Aryan is a term used to address an ancient community of human being. They are said to be one of the oldest communities in the history of earth. Aryan is mostly used to designate people of Ind0-Iranian descent. These people spoke ancient languages, such as Sanskrit. These languages are the mother languages of the modern day languages such as Hindi. During the Vedic period in India, the Indic people used “Aryan” to self designate themselves. This self-designation was used to indicate that they belonged from a noble class and a specific geographic region. The Aryans are the people who had built the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in the History, with Harappa and Mohenjo Daro like ancient cities being the base of the civilization.
In relation to their geographical origin, there is this widely accepted belief of them being from the Mediterranean Europe, Eurasia, Iran and North Western India.
Misinterpretations of the Aryan History
There have been misinterpretations in the past by several Historians, stating that Aryan was a self-designation used by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. This added to the belief that Aryans were originally the white skinned, blonde haired North European people. However these hypothesis have been abandoned later. The main argument supporting the abandonment is that the term Aryan constitutes a community on the basis of religion, language and not on the basis of race.
There was another wrong inference used to form the Nazi ideology in the 19th century. The ideology is severely racist, which believes that the Aryans are the white people with their homeland in Northern Europe. They believed that they, the Aryans are superior to other presumed racial communities. The Nazis cruel acts and their association with the term Aryan, made the term unofficially prohibited in teaching.
India’s connection with Aryans
India’s name as a region is someway or the other associated with the Aryan community. However, there is lots of diversity in these ideologies revolving around India. Widely there are two group of Historians who believe that India is connected with Aryans: One believes that the Aryans were are a nomadic group that came from Central Asia to India and settled in the North Western part of the country. The other believes that India is the original home land of the Aryans. The first group again has two sub groups. One has the theory that they invaded from the North West. The other says they peacefully mingled with the natives as they went south and towards the east. Both of these groups say that they were came from Iran and entered India through the passes of Hindu Kush mountain.
The view of India being the motherland of the Aryans is modern but the strongest one. The strongest argument that empowers this belief is that ancient India had a name, Aryavarata, which meant the nation of Aryans. No other nation has a similar name.
Connections Based on Literature
In Sanskrit, and other languages that originated from Sanskrit, Arya means a noble person or a person from a noble clan. The word Aryavarata meaning the land of Aryans, is used in the language to denote India. Religions that have been believed to originate from India, like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, use Arya, as a title of honor. Also, it could be noted that in Hindu epics, Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. the prince were many a times addressed as Aryaputra, meaning the son of a noble person or a royalty. So, this also denotes that Arynas might have been the predecessors of most of the Indian warrior class, Kshatriyas.
When it comes to the Persian literature of Iran, there isn’t much so many meanings that could be drawn like Sanskrit. However, the word Aryan, might have resulted in the name Iran, the modern name of Persia.