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Aryan Invasion/migration Theories & Debates -2 - acharya - 05-03-2009

The Indus ‘non-script’ is a non-issue


There is solid archaeological and linguistic evidence to show that the Indus script is a writing system encoding the language of the region (most probably Dravidian). To deny the very existence of the script is not the way towards further progress.

The Indus script appears to consist mostly of word-signs. Such a script will necessarily have a lesser number of characters and repetitions than a syllabic script.

Photo Courtesy: ASI

A Riddle still: Indus seals with long inscriptions.

Is the Indus Script ‘writing’?

“There is zero chance that the Indus valley is literate. Zero,” says Steve Farmer, an independent scholar in Palo Alto, California. “As they say, garbage in, garbage out,” says Michael Witzel of the Harvard University. These quotations from an online news item (New Scientist, April 23, 2009) are representative of what passes for academic debate in sections of the Western media over a serious research paper by Indian scientists published recently in the USA (Science, April 24, 2009).

The Indian teams are from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the Indus Research Centre of the Roja Muthiah Research Library (both at Chennai), and backed by a team from the University of Washington at Seattle. They have proposed in their paper, resulting from more than two years of sustained research, that there is credible scientific evidence to show that the Indus script is a system of writing which encodes a language (as briefly reported in The Hindu, April 27, 2009).

This is a sober and understated conclusion presented in a refereed article published by an important scientific journal. The provocative comments by Farmer and Witzel will surprise only those not familiar with the consistently aggressive style adopted by them on this question, especially by Farmer. Their first paper, written jointly with Richard Sproat of Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, has the sensational title, “The collapse of the Indus script thesis: the myth of a literate Harappan civilization” (Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 11: 2, 2004).

The “collapse of the Indus script thesis” has already drawn many responses, including the well-argued and measured rebuttal by the eminent Indus script expert, Asko Parpola, “Is the Indus script indeed not a writing system?” (Airavati 2008), and a hilarious and intentionally sarcastic rejoinder (mimicking the style of the “collapse” paper) by Massimo Vidale (“The collapse melts down”, East and West 2007). Here is a sampling from the latter: “Should we be surprised by this announced ‘collapse’? From the first noun in the title of their paper, Farmer, Sproat and Witzel are eager to communicate to us that previous and current views on the Indus script are naïve and completely wrong, and that after 130 years of illusion, through their paper, we may finally see the truth behind the dark curtains of a dangerous scientific myth.”

I am one of the co-authors of the Science paper. But my contribution is limited to making available to my colleagues the electronic database file compiled by me in collaboration with the computer scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and partly published in my book The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables (1977). I have no background in computational linguistics. However, I have closely studied the Indus script for over four decades and I am quite familiar with its structure. The following comments are based on my personal research and may not necessarily reflect the views of the other co-authors of the Science paper.

In a nutshell, my view is that there is solid archaeological and linguistic evidence to show that the Indus script is a writing system encoding the language of the region (most probably Dravidian).
Archaeological evidence

Path-breaking work: Iravatham Mahadevan.

The strongest argument against the new-fangled theory that the Indus script is not writing is provided by the sheer size and sophistication of the Indus civilisation. Consider these facts:

• The Indus was by far the largest civilisation of the ancient world during the Bronze Age (roughly 3000 – 1500 BCE). It extended all the way from Shortugai in North Afghanistan to Daimabad in South India, and from Sutkagen Dor on the Pak-Iran border to Hulas in Uttar Pradesh — altogether more than a million sq km in area, very much larger than the contemporary West Asian and Egyptian civilisations put together.

• The Indus civilisation was mainly urban, with many large and well-built cities sustained by the surplus agricultural production of the surrounding countryside. The Indus cities were not only well-built but also very well administered with enviable arrangements for water supply and sanitation (lacking even now in many Indian towns).

• There was extensive and well-regulated trade employing precisely shaped and remarkably accurate weights. The beautifully carved seals were in use (as in all other literate societies) for personal identification, administrative purposes, and trading. Scores of burnt clay sealings with seal-impressions were found in the port city of Lothal in Gujarat attesting to the use of seals to mark the goods exported from there. Indus seals and clay-tag sealings have been found in North and West Asian sites, where they must have reached in the course of trading.

This archaeological evidence makes it inconceivable that such a large, well-administered, and sophisticated trading society could have functioned without effective long-distance communication, which could have been provided only by writing. And there is absolutely no reason to presume otherwise, considering that thousands of objects, including seals, sealings, copper tablets, and pottery bear inscriptions in the same script throughout the Indus region. The script may not have been deciphered; but that is no valid reason to deny its very existence, ignoring the archaeological evidence.

Another important pointer to the literacy of the Indus civilisation is that it was in close trading and cultural contacts with other contemporary literate societies like the Proto-Elamite to the North and the Sumerian-Akkadian city states (and probably the Egyptian kingdom) to the West. It is again inconceivable that a civilisation as urban and well-organised as the Indus could not have been alive to the importance of writing practised in the neighbouring literate cultures and was content with “non-linguistic” symbols of very limited utility like those employed by pre-historic hunter-gathering or tribal societies.
Linguistic evidence

While denying the status of a writing system to the Indus script, Farmer, Sproat and Witzel point to the extreme brevity of the texts (averaging less than five signs) and the presence of numerous “singletons” (signs with only one occurrence). Seal-texts tend to be short universally. Further, the Indus script appears to consist mostly of word-signs. Such a script will necessarily have a lesser number of characters and repetitions than a syllabic script. Thus the proper comparison should be with the number of words in later Indian seals or cave inscriptions. The average number of words in these cases matches the average number of signs in an Indus text. There are, however, many seal-texts that are much longer than the average. (See illustrations of longer Indus texts). As for singletons, they appear to be mostly composite or modified signs derived from basic signs, apparently meant only for restricted or special usage. An apt parallel would be the difference in frequencies between basic and conjunct consonants in the Brahmi script.
The concordances

Photo Courtesy: UNESCO

A file photo of The Great Bath at Mohenjo-daro.

Three major concordances of the Indus texts have been published: a manually compiled edition by Hunter (1934), and two computer-made editions, one by the Finnish team led by Asko Parpola (1973, 1982) and the other by the Indian scholar, Iravatham Mahadevan (1977). All the three concordances provide definitive editions of the texts, sign lists, and lists of sign variants. The Mahadevan Concordance also provides in addition various statistical tabulations for textual analysis as well as for relating the texts to their archaeological context (sites, types of inscribed objects, and pictorial motifs accompanying the inscriptions).

The concordance is a basic and indispensable tool for research in the Indus script. It is a complete index of sign occurrences in the texts. It also sets out the full textual context of each sign occurrence. The frequency and positional distribution of each sign and sign combination can be readily ascertained from the concordance. A study of near-identical sequences leads to segmentation of texts into words and phrases. Doubtful signs can be read with a fair amount of confidence by a comparative study of identical sequences. Sign variants can be recognised to a large extent by studying the textual environment.

It is the concordance which conclusively established the direction of the Indus script to be from right to left on seal-impressions and direct writing (naturally reversed on the seals). The concordance also reveals the broad syntactical features of the texts, like the most frequent opening and terminal signs, as well as pairs and triplets of signs in the middle representing important names, titles etc. Numerals have been identified. As they precede the enumerated objects, we know that adjectives precede the nouns they qualify. This is an important result ruling out, for example, Sumerian or Akkadian as candidate languages. According to competent and objective scholars like Kamil Zvelebil and Gregory Possehl, the concordances are the most tangible outcome of the prolonged research on the Indus script.

The concordances have been criticised for employing “normalised” signs that are sometimes different from what are actually found in individual inscriptions. The differences are as between a handwritten manuscript and the printed book. All the three concordances employ normalised signs, as there is no other possible way of presenting hundreds of inscriptions and thousands of sign-occurrences in a compact and logical arrangement for analytical study. The concordances have also been faulted for differences in readings. The criticism overlooks the fact that the Indus script is still undeciphered and such differences are unavoidable, especially in reading badly preserved texts or in deciding which are independent signs and which are mere graphic variants.

The serious student of the Indus script will consult the concordances, but refer to the sources for confirmation. Statistically speaking, differences (or even errors in coding) in the concordances are marginal and have not affected the interpretation of the main features of the texts.

This was confirmed by an interesting study published recently by Mayank Vahia et al of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, 37:1, 2008). They removed all the doubtfully read signs (marked by asterisks) and multiple lines (with indeterminate order) from the Mahadevan Concordance and analysed the rest, a little less than half of the total sign-occurrences. They found that the statistically established percentages of frequencies and distribution of signs and segmentations of texts remained constant, attesting to the essential correctness of compilation of the full concordance.
The Dravidian hypothesis

There is archaeological and linguistic evidence to support the view that the Indus civilisation is non-Aryan and pre-Aryan:

• The Indus civilisation was urban, while the Vedic was rural and pastoral.

• The Indus seals depict many animals, but not the horse. The chariot with the spoked wheels is also not depicted. The horse and chariot with the spoked wheels are the main features of Aryan-speaking societies. (For the best and most recent account, refer to David W. Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel and Language, Princeton, 2007).

• The Indus religion as revealed in the pictorial depictions on the seals included worship of buffalo-horned male gods, mother-goddesses, the pipal tree, the serpent, and probably the phallic symbol. Such modes of worship are alien to the religion of the Rigveda.

Ruling out Aryan authorship of the Indus civilisation does not automatically make it Dravidian. However, there is substantial linguistic evidence favouring the Dravidian theory:

• The survival of Brahui, a Dravidian language in the Indus region.

• The presence of Dravidian loanwords in the Rigveda.

• The substratum influence of Dravidian on the Prakrit dialects.

• Computer analysis of the Indus texts revealing that the language had only suffixes (like Dravidian), and no prefixes (as in Indo-Aryan) or infixes (as in Munda).

It is significant that all the three concordance-makers (Hunter, Parpola, and Mahadevan) point to Dravidian as the most likely language of the Indus texts. The Dravidian hypothesis has also been supported by other scholars like the Russian team headed by Yuri Valentinovich Knorozov and by the American archaeologist, Walter Fairservis, all of whom have utilised the information available from the concordances. However, as the Dravidian models of decipherment have still little in common except the basic features summarised above, it is obvious that much more work remains to be done before a generally acceptable solution emerges.

I am hopeful that with an increasing number of Indus texts, and better and more sophisticated archaeological and linguistic methods, the riddle of the Indus script will be solved one day. What is required is perseverance, recognising the advances already made, and proceeding further. To deny the very existence of the Indus script is not the way towards further progress.

Iravatham Mahadevan is a well-known authority on the Indus and Brahmi scripts. He is the author of The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables (1977) and Early Tamil Epigraphy (2003).

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories & Debates -2 - Bharatvarsh - 05-06-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->THE HORSE AND THE ARYAN DEBATE
by Michel Danino*<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - Husky - 05-17-2009

Does this go here or in the comedy thread? Where is the comedy thread? That settles it. Here it is, then.

This is fabulously entertaining. And the article that Nizhal Yoddha is referring to is even more so, particularly its conclusions on how the uhhh... voluptuous... figurines could mean that language and mental leaps were "therefore" also taken at that time (without providing any further evidence of relation to that effect; mere speculation).
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>earliest pornography was done by european 'aryans'</b>
may 16th, 2009

i see i have to embellish the 'Aryan' Tourist Theory (copyright) with the 'Aryan' Big Boobs Theory.

see, even though humans evolved in africa, it took the white 'Aryans' to invent pornography. yeah, and white 'Aryan' women were the first to invent big boobs. after all, even today the biggest boobs belong to white 'Aryan' women -- see pamela anderson and other surgically-enhanced hollywood starlets displaying their talents. yeah, white 'Aryans' are superior in so many ways, i have lost count!

Posted by nizhal yoddha at 5/16/2009 10:50:00 PM 0 comments <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
From the above link
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Oldest Known Sculpture Is Busty Clue to Brain Boom</b>
(Title makes the linkage already.)

    * By Brandon Keim
<img src='' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

From a cave in southwestern Germany, archaeologists have unearthed the oldest known piece of figurative art. More than an ancient artistic impulse, it may signify a profound change in modern human brains.

Carved from ivory and depicting a woman with exaggerated sexual features, the pinkie-sized sculpture is 36,000 years old, or about 5,000 years older than the next-earliest piece of figurative art.

