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Revising the “Aryan Invasion of India” Theory

8 October 2005 3,257 views 138 Comments

Several of you may already be aware of the debate that has now been current for several years around the theory of �Aryan Invasion of India�. Based on archaeological evidence, new research and fresh examination of existing evidence (and stripping away the colonial bias of earlier interpretations), it now appears that the theory was fundamentally flawed and is difficult to justify in the light of new findings.

I was therefore very pleased when I read �The Aryan-Dravidian Controversy�, By David Frawley [- thanks Sukand]. It very articulately sets the argument for considering a revision of the whole theory and I have attempted a summary below. The original essay in its entirety can be accessed at http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/ancient/aryan/aryan_frawley_1.html
For those of you who are not aware of the tremendous work that is being done by Dr Frawley, please have a look at http://www.vedanet.com/index.html

As Dr Frawley says in his introduction, although many of the theories that British historians postulated had a colonial bias [1], they are still accepted by many Hindus, although �a deeper examination reveals they may have no real objective or scientific basis.� To quote further,

�One of these ideas is that India is a land of two races – the lighter-skinned Aryans and the darker-skinned Dravidians – and that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India whom the invading Aryans conquered and dominated. From this came the additional idea that much of what we call Hindu culture was in fact Dravidian, and later borrowed by Aryans who, however, never gave the Dravidians proper credit for it. This idea has been used to turn the people of south India against the people of north India, as if the southerners were a different race.� Dr Frawley makes the point that colour was the dominant influence in European theories of race which projected Europeans as belonging to a �white� (and therefore superior) race who had the duty and obligation to bear the burden of the �dark� (therefore inferior) natives.

This mental bias was then transposed on the (mistaken) theory that the �fair-skinned� Aryans had �subjugated/conquered� the �dark-skinned� indigenous people who had subsequently migrated southwards.

Around the same time, research into Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages revealed surprisingly large similarities and it became obvious that Indo-European languages and Sanskrit shared a similar origin. It was of course automatically assumed that, �the original speakers of any root Indo-European language must have been ‘white’�. The Europeans of course could not even consider the possibility that �their languages could have been derived from the darker-skinned Hindus. (Further) As all Hindus were dark compared to the Europeans, it was assumed that the original white Indo-European invaders of India must have been assimilated by the dark indigenous population, though they left their mark more on north India where people have a lighter complexion.

This �racial interpretation� was carried further and applied to explain the reference in Vedas to the fight between �light� and �darkness�. This was �naturally� assumed to be a battle between light-skinned Aryans and dark-skinned Dravidians. The fact that most religions in the world (and most mythological references) speak about the battle between light and darkness (as a metaphor for good and evil) was conveniently ignored.

This projection of racism onto the ancient history of India was further extended to �explain� the caste system. The reference in Vedas to �Brahmins�(being) white, Kshatriyas red, Vaishyas yellow, and Shudras black� was misinterpreted from its original context of referring to �gunas� and was used to conclude that Brahmins were originally the white Aryans and the Dravidians the dark Shudras [2]

The fact that this theory flew in the face of empirical evidence (where are the red and yellow-coloured castes in India?) was also conveniently ignored.

Dr Frawley then points out the extent to which the ideas were misinterpreted:
�The racial idea reached yet more ridiculous proportions. Vedic passages speaking of their enemies (mainly demons) as without nose (a-nasa), were interpreted as a racial slur against the snub-nosed Dravidians. Now Dravidians are not snub-nosed or low nosed people, as anyone can see by examining their facial features. And the Vedic demons are also described as footless (a-pada). Where is such a footless and noseless race and what does this have to do with the Dravidians? Moreover Vedic gods like Agni (fire) are described as footless and headless. Where are such headless and footless Aryans? Yet such ‘scholar- ship’ can be found in prominent Western books on the history of India, some published in India and used in schools in India to the present day. This idea was taken further and Hindu gods like Krishna, whose name means dark, or Shiva who is portrayed as dark, were said to have originally been Dravidian gods taken over by the invading Aryans (under the simplistic idea that Dravidians as dark-skinned people must have worshipped dark colored gods). Yet Krishna and Shiva are not black but dark blue. Where is such a dark blue race?

Moreover the different Hindu gods, like the classes of Manu, have different colors relative to their qualities. Lakshmi is portrayed as pink, Saraswati as white, Kali as blue-black, or Yama, the God of death, as green. Where have such races been in India or elsewhere? In a similar light, some scholars pointed out that Vedic gods like Savitar have golden hair and golden skin, thus showing blond and fair-skinned people living in ancient India. However, Savitar is a sun-god and sun-god are usually gold in color, as has been the case of the ancient Egyptian, Mayan, and Inca and other sun-gods. Who has a black or blue sun-god? This is from the simple fact that the sun has a golden color. What does this have to do with race? And why should it be racial statement in the Vedas but not elsewhere?

At the same time (circa 19th century), although several scholars (including Max Muller) did state that �Aryan� was not a racial term and there was no evidence of it being used as such (either in the Vedas or other ancient texts), these views were largely ignored.

As Dr Frawley states, �We should clearly note that there is no place in Hindu literature wherein Aryan has ever been equated with a race or with a particular set of physical characteristics. The term Aryan means “noble” or “spiritual”, and has been so used by Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians as well as Hindus. Religions that have called themselves Aryan, like all of these, have had members of many different races. Race was never a bar for anyone joining some form of the Arya Dharma or teaching of noble people.

If one looks at recent archaeological evidence, the theory of �Aryan Invasion� becomes even less tenable.

Research on the racial profiles of the original Indus Valley[3] inhabitants shows similarities to the inhabitants of North India of the present day. In view of this, it is hard to imagine that any large scale or significant �invasion� took place into the region in the last 4000 years. Even if it did, it must have been so far back that it has no relevance (or bearing on) what we know today about Hindu (Indian) culture.

As Dr Frawley accurately points out, �the idea of Aryan and Dravidian races is the product of an unscientific, culturally biased form of thinking that saw race in terms of color. There are scientifically speaking, no such things as Aryan or Dravidian races. The three primary races are Caucasian, the Mangolian and the Negroid. Both the Aryans and Dravidians are related branches of the Caucasian race generally placed in the same Mediterranean sub-branch.

The difference between the so-called Aryans of the north and Dravidians of the south is not a racial division. Biologically both the north and south Indians are of the same Caucasian race, only when closer to the equator the skin becomes darker, and under the influence of constant heat the bodily frame tends to become a little smaller. While we can speak of some racial differences between north and south Indian people, they are only secondary.

For example, if we take a typical person from Punjab, another from Maharashtra, and a third from Tamilnadu we will find that the Maharashtrians generally fall in between the other two in terms of build and skin color. We see a gradual shift of characteristics from north to south, but no real different race. An Aryan and Dravidian race in India is no more real than a north and a south European race.

Those who use such terms are misusing language. We would just as well place the blond Swede of Europe in a different race from the darker haired and skinned person of southern Italy. Nor is the Caucasian race the “white” race. Caucasians can be of any color from pure white to almost pure black, with every shade of brown in between. The pre-dominant Caucasian type found in the world is not the blond-blue-eyes northern European but the black hair, brown-eyed darker skinned Mediterranean type that we find from southern Europe to north India. Similarly the Mongolian race is not yellow. Many Chinese have skin whiter than many so-called Caucasians. In fact of all the races, the Caucasian is the most variable in its skin color�

Dr Frawley then examines the evidence and the theory of there being significant differences in religion, language and ancient texts between the two �races�, Aryan and Dravidian. In each case, he finds that either the theory is not based on empirical evidence and/or it uses selective observations to fit the conclusion of two different �races�.

To summarise, the theory of two distinct races (Aryan and Dravidian) is neither tenable on empirical evidence nor on religious, linguistic and �cultural� grounds.

He then suggests that people in the South should not consider themselves as �Dravids� and as being different and distinct from the ancient Vedic culture. Nor is there any reason for those in the North to believe that they are the true inheritors of the �Aryan legacy� for there is no such legacy and no evidence of any distinct, culturally superior race.

In his words, �What is necessary is to assert�(that)�the Aryans and Dravidians are part of the came culture and we need not speak of them as separate. Dividing them and placing them at odds with each other serves the interests of neither but only serves to damage their common culture (which is what most of those who propound these ideas are often seeking). Perhaps the saddest thing is that modern Indian politicians have also used this division to promote their own ambitions, though it is harmful to the unity of the country.

********

THE TRUE ARCHITECTS of HARRAPAN (SARASWATI RIVER) CIVILISATION

Next, Dr Frawley refers to a number of separate reports and research which indicates that the Indus Valley Civilization may have actually been established by the Dravidians and the Aryan Invasion theory may have been based on half-baked evidence and a blinkered view of progress made in ancient India long before the Christian era. Thus,

“Dravidians, whose descendents still live in Southern India, established the first city communities, in the Indus valley, introduced irrigation schemes, developed pottery and evolved a well ordered system of government.” (Reader’s Digest Great World Atlas, 1970)

Clyde Ahmad Winters, who has written extensively on Dravidian origins (has) commented, “Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Dravidians were the founders of the Harappan culture which extended from the Indus Valley through northeastern Afghanistan, on into Turkestan. The Harappan civilization existed from 2600-1700 BC. The Harappan civilization was twice the size the Old Kingdom of Egypt. In addition to trade relations with Mesopotamia and Iran, the Harappan city states also had active trade relations with the Central Asian peoples.

Professor Klaus Klostermaier in ‘Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian History’ (has) commented: “India had a tradition of learning and scholarship much older and vaster than the European countries that, from the sixteenth century onwards, became its political masters. Indian scholars are rewriting the history of India today. One of the major points of revision concerns the so called ‘Aryan invasion theory’, often referred to as ‘colonial-missionary’, implying that it was the brainchild of conquerors of foreign colonies who could not but imagine that all higher culture had to come from outside ‘backward’ India, and who likewise assumed that a religion could only spread through a politically supported missionary effort.While not buying into the more sinister version of this revision, which accuses the inventors of the Aryan invasion theory of malice and cynicism, there is no doubt that early European attempts to explain the presence of Indians in India had much to with the commonly held Biblical belief that humankind originated from one pair of humans- Adam and Eve to be precise …

Hinduism Today concluded in Rewriting Indian History – Hindu Timeline: “Although lacking supporting scientific evidence, this (Aryan Invasion) theory, and the alleged Aryan-Dravidian racial split, was accepted and promulgated as fact for three main reasons.
� It provided a convenient precedent for Christian British subjugation of India.
� It reconciled ancient Indian civilisation and religious scripture with the 4000 BCE Biblical date of Creation.
� It created division and conflict between the peoples of India, making them vulnerable to conversion by Christian missionaries.”

“Scholars today of both East and West believe the Rig Veda people who called themselves Aryan were indigenous to India, and there never was an Aryan invasion. The languages of India have been shown to share common ancestry in ancient Sanskrit and Tamil. Even these two apparently unrelated languages, according to current “super-family” research, have a common origin: an ancient language dubbed Nostratic.

Finally, Dr Frawley provides some background and an explanation of how the Aryan Invasion Theory was conceived and how it became the accepted wisdom.

In his own words, �One of the most interesting puzzles in archaeology, and one that hasn’t really been completely answered yet, concerns the story of the supposed Aryan invasion of the Indian subcontinent.

The story goes like this: The Aryans were a tribe of IndoEuropean-speaking, horse-riding nomads living in the arid steppes of Eurasia. Sometime around 1700 BC, the Aryans invaded the ancient urban civilizations of the Indus Valley, and destroyed that culture. The Indus Valley civilizations were far more civilized than any horse-back nomad, having had a written language, farming capabilities, and led a truly urban existence. Some 1,200 years after the supposed invasion, the descendants of the Aryans, so they say, wrote the classic Indian literature called the Vedic manuscripts.

Hitler, or more specifically, Hitler’s pet archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna (1958-1931), used this idea to put forward the Aryans as a master race of Indo-Europeans, who were supposed to be Nordic in appearance and directly ancestral to the Germans.

The problem is, most if not all of this story – “Aryans” as a cultural group, invasion from the arid steppes, Nordic appearance, the Indus Civilization being destroyed, and, certainly not least, the Germans being descended from them – may not be true at all.

The historical basis of this theory was an account of Indian culture by French missionary Abbe Dubois (1770 � 1848) who was driven by the need to fit what he saw with the Biblical myths of Noah and the Great Flood. He also authored some poorly translated versions of the existing literature.

His work was translated into English in 1897 by the East India Company, prefaced by Max Muller and became the basis of the Aryan Invasion Theory.

When excavations in Mohenjo-daro and other sites revealed a far advanced culture, instead of using this evidence to bury the Aryan Invasion Theory, it was ingenuously incorporated to confirm to the existing hypothesis.

Thus it was assumed that the Harappa civilisation must have been destroyed by an �invasion of people from Europe� who then went on to create the second great civilization of India.

Note that instead of admitting that the Aryan Invasion Theory may not be true and there may have been continuity in the civilization and culture for the past five thousand years, British historians used the evidence to confirm to the hypothesis of a superior race invading India.

As Dr Frawley says, �It turns out that there are serious problems with this argument. There are no references to an invasion in the Vedic manuscripts; and the word “Arya” means “superior being” as an honorific, not as a superior cultural group. Secondly, recent archaeological evidence suggests that the Indus civilization was shut down by droughts combined with a devastating flood, not a violent confrontation. Recent archaeological evidence also shows that most of the so-called “Indus River” valley peoples lived in the Sarasvati River, which is mentioned in the Vedic manuscripts as a homeland. And, there is no biological or archaeological evidence of a massive invasion of people of a different race.

And he concludes by saying, �Born from a colonial mentality, corrupted by a Nazi propaganda machine, the Aryan invasion theory is finally undergoing radical reassessment by Indian archaeologists and their colleagues, using the Vedic documents themselves, additional linguistic studies, and physical evidence revealed through archaeological studies. Indian cultural history is an ancient and complex one, and one that only time will teach us.

I would add to that by saying that we need to do more to make everyone aware of these biases in the �history� that continues to be taught in schools and colleges even today. And although a generation or two has grown up with this warped colonial-view of Indian history, it is never too late.

P.S. As I was summarising this, I was made aware of a recent change that the BBC made on its website in the section on Hinduism (see �The Aryan Invasion Theory – Why is the theory no longer accepted?� http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/history/history5.shtml ).

I was very pleased to see that even the BBC is now coming around to the view that the �Theory of Aryan Invasion� was a result of poor research based on evidence that has since been discredited and based on misinterpretations of archaeological, linguistic and ethnological observations.

********

Footnotes:
[1] – in the sense that most of them sought to perpetuate colonial myths, an example being that ancient India had no art or culture to speak of and most of the developments in these areas happened with the advent of the Mughals

[2] – note that what these colours actually signify are �the gunas or qualities of each class. White is the color of purity (sattvaguna), dark that of impurity (tamoguna), red the color of action (rajoguna), and yellow the color of trade (also rajoguna).�

[3] � (Indus Valley culture) which should more properly be characterised as �Saraswati culture� since its centre was not Indus Valley but the ancient river �Saraswati� which dried up around 1900 BC

Related Post: The Aryan-Dravidian Controversy

138 Comments »

  • 1. Neville Ramdeholl said:

    : The Indus is not Aryan

    The idea that the Aryans are an indigenous lot is absurd as the theory that the Indus is Aryan. It is all plain for everyone to see despite the hundreds of books , articles and internet reports, that the Aryans are an intrusive people into India.
    For sometime now I have been reading several articles of the case for and against AIT/AMT versus OIT. Although the Indian historians and certain archaeologists have more or less proven that there was no invasion per se of India, by Indo-Aryans , the fact still remain that India was and still is occupied by the descendants of the Vedic Aryans whose culture and history make up what is India today and including those from the Indus civilization. A detailed reading and study of the various opinions by those historians and archaeologists on this website, especially from India still maintain and doubt that the horse and chariot came from outside the country and who insist that horses and chariots are indigenous to the land. I have perceived that there are three major points which mostly the Indian historians are stubbornly refusing to concede and that is :

    (A) They continue to hang on to the dead theory that the Indus
    civilization is Aryan and indigenous.

    (B) Despite the mountain of official documented and textual
    evidence from various sources eg: Andronovan proven Indo-
    Iranian sites, evidence from the Vedas itself, lack of evidence of
    horses and chariots in ancient India before the advent of the
    Aryans etc, Indian officials and historians still attempt to castigate
    the authors and doubt the veracity of the documented and
    archaeological evidence.

    (C) The clear absence of archaeological and attestation of horse trade
    between the Indus Civilization and its neighbors in the time period
    of supposed finds of horse remains.

    We begin from the beginning by placing the Aryans outside of India rather than being an indigenous people living thousands of years in India as so many Indian scholars believe. It is a fact that the Avesta places a home for the Aryans who sojourned outside India, which they called Airyana Vaejah or Aryan Homeland. The Aryans came through the Northwest of what is now today the state of Pakistan. That old natural pass called the Khyber. This same pass was used by different conquerors to conquer India in later times. This is a northwest route , not an east or west or south route and you can see from the geographical map where the Aryans forded and settled for a time calling it the Saptasindhu of which Five Rivers of the area were Shutudri called the Sutlej, the Vipasha or Vipash now called the Beas, the Parushini now called the Ravi, the Vitasta now called the Jhelum. Two main rivers were added called the Indus or Sindhu and the Sarasvati making it the Seven Rivers. The following points shows why the Aryans are intruders to India.

    a) Despite, the writings and articles of Indian historians, archaeologists and Internet writers, these are the only rivers other than the Ganga and Yamuna mentioned in the Vedas. If the Aryans were indigenous people, why didn’t they mention the Kaveri, the Krishna, the Bhima, the Godavari, the Narmada, the Chambal and the others?

    b) Why didn’t they mention all the other civilizations such as the Indus, and those of Southern India etc?

    c) Some may have noticed that the Vedas descriptions of their life and society only is confined to the northwest of India. There is no mention of areas of Bengal, Tamil Nadu or Maharastra and other areas.

    d) Do the historical departments of India and other such cultural organizations have the names of the original rivers , because these are mostly Rigvedic names. If the Harappans occupied the Indus civilizations for so long, surely they must have names for these rivers.

  • 2. B Shantanu said:

    Neville,

    Thanks for the comment. However, I felt it was slightly meandering in its logic; I have therefore taken the liberty of editing it (basically removing the bit after the four points that you make – the removed “bit” is about 30+ pages in word).

    I suspect most readers will loose the thread after the first few sentences if they read the original. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this but is it possible for you to post a summary?

    Dhanyawaad,

  • 3. Neville Ramdeholl said:

    Hi Dhanyawaad, Namaste, I don’t think it was right to censor my contribution to your website. I have written other articles to other websites and they have never this. I don’t know what you are afraid of. I have written compelling arguments that the Indus could not have been Aryan because its inhabitants have not interacted nor were integrated with the horse and chariot. Secondly, there is the question of the lack of horse trading in the Indus civilization. These and other such evidence say quite a lot about the Dravidian civilization. I think you are afraid that your nationalist audience will decide that the evidence is solid and believe that the Indus is not Aryan. I won’t be contributing to your website.

  • 4. Shefaly said:

    Just to provide balance with another discussion on the same topic, where many other views can be seen:
    http://dedanaan.com/vedic-origins-children-of-danu/

  • 5. B Shantanu said:

    Neville,
    Namaste. A few points:

    1] This is my personal blog and I hope you agree that as the publisher/editor, I have the right to edit content.

    2] As I mentioned above, the portion that you say was “censored” was 30+pages in word. I dont think it is appropriate for a blog comment to be of that length. As you probably know, free blogs and websites are now extremely easy to build and if you already have one (with the full contribution), I will happily provide a link here (but will not reproduce it in full – due to length and for reasons of aesthetics).

    3] I dont model my blog on what other websites do – but as you no doubt know, several blogs, magazines, newspapers, websites reserve the right to edit contributions (especially unsolicited voluntary comments) and frequently exercise that right.

    4] I dont believe I am afraid of anything – except readers leaving my site because of the poor quality of content or prejudiced, biased, one-sided poorly edited views.

    5] I have no doubt that your arguments are compelling (thats why I have included your comment – I could easily have edited it – if I had felt it was not good enough).

    6] I do not consider what you call the “Dravidian civilization” as any less or inferior or unworthy of the attention and study that has been focused on other civilisations or cultures. In fact, I will be very happy to receive essays and comments from you on this topic – with the proviso that I will reserve the right to edit. However if you have links to the original article in full (whether on your own or another website, I promise to publish the link – so that interested readers can read the article in full for themselves).
    Are you agreeable to this?

    7] I am not sure what you mean when you say that “I think you are afraid that your nationalist audience will decide that the evidence is solid and believe that the Indus is not Aryan” – why should anyone be “afraid” of that? I certainly am not. I am sure we are one in our quest for truth and the real history of our motherland and nation.

    P.S. Finally, I do not believe in the dichotomy between “Aryans” and “Dravidians” that you pose. In this context, have a look at this article: “The Aryan Dravidian Controversy” by David Frawley: http://hindudharma.wordpress.com/2005/05/15/the-aryan-dravidian-controversy/

    Shefaly: Thanks for the link.

  • 6. drsurya said:

    Shantanu you nailed it spot on with your summation – there is actually no dichotomy between the so called Aryan or Dravidian civilisations which has become a pet topic for several self confessed historians.
    The more rabid and shriller the comment the more these historians shoot into limelight.
    The focus seems to be the same. Run down and defame anything that might point to a glorious Hindu Rashtra in the past.
    I am reminded of a docuumentary which i watched on BBC a couple of years back. It went on to say India was dominated by warrior tribes and uncivilised nomads who had no sense of culture or arts till the Mughal invasion. The documentary went on to add that the culture we have in India today is only because of the Mughal Invasion and without the Mughals India wudnt have had the Taj Mahal and we would have been a rotting landd of beggars and snake charmers.
    Such myopic versions of history might sound very worthy for people in the paylist of Saudi paymasters or Evangelical Historians based outside India. But anyone with a slight modicum of History Knowledge would not even stoop to reply to such fanciful assumptions, let alone credit it by indulging in a meaningful debate.
    Maybe people in BBC thi9nk Taj Mahal is the only building of architectural value. But they fail to understand that the Brihadeeshwarar Temple of Tanjavoor and Chidambaram Natarajar Temple were built several hundreds of years before the mughal set foot on India and they still remain architectural marvels.

    Nevilles biased historical assesment is yet another “politically correct” study which seems to know all about India and its past. The less said about his work thew better.

    And given the fact how hostile people are to differing views on the Aryan Civilisation and its several facets, I think Shantanu has been more than accomodating regarding Nevilles viewpoint. If he feels he wudnt be contributing to this website because Shantanu called his bluff then the website would actually be better off.

