Asuras’ Migration

Analysis and Conclusions: Migration

N. M. Krishnakumar

There is some anthropological evidence of migration of people to India that may point to Egypt as the source. That is the tribe of Asuras of Chotanagpur region.

Asura tribe of Chotanagpur: 

Here are some observations from [73].

  1. There are about 8000 people of this tribe remaining in India according to 1981 census [73].
  2. They are believed to be outsiders who migrated to India by sea route; they absorbed the cultures of Egypt and Babylon before they came in.
  3. They were called as Ashurs in 1200 BC [74].
  4. They got incorporated into Indian society, some became Brahmins with kings’ patronage; some might have become kings of Magadh [75].
  5. Some tribes still enact the snake sacrifice of Janamejaya, there is a myth that all snakes in the Chotanagpur region died following this snake sacrifice of Janamejaya [75].
  6. Snake carvings in the rocks dating back to 3rd century BC [73].
  7. They brought the symbols of Naga and Garuda to India [76].
  8. Their occupation was smelting iron [77].
  9. There are Asura burial sites where the graves contain ornaments such as bracelets, chains, beads, finger and toe rings, coins, jugs and great slabs of stones [78].

10. Asura buildings had Shiva Lingas and encircling Yonis [78].

11. Rock painting in which one sees a tall man with prominent phallus…[79].

12. Dudh Bijrias, a subdivision of Asuras do not eat beef [80].

13. There are some close by tribes who speak Dravidian language: they are Oraons, Sauriya and Mal Pahariaya and Gonds [73].

14. The Asura people do not celebrate Navarathri, on the contrary they mourn because they were defeated by devas [99].

We claim that

  1. The Asuras of Chtanagpur are migrants from Egypt.
  2. They were the followers of Seth of Egypt.
  3. They came to India by sea, in particular to the Southern coast.
  4. Later they moved northward, atleast to the present Orissa and Chotanagpur regions.

We have the following points to substantiate our claims:

  1. It is already claimed in [73] that they are outsiders, who migrated to India by sea route, on the way they absorbed the Egyptian culture. They got incorporated into the Indian society according to [75]. They were called Ashurs as early as 1200 BC according to [74].
  2. Their association with Dravidian language supports the view that they entered India by sea. From South they might have spread to the North. This view of northward migration is also supported by the fact that the Ganga dynasty of Kalinga was founded by one of the Cholas [100].
  3. They brought with them the Garuda and Naga worship [76], which were the state symbols of the North and South Egypt, thus suggesting their Egyptian origin.  The snake carvings [73] suggest that they were snake worshippers.
  4. They do not eat beef [80] because, Isis is represented by cow in Egypt, and hence they may revere cows.
  5. The presence of Linga in Asura sites [78]; phallic worship was common in Egypt, therefore they would have carried this practice with them.
  6. The rock painting of a tall man with prominent phallus [79] may map to the ithyphallic Egyptian gods such as Min and Amun, thus supporting their Egyptian origin.
  7. The contents of the burial sites as discussed in [78] resemble those of Egypt. Thus supporting their Egyptian origin.
  8. We have shown earlier that, one of the myths associated with Navarathri is, the story of Lord Krishna killing Narakasura, which we have mapped to the story of Horus killing Seth. The Asura people do not celebrate Navarathri [99] possibly because, they may be mourning Seth’s death.
  9. The fort of Asuras existed in Kalahandi district of Orissa [142]. The word ‘Handi’ in Kannada, a Dravidian language, means boar and ‘Kala’ means ‘dark’ or ‘fierce’ or ‘death’. Since ‘Seth’ means ‘death’, and he is represented by a boar, Kalahandi may relate to Seth. Recall that we have mapped Seth to the boar avatar of Lord Vishnu in one of our earlier articles (articles on Varadaraja and Incarnations of Vishnu).

10. They brought the technic of smelting iron [77]. Seth is the lord of metals in Egypt. Thus for Asuras, Seth may be their god.