Though 77,000-year-old carvings have been found in South Africa, they consist of cross-hatched lines. Such abstractions are relatively simple compared to representational art, which requires high levels of cognition to both conceive and make.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the rise of figurine-carving modern human cultures in Europe coincided with the decline of Neanderthals. Some anthropologists suspect that humans of the era experienced a leap in mental abilities, fueled by random genetic mutation or the neurological nourishment of language and culture.

“The advent of fully representational, ‘figurative’ art seems at present to be a European phenomenon, without any documented parallels in Africa or elsewhere earlier than about 30,000 years ago,” writes University of Cambridge archaeologist Paul Mellars in a commentary accompanying the discovery, published Wednesday in Nature.

<b>“How far this ‘symbolic explosion’ associated with the origins and dispersal of our species reflects</b> a major, mutation-driven reorganization in the cognitive capacities of the human brain — <b><span style='color:red'>perhaps associated with a similar leap forward in the complexity of language</b> — remains a fascinating and contentious issue,” he wrote.</span><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Artwork supposedly depicting humans (I'm still trying to see the resemblance here) implies that the humans who made it were clever? If they were so clever why does the artwork look further from reality than say early cave paintings. But I suppose it's insensitive of me to criticise art. Let's assume it is realistic - since the humans who made it, we're told, were so clever.
Then ancient hominids in Germany didn't look very human... Are we to conclude that the - oryans was it? - were malformed... The heads are so puny, how do we know their brains were large enough to give rise to this amazing, unique 'leap forward' in 'language' and other things arising from the hypothesised increased 'cognitive capabilities' that are supposedly implied by these figures? Does this mean the heads of other early humans were even punier? "No no, you Indoo. It's abstraction, don't you see - and *that* is what proves that these hominids were clever: they've abstracted certain aspects of the human form to present a piece that summarises their idea, their take - if you will - on those essentials that they wish to convey. They have gone beyond mere creativity and replication, they've gone on to conveying *indirect concepts*." (Or some such cheese.)
Hmmm yeah, that's umm ... uhh .... really profound. One question. If they were capable of abstraction and hence also, one may suppose, capable of conceiving of art for art's sake, why did they then choose to make UGLY images? Yeah? Where's the aesthetics? Abstraction and yet no appreciation for beauty. Wow. Clever bunch. Meh.

And oh yes, somehow bringing in language to the equation. They must claim language of course. Since that is, after all, the most significant difference between the other animals and the human animals. "And if one could prove that origins of language arose in Europe, then it matters not that humanity came from Africa."
Figurines must "therefore" 'prove' oryans (since nothing else so far could). Why not. They have searched so hard and for so long, doesn't their perseverance deserve some recompense?
Now they will claim that all sculpture are an oryan innovation, similar to the claim attempted on all horse-riding and horse-training and horsey things anywhere in the world. Or the claim that all blue eyes 'must be' from the Black Sea region - or wherever they decided it was - after a too mini sampling exercise that ignored input from large swathes of concerned geography. And which also conveniently ignored blue-eyed cats and dogs. After all, if other mammals can develop blue eyes without human oryans having somehow genetically bequeathed it to them, then why can't other human populations independently have developed the same. Or so I thought. If one confined human gene pool can give rise to the phenotype at a certain time and under certain conditions/circumstances, can't others? Or are such circumstances never allowed to be repeated in the human case, since the claim is that oryans are unique, special, a one-off, a <i>miracle</i>.

Anyway, they have now claimed cultivation, domestication, language, art. What next. Origin of science and scientific thinking, I'm guessing (imagination falls under those last things as it is necessitated by art, language and science; every innovation actually). The wheel. Or did they already claim the wheel, I forget. Fire. Oh yes, fire is very important. We saw how the Orang-Utan in The Jungle Book needed fire in order to be human/compete with humanity on equal footing. So that is another thing that distinguishes man from the other monkeys. Who but the oryan could have discovered that? <- Let's not even try to prove this and just nod our heads in ready acquiescence, shall we. Since if the oryans came up with all that other stuff, can't they have latched onto fire too: they then went back in time and gave it to the earlier human ancestors who had also used it. See, and that takes care of the invention of the time machine as well.

The non-existent jeebus creepus and his Japhetic-Hamitic saga is a miracle of convenience.

The sad thing is, the find in itself is very fascinating. It would be nice if they actually investigated *that* instead of wandering into the realms of oryan fantasy. Again.

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - Bodhi - 05-20-2009

Rare burial ritual identified in Iran's Sialk
Mon, 11 May 2009 09:54:54 GMT

Sialk is a large ancient structure in Kashan, Iran.

Archeologists have discovered a mysterious burial ritual performed 9,000 years ago in Iran's Sialk Mound located in the center of the country.

Iranian and Polish archeologists' investigations have revealed a specific burial ritual in Sialk Mound.

<b>"In this 9,000-year-old practice, four bodies were burned at a heat of 400 to 700 degrees. The ash and remains of the bodies were then buried in a jar,"</b> said Hassan Fazeli, the director of Iran's Archeology Research Center.

"Traces of red petals were found in the jar. Archeologists believe red flowers signified life and eternity in ancient Persia," he added.

"A burial ritual encompassing burning has never been observed in Iran," he claimed. "It makes the rare discovery of great importance."

Another body was found next to the foundation of a wall.

Archeologists from Iran, Germany, Britain, Italy and France have been studying the northern mound of Sialk since last week.

The Sialk Mound, located in the city of Kashan, is believed to be the origin of human technology, industry and religious thought in Iran.



even in TN such sites have been discovered in plenty

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - ramana - 05-20-2009

Dont the Lingayats or some such group bury the ashes instead of immersing in rivers?

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-04-2009

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-08-2009

The Myth of the Aryan Invasion Theory

Anupam Manur

“The Aryans came down from central Asia and invaded India in 1500 BC, after destroying the Harappan civilization and they brought with them the rich Vedas” – That’s exactly how my 9th standard History text book reads. Shocking, now, not then. I have to admit that I was quite disappointed that the one greatest wealth (Vedas) that India has was given to us by outsiders.
However, something was fishy in the whole scheme of things. Something didn’t add up. Acting upon this hunch, I decided to do a bit of investigation and found out that many scholars had already been in this place and had disproved every inch of the theory.
In the beginning of the 18th century, Germany, France and England started taking a very special interest towards the study of Asian cultures and Indian society in particular in the context of British India. This gave birth to Indology as an academic discipline in the 19th century with pioneers such as William Jones, Colin Mackenzie, Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Max Müller, etc, largely affected by the romantic Orientalism at that time (see my post on Orientalism). Indology mainly involved studying the ancient scriptures of the Hindus (Vedas, Puranas, etc), which was facilitated by new volumes of Sanskrit-English and Sanskrit-German dictionaries that were being published. One of the most important breakthroughs was Max Müller’s edition of the Rigveda, which appeared in 1849-75. The main objective of the Indologists was to rediscover India’s glorious past and give it to the Indians. Noble indeed! Needless to say, things were not quite as it seems, as I shall try to uncover the hidden agenda.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, many seals were found in the Harappan region (now in Pakistan). This led to a fervent excavation campaign and the result of which was the discovery of the ancient civilization of the Harappans.
The fact is that the people inhabiting this area seemed to have moved out and the civilization had perished. Then, the task of the archaeologists and Indologists of the time was to try to explain this mysterious phenomenon as to why such a great civilization had perished. That it was great, there was no doubt because it was one of the most ancient urban settlements which displayed ingenious city planning, advanced knowledge of science and astronomy, efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene, sewage and drainage systems, public baths, granaries, etc.
The moment was opportune and it was seized by the scholars and archaeologists who tried to explain this by propounding the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), which I shall briefly restate in the following passages after dealing a bit about the theoretical background...
It has to be remembered that, at that time, there were no Indian scholars who were writing about Indian history but there was an abundance of literature from the West, as mentioned earlier, owing to the birth of Oriental Studies and Indology. Abbé Dubois is perhaps one of the first such western historians who has tried to explain the origin of the Indian population and their presence in India. He stayed in India for nearly 30 years, in which he collected a large volume of data pertaining to the Hindu traditions and customs. A thorough missionary agenda in mind, his aim was to present the Hindus as barbaric and superstitious and not possessing any inherent greatness. His manuscript was bought by the British East India Company and appeared in an English translation under the title Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies in 1897 with a Prefatory Note by the Right Hon. F. Max Müller.

“It is practically admitted that India was inhabited very soon after the Deluge, which made a desert of the whole world. The fact that it was so close to the plains of Sennaar, where Noah's descendants remained stationary so long, as well as its good climate and the fertility of the country, soon led to its settlement.” (Dubois, 1897)
He explains: 'According to my theory they reached India from the north, and I should place the first abode of their ancestors in the neighbourhood of the Caucasus.' The reasons he provides to substantiate his theory are utterly unconvincing-but he goes on to build the rest of his migration theory (not yet an 'Aryan' migration theory) on this shaky foundation.
It was Max Müller, the German scholar (who was, supposedly, an authority on the Vedas), who first or the most notable to propound the Aryan Invasion Theory. According to him, the only reason to explain the disappearance of the Harappans was due to an external invasion of their cities. To firmly establish the link between Europe and India (through the concept of the Aryans), Müller and others suggested that the Aryans were a nomadic tribe who were allocated a place that was halfway between Europe and India. They chose the mystical and elusive place called “Central Asia” (how precise!) from where they moved down towards India and entered India from the North, though they do not take the trouble of explaining which passes they traversed or any other geographical details. They then went on to destroy the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro with the help of their Vedic God Indra and that the dark-skinned indigenous people (Dravidians) were the ones on whom they imposed their religion and their caste system. The Aryans supposedly enslaved the native Dravidians and wiped them out from the Indus valley civilization (this idea stemmed from the fact that a few skeletons and bones were found in these sites). The entire Harappan civilization was supposed to have been massacred by the invading Aryans. The Dravidians, in fear of the onslaught fled from their thriving civilization and migrated to the south of the Indian subcontinent. However, they could not help but accept the superior culture of the Aryans and thus, though belonging to different races, the North and South followed an almost identical Hindu culture.
The chronology of these events becomes all too important, as we shall see later on. Max Müller, a firm believer of the Biblical chronology, tried to establish the periods of these events using the same. According to the Bible, humankind originated from one pair of humans– Adam and Eve, who were created around 4005BC. The great flood took place in 2500 BC, the only one to survive the flood was Noah, and thus all humans are descendents of the sons of Noah. If this was the case, then logically, the Aryan invasion could have occurred only after 2500 BC. Based purely on conjecture, Müller gave about 500 years for the regeneration of human kind and another generous 500 years where the Harappan civilization thrived. Thus, he arrived at the conclusion that the Aryan invasion would have occurred in 1500 BC.
Since the Aryans were the superior race who were capable of having literary culture (though they were nomadic), they are the ones who imposed the Vedas on India. Thus, we have to remember that the dating of the Vedas also becomes extremely important in order to prove or disprove the Aryan Invasion theory (the Hindus, however, believe that the Vedas are Anadhi, having no beginning or end, which is also the belief of the author, but for the sake of academic interest in the invasion theory, we shall consider the first written records of the Vedas). Western scholars decided to apply their own methodologies and, in the absence of reliable evidence, postulated a timeframe for Indian history based on conjectures. Considering the traditional dates for the life of Gautama, the Buddha, as fairly well established in the sixth century BCE, supposedly pre-Buddhist Indian records were placed in a sequence that seemed plausible to philologists. Accepting on linguistic grounds the traditional claims that the Rigveda was the oldest Indian literary document, Max Müller allowing a time-span of two hundred years each for the formation of every class of Vedic literature, and assuming that the Vedic period had come to an end by the time of the Buddha, established the following sequence that was widely accepted:
Rigveda c. 1200 BCE Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda, c. 1000BCE Brahmanas, c. 800 BCE Aranyakas, Upanishads, c. 600 BCE
What is not so well known in India is that our footloose Aryans, not content with overrunning the Indian subcontinent, invaded Europe too! And thereby hangs an instructive tale. For Christian Europe, long uncomfortable with what it thought to be a Hebrew ancestry, was eager, to find for itself an identity distinct from the Jewish; the sudden appearance of the Aryan race out of the misty plateaus of Central Asia was seen as a godsend, especially in the strong anti-Semitic atmosphere of the nineteenth century. Thus was born one more myth, this time of the Aryan European, Christian of course, and preferably Germanic. (Nahar, 1996) It had the added advantage of confirming the “natural” supremacy of the white race.
Though there was hardly any sort of proof for such theories, it still widely gained momentum in the rising fervour of European Nationalism. Year after year, raging debates went on across borders to determine which European people was the true descendent of the Aryan “master-race,” and therefore which nation could claim a divine right to dominate others. Europe witnessed “the ridiculous and humiliating spectacle of eminent scholars subordinating their interest in truth to the inflation of racial and national pride.” The most vociferous were undoubtedly the pro-Germanic. Germany seemed to have won the race in claiming descent from the Aryan race. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, Aryanism became a nationalist dogma in the newly unified German state. In fact, it came to be doubted that the Aryans’ “original homeland” was not at all in Central Asia, and several scholars sought to prove on “scientific grounds” that it really was Germany (Central and Western Germany, to be precise!). When in 1924 Hitler wrote in his Mein Kampf, “The Aryan alone can be considered as the founder of culture….a conqueror who subjugated inferior races,” he was merely echoing and amplifying dozens of nineteenth-century savants who had written as many thick tomes to buttress their fantasy. A few years later, full-blown Nazism was no more than a monstrous – but in a way perfectly logical-application of their race theories, with consequences we know.