    We have read several concocted versions of Aryan history none of all can claim they are right and the others are wrong. Thats the funny part of history isnt it? Poeple want to beleive what they think is right.

    Good job Shantanu and keep the good stuff rolling….

  • 7. Indian said:

    Yes, but what they failed to study is that all artisans were Hindus or converted muslims. In case of “Taj Mahal” too. For example, see our beautiful south temples and much more in rest of our country. No amount of dust thrown towards the “SUN” can diminshed its shine, its not going to fade, it will shine more brigter in the coming days.

  • 8. B Shantanu said:

    DrSurya and Indian, Thanks for your comments and support – as always.

    I completely agree that the finest extant examples of amazing achievements in the fields of art and architecture in ancient India are to be found only in the south today.

    In fact I encourage everyone who is even remotely interested in learning about our past history (especially temple art and architecture) to spend some time in the towns of South India and visiting not only the Brihadeshwara Temple but also the Meenakshi temple, Rameshwaram and many other places.

    I was myself very fortunate to have the chance of spending three months several years ago visiting all of South India – it was truly an unforgettable experience.

    As for the Taj Mahal, I would recommend you this post – in case you missed it: “Taj Mahal: The Biggest whitewash in Indian History?”

  • 9. Chitra said:

    This argument is getting nowhere. It does not matter who settled the land first. According to evolution, all life came from one source (Archaebacteria in deep ocean trenches).

  • 10. B Shantanu said:

    Chitra: Thanks for your comment. I wish this was merely an academic argument. Unfortunately, it is not.

    This is more about whether the Saraswati-Indus civilisation and culture was indigenous (with roots firmly in this land) or was it really a result of mass migration from outside India.

    Why is it important? At least for two reasons:(i) to ensure historical accuracy and (ii) because it subtly (but profoundly) influences notions of national identity and pride.

    Having said that, your comment has given me the idea for another post on this issue – addressing exactly the point you raised above.

    Thanks for your other comment too.

  • 11. Rajiv Chandran said:

    I think this is a problem deriving from a larger problem -problems with historiography about India

    1. The foundations laid by etic scholars has not been revised in face of new evidence (at most cosmetic adjustment have been made – but the overall frame remains unrevised). Modern historiographers are content to model thier theories within frames developed with insuffecient scholarship.

    Notably
    i) All early historians who developed the idea of indian history were victorian englishmen or europeans.
    ii) Thier work has been found to be inaccurate, biased, unscholarly, having extrenious motivations on many counts
    iii) Thier familiarity with thier subject of study is questionable , biased , unsuffecient.
    iv) They have tried to reconstruct history from the wrong sources
    v) Primary motivation to develop a history of india was to give europe and europeans a high seat in the ancient world and is highly questionable

    2. Reconstruction of Indian history does not use Indian historical sources as primary sources. Indian sources are insufficiently investigated or cursorily dismissed as
    i) improbable – most certainly mythological
    ii) not fitting into existing theories
    iii) leading to improbably ancient dates
    iv) having dubious chronologies

    3. Modern Indian historians have not done serious historiography.
    Probably because
    i) the subject is studied as a western subject – and appendage of European history using western methods and techniques without critically analyzing thier objectivity.
    ii) being more interested in political activism they wish to construct a history favourable to thier political persuations.
    iii) being in awe of the ‘white scholar’ they are loath (scared) to confront them on so fundamental a point as basic frame of indian historiography.
    iv) they associate genuine prestige to being ‘shabash’ed by the western scholar – do not attach any importance to homegrown opinion.(Hence thier casual dismissal of very penetrating insights of a highly respected archeologist, and that of an independent historian )
    v) are fundamentally of a Eurocentric persuation ie a macaulayist or a marxist or a ‘gunga-din’ or are mercenaries who are doing dishonest work due to monetary considerations.
    vi) are fundamentally ignorant of and do not have scholarly expertise on the tools (languages, techniques) for an emic analysis of history.
    vii) indulge in cirular references to materials within thier clique to support and buttress theories

    4. Modern western historians
    i) Counldnt care less about indian history
    ii) Are presumptious to think that thier supposedly unbiased and allegedly scientific methods are beyond reproach.
    iii) Are Eurocentric, are brought up in a Judeo-christian tradition – where study of the outsider generally boils down to anthropological analysis of other cultures with a view to establishing dominance of the Eurpean viewpoint.
    iv) Are too engrossed, subsumed within the Western Grand Narrative to pay much attention to any other viewpoint.
    v) Are culturally so different that they are incapable of understanding the subtelities (going beyond gramattical textual analysis) ; are unaware of the nuances and historical/mythological/symbolic connections to draw ready inferences from any historical document of suitable antiquity.
    vi) Are unwilling to understand the viewpoint, unable to communicate with indegenious scholarship with a non-western viewpoint.
    vii) have a vested interest in protecting thier academic dominance of scholarship on other cultures and thier histories.
    viii) lack suffecient funding from sources sympathetic to the indegenious indian viewpoint,

    Serious indepth studies of ancient texts have not yet been done. A majority of ancient sanskrit(and other sources) lie untranslated , uninterpreted and insuffeciently placed within the framework of history.

    There is need for unbiased indegenious scholars to reconstruct i) ancient history of indian subcontinent from original sources
    ii) ancient history of most non-european cultures with indegenrious sources
    iii) try and correlate these indegenious histories
    iv) try to derive accurate/approximate dates and inferences from indegenious sources
    v) then and only then associate our history with european histories and sources.

  • 12. B Shantanu said:

    Dear Rajiv:
    Thats a great comment and something that should make us all think about the long-term consequences of this indifference.

    To me, the task is urgent and needs serious scholarly attention…unfortunately I do not see much reason for hope.

    I will add some more thoughts to this in a day or two.

    Thanks.

    P.S. I have formatted your comment for ease of reading.

  • 13. Deva said:

    In the course of this debate which is very important for us to understand better our roots, some refer to the Brahmanas as proof that the so called Aryans came from what is now Iran. Can you provide some clarification on yhis aspect?

  • 14. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Shantanu

    Thanks for your reply. Until a few months ago I used to look at OIT (as against AIT) as an hindutva fantasy and was casually dismissive of the claims without going through the evidence. So when I looked at how claims were built and on both sides of the argument – I could not escape the fact that there was a lot of obfucscation, unsatisfactory evidence , shoddy scholariship , ideological pretense etc that was passing off for mainstream theory ie AIT, AMT etc. Stripping of the political positions of the OIT theorists – thier positions seems very reasonable, quite deeply researched and entirely plausible. What is more it would seem to explain some very plausible contradictions in the narrations of modern history
    * dismissal of puranas as mythology while using bible as having some historicity.
    * great gaps in pre Maurya history
    * no great empires existing in india – yet there being cultural unity
    * AIT and the lack of genetic / archeological proof for it.
    * lack of context for indus valley civilization etc. (where did they come from, where did they dissappear ? who were they ?)
    * lack of context for the ancient vedas (where were they composed? how could Aryan nomads have propounded such deep philosophies?)
    * lack of context for the epics ( with AIT scholars placing them in Afghanistan and Turkistan when the mentioned geography is claerly indian)

    Anyway here is a response to points raised by Neville. unfortunate but they seem mostly petulant (sadly In response I have been somewhat petulant too) . All the points he raised are lucidly explained in books by various leading OIT theorists.

    (btw please feel free to format my mails )

    Reply : The Indus is not Aryan

    QUOTE : The idea that the Aryans are an indigenous lot is absurd as the theory that the Indus is Aryan.
    RESPONSE : Only if you consider ‘original race’ based theories by Europeans. Otherwise it is not only possible but more plausible. Remains of humans dug up suggest there was no difference between indus-valley people and current people of india.

    QUOTE “It is all plain for everyone to see despite the hundreds of books , articles and internet reports, that the Aryans are an intrusive people into India. For sometime now I have been reading several articles of the case for and against AIT/AMT versus OIT. Although the Indian historians and certain archaeologists have more or less proven that there was no invasion per se of India, by Indo-Aryans , the fact still remain that India was and still is occupied by the descendants of the Vedic Aryans whose culture and history make up what is India today and including those from the Indus civilization. ”
    RESPONSE : How does this prove that the so-called Aryans were invaders/migrants ? If it has been proven that there had been no invasion how is it possible that the descendants of the alleged invaders occupy the land ? This can only be true if there was no invasion – which actually seems to be the case.

    QUOTE : A detailed reading and study of the various opinions by those historians and archaeologists on this website, especially from India still maintain and doubt that the horse and chariot came from outside the country and who insist that horses and chariots are indigenous to the land. I have perceived that there are three major points which mostly the Indian historians are stubbornly refusing to concede and that is :
    RESPONSE : There has been shoddy scholarship from mainstream academia – from whom detailed study is still awaited – and that is the real question.
    Horse and chariot mentioned in the Vedas are a in the context of Indian geography and fauna. Chariots – please remember are urban weapons not that of nomads – which aryans are purported to be according to AIT.

    QUOTE : (A) They continue to hang on to the dead theory that the Indus
    civilization is Aryan and indigenous.
    RESPONSE : No proof. In fact OIT seems more and more plausible by the day. Recent studies have shownt that IVC was definitely indian having many so-called Aryan features. In fact most indian academia/researchers accept this as a fact except marxist scholars who have a vested interest in keeping AIT alive.

    QUOTE :( B) Despite the mountain of official documented and textual
    evidence from various sources eg: Andronovan proven Indo-
    Iranian sites, evidence from the Vedas itself, lack of evidence of
    horses and chariots in ancient India before the advent of the
    Aryans etc, Indian officials and historians still attempt to castigate
    the authors and doubt the veracity of the documented and
    archaeological evidence.
    RESPONSE : how does this prove movement into India but not movement out of india. Emic readings of vedas seem to suggest a movement out of India.. There is no archeological evidence suggesting movement into India. Avestan seems to imply movement out of India. Indian officials and historians attempt to pin down western authors and thier evidence because they are decidedly shoddy and utterly lacking in standards they seem to expect out of others. There is actually no horse evidence leading into india either.

    QUOTE :( C) The clear absence of archaeological and attestation of horse trade
    between the Indus Civilization and its neighbors in the time period
    of supposed finds of horse remains.
    RESPONSE : Possible that the horse was a valuable strategic commodity not traded with outsiders. Also all horse references in the Vedas suggest it is the Indian horse rather than ‘Steppe horses’ or Middle Eastern ones. if Aryans were outsiders thier horse-lore would reflect this fact. Please note that there is also no horse evidence to support an Aryan Invasion. What is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.

    QUOTE : We begin from the beginning by placing the Aryans outside of India rather than being an indigenous people living thousands of years in India as so many Indian scholars believe. It is a fact that the Avesta places a home for the Aryans who sojourned outside India, which they called Airyana Vaejah or Aryan Homeland.
    RESPONSE : Pray why ? Careful understanding of avestan texts would seem to imply that Airyanam Vaejoh – could have been Kashmir/South Afghanistan. One of the Avestan ancestral lands mentioned is the Hapta Hendu – Saptha Sindhu. in India. Mainstream scholarship is coming around to the view that the original homelands of the Avestans was east and not west of modern Iran. And where else in the east was a major population center from where people could have migrated ?

    QUOTE : “The Aryans came through the Northwest of what is now today the state of Pakistan. That old natural pass called the Khyber. This same pass was used by different conquerors to conquer India in later times. This is a northwest route , not an east or west or south route and you can see from the geographical map where the Aryans forded and settled for a time calling it the Saptasindhu of which Five Rivers of the area were Shutudri called the Sutlej, the Vipasha or Vipash now called the Beas, the Parushini now called the Ravi, the Vitasta now called the Jhelum. Two main rivers were added called the Indus or Sindhu and the Sarasvati making it the Seven Rivers. The following points shows why the Aryans are intruders to India.”

    RESPONSE : “There is nothing in Vedas that suggest arrival from a norwestern ancestral land to Sapta sindhu – infact this is a reading of western scholars who have consistently misread the vedas and have had to resort to all sorts of sophistry to arrive at that conclusion. The fact that there is no mention of Aryans as invaders is what all great scholars of the vedas state without exception. Amongst great scholars are not included poeple like Max Muller – whose understandng of the vedas has been derided by many indegenious scholars. If at all – there is a mention of the Indo-Aryans moving in from the east. If avestan with comparably older antiquity (according to ATI) remembers ancestral lands – why not the vedas ? The only plausible answer is becuase the vedas were composed in the homeland”

    QUOTE : a) Despite, the writings and articles of Indian historians, archaeologists and Internet writers, these are the only rivers other than the Ganga and Yamuna mentioned in the Vedas. If the Aryans were indigenous people, why didnt they mention the Kaveri, the Krishna, the Bhima, the Godavari, the Narmada, the Chambal and the others?
    RESPONSE : vedas are composed by a very limited subgroup of people who are otherwise mentioned in the vedas. Thier homeland (and thier salutations hymns etc) would have only encompassed the lands they belonged to and which they thought of was sacred. There are mentions of lands of other people – but not necessarily thier rivers . Also it is possible that the rivers described as excluded were not considered sufficiently holy to deserve a mention. It is possible that settlements by the rivers exempted were minor population centers. Remember the Vedas were sacred hymns rather than geography and political texts. Indegenious scholars have always resented Western scholars reading the vedas and not the itihasa puranas as history.

    QUOTE : b) Why didnt they mention all the other civilizations such as the Indus, and those of Southern India etc?
    RESPONSE : Because vedic could have preceded the Indus civilization (according to indegenious origin theories) – a civilization which thier descendents would form many years later. Another plausibility is that it was not excluded at all – this is just how western scholars read it.(For example the vedic people are described as pastoral by western scholars which is not necessarily the case. The vedas are replete with mention of cities and towns.)
    Just how many civilizations flourished in southern india circa 6000bc – 3000 bc to deserve a mention (we are not speaking 1500bc here) ? how can we comprehensively establish that there was no mention – when we do not have all the oral traditions at our disposal.

    QUOTE : c) Some may have noticed that the Vedas descriptions of their life and society only is confined to the northwest of India. There is no mention of areas of Bengal, Tamil Nadu or Maharastra and other areas.
    RESPONSE : Wrong – there are ample references to the plains, oceans, rivers of non-northwestern geographies to suggest that the vedics were acquainted with north india from kashmir to the vindhyas and from sindh to bihar. Event today these areas are the main population centers of India. It is also dubious why there should be any mention of geographies other than the ones the composers of the vedas are able to relate themselves with.

    QUOTE : d) Do the historical departments of India and other such cultural organizations have the names of the original rivers , because these are mostly Rigvedic names. If the Harappans occupied the Indus civilizations for so long, surely they must have names for these rivers.
    RESPONSE : There seem to be absolutely no allegedly non-vedic names for indian rivers. why ? the simple explanation is that they never existed. The Vedics were the first to name them

    I personally prefer the word Vedics to Aryans. Vedics would encompass an entire people of this era whereas ‘Arya’ was a very limiting designation even during the vedic times.

  • 15. B Shantanu said:

    @ Deva: I have not studied the Brahmanas and am therefore not qualified to comment on them.

    Hopefully someone from my learned readers group may be better able to respond to your query.

    Otherwise give me some time and I will ask a few people who I believe would be better placed to provide the clarification that you have asked for.

    ***
    @ Rajiv: Thanks for your follow-up and the response to Nevilles comments.

    Would you be willing to write up a short article on this? I would be very happy to post it here with full attribution of course. Pl. do let me know via email jai DOT dharma AT gmail.com

    Another related post for you on this topic: http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/05/24/ait-and-sneak-attack/

  • 16. Subadra Venkatesh said:

    David Frawley is correct in assessing that the Aryan- Dravidian divide was used by the British to explain apparent (though not real) racial differences between northern and Southern Indians. But let us not blame the British alone for the perpetuation of this two race theory. A closer examination of Tamil history as understood and studied in Tamil Nadu, along with the official government position on this history will help us understand many of the unique positions and decisions this government has often taken.

    According to the Tamil people and government, their history starts on the banks of the Indus. The Indus valley civilization and people with their unique achievements were the original inhabitants of India. They were a peaceful, civilized group who had organized their society on truly egalitarian principles.

    Around 3000-5000 years BCE or later (depending on your source of information), successive bands of invading barbarians called the Aryans pushed the Indus valley people south until they all relocated to Southern India, specifically present day Tamil Nadu. The Aryan society was a far inferior civilization for various reasons: namely, it was polytheistic (too many Gods) and ritualistic (fire sacrifices). In addition, it was not an egalitarian society (caste system). Thus the Indus valley people, who are the ancestors of present day Dravidians, were robbed of their original homeland.

    After settling in Tamil Nadu or thereabouts, the great Dravidian/Tamil civilization continued and flourished. It made great strides in all fields including architecture (temples), literature (sang am literature, Kambar Ramayanam etc.), music (carnatic), dance (bharata natyam). Unfortunately, because of the Aryan influence, the caste system became a part of Tamil civilization, and the Brahmins, who are actually the minions of northern Aryans, were responsible for upholding and perpetuating the caste system. In fact the Brahmins are also foreigners who have no right to be a part of Tamil culture (Brahmins are often referred to a s Paapana derogatory term and even called Arya Paapan specifying their origin).

    So, is any of this history actually true? Who knows? But this is the official position and understanding of Tamil history, and it is definitely the one used to shape public discourse. Thus, many of the socio-political events can be understood when one understands the Tamils own version of history.

    A case in point would be the anti-Hindi agitations of the past. Most non-Tamil indians, for whom Hindi was also not their mother-tongue (e.g. Bengalis, Telugu , etc.), saw Hindi merely as a link language to be learned as a second or third language in school. Not so in Tamil Nadu. Here, learning Hindi became a North Indian (read Aryan) imposition on a South Indian (Dravidian) civilization. So in Tamil Nadu, you have people who dont learn Hindi (which is North Indian) , but dont mind learning English. Here, English is not seen as the language of colonial masters .

    We can also understand the reservation policies of the Tamil Nadu government using this paradigm. In most parts of India, the Forward castes refers to those groups of people who have had greater privileges or access to education and economic resources and opportunities. In Tamil Nadu the forward community refers only to Brahmins. Although, initially other groups who were economically prosperous, groups such as the Chettiars, were included in the forward classes, they now have been reclassified (which, I understand from Chettiar friends , can be done voluntarilyi.e. you can get yourself reclassified) as backward. So the reservation policy of Tamil Nadu is not only implicitly anti- Brahmin, it is expressly so. This actually makes perfect sense if one understands how Tamils interpret their history. Thus, Brahmins are not thought of as Tamils who also constitute the priestly classes, but rather, local Aryan residents who have no right to be here.

    Since so many of the leaders in Tamil Nadu have been atheists (They call themselves rationalists), Tamil pride in its architecture, literature etc. is often combined with discomfiture. The problem is that most of Tamil literature, arts, music, architecture ( as is most Indian literature of the past,) is religious in nature, specifically Hindu. So, while one can feel pride at the great temples at Tanjore and Srirangam, one cant get over the fact that these are Hindu temples. This problem pervades Tamil discussion on all their cultural and historic artifacts. So while Bharata Natyam and Carnatic music are praised, there are various attempts to Tamilize these arts and perhaps even secularize them. Thus, in Government music colleges most of the songs taught will be Tamil songs, although when the great composers of the past lived and composed in Tamil Nadu, many did so in the Sanskrit and Telugu languages.

    This problem of trying to de-Hinduize Tamil culture (separate Tamil identity from the larger Hindu one which is pan Indian) is one that apparently occupies the thoughts of the government officials. So there is great fan-fare accorded to placing Periyars statue in front of the Srirangam temple etc. This act is considered as both an affront on the Brahmanical hegemony which exists in the temples, and at the same time resurgence and reestablishment of Tamil pride.

    The arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya, and the muted Tamil response puzzled many of those who are not from Tamil Nadu. The arrest was portrayed by some in the mainstream media as an attack on Hinduism and an attempt of the then chief-minister, Jayalalitha, to establish her secular credentials. Maybe that was part of it. However, the reason for the muted response is that this particular religious figure is not considered merely a Hindu leader, but an elitist Brahmin one. Thus the majority of the people did not respond. In addition, we can perhaps also conclude that Jayalalitha might have actually wanted to establish her Dravidian credentials since she is a Brahmin person born in Mysore herself.

    The Aryan Invasion debate can also be understood using this paradigm. Some of the most virulent opposition to any research or reinterpretation of original data from the Indus valley civilization comes from those who consider themselves Dravidian the original inhabitants of this land. The Aryan invasion theory is what validates decades of public policy in Tamil Nadu. Now , suppose we find out that there was no invasion. What if DNA evidence were to suggest that all people of India are from the same gene pool and the last incursions into India were between 40,000 to 60,000 years back. What would this do to the Tamils understanding of their history. Would they then have to accept that their culture, though wonderful, is really a regional expression of pan-Indian civilization , and they should take pride in all its civilizational achievements, including its religions.

  • 17. B Shantanu said:

    Subadra: Thats a great comment and I am tempted to make a post out of it. Perhaps I will.

    I think you are right in suggesting that the crux of the problem is the issue of crafting (or attempt at carfting) a distinct Tamil identity which is distinct from its Hindu origins.

    You say, “The Aryan invasion theory is what validates decades of public policy in Tamil Nadu. Now , suppose we find out that there was no invasion. What if DNA evidence were to suggest that all people of India are from the same gene pool and the last incursions into India were between 40,000 to 60,000 years back.”

    This already seems to be the case. See this, e.g.:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/05/24/ait-and-sneak-attack/

    Thanks again for patiently explaining the nuances behind the politics of TN.

    Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.

  • 18. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    who ever claimed this theory was correct ?

    http://www.sujayraomandavilli.com

  • 19. B Shantanu said:

    Sujay: Thanks for the link. Do you have the article uploaded somewhere? Can you pl. send a link?

    Thanks.

  • 20. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Shanthanu,

    Please send me your mail id, i’ll send you a personal copy. The others will have to wait until I publish it

    Sujay

  • 21. Nemo said:

    #1
    The Aryan Invasion Theory is part of a bigger net of inter-connected and inter-dependent theories.

    Scholars have not universally accepted the theory of a Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) as the sole possibility. This theory says that all Indo-European languages originally sprung from a shared root language. A *hypothetical* language, nowhere recorded, no literature ever found written in it.
    Going from that theory, they thought that there might long ago have been a single group of people who spoke that alleged Proto-Indo-European language. These hypothetical people were named the Aryans – also known as the Indo-Europeans (especially after WWII).
    From there, they reasoned that that group of people (Aryans/Indo-Europeans) lived together at some point in time in some geographic place dubbed the Aryan homeland (or Urheimat in German).