11. What is most striking is their myth of Janmejaya’s sacrifice of snakes, which is enacted by them [75]. We have already shown that the origin of Mahabharata story is in Egypt. This possibly provides one more relationship between Egypt and Mahabharata.

Manasa Cult of West Bengal: 

Snake worship of Chotanagpur is claimed to be the origin of Manasa cult of West Bengal, India [73]. If that is the case, then the story of goddess Manasa having some similarity to Isis and Horus adds to our claim of Egyptian relation to India.

Following are the important points related to goddess Manasa [80]:

  1. Manasa is the snake goddess. Wadjet (Buto) is the Egyptian cobra goddess who brought up Horus who was associated with snake [1]. Horus is mapped to lord Murugan who is also viewed as a snake.
  2. Manasa is the goddess for fertility and can cure snake-bite, Isis is goddess for fertility and can cure snake [82] and scorpion bite [1].
  3. When serpents and reptiles created chaos on earth, Manasa was created to control them. It may be noted that Seth is represented as a crocodile [5] and he is the god of chaos, and Horus killed him [1] with the assistance of Isis [87].
  4. Goddess Chandi burnt Manasa’s eye, Seth caused blindness to Horus [1].
  5. Manasa revived Lord Shiva from death due to poison; Isis revived Osiris from death [1] and Re from poison [87].
  6. Manasa is depicted as a mother with a child on her lap. The most common depiction of Isis is with child Horus on her lap [5].
  7. Manasa is worshipped on Nagarpanchami, a popular festival in India. We have shown Nagarapanchami to be related to Osiris death in an earlier article.
  8. Manasa killed the sons of Chand Sadagar and then revives them, once he became her devotee. There are two instances from the story of Isis that are similar to this: Isis was not allowed to stay in a house by a woman; one of the scorpions who accompanied Isis killed the son of that woman; later Isis revived her son once the woman was apologetic. In another instance, Isis kills two of the children of the King of Byblus [1].
  9. Manasa’s son Astika convinced Janamejaya to stop the sacrifice of snakes and protected the Naga race. This shows that the Naga race can be human, and possibly connected with Egypt.

It is interesting to note that, both Isis and goddess Manasa have the contrasting qualities of kindness and fierceness.


The Asuras of Chotanagpur may stand as the witness for Egyptian migration to India. Manasa cult adds support to this further, also speaking of the extent of geographical distribution of Egyptians in India.


[1] J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, A study in Magic and Religion, 3rd Edition, Macmillan and Co. London, 1914

[5] Richard H Wilkinson, The Complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003

[73] Abhik Ghosh et al, Prehistory Of The Chotanagpur Region Part 4: Ethnoarchaeology, Rock Art, Iron And The Asuras, The Internet Journal of Biological Anthropology ISSN: 1939-4594

[74] Banerji-Sastri, A. 1926(a). The Asuras in Indo-Iranian literature, Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society 12: 110-139.

[75] Banerji-Sastri, A. 1926(b). Asura expansion in India, Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society 12: 243-285.

[76] Banerji-Sastri, A. 1926(c). Asura expansion by sea, Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society 12: 334-360

[77] Roy, Sarat Chandra. 1926. The Asurs – Ancient and modern, Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society 12: 147-152

[78] Roy, Sarat Chandra. 1920. Distribution and nature of Asur sites in Chota nagpur, Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society 6(Pt. III): 393-406

[79] Prasad, Prakash Charan. 1992-93. Prehistoric rock paintings in Bihar, Puratattva 26: 87-88








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4 Responses to Asuras’ Migration

  1. Narasimha says:

    I like this

  2. GoShama says:

    142 References cited here suggest the depth of Research efforts. The writing style and the rational way of presentation of the concept keeps the reader focused.

  3. Manju Regi says:

    Migration from Egypt to South India was in a very large scale from time immemorial. The ‘Paraya’ caste of Kerala are basically ancients migrants from Egypt. They are termed as the first people of Kerala. The name ‘Muziris’ has come ancient name of Egypt ie ‘Misiri’

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