Swami Vivekananda who has long been refuting the Aryan Invasion Theory made this comment: "Our archaeologists' dreams of India being full of dark-eyed aborigines, and the bright Aryans came from - the Lord knows where. According to some, they came from Central Tibet; others will have it that they came from Central Asia. There are patriotic Englishmen who think that the Aryans were all red-haired. Others, according to their idea, think that they were all black haired. If the writer happens to be a black haired man, the Aryans were all black haired. Of late, there was an attempt made to prove that the Aryans lived on the Swiss lake. I should not be sorry if they had been all drowned there, theory and all. Some say now that they lived at North Pole. Lord bless the Aryans and their habitations! As for the truth of these theories, there is not one word in our scriptures, not one, to prove that the Aryans came from anywhere outside of India, and in ancient India was included Afghanistan. There it ends." (Vivekananda)


What are the effects or consequences of such a theory? Why do we need to disprove it? What did the British and other European scholars gain by doing so? Why is it relevant today to talk about a theory that was constructed over a hundred years ago about a particular phenomenon that occurred 3000-4000 years ago? All these questions and answers diffuse into an overlapping schema of deconstructing academic falsity, which has had an overbearing socio-political undertone to it.
“Aryan Race and Invasion Theory is not a subject of academic interest only, rather it conditions our perception of India's historical evolution, the sources of her ancient glorious heritage, and indigenous socio-economic-political institutions, which have been developed over the millennia. Consequently, the validity or invalidity of this theory has an obvious and strong bearing on the contemporary Indian political and social landscape as well as the future of Indian nationalism.” Let’s look into some of the effects of the theory on Indian society today and the motives behind the construction of such a theory.
Firstly, by constructing such a theory of Aryan invasion, the British received the perfect justification for their own invasion of India. How? By proving that the present population of India was never truly the original inhabitants, and that they had been constantly invaded upon, they could justify saying that they are not really doing anything different from those invasions of the past. The main argument was that they are merely re-enacting what the Aryans had done a couple of thousand years ago upon the native population. Since, the Aryans had invaded, plundered, oppressed and pressed their culture on the native population, the Mughal rulers’ conquests and those of the British themselves were perfectly justified as an extension of the previous invasion and meting out to the Indian Aryans what they had done to the Dravidians. In effect, it gave the British a way to rationalize their brutal exploitation and domination of India. It also seemed to lessen the severity of the equally brutal Muslim invasions of India prior to the British arrival. This is perhaps the most terrible use of AIT by the historians. India was described as a land dominated by foreigners ever since its inception. Karl Marx even wrote that the whole history of India was a series of invasions. By showing that the Hindus are mere upstarts and squatters on the land (as they themselves are in America, Australia and other places), they can set up their own claim. For then neither the Hindus nor the Europeans are indigenous and as to who should possess this land, becomes merely a matter of superior might.
While this kind of reasoning might seem far out and implausible to us today, it must be mentioned that the British Empire would use any kind of argument to justify their cruelty and injustice. I am not trying to say that they went into the entire exercise of creating the myth just for justification purposes, as it is too small a motive if we consider the magnanimity of the other astute and scheming motives.
How does one conquer a nation? One way is by the sword, but that is outdated and implies quite a heavy cost of operation, loss of men, etc. The other way is the one that Nicholas Dirks and Cohn refer to as the “Cultural Technologies of Rule”, or what is more commonly known as the “Divide and Rule policy”. The formula is quite simple. Enter a land, divide the people on any possible lines, break their solidarity, prove to them that they are not worthy masters of themselves, and evoke a need in them to be ruled by a “superior” kind, which happens to be the British. This play has been enacted over and again in many colonies of the British and it worked to perfection here in India also.
So how did they divide India? On the basis of religion, i.e. Hindus and Muslims is very easy to comprehend and is well known. That was the easier task of the British. However, for some time, they were confounded as to how to break the Hindus. How could they break into the fairly well unified and cohesive Hindu social structure? How could they pit sections of the Hindu society against another? Well, by the introduction of the Caste System, of course. I am not trying to credit the British with the creation of the caste system but it was the British who objectified, reified and transformed the existing social stratification system of the Hindus, with all its merits and demerits into the sole and overarching social identity of the Hindus. They over-emphasized the importance of caste as the only identity of the Hindu. That was the first true politicization of caste. After assuming all importance to the caste, they then used the same to divide the Indians (read Dirks for more). What does this have to do with AIT? Simple, they proposed to the lower caste “Dravidian” castes that they were the result of historic oppression from the “Aryan” upper castes namely the Brahmins who were the sole authority on the Vedas. This was in continuation with their theory that since the Aryans were the ones who gave the Vedas to India, it is only legitimate that they should be the sole authority over it.
While creating animosity between the upper and lower castes using historical arguments was much easier, the greater task still lay in trying to break the Brahmins, who were firmly rooted in their culture and traditions. The moment that they could win over the upper castes and make them adulate Western culture and traditions, that was their true victory and could be rest assured of a long stay in India.
Let me bring in a little bit of history...
Well before the 1857 uprising it was recognized that British rule in India could not be sustained without a large number of Indian collaborators. Recognizing this reality, influential men like Thomas Babbington Macaulay, who was Chairman of the Education Board, sought to set up an educational system modelled along British lines that would also serve to undermine the Hindu tradition. He believed that the conversion of Hindus to Christianity held the answer to the problems of administering India. His idea was to create an English educated elite that would repudiate its tradition and become British collaborators.
The key point here is Macaulay's belief that 'knowledge and reflection' on the part of the Hindus, especially the Brahmins, would cause them to give up their age-old belief in favour of Christianity. In pursuit of this goal, he needed someone who would translate and interpret Indian scriptures, especially the Vedas, in such a way that the newly educated Indian elite would see the differences between them and the Bible and choose the latter. Upon his return to England, after a good deal of effort he found a talented but impoverished young German Vedic scholar by the name of Friedrich Max Müller who was willing to undertake this arduous task. (Rajaram)
This was the genesis of the herculean task of translating and interpreting the Rig-Veda and Max Müler’s commitment to the conversion process was always persistent, exemplified by his letter to his wife: “It [the Rigveda] is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.”
The main objective now, as stated earlier was to separate the Brahmins and their Vedas. How could they achieve this task? By reducing the value of the Vedas in the eyes of the Brahmins. The theory not only stole the antiquity of the Vedas but also, in a single blow, was successful in invalidating most of the Hindu traditions described in the Vedas. The post-dating of the Vedas has serious consequences. For starters, by assigning the invading Aryans as the original authors, it made the Vedas a borrowed tradition. Can you imagine being told one day that something you’ve been practicing for over 3000 years is actually borrowed from outside and is not really that old or great.
In addition, one has to remember that by 1500 BC, the Greek and Egyptian cultures were already thriving, and by assigning a later date to the Vedas, it makes it borrowed knowledge. The Vedas were made to be derived from the Middle Eastern cultures, especially the Greek culture, which is an absolutely absurd proposition. It allowed the science of India to be given a Greek basis, as any Vedic basis was largely disqualified by the primitive nature of the Vedic culture: In fact, the opposite is true.
If the theory of Aryan invasion and its proposed period were true, this discredited not only the Vedas but the genealogies of the Puranas, and all the kings mentioned in these scriptures including Lord Krishna, Rama, Buddha etc. would become as fictional characters with no historical basis: Which simply means disowning and discarding the very basis and raison d'être of the Hindu civilization (Agarwal, 1995).
In short, on the basis of this theory, the propaganda by these scholars was made that there was nothing great in the Hindu culture and their ancestors and sages. And most Hindus fell for this devious plan. It made Hindus feel ashamed of their culture - that its basis was neither historical nor scientific. The Vedas were the work of nomadic shepherds and not the divine revelations or eternal truth perceived by the rishis during their spiritual journey, and hence there is nothing to feel proud about India's past, nothing to be proud of being Hindu.
When, in the eighteenth century, a few European thinkers began to try and fathom India's philosophy and religion, they were so struck by the depth, the ancientness, the richness they saw, that they soon declared India to have been the "cradle of the human race" and the "birthplace of civilization" in the words of Dohm, a German scholar, and the Hindus to be "the gentlest of people." The great Voltaire also held this view: "We have shown how much we surpass the Indians in courage and wickedness, and how inferior to them we are in wisdom. Our European nations have mutually destroyed themselves in this land where we only go in search of money, while the first Greeks travelled to the same land only to instruct themselves."
He concluded, "I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc." Many of the early travellers to India of the time (the exceptions being found mostly among the missionaries) tended to share this enthusiasm. "All history points to India as the mother of science and art". William Macintosh wrote. "This country was anciently so renowned for knowledge and wisdom that the philosophers of Greece did not disdain to travel thither for their improvement." Pierre Sonnerat, a French naturalist, concurred: "We find among the Indians the vestiges of the most remote antiquity.... We know that all peoples came there to draw the elements of their knowledge.... India, in her splendor, gave religions and laws to all the other peoples; Egypt and Greece owed to her both their fables and their wisdom."
I admit that this is not the place to indulge in glorifying Indian culture but I am trying to point out the dominant world-view at that particular period. For, during the 19th century, with the birth of fervid European nationalism and racial glorification, all this drastically changed. The Europeans could not support acknowledging the fact that the birth of civilization and everything it included like science, art, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, etc could be pointed out to some remote and dark corner of the World, especially with their firm belief that ‘if it is great, it has to be white’ dogma. How could they possibly rob India of its greatness and project the same onto themselves? The answer lay in proving that the knowledge and wisdom existing there is not original and belongs to a race, of which they are a part. This gave birth to one of the greatest academic blunders: the creation of the myth of the Aryan Invasion.
However, this wouldn’t be enough. They also simultaneously proved that India had plunged into darkness later by amassing large amounts of information on the customs, traditions and religious practices of the native population (refer back to Abbé Dubois), to only later dismiss them as being barbarous, dangerous, uncivilized, outdated, etc. Juxtaposed with the justification argument, the British actually tried to convince the world that it had arrived with the noble intention of rescuing India from its darkness.
The British were anxious to clothe their greed in lofty ideals: the "white man's burden" of civilizing (and, naturally, Christianizing) less enlightened races, the "divinely ordained mission" of bringing to India the glory of Europe's commercial and industrial civilization, and so forth. Articles, pamphlets, speeches, thick volumes began pouring forth by the hundreds year after year in praise of the "tremendous task of rescuing India" from the darkness into which she had fallen. (Agarwal, 1995) Understandably, the recognition of India's far more ancient and refined civilization made such noble motives untenable. Thus began a systematic campaign to disparage not only this civilization, its culture and society, but the very roots of Hinduism by falsifying History with AIT.