    So what we have is 3+ theories, each one depending entirely on the previous one being true:
    (a) Theory 1 – All languages identified as Indo-European (IE) had a common ancestor language once upon a time: the entirely theoretical language PIE/Proto-Indo-European.
    (b) Theory 2 – (*Only if* theory 1 is true, then) there *could* have been some single population that spoke it long ago: called the Indo-Europeans/Aryans.
    (c) Theories 3 to n – (*Only if* theory 2 is true, then) there might have been a region somewhere between Europe and Asia where these Aryans lived once upon a time. They might then have shared single religion, and a shared culture. They might have invented somethings and even created civilisations. (And more such dramatic speculations.)

    From the above theories follows the Aryan Invasion Theory, which *ENTIRELY* depends on there being Aryans in the first place (and on them having lived in an unconfirmed “somewhere”).

    BUT (pasting from elsewhere):
    Here’s some researchers working in Indo-European studies showing how there’s serious doubt about (a) the very existence of any PIE and – even more doubt on – (b) the existence of any ‘Indo-Europeans’ (Aryans) who spoke it:

    (1) Summary of Trubetskoy quotes below: Trubetskoy says that ‘IE’ languages need not have derived from a common ancestor at all. But that in fact, it is equally likely that different languages converged and that’s why they ended up having similarities. In other words: he says there’s no need for any PIE. If there’s no need for PIE, this also means there’s no need for the derived assumption that there existed a people who spoke it…

    FROM: Trubetzkoy, N. S. (2001), Studies in General Linguistics and Language Structure, Anatoly Liberman (Ed.), translated by Marvin Taylor and Anatoly Liberman, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

    - It is usually supposed that, at one time, there was a single Indo-European language, the so-called Indo-European protolanguage, from which all historically attested Indo-European languages are presumed to descend. This supposition is contradicted by the fact that, no matter how far we peer back into history, we always find a multitude of Indo-European-speaking peoples. The idea of an Indo-European protolanguage is not absurd, but it is not necessary, and we can do very well without it (Trubetzkoy 2001, p. 87).

    - There is therefore, no compelling reason for the assumption of a homogeneous Indo-European protolanguage from which the individual branches of Indo-European descended. It is equally plausible that the ancestors of the branches of Indo-European were originally dissimilar but that over time, through continuous contact, mutual influence, and loan traffic, they moved significantly closer to each other, without becoming identical (Trubetzkoy 2001, p. 88).

    - “This possibility must always be kept in sight when the Indo-European problem is addressed [and every statement about the problem should be formulated so as to be valid for either assumption: divergence or convergence.] Since only the hypothesis of a single protolanguage has been considered until now, the discussion has landed on the wrong track. Its primary, that is, linguistic, nature has been forgotten. Prehistoric archaeology, anthropology, and ethnology have been brought in without any justification. Attempts are made to describe the home, race, and culture of a supposed Indo-European proto-people that may never have existed. The Indo-European problem is formulated [by modern German (and not only German) scholars] in something like the following way: Which type of prehistoric pottery must be ascribed to the Indo-European people? But scholarship is unable to answer questions of this kind, so they are moot. Their logic is circular because the assumption of an Indo-European protopeople with definite cultural and racial characteristics is untenable. We are chasing a romantic illusion instead of keeping to the one positive fact at out disposalthat Indo-Europeans a purely LINGUISTIC concept (Trubetzkoy 2001, p. 90, emphasis in the original).

  • 22. Nemo said:

    #2 (cont.)

    (2) Bruce Lincoln also makes it clear there’s no valid reason to accept belief in any imaginary people – the Indo-Europeans/ ‘Aryans’ – even *if* we assumed the hypothetical PIE existed. He also illustrates how other scholars in the field have stated that even if there were a PIE, there need not have been a single ethnic group that uniquely spoke it, how there are other hypotheses (than the one supposing Aryans) that are equally admissable.

    FROM: Lincoln, Bruce (1999), Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

    - “In specific, reconstructing a “protolanguage” is an exercise that invites one to imagine speakers of that protolanguage, a community of such people, then a place for that community, a time in history, distinguishing characteristics, and a set of contrastive relations with other protocommunities where other protolanguages were spoken. FOR ALL THIS, NEED IT BE SAID, THERE IS NO SOUND EVIDENTIARY WARRANT (Lincoln 1999, p. 95, emphasis added)”

    - “we recognize that the existence of a language family does not necessarily imply the existence of a protolanguage. Still less the existence of a protopeople, protomyths, protoideology, or protohomeland (Lincoln 1999, p. 216).”

    (Protopeople in the above quote refers to the “Indo-Europeans/Aryans” of the topic)

    - “Other authors have challenged the Stammbaum model on other grounds, observing that even if the historically attested Indo-European languages did descend from a single proto-language, the existence of this ancestral language by no means implies the existence of a single, ethnically homogeneous people who spoke it. Thus Franco Crevatin suggested that Swahilian artificial lingua franca, spoken across vast portions of Africa as an instrument to facilitate long distance trademay be a better analogue than Latin for theorizing Proto-Indo-European. [...] In Crevatin’s view there was a Proto-Indo-European language and there were people who spoke it for certain finite purposes, but no community of Proto-Indo-Europeans. Similar is Stefan Zimmer’s position, intended as a rebuke of racist theories, hypothesizing a protolanguage spoken not be an ethnically pristine Urvolk but by a shifting, nomadic colluvies gentium, a “filthy confluence of peoples,” (Lincoln 1999, pp. 212-213).”

    (3) And finally, here Stefan Arvidsson gives us a lowdown on all the ‘evidence’ there is in support of that hypothetical people, the Indo-Europeans/Aryans: All the proof for any Indo-European/Aryan people is …. air. That’s it. There’s nothing. There’s only stuff that some obsessed western scholars have imagined might be the remains of their imaginary Aryans, but at the end of the day, what they’re doing is just construing things the way they like.

    FROM: Arvidsson, Stefan (2006), Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science, translated by Sonia Wichmann, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

    - “For over two hundred years, a series of historians, linguists, folklorists, and archaeologists have tried to re-create a lost culture. Using ancient texts, medieval records, philological observations, and archaeological remains they have described a world, a religion, and a people older than the Sumerians, with whom all
    history is said to have begun. Those who maintained this culture have been called “Indo-Europeans” and “Proto-Indo-Europeans,” “Aryans,” and “Ancient Aryans,” “Japhetites,” and “wiros,” among many other terms. THESE PEOPLE HAVE NOT LEFT BEHIND ANY TEXTS, NO OBJECTS CAN DEFINITELY BE TIED TO THEM, NOR DO WE KNOW ANY “INDO-EUROPEAN” BY NAME. IN SPITE OF THAT, scholars have STUBBORNLY tried to reach back to the ancient “Indo-Europeans,” with the help of bold historical, linguistic, and archaeological reconstructions, in the hopes of finding the foundation of their own culture and religion there. (Arvidsson 2006, p. xi, emphasis added).”

    There can be no talk of Aryans (or aryan invasions or whatnot) unless [Neville Ramdeholl or whoever else] can prove that there were Aryans in the first place.
    And even if they ever managed to prove (a) the hypothetical PIE existed,
    they’d still have to prove that (b) a single ethnic group, specifically the Indo-Europeans/Aryans, existed who spoke it.
    Because, REMEMBER: Theory 2 (“once upon a time there were Aryans”) *does not* automatically follow from Theory 1 (“PIE existed”), as seen in (2).

  • 23. Nemo said:

    #3 (cont. again – but no longer pasting from elsewhere)

    Note the word “Japhetites” in the quote in (3). It was the term Europeans ORIGINALLY used for what were later called Aryan/Indo-European. It is BIBLICAL.
    Japheth was one of the 3 sons of Noah. Europeans believed they were descended from Japheth; European christians still believe it.
    And so, when the whole field of investigating Indian, Iranian and European languages started, the language group was originally called – not Indo-European, not Aryan – but Japhetic. And at that early time, Dravidians were considered Hamitic (the secularised term ‘Dravidian’ was invented later). According to biblical mythology, Hamites were the cursed descendents of Noah’s son Ham. Theyre all the brown peoples of the world. In the bible theyre cursed to be slaves to the descendents of Noah’s other two sons, Japheth and Shem (whose descendents were called Semites).
    So just believing in Japethites and Hamites (or as they are called today: the Aryans and Dravidians) means youve accepted christian mythology.

    So we can forget the “Aryans/Indo-European” as Indo-European studies calls them.

    David Frawley appears to be referring to those of Indias Hindus in the Vedic period who lived in the north/northwest of India, when he uses the (unfortunate) term “Aryan/Indo-European”. Perhaps he’s just thinking of his audience: being consistent, sticking to terminology readers might already have learnt.
    Hindus of the Vedic times existed, so did Persias Zoroastrians. Their literatures are there for all to see.
    Its the hypothetical Indo-Europeans who are nowhere attested.

    On the matter of the “Indus Valley Civilisation” (IVC). (The IVC was named at a time when the larger geographical extent of the civilisation was not yet discovered. Saraswati-Sindhu civlisation is more appropriate, as the archaeological sites involved span the region indicated by this name.)
    Archaeology has shown how the Saraswati-Sindhu civilisation people of long ago are connected to todays people in East Punjab and Gujarat: (Entire quoted section pasted between —)

    http://www.omilosmeleton.gr/english/agarwal.html
    — [1] Archaeologists like Jim Shaffer and D. A. Lichtenstein [1999] completely reject the notion of transfer of IA languages into South Asia as a result of migrations and invasions, and speak in terms of cultural shifts and diffusion of cultural traits. They do however, acknowledge a population shift from the IVC area to East Punjab and Gujarat [1999:256]:
    “That the archaeological record and significant oral and literature traditions of South Asia are now converging has significant implications for regional cultural history. A few scholars have proposed that there is nothing in the “literature” firmly placing the Indo-Aryans, the generally perceived founders of the modern South Asian cultural traditions(s), outside of South Asia, and now the archaeological record is confirming this. Within the context of cultural continuity described here, an archaeologically significant indigenously significant discontinuity was a regional population shift from the Indus valley, in the west, to locations east and southeast, a phenomenon also recorded in ancient oral traditions. As data accumulate to support cultural continuity in South Asian prehistoric and historic periods, a considerable restructuring of existing interpretative paradigms must take place. We reject most strongly the simplistic historical interpretations, which date back to the eighteenth century, that continue to be imposed in South Asian culture history. These still prevailing interpretations are significantly diminished by European ethnocentrism, colonialism, racism, and antisemitism. Surely, as South Asia studies approaches the twenty-first century, it is time to describe emerging data objectively rather than perpetuate interpretations without regard to the data archaeologists have worked so hard to reveal.”

    (Physical anthropology has also confirmed the same. See Kenneth Kennedy. And Brian Hemphill.)

  • 24. Nemo said:

    #4 (cont. final)
    Repeat (Lincoln, Theorizing Myth): “the existence of a language family does not necessarily imply the existence of a protolanguage. Still less the existence of a protopeople, protomyths, protoideology, or protohomeland”

    Of course, Neville and others who insist on believing in the Aryans without any proof are free to do so. After all, the Japhetic-Hamitic (“Aryan-Dravidian”) invention is but more christian mythology. And like christianism, it’s a matter of “faith” not facts.

    [By the way, geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer has a lot of interesting things to say on the largely Basque (=non-Indo-European) gene pool of Britain. (As opposed to the "Indo-European" Celtic or Germanic/Anglo-Saxon.) Maybe Nevill may find it interesting...
    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7817
    "Everything you know about British and Irish ancestry is wrong. Our ancestors were Basques, not Celts. The Celts were not wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons, in fact neither had much impact on the genetic stock of these islands"]

    For the rest of us, here’s Bruce Lincoln’s Theorizing Myth again (he’s a scholar in Indo-European mythology – a field which he has now discounted for not having any concrete basis).
    “Of the available hypotheses, the Stammbaum model is the most popular, but by no means the only one. It ought not to be accepted as long as others exists, and we ought not discard these others unless there is compelling reason to do so. In the absence of such compelling reason, we can REMAIN AGNOSTIC, recognizing the existence of multiple hypotheses and maintaining a particularly skeptical posture toward those with histories of subtexts of racism.”

  • 25. Meenakshi said:

    The Vedas do mention places and people in the south of India. Some of these places were known by ancient names then, not by their current names.
    Vedas talk about Manu, who did not coem from Iran or any other part of Central Asia. He was from this region. The Vedas do not discriminate between South and North India, Dravidians or Aryans.

  • 26. Meenakshi said:

    Also, if we go by the Vedas and by Indian epics, there was water everywhere, everything was destroyed, only Manu remained. So all searches for any evidence of historical facts before this period will be futile. No one knows what happened after the Mahabharata, where can one find all the evidence. It may have been according to some divine plan that we humans cannot understand.

    The Indo European theory does not reconcile with the Indian epics. It looks like some gibberish.

  • 27. Meenakshi said:

    The coming generations will be better informed about our history if they learn from the internet rather than misleading NCERT books. The information in NCERT books is not complete, and moreover, it presents only whitewashed and negotiated history.

  • 28. B Shantanu said:

    Meenakshi: I cannot agree more.

    You will find some other posts on this blog interesting as well:

    Lies and half-truths in the name of national integration http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/07/19/lies-and-half-truths/

    Taj Mahal: The Biggest Whitewash in Indian History? http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/11/07/the-biggest-whitewash-in-indian-history/

    Please spread the word. We need to make many more people aware of this.

    Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.

  • 29. B Shantanu said:

    I stumbled on this amazing piece of research on deciphering the Saraswati-Sindhu script by Shri Kalyanaraman-ji recently: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2231843/writing

    More on this, hopefully soon.

  • 30. Rajiv Chandran said:

    A wonderfully informative analysis by nemo. The subtext here is that an assumption of familial (mother/aunt-daughter-granddaughter) relationship between all ‘indo-european’ languages – where there be need be none – because of lack of adequate proof. This therefore leads to a domino of hypothetical scenarios as nemo pointed out. The placement of the ‘aryan invasion of india’ (and subsequent developement of the vedas et al) at 1500 bce is important only from the perspective of IE linguistic. Placing it in pre-2000 era would create problems in explaining other IE languages and thier chronological and geographical placement according to the current IE theories. To explain vedic sanskrit in india in 1500 bce – one has to place old-avestan in northern eastern persia , afghanistan in 2000 bce and hittite in middle east and anatolia in 2500 bce. However this is coming undone in recent years due to lack of proof of any invasion or migration from outside the north-west of india. And as is the case of dominoes – when one falls it takes the rest with it.
    Nemo ,could you kindly provide me with you sources – the alternative linguistic models you pointed out are very interesting.

  • 31. B Shantanu said:

    @ Rajiv: Thanks for your comment and I am feeling really embarrased that I did not even thank Nemo for his analysis…

    I will try emailing him to get a link to some of the sources.

    ***

    @ Nemo: As Rajiv says, informative and very well articulated analysis. Please do provide the links. I will also email you separately.

    Thanks.

  • 32. Nemo said:

    1. For Trubetzkoy, Bruce Lincoln and Arvidsson quotes, see: http://docs.google.com/View?docid=ajhwbkz2nkfv_620hs8zfc
    Refs are (as also given in the posts somewhere above)
    - FROM: Trubetzkoy, N. S. (2001), Studies in General Linguistics and Language Structure, Anatoly Liberman (Ed.), translated by Marvin Taylor and Anatoly Liberman, Durham and London: Duke University Press.
    - FROM: Lincoln, Bruce (1999), Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
    - FROM: Arvidsson, Stefan (2006), Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science, translated by Sonia Wichmann, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

    2. For archaeologists Shaffer and Lichtenstein’s quotes, see: http://www.omilosmeleton.gr/english/agarwal.html
    Reference given is: Shaffer, J. G. and Lichtenstein, D. A.;; 1999; Migration, Philology and South Asian Archaeology

    3. For geneticist Oppenheimer explanation of how the British gene pool is mostly Basque, see: http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7817
    This article “Myths of British ancestry” is him discussing his book “The Origins of the British”.

    Meenakshi’s comment not too far above stated: “The Vedas do not discriminate between South and North India, Dravidians or Aryans.”
    That is because neither the Vedas nor the rest of ancient Hindu scriptures know of any Indo-Europeans/Aryans or Dravidians – simply because there are no Aryans or Dravidians in reality. Hindus had never heard of them before. That’s as expected, since the christian myth of Japhetics-Hamitics, which (see Arvidsson) they later named as Aryans and Dravidians to make it more secular, is a christian myth/lie invented recently. The origins of this insidious fable can easily be traced back to very recent centuries.

    Further reading:
    http://faculty.vassar.edu/tilongma/Church&Genocide.html
    Timothy Longman for Vassar College: “Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda
    Revision of paper originally prepared for Conference on Genocide, Religion, and Modernity, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, May 11-13, 1997″

    In case people think christian myths are harmless: the above paper is for anyone not aware of the scale of christian mythology and its propensity for mass-murder. It describes the similar case of how christianity invented a very AIT-like scenario for the Rwandans that brainwashed Rwandans into believing they were the Semites and Hamites of christian mythology (in India, the story imposed on us was one of Japhetites and Hamites).
    The article then shows how that had direct consequences on the christianity-caused genocide of Rwandans of a recent decade. The title may apear to refer to the christian hand only in the recent genocide, but the paper itself also delves into the christian-colonial past of Rwanda – where christianity sowed the seeds for the brutal large-scale murders that manifested in our times – to explain why the inexplicable horrors happened.

    See for instance this paragraph from the just-linked article on Rwanda:

    “The role of missionaries in the construction of ethnicity in Rwanda offers an excellent example of the process that Vail describes. In Rwanda, missionaries played a primary role in creating ethnic myths and interpreting Rwandan social organization — not only for colonial administrators, but ultimately for the Rwandan population itself. The concepts of ethnicity developed by the missionaries served as a basis for the German and Belgian colonial policies of indirect rule which helped to transform relatively flexible pre-colonial social categories into clearly defined ethnic groups. Following independence, leaders who were trained in church schools relied extensively on ethnic ideologies to gain support, thus helping to intensify and solidify ethnic divisions.

    The exact meaning of the categories of Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa in pre-colonial Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire is a subject of considerable debate among scholars. Nearly all scholars, however, agree that the three were not clearly distinct and rigidly separated ethnic groups.”

  • 33. Juven Bachan said:

    The Quirky, Engimatic Shifting Historical Data of
    an ‘Aryan Indus’ Civilization.

    With the demise of the theory of an Aryan invasion, scholars have now taken on the idea that the Indus Valley Civilization is aryan in nature and origin. But this quirky idea cannot seem to hold well with the evidence which the archaeological explorations have produced in recent years. On one hand the civilization of the Vedas don’t seem to fit or to use a better word, correlate with the discoveries of the Indus valley excavations. There are several reasons this is so and proponents of an ‘Aryan Indus’ although they may reject the invasion idea, are desperate to paint an ‘Aryan Indus’ which certainly did not exist and are prepared to shift historical data to accommodate its ‘Aryan Indus’. Thus, an ‘Aryan Indus’ would seemingly but impossibly accommodate and comprise of the following:

    1) TWO sets of lifestyles, one described as nomadic and steppe like in the Vedas quite in contrast to the settled and urban life of the Harrapans. Here we have the IE or Aryans as you will, riding and warring as all nomads do on the plains of India, whilst the staid citienzry of the Indus are basking in luxurious trade with its neighbors.

    2) TWO modes of transport, of which the speed of the horse and chariot used by the nomadic intruders to settle disputes and in sports, whilst in the Indus the rich and contented people travel with the donkey and heavy wooden cart.

    3) TWO religions, first we have the Vedic religion dominated by warrior gods and nature gods to a nomadic people always praying for wealth and cattle and animistic in nature. The other religion is the Harrapan religion of the Indus people mostly connected with the animal kingdom and iconic.

    4) TWO sets of astronomic literature, the Vedic astronomy having the horse as one of its symbol and which is missing in the Indus one. Then, there is the Harrapan astronomy whose people were well versed in its intracies and very established.

    5) TWO languages of which we have the Vedic language well refined and used in ancient India, called Sanskrit. The other is the undecipherable Indus Scripts and its seals, still unbroken and a fascination for linguists. Used by the Indus people for its unparalleled value for its tremendous and burgeoning trading partners.

    6) TWO different funnerary burial rituals, the Aryans cremated their dead through libations in the hope their loved ones reach the land of the Fathers. The Indus people buried their dead as is evidenced by the cemeteries discovered in their civilization.

    This is fantastic , here we have a civilization just emerging from the Stone Age with its brilliance and is credited with ALL of the above, a double of every facet of human life. Is this possible? This quirkiness of an’Aryan Indus’ has western and eastern scholars and historians baffled. To speak of an ‘Aryan Indus’ with such glaring contradictions in its society and lifestyle is probably a minor embarrassment to its proponents, for what can be more embarrassing than to shift historical dates to accommodate a quirky theory? Best of luck to its proponents.

  • 34. B Shantanu said:

    @ Nemo: I missed thanking you for providing the links and the comments. Thank you for that…I will go through some of the links over the weekend.

    ***

    @ Juven: Great comment…thanks for bringing the glaring contradictions in focus.

  • 35. Rajiv Chandran said:

    History of any region follows essentially from regional literature – the folklore, the myths and stories of yore. Almost all recollections of ancient greek, roman history follow from literature of the area. Similar relationships exist between middle eastern history and the bible and other hebrew texts. Even recent reconstructions of history for these regions (including egypt) are based on material found in say hittite texts, egyptian heiroglyphs etc. The paucity of literature of ancient times and the relative abundance of those for more recent times is the reason we have a better understanding of our recent history.

    Contrast this with the history of india. Here we base our history not on what our ancestors say had happened – nor deduce anything from it. We summarily dismiss it as myth. We depend on tools of uncertain provenance like philology and comparative grammar etc. We rely on reconstructions by europeans of a mythical creature called the Aryan. The word Aryan entered the european lexicon barely a 150 years ago with heavily racist meaning – and has already outlived its retail value. By contrast in India where it was historically used as a honorific it never had any racist or ethnic connotation.

    It is also well known now how tendentious the european scholars readings of the ancient indian texts were. All allusions in the RgVeda to oceanic and agrarian imagery were willfully supressed to promote the idea of the steppe nomad. Wars between the various Vedic clans or references to forces of nature were misinterpreted as traces of genocide by the ‘Aryan’. The idea of the ‘Aryan’ was used by modern europe to place itself at the epicenter of civilization since time immemorial – as the dissiminator of knowledge, arts, law etc. Hence even today we see tomes on the supposed virtues of the Indo-european (aka Aryan) as he went around colonizing the world. We see white supremacist bring to the fore (when they call themselves Aryan) what is present at the back of the European psyche.

