From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 8884
Date: 2001-08-31

A few points should be made clear. I don't believe in an "Aryan
Invasion" as a sweeping military conquest. Who does, after all?
The "famous AIT" is _not_ a fair representation of any serious modern
scholar's opinions -- it's only a man of straw that Hindutva
nationalist "scholars" can conveniently knock down. For one thing,
the collapse of the Indus Valley civilisation took place a couple of
centuries too early for Indo-Aryan-speakers to have conceivably
played a significant role in it. On the other hand, the _linguistic_
evidence is clear and incontrovertible: the Indo-Aryan languages
cannot be "autochthonous" in the sense of having been spoken in India
since the end of the last Ice Age, but must have been brought there
from the Middle East during the 2nd millennium BC. Languages can only
move if some of their speakers do, so an influx of Indo-Aryan-
speakers into India must be assumed (probably a gradual process
involving many small groups).

The fast and effective expansion of a minority language at the
expense of the local majority languages is possible through the
acculturation of a foreign élite. In India, the Aryans were not a
new "race": quite certainly a vast majority of them were local people
who for whatever reason identified with the "Vedic" culture and
contributed to its development (so that it can only partly be
regarded as an import), and who also adopted the Indo-European lingua
franca of the immigrant upper class. Needless to say, the upper class
was Indo-European in the linguistic sense only. There is no such
thing as the Indo-European genome.

The word "arya-", which we have discussed before, is not of Indian
origin (being a common Indo-Iranian term of self-reference), so it
makes no sense to me to talk of "Aryans" or "Aryan culture" in India
before ca. 1500 BC (and while we are at it, it makes no sense to
apply the term "Aryans" to Indo-European-speakers in general, or
to "Europeans"). Vedic society arose in the cultural context of the
system of village agriculture that replaced the urban civilisation of
the Indus Valley. It developed in a mixed population and absorbed
local traditions as well as foreign influence. The people of India
can legitimately identify with all the historical components of their
culture -- external as well as indigenous. I fail to see why the idea
that some of those elements derive from external sources -- I mean in
particular the Old Indo-Aryan language -- should seem subversive,
except to a blinkered fundamentalist mind. Cultural purists ("one
nation, one homeland, one blood, one linear tradition, one faith, one
bla-blah ...") are dangerous fools -- and that applies to anyone
anywhere, in India, Britain, Poland or Peru. Why negate the richness
of one's own culture by denying its genetic diversity?


--- In cybalist@..., "Mark DeFillo" <ategnatos@...> wrote:
> I have read on the subject of IndoEuropean origins and the Aryan
> (of India) Theory for a number of years, looking carefully at
scholars from
> all points of view, from those who say that savage Aryans invaded
> destroying a great Dravidian culture, to those who say that India
is the PIE
> Urheimat.
> As far as I have been able to see from all of this, it appears that
> origin of the AIT was the speculations of the early Indologists,
who were
> Christian, many of them actual missionaries with admittedly
subversive aims
> (to try to disprove Hindu history and religion in order to convert
> Indians)... the famous Boden chair of Sanskrit was founded
specifically with
> this same aim. At the same time, these scholars also had the
> notion that European culture depended on the Romans and Greeks, and
> anything before the Roman conquest was nothing more than crude
> Knowing that the Indo-European history of Europe was apparently a
string of
> invasions, it must have seemed quite reasonable to assume the same
> India, coupled with the fact that India has been suffering a string
> invasions for a number of millennia. All this shows the background
of their
> thoughts.
> As far as fact goes, I have seen no substantial (hard) evidence for
> Aryan Invasion of the famous theory. For what it is worth, the
> literature of India has no mention of such an invasion. Neither any
part of
> the Dravidian literature, nor any part of the Sanskritic literature
> Buddhist or Jaina) that I have heard of suggest anything of the
sort. I also
> find it relevant that both literatures (as distinguished by
language family)
> apply the name "Aryan" to both Sanskritic and Dravidic speaking
> While there are variations between the cultures of North and South
> there are also copious parallels.
> On the other hand, the extreme opposite, the "Out of India" theory
held by
> some Hindu nationalists also appears inaccurate, and contrary to
> literary evidence. This literary evidence comes out of the academic
world of
> the millennias-old civilization of India.
> While there are Hindu nationalist scholars who insist that India
must be the
> homeland of IndoEuropeans, and that Sanskrit is the "real PIE",
there are
> others that have a more balanced and objective viewpoint. In Europe
and its
> colonies there are "white supremacists" who sometimes deny that the
> of India are "real Aryans"; similarly, these more extreme Hindus
deny that
> Europeans are "real Aryans."
> As for the more balanced viewpoint, while it has a respectful
> towards India's earlier generations in its unbroken line of
academics, it
> also uses archeology and other disciplines that can provide other
forms of
> evidence.
> What do they find? While there are archeological sites along the
> river, there are far more that belong to the same culture along the
banks of
> the dried up Sarasvati and its former tributaries. Every indication
is that
> this culture gradually shifted to the Ganges river, as ecological
> dried up Sarasvati and created a desert in her place. But no sign
of massive
> war or invasion. These scholars see clear continuity between the
> river culture and the Ganges river culture.
> Did Aryans ever invade India? Of course... the lands north of India
> always full of Indo-Aryan speakers. And the literature of India
> states that the area north of the Himalayas also had many "Aryan"
> Similarly, therefore, some Hindu nationalist scholars conclude that
> Urheimat was a area centered on the mountains north of India, and
> all the surrounding regions, including northern India. Aside from
that, it
> is worth remembering that ancient India was bigger than the modern
> called India, and extended further in most directions, including
into Asia.
> They do, in fact, recognize a possible migration into India of
> culture, but far earlier, in the aftermath of the last great Ice
> Invasions and warfare probably occurred in both directions, but
they see no
> reason to think of any "Aryan Invasion" as a key turning point in
the way
> portrayed by the non-Indian mainstream theory.
> In short, I see the ideas of the more-objective of the Indian
scholars as
> the most balanced in regard to taking into account the full
spectrum of
> relevant evidence.
> Mark DeFillo
> _________________________________________________________________
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