While these are some academic and colonizing antecedents, we must equally consider the modern effects of such a theory, else it would be an incomplete picture. Nowhere in History has any single theory, singlehandedly, caused so much havoc in so many domains of life. Moreover, it has to be firmly kept in mind that such a theory is universally accepted and even taken for granted unquestioningly.
Post-independent India has witnessed some serious challenges to its national-integrity and we can, in fact, shift part of the blame on the AIT. The continuous struggle on part of the Tamil state to break away from India and establish a republic can be attributed to their firm belief and acceptance of the AIT. Their claim is straightforward: they rely on the AIT to prove that they are the original inhabitants of the country and simultaneously, the antiquity of the Tamil language. Since, the Dravidians were conquered and forced down to the south, the Tamilians readily relate to this set of Dravidians and the supposed historic oppression by the dominant Sanskritic Aryans. Thus, they are able to achieve a two-fold objective: of being able to justify their claims for a separate nation and secondly to prove the antiquity of the Tamil language and that it is the true original and oldest Indian language which would then translate into being the oldest language in the world, as against what is commonly believed to be Sanskrit. With the deconstruction of the AIT, their claims would no longer become tenable.
Apart from this, it is also the general cause of tension and animosity between the North and the South in India. The southerners (“Dravidians”) generally mistrust and feel bitter about the Northerners (“Aryans”) due to the fictional historic oppression and thus make claims for compensation, antiquity, etc in the same breath. This has effectively created a North-South divide on racial lines grâce à imagination of a few gifted and talented historians, which is readily used by the politicians for petty vote bank politics. Thus, disproving the theory and more importantly, making it publicly known through the rewriting of the text books becomes imperative in order to achieve national integration.
In short, the communists used the Aryan Invasion theory as the basis for their history of India, substituting the caste war of the Brahmin invaders from Central Asia for the European class war model. Dravidian nationalists used it to their advantage, claiming an older purer Dravidian culture that was different from that of the Aryan invaders from the north. The Dalits used it to identify themselves with the original inhabitants of the country enslaved by the invading Brahmin dominated Aryans.
Yet, unfortunately, quite strangely and for no apparent reason, India possesses a unique breed of Marxian and other pseudo intellectual Historians (Romilla Thapar would prove to be an exemplary leader in this context) who are only too happy to subscribe to these pejorative colonizing ideas. Even against concrete counter-evidence against such a theory, our historians are rather determined in their stance and refuse to correct the historical academic fallacy, leading to a continued life span for outdated and dangerous ideas. Moreover, it is this unique group of leftist historians who have managed to crawl their way to the governing bodies of educational committees, who are responsible for framing the syllabus for fresh unpolluted minds to read, digest and inculcate. As aforementioned, my ICSE (the premier educational governing body) textbook carries an entire chapter dedicated to the Aryan Invasion theory belting out one lie after another, with no consideration to the kind of effects it could have on young minds especially in the realm of national pride. Any attempt to correct this by great scholars (like Jha, BB Lal, etc) will be branded as Hindu-fundamentalists attempting to distort history for the glorification of Hinduism. I will leave this idea here and proceed to the next aspect, as our famed Marxist historians need another voluminous article in praise of them.
We have to realize that by negating the antiquity of the Vedas, its spiritual and scientific value and by, finally, claiming it to be borrowed, they are successful in churning out a large army of young students who are no longer proud of their culture or nation, juxtaposed with the simultaneous and incessant glorification of the Western culture has lead to a pathetic vicious cycle of imitation of the latter and discarding the former. How can one expect India to truly progress, economically and morally; and how can one expect India to be truly united if such debasing theories are allowed to float about unchallengedely?


Now that we have had a grasp over the intentions behind such a theory and the multifarious effects it ensures, the task now lies in disproving the theory. I have to admit, though, that compared to the previous two sections, this task is of relative ease as there have been scores of scholars and archaeologists who have already achieved this feat and my task is to just state these findings. Unfortunately, however, these findings have been continuously discarded as ‘Hindutva agenda’ or ‘Saffron scholarship’. I shall present the facts, it is really upto you to decide whether it is the coloured ramblings or plain unbiased facts.
Disproving the theory entails certain quintessential approaches/ methods. As aforementioned, the dating of the Rig Veda is absolutely essential, for, if it can be proved that the Rig-Veda dates earlier than the supposed date for the Aryan Invasion, then it is clear that the Vedas was innate to the Harappans and thus, Indians. Once having done this, we must find clues within the Rig-Veda itself to falsify the theory and finally, we must also prove that there really was no invasion as such based on archaeological findings and it becomes equally important to provide an alternate and more credible version of the evacuation of the Harappan sites.
The dating of the age in which the Vedic literature commenced and thrived has a detrimental effect on the Aryan Invasion question. The oldest of the Vedas, the Rig-Veda, is full of references to places and natural phenomena that occurred in what is modern day Punjab and Haryana and must have unmistakably been written in that part. The date at which it was composed is absolutely essential to the dating of the Aryan Invasion (presuming that there was one), for whether they came from abroad or they were natives, one thing will be sure: they were certainly completely Indians without a trace of memory of their original home.
The dating of the Rig-Veda, as done by Max Muller is, as mentioned, 1200BC and received considerable criticism even during his time on a number of grounds. Maurice Winternitz, for example, based his estimate on purely philological considerations: "We cannot explain the development of the whole of this great literature if we assume as late a date as round about 1200 BC or 1500 BC as its starting¬ point." There is much sense in what he says. It is not possible to cram all the philosophical, linguistic, cultural and scientific developments, which are evident in the Vedas, into just a few centuries, for, we have to remember that the Vedic age was over by the time of the Buddha, which is the 6th century. However, this will remain as an argument of plausibility and is not sufficient enough to disprove the older chronology. The most explicit chronology would be provided by astronomical markers of time.
In 1790, a Scottish mathematician, John Playfair demonstrated that the starting ¬date of the astronomical observations recorded in the tables still in use among Hindu astrologers had to be 4300 BC. Though this was ridiculed by some and called absurd, it was not refuted by any scientist.
Basically, Playfair demonstrated that the Vedas contained observations of astronomical events dating back to the 4000 odd BC. This was claimed as an attempt by the Brahmins to falsely claim antiquity of their texts by providing astronomical observations of the past as presented in their scriptures by back calculation. In retaliation, Playfair showed that this kind of advanced back calculation was in fact impossible.
Back¬calculation of planetary positions is a highly complex affair requiring knowledge of a number of physical laws, universal constants and actual measurements of densities, diameters and distances. Though Brahminical astronomy was remarkably sophisticated for its time, it could only back-calculate planetary position of the presumed Vedic age with an inaccuracy margin of at least several degrees of arc. With our modern knowledge, it is easy to determine what the actual positions were, and what the results of back¬calculations with the Brahminical formulae would have been (Elst, 1998), e.g.:
""Aldebaran was therefore 40' before the point of the vernal equinox, according to the Indian astronomy, in the year 3102 before Christ. (...) [Modern astronomy] gives the longitude of that star 13' from the vernal equinox, at the time of the Calyougham, agreeing, within 53', with the determination of the Indian astronomy. This agreement is the more remarkable, that the Brahmins, by their own rules for computing the motion of the fixed stars, could not have assigned this place to Aldebaran for the beginning of Calyougham, had they calculated it from a modern observation. For as they make the motion of the fixed stars too great by more than 3'' annually, if they had calculated backward from 1491, they would have placed the fixed stars less advanced by 4° or 5°, at their ancient epoch, than they have actually done." (Playfair, 1790) Therefore, it turns out that the data given by the Brahmins corresponded not with the results deduced from their formulae, but with the actual positions, and this, according to Playfair, for nine different astronomical parameters. This is a bit much to explain away as coincidence or sheer luck..
Fabricating astronomical data going back thousands of years calls for knowledge of Newton's Law of Gravitation and the ability to solve differential equations. Failing this advanced knowledge, the data in the Brahminical tables must be based on actual observation. So far we’ve seen that the astronomical events that are recorded in the Rig-Veda could not have been back-calculations but the ancient Hindu seers were actually present and recorded it based on observation, which gives vital clues regarding the dating of the Vedas. The next task is to find the events as such, if I could call them that, which could give us an idea of the exact dates.

Hindu tradition makes mention of the conjunction of the "seven planets" (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, sun and moon) and Ketu (southern lunar node, the northern node/Rahu being by definition in the opposite location) near the fixed star Revati (Zeta Piscium) on 18 February 3102 BC. This date, at which Krishna is supposed to have breathed his last, is conventionally the start of the so-called Kali¬Yuga, the "age of strife", the low point in a declining sequence of four ages.
Bailly and Playfair had already shown that the position of the moon (the fastest¬ moving "planet", hence the hardest to back¬calculate with precision) at the beginning of Kali¬Yuga, 18 February 3102, as given by Hindu tradition, was accurate to 37'. Either the Brahmins had made an incredibly lucky guess, or they had recorded an actual observation on Kali Yuga day itself.
The truly strong evidence for a high chronology of the Vedas is the Vedic information about the position of the equinox. The phenomenon of the "precession of the equinoxes" takes the ecliptical constellations (also known as the sidereal Zodiac, i.e. those constellations through which the sun passes) slowly past the vernal equinox point, i.e. the intersection of ecliptic and equator, rising due East on the horizon. The whole tour is made in about 25,791 years, the longest cycle manageable for naked¬eye observers. If data about the precession are properly recorded, they provide the best and often the only clue to an absolute chronology for ancient events.
If we can read the Vedic and post¬-Vedic indications properly, they mention constellations on the equinox points which were there from 4,000 BC for the Rg¬Veda, through around 3100 BC for the Atharva ¬Veda and the core Mahabharata down to 2,300 BC for the Sutras and the Shatapatha Brahmana.
However, our dear Communist historian Romila Thapar, amongst others, still believes that "planetary positions could have been observed in earlier times and such observations been handed down as part of an oral tradition" (Thapar, 1992), so that they "do not constitute proof of the chronology of the Vedic hymns". This is perhaps one of the most illogical arguments that I have come across, for she is implicitly acknowledging that accurate astronomical data were indeed made from the 5th millennium onwards, and that they were preserved for more than two thousand years, an unparalleled feat in oral traditions. If such a feat is not an indication of literacy and of written records, at the least, it supposes a mnemotechnical device capable of preserving information orally, and the one that was available then was verse. So, some poems with the memory¬ aiding devices of verse, rhythm and tone must have been composed when the information was available first¬hand, i.e. close to the time of the actual observation, and those hymns would of course be the Vedic hymns themselves.
There are scores of other astronomical references in the Rig-Veda, each of which gives us the date for such an event occurring. These dates range from 3000 odd BC uptil 5000-5500 BC (inferences drawn from the Saptharishi cycle, etc). Whichever date we might choose as the earliest recorded astronomical observation, it is definitely at least a couple of thousand years older than the date given by Max Müller.

Presuming for an instant that the Vedas were given by the nomads, there are few questions that are begging to be answered by the defenders of the theory. Most importantly, how is it that the invaders who scripted the Vedas have not mentioned a word about their original habitat? It is a peculiar phenomenon where rich descriptive accounts regarding the flora, fauna, forests, rivers, mountains, etc of the Indian subcontinent are found but not a single mention of their homeland.
There are constant references to India as their holy land. Why don’t they consider their original home as their holy land? There is no mention of any location outside the mainland of India in any of the Vedic texts! If Aryans came from Europe, then why haven’t the so-called Aryans mentioned any of the European locations in any of the Vedic or related texts? The farthest location away from India towards the west mentioned in the Vedas is Kadhahar of present day Afghanistan, which was called Gandhar in the Vedic texts and was said to be the kingdom of Shakuni.
Why haven’t any of the texts mentioned about their European locations? Why is there no Vedic text that talks about migration from Europe? “If the Aryan Hindus were outsiders, why don't they name places outside India as their most holy places? Why should they sing paeans in the praise of India's numerous rivers crisscrossing the entire peninsula, and mountains - repositories of life giving water and natural resources, nay even bestow them a status of goddesses and gods.” (Agarwal, 1995)
We are also aware that for all ancient civilizations, rivers were the mains source of sustenance and each of these civilizations, in whatever capacity, adulate these rivers and sing praise of them. In the Vedas, Saraswati, Yamuna, Sindhu, Ganga, etc are all mentioned constantly but the question arises as to why the Aryans did not mention any European or Central Asian river, which would have been their source of life previously?
The range of questions does not end here. Further, if the Aryans did come from outside and destroyed its inhabitants and their civilization, why is it that they did not occupy it? The wandering tribe could not have asked for a better home. For, the fact is that the excavations of these sites clearly reveal that these townships had been abandoned. Was the Harappan town, with all its modern, urban facilities not good enough for them? In addition, if, in fact, they did decide not to inhabit Harappa, where did they settle?
Moreover, if the original inhabitants, the Dravidians, were indeed pushed down to the south, how come there is no Aryan-Dravidian divide in the respective literatures and historical traditions? We know that, prior to the arrival of the British, the North and South were not culturally or politically hostile to each other. In fact, the contrary is true. There was a continual intermingling and exchange of culture between the two. The Sanskrit language, the so-called Aryan language was the lingua franca of the entire society for thousands of years. For example, “the three great figures of later Hinduism - Shankaracharya, Ramanujam and Madhavacharya were Southerners who are universally respected in the North, and who have written commentaries on Vedic scriptures in Sanskrit only for the benefit of the entire population. Even in the ancient times, some of the great Sutra authors like Baudhayana and Apastamba were from South. Agastya, a celebrated Vedic rishi, is widely venerated in the South as the one who introduced Vedic learning to the South India.” (Agarwal, 1995)
One of the most important practical and historical complication that arises out of accepting the AIT is the logical wondering about who were the original inhabitants in the south? Was South India uninhabited? Unlikely. Then, did the original inhabitants welcome the Dravidians who were pushed down with wide, open arms? How is it that the Dravidians were accepted without any hostility or at least a grudge? It just does not make sense. The final truth is that there were neither Aryans nor Dravidians.

