This happened in 2004
Here is what Romila Thapar wrote in the Hindu letters to the editor http://www.hindu.com/2004/03/22/stories/2004032201661001.htm
Sir, — I am writing with reference to the article “Redefining secularism” (March 18) by Subramanian Swamy. I was rather amused to read his comments on my views of `the Aryans’, in which he accuses me of having defined Aryan and Dravidian as racial categories and now having changed my mind in accordance with the views of the RSS, since the BJP came to power.
If he had read anything on the debate among historians concerning the Aryan theory, he would have known that for the last 30 years I, together with other historians, have been refuting the concept of an Aryan race or a Dravidian race. I have stated categorically in “A History of India,” Vol. I, published in 1966, that Aryan is a linguistic term. I discussed this in greater detail in my presidential address to the Ancient Indian History Section of the Indian History Congress in Varanasi in 1968, where I argued that Aryan is a linguistic label and not a racial category. And just for the record, since I am frequently misquoted on this by some people, I argued further that although I did not accept the notion of an Aryan invasion, I did support the idea of a graduated migration of Aryan-speaking peoples from the Indo-Iranian borderlands into north-western India. This resulted in an interface of various cultures and this interface needs to be explored — and many of us have done so, as would be apparent from our other publications on the subject.
It would seem that the Subramanian Swamys of this world do not believe in reading the books of those whom they accuse of having incorrect ideas on history. They attribute theories of various kinds to whomsoever they chose. Surely this was not the training that Dr. Swamy was given at Harvard?
As for my toeing the RSS line on the Aryan theory, after the BJP having come to power, the shoe is actually on the other foot. The mentors of the RSS spoke of race and the race spirit with reference to the Aryans in the 1920s and 1930s. If the RSS has now decided, as Dr. Swamy asserts, that Aryan is a language label and not a racial category, they are stating what many of us have been saying for some decades now. As for those sympathetic to the RSS choosing to repeat what others and I had said 30 years ago — that’s their choice!
And here is Dr.Swamy’s reply http://www.hindu.com/2004/03/24/stories/2004032401421001.htm
Sir, — I write with reference to Dr. Romila Thapar’s rebuttal of my remarks (Letters, The Hindu, March 22) about her propagation of Aryan as a race in her past writings. She wonders what they taught me at Harvard. What they taught me and what I have taught at Harvard is that if you make an argument in rebuttal, do not contradict yourself in that argument. But this is what precisely Dr. Thapar has done. While denying that she ever argued that Aryan was a racial term, she goes on to say that it was the language of those who migrated to India from abroad in a “graduated” way. Who were they? Is she arguing that they were racially the same as Indians or different? And who graduated the migration? She should be explicit. Never obfuscate — Harvard teaches that too. Obviously that is not being taught at JNU. Aryan is a German version of the Sanskrit word “Arya,” which means a gentleman, while Dravida is a word coined by Adi Shankara while at Varanasi to mean a person from the south. I am ready to debate Dr. Thapar on this issue publicly.