    As one of the most ancient people to have used the word ‘Arya’ in our lexicon we need not be swayed by these arguments. Our understanding of ‘Aryan’ in the context of what our tradition and lore states – do not lead us to believe in these modern myths. This should ideally lead us to dump the usage of word ‘Aryan’ as an ethnic reference in any scholarly debate.

    Hence once we consider ‘Aryan’ as a modern european construct designed to grant Europe a high seat in ancient history – free of biblical, and jewish moorings, we find that the Aryan argument falls apart. If ‘Aryan’ ethnicity is not confirmed by archeology or literature it probably did not exist. If there were no ‘Aryans’ comparisons about seperate religion, different purported modes of transport, different lifestyles, different astronomical sciences, different languages and different death rites – from what was present in the Sindhu-Saraswati – is pointless.

    However we must likewise understand that an area like the ‘Sapta-Sindhu’ was settled since very ancient times – by multitudes of people – beyond recall. It is possible that the material culture of the many people of the vedas (‘Vedics’) differed from what is available using archeology. However when we are speaking of people over a span of over 5000 years (6500+ bce to 1000bce ) or maybe more – and in place as diverse as ancient india – as attested to by the ancient texts – this is natural. What we look at is a reasonable amount of congruence between material and attested culture; we look for geological, astronomical congruences. And it is here that we notice increasingly that the Vedics indeed did belong to the Saptha-Sindhu area – which they considered thier home since time immemorial.

  • 36. Dipinder (author) said:

    Very interesting post Shantanu. I learnt something today !

  • 37. K. Harapriya said:

    Here is another video clip on Dwaraka and the Saraswathi river.

    http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/1134/Dvaraka_Giant_Underwater_City_found_in_India/

  • 38. Incognito said:

    It appears, the europeans are the master myth makers. They created an Aryan race where none existed and created a myth about their race to India climbing mountains on chariots driven by horses, to ‘displace’ the entire settled population of another race they called the Harappans, from well fortified positions (which were, doubtless, scaled using those horse driven chariots, utilising their past experience of climbing mountains using them), who were then sent packing to settle down in Tamil Nadu to form the DMK party, which is later expected to create a ‘Dravidistan’ that will be full of “St Thomas’s” (that ‘holy’ disciple of the one and only Son of God Amen!) direct descendants.

    No it doesn’t end with that. The Aryans true to form, wrote the Vedas during their lunch breaks between climbing mountains and forts on horse driven chariots.

    After ‘displacing’ the indigenous ‘Harappans’, these Aryans promptly abandoned the ‘forts’ to decay on their own and then went about ‘Sanskritization’ in India, which means that having displaced all the Harappans to ‘Dravidian’ Tamil Nadu, they started populating India with ‘untouchables’, another race that they created using Sanskrit mantras. All this was meticulously noted down by Max Mueller, Macaulay and Co who later gave their records to RomeAllah Thappad of JNU for posterity’s sake.

    These ‘untouchables’ were then called Dasyus or the Dasas and it became the pastime of the Aryans to play ‘un-touch’ with the new ‘ables’. Those who managed to un-touch were allowed to continue being Dasyus. Those who touched the Aryans became Sudras, so named after the legendary Aryan king Sudas of the ‘Battle of Ten Kings’ fame. Those who asked the question “Why ?” became Whyshyas. The rest became the Kshatriyas, later lovingly called ‘Thugs’ by discerning English gentlemen. When they began to tire of this game the Aryans started calling themselves Brahmanas and settled down to grow hair on the top of their head. They abandoned their chariots and their racing ways and started doing puja to stones which they called idols until friendly neighbourhood jihadis from pakistan came and started doing ‘sutee’ to them.

    The wonderful myth of Aryan invasion. The Europains used variants of this myth in other places such as America and Africa to ‘displace’ the local populace there into their own Dravidistans.

    The myth continued until some fundamentalist fascist chauvinist ‘Hindutva’ BJP RSS VHP Bajrang Dal saffron historians started questioning the ‘Eminent’ historians about proof.

    It was left to a native indian Shrikant G Talageri to prove that Indians are indigenous to India from pre-Vedic times and that it was Europains who had the nomadic character from since those times through his book “The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis” that can be read online at http://voi.org/books/rig/

    YouWan’ Bachha and No-will Ramdehole are the bacchas of those nomads. No wonder they are perturbed.

  • 39. Neville Ramdeholl said:

    Infinito, Seems that you could not offer some form of constructive criticism and if you can’t don’t offer unintelligle remarks on me and Bachan.

    The Indus civilization is one of the greatest ever but it is not Aryan. There are a variety of factors which negate this situation. All the other civilizations have one thing in common with the horse. There was a mythology behind it. The Indus don’t have a horse mythology. If you can prove it , let me know. If you can prove it then the Indus would be consider as of Aryan origin. I have written a lot about the Indus and I knew that their empire is not one from the steppes. The Aryans came from there as well as the horse and chariot. Everything came from the north or thereabouts. Nothing came into India from the south, I mean things like the horse and chariot. So prove it and let me know. So long Mr. Infinito. Why are you hiding? Come on let the literary world see you.

  • 40. Krishnadas said:

    Hare Krishna.

    I have posted this write up partly in websites. I have visited India several times, but it is only in the last 15 yrs , I have been interested in Sanskrit literature and Indian holy places. Sanskrit is a language, which is difficult to translate unless you live through it , right from childhood. You have to bathe in it. Just getting a degree for graduation and then becoming an academic will not do. Probably there will be more conjectural academic hip shoot rather than insights into this language. Since it is improbable that a western homosapien has bathed himself in Sanskrit environment from childhood and then become an academic, their interpretations will receive criticism and it is perfectly justified. I do not claim to be a Sanskrit scholar, but slightly better than rudimentary.

    When ever I visit India , I always ask one question to people ” Why don’t you have a full fledged archeological study of all the monuments , holy places etc. I have seen in some holy sites, some multiple images, extremely old and ancient. There has been very low activity in scientific archeology in India. Very few monuments have been passed through the radar of modern equipment to ascertain what exactly they are, the age and the period. For example , is there any superimpostion of one over the other in bid to demolish, the exisiting structure? One has just to look at Egyptology and the large amount of work being done there. India stands very poorly in this area. Unless and until you have full proof of experimental archeological evidence, academics will have a gala time , pushing their theories for funding their fundamentals and not the universal one.

    I am not a believer in Darwinian evolution, but concrete experimental evidence fascinates me. There should be a systematic study of all monuments and heritage sights in India. This will solve many a problem. Why is there an hesitation to do this? If not keep on piling books , which will always meet with criticism, lie gathering dust in libraries and in netlingua , get buried in cyberspace.

  • 41. Rohit said:

    Ramdeholl & Bachan,

    If Aryans came and settled in North India, where were they first before they came to North India?

    Where they were before they came to North India, they would have had a culture and civilization and left a mark over there… It would be folly to consider that they arrived in India without carrying any historical traditions/ culture/ language etc… Where is Sanskrit or similar culture in other parts of world?

    Common sense says that Sanatan Dharma existed in India since time immortality. The rest of the world civilizations (exception for Chinese, Jews, aboriginals of US, Australia etc),present now, can be described as bunch of thugs and nomads.

  • 42. K. Harapriya said:

    My understanding of the Aryan Invasion theory was that it was first propounded by Max Muellar based on some sixteen words (or less) which seemed similar both in Sanskrit and in Latin and Greek. Based on this he came up with his theory, using the Bible as a basis for his timeline.

    I wonder if any kind of statistical analysis has been done to find out the actual similarities between languages and whether these are significant. It seems to me that biologically, humans (as do other animals) have fixed number of sounds that they can make. And that any two randomly picked languages may have some sounds and words in common. My question is whether there is a statically significant correlation between languages and if there is, does that always imply causation?(ie. movements of populations, invasions, war etc.)

    One of the main concerns I have in the pro-AIT movement is that they don’t seem to be using the same standard of scientific inquiry that they expect everyone else to follow. One of the fundamental basis of science (i.e to put forward a reasonable theory) is that if there is no evidence, then that is evidence of absense. Thus, there being no horse bones in Harappa is considered the evidence of a culture which had no horses. Fine.

    Yet, there is also no evidence of people of vastly different race which was destroyed; no evidence of a war ; no evidence of a distinct material culture that the aryans would have left behind. So shouldn’t these also be considered. That is, if there was no evidence of an invasion and new culture supplanting the old, maybe it didn’t happen.

    If indeed there were two distinct cultures, then where is the material evidence of the Aryans? Or are we supposed to believe that the composers of some of the most profound poetry (as in the Rg Veda) were incapable of leaving any further tangible evidence of themselves.

  • 43. Kaffir said:

    K. Harapriya, but even contemplating the possibility of such a civilization developing in India and then spreading to Central Asia is blasphemous and taboo for rational and scientific minds. Please don’t display your ignorance by even suggesting such a possibility and keeping an open mind in the absence of any conclusive proof.

    /tongue-in-cheek
    :)

  • 44. vivekam.vairagyam said:

    — the rama setu has been dated to about 1.7 million years

    —- lord rama refers to hanuman as a rig vedi in the valmiki ramayan

    ….. the word aryan occurs abt 36 times in the rig vedha ..

    is it possible to reconcile the above three as facts first and then with the present debate?

  • 45. Satyabhashnam said:

    Documentary on Dwarka Nagri found as-it-is under water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2gQu3rWwxY

  • 46. B Shantanu said:

    @ Harapriya: Interesting point about using linguistics to get to the bottom of this…I recall reading about this somewhere but cannot remember now..

    I believe some work has been done in that area.

    In any case, some of the links on this post may be interesting: Placeholder for Saraswati Sindhu script research

  • 47. Sporetee said:

    If ‘Aryan’ (as an adjective applied to civilzations) means associated with the horse, why shouldn’t the Indus civilization (which seems to have no association with the horse) be identified as non-Aryan ?

    Remember, non-Aryan does not mean inferior !

    The association between ‘Aryan’-ness as above and superiority is a very subjective one.

  • 48. Sporetee said:

    Well, after having written my last comment, I looked up and found “The Horse and the Aryan Debate” by Michel Danino (http://www.omilosmeleton.gr/en/indology_en.asp#a3) which says that horses *WERE* part of the space and time of the Indus civilization.

    Now, that may not prove anything this way or that way, but it isn’t to be ignored!

  • 49. B Shantanu said:

    Some extracts from “The rediscovery of Saraswati – Civilisational advantage of being a Hindu” by Dr Vijaya Rajiva

    …In the Rig Veda there is special mention of the river Saraswati as a mighty river and as one that sustained life for peoples. The Saraswati is mentioned 72 times. The seers of the Rig Veda hailed it as best among rivers and as flowing from the mountains to the sea. It is therefore, natural to assume that the river existed and that the Rig Vedic hymns were composed along its banks and the surrounding river basin.

    However, shortly after the Rig Vedic period, the river disappeared and it is believed that it dried up owing to natural causes such as techtonic shifts. Recent archeological discoveries and evidence from a variety of disciplines such as satellite photography show that the dried-up bed of a large river existed once. The inference then is that the Rig Veda must have been composed before the disappearance of the Saraswati. This dating of the river’s existence and its disappearance shed light on what is a controversial topic today, the date of the Rig Veda and the identity of the people who composed these immortal hymns.

    Colonial scholars since the 19th century and their present day followers have created a tradition (somewhat dubious at this stage of Indic studies) that maintains that the Rig Veda was composed circa 1,500 B.C. at the earliest and that it was the work of the Indo Europeans/Aryans who invaded India or immigrated from the Steppes there shortly before that period. Their further belief was that the Rig Veda was composed along the banks of the Sindhu (Indus), some even arguing that it was composed partially, further north. Readers will be familiar with the phrase Aryan Invasion Theory.

    In the last two decades both Indian and foreign scholars (who can be described as the New Theorists) have challenged this tradition and reclaimed the Veda as the product of indigenous people, native to the Indian subcontinent. On this new theory the Sanskrit people, the Dravidians and the tribal people who spoke the Munda language were the natives of India and amalgamated loosely into a conglomerate of peoples. Further, that they were the peoples of what has been till recently called the Indus Valley Civilisation and which is now called the Saraswati Sindhu Civilization.

    Based on the evidence provided by geneticists that all non African peoples migrated out of Africa some 90,000 years ago and one branch travelling along to the Indian subcontinent, and a further movement of peoples from south to north in India some 40,000 years ago, it is argued by the New Theorists that the Veda was composed in India by indigenous peoples and not by invaders from outside the subcontinent.

    The linguistic evidence also points to the close affinity of the various peoples of the Indian subcontinent. This is described by Dr S Kalyanaraman in his paper Indian Lexicon: An Overview, ll May, 1998 (www.hindunet.org). His later paper Saraswati – Vedic river and Hindu civilisation (2008) is also a remarkable account of the topic.

    …A compendium of papers presented at this conference has been published under the title The Vedic River Saraswati and Hindu Civilisation (Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2008, editor Dr. S. Kalyanaraman). The participants in the conference were scholars, scientists and researchers in their respective fields.

    The literature on the indigenous creation of the Veda and the identification of the Indus Valley Civilisation as proto Vedic is growing.

    The Dutch philosopher, Spinoza, said in the 17th century of the Christian era that Nature and God are one.

    Long before that, the Hindus saw Prakriti (Nature ) and Purusha (God) as aspects of the divine principle. This is the letimotif of Hinduism’s beliefs, the basis of its pluralism, its all embracing tolerance. The divine principle is Infinite and therefore limitless. It is not ONLY this or ONLY that. It can be worshipped in a variety of modes and the Rig Vedic mode set a precedent for Hinduism for all time to come.

    …The current present day controversy around the Saraswati and the composition of the Rig Veda by the indigenous people of India is a challenging and many ways a welcome one since Hindu/Indian scholars are tested in their mettle at the deepest and foundational level of their culture and religion. The discovery of some 2000 sites of what is formerly called the Indus Valley Civilisation, with almost 80 per cent of them being located at the site of Saraswati may indeed be the clinching argument for the continuity of Vedic civilization with the Indus Valley Civilisation, and its identity with that civilization. The new theorists have not only pointed out various similarities between the two cultures, but also the intimate connection of various beliefs and cultural habits between the Indus Valley Civilisation and the Vedic, a connection which can be seen even today in the Indian subcontinent.

    The controversy may rage on between the Aryanists and the New Theorists but with the accumulating evidence centred round the rediscovery of the Saraswati, the latter seem to be winning out.

    Also here: http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/

  • 50. trying_to_help said:

    Reconstructing Indian population history – Nature Article published today.

    Reconstructing Indian population history
    David Reich1,2*, Kumarasamy Thangaraj3*, Nick Patterson2*, Alkes L. Price2,4* & Lalji Singh3

    India has been underrepresented in genome-wide surveys of human variation. We analyse 25 diverse groups in India to
    provide strong evidence for two ancient populations, genetically divergent, that are ancestral to most Indians today. One, the ‘Ancestral North Indians’ (ANI), is genetically close to Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and Europeans, whereas the other, the ‘Ancestral South Indians’ (ASI), is as distinct from ANI and East Asians as they are from each other. By introducing methods that can estimate ancestry without accurate ancestral populations, we show that ANI ancestry ranges from 39–71% in most Indian groups, and is higher in traditionally upper caste and Indo-European speakers. Groups with only ASI ancestry may no longer exist in mainland India. However, the indigenous Andaman Islanders are unique in being ASI-related groups without ANI ancestry. Allele frequency differences between groups in India are larger than in Europe, reflecting strong founder effects whose signatures have been maintained for thousands of years owing to endogamy. We therefore predict that there will be an excess of recessive diseases in India, which should be possible to screen and map genetically.

    ———–

    Go read the article:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7263/pdf/nature08365.pdf

  • 51. trying_to_help said:

    I hope you are indeed insearch of Satya (Truth).

    > evidence centred round the rediscovery of the Saraswati,

    Are you sure? Read this:

    http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/2009-06-communityed.pdf

    Two related articles in this edition:

    —–
    GEOLOGICAL STUDIES
    The Ghaggar and the Sarasvati
    The scientific evidence is against their being one and the same

    And


    GENETIC STUDIES
    The peopling of India
    A genomic unity that goes back 50,000 years

    If biologists had never been told anything
    about the Aryan migration, they would be
    incapable of inferring it from the DNA of
    Indians, whether tribes or upper castes,

  • 52. B Shantanu said:

    @ trying_to_help: I hope you are indeed insearch of Satya (Truth).

    I am…otherwise I would have censored your comment!

    On a more serious note, thanks for the links…help promote the debate..but if I understand the excerpt from “Genetic Studies”, it refutes the AIT – is that right?

  • 53. B Shantanu said:

    Something to ponder over (courtesy email from Dr Kalyanaraman):

    Two images of Vedic River Sarasvati: one is a direct Landsat image showing the forking of the palaeo-channel at Anupgarh; the other is a reconstruction of the palaeo-channel of Vedic River Sarasvati, from glaciers to Rann of Kutch, based on an analysis of many satellite images, particularly ISRO IRS-1C, and review by scores of scientists working with Regional Remote Sensing Services Centre (ISRO), Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

    http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/Nadi

  • 54. Rajiv Chandran said:

    From ‘The Times of India’ a summarization of the report on ancestral genetic markers of Indians quoted above
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Aryan-Dravidian-divide-a-myth-Study/articleshow/5053274.cms

    Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study
    ————————————
    HYDERABAD: The great Indian divide along north-south lines now stands blurred. A pathbreaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on
    ancestral Indian populations says there is a genetic relationship between all Indians and more importantly, the hitherto believed “fact” that Aryans and Dravidians signify the ancestry of north and south Indians might after all, be a myth.

    “This paper rewrites history… there is no north-south divide,” Lalji Singh, former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and a co-author of the study, said at a press conference here on Thursday.

    Senior CCMB scientist Kumarasamy Thangarajan said there was no truth to the Aryan-Dravidian theory as they came hundreds or thousands of years after the ancestral north and south Indians had settled in India.

    The study analysed 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups from 13 states. All the individuals were from six-language families and traditionally “upper” and “lower” castes and tribal groups. “The genetics proves that castes grew directly out of tribe-like organizations during the formation of the Indian society,” the study said. Thangarajan noted that it was impossible to distinguish between castes and tribes since their genetics proved they were not systematically different.

    The study was conducted by CCMB scientists in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Medical School,
    Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. It reveals that the present-day Indian population is a mix of ancient north and south bearing the genomic contributions from two distinct ancestral populations – the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) and the Ancestral South Indian (ASI).

    “The initial settlement took place 65,000 years ago in the Andamans and in ancient south India around the same time, which led to population growth in this part,” said Thangarajan. He added, “At a later stage, 40,000 years ago, the ancient north Indians emerged which in turn led to rise in numbers here. But at some point of time, the ancient north and the ancient south mixed, giving birth to a different set of population. And that is the population which exists now and there is a genetic relationship between the population within India.”

    The study also helps understand why the incidence of genetic diseases among Indians is different from the rest of the world. Singh said that 70% of Indians were burdened with genetic disorders and the study could help answer why certain conditions restricted themselves to one population. For instance, breast cancer among Parsi women, motor neuron diseases among residents of Tirupati and Chittoor, or sickle cell anaemia among certain tribes in central India and the North-East can now be understood better, said researchers.

    The researchers, who are now keen on exploring whether Eurasians descended from ANI, find in their study that ANIs are related to western Eurasians, while the ASIs do not share any similarity with any other population across the world. However, researchers said there was no scientific proof of whether Indians went to Europe first or the other way round.

    Migratory route of Africans

    Between 135,000 and 75,000 years ago, the East-African droughts shrunk the water volume of the lake Malawi by at least 95%, causing migration out of Africa. Which route did they take? Researchers say their study of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands using complete mitochondrial DNA sequences and its comparison those of world populations has led to the theory of a “southern coastal route” of migration from East Africa through India.

    This finding is against the prevailing view of a northern route of migration via Middle East, Europe, south-east Asia, Australia and then to India.

  • 55. Juven Bachan said:

    I have read all the comments by the various contributors on my article concerning the Indus and it ramifications upon Indian history. No doubt as Indians you are fiercely opposed to a theory that our ancestors came from outside. But in the case of India, the existence of the horse has illustrated the deep differences between the Vedic civilization and the Indus indigenous civiliation. Vedic civilization has a mythology of the horse with various stories of its presence. Before its sacrifice it is allowed to roam, its swiftness, its beauty and intelligence, its color and its performance in battle. The Vedas described all these because the Vedic people were integrated and interacted with this animal. We do not find a mythology of the horse in the history of the Indus. In fact, the Indus does not have this mythology because nowhere in its writings do they mention the horse as part of an integrated social setting in their daily lives. Thus, there is no interaction with this animal. This alone provides the evidence that the Vedic or Aryans were an intrusive people who brought this animal among other things to India. The other major difference is the language which is quite different from Sanskrit but that i another long story.

  • 56. B Shantanu said:

    Juven: A hurried comment..will respond in more detail later…For now, can you pl. also have a look at these articles?

    AIT and a sneak attack

    The Rigveda and the Avesta: The Final Evidence” – A blurb

    The Sarasvati-Sindhu Civilisation – More Distortions, More Un-Truths

  • 57. Rohit said:

    Aryan Invasion theory is by white Christian supremacists, planting of proofs later. It is foolhardy to expect words of wisdom and truth from bunch of thugs and tribesmen, still thinking to become आर्य.

  • 58. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Juven – I presume by absence of horse in the Indus you mean the lack of horse iconography and horse remains. Regarding horse remains you may kindly refer to the following article summarizing some of the latest research in the field – which points to the presence of horse (though not true horse) in India from prehistoric times (in the least 3rd millenium BC):
    http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/horse-debate.html
    Again the kind of horse mentioned in the Vedas is not true horse. It has 17 pair of ribs as those of horses found in India – as against 18 pair of true horse.