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-08-2009


True, the Rig Veda and the other Vedas and Puranas have, at times, mentioned the word Arya. It was dear old Max who is again credited with the introduction of the word Arya into the English language as referring to a racial, linguistic category when propounding the AIT. This is glaringly a false conception of the term, which, he himself has admitted later on. Nonetheless, it was unquestioningly accepted.
The real meaning of the word Arya, however comes to mean ‘a gentleman’, good-natured, righteous person, noble-man, and is often used like 'Sir' or 'Shree' before the name of a person like Aryaputra, Aryakanya, etc. In Ramayan (Valmiki), for example, Rama is described as an Arya in the following words: Arya - who cared for the equality to all and was dear to everyone. V.S. Apte's Sanskrit-English dictionary relates the word Arya to the root r-,to which a prefix a has been appended to give a negating meaning. And therefore the meaning of Arya is given as "excellent, best", followed by "respectable" and as a noun, "master, lord, worthy, honourable, excellent", upholder of Arya values, and further: teacher, employer, master, father-in-law, friend, Buddha.
Thus, we see that even in the myriad of meanings and connotations that the word carries, relative to different interpretations, like all Sanskrit words, nowhere does it mean a race or a linguistic group. This linguistically absurd idea was the result of a complete misinterpretation and mistranslation of Sanskrit by Müller. Etymologically, according to Max Müller, the word Arya was derived from ar-, "plough, to cultivate". Therefore, Arya means - "cultivator" agriculturer (civilized sedentary, as opposed to nomads and hunter-gatherers), landlord, etc.
In fact, scientific literature now confirms that there are primarily only four races in the world. There are only four primary races, namely, Caucasian, the Mongolian, the Australians 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 the Dravidians of the south or other communities of Indian subcontinent is not a racial type. Biologically all are the same Caucasian type, only when closer to the equator the skin gets darker, and under the influence of constant heat, the bodily frame tends to get a little smaller. Moreover, these differences cannot be the basis of two altogether different races. Similar differences one can observe even more distinctly among the people of pure Caucasian white race of Europe. Caucasian can be of any colour ranging from pure white to almost pure black, with every shade of brown in between.
Further, a recent landmark global study in population genetics by a team of internationally reputed scientists over 50 years reveals that the people habited in the Indian subcontinent and nearby including Europe, all belong to one single race of Caucasian type. According to this study, there is essentially, and have been no difference racially between north Indians and the so-called Dravidian South Indians. The racial composition has remained almost the same for millennia. This study also confirms that there is no race called as an Aryan race. (Luca Cavalli-Sforza).

The Rig-Veda contains references to wars that have occurred during its period. This is used by the ‘invasionists’ to further their claims about the war between the dark skinned Dravidians and the fair-skinned Aryans. This is a gross misinterpretation of the Vedas and as we shall see, has no connection whatsoever to an invading tribe. So what do these wars that are mentioned refer to? They can be studied under two broad categories: (Agarwal, 1995)
• The Wars between forces of nature: Indra, the Thunder-God of the Rig Veda, occupies a central position in the naturalistic aspects of the Rig Vedic religion, since it is he who forces the clouds to part with their all-important wealth, the rain. In this task he is pitted against all sorts of demons and spirits whose main activity is the prevention of rainfall and sunshine. The clouds are depicted in terms of their physical appearance: as mountains, as the black abodes of the demons who retain the celestial waters of the heavens (i.e. the rains), or as the black demons themselves. Thus, it is a conflict between the rain(pure, white) and the clouds(dark, evil). This, in no way, is to be construed as the war between white Aryans and black Dravidians. This is a perverted interpretation from those who have not understood the meaning and purport of the Vedic culture and philosophy. Most of the verses, which mention the wars/conflicts, are composed using poetic imagery, and depict the celestial battles of the natural forces, and often take greater and greater recourse to terrestrial terminology and anthropomorphic depictions. The descriptions acquire an increasing tendency to shift from naturalism to mythology.

• Actual conflict between different groups: Iranians are known to have been originally residing in Northern India, but had an ideological schism from the Vedic Indians. Due to which, they moved out to the North West. However, there were quite a few wars between the two groups. The Iranians not only called their God Ahura (Vedic Asura) and their demons Daevas (Vedic Devas), but they also called themselves Dahas and Dahyus (Vedic Dasas, and Dasyus). The oldest Iranian texts moreover depict the conflicts between the daeva-worshippers and the Dahyus on behalf of the Dahyus, as the Vedic texts depict them on behalf of the Deva-worshippers. There also mentions of the various conflicts between different indigenous tribal groups over natural resources and various minor kingdoms to gain supremacy over the land and its expansion.
There have been a few skeletons that were excavated from the Harappa and Mohenjo daro sites, which is conveniently explained as the bodies of the warriors who fought the battle against the invaders. However, consider the facts properly. A city of 3 miles in circuit has given way to only 37 skeletons, which can be attributed to the Indus Valley period! Does that represent a war? They were all found in the area of the Lower Town - probably the residential district. Not a single body was found within the area of the fortified citadel where one could reasonably expect the final defence of this thriving capital city to have been made. (Dales, 1964)
Further, one can reasonably expect some sort of souvenirs from the war. The war site can expect to have burned fortresses, arrowheads, weapons, pieces of armour, smashed chariots and bodies of the invaders or defenders, etc. Nevertheless, the extensive excavations at these sites provide not even a clue to such an invasion having been taken place.

S. R Rao, a renowned Indian archaeologist, who worked in the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), has done extensive research on the Indus script. This work has borne fruitful results, as he has been able to bridge the gap between the ancient Indus script and the Brahmi script. The language that he deciphered belonged to the Aryan language family after all. The people who resided at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and other sites were culturally Aryan is thus confirmed by the decipherment of the Harappan script and its identity with Sanskrit family. The Harappa culture was a part of a continuing evolution of the Vedic culture, which had developed on the banks of Saraswati River.
Among the many words yielded by Dr. Rao's decipherment are the numerals aeka, tra, chatus, panta, happta/sapta, dasa, dvadasa and sata (1,3,4,5,7, 10,100) and the names of Vedic personalities like Atri, Kasyapa, Gara, Manu, Sara, Trita, Daksa, Druhu, Kasu, and many common Sanskrit words like, apa (water), gatha, tar (savior), trika, da, dyau (heaven), dashada, anna (food), pa(protector), para (supreme), maha, mahat, moksh, etc.
While the direct connection between the late Indus script (1600 BC) and the Brahmi script could not be definitely established earlier, more and more inscriptions have been found all over the country in the last few years, dating 1000 BC, 700 BC, and so on, which have bridged the gap between the two. Now it is evident that the Brahmi script evolved directly from the Indus script. (Rao, 1991) HORSEPLAY AT HARAPPA
In 2000, N. Jha and N. S Rajaram published a book “The Deciphered Indus Script”. The findings of this book are astounding. It simultaneously achieves a two fold objective: It links the ancient Indus script to the Vedic culture and also proves that the script on the Indus seals are perhaps the oldest available ‘writings’ by any human civilization. “In the Indus seals, we have in all probability the mother of alphabetic writing” is the conclusion drawn after Jha’s phenomenal work. Though the seals were found in 1920s, it could not be appropriately deciphered previous to Jha’s work because of the dogma of the AIT. It is impossible to decipher unless the Indus script can be seen as a predecessor to the Brahmi script and its content cannot be comprehended unless seen as part of the overall Vedic culture. This was yet another blow to the Theory.
However, strangely, this phenomenal work by Jha and Rajaram was sidelined and ‘scholars’ such as Steve Farmer and Michael Witzel were more interested in horses. They go on to label the book as ‘Hindutva propaganda’ (Michael Witzel, 2000). Their main qualm with the book is that the authors have misrepresented a particular seal where a bull is shown to look like a horse.
It is impossible not to question: ...why bother with one unimportant seal when the book gives a complete methodology and one hundred tables of deciphered readings covering over fifteen hundred Harappan seals? In a book of nearly 300 pages, there are just two footnotes about the horse. (The article by Witzel and Farmer occupies ten pages of small print followed by a two-page article by ‘eminent historian’ Romila Thapar about horses.)
The point is that the defenders of the AIT have held that the Harappans did not have horses and it was this point that made them weak and susceptible to the Aryans who had a fairly good cavalry. By proving that horses were, in fact, known to the Indus civilization before the supposed invasion of the Aryans, their entire theory falls flat. Thus all of this horseplay is nothing but a desperate attempt on part of the Western academicians, Indologists and the tribe of Thapars (communist Historians) to save the theory from being completely discarded. “The Frontline article is part of the campaign to somehow save the crumbling edifice of the Aryan invasion version by creating diversions and raising the spectre of ‘Hindutva propaganda’. The real agenda is clear: protect their discredited Aryan invasion/migration version and the non-Indian origin of the Vedic civilization by labeling opponents as ‘Hindutva propagandists’. The rest is diversion.” (Rajaram N. S., 2000)
“Men like Witzel are successors to these colonial-missionary scholars, while Indians like Thapar and her tribe, are their camp followers. Our book exposes this. So their tactic is to discredit the book by attacking us personally. This is exactly what the ‘Secularists’ did to the distinguished archaeologist B.B. Lal when he exposed their lies at Ayodhya. More things change, more they remain the same.” (Rajaram N. S., 2000)
What reason do the duo give for their long article criticizing Jha’s and Rajaram’s work? What importance is a horse seal from centuries old civilization to the German and American scholars? Why, its the ‘White man’s burden’ card played all over again. Can’t Indians think for themselves and decide the authenticity of the work? Apparently not, which is why they feel they have to caution us. “We fear for India and for objective scholarship.” (Michael Witzel, 2000) So Witzel and Farmer have to save India and Indians from being corrupted by devilish ‘heathens’ and ‘natives’ like Rajaram, Jha and Talageri!
But seriously, who are they trying to kid? Surely, there must be other reasons why someone like Witzel should go to such length to attack two writers who he himself dismisses as of no consequence. One reason is probably emotional. Witzel is a German Romantic. His heroes still are nineteenth century German Indologists like Bothlingk and especially Oldenberg. Therefore, it is natural that he should be attached to nineteenth century German ideas like the ‘Aryan nation’ and the ‘Aryan invasion’. But there is a more serious concern: fear of academic survival in the face of ‘downsizing the humanities’ at American universities. The collapse of the Aryan Invasion model of history, which the work records, and which is receiving wide notice, could not have come at a worse time for the likes of Witzel. Their careers and reputations are at stake. This is what one needs to understand. Harvard, like many other universities, in America is not interested in funding research offices and programs that are unproductive and which does not attract new students. Thus, unless Witzel and his likes do not weave research papers regularly, off goes their funding.
That apart, horses were really found in Harappa. Numerous excavated sites along Indus valley and along the dried Saraswati river have produced bones of domesticated horses. Dr. SR Rao informs us that horse bones have been found both from the 'Mature Harappan' and 'Late Harappan' levels. In fact, as far back as 1928, John Marshall, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India had written about Harappan sites: “Among the domesticated animals were— the humped long horned Indian bull (Bos Indicus) (of which to judge by the frequency of the remains large herds must have been maintained), the sheep, pig, dog, horse and the elephant.” And he is quite specific about the horse: “The horse in the Indus Valley was the small ‘equis cabalus’ near akin to the Indian country bred.”

