From: Mark DeFillo
Message: 8896
Date: 2001-08-31

Some further comments on the AIT:

From: "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...>
>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.

OK, I believe you that it is not a representation of modern ("Western")
scholarship- but the current ideas have NOT trickled down much out of the
ivory tower. Also it has been brought to my attention that it is exceedinly
unfair and inaccurate to characterize all opponents of the AIT as Hindutva
nationalists. It is opposed by a wide range of Indian and non-Indian
scholars, some of whom are Hindu or otherwise traditional (including "retro"
or reconstructionalist) IE, but others who are part of the modern Western
conglomerate culture.

>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.

Opponents of AIT specifically argue this point, as they find no reason to
say that the Indus-Sarasvati civilization was not Indo-Aryan. Until the
script is conclusively deciphered, that will remain an open question.

>Needless to say, the upper class
>was Indo-European in the linguistic sense only. There is no such
>thing as the Indo-European genome.

True, there is no one Indo-European racial group... there are several, who
can be identified by sharing either Indo-European language or culture. The
culture is by far the more important in real life, though in linguistics,
language is the determining factor.

>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").

Perhaps Arya was only an ethonym to Indo-Iranians, but the word has many
cognates in Europe, either directly or in many words derived from the basic
root "Ar-" meaning "to fit" or "fitting", and hence in a social sense,
"worthy" or "noble" or "honor".

>Vedic society arose in the cultural context of the
>system of village agriculture that replaced the urban civilisation of
>the Indus Valley.

Not true, the Vedas clearly speak of cities, both belonging to Aryas and to
their various enemies. Early proponents of the AIT based it partly on the
verses describing Aryans and/or the Gods as "breakers of cities", but
ignoring the verses that described them as having cities of their own.

>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?

Those who are actual Indo-European cultural purists are not, well, "purist".
They (we) recognize diversity as a fundamental characteristic of culture,
and openness to absorbing worthy and noble (a vague pun is intended)
elements and people from other sources. This has nothing to do with the
question of whether or not India was part of the Urheimat or not.

From: "David" liberty@...

>Aryan is an ethnic not a racial designation and so when Dravidians,
>Mundas, etc. were assimilated into the Sanskritic culture they can
>legitimately said to have become Aryans. Besides in India "Aryan"
>has undergone a change in meaning parallel to that of the word
>"noble" which originally only meant "belonging to the aristocracy"
>but now more often is used in the sense "honorable, selfless,
>dignified, etc." So in India the title of Aryan was eventually
>extended to anybody who upheld Vedic mores.

You mean "cultural" rather than "ethnic", I think. "Ethnic" is rather
abused. An "ethnos" is a people, and while it is not necessarily a racial
group, there are racial overtones to any tribal or ethnic group, being that
their members are supposed to be related to each other, either by blood or
by adoption. As for the issue of semantic development... a point is being
missed: in IndoEuropean culture, ideally, one does not have noble rank
unless having noble qualities. The concepts are fundamentally related, and
it is a mistake to speculate a chronological development. Of course, I do
fully realize that the ideal was only sometimes achieved.

>The white supremacists are insane and selectively "connect-the-dots"
>with historical evidence to draw just the picture that they want to
>see and ignore anything that doesn't fit. Unfortunately though it
>seems that some Indian scholars have adopted the same approach.... [snip
>and paste]A true historian or scientist is not in the service of >national,
>racial or ethnic pride and interests but should be dedicated >solely to the
>discovery of the truth.

Indian culture (including Hindutva), and IndoEuropean culture in general,
are specifically dedicated to the discovery of Truth. Let us not forget that
when AIT was first created, white supremacy was inherent in European (and
American) culture, as was Christian-supremacy in the religious sphere, and
the notion that European culture in general was based on Roman and Greek
civilization. All of which created a picture (preconceived notions) that
they selectively "connected-the-dots" in order to fit. Despite modern
Marxist, Christian and Muslim propaganda, that kind of attitude is basically
foreign to Indian culture and to Hindutva.