    Regarding missing horse iconography in the Indus civilization (henceforth ISC for Indus Sarasvati Civilization) you may also be aware that cow iconography is also missing – even though bull iconography is present. It is perilous to build an assumption that cow was not present in the Indus. Going by your logic (and as humorously pointed out by some historians/archeologists) – “did the Indus people learn the mysterious art of raising bulls without having cows?”. The point here is that absence of evidence (by no means clear) cannot be construed as evidence of absence. There are enough pointers to other evidence in this blog which indicate that Vedic could have preceded ISC – and that ISC was a physical manifestation of the culture attested to by the Brahmanas, Sutras and some other post vedic literature.
    Unlike earlier times when we had to resort to the standalone evidence of linguistics and philology, we have a variety of sources to choose from and come to a mature understanding of our history – this is the process in play currently. I am afraid your horse testimony wont do.
    Again could you tell us from what evidence do you conclude what language the indus people spoke. In my knowledge it is still an unresolved issue – which researchers pointing in a variety of directions. Some researchers , S.R. Rao, N Jha, Rajaram, Richter-Ushanas etc pointing in the direction of Sanskrit. Hence your statement of linguistic differences is in the least – premature.
    You would not deny that recent studies have deconstructed the euro-centric narrative so prevalent in the social studies of non european people. It is only now that africans, american-indians, chinese, (even european pagans) are coming to a new natively defined understanding of their history and culture – earlier subsumed by european influence. Kindly look at the jettisoning of the aryan-construct – and it’s replacement by constructs created out of native research – as a similar and much needed corrective to Indian historiography.

  • 59. Rohit said:

    The best one by Rajiv Chandran! “Did the Indus people learn the mysterious art of raising bulls without having cows?”

    I wonder why the folks still use imagination and artificial proofs when there is Ved, Upnishads, Purans, Ramayan, Mahabharat to read and become आर्य?

  • 60. Rohit said:

    No offence but I was wondering as debate floated all around the horse sense, so loved by Juven, is there any study around the calculation of time as in eternal texts like vedas and others like sat yug, treta yug, dwapar yug and then link everything back to historical evidences. It may be that the remains at Harappa Mohanjedaro are post destruction as talked about in culmination of each yuga? I recall that there were evidences of high radio active content in remains of Harappa Mohanjedaro

    I don’t know where exactly I read it but still here are some links

    http://twitscope.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/evidence-of-nuclear-explosion-in-ancient-india/#more-40

    http://books.google.com/books?id=FD3Vsw8JnhUC&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=radioactivity+in+harappa&source=bl&ots=17cAVppiH4&sig=4jfmhd6R3LFLkeSK0N-Jb38iNDA&hl=en&ei=RAvKSpzsC9aCkAXe8NjbBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9#v=onepage&q=radioactivity%20in%20harappa&f=false

    I also had one question around the so called intrusion or invasion theory. Were intruders so thorough that they wiped out entire natives while in modern world history, even US was unable to cleanse America from natives with weaponry like Winchester Rifle? Given that a handful would have survived, did they fled the area on bulls and founded new religions of world? Or they all became Aryans and left their bulls and urban culture for a nomadic life with intruders?

  • 61. Dr S Kalyanraman said:

    *Vedic roots of Indian civilization *

    – Emigration of some Vedic people from Sarasvati river basin to western Asia ca. 2nd millennium BCE — BB Lal (2009)

    “This book also contains a lot of new material, particularly that countering a strange twist given by certain scholars, namely that if there was no ‘Aryan Invasion’, the Aryans must have still come from outside—from the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex of Central Asia. Further, there is a chapter which opens up a new vista, namely that of ‘Emigration’ of a section of the Vedic people themselves to western Asia in the second millennium BCE (Lal 2009, p. viii).”

    “But altogether, none of the aforesaid motifs or objects ever cross the Indus, entering the region occupied by the Vedic Aryans, as clearly specified in the Rigvedic hymns, 10.75. 5-6 (see pp. 115 and 126). Then where is the case for the supposed BMAC immigration into Vedic India (Lal
    2009, p. 112).”

    “Some time in the second millennium BCE the Vedic Indians themselvesventured to emigrate westwards. This is vouchsafed by many a document unearthed in ancient Turkey, particularly by the well know treaty between aMitanni king named Matiwaza and a Hittite king Suppiluliuma, dated to the 14th century BCE. They invoke as witnesses the Vedic gods (sic) Indra, Mitra, Nasatyas and Varuna (Lal 2009, p. 140).”

    “The most ancient religious text of the Parsis, viz. the Avesta, also affirms this emigration. On linguistic grounds the Avesta is a younger sister of the Vedas, but it portrays a picture of some of religious dissent from the elder. In it is also mentioned the land of Hapta Hendu, which is none other than the Sapta Sindhu of the Rigveda. (It is well known that the ‘s’ of Vedic Sanskrit changes to ‘h’ of the Avestan language) (Lal 2009, p. 140).”

    “Last but not the least comes the affirmative statement by a Vedic text itself, namely the Baudhayana Srautasutra, which clearly refers to the emigration of section of the Vedic people westwards—to Gandhara (modern Kandahar Province of Afghanistan), Parsu (Persia) and further west to Aratta (modern Ararat), bordering on Turkey where the aforementioned inscription mentioning Vedic deities has been found (Fig. 6.2) (Lal 2009, p. 140).”

    Lal, B. B. (2009). How deep are the roots of the Indian civilization?: archaeology answers. New Delhi: Aryan Books International. ISBN:978-81-7305-376-4 (HB)

    Read on, excerpts from Chapters six and seven: http://www.scribd.com/doc/
    21627904/Lal-2009-Archaeology

  • 62. B Shantanu said:

    Excerpts from this must-read post The Aryan Debate: Horse by Varnam:

    In 1974, archaeologists J. P. Joshi and A. K. Sharma found horse bones in Surkotada, a Harappan site in Gujarat. This was a sensational discovery: first, it was the bones of a horse and second, it was dated to the period 2265 B.C.E. to 1480 B.C.E, which corresponds to the Mature Harappan period[1].

    Finding horse remains, especially from India, are always controversial. For example, one of the earliest claims of horse is dated to 4500 B.C.E in the Aravalli range in Rajasthan – the same place from where the Harappans got their copper. This period is the same time when horse was first domesticated in the world. So there are questions: was the artifact obtained from a Bronze Age level even though the site was Neolithic? Was it really a horse — the Equus Caballus —rather than a donkey or onager.?

    Due to the large size of bones and teeth of an onager, it is hard to distinguish it from a horse. Also sometimes the reports that come with excavations have insufficient measurements, drawings, and photographs required for independent assessment[1]. Due to this the findings are always suspect; it is always concluded that the horse arrived quite late to India.

    Such questions arise because in the Indo-Aryan debate — if Vedic civilization pre-dated, co-existed or followed the Harappan civilization — a key factor is the horse. In this debate the main argument against Harappa being Indo-Aryan can be summarized as follows.

    1. According to the popular version of Indian pre-history, horse — an animal not native to India — was bought to India by the Indo-Aryans when they came in 1500 B.C.E. There is no evidence of horse in India before 1500 B.C.E.
    2. Among the numerous seals found in Harappa there is none which represent a horse, while other animals like the bull, buffalo, and goat are represented.
    3. In Rg Veda, the horse (asva) has cultural and religious significance. Since there is absence of horse in Harappa, it can only mean that the Vedic people arrived after the decline of the Harappan civilization.

    The find at Surkotada upset this narrative because it crossed a lakshman rekha into Mature Harappan and also violated the threshold for the Indo-Aryan arrival. Hence the findings themselves became suspect – at least till 1991.


    To understand how controversial the issue of dating horse India is, we have to look at another story. In 1971, K. R Alur found horse bones from a Neolithic site in Hallur, Karnataka and they were dated between 1500 and 1300 B.C.E. Alur’s report sparked a controversy and he was asked to clarify his find since it went against the prevalent belief that Aryans introduced the horse around 1500 B.C.E. A re-excavation of Hallur was done and 21 years later Allur reported that he had indeed found the true horse and he could not deny or alter this scientific fact[1].

    Besides these, there have been other finds as well which includes horse teeth from Baluchistan dating to a pre-Harappan level, from Allahabad (2265 – 1480 B.C.E) [1], horse bones dated between 2450 and 2000 B.C.E in Chambal Valley[2], and an upper molar from Kalibangan[3]. Horse remains have been found in other locations — in Mohenjo-daro, Rupar, Inamgaon, and Kalibangan —- but they all are from a later period.

    Also, E.J.H Mackay in 1931 and R.E.M.Wheeler in 1968 found terracotta models of animals in Mohenjo-daro and one of them was the horse. From this Wheeler concluded that the horse was known from an earlier period in Baluchistan. Thus, from a complete absence of horse, we see little evidence of horse remains around the subcontinent, but not quite a lot. Maybe horse bones are lying undiscovered in various bags in Indian museums[1].

    If horse bones date to a period much earlier than the proposed Indo-Aryan arrival, who bought them? Did the Aryans come much before than expected — maybe before the decline of the Indus valley area? In fact one theory argues just that. According to this version, two Indo-Aryan groups — the Dasas and Panis — arrived around 2100 B.C.E from the steppes via Central Asia bringing horses with them. Fine. If the Indo-Aryans arrived earlier does this mean that the date of Rg Veda can be pushed to an earlier date than 1200 B.C.E? The theory says, the folks who came in 2100 B.C.E were not the composers of the Veda; they came in a second wave, a couple of centuries later[4]1.

    While such justifications fit in data with a pre-defined conclusion, there are few points that need to be addressed.

    * Why are there so few horse remains and depictions of horse in India prior to 1500 B.C.E?
    * If horses were not bought by the Indo-Aryans in the first wave of migration, then who did?

    …Thus if horses did not arrive in a Big Bang moment, how did they end up in the subcontinent. To begin with, the horse, a rare animal, is not native to India: there are no wild horses in India; we only have the lambi race ka ghoda. Even as late as the 11th and 13th century CE, horses were imported: Marikkars controlled the horse tradewith Arabia and supplied them to Muslim rulers and Vijayanagara.

    The people of the subcontinent had trade relations with the external world much before 1500 B.C.E. Also the trade relations between various parts of India and the Near East, dating as far back as 4000 BCE with the find of cotton in Dhuwelia and carnelian bead in Mesopotamia in the third millennium BCE, showed that trade need not introduce a cultural change or introduce new people. Isn’t it possible that the horse too arrived just like that due to the trade relations with Central Asia? [1]2

    Finally, consider this: is the horse required to identify a site as Indo-Aryan? The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex is another Indo-Aryan site where the horse was depicted in grave goods was never found in large numbers in excavations. But this lack of horse bones did not prevent scholars from identifying it as an Indo-Aryan culture, so why not the Indus valley?[1].

  • 63. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    CIA, USA claims following. This information needs citation. Lots information is there on their website and no citation offered.

    Ethnic groups:
    Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)

    “India Factbook”

    Jai Hind!
    कृषीदेश

  • 64. K. Harapriya said:

    Here’s another article supporting a possible out of India theory.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ancestors-of-Chinese-came-from-India-Study/articleshow/5328596.cms

  • 65. B Shantanu said:

    Another *must read* post by Varnam: “Who all had Horses?”

  • 66. Rohit said:

    Why only this, Pre Historic era caves in MP Bhimbetka have drawings of Horses, Warriors on Horses. Bhimbetka is the place where Pandus rested for some time.

  • 67. Rajiv Chandran said:

    I think AIT can be laid to rest as modern research has comprehensively discredited it. On the other hand other historical distortions which are offsprings of this beast still plague our historical consciousness and need to be dealt with if we are to claim our history back.

    Traditional history from puranic and other indigenous sources are widely at variance with Indian history as constructed by the west. Indigenous history despite being copius and showing remarkable internal consistency has been unfairly rejected by indologists and their Indian counterparts.

    Basically history is constructed from what people say about themselves and thier ancestors. This is true for every region. All other information can only corroborate or debunk the literature. However in India’s case the historical literature has itself has been deliberately rendered suspect by Indologists – who then try to construct history out of secondary and tertiary sources, and of course motivated guesswork, rendering these reconstruction processes highly unreliable and biased. Case of point being – trying to establish synchronicity between alexanders invasion and indian history – when no indian sources mention alexander ; again another being trying to derive the date of Buddha from Sinhalese historical literature – all the while discarding literature closer home ; again another being arbitrarily assigning dates to Sankara when all literature in the various mathas established by him point otherwise

    It is time therefore for Indians to look afresh at

    A lot of problems still await comprehensive refutation, investigation and reconstruction. Some of these are :-

    1. Research into dynasties of the vedic time line (pre-kali)
    2. Research into India’s pre-history (non-recorded) using tools such as genetics etc.
    3. Re-evaluation and reconstruction of dynasties of the kali age.
    4. Debunk the greek-synchronicity currently in vogue
    5. Re-evaluation of dates of Buddha and Sankara
    6. Re-evaluation of the roles of the kings of dakshinapatha, nepal and kashmir
    7. De-mythologizing Panwar dynasty kings like Vikramaditya and Salivahana of Ujjain.
    8, Re-evaluation of India’s historical geography.
    … and many more

    Two sites which provide more information in this regard are referred to below :

    http://kmrao.wordpress.com/
    http://trueindianhistory-kvchelam.blogspot.com/

    I point this out as it AIT has become a straw man which orientalist indologists would like us to spend time and energy debunking – avoiding the much more important issues of indian historiography. Also having alternate chronology and more detailed historical model is perhaps the best way to debunk AIT.

    I hope that the same kind of momentum and impetus built around debunking AIT can now be brought to play in debunking the falsely constructed history of India

  • 68. B Shantanu said:

    Thanks for the comment and the links Rajiv. I am bit rushed for time right now but will have a look at them in a few days.

  • 69. Aman said:

    Rajeev: If you’re referring to the I in what you call the AIT, you may have a point, but if you’re proposing that the white-skinned Aryans were indigenous to India, I beg to differ.

    You talk of genetic studies. Here’s one: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090923143333.htm
    (Shantanu, this will surely interest you)

    As for indigenous, who is indigenous? Unless Life originated here on the reduced subcontinent, none of us are indigenous. :-)

    As for theories, newer research constantly either validates, negates or alters older hypotheses. We keep learning.

    What we know now is this:
    The white skinned guys in India, came from outside India. Genetic studies confirm this.
    Harappans buried their dead. Since cremation was more a pre-Zoroastrian Persian ritual or a class-specific Greco-Roman ritual, one tends to suppose that the practice came from European influences.
    Avestan Persian is very close to pre-Rigvedic Sanskrit. The genesis is undoubtedly in the area that is modern day Iran.
    Krishna’s son Samb built a temple where the priests were imported from Persia. They’re known as the Maga Brahmins today. Pathak’s trace their ancestry back there. Care to argue with a Pathak? :-)

    Anyway…

  • 70. B Shantanu said:

    Aman: I had a quick look…Interesting…although some of the stuff I have read before contradicts it.

    Specifically, please read this; even better, go right to theoriginal source – also far more knowledgeable than me on this!

    Also, it is worth noting the possibility of “outward” migration (from India to C Asia) which might also explain some pieces of the puzzle.

  • 71. Aman said:

    Shantanu,

    Forgive the plainspeak, but:

    - For someone who is contradicting the Aryan Invasion theory, a contradiction of his earlier reading shouldn’t be shocking at all. Right?
    - varnam etc. do not qualify as a genetic research project do they?
    - Would you actually set more store by varnam? Or by the findings of a genetic research project link that I gave??

    - And again, you’re quoting “possibilities” backed by nothing, in the face of my quoting research to you???
    Is there any proof of this outward migration that you speak of? Every strand of research points to an influx. Unless we’re talking about sheer possibility. Then Atlantis existed, possibly. And Eve was indeed created from Adam’s rib. Possibly.

    kya boss?

    Remember “In God we trust. Everyone else, please bring data to the table”?

    Here’s some data:
    Your post claims that they forgot to mention about their wanderings in the Vedas. Assuming the Vedas are complete & authoritative, here’s one submission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bh%C4%81ratas
    There is menton of the crossing of a river by men protecting the fire. The river Indus, possibly? The fire worshipping Zoroastrians, possibly?

    varnam also acknowledges that the migration happened in that post, unless I’ve read it wrong.

    You may also want to look up different haplogroups found in India & where they originated from. You will find Europe in there. That piece of genetic evidence should put paid to any “out of India” possibilities.

    The research I quoted is the latest most updated genetic study. It’s the one to look at over previous ones.

    The fact is that both the ANI & the ASI came from outside & settled here. Others came later. Either we’re all outsiders or we’re all indigenous. We can’t have two different rules for different people, can we?

  • 72. B Shantanu said:

    *** COMMENT COMBINED ***

    Aman: I am not clear…who is “shocked?”

    varnam etc. do not qualify as a genetic research project do they?
    Did you see/read the links/references at the bottom of Varnam’s post linked?

    Would you actually set more store by varnam?
    Yes I would since this puzzle is unlikely to be solved by genetics alone (and research – as we have seen before – keeps evolving and is rarely definitive)

    Is there any proof of this outward migration that you speak of?
    For a number of years pretty much the same question was asked when people used to talk of River Saraswati (some GoI material still refuses to acknowledge its existence); now we know better. I don’t have any “proof” re. the “Outward Migration” but will post it here when/if I find something.

    ***
    Also, we are now getting into pretty serious detail and complexity here…Note that Rajiv has mentioned the same study that you quote in his comment #54 from which I am reproducing this bit below:

    Senior CCMB scientist Kumarasamy Thangarajan said there was no truth to the Aryan-Dravidian theory as they came hundreds or thousands of years after the ancestral north and south Indians had settled in India.

    So we are actually discussing a number of things here (Aryans, Outward/Inward Migration, ancestry of Indians etc) lumped broadly under “AIT”..

    Anyways, I will refrain from commenting on this thread for a while and instead request Rajiv Chandran or someone more knowledgeable to give us a view on the Nature study that you have cited…You are of course welcome to share more links/references.

    P.S. It is also worth bearing in mind that the word “Aryan” should not be used to (and does not) mean “fair-skinned”.

  • 73. ACH (author) said:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0110_060110_india_genes.html

    India Acquired Language, Not Genes, From West, Study Says
    Brian Handwerk
    for National Geographic News
    January 10, 2006

    Most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading Central Asian steppe dwellers, a new genetic study reports.

    The finding disputes a long-held theory that a large invasion of central Asians, traveling through a northwest Indian corridor, shaped the language, culture, and gene pool of many modern Indians within the past 10,000 years.

    The data reveal that the large majority of modern Indians descended from South Asian ancestors who lived on the Indian subcontinent before an influx of agricultural techniques from the north and west arrived some 10,000 years ago.

  • 74. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Firstly occurances of the word ‘Arya’ is first found in ancient Indian literature (where it refers to noble demeanor, gentlemanly conduct etc) and Persian texts (where it refers to the royalty). The word ‘Aryan’ is a neologism coined in the 19th century and refers to the imaginary white racial stock – speakers of equally imaginary constructed ancestral language called indo-european.

    Prevalent construction of Indian history is contingent on the influx of these Aryans into India circa 1500 BC – any later and subsequent historical developements in India cannot be accomodated, any earlier and the IE language diffusion model cannot be explained satisfactorily. This construction and conclusion is mostly based on linguistics and philology. The model also postulates dravidians entering india in circa 3000 BC and aboriginal tribes in still remote prehistory. The social constructs such as caste are alleged to have resulted from these repeated influxes.

    Until a few years ago it was claimed that this could be proven through advances in genetics. However genetic evidence does not validate substantial new genetic ingress into india in the mentioned timeline. What it does indicate is extraordinary diversity (second only to africa), and the uniqueness of the indian genepool compared to east asian and european and middle-eastern gene-pools. Furthermore past research has led researchers like Oppenhiemer to conclude that India formed the primary locus of the genetic spread outside of africa. The wikipedia entry for Archeogenetics of the subcontinent summarizing genetic research and archeological implications point towards the same conclusion (Wikipedia, n.d). About Riech et al (2009) while noting thier observation that more research is needed, the recent paper does not corroborate AIT – as it does not provide dates for timescales for divergence of ANI stock and the admixture wtih ASI stock.

    ASI genes date 50~60K years back to the immediate aftermath of migration across the horn of africa – and not to the 3000 BC timescale as proposed by AIT. Given the paucity of 100% ASI gene carriers in Indian mainland, and Kivisld’s (2003) contention that “Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene”, it seems that the proposed ANI-ASI admixture took place at – or has been taking place since – a time far anterior to the proposed timescales of AIT – thereby negating it. However it would pay to await further studies about the age of ANI and the ASI-ANI admixture, and the question of relative antiquity of ANI over CEU (Europeans) or vice-versa. It is instructive to quote what two researchers who authored the paper have to say about this subject :

    Per Thangarajan (timesofindia,2009) “The initial settlement took place 65,000 years ago in the Andamans and in ancient south India around the same time, which led to population growth in this part. At a later stage, 40,000 years ago, the ancient north Indians emerged which in turn led to rise in numbers here. But at some point of time, the ancient north and the ancient south mixed, giving birth to a different set of population. And that is the population which exists now and there is a genetic relationship between the population within India.”

    Again per Lalji (Jaibihar,2009) “The findings show us that there is no need to speak separately about Aryans and Dravidians. The politically sensitive question of the country’s North-South divide has been answered through this research.”

    Therefore from the above it is evident that science of Genetics does not attest to any ‘white aryan’ influx. It refers to prehistoric timelines far anterior to AIT. Even so even linguists and historian supporters of AIT have begun to insist that it was not people, but just language and culture which sneaked into India. Even this does not find support as archeological markers do not attest to influx of any new culture into India in the specified timeline – rather only to movements within India, or even out of India (Lal, 2007).

    We have argued previously that AIT finds no support in ancient literature, archeology, archeo-geological studies, astronomy or mathematics. Also there no consensus amongst philologists over this issue. It has the extremely unfortunate implacation of distorting historical timelines, making traditional historical material appear suspect etc. All this considering that AIT is a fairly recent construction totally unknown th indians across the ages – which has been thrust on us by historical misfortune of colonialism. It is also a dead horse which will not come alive no matter what stick we beat it with.

    References

    jaibihar, (Sep 25,2009) ‘Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study’,[Online] Available from: http://jaibihar.com/aryan-invasion-theory-a-myth-study/12693/

    Kivisild, T et al, (2003)’The Genetic Heritage of the Earliest Settlers Persists Both in Indian Tribal
    and Caste Populations’ [Online] Available from: http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Kivisild2003b.pdf

    Lal, B.B. (2007) ‘Let not the 19th century paradigms continue to haunt us!’ [Online] Available from: http://www.archaeologyonline.net/indology/2007/19th%20Century%20Paradimgs.pdf

    Reich, D et al, (2009) ‘Restructuring Indian Population History’ [Online] Available from: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/12019127/nature08365

    timesofindia, (Sep 1,2009) ‘Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study’,[Online] Available from: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Aryan-Dravidian-divide-a-myth-Study/articleshow/5053274.cms

    Wikipedia,(n.d.) ‘Genetics and archaeogenetics of South Asia’,[Online] Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetics_and_archaeogenetics_of_South_Asia#cite_ref-Oppenheimer_7-0

  • 75. Aman said:

    The link I’ve posted is a 2009 study. And that says genetically both groups came from outside. One before. One later. Now they’ve all gotten mixed. But trace your roots & you’re an outsider. Ignore the darn roots & we all belong wherever we wanna belong. I’m done arguing this.