The Harappans of the Indus Valley have left profuse archaeological records over a vast region - from the borders of Iran and beyond Afghanistan to eastern UP and Tapti valley, and must have supported over 30 million people and believed to be living an advanced civilization. And yet these people have left absolutely no literary records. Sounds incredible! The Vedic Aryans and their successors on the other hand have left us a literature that is probably the largest and most profound in the world. But according to the AIT there is absolutely no archaeological record that they ever existed. Either on the Indian soil or outside its boundaries. So we have concrete history and archeology of a vast civilization of 'Dravidians' lasting thousands of years that left no literature, and a huge literature by the Vedic Aryans who left no history and no archaeological records. The situation gets more absurd when we consider that there is profuse archaeological and literary records indicating a substantial movement of Indian Aryans out of India into Iran and West Asia around 2000 BC. (Frawley, 1999)
Sanskrit is supposed to be the language of primitive invaders and yet it is, by the opinion of many, one of the most refined languages in the world. It has been regarded as the best language for computers because of its clarity. How can a nomadic primitive tribe develop such a sophisticated language while a highly advanced civilization with intense knowledge of maths and science has no literary developments at all?
Sanskrit is also a highly self-contained language developing organically out of specific roots, quite unlike English, which is a mixture of various different languages like old German, Danish and French, with an admixture of Greek and Latin, reflecting a land that was invaded by many different peoples. This also goes to show that Sanskrit was home to the Indus Valley Civilization.

Though for many years now, renowned scholars and academicians have been refuting the AIT on numerous grounds but, were not able to provide a firm alternative explanation to the reason of the abandonment of the Harappan cities. The final nail on the coffin of the AIT was delivered with the finding of the dried course of the river Saraswati.
In the Rig-Veda, the honour of the greatest and holiest river was not bestowed upon Ganga but upon the River Saraswati. a mighty flowing river all the way from the Himalayas to the ocean across the Rajasthan desert. The Ganga is mentioned only once while the Saraswati is mentioned at least 60 times.
In 1910, G E Pilgrim published a landmark paper in which he drew attention to an alluvial deposit of great antiquity found stretching all the way from the Himalayan foothills to the Sind gulf Pilgrims imagined the deposit to have been laid by a primitive river. Recent satellite imagery by the NASA and ISRO have shown a dried up river bed along this course. Geological excavations have also proven the same.
The River Saraswati seemed to have changed directions atleast four times in her lifespan, each time shifting to a more westerly alignment according to geological data. She seems to have been massive, up to five miles across in her heyday, flowing through Hanumangarh in Rajasthan to Marot in Pakistan as divulged by satellite photography. The Post Graduate Research Institute, Deccan College has worked out the changing routes of the river in detail. About 4000 BC, Saraswati in her original course emanating from the Himalayas lay in a south-west direction passing through Mathura and Panchbhadra to the mouth of the Kutch. With the climate turning drier, the flow shifted between Sirsa and Nohar through Bikaner. The next shift occurred with the flow through Rangmahal, also in Rajasthan. In the tertiary stage she wended her way through Jaikkal and Hanumangarh during the Indus civilisation and in the fourth and final stage she flowed westward from Samargarh to merge with the Indus, thereby losing her independent identity'. (Rao V. G., 2000). And therefore, the river, finally, dried up by 3000 BC.
This has two serious implications. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, the Rig-Veda is full of praise to this particular river. The river called Saraswati is the most important of the rivers mentioned in the Rig Veda. The image of this 'great goddess stream' dominates the text. It is not only the most sacred river but also the Goddess of wisdom. She is said to be the Mother of the Veda.
A few Rig Vedic hymns, which mention Saraswati River, are presented below:
ambitame naditame devitame sarasvati (II.41.16)
(The best mother, the best river, the best Goddess, Saraswati)
maho arnah saraswati pra cetayati ketuna dhiyo visva virajati (I.3.12)
(Saraswati like a great ocean appears with her ray, she rules all inspirations)
surpassing all other rivers and waters: visva apo mahina sindhur anyah;
pure in her course from the mountains to the sea: sucir yati girbhya a samudrat (VII.95.1-2)
If the river dried up by 3000 BC, then it must have been flowing in its full intensity at least a 1000 years back when she would have deserved the praises accorded to her in the Veda. This proves that the Rig-Veda belongs to a period of at least 4000 BC, much earlier than the supposed invasion.
The second important implication is that it proves that the Harappan civilization was formed on the bed of the River, much like any ancient civilization. Numerous archaeological sites have also been located along the course of this great prehistoric river. A 350 km land survey conducted in 1985 by V S Wakankar from Adibadri to Somnath has yielded over 160 more sites on the dried-up course of the river. Thus, when the river did dry up in 3000 BC, the Harappans, who were dependent on the mighty river, moved along with the river when she changed her course. The ending of Indus Valley and the Saraswati civilization was due to the constant floods and drought in the Indus area and the drying up of the Saraswati River. There was no invasion or battle but merely an ecological change that made the Harappans abandon their home and move towards other perennial rivers, which could provide sustenance. This is the truth and there ends the matter!

We have seen that the AIT was the invention of a few parochial and nationalist scholars, which is used till date for political ends. The far-reaching consequences of this theory cannot be overstated and, as we have seen, never before in history has any theory been so abused to subjugate a group of people.
The truth is clear: there was never an invasion but the city was deserted because of ecological reasons. The Rig-Veda dates clearly earlier than 3700 BC and the Indus script can be placed on a continuum of the evolution of the Sanskritic script.
Based on Vedic testimonies, Puranic references, archaeological evidences, and all the accounts presented here above, the most realistic and accurate chronological events of the pre-historic period of India should be fixed as follows:<b>
• Vedic Age - 7000-4000 BC
• End of Rig Vedic Age - 3750 BC
• End of Ramayana - Mahabharat Period - 3000 BC
• Development of Saraswati-Indus Civilization - 3000-2000 BC
• Decline of Indus and Saraswati Civilization - 2200-1900 BC
• Period of Complete chaos and migration - 2000-1500 BC
• Period of evolution of syncretic Hindu culture - 1400 - 250 BC</b>
Finally, we should remember that this was just another tool in the British armor in their colonial expansion agenda, which is strangely supported by a blindly following group of Indian historians and has, unfortunately, succeeded in permeating the mindset of the Indian population.
Therefore, while acknowledging its falsity on the personal level is the first step, much needs to be done with regards to exposing the myth in the eyes of the public. This perhaps, entails sweeping out of irresponsible, dishonest and ideologically fixed academicians from prominent posts, who decide what the young minds imbibe and simultaneously endeavour to rewrite history based on facts and academic honesty!

Agarwal, D. (1995). Demise of the Aryan Invasion Theory.
Dales, G. F. (1964). The Mythical Massacre at Mohenjo-daro, Expedition Vol VI.
Dubois, A. (1897). Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies.
Elst, K. (1998). Astronomical data and the Aryan question. Leuven .
Frawley, D. (1999). The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India, In Search of the Cradle of Civilization.
Luca Cavalli-Sforza, P. M. The History and Geography of Human Genes. Princeton University Press.
Michael Witzel, S. F. (2000). Horseplay in Harappa. Frontline .
Nahar, M. D. (1996). The Invasion that never Was.
Playfair, J. (1790). Dharampal: Indian Science and Technology.
Rajaram, N. Aryan Invasion - History or Politics?
Rajaram, N. S. (2000). Harappan Horseplay: The real story.
Rao, S. R. (1991). Decipherment of the Indus Script, Dawn and Development of Indus Civilization, Lothal and the Indus Civilization.
Rao, V. G. (2000, November 13). Saraswati: River Beyond the Myth. Times Of India .
Thapar, R. (1992). The Perennial Aryans.
Vivekananda. The Myth of Aryans and non-Aryans. Madras.

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-08-2009

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-09-2009

A Ficticious theory Still Taught In Schools Accross India

Document Information


In the schools all over India, in the sixth grade when Indus Valley Civilization is taught in the history class, we come across the elaborate story of how a nomadic tribe “The Aryans” came from the north and destroyed the advanced civilization that was the Indus Civilization. The way this particular story is represented in the curriculum of our schools helps us to understand and perceive India’s historical evolution, the sources of her ancient glorious heritage, and indigenous socio-economic-political institutions, and this has been going on ever since the advent of the British colonies. When the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were discovered it was found that the civilization was very advanced. The ruins show a very advanced waste management system an important parameter of a civilization having a sense of hygiene and possessing a scientific outlook.

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-14-2009


I was going through the complete works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 4 and
came across an article "Aryans and Tamilians" where Swamiji speaks on:

1. Why the Brahmins( men of knowledge ) are considered as highest in the
social order of India , and not Kshatriyas ( Kings and warriors) as in all
other european countries.

2. Then a bit of explanation on the caste system and mention that it was not
on birth.

3. Then problems created brahmins arrogance and appeal to all brahmins and
non-brahmins to rise towards the right ideals then to fight over between

4. Then a firm disapproval of the Aryan theory and a message to bridge the
north - south differences and He says " even taking for granted that both
these grand sub-divisions of Indian humanity came from outside the Western
frontier" ( Both here implies corrupted-caste system and north-south
divisions) and an appeal to rise out of this false notion .

5. Finally, a good article to be read slowly and in the right earnest

Aryans and Tamilians

By Swami Vivekananda

From: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda , Volume 4 , Pg.296

A veritable ethnological museum! Possibly, the half ape skeleton of the
recently discovered Sumatra link will be found on search here, too. The
Dolmens are not wanting. Flint implements can be dug out almost anywhere.
The lake-dwellers-at least the river-dwellers must have been abundant at one
time. The cave-men and leaf-wearers still persist. The primitive hunters
living in forests are in evidence in various parts of the country. Then
there are the more historical varieties-the Negrito Kolarian, the Dravidian,
and the Aryan. To these have been added from time to time dashes of nearly
all the known races, and a great many yet unknown-various breeds of
Mongoloids, Mongols, Tartars, and the so-called Aryans of the -philologists.
Well, here are the Persian, the Greek, the Yunchi, the Hun, the Chin, the
Scythian, and many more,- melted and fused, the Jews, Parsees, Arabs,
Mongols, down to the descendants of the Vikings and the lords of the German
forests, yet undigested-an ocean of humanity, composed of these race-waves
seething, boiling, struggling, constantly changing form, rising to the
surface, and spreading, and swallowing little ones, again subsiding-this is
the history of India.

In the midst of this madness of nature, one of the contending factions
discovered a method and, through the force of its superior culture,
succeeded in bringing the largest number of Indian humanity under its sway.

The superior race styled themselves the Aryas or nobles, and their method
was the Varnashramacharathe so-called caste. Of course the men of the Aryan
race reserved for themselves, consciously or unconsciously a good many
privileges ; yet the institution of caste has always been very flexible,
sometimes too flexible to ensure a healthy uprise of the races very low in
the scale of culture.

It put, theoretically at least, the whole of India under the guidance-not of
wealth, nor of the sword-but of intellect-intellect chastened and controlled
by spirituality. The leading caste in India is the highest of the Aryans -
the Brahmins.

Though apparently different from the social methods of other nations, on
close inspection, the Aryan method of caste will not be found so very
different except on two points:

The first is, in every other country the highest honour belongs to the
Kshatriya-the man of the sword. The Pope of Rome will be glad to trace his
descent to some robber baron on the banks of the Rhine. In India, the
highest honour belongs to the man of peace- the Sharman, the Brahmin, the
man of God.

The greatest Indian king would be gratified to trace his descent to some
ancient sage who lived in the forest, probably a recluse, possessing
nothing, dependent upon the villagers for his daily necessities, and all his
life trying to solve the problems of this life and the life hereafter. The
second point is, the difference of unit. The law of caste in every other
country takes the individual man or woman as the sufficient unit. Wealth,
power, intellect, or beauty suffices for the individual to leave the status
of birth and scramble up to anywhere he can.

Here, the unit is all the members of a caste community. Here, too, one has
every chance of rising from a low caste to a higher or the highest: only, in
this birth-land of altruism, one is compelled to take his whole caste along
with him.

In India, you cannot, on account of your wealth, power, or any other merit,
leave your fellows behind and make common cause with your superiors ; you
cannot deprive those who helped in your acquiring the excellence of any
benefit therefrom and give them in return only contempt. If you want to rise
to a higher caste in India, you have to elevate all your caste first, and
then there is nothing in your onward path to hold you back.

