Q: Do you think that the Indus Valley people could have been Aryans before the Rgvedic Aryans, another group of Aryans who had come down much earlier and created their own civilization?
A: Whatever we know of the Aryans, from the literary records, in the Rgveda, the earliest book or the first nine books of the Rgveda, do not speak at all of any urban life. They speak of only rural life, villages, and as the Indus Civilization is an urban civilization, therefore to talk of any Aryan association with the urban life seems to me rather unthinkable.
If you read the entire book of the Rgveda and you will find it is totally rural life, not nomadic, they were agricultural no doubt, living in small villages. At the same time, they had no concept of irrigation, they had no use of dams on the rivers; in fact their god Indra is the destroyer of the dams. Hence the type of agriculture and the type of urban life the Indus Civilization people built up was beyond the conception of the Aryans or even the earlier Aryans.
This is very important from our angle. If at all, in the Aryan book, the earliest book whatever we know if today, whatever we have been able to gather from other Aryan languages, not just Sanskrit, from old Iranian, there is nothing of urbanity, nothing of irrigation, nothing called building the dams. All these three are basic factors in the development of the Indus Civilization.
Q: So who would these people have been then? It is becoming mysterious.
Certainly it is very mysterious. So far a large number of scholars have been trying to build on the basis that the language is Dravidian, the people are Dravidian. Unfortunately, I have not been able to agree, nor has my friend Prof. B.B. Lal. Those who have excavated in both Mohenjodaro and Harappa, Lal has excavated in Harappa and I in Mohenjodaro, somehow our concept is entirely different. I know South India very well, I have been living in that part, I have excavated in Mysore and also in other places in South India, of course before 1947. Although I have told you about the music and you have told me about the tiger, it may be possible, it may not be possible, but even then the two are so different that it is after a long, long time that we find urbanization taking place in South India. Tamil literature does not give us any information about a literary form before the first century or at the earliest the second century B.C. We do not have any evidence of damming in the Kaveri river, for example, the most important river in Tamil country, earlier than first or second century B.C.