The National Council for Education Research and Training has revised a chapter in its Class 12 history textbook for the Central Board of Secondary Education to cast doubts on the theory of Aryan migration, instead emphasising that Harappans are the “indigenous people” of the Indus Valley, reported The Indian Express.

The theory of Aryan migration was first put forward by Western scholars during the colonial age. The theory postulated that a race of European or Central Asian “Aryans” swept into the Indian subcontinent, displacing the indigenous Indus Valley Civilisation.

According to this theory, the Aryans introduced key elements of Indian culture such as the Sanskrit language – which gave rise to the Indo-Aryan branch of languages spoken all across north, west and east India today – as well as the Vedas, the foundational texts of Hinduism.

The National Council for Education Research and Training’s revision to a chapter titled Bricks, Beads and Bones – The Harappan Civilisation in the Themes in India History Part-I textbook, however, emphasises the Harappan civilisation’s “unbroken continuity for 5,000 years” in the region.

The educational body, which advises the Union government on school syllabi, has cited a 2018 study of “ancient DNA” from the Rakhigarhi excavation site in Haryana to justify the “correction” in the history lesson and also suggests that the Harappans practised some form of democratic governance.

According to The Indian Express, the National Council for Education Research and Training has deleted the following sentence from the chapter: “It appears that there was a break between the Early Harappan and the Harappan civilisation, evident from large-scale burning at some sites, as well as the abandonment of certain settlements.”

A new paragraph, citing the DNA research from 2018, states: “The genetic roots of the Harappans go back to 10,000 BCE. The DNA of the Harappans has continued till today and a majority of the South Asian population appears to be their descendants. Due to trade and cultural contacts of the Harappans with distant regions there is a mixture of genes in small quantity.”

The origins of the Harappan civilisation and the Aryan migration theory are deeply contentious subjects in India. Some historians support the Aryan migration theory and contend that the Harappans were pre-Vedic, while some argue that Aryans were indigenous to India.

Also read:

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