This is the Indian method of fusion, and this has been going on from time
immemorial. For in India, more than elsewhere, such words as Aryans and
Dravidians are only of philological import, the so-called craniological
differentiation finding no solid ground to work upon.

Even so are the names Brahmin, Kshatriya, etc. They simply represent the
status of a community in itself continuously fluctuating, even' when it has
reached the summit and all further endeavours are towards fixity of the type
by non-marriage, bv being forced to admit fresh groups, from lower castes or
foreign lands, within its pale.

Whatever caste has the power of the sword, becomes Kshatriya ; whatever
learning, Brahmin ; whatever wealth, Vaishya.

The groups that have already reached the coveted goal, indeed, try to keep
themselves aloof from the newcomers, by making sub-divisions in the same
caste, but the fact remains that they coalesce in the long run. This is
going on before our own eyes, all over India. Naturally, a group having
raised itself would try to preserve the privileges to itself. Hence,
whenever it was possible to get the help of a king, the higher castes,
especially the Brahmins, have tried to put down similar aspirations in lower
castes, b'y the sword if practicable. But the question is: Did they succeed?
Look closely into your Puranas and Upa-puranas, look especially into the
local Khandas of the big Puranas, look round and see what is happening
before your eyes, and you will find the answer.

We are, in spite of our various castes, and in spite of the modern custom of
marriage restricted within the sub divisions of a caste (though this is not
universal), a mixed race in every sense of the word.

Whatever may be the import of the philological terms "Aryan" and
"T'amilians:", even taking for granted that both these grand sub-divisions
of Indian humanity came from outside the Western frontier, the dividing line
had been, from the most ancient times, one of language and not of blood. Not
one of the epithets expressive of contempt for the ugly physical features of
the Dasyus of the Vedas would apply to the great Tamilian race ; in fact if
there be a toss for good looks between the Aryans and Tamilians, no sensible
man would dare prognosticate the result.

The super-arrogated excellence of birth of any caste in India is only pure
myth, and in no part of India has it, ,we are sorry to say, found such
congenial soil, owing to linguistic differences, as in the South.

We purposely refrain from going into the details of ;his social tyranny in
the South, just as we have stopped ourselves from scrutinising the genesis
of the various modern Brahmins and other castes. Sufficient for us to is
evident Madras note the extreme tension of feeling that between the Brahmins
and non-Brahmins of the Presidency.

We believe in Indian caste as one of the greatest social institutions that
the Lord gave to man. We also believe that though the unavoidable defects,
foreign persecutions, and, above all, the monumental ignorance and pride of
many Brahmins who do not deserve the name, have thwarted, in many ways, the
legitimate fructification of this most glorious Indian institution, it has
already worked wonders for the land of Bharata and is destined to lead
Indian humanity to its goal.

We earnestly entreat the Brahmins of the South not to forget the ideal of
India-the production of a universe of. Brahmins, pure as purity, good as God
Himself: this was at the beginning, says the Mahabharata, and so will it be
in the end.

Then anyone who claims to be a Brahmin should prove his pretensions, first
by manifesting that spirituality, and next by raising others to the same
status. On the face of this, it seems that most of them are only nursing a
false pride of birth ; and any schemer, native or foreign, who can pander to
this vanity and inherent laziness by fulsome sophistry, appears to satisfy

Beware, Brahmins, this is the sign of death! Arise and show your manhood,
your Brahminhood, by raising the non-Brahmins around you-not in the spirit
of a master -not with the rotten canker of egotism crawling with
superstitions and the charlatanry of East and West-but in the spirit of a
servant. For verily he who knows how to serve knows how to rule.

The non-Brahmins also have been spending their energy in kindling the fire
of caste hatred--vain and useless to solve the problem-to which every
non-Hindu is only too glad to throw on a load of fuel.

Not a step forward can be made by these inter-caste quarrels, not one
difficulty removed; only the beneficent onward march of events would be
thrown back, possibly for centuries, if the fire bursts out into flames.

It would be a repetition of Buddhistic political blunders.

In the midst of this ignorant clamour and hatred, we are delighted to find
Pandit D. Savariroyan pursuing the only legitimate and the only sensible
course. Instead of wasting precious vitality in foolish and meaningless
quarrels, Pandit Savariroyan has undertaken in his articles an the
"Admixture of the Aryan with Tamilian" in the Siddhcinta Deepika, to clear
away not only a lot of haze, created by a too adventurous Western philology,
but to pave the way to a better understanding of the caste problem in the

Nobody ever got anything by begging. We get only what we deserve. The first
step to deserve is to desire; and we desire with success what we feel
ourselves worthy to get.

A gentle yet clear brushing off of the cobwebs of the so-called Aryan theory
and all its vicious corollaries is therefore absolutely necessary,
especially for the South, and a proper self-respect created by a knowledge
of the past grandeur of one of the great ancestors of the Aryan race-the
great Tamilians.

We stick, in spite of Western theories, to that definition of the word
"Arya" which we find in our sacred books, and which includes only the
multitude we now call Hindus. This Aryan race, itself a mixture of two great
races, Sanskrit-speaking and Tamil-speaking, applies to all Hindus alike.
That the Shudras have in some Smritis been excluded from this epithet means
nothing, for the Shudras were and still are only the waiting Aryas-Aryas in

Though we know Pandit Savariroyan is walking over rather insecure ground,
though we differ from many of his sweeping explanations of Vedic names and
races, yet we are glad that he has undertaken the task of beginning a proper
investigation into the culture of the great mother of Indian civilisation-if
the Sanskrit-speaking race was the father.

We are glad also that he boldly pushes forward the Accado-Sumerian racial
identity of the ancient Tamilians. And this makes us proud of the blood of
the great civilisation which flowered before all others--compared to whose
antiquity the Aryans and Semites are babies.

We would suggest, also, that the land of Punt of the Egyptians was not only
Malabar, but that the Egyptians as a race bodily migrated from Malabar
across the ocean and entered the delta along the course of the Nile from
north to south, to which Punt they have been always fondly looking back as
the home of the blessed.

This is a move in the right direction. Detailed and more careful work is
sure to follow with a better study of the Tamilian tongues and the Tamilian
elements found in the Sanskrit literature, philosophy, and religion. And who
are more competent to do this work than those who learn the Tamilian idioms
as their mother-tongue?

As for us Vedantins and Sannyasins, we are proud of our Sanskrit-speaking
ancestors of the Vedas ; proud of our Tamil-speaking ancestors whose
civilisation is the oldest yet known ; we are proud of our Kolarian
ancestors older than either of the above-who lived and hunted in forests; we
are proud of our ancestors with flint implements-the first of the human
race; and if evolution is true, we are proud of our anaifial ancestors, for
they antedated man himself. We are proud that we are descendants of the
whole universe, sentient or insentient. Proud that we are born, and work,
and suffer-prouder still that we die when the task is finished and enter for
ever the realm where there is no more delusion.

( )

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-14-2009

> 4. Then a firm disapproval of the Aryan theory and a
> message to bridge the north - south differences and
> He says " even taking for granted that both these
> grand sub-divisions of Indian humanity came from outside
> the Western frontier"

The word 'arya' means 'noble'. It was used for those people that
followed the noble path of Vaidika Dharma. Aryas lived both within
the current boundaries of India and beyond it, but the land where
they were concentrated was Bharata Varsha. That is why it is
called 'Aryavarta'. Bharata Varsha or Aryavarta (at that time) was
defined as the land that stretched from Kanyakumari to Himalayas, and
from Gandhara to Brahma Desha.

Aryavarta was divided into two deshas called Dravida desha and Gowda
desha. Dravida desha was all that which lay south of Saurashtra, and
Gowda desha was all that which lay north of Saurashtra. Both Dravida
desha and Gowda desha were parts of Bharata Varsha or Aryavarta.

What many people may not know is that the Aryan invasion theory was
first suggested by an Indian named Ramprasad Chanda. It was then
picked up by Gordon Childe to give it somewhat the shape that it
later came to have. Meanwhile Ramprasad Chanda had his doubts about
his own hypothesis and he actually wrote against it, but the momentum
of the Aryan invasion theory had already picked up due to R.E.M
Wheeler and others. Even though it never was a theory, it came to
assume the guise of a theory and it is most unfortunate that the
Indians themselves picked it up and solidified its foundations.

Today the basis of the AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory) has been countered
by the OIT (Original Inhabitants Theory) on most of the points, but
there still remain two points on which the proponents of the AIT
(Aryan Invasion Theory) hold on to their grounds. These two points
are the linguistic argument and the horse argument. In my opinion,
the linguistic argument is sheer nonsense i.e., it is based on a
theory of lingusitics that has no idea of what language is, and
moreover the law of palatals on which the argument is spearheaded is
a case of perfect circular reasoning. The horse argument is a case of
using an absence to prove a thesis and it suffers from logical
insufficiency. <span style='color:red'>Most historians are simply bad logicians.</span>

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - Bodhi - 06-14-2009

will they ever learn!

Arya meant 'Noble'!

Whole of "India" was called 'Aryavarta' since the beginning of the term!

Aryavarta had two 'desha-s' gowda and dravida!!! <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> sorry too much now

"Most historians are simply bad logicians." -- and most historian-commentators are not only horrible in logic but actually illiterates as far as these matters are concerned.

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - G.Subramaniam - 06-14-2009

The hindu tamil kings of Jaffna were called

Arya cakravarti

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - Bharatvarsh - 06-14-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Jun 14 2009, 09:16 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Jun 14 2009, 09:16 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->will they ever learn! 

Arya meant 'Noble'!

Whole of "India" was called 'Aryavarta' since the beginning of the term!

Aryavarta had two 'desha-s' gowda and dravida!!! <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> sorry too much now

"Most historians are simply bad logicians." -- and most historian-commentators are not only horrible in logic but actually illiterates as far as these matters are concerned.
It is obvious that many Hindus lack any sense of history, take it as a generalization if you will but it is obvious with interactions online.

Even one who is totally ignorant of linguistics like me knows that Aryavarta has meant different things at different times, in Manu Smriti itself I remember it was restricted to parts of North India, & Dravida's considered degraded Kshatriyas.

Again afaik some sources meant TN & Kerala by Dravida (deep south) but used Dakshinapatha to mean South in general (i.e everything south of the Vindyas including Maharashtra).

The main divisions I think were:

Uttarapatha: Panjab, Gandhara, & everything else upto Delhi.

Aparantha: Sindh, Kutch, Saurashtra, & Western Rajasthan

Madhya: MP, Bihar, rest of Rajasthan, Jharkhand

Purva: Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Arunachal, & rest of NE

Dakshinapatha & Dravida as I said before.

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-19-2009
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This is the response from Michel Danino Can you elaborate more on the recent genetic research that has thrown more light on this rather old debate of AIT, AMT etc. I read your and Michel Danino’s piece in Pragati. Can you please put on more easier terms what these recent genetic findings mean?

You can find more detailed explanations and references in my full article: For instance, please correct me if I’m wrong, there seems to be some consensus that Brahmins of the vedic age lived in the regions of Northwest Pakistan, Kashmir, maybe even Punjab. In other words, the upper Indus regions . Not just “upper” Indus, also lower, and towards Yamuna-Ganga. The geography of the Rig-Veda is the Sapta Sindhava, more or less the whole Indus and Sarasvati basins. In the Brahmana literature (which is technically part of the “Vedic Age”) you will have to include much of the Gangetic plains.

There also seems some consensus they went east into the Gangetic plain and further down to south India. But there seems to be lot of argument on whether Brahmins were indigenous to Upper Indus region or did they come from further northwest. >

My questions are the following: >  >
1. Is there any new evidence to suggest that Harappan > civilization which flourished in the lower Indus regions also > included Brahmins. There is no way to tell. We could tell only if Brahmins had an identifiable physical type distinct from others, which isn’t the case. Prof. Kenneth Kennedy has written at some length on this, and in short Brahmins can never be identified from the skeletal remains; the same conclusion is reached by genetic studies. And since we can’t read the Harappan script, we cannot draw a conclusion. Finally, although there is some evidence of social stratification in Harappan society, a caste system as we understand it today seems rather unlikely.
2. How similar are the genes of Brahmins and non-Brahmin castes > in North India. How similar are those two groups with respect to tribals? Please see some answers in my above-mentioned paper. In short, genetic proximity is generally on a geographic basis, not on a caste basis; in other words, a Brahmin of North India is genetically closer to other communities of his regions (including tribals) than to a Brahmin of South India. This is a general rule: there could be exceptions, which we will know when larger samples of India’s population have been studied.
3. Is there similarity between the genes of non-Brahmin castes in north and south India. And among tribals in north and south india. >

4. Are there any noticeable genetic similarities between Brahmins and Parsis? There are always “similarities”, the question is how much. We must think in terms of genetic distances. See the map in my paper, borrowed from one of the research papers. We would ideally need a far more complete map that would include important Indian communities. In any case, remember that India’s genetic heritage is the most varied in the world after Africa. ps: I’m using the word Brahmin instead of Aryan becos I think Aryan is a linguistic and cultural grouping rather than ethnic.