  • 76. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Aman

    You are misplaced in assuming that we have a problem with “coming from anywhere/somwhere”. I think you are unfair to us. We all know and understand that genetic data strongly indicate an African origin for all mankind. This is scarcely point of argument.

    The point of argument is dishonest scholarship indulged in the construction of Indian history, the myth making that is still prevalent in that area and the scientific developments that are slowly but steadily forcing change.

    I have already explained in my post why AIT is not compatible with even the latest genetic research. By the way the link you posted is about the research paper I mention under “Reich, D et al, (2009)”. Please read the oringinal.

  • 77. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Please go through this. It is in two parts …and is a 150 page, solution for the so-called Aryan problem, published in a peer-reviewed journal.
    It is the longest research paper in the humanities in the history of India since independance and follows as interesting approach. Anyone who
    refutes one part of the hypothesis will contradict himself somewhere else,

    It also provides methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans.

    - Part one is just a high level overview with proof

    - Part two is a detailed century by century model (This is the most important part)

    Part one http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1324506

    Part Two http://ssrn.com/abstract=1541822

  • 78. B Shantanu said:

    Courtesy Dr Kalyanaraman-ji, Rigveda undeciphered text

    Includes specific references to words and phrases that may have been misinterpreted and misunderstood.

  • 79. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    LET ME SHARE MY COMPLETE PAPERS WITH YOU. KALYANARAMAN HAD POSTED THEM ELSEWHERE EARLIER

    Here is the complete , comprehensive solution to the so-called Aryan problem
    Part one is a high level overview. Part two is much more interesting
    This is one of the longest research papers published in a peer-reviewed journal since independance.
    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/27103044/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One
    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/27105677/Sujay-Npap-Part-Two
    > Mirror:
    > http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25880426/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One
    > http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25865304/SUJAY-NPAP-Part-Two
    Links to the journal
    Part one http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1324506
    Part Two http://ssrn.com/abstract=1541822
    SUJAY RAO MANDAVILLI

  • 80. B Shantanu said:

    Thanks Sh Mandavilli for posting these links here.

    All: A brief excerpt frm another link (albeit somewhat dated): A theory replaces a hunch:
    Even the great Wikipedia perpetuates the inaccuracy.
    The so-called “Aryan Invasion Theory” has no archaeological evidence supporting it.
    Therefore, it should have been called the “Aryan Invasion Hunch.” The PNAS paper however forwards a real theory based on actual scientific evidence which throws cold water on the Aryan Invasion Hunch…

  • 81. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Here are some interviews ostensibly in support of AIT conducted by the otherwise obscure left intellectual – Prabir Purkayastha. The interviews are funny because of the obviousness with which the interviewer tries to ‘guide’ the interviewee with leading hints. On a serious note the mistakes that that commentators make are apparent to observers – among them obfuscating issues, and resorting to old tropes . I shall post a longer analysis at leisure, Posting this here so that people can view and offer their own rebuttal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hj4UGd0hnY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shO2DNOpvQQ

  • 82. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    The AIT has already been abandoned by Romila Thapar, Witzel and others — let’s not flog a dead horse .. there is no living mainstream scholar who beleives in the AIT anymore

    Those who claim that the Indus was Vedic are politically motivated.. so are those who support the Dravidian hypothesis

    1. Sanskrit was a liturgical language not the language of the masses
    2. The IVC originated in Baluchistan – Vedic culture originated in the Vedic homeland
    3. IVC was based on contacts with Mesopotamia – Vedic culture was not
    4. We have to account for all aspects of Hinduism not Vedism alone

    the transfer of power happened through a series of acculturations . There are very detailed acculturation models proposed by the Allchins, Jim Shaffer. I have proposed a 150 page acculturation model -posted above.

    While most of those who beleive in the VIT are innocent, this is a part of the BJP’s greater plan to eliminate muslims and christians. As Indians lets be wary and keep the larger interests of the nation in mind

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  • 83. Rohit said:

    There is no need to believe in those thoughts which do not originate from our land, for their motive cannot be anything but ulterior and inferior… The Aryan Invasion Theory is handiwork of Christians and done in era when India as not independent and Church had strict control on individual Christians. The proponents of Aryan Invasion Theory were all Christians. Christianity has it’s own motive so it cannot speak of anything good about anything except Christianity… Similar is Islam… One has to be aware of fundamental thought process of a person in order to judge and fundamental thought process of Islamic and Christian is monolithism which is beyond rationality.

  • 84. Rajiv Chandran said:

    @Sujay Rao Mandavilli

    >>> “The AIT has already been abandoned by …”

    As a number of scholars in this debate – most notably Elst – have pointed out, most alternate models lately trotted out, use the same assumptions, follow similar processes, and lead to the same conclusions as AIT. Therefore to many of us, AIT is a catch all phrase that describes not just the invasionary scenario, but which encompasses all exogenous structures lately introduced into the study of Indian history. So our horse is not really dead – merely pretending that it is.

    >>> “Those who claim that the Indus was Vedic are politically motivated …”

    Implicit in this statement is the blind equation of vedic ISC scholars with dravdianists , and a blanket condemnation of all scholarship that differs from the current academic consensus. THe political antecedents of modern IE scholarship is well documented, there is no reason to believe that it has suddenly become apolitical. Let us not travel further down this troubled path.

    >>> “1. Sanskrit was a liturgical language not the language of the masses:

    History of origin and development of sanskrit has so far been explained under the IE model – which is exogenous. An rewriting of the history of sanskrit based on traditional ideas and indigenous sources alone would shed much light into the evolution of sanskrit – till such a time it is safe to say that we do not know enough.

    >>> “2. The IVC originated in Baluchistan – Vedic culture originated in the Vedic homeland”

    Surviving archeological remains merely attest that there is continuity between the Mehrgarh culture and SVC. Continuity and origins should not be confused.

    >>> “3. IVC was based on contacts with Mesopotamia – Vedic culture was not”

    Correction – IVC/ISC ‘maintained’ contacts with Mesopotamia, Vedic literature ‘probably’ does not ‘attest’ to such contacts. This can be explained as sparseness of the mundane in liturgical literature. In short absence of evidence cannot be considered to be evidence of absence.

    >>> “4. We have to account for all aspects of Hinduism not Vedism alone”

    Agree. Hinduism is a british invented neologism which excludes some indigenous faiths and privileges one system over the other, one must be discrete in using that term. However vedism’s primacy is because of the sheer amount of literature it brings to the debate on Indian history.

    >>> “the transfer of power happened through a series of acculturations …”

    As stated earlier the assumptions and the conclusions are the same as AIT. Again this exogenous idea finds no attestation in traditional literature. Robust models based solely on the voluminous indigenous sources and testimony need to be developed and tested for their sufficiency and completeness – before bringing in external models.

    >>> “While most of those who beleive in the VIT are innocent, .. part of the BJP’s greater plan to eliminate muslims and christians”

    This statement needs to be contested. AIT was contested since the time of its inception – long before BJP etc – including by such stalwarts as Vivekananda and Aurobindo. Later people like K D Sethna wrote remarkably prescient and informed tomes on the same subject – leading to the same conclusions – much before the current evidence against AIT became available.
    More recently there has been a surge in curiosity amongst Indians about their own history and culture. The stock explanations resorted to by academia are no longer satisfactory. The reasons many Indians disagree with the academic consensus has more to do with the academia not being able to provide satisfactory answers and instead resorting to familiar tropes, labels, accusations and threats. The deconstruction of the eurocentric narrative and how it has influenced our understanding about ourselves – has also caused many Indians to critically examine western theories, categories and constructs as applied in studies of Indian history and culture. Questioning the AIT is therefore a part of a natural process of disengaging from a eurocentric (more specifically anglocentric) intellectual superstructure. To many this awareness is independent of political affiliations. Moreover there is nothing preventing other political parties from adopting and accommodating this new awareness. Sticking labels to people, making unsubstantiated allegations etc only serves to destroy debate by alienating people . It is this that one must be wary of.

  • 85. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Almost everyone has misused history. First the British, then the Marxists (Marxist ideology),
    Tamil nationalists, even Hindu haters like Kancha Ilaiah – anybody who is against Hinduism blindly is a India hater because
    he is against a part of his own country. correct? correct ! I agree 100 percent.
    To all these people we can say you are setting a wrong example. Hindutva forces were actually the last to start misusing
    history. Good. If you want to beleive in the VIT – 10 million people speaking Sanskrit as their mother tongue, you may do so.
    The Harappans ate beef also, and wrote from right to left. Possehl and Kenoyer laugh at the Vedic Indus theory. Every country
    has to build its own research capability, discarding British ideas are good but note the following points about the Hindutva movement and then pass your own judgement:I am saying this in the interests of the nation and not to offend any individual

    (a) In the beginning, some Hindutvavaadis supported the idea that “Aryans” came from outside.
    (b) After the discovery of the IVC , they became jittery because it was more advanced
    (c) Almost all the people who took up research on the history of the Hindi belt which is crucial for the understanding of
    Indian culture are foreigners – Pargiter, Rau, Smith, Witzel and now me.
    Which Hindutvavaadi is interested in history or research?..Not interested in what is “theirs” every thing which is not “theirs” should be theirs -I am talking about many cases (Hence the VIT- through fraud!, apart from those who are confused or innocent.) I know most or all people in this blog are very good people with good intentions, but that is the problem. People are getting fooled.
    (d) They are only interested in whether the Aryans were indegenious or not. Why this obsession after 5000 years- this is the
    cornerstone of the hindutva ideology. The Kurgan hypothesis and Hoch’s research suggest that they came from Central asia in extremely small numbers. If you want to beleive in the indegenous Aryan theory, fine- you can beleive in whatever theory you want. but why this obsession after 5000 years when identities change every 30 years, and no other country is worried about this. They migrated to Iran and
    elsewhere as well. Nobody is worried there. Is this history,research, politics or communal propaganda, tell me ? I know most or all people in this blog are very good people with good intentions, but that is the problem. Sometimes people are fooled.
    (e) Here is another Hindutva propaganda . Is “ours” older or is “theirs” older…Vedic is pre-ivc or not..Mehrgarh dates to
    7000 BC!! Is this history, politics or communal propaganda, tell me?
    (f) They even indulge in fraud and an outsider like Witzel has to expose them in English and Hindi newspapers. what a shame !
    (g) Can you show me one encyclopadiea which describes the AIT except from thoese who may be politically motivated? Current
    theories don’t use the word invasion at all, so you can’t call them AIT..its a trojan horse to communalize history
    (h) There is a major debate on the Indus script in all international newpapers. Hindutvavaadis are not interested in this.
    Why? it falls beyond their narrow definition of Hinduism. If you get rid of this ideology you will be able to accept the diversity and plurality of India and make India a hub of scientific research.

    While most supporters of Hindutva and everybody in this blog may be innocent and very good people, people like Rajaram must learn to think of themselves as Indians first.. Am I correct in saying that? I am a South Indian. I have opposed the “Dravidian” Harappan hypothesis. Whether my theory is politically motivated or not, you can decide for yourself.

    God save India and Hinduism from Hindutva. Alan Sokal reviewing Rajaram’s work called it cheap communal propaganda and trash.

    Read Elst’s recent views on Hindutva “Hindutva is a fairly crude idelology…” Is this our idea of progress after independance?

    Is this what our founding fathers had in mind ? Anyone can beleive in whatever ideology they want, but if it is not in the interests of the nation people will object. Beleive me, I know the Aryan problem in and out … Hinduism has been a diverse and accomodating religion and has had an alomst blemishless track record of tolerance for 5000 years.. the events of the past two decades have tarnsihed its reputation somewhat. i know all the people in this blog are good people, but let us keep the interests of the nation first

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  • 86. B Shantanu said:

    Dear Sujay and Rajiv: This is turning out to be a fascinating debate…just as I started on my vacation…

    I will definitely respond…you may have to wait for a few days for that though…sorry about that.

    In the meantime, please do continue the discussion. It is thought-provoking.

    Thanks.

  • 87. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Hi Rajiv,

    Please read my papers especially part Two (Part two is the most important) and then pass your judgement.) It has been cleared by three mainstream archeologists and is now being researched by scientists in the Genographic project. Pls let me know if there is any connection between acculturation and invasion – read part two mainly.

    As far as the AIT is concerned, even if I ask you to beleive it , you won’t beleive it because you are as educated and intelligent as me.. so the question of debating the AIT does not arise !

    The Aryan problem is probably the most complex historical puzzle in history. Let me quote Romila Thapar

    “Let me begin by saying the obvious, that the Aryan question is the probably most complex, complicated question in Indian history. ………………..What I tried to suggest to you first of all is that the Aryan question is a very complex question and I hope you are all absolutely staggered by the complexity and reeling under all the complexities that I have pointed out to you. So please do not take one version as “the” version. Always question every version, including mine. The second point that I want to emphasize is that I think as historians it is time now that we moved away from this century and a half old obsession with who were the Aryans, what was their origin, how we identify them, who has descended from them. These are irrelevant questions. These are questions that are
    only important to political parties and political ideologies. The important question is to identify the
    data that you have for reconstructing early phases of Indian society and how to proceed with this reconstruction. I have tried to suggest one way in which this reconstruction can be carried out. I may be incorrect but I would like you to look at this period now in terms of a search for a historical
    reconstruction of the times.”

    Here is the complete , comprehensive solution to the so-called Aryan problem
    Part one is a high level overview. Part two is much more interesting
    This is one of the longest research papers published in a peer-reviewed journal since independance.
    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/27103044/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One
    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/27105677/Sujay-Npap-Part-Two
    > Mirror:
    > http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25880426/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One
    > http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25865304/SUJAY-NPAP-Part-Two

    Read both parts but concentrate on part two

    Links to the journal
    Part one http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1324506
    Part Two http://ssrn.com/abstract=1541822

    SUJAY RAO MANDAVILLI

  • 88. Sandeep said:

    Hi all,
    Just few points to add:

    Regarding Frawleys paradox:
    IVC does not have script for their language. The symbols on tablets found in archeological sites are mere symbols, not script of a language. Please see the following paper:
    “The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis: The Myth of a Literate Harappan Civilization”

    Then how do we know which language they spoke? Can’t we suppose they spoke ancient sanskrit but didn’t have a script for it at that time. There are languages that don’t have script, like Tulu (Aishwarya Rai’s mother tongue).

    Mr. Neville keeps on asking for trading records of horses. How can someone find trading records of a particular animal which are 4000 years old? Did he find a copy of Rig veda which is composed in 1500 BC? I heard the oldest written copy is a very recent one. If trading records and scriptures were written and preservable, which idiot will preserve them for future generations instead of Rig Veda. I think the records and scriptures might have been written on perishable material but scriptures survived as they are mainly passed orally (I never mug my super market reciepts and pass over them to my future generations :-) )

  • 89. Juven Bachan (author) said:

    The Dilemma of the Indus

    One glaring area that depicts the true charater of the Indus Civilization is the very ancient burial ground cemeteries which are quite older than the Vedic cremation sites. The burial of the dead is characteristic of the Indus in its non -Aryan appearance and telling evidence of its non-Aryan culture. There are no description of cremation in Indus literature or its religion but the evidence of the cemeteries with their dead are there for visual evidence. Indus literature does not mention the existence of horses, chariots and wheels nor the emergence of a new language. The attempts by Indian revisionists and others is merely an attempt to merge the two cultures and civilizations together and thus no outside intrusion would destabilize ancient Indian unity. But Indian ethnogenesis
    now being challenged to include Aryans and the Indus people as one has not caught on in the scholarly and academic world. Because it is hard to think that the fair skinned Aryans who was suppose to be in a hot tropical country like India since 3300BC, with its scorching sun and oppressive heat, should still maintain their white , fair skinned color to this day. By all reasoning, the whole population should be dark skinned, that is if they and the Indus are one and living in the same region since that time. Secondly, The mixing of genes with the very dark indigenous Indus people should have changed its population to one dark color. But the northern half of India is still very fair and white skinned in character. It just does not make any sense. The revisionists still cannot make a case for an Aryan India. There are too many contradictions in the population, in its culture, its religion and its society. Most likely, somehow, somewhere, there was an intrusion of white blood, whether it was peaceful or warlike remains a growing question. India’s brilliant civilization fell victim to geographical disruption as rivers ran dry and fertile lands turned into deserts and because of this,the climate shifted and changed drastically. New people with a new culture and society took over the old thus forging a vibrant civilization that consisted of kingdoms. This they did with the horse and chariot. It was the means that their civilizations expanded. Inherent in this, was uncanny resemblances with European traits and customs. Their language Sanskrit is virtually the same as most European languages, their religion is the same as ancient European ones that is integrated with horses and chariots, sky gods and Fathers and Pitris or Valhalla are similar to the ancient European pagan gods. None of this is found in the Indus seals, scripts, art or customs. For those who agree that the Indus is Aryan, maybe they should first decipher the language of the Indus. Perhaps, only then we can see the deep differences between the two cultures. Somewhere , among the ruins of the Indus cities there lies the Rosetta Stone of the Indus. Indians should look for it.

  • 90. B Shantanu said:

    @ Juven: Hurried response..

    1. First, pl don’t use this site to propogate your pet theories. You have made about half a dozen comments on this site before – most of them are a rehash of the points above. If you have already said something, saying it again does not make it more credible.

    2. I notice that you have not responded to any of the points that refuted your comment at #55.

    3. You have a tendency to make statements without offering *any* evidence, reference or links. Pl do provide links and back up material to support your statement(s).

    4. Pl do read through all the comments made by Rajiv and Sujay Rao on this post. We can then discuss which of their points you diasgree with.

    Thanks.

  • 91. Rohit said:

    Juven Bachan and similar Christians could never digest the fact that philosophical or mental thought process of India has always been far far ahead of the nomads and barbarians of desert. The Aryan Invasion theory will not make them आर्य्. They will remain what they are nomads with thought process developing to christianity, secularism, communism, naxalism, capitalism, all which are failures.

    COLOR OF JUVEN BACHAN vs NOMADS IN SOUTH AFRICA

    What is the change in shade of color of these nomads settled in Africa for more than three generations. Juven Bachan can use his pigments as benchmark and then derive year by year change in pigments of his genetically nomads in SA and then forecast when these Europains will become completely black. Juven Bachan should also answer are the nomads living in scorching heat of Iraq (Temprature Crosses 40 Degree C), blacker than South Africans who are used to live in a much cooler temprature (Less than 30 Degree Celcius) ? Juven Bachan forgets that they lack pigmentation and all they can get is sun burn and cancer but not pigments.

    RELIGION

    Juven Bachan chooses words carelessly… What was the religion of Indus Valley… Please provide us with the stupid book Indus Valley? I would like to see similarity between book of Indus Valley and Bible and the corpse treatment with reasoning of treatment.

    SCRIPTS There are no description of cremation in Indus literature

    Since Juven Bachan has read Indus Valley Literature, can he start writing the religion of Indus Valley. Since Indus Valley people died at hands of nomads or maybe they didn’t, what does the text written by Indus Valley people say about their destruction? Please write the answers in Indus Valley Scripts only so it is clear to everyone.

    GENE MIXING

    How Many White Colored Nomads have become Black after White Women Married Black Negroes… Which Nomadic Country lost it’s fair color or is losing fair color due to gene mixing (supported by/ with data)

    Lastly, Juven Bachan after claiming to read and write Indus Valley Script with decisiveness which somehow decides that Indus Valley People had Religion and Literature goes on to appeal for deciphering Indus Valley Script… Juven Bachan I have to say… Church has been spending good amount of money since days of colonalism, done all witchy things it could in name of Religion along with guns and bombs but still, it would be hard to defend a stupid theory like Indus Valley… You may draw parallel between Bible and Indus Valley theory. Works of nomads are highly contradictory, full of imagination, fancy and are based on pillars of evil and evil doesn’t take you much ahead in life.

  • 92. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Reg Sandeep’s comment

    The Indus script issue is far from settled

    Even those who think it is not closely tied to speech agree:
    Even Steve Farmer concludes:

    “Judging from modern examples and research in the linguistic history of South Asia, the Indus Valley was probably intensely multi linguistic throughout its history. This may have provided the Indus emblem system with an advantage over ordinary writing as a means of
    providing the civilization with social cohesion. The fact that the majority of inscriptions rely on a surprisingly small core of symbols suggests that the meaning of Indus signs could have potentially been known by almost or ALL (ALL!) of the population, resulting in a pervasive quasiliteracy far beyond that achieved in Mesopotamia or Egypt.” The Harappans’ achievements in engineering and mathematics are also well-known, and we must understand the script in the context of these. Even Steve Farmer agrees: “On the contrary, new evidence confirms traditional views that the symbols were central to Indus society. It also suggests that the Harappans may have created the most complex non-linguistic sign system in the ancient world, which if anything, enhances the inscriptions’ historical importance.”

    Which civilization in the Ancient world had a public signboard (Dholavira)-? in Mespotomia and Egypt even rulers counldn’t read and write – only scribes could ..

    This issue is not easy – even nonliguistic system can have a small to large linguistic component (i.e Sound coding) through canting arms. This was agreed by Sproat in a personal mail he sent me.

    The Indus script evolved along with and was influenced by scripts of West Asia.. only 5% of the Indus has been excavated. There are thousands of possiblities … So Sandeep, the issue is not settled !

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  • 93. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    http://listverse.com/2009/03/29/top-10-ancient-inventions-you-think-are-modern/

    This lists of the list of innovations in the Ancient world -some made by the Harappans and Indians in General like Dental Surgery, Drainage, Weights and measures etc

    The Harappans knew to manufacture Copper, Bronze , Lapis Lazuli, Silver, Gold, Diamonds, Chlorite, Bitumen and many more, although they did not invent any of them. They could also travel all over the world in ships. It will be nice if some one can trace the history of all these things. Recently a civilization called Jiroft has been found to the West of the Indus.

