asi-declares-site-and-remains-at-baghpat-to-be-of-national-importance-th

Context: The archaeological site and remains at Sadikpur Sinauli in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district where evidence of the existence of a warrior class around 2,000 BCE was discovered in 2018 have been declared to be of “national importance” by the Archaeological Survey of India.

ASI-Excavated Sanauli Chariots Have Potential To Challenge Aryan Invasion Theory

Analysis

  • The ASI’s notification under provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 brings the site under Central protection. 
  • The site would now be maintained by the ASI and development works around it would be subject to Central rules.
  • The notification comes two years after the ASI unearthed remains of chariots, shields, swords, legged coffins, helmets and other items indicating the presence of a warrior class at the site that is 68 km from Delhi.
  • ASI termed the site the “largest necropolis (a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments) of the late Harappan period datable to around early part of second millennium BCE”.

Threat to Aryan Invasion Theory

  • As for the discovery of the chariots, a conclusion about the animal that pulled them is important. Why? 
  • For, the discovery of a horse chariot, dated back to 2000 BC, would challenge the historians who support the Aryan invasion theory that claims horses were brought in by the invading Aryan army around 1500 to 1000 BC. 
  • Chariots pulled by horses had given the Aryans the edge over the Dravidians and the power to conquer the North Indian plains by pushing them to south of the peninsula.
  • According to these historians, the Vedic culture was brought into India by the invading Aryans from central Asia. 
  • The Rig Veda, for instance, carries references to horses, they point out about the ancient Hindu text said to be composed during the same period (1500-1100 BC) when the Harappan civilisation was on its decline.
  • This argument gets empirical support: there was hardly any evidence to show the presence of horses in the Harappan civilisation. 
  • Clay seals of different shapes and sizes with figures of bulls and dancing girls had been unearthed in large numbers at the Harappan sites, but none with the figure of a horse. This is one of the prime arguments that support the Aryan invasion theory.
  • The most controversial and sought-after animal in Indian archaeology has been the horse. At Surkotada (Gujarat) from all three periods [roughly 2100-1700 BCE] quite a good number of bones of horse and ass have been recovered.