Aryan is the anglicized form of the Sanskrit word “ārya.” In the ancient literature of India (both Hindu and Buddhist), the word “ārya” had different meanings, among which predominant was “noble” or “respectable.” In the nineteenth century, European philologists came to identify “Aryan” or “Indo-European” as a specific family of languages. Subsequently, the concept of Aryan as a linguistic category came to be conflated with that of Aryan as a racial category. Many believed that the original homeland of the Aryan people was somewhere in central Asia, from where they migrated to India. Thus, there developed the idea of two opposite cultures in India – Aryan and Dravidian – and the course of writing the history of India came to be determined by such conceptions. Many scholars have challenged the views that Aryan is a racial category, that they migrated to India from outside, and that the origin and development of Indian civilization bear witness to a conflict of...
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