    I would say people in India (many of them) should take up research on other parts of the world – China, Mesoamerica,Egypt etc … this is befitting in this age of Globalisation. Instead we rely on Americans to do the job

  • 94. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Even if a small linguistic component is added – rebus principle or punning (Witzel Kyoto, 2009 or Sproat in his presentations) or acriphony is added, it qualifies for full literacy. I assume some ’sound coding’ would have been useful to them atleast on some occasions.. the longest seal is 17 characters non-analomous and 26 characters analomous. I have never said that what Farmer is saying is necessarily fully wrong, but even Parpola has been reading them mostly as logograms with a linguistic component. So how much of what Farmer is saying is new apart from the fact that he popularized the idea? These men have been saying almost the same thing and fighting with each other?Till 2900 BC Egypt and Mesopotamia were considered proto-literate even if their texts are shorter(not non-literate!!!!)- even if there is small difference between the 2 maybe the Indus system was more expressive than Egyptian proto-literate- because conditional entropy, order of signs, combinations probably did play a major role in meaning in the Indus script (Korvink). ????Terminologies pertaining to literacy cannot be changed unless all scholars agree – and any demands to change terminology must be met with suspicion, naturally. Only a very small portion of the IVC has been excavated, you know, 5% maybe! Even Farmer agrees “Judging from modern examples and research in the linguistic history of South Asia, the Indus Valley was probably intensely multi linguistic throughout its history. This may have provided the Indus emblem system with an advantage over ordinary writing as a means of providing the civilization with social cohesion. The fact that the majority of inscriptions rely on a surprisingly small core of symbols suggests that the meaning of Indus signs could have potentially been known by almost or all (ALL!!) of the population, resulting in a pervasive quasiliteracy far beyond that achieved in Mesopotamia or Egypt.” No other civlization mass produced writing or (”writing”!!). Where else did they have public signboards then apart from the Indus?
    I can instead cite Farmer and declare it the most literate civilization on erth. And he and I could be saying the same thing. I say such terms must be avoided. if they had learned how to use the rebus principle , they would have used it whenever the need arose. Seal writing is always short . Sproat’s smoking gun cannot be used to test the stability or the complexity of the system. It has weaknesses. It cannot also be used to prove that the Indus script didn’t have a linguistic component.

    Making fun of ancient people is absolutely disgraceful.

    I hope more Indians take up research. people are taking us for a ride.

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  • 95. B Shantanu said:

    Sujay: I need to catch up on my reading on this topic but I fully agree with you that more Indian scholars need to take up research in this area…
    Unfortunately there is little incentive and the government appears to be indifferent to our heritage…Sad.

  • 96. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Yes Shantanu,

    THe ICHR has been described as an old age home. Marxism at play?
    Marxism has always been equated with senility.
    Many people want to bring the field uptodate but the ICHR is not even in the picture …They have lost control !

    I will still say

    (a) Very few people are interested in History
    (b) Even fewer would opt for history as a career, much less in a developing country like India where people are driven by economic compulsions
    (c) But issues such as this have far-reaching implications not just for India but for the rest of the world. Because, unless people are happy with what is taught in mainstream texbooks, they will always try to rewrite history.

    There are fundamental differences between Egypt , Mesopotamia and India . Egypt , Mesopotamia are Islamic countries which don’t even encourage their pre-ISLAMIC past (!!!!) . In India , religion which comprises of Mythology or mythologized history is intertwined and inseparable
    with daily life. IF Indians don’t get what they want from mainstream sources, they are in the control of people like Rajaram.That is it! That is what has happened .. and is threatens not just India but the rest of humanity, in a way. Most people who believe in Hindutva are innocent. But that is what makes it all the more dangerous. (!)

    Almost everybody in India today thinks Rajaram et al are correct. WHY?
    Is there something seriously wrong with the education system here .. YES .. there is !!

    What could be the reason?

    (a) There are many unresolved issues in Indian history
    (b) Marxist Historians did not make an attempt to understand underlying problems / invest in research
    (c) Western Indologists did not make an attempt to connect with Indians

    We are leaving behind a major mess.

  • 97. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    The Harappans had the oldest “signboard” in the world, apparently. They mass produced writing (or “writing”) . According to Parpola, 1/10th of
    Mohendodaro (100 square metres) has yielded 2100 seals (with 9000 characters?). Or more than one character per person. I declare the Indus the most literate civilization on earth as every body could ‘read and write’ – Farmer.
    This makes the debate so shallow it is nearly ridiculous. After all what then is the difference beteween the Indus and civilizations which did not yield any trace of writing? History is a subject after all and is taught everywhere in the world. Don’t mislead people deliberately and try to deceive them! We hate those who misrepresent history.
    please find the article below. My comment is at the end.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/war-of-words-in-the-cradle-of-south-asian-civilisation-1927005.html

  • 98. B Shantanu said:

    Sujay: I stumbled across this recently:

    http://2ndlook.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/aryan-politics-behind-indus-saraswati-history/

    What do you think?

    P.S. Pl let us not get too personal with remarks names on this blog. Thanks

  • 99. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Hi Shantanu, The remark was not targetted against anyone on the blog. It was targetted against those who misuse the word ‘literate’ to describe the IVC ! Anyway I’ll take care Sujay

  • 100. Ramesh said:

    Dear Shantanu,

    During the past few weeks, I was doing some research on the Aryan Invasion.

    I came across some very interesting information regarding the identity of the Dasas/Dasyus/Panis. The Rgveda states that the Dasas were the enemies of the Aryans.

    According to Dr. Asko Parpola, the Dasas were the inhabitants of a previously-unknown civilization called the “Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex” which flourished in Turkmenistan and Northern Afghanistan from 2500 BC to 1500 BC. According to Dr. Parpola, the BMAC was an Indo-Iranian civilization, which makes the conflict of the Rgveda an intraracial conflict (rather than an Aryan-Dravidian war). The Dasas practiced a religion that bears striking similarities to Tantric Shaktism, and they migrated to Eastern India and became the ancestors of modern-day Bengalis.

    Details are posted below.

  • 101. Ramesh said:

    (cont.)

    Parpola writes the following on page 367 of The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia:

    Important clues to an archaeological understanding of the Rgvedic invasion are provided by the references to the enemies of the Rgvedic Aryans. Indra and his protégés, namely the earliest Rgvedic kings, are said to have destroyed the strongholds of these enemies. When Sir Mortimer Wheeler unearthed the huge defensive walls of Harappa in 1946, he identified the Dasa forts as the fortified of the Indus Civilization (Wheeler 1947: 78-82). This hypothesis was widely accepted until 1976, when Rau published his study of relevant Vedic passages which showed that, unlike the rectangular layout of the Indus cities, the Dasa forts had circular, and often multiple concentric, walls. Moreover, the Dasa forts were not regularly inhabited cities but functioned as temporary shelters, particularly for the protection of cattle. I have argued that the Dasas, Dasyus, and Panis were actually Indo-Iranian speaking BMAC tribes, and that the battles against them described in the Rgveda took place in and around northern Bactria, before entrance to Gandhara on the eastern side of the Hindukush (Parpola 1988: 208-218).

    In other words, the Dasas of the Rgveda were NOT Harappans. They were the inhabitants of a previously-unknown civilization called the Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex, which flourished in Turkmenistan and Northern Afghanistan from 2500-1500 BCE. More interestingly, the BMAC was an Indo-Iranian civilization, which makes the Rgvedic war an intraracial conflict between two different groups of Indo-Europeans.

  • 102. Ramesh said:

    (cont.)
    Now, you may ask, what religion did the Dasas follow? Dr. Parpola writes the following on page 370 of The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia:

    The word tripura has important religious implications. I shall only briefly deal with the religion of the BMAC, which I have examined elsewhere (Parpola 1988: 251-264; also Parpola 1992, 1993, in press). There is widespread evidence for the worship of a goddess connected with lions (for a new BMAC seal with this motif see Sarianidi 1993c), ultimately going back to the traditions of the ancient Near East. Connections with the later Indian worship of Durga, the goddess of victory and fertility escorted by a lion or tiger, the protectress of the stronghold (Durga), are suggested by several things. The ground plan of the Dashly-3 “palace” is strikingly similar to the Tantric mandala (Brentjes 1981; Brentjes 1986: 234; Brentjes 1987: 128f.), the ritual “palace” of the god or goddess in the Hindu cult. A Bactrian seal depicting copulating pairs, both human and animal, reminds one of the orgies associated with the principal festival of the goddess. Wine is associated with the cult of the goddess and may have been enjoyed from the fabulous drinking cups made from silver and gold found in Bactria and Baluchistan, for viticulture is an integral part of the BMAC (Miller 1993: 151, 154). Durga is worshipped in eastern India as Tripura, a name which connects her with the strongholds of the Dasas.
    Of course, the Sakta tradition of eastern India is far removed from Bactria and the Dasas both temporally and geographically. But the distance between these two traditions can be bridged by means of Vedic and Epic evidence relating to Vratya religion and archaeologically by the strong resemblance between the antennae-hilted swords from BMAC sites in Bactria and the Gangetic Copper Hoards (c. 1700-1500 BC). The linguistic data associated with the Dasas also link them with the easternmost branch of Middle Indo-Aryan, the Magadhi Prakrit. The age-and-area principle of anthropology suggests that the earliest wave of Indo-Aryans was the first to reach the other end of the Subcontinent.

  • 103. Ramesh said:

    (cont.)

    In other words, the Dasas of the Rgveda were Shakti worshipers, and their religion involved sex and alcohol consumption. And that wasn’t all that they were doing. On page 176 of The Strange World of Human Sacrifice, Dr. Parpola writes the following:

    A lion-escorted martial goddess imported from the Near East is depicted on the seals of the “Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex” (=BMAC) of the Bronze Age (c. 2500-1500 BC) in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; she apparently kept her Sumerian name Nana(ya) for two millennia, as her counterpart worshipped in Afghanistan in Kusana times was so called, and is worshipped in Afghanistan even nowadays as “Bibi Nanni”. This BMAC culture interacted with the Indus Civilization, and may be a principal source of the “Gangetic Copper Hoards”. A BMAC-type cylinder seal from the Harappan site Kalibangan bears an Indus inscription and a tiger-escorted goddess in the midst of two warriors spearing each other. Vedic texts show Vac (“Voice, Speech”) as a goddess of war identified with the lioness and connected with the Vratyas. The Vedic vratyastomas were performed before and after raiding expeditions, and closely resemble the later Hindu navaratri festivals of Goddess Durga, which involve sexual license and feasting with the meat of many different sacrificial animals. The Vedic lists of “unclean” animals (to be released) agree with Puranic lists of victims pleasing the goddess; in both cases, a human victim as the most appreciated offering heads the list.

  • 104. Anonymous (author) said:

    pl can soemone commenton this http://haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=11511

  • 105. Sid said:

    Ramesh,
    You appear to put a lot of stock into Asko Parpola. You may like to take a look on Elst’s response to his arguments:

    http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/indo-european-urheimat-elst.html

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/124097/Update-on-the-AIT

  • 106. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Dear Ramesh,

    Asko Parpola is an older scholar. No scholar including Parpola subscribes to invasions so there is no point using the work ‘invasion’ anymore. You can read latest works such as
    From Harappa to Hastinapura : a study of the earliest South Asian city and civilization from the point of view of
    archaeology and ancient Indian literature / Piotr Andreevich Eltsov. All studies have shown that the notion of a rural post harappan india is a myth. Here are more quotes. Please write to me sujay.rao@in.ibm.com if you want alternative explanations.

    In the book ‘A History of India’, Hermann Kulke and Dietmer Rothermund 14 state
    “The extension of the Vedic culture into the Central and Eastern Gangetic plains was as
    important for the further course of Indian history as the period of their early settlement in the
    Punjab and the Ganga Yamuna doab. The penetration of the east soon led to the emergence of
    the first historical kingdoms and to a second phase of urbanization, the first being that of the
    Indus civilization.”
    Frank Raymond Allchin and Erdosy state in their book “The Archeology of Early South
    Asia” 15
    “Lal’s data show that regardless of the absence of a Central place or incipient kingdoms
    in the region surveyed, the number of new settlements increased and began to colonize or rather
    exploit areas previously ignored. During the BRW phase, a total of 17.25 hectares were occupied
    by settlements. During the PGW phase, this had increased to 53.58 hectares and to 140.05 in the
    NBPW and to 291.12 hectares in the early historic. We may convert this data into possible
    population densities of 200 people per hectare (Dhavalikar et all 1988). During the BRW period,
    settlements were occupied by some 3450 people, the PGW settlements by 10716, the NBPW
    period by 28010 and the early historic period by 58,430 people. It is possible to compare these
    results with those from Erdosy’s survey. The foregoing discussion has expressly attempted to
    illustrate that the stretch of c 1000 years between the two great civilizations was not the Dark
    ages as suggested by Wheeler (Wheeler 1959,114). We must abandon Wheeler’s vision of the
    period as consisting of semi-nomadic food gathering communities, capable of clearing patches of
    jungle and living mainly on hunting and fishing for one of large permanent settlements, some of
    which may be surely classified as urban.”
    In the book ‘The quest for the origins of Vedic culture’, Edwin Bryant states
    “Shaffer (1993) refers to one set of data that undermines this simplistic portrayal of an
    apparent devolution and re-evolution of urbanization which has nearly become a South Asian
    archeological axiom. Although there appears to have been a definite shift in settlements from the
    Indus valley proper in late and post-Harappan periods, there is a significant increase in the
    number of sites in Gujarat, and an explosion (i.e a 300 percent increase) of new settlements in
    East Punjab to accommodate the transferral of the population. Shaffer is insistent that this shift by
    Harappan and perhaps by other Indus valley cultural mosaic groups is the only archeologically
    documented west to east migrations in ancient India before the first half of the first millennium BC.
    Moreover, although there is a general decrease in the size of the settlements, not all of these
    were small and insignificant in comparison with the large complex structures of the Mature
    Harappan period. Data from Bahawalpur, the region of Pakistan most thoroughly surveyed,
    suggests an increase in the size of the settlements of the late Harappan period in comparison to
    the Harappan period. (Shaffer 1993, 57). This is very significant. More surveys have revealed
    large post-Harappan settlements in the Indus region after the major Indus centres were

  • 107. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Dear Anonymous,

    You wanted a comment on the article! I do not subscribe to the Dravidian Harappa theory. Mail me at sujay.rao@in.ibm.com, we can discuss

  • 108. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Dear Shantanu and others

    I think you will enjoy reading

    (a) The languages of the Gods in the World of men (by Sheldon Pollock)

    (b) The Indus script a Positional Statistic approach by Michael Korvink

    Both are outstanding works of twenty first century scholarship

    I am giving the links here. Some of the pages are disabled

    (a) http://books.google.co.in/books?id=0UCh7r2TjQIC&pg=PA114&dq=The+languages+of+the+Gods+in+the+world+of+men&hl=en&ei=2iqkTPH9LYamngegn7iQAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=The%20languages%20of%20the%20Gods%20in%20the%20world%20of%20men&f=false

    (b) http://books.google.co.in/books?id=35jHAHCAWlUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=indus+script+korvink&hl=en&ei=JSukTIvrGJCknQfPhMGQAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Both , in my view, are very high quality scholarship. Hope you will enjoy reading them.

  • 109. Sid said:

    Sujoy,

    Thank you. First book looks very interesting. Second is a work only specialists can enjoy.

  • 110. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Sid,

    Thanks. The second link I posted is a shorter version. His research on the Indus script runs to 210 pages.

    I am searching for Eltsov’s work, from Harappa to Hastinapura which is also twenty first century scholar ship. I’ll give it to you when i find it

  • 111. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Richard Meadow on the Indus script

    He has made many contributions to Indology and has introduced the Indus valley civilization to many amongst the American public

    http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/category/ivc-script-decipherment/page/2/

    Recently there was a conference on Ethnogenesis in South Asia,

    http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~sanskrit/2010/oct4-5/paper.html

    there are one or two downloads available. keep scrolling down!!

  • 112. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Analyze (!) Focus on items followed by (???) Witzel making fun of Kenoyer’s speech. All apparently pseudo-science. Comes from (a) The future is always the nineteenth century (b) ‘show progess’ such that it doesn’t conflict with the nineteenth century.

    some data from sensible scholars
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_yoga

    Steve,

    more “interesting” news now, in a recent PR talk by M. Kenoyer (U.
    Wisconsin), given at the Oriental Inst., Chicago.

    Big download: 217 MB.

    All the canards, long-disproved (on this list!), are there. The
    Harappans had:

    * yoga (???)
    * weights with a uniform standard
    * N-S aligned towns
    * passports (!) (???)
    * no war (???)
    * of course no movement of people (except for some merchants) (???)

    * The “script” is discussed at great length. With a proto-script
    developing to the “script” of the Mature Indus period. “We miss a
    Rosetta stone for decipherment” …
    Of course, not one word that the “script” thesis has been contested…

    And, surprisingly the Chinese Western Zhou ruled at 1500 BCE…
    If Harappan chronology (and archeological facts) are as sloppy, may
    all the Harappan gods, Pseudo-Shiva (???) included, save us.

    Cheers,
    Michael

  • 113. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    History of Yoga

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_yoga#cite_note-3

    it will be nice if someone can take up study of continuity of traditions since 3000 BC

  • 114. GyanP said:

    I am not an expert and will refrain from making any judgmental remarks.

    Just few references:

    1. Nobody seems to reply to Talageri’s work.
    2. Regarding “Horse” controversy, following link will be of interest for a contrary view – “The Horse And The Aryan Debate” by Michael Danino –

    http://www.omilosmeleton.gr/pdf/en/indology/The_horse_and_the_Aryan_Debate.pdf

    All the best!

  • 115. Deep said:

    One interesting link -

    http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/michael-witzel-and-rajaram-interesting-encounters/

    This opens up some interesting lines of thought :)

  • 116. B Shantanu said:

    From an email by Dr S Kalyanaraman-ji:

    https://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/collapseofait

    Prof. Nicholas Kazanas, Director, Omilos Meleton Cultural Institute, Greece, delivering a lecture on ‘The Collapse of Aryan Invasion Theory and the prevalence of Indigenism’ at IIT-Madras on 26th February 2011.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsqMWj0WFKc (Video)

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/72587146/slides-for-AIR
    (23 slides): All inclusiveness of Rigveda

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/72461396/collapseofaryaninvasiontheory
    (25 slides)

    In a series of six lectures, in Chennai, between February 26 to March 2, 2011, Prof. Nicholas Kazanas presented perspectives on Vedic civilization, indigenous evolution of vedic language and culture, spread of vedic culture in interaction areas and the all-inclusiveness of Vedic thought and language.

    With the collapse of the Aryan Theory so effectively marshalled by the linguist, Prof. Nicholas Kazanas, the ‘linguistic doctrine’ of Indo-European (IE) linguistics articulated by the late Prof. MB Emeneau also collapses. Together with this twin collapse, the corollary ‘Dravidian’ theories will also have to be revised.

    The significance of the emerging ‘indigene’ paradigm, from ca. 4th millennium BCE, is that further researches are needed on the Indus language, on the Sanskritization of Saptasindhu and on the formation and evolution of Indian languages.

  • 117. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    Hi,

    i am happy to announce the publication of my research paper
    ‘The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script thesis’

    this disproves Farmers theory on the Indus script( Sproats smoking gun is a complete non starter) and shows why the Indus script was logosyllabic and longer texts nearly certainly existed in the ivc.
    Any one who wishes to disagree with me must provide a systematic refutation of all my points.

    Until then all of you must declare. ‘The indus script was logo-syllabic. back to square one. The case for existence of longer texts in the IVC has never been stronger than it is now! happy reading.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/50996308/Sujay-Indus-script-FINAL-VERSION-FINAL-FINAL

  • 118. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Shantanu,
    There is a great article on the date of Shri. Ram and his dynasty; a study based on astro history – read with the position of the stars.
    It has been reviewed by Francois Gautier.
    It makes very interesting reading and is available in the Indian Express, Sunday Edition, dated 20/03/2011.
    vck

  • 119. B Shantanu said:

    vck: I googled for this but could not find it. Any links?

  • 120. Sid said:

    Shantanu,
    Probably vck was talking about this:
    http://www.dailypioneer.com/320633/Looking-for-a-historical-Rama.html

  • 121. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Sid,
    Thanks for the link. Yes Shantanu, that was the article.
    vck

  • 122. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Sri Kota Venkatachalam’s works on Indian history narrated from a traditional viewpoint are important works for those interested in developing an indigenous perspective of our history which free from colonial tropes (like AIT) and other secondary and tertiary analytical devices like linguistics. Essentially Sri Venkatachalam’s work published in the 1950′s is an attempt to construct a modern indigenous narrative based on textual and literary evidence of traditional sources like the Puranas. Apart from attempting to reconcile the various Puranic narratives, these works also manage to show in harsh light the various theories(hypothesii), assumptions, , frameworks, prejudices and sometimes outright lies and obfuscation that allowed western historians to concoct a largely fictitious history of India. Though some of these books may seem a little polemical at times there is suffecient textual testimony to ignite in discerning readers a deep discomfort with existing frameworks and historical understanding. This also helps us understand the need to construct our history afresh based on indigenous narratives rather than colonial analysis.

    1. Age of Mahabharata War : Invokes textual and historical testimony of the puranas and various other documents in support of the traditional date of Mahabharata war in 3139 BC as against colonial constructs variously claiming 1800 or 900 BC.

    2. Age of Milinda, Buddha, Amtiyoka & Yugapurana : Identifies Sidhharta Gautama (Budhha’s) birth in 1887 BC as against modern dating of 500 BC. Other figures idenfied here are Milinda of MIlindapannha – who is not the Bactrian Indo-Greek Menander as is currently assumed, and Amtiyoka (who is not the greek king Antiochios) mentioned in purported Mauryan Ashokan inscriptions.

    3. Chronology of Nepal : Discusses the traditional narrative of dynasties in nepal from Nepal Rajavamshavali with corroborative narratives from other places in India. This extremely ancient King list goes back at least 10 generations before the great Bharata war.

    4. Chronology of Kashmir reconstructed : Discusses the Chronology of Kashmir which too begins before the Bharata war as narrated by Kalhana in his Rajatarangini.This is treated for its veracity by quoting textual evidence in various Puranas.

    5. A Plot in Indian Chronology: Basically a treatment geneologies of dynasties from Maghada and Ujjain primarily based on Puranic evidence. SOme of the above material and also astronomical, copper hoards, and rock inscriptions are also analysed, along with texts like Arthashastra and greek accounts to understand the timelines from a traditional perspective. This results in Mauryan kingdom (probably not empire) being placed in circa 1600 BC and the Gupta empire coming into its own around the time of Alexandrian raids (not invasion) around 300 BC (not 300 AD as currently asumed). Some pan-indian emperors who were conveniently mythologized by modern historians ( and consequently dissappeared from public and cultural memory and history books ) like Vikramaditya of Ujjain and his grandson Shalivahana (Shalivahana is not Gautamiputra Satakarni as is currently assumed) are rehabilitated. Sankara is located in circa 500 BC (according to the geneologies of gurus of the paramparas of the various mathas he established) from the currently assumed 600-700 AD timeline.

