• Slide
    previous arrow
    next arrow
  • Let the “Aryan” Debate Become a Debate Again

    300x250 AD

    Linguists realized that Sanskrit was not the mother but merely an elder sister of the other branches. There was a distance between the putative language of origin (Proto-Indo-European, PIE) and Vedic Sanskrit, and this translated into a possible distance between the Homeland and India. Not really compelling logic, for languages can evolve while staying in the same place; but this change of opinion won through. 

    What made the scales tip was probably August Schlegel’s proposal in 1834 that the Homeland lay in or near the Caucasus mountains. Bible-thumpers had already thought of Armenia, where Noah’s Ark had landed: the Aryans were deemed the descendants of Noah’s son Jafeth. Successive Homeland theories after this would rarely move away sharply from the Caucasus area. Since Gordon Childe’s choice in 1926 for the Don-Volga region, this area has mostly remained the favourite, today known as the Yamnaya (“pit-grave”) culture.

    But the OIT school did not give up. The defence was taken up again by Europeans living in India. The most prominent and surprising figure here is Mountstuart Elphinstone, a proverbial colonialist. After his retirement as governor of Bombay, he wrote a History of India. Among his arguments, the most compelling is that no Hindu scripture gives any indication of a foreign origin: “There is no reason whatever for thinking that the Hindus ever inhabited any country but their present.” (1841)

    Harappan cities (starting 2600 BCE), and in Sanskrit writings younger than them, but not yet in the Rg-Veda. He concluded that the Rg-Veda largely predated them. This high chronology is detrimental to the AIT, which postulates an Aryan invasion (importing the Vedic language) only in the 2nd millennium.

    In 1984 the US archaeologist James Shaffer showed that there is zero archaeological proof for an Aryan invasion, including a peaceful immigration. Indian archaeologists became more outspoken about their findings to the same effect. Even BB Lal, long the main archaeological supporter of the AIT, shifted to the position: “Vedic and Harappan are two sides of the same coin.” Several linguists and historians joined in, and latterly some geneticists: people of the same academic rank as any pro-AIT professors you can cite.  

    Until the millennium year 2000, there had been many voices doubting or plainly rejecting the AIT, and contributing many little arguments from linguistics or archaeology, all indirect evidence, but a clear alternative was lacking. Shrikant Talageri, after a preparatory book in 1993, then broke through the wall of ignorance about the enigmatic Vedic age. In The Rigveda, an Analysis, and its 2008 sequel, The Veda and the Avesta, he pioneered a convincing OIT, which should henceforth count as the OIT.

    300x250 AD

    This work is, as I have been able to verify at Indo-Europeanist conferences, completely unknown in the West and also in India’s AIT camp. Whereas the mere handful of OIT thinkers know the AIT quite well and often write answers to it, the well-established AIT doesn’t really get beyond derogatory comments on the OIT and stonewalls all arguments in its favour. Around the year 2000 there was a little bit of dialogue, mostly thanks to the American scholar Edwin Bryant (the coiner of the term “OIT”), but this has remained a blip.

    Today, the AIT camp is a happy valley protected from the rising waters of counter-evidence by a protective dam. But the waters keep rising, and the time can’t be far off when the waters will overcome the dam and drastically impact the cosy life in the valley.

    The above article by Dr. Koenraad Elst is part of the Conference on The Homeland Debate: A Definitive Case Against The Aryan Invasion Theory, Chaired by Dr. Koenraad Elst organized by Sangam Talks on 18.02.2023 in the India International Centre, New Delhi.

    ಕೃಪೆ: http://bharatvoice.in

    Share This
    300x250 AD
    300x250 AD
    300x250 AD
    Leaderboard Ad
    Back to top