>Europeans aren't "real Aryans", except for the Rom and the Ossetians
>whose very ethnic self designation "Ir" is a reflex of the name
>Aryan. The term only legitimately applies to the Indo-Iranians and
>possibly their (cultural) descendants. Using "Aryan" for "Indo-
>European" is based on a mistake that has now been corrected and is
>comparable to the bad habit of calling America's indigenous
>people "Indians".

Today's traditional IndoEuropeans, both of India and of Europe and its
colonies engage in heavy comparative research of their religions and
cultures, and recognize their fundamental kinship and indeed unity. If
"Aryan" as a cultural term means the cultures of the IndoIranians, then it
does indeed apply, at the very least loosely, to Europeans of IndoEuropean
origin. They are one family of cultures, with more similarities than
differences. Aside from that, most European peoples were strongly influenced
in one way or another by the IndoIranian Scythians, and any such cultural
influences are therefore unquestionably "Aryan". Even if we ignore all that,
and we deny any historical accuracy to the practice, it has become customary
for traditional IndoEuropeans to use the name... as one example, there are
leading Celtic reconstructionalists (formally trained linguists, BTW) who
use "Arioi" as an ethnonym for Celts now. Linguists deal with linguistic
realities, as well as with what "should" be according to, true? By that
standard, "Aryan" is widely used by IndoEuropeans from many branches as a
self-designation. The only reason for linguists to object to this is the
"politically correct" demonization of the name as used by Europeans because
of the atrocities committed by some who acted under it. But this
demonization is analogous to declaring the crucifix to be a hate symbol on
the basis of the Inquisitions, and the conversion by force of large parts of
Europe. (Actually, I DO feel the same on seeing crosses, as many Jews do on
seeing swastikas...)

From: "S.Kalyanaraman" <kalyan97@...>
>Here are some comments by Dr. Koenraad Elst posted on another list:
> > On the other hand, the extreme opposite, the "Out of India" theory
> > held by some Hindu nationalists also appears inaccurate, and
>contrary > to traditional literary evidence.
>Which literary evidence?

I was speaking of the parts of the Mahabharata and the Puranic literature
that describe "Aryan" kingdoms north of the Himalayas. Vamadeva Shastri
informed me of this a few years ago, and I do not have specific textual
references at hand... sadly, I still lack a copy of the Sanskrit text.

>You also play into the hand of the usual calumniators by equating the
>rejection of the AIT with "Hindu nationalism". It has been rejected
>or doubted or simply never considered by all kinds of people, from
>early European OITheorists like Schlegel to recent AIT skeptics like
>Edmund Leach.

Dr. Elst is quite right here, as I acknowledged above.

>For your information, though I make common cause with
>Hindus on some important points, and though I do not share the
>hysterical hatred of nationalism currently promoted through all media
>channels worldwide, I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. If there
>is no hard evidence for the AIT, it requires neither Hinduness nor
>nationalist convictions to doubt or reject it.

He has written some very good works detailing the flaws in the AIT, which I
highly recommend.

> > similarly, these more extreme Hindus deny that Europeans are "real
> > Aryans."
>Example? I have had to distance myself from less than cool-headed
>Indian OIT advocates a few times, but I have not encountered that
>line yet. If *Arya* is taken in its traditional Manuwadi meaning,
>*all* Hindus would agree that Europeans are not "Aryas", as they do
>not practise Vedic culture. In fact, if we accept that
>straightforward definition, *everyone* would agree that the term Arya
>does not fit the European, unless he adopted and interiorized Vedic
>culture. But this is not more extremist than stating the
>truism that a Christian is not a Muslim, etc.

I have on my bookshelf several works published by as far as I recall the
"Arya Pratinidhi Sabha" which include remarks that ARE this extreme. As
bearers of traditional IndoEuropean culture, prior to the Christian
aggressions, the majority of Europeans have roots as, loosely at least,
Aryans. IndoEuropean culture is IndoEuropean culture, with local variations
in each place, including India and its regions, but really is one culture.

But the main point of this whole matter is that there is no hard evidence
for the AIT. There is linguistic theory, which is being characterized as
"linguistic evidence", but in any case, it is NOT unquestioned, and is not

~Mark DeFillo

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