    These are very important works in the sense that they make it difficult to assume civilizational discontinuity in the post Sarasvati-Sindhu (Indus) civiliation phases. This apparent discontinuity presently presupposes Aryan or Indo-european influx (and linguistic and cultural changes) in the aforesaid timeline. Understanding the indegenous narrative that historically accounts for these timelines and enables us to locate identifiable political, cultural and lifestyle continuities would negate the need to resort to hypothetical eurocentric constructs to explain our own history.

    Many thanks to Blogger Jambudveepa for posting scanned (pdf) copies of the books (1)(2)(3)(4) in

    http://jambudveep.wordpress.com/2011/02/

    Book (5) can be found in

    http://jambudveep.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/ebook-the-plot-in-indian-chronology-by-kota-venkatachalam/

    Other online books are partially available such as T S Narayana Sastri’s ‘Age of Sankara’ discussing the various paramparas of the Matha’s which place Adi Sankara (Sankara Bhagavatapadacharya) in circa 500 BC (a contemporary of Haala Satavahana of Satavahana dynasty which as per the puranas just preceded the Guptas – Guptas were known as Andhra-bhrityas as they ended the Andhra-Satavahana dynasty)

    http://www.easterntradition.org/age%20of%20sankara.html

    Would request bloggers to kindly notify if they find simlar books or documents online.

    Apologies to Shantanu for taking up so much of his space.

  • 123. Archpagan said:

    Shantanu, for knowing more about date of Ram, you may Google ‘Pushkar Bhatnagar’

  • 124. Sid said:

    @Rajiv,
    Excellent material. Thanks for sharing.

  • 125. B Shantanu said:

    Excerpts from Still no trace of an Aryan invasion by Koenraad Elst:
    …Petrie purposely avoided the topic of the alleged Aryan invasion. ..He only agreed to discuss it when asked by the chairman in question time, but remained non-committal. He said the question was so complicated that it would perhaps never be decided.

    At that point I proposed to narrow the question down to a degree of simplicity where a field archaeologist would definitely be able to answer. He agreed that Prof. B.B. Lal had made his name in the 1950s and 60s by detailing our knowledge of the Painted Grey Ware and identifying it as characteristic of the invading Aryans moving eastwards, deeper into India; and that Lal had later repudiated any claims of an Aryan invasion and is now a leading light of the non-invasionist school. Lal now says that no archaeological trace of an Aryan invasion has ever been found or identified. Petrie also conceded that Harvard Sanskritist Prof. Michael Witzel had likewise admitted that “as yet” no such arcaheological evidence of an Aryan invasion has been discovered. So, a very simple question would be: did Cameron Petrie, as a field archaeologist fresh from the recentmost excavation, ever come across actual pieces of evidence for an Aryan invasion. He smiled and agreed that he too had no such sensational discovery to announce. So: as of 2011, after many decades of being the official and much-funded hypothesis, the Aryan Invasion Theory has still not been confirmed by even a single piece of archaeological evidence.

  • 126. B Shantanu said:

    Some excerpts from the Prologue to Dr Aich’s excellent and painstakingly researched book, “Lies with Long Legs” which I am hoping to review soon…These excerpts deal with the “Aryan Invasion Theory”:

    1] …Some of these “Aryan wanderers” reached Northwest India. The Hindukush was the only pass through the Himalayan massif. How could these nomads from the Turkmenian steppe find this single pass? Wandering in from an area thousands of kilometres away?

    2] They settled down in Northwest India. They brought their language with them. Quite logically. This was Sanskrit. But without scripts. They invented the device of writing in India only. Had they brought a script with them, we would have found it in their original native land. However, the Sanskrit script was found nowhere. Therefore it is deduced that the need to store their knowledge for future generations in writing was first felt in Northwest India. And they accomplished the job nicely. How long does it usually take for a cultural community to devise a script?
    3] We are assured that the “New Indians” called themselves “Aryans” and the language they brought with them was “Sanskrit”. Up to now Sanskrit has been universally regarded as the best arranged language. …It is supposed to be sufficiently established that there is a close kinship between Sanskrit, the language of the Northwest-Indian “Aryans” on the one hand and Greek, Latin, Germanic and Celtic languages on the other hand. The family of the “Indoeuropeans”. So to speak. And who has discovered and established this kinship? Not those “Aryans” who passed through the Hindukush and created the world-wide known literature like Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras, and so forth and allegedly called themselves “Aryans” in their literature. No! None of them, not in any of their writings, not even once has it been indicated that at some period in central Asia their “Lebensraum” became so congested that a lot of their brothers, sisters, cousins set out on a search for new space to live and emigrated in the end. No! The “Sanskrit-Aryans” did not remember anything else, so it is told, than that they were “Aryans”. An absolute “black out” on all other things.

    4] Since the emergence of Jainism and Buddhism about 2,600 years ago the history of India is well documented. During that period Sanskrit was no longer spoken. The literature on metaphysics, on science, on history, the books (Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras) and the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were, however, already known in the 7th century BC. So the “modern scientists” concluded precisely that this abundance of Sanskrit literature emerged before the 7th century BC only. So far, so good. The conquest and/or immigration is, however, dated around the 15th century BC. How was this dating determined?

    5] The diligent diggers, the archaeologists have yet to find evidence of an “Aryan conquest”, however. On the contrary.

    6] Naturally the “race”, allegedly inferior to the “Aryans”, had also a name. They were “Dravidians”. Unfortunately we have not come across such an exceptional “scholar” having the “qualities” of a Friedrich Maximilian Mueller, who could have told us whether they also did call themselves “Dravidians” in their early literature. Did the “Dravidians” have “early writings”? Did they have literature at all? We do not know. We do however wonder how the dynamic, self-conscious and clever “Aryans” obviously never compared themselves with the “Dravidians” in order to develop their own “we-consciousness”. There is no reference whatsoever to “Dravidians”, to “two races” or to “race” in any ancient Sanskrit script.

    7] But let’s get back to the original “Aryans” who are supposed to have instigated the whole affair. They were rather simpletons, who ‘were warriors of a youthful group of herdsmen, who did already some farming, but knew nothing of town planning and of fine artistic work’, but nonetheless ‘immigrated through the mountain route of the Northwest into the watershed of Indus and subjugated in continuous fight the prior residents of the north-west corner of India in the 2nd millennium BC’. They just ‘were warriors of a youthful group of herdsmen’. That was it. We wanted to know in which period all these things happened. But there is no concrete evidence. And what about the expansion of this culture up to the utmost southern part of this area? When did it happen? Since the time of Vardhamana, the first Mahavira of the Jainic teaching and Siddhartha Gautama, the later Buddha, the history of India is well documented. There is no evidence of any “Aryan” invasion, occupation and spreading of the culture into the diminished “land of the Dravidians” in the south of India. Apparently this must then have occurred in the period between the 15th and 7th century BC. Why was it not reported in the extensive literature of the “Sanskrit-Aryans”? There is not even the smallest reference.

  • 127. annoyed said:

    just had to post about what “aman” said earlier. quoting:

    “What we know now is this:
    The white skinned guys in India, came from outside India. Genetic studies confirm this.
    Harappans buried their dead. Since cremation was more a pre-Zoroastrian Persian ritual or a class-specific Greco-Roman ritual, one tends to suppose that the practice came from European influences.
    Avestan Persian is very close to pre-Rigvedic Sanskrit. The genesis is undoubtedly in the area that is modern day Iran.
    Krishna’s son Samb built a temple where the priests were imported from Persia. They’re known as the Maga Brahmins today. Pathak’s trace their ancestry back there. Care to argue with a Pathak? ”

    ok first of all youre completely wrong, pre-rigvedic Sanskrit is older than Avestan persian, thats undisputable fact. the place of genesis is India and not Iran at all. Avestan is derrived from Vedic Sanskrit.

    as for the aryans, if they came from outside india, they must have arrived at least some 15 000 years ago ie pre neolithic times. the dravidians in comparison probably arrived around 40 000 years ago and killed of/replaced the native negritos/australoids.

  • 128. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    The ait has been abandoned

    Few sensible scholars will be able to deny that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script. Facts about the Dholavira signboard. However seals may have been non-linguistic. (a) It is one of the most famous of Harappan inscriptions. (b) It was very large in size. (c) It was located in Far from Mesopotamia Dholavira and in one of the furthest sites from Mesopotamia. (d) It hung over the citadel there. (e) It must have represented the name of the place and must have been closely tied to speech: note the sign repetition. (f) The sign which was used as a determinative was a very common Indus sign. (g) The sign used as a determinative appears to have been also similar to determinatives in other writing systems. (h) The Indus script was also related to Proto-Elamite which means it probably had a linguistic component. (i) The other signs with which the determinative was used were also common Indus signs. (j) Few sensible scholars will now dispute the fact that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script on the basis of this evidence. (k) Few sensible scholars will deny the fact that speech encoding was one of the major functions of the Indus script and had this feature had reached a very precocious maturity. (l) This inscription was apparently more closely tied to speech than most proto-Elamite inscriptions. (m) Dholavira was not even the most important of sites. (n) The fact that it was hung over the citadel meant it was meant to be read by elites. (o) It was put to the most frivolous use. (p) Speech encoding would have been a prized possession: no one would have used it just for a decorative signboard at far-from-Mesopotamia Dholavira. Why would a man who had inscribed this, done so (a) if nobody else could read it (b) why would he have learnt to encode speech only to inscribe this signboard? This automatically implies the existence of longer texts. It also shows that the Indus elites used more complex forms of communication. (q) Even if we assume that speech-encoding was added in Mature Harappan 3B, this logic would still hold good. (r) This logic is already accepted by mainstream Indus archaeologists as a precursor to the existence of longer texts

    please refer to the book by English archaeologist Jane Macintosh (Mcintosh 2008 p 374) “The Harappans did not create monumental art or architecture on which such inscriptions may have been written. The nearest that the Harappans came to this is the Dholavira signboard which is quite possibly the tip of the iceberg of a now vanished public inscriptions.Farmers arguments fail to account convincingly for the structural regularities that analysis have revealed in the use of Harappan signs. These strongly seem to support the hypothesis that the Indus script represent a writing system”

  • 129. B Shantanu said:

    From Questions pro Aryan Invasion Theorist never answer!, some excerpts:

    ..The purpose of this post is to put the ball on the other side of court starting with a few comments and questions.

    1. If the Aryan invasion happened around 1500 BC starting from central Asia, one group moved West i.e. towards Europe and the other group south finally into India then what evidence is there of the group which went West and populated Europe?

    2. If for a moment we believe that there was a migration of a body of people from central Asia, looking at human evolution and early migration patterns most communities settled around perennial sources of water in tropical or sub tropical areas where the sunshine and water is abundant and weather moderate. One would wonder why would anyone travel west into heavily wooded areas affording less pastures for their grazing animals and extreme cold weather for majority of the year allowing very small window for growing crops. If we look at recent history, Mongols the masters of the steppes only went where their horses could get grazing pastures and avoided heavily wooded areas. If nomadic horse riding Aryan herdsmen were anything like the nomadic Mongol herdsmen then they would probably do the same more so if they were chariot drivers. So my point being that even if there was a migration which is highly unlikely there was no migration west thus Europe never received any people from central Asian at that point in time. So Europeans should stop associating themselves with Aryans or any such race.

    3. Has there been any archeological evidence of chariots from Bronze Age or from the period corresponding to Aryan invasion unearthed in Europe?

    4. With the last Ice Age in the northern hemisphere early human population would naturally gravitate towards warmer climes, i.e. the Middle East and India. At the end of the Ice Age approximately 10,000 years BC with more lands available for occupation in the north precipitated by population pressure on existing land people would have been pushed northwards which probably explains why a lot of European languages have similar words or sounds to Sanskrit and not because of migration the other way around.

    5. If the Vedas were created by the Aryans decidedly in an oral tradition then where are the traces howsoever faint of the Vedas in western civilisation. Has this proof been provided by the other side?

    6. In Bronze Age or later age settlements unearthed in Europe has there been any discovery of the fire altar as per the Vedic tradition. Please bear in mind that the Vedic fire altar is a mathematically precise construction with each brick shaped on precise mathematical calculations?

    7. If the primary Gods of the Aryans were Indra, Varuna and others, coincidence of similar Gods in Norse or Germanic mythology notwithstanding has there been any direct references to these Gods by same name in Europe?

    8. What would inspire continental dwellers to have a name for the God of Sea, Varuna as they live thousands of miles away from the sea?

    9. Lack of horse in Indian sites seems to have been a major point for the invasion theorist, which was proved to be patently false as horse remain have been found all over India since the Pleistocene, approximately 2.5 million years from the current era. Has the other side provided presence of horse in Europe for the period we are discussing? How come Roman and Greek records written starting 8th century BC i.e. 800 years before Christ and Roman war records written starting 5th century BC i.e. 500 years before Christ record battle engagements with northern barbarians i.e. present day Switzerland and Germany etc on foot. Even much after towards the day of the Roman Empire the northern tribes always fought on foot. Popular movies depict northern barbarians to be dressed in animal fur fighting on foot. So where is the evidence of horse in Europe during this period.

    This brings us to recorded history of travellers of antiquity. One such travelogue which has survived the ravages of time is the Indika by Megasthenes which became a reference guide even to later day travellers such as Arrian and Strabo.
    ..
    In his description of the people of India he clearly states that they are tall but lightly built (lean) dark skinned with black long hair which they tie in a bun on top of their head and wear turbans with twisted cloth. All men have beards and shaving is not known among the Indians. Nowhere in his entire narration has he alluded to fair skinned Indians either in the North west, North or in the South lording over dark skinned people.
    ..
    This description of India goes counter to the AIT theory of large, blue eyed, blonde haired white skinned Aryans lording over dark skinned natives. The description of the people of India by Megasthenes is around 1250 years after the supposed arrival of the Aryans i.e. 1500 BC and given that in the intervening period there was some intermingling of the people causing some of these racial attributes to be diluted but at any rate fair skinned people should have been present in some numbers and complete absence of any such mention in the text is a clear indicator that no such fair skinned invasion or migration of Aryans occurred.

    Thus we should allow the pro Aryan invasion theorist to prove the Aryan invasion of Europe conclusively first rather than prove the invasion of India through retrofitting evidence and sometimes concocted ones.

  • 130. B Shantanu said:

    More research debunking the “Invasion Theory” and assertions by Witzel et al:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/70907951/Witzel-s-Claims-Found-Wrong on Witzel’s claims found wrong and

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68019262/Understanding-Reich-Et-Al-2009 on the work of Reich etc.

    Both the articles are by Sh Premendra Priyadarshi

  • 131. B Shantanu said:

    Another data point to support the view that instead of an “invasion”, there may actually have been a “migration” of population out of India.
    From The Genographic Project Confirms Humans Migrated Out of Africa Through Arabia:
    By looking at similarities in patterns of DNA recombination that have been passed on and in disparate populations, Genographic scientists confirm that African populations are the most diverse on Earth, and that the diversity of lineages outside of Africa is a subset of that found on the continent. The divergence of a common genetic history between populations showed that Eurasian groups were more similar to populations from southern India, than they were to those in Africa. This supports a southern route of migration from Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in Arabia before any movement heading north, and suggests a special role for south Asia in the “out of Africa” expansion of modern humans.

    Ajay Royyuru, senior manager at IBM’s Computational Biology Center, said: “Over the past six years, we’ve had the opportunity to gather and analyze genetic data around the world at a scale and level of detail that has never been done before. When we started, our goal was to bring science expeditions into the modern era to further a deeper understanding of human roots and diversity. With evidence that the genetic diversity in southern India is closer to Africa than that of Europe, this suggests that other fields of research such as archaeology and anthropology should look for additional evidence on the migration route of early humans to further explore this theory.”

  • 132. B Shantanu said:

    Courtesy Dr Kalyanaraman-ji:
    New research debunks aryan invasion theory by Kumar Chellappan
    Chennai Dec. 10, 2011
    ..
    “We have conclusively proved that there never existed any aryans or dravidians in the indian sub continent. the aryan-dravidian classification was nothing but a misinformation campaign carried out by people with vested interests,” Prof Lalji Singh, Vice-chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, told DNA.
    …Dr Chaubey had proved in 2009 itself that the aryan invasion theory is bunkum. “that was based on low resolution genetic markers. this time we have used autosomes, which means all major 23 chromosomes, for our studies. the decoding of human genome and other advances in this area help us in unraveling the ancestry in 60,000 years,” he explained.

    However, Gnani Shankaran, noted dravidian thinker, said the time for writing the last word on dravidian philosophy has not yet come. “We have to find out the credentials of the authors of this research paper and their hidden agenda. In Tamil Nadu, the dravidian and aryan ties are inter-related. the dalits in our land are the descendents of the dravidian brahmins who were pushed to the lowest strata of society by the aryans,” shankaran said.

    Original source

  • 133. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Genetic evidence now more or less attests to sporadic and sustained migration of humans from india to not only larger eurasia but to east africa. There is compelling evidence that this was accompanied by migration of crop cultivation as well as livestock in its wake. Migrations could have taken place in various waves between the glaical maxima. Some of the evidence infers a human dispersal from the subcontiant almost 15000 bp. Evidence for origin of rice and millet cultivation, and thier intertwined relationship with animal husbandry and rearing of cows, buffalos, pigs etc as well as the migration of accompanying pests (rats) etc are wonderfully presented in this well researched piece by Dr P Priyadarshi

    http://priyadarshi101.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/linguistic-evidence-for-indian-origin-of-indo-european-languages/

    This work also seems to corroborate the traditional narrative of civilization forming in the east especially along the Ganges and moving further west. This what is indicated by Talageris work on the vedas (though he sticks to conventional linguistic timelines which Dr Narahari Achar rejects as contrary to astronomical observations in the Vedas themselves). If there is ever a possibility of reconciliation of linguistic timelines to much earlier times it would seem that Talageri’s model for dispersion of IE might find reinforcement in what Dr Priyadarshi’s says. After all its much easier to explain language movement as a function of history than the other way round.

    In light of all this I think the time has come to move beyond just refuting AIT or IE migration scenarios and to seriously start consider OIT or other hybrid theory with India as a locus to explain human prehistory, language dispersal and the origin, growth and movement of civilization.

  • 134. B Shantanu said:

    From Another nail in the Aryan coffin by Jayakrishnan Nair:
    …Now a new paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics states that current Indian population is derived from two ancestral populations—the Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI)—both of which are older than 3500 Years Before Present (YBP). Though this seems to confirm the Aryan-Dravidian divide and the migration which happened after 1900 BCE, the paper actually does the opposite; it refutes the large scale migration version of the Aryan theory.

    One of the ancestral components—the ANI—is common not just in South Asia, but also in West Asia and Caucasus while the ASI is limited to South Asia. While this may seem to clearly demarcate the natives and the foreign migrants, it does not. Except for some Astroasiatic tribes and two small Dravidian tribes in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, all other South Indians have more than 40% of the ANI component. This means that everyone except these few groups are not purely native.

    The important question then is this: When did the ANI mix with the ASI?. If that period is between 1900 BCE and 1500 BCE, then it would confirm the many versions of Aryan theory in existence right now. When these researchers modeled the data, they could not find any evidence of a dramatic Central Asian migration for this period. So they went back and till about 12500 Years Before Present (YBP) they could not find any evidence. Thus the mixing of the ANI and ASI did not happen 140 generations before as was believed, but probably more than 500 generations back (Each generation is 25 years). The paper explicitly mentions Max Muller’s theory and says that it is hard to find evidence for such a migration following the collapse of the Harappan civilization.

    Few years back, researchers working on this project suggested that the ANI emerged 40,000 years back and mixed with the ASI at a later date. So as it stands now, the mixing between the two groups happened some time between 40,000 YBP and 12,500 YBP. So if there is a European component in Indian genes, that event happened much earlier than the decline of the Harappan civilisation and not because of the hypothetical Aryan migration around 1500 BCE.

  • 135. Prashant said:

    Hi all,
    Interesting debate. I am feeling sorry for myself for being ignorant about this for so long. There are few points I want to make
    1 An idiot had argued that why we are obsessed about something which happened about 5000 years back? WoW! I think we are obsessed about it in the same way as the Brits were about it. They wanted to believe they were superior and now we want to tell the whole world that we are the ones who are superior.
    2 Someone said people of indus valley buried their dead and Vedic guys cremated. Well again this person does not has knowledge about Hindu culture. Many of Hindu’s even now bury their dead.
    3 Lack of horses in indus valley. So what? I dont think that Vedic culture was only present in the boundaries of the so called indus valley. And it is possible that the dead horses were also cremated
    4 Again som one pointed out that there is similarity between the myths of europeans and Vedic people. Well everyone knows that Zeus was plagiarized from Vedas and similarly every other myths have been lifted by the europeans from the oldest civilization on Earth.
    5 Again some said that every body originated form outside India. Most probably he would point that life orginated somewhere in oceans. But if any tries and look into the field of evolutionary biology s/he will find that even at such advancement of knowledge we are far from the truth and people have now trying to come to terms with panspermia theory for evolution. I would give consideration to the fact that Snaskrit was not the language of masses but then it was the language of Devas. The high and mighty lords who lived in the sky (Is it looking similar to ancient astronaut theory?).

  • 136. sujay rao mandavilli said:

    sujayrao2000 (signed in using yahoo)
    INDUS SCRIPT WAS TRUE WRITING.

    Please find my two papers below and circulate amongst the skeptics, particularly!

    To state the obvious, the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script and a lost corpus did exist.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/46387240/Sujay-Indus-Script-Final-Version-Final-Final

    Published in the ICFAI journal of history and culture, January 2011.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/111707419/Sujay-Indus-Reintroducing-Lost-Manuscript-Hypothesis

    Published in International journal of philosophy and journal sciences , November 2012.

    I am also introducing logo-syllabic thesis B in this paper.

    The paper is very self-explanatory!
    does anybody still beg to differ?

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli.

  • 138. Sujay Rao Mandavilli said:

    I am publishing my sixth research paper directly online as it is an extension of my previous papers. Kindly read pages 4 to 18 as it contains a detailed discussion of the term ‘Aryan’. This paper explains why the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus theories are not tenable.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/136268397/The-demise-of-the-Dravidian-Vedic-and-Paramunda-Indus-myths

    Methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans were presented in the present and previous papers.

    The older papers were written taking the 19th century school of Indology as a base and working backwards. These may appear to be outdated now (at the end of our very long journey). However, the fundamentals are still correct

    Part one

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/27103044/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One

    Part Two very,very important!

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/27105677/Sujay-Npap-Part-Two

    the first 5 papers were published in peer-reviewed journals — Preceding unsigned comment added by 182.72.239.115 (talk) 17:51, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli sujayrao2012@gmail.com

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