion that the North Polar regions were once habitable areas and that the Aryans originally lived there. The Vedas refer to days and nights lasting for six months, which are only found in the Arctic region. The books of the Iranians also indicate that the original home of the Aryans had a long winter. Based on these arguments, Tilak opined that the original homeland of Aryans was the Arctic region.
South-East Europe Origin
The view accepted in the West is that the original homeland of the Aryans was in South-east Europe. According to Professor Macdonald, the common trees, such as the oak, beech, and willow, and the companion animals, such as the horse and cow, with which the ancestors of the Aryans were familiar (as shown by a study of the Rig Veda and the Zendavesta) can be found today in south-eastern Europe. According to Dr. Giles, the original home of the Aryans was “the area bounded on its eastern side by the Carpathians, on its south by the Balkans, on its western side by the Austrian Alps and Bohmer Wald, and on its north by the Erzgebirge at the mountains which link them up with the Carpathians.”
According to Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Pargiter, the original homeland of the Aryans was Tibet. This view has been expanded upon in the Satyarth Prakash and ancient Indian historical traditions, respectively.
German scholars have proposed that Germany was the original home of the Aryans. However, this view is rejected on the grounds that in pre-historic times and for a long time afterwards, that country was covered with forests. Sigmund Feist has proved that the Germans, though they knew an Indo-European dialect, did not belong to the Indo-European stock.
According to Brandenstein, the undivided Indo-Europeans originally lived in what is now known as the Kirghiz steppe. From this area, the Indo-Iranian tribes moved eastwards, and the other tribes moved westwards at a later date. The tribes that moved towards the West were divided into two groups. One of them went to North Europe, and the other went to Ukraine, etc.
The most important theory that held sway for a long time was that the Aryans originally lived in Central Asia. In his “Lectures on the Science of Languages,” Professor Max Mueller, a great German scholar of comparative languages, pointed out that the ancestors of the Indians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Germans, and Celts must have lived together originally. This was revealed by a study of the languages of these peoples. The “Pitri” and “Matri” in Sanskrit were the same as the “Pidar” and “Madar” in Persian, “Father” and “Mother” in English, and the “Pater” and “Mater” in Latin. These were not trade terms but fundamental words for everyday use in families, which could have been adopted only if the ancestors of these peoples lived in one common place. According to Max Mueller, the main stream of the Aryans flowed towards the northwest. The Aryans of Europe migrated by a route south of the Caspian through Aria Miner to Greece and Italy. One group of Aryans came to India through the northwest passage.
The above opinions were made by scholars as the basis of their research on the socio-economic-political life of the Aryans. Some theories were also based on Aryan languages and culture. However, scholars are not unanimous regarding the original homeland of the race in India. However, on the basis of the arguments, most scholars have accepted the theory of Brandenstein, and all of them have accepted the Kirghiz steppe land as the original homeland of the Aryans.