While linguistically most north-indians can be called Aryans, I suspect the Brahmins/non-Brahmin castes/tribals are genetically different even in north India. If by “Aryans” you mean the Vedic clans mentioned in the Rig-Veda, there is no way to tell whether they were “Brahmins” or even if the concept existed then. I personally prefer the neutral term “Vedic people”. And again, communities are always “genetically different” from each other, the question is by how much. In genetics difference is always relative, not absolute. In summary, if you are hoping to genetically define a Brahmin identity, I don’t think this will work. There is no “Brahmin haplogroup”, for instance.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Can you pass on the following observations to Danino?

1. Biology was my weakest subject. So excuse my incredulity in asking this question. If mtDNA is necessarily a female chromosome line, how is that useful in explaining the Hindu, Muslim genetic similarities? Doesn’t Indian history suggest conversions to Islam as well as intermarriages between foreign males and Indian females. How will Hindu and Muslim communities, predominantly sharing the same maternal lines, have significant mtDNA differences?

2. Concluding that 80 to 90% upper castes share genetic similarities with lower castes and tribals raises more questions than answers. How much of Indian History was taken into consideration before initiating this research? Brahmins constitute less than 10% of the population even today and is likely to have been much less in the past. I don’t think anyone ever argued that non-Brahmin ‘upper castes’ were genetically dissimilar to ‘lower castes’. Isn’t the caste system in India based on profession and to what extent each caste accepted Brahmin rituals?

3. How are primitive genes like U and m17 helpful in concluding anything about a alleged historical event as recent as 4000 years old? Maybe restating the problem statement might be helpful in solving the AMT conundrum.

“Are Brahmins genetically distinguishable from other communities in India especially using the mtDNA research. If not is this research in anyway useful in proving or disproving the AMT hypothesis?” In anycase, even the most fervent AMT or trickle supporters only claim that Brahmins (or vedic people) originally lived in a small region comprising eastern Iran, northern Afghan, north-northwest pakistan. Practically all regions to the north and northwest of the Indus valley.

And some time after the demise of the Harappan civilization (no way attributable to any Aryan Invasion or Migration), these people expanded their physical presence in north India (Indus and Gangetic plains) during the vedic period and then spread their culture (not genes) across India during the ‘epic’ period. So trying to prove or disprove fantastic claims like Indo-Aryans have Caucasian origins maybe useful in Europe but may not have any relevance in India

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-19-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->(This article appeared in the June 2009 edition of Pragati )/ In January 2009, US network PBS telecast a documentary titled /The Story of India/ .

Hosted by Michael Wood ,this six-part series narrated a compressed history of India from pre-historic times till Independence. The first episode—Beginnings —-discussed one of the most controversial topics in Indian history: the origin of the Aryans. In this episode Mr Wood did three things. Standing at Khyber Pass, looking down at the valley of Kabul river, he quoted the translation of a verse from /Baudhayana Srautasutra/  which reads, “some went east..but some stayed at home in the west”. This verse, Wood opined, suggests an Aryan migration from Afghanistan into India.

Second, he went to Turkmenistan to meet Viktor Sarianidi , the legendary Russian archaeologist, who besides unearthing the Bactrian gold in northern Afghanistan, found horses, wheeled vehicles and mud-brick fire altars in Gonur Tepe, Turkmenistan. According to Dr Sarianidi, the Aryans arrived there around 2000 BC and left in 1800 BC towards Afghanistan. Third, Mr Wood mentioned a 1786 discovery by the polyglot Sir William Jones  on the similarities between Sanskrit and various European languages, due to which if a Sanskrit speaker mentioned the word /ashva/, a Lithuanian farmer would know exactly what he meant. All these indicated that the ancestors of the Aryans were part of a language group which spread from the area between Caspian sea and Aral mountains 4000 years ago. As per this theory, these Sanskrit speaking newcomers subjugated the natives—Dravidians and tribals—and established themselves at the top of the caste hierarchy. Sounds logical, but Mr Wood’s claims are controvertible.

According to B B Lal , who was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India , the correct translation of /Baudhayana Srautasutra/ says that while some Aryan tribes went east and the others went west from some intermediary point. This intermediary point for Dr Lal is not the valley of the Kabul river, but that of the Indus. In a lecture  given at the 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology in July 2007, Dr Lal analysed Dr Sarianidi’s evidence—fire-worship, soma rituals, /ashvamedha/—and in the case of fire worship he proved that the direction of movement was from India to Central Asia. He also showed that there was no soma in Gonur Tepe, and the skeleton of the horse was unrelated to /asvamedha/. Now genetic studies too are challenging  the Aryan migration theory, the successor of the discredited Aryan invasion theory. Some studies have revealed that Southern castes and tribes are similar to each other and their gene pool is related to the castes of North India. It was not possible to confirm any difference between the caste and tribal pools and find any clean delineation between the Dravidian and Indo-European speakers. Another study compared the genes of Brahmins and tribals and found autochthnous origins for Brahmins and the caste system. Also, there was no evidence for a massive migration in the 1500-1200 BC period. If so where did the Aryans originate? In the accompanying book, Mr Wood mentions that many Indian scholars and polemicists believe that Aryans were indigenous to India. Gavin Flood, senior lecturer in religious studies at the University of Stirling , Scotland, is neither an Indian nor a polemicist, but in his book /An Introduction to Hinduism /, he mentions the Aryan migration theory, but also the alternate: the cultural transformation thesis. According to this view, the Aryan culture was an indigenous development in the Indus valley, uninfluenced by invaders or migrants. Thus Hinduism evolved with the Aryan culture interacting with non-Aryan and tribal cultures. This cultural transformation thesis works well with the Out of India theory according to which India is the Indo-European homeland from where some groups migrated to Central and West Asia and Europe. *The Debates and Consequences* Fuelling the debate over Aryans and their origins are various schools—the Orientalist, the Nationalist and the Marxist—with different positions. This seems perfect since the bias of each of these schools will get corrected by opinions from other schools. Unfortunately in Indian historiography, some schools are more equal than the other. Blessed by the Indian government and aided by a list of approved scholars, only certain versions of history get into school textbooks. Thus genetic studies which overwhelmingly contradict the Aryan Migration Theory never see the light of the day. One state government—West Bengal—even goes so far as to publicly declare  what is /shuddho/ and what is /ashuddo/. Thus depending on the clerisy running the Indian Council of Historical Studies, the colour of history oscillates between saffron and red. In such an atmosphere, when the government is a partner in identity politics, promoting one version of history and silencing others, the chips are not allowed to fall where it should. When a historian, who identifies himself with a label—Orientalist, Marxist or Nationalist—controls the debate, history is a prisoner of dogma.

Such labelled historians silence unpopular ideas, keep inconvenient facts in the dark and display intellectual cowardice. In this acerbic debate, any one who opposes the Aryan migration theory is branded a Hindu nationalist out to eliminate other minorities from India. But Edwin Bryant, in his book, /The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture /, notes that there are a number of Western scholars too who don’t believe in the external origins of Aryans. Among the Indian scholars who he met during his research, “one prominent Indigenous Aryanist turned out to be an atheist and very irreverent Marxist.” The media can play an activist role in this debate. In 1993, a decision by Mexico’s education minister not to publish new history books as they did not conform to the “preferred version” resulted in considerable outrage. The Mexican media pursued the story and critically evaluated the text books the same way Indian media panned the Murli Manohar Joshi’s revisions. Parents too can be activists. In California, upset by the representation of Hinduism in school textbooks, Indian-Americans filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education demanding edits. One of the disputes was about the Aryan theory and during the hearing, a California curriculum commissioner, Stan Metzenberg, said “I’ve read the DNA research and there was no Aryan migration. I believe the hard evidence of DNA more than I believe historians.” We have to wait and see if the text books will actually reflect the change. Politicians too can be activists.

In Kerala, there was a controversy last year over text books which highlighted communist struggles over the freedom struggle, ignored non-communist social leaders, and used a picture of a frog instead of that of Mahatma Gandhi . When it was suspected that the Communists were trying to teach atheism, Hindus, Muslims and Christians united in opposition . The Opposition staged walkouts. Finally the curriculum committee agreed to modify the text . Such activism, from the media, from the parents, from opposition politicians, is missing when it comes to balancing the distortions in existing textbooks. Lawsuits, protests, activism—these can be an effective tools, but there is also a need to popularise the discourse. Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough are masters of the popular history genre in the West. Barring a few honourable exceptions, in the Indian context this genre consists of writing more biographies of Nehru and Gandhi. There is a need to add more voices to this discourse—to explain how the invasion theory evolved to migration theory to Aryan trickle down theory—because this Aryan-Dravidian race theory still has serious social and political implications in India.

In 1915, Justice Mahadeo Govind Ranade lamented that the Aryan Brahmins were few in number to make any influence on the aboriginal races in the South. Opponents claimed that aboriginals were robbed by the Aryan invaders of their culture. Periyar E V Ramaswami Naicker, went one step further: he despised Hinduism, asked Tamils to liberate themselves from the Aryan yoke and claimed Ravana was the Dravidian hero, not Rama. Recently, Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani called for people to reject “Aryan” leaders . The politicians who promote a ideology of caste hatred that should not be able to get away with their fundamentalist agenda. For this we need to evolve from Stalinized history and saffronized history to objective history— on Aryan theory, on Hindu-Muslim relations, on Independence struggle—by weeding out absurd ‘nationalist’ claims and distortions written for religious appeasement. Theories on the origins of Indian civilisation must correlate with archaeological, linguistic and genetic evidence. The standard for acceptance of theories and hypotheses must not be government approval, religious sanction or secular ideological compliance, but rather ability to withstand the scientific stress test on a level playing field. Image Credits: Charles Haynes , Natmandu Editing Credits: Nitin Pai ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Related posts: 1. Hostile Reactions  In 2004, the Dover, Pennysylva 2. The Biblical Migration Theory  The discovery of skeletons in 3. /Pragati/ June 2009: A sense of history  This month’s Pragati is 4. Battle of the Ten Kings  The Dasharajnya War or “ 5. Those Primitive Vedic People


Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-19-2009

The Biblical Migration Theory</b>

The discovery of skeletons in Mohenjo-daro in 1920s led Sir Mortimer Wheeler to opine that Harappa was overthrown by invaders, inspired by the Vedic god Indra.[1] Now archaeology and genetic studies have discredited Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s  Aryan invasion theory, which originated in the twentieth century. The external origins of Aryans is now being kept alive by “sporadic migration and occasional contacts” theory[2]. But much before the Aryan invasion theory, there used to be a migration theory of Biblical proportions[3] whose originator was Jean-Antoine Dubois, a French-Catholic missionary, who spent time in Pondicherry, Madras Presidency and Mysore from 1792 to 1823.

The French revolution started in 1789 and Dubois fled in 1792 at the age of 27, which turned to be a wise decision, for if he had stayed back he would have been killed. In India he adopted the local dress and habits like the Tuscan Jesuit missionary Roberto de Nobili, the Roman Brahmin, who did this almost two centuries before Dubois. This technique worked well, for he was welcomed by people of all castes.

In 1799, when Seringapatam fell, Richard Colley Wesley who was the Governor General of India, invited Dubois to organize the Christian community of Mysore which had been forcibly converted to Islam by Tippu Sultan; he reconverted 1800 people.

His greatest accomplishment was writing a book — Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies — based on his experience, important books and various records he obtained. It is in this book that he came up with his theory for the origins of the Brahmins.

He was aware that Hindus claimed Brahmins originated from Brahma’s head and that they were from near Maha-Meru and Madara Parvata. He was aware of the concept of the seven rishis, recognized in the Great Bear and the flood story in Indian mythology.

For Dubois, these Hindu fables were absurd. Before presenting his theory, he first dismissed two other ideas. The first one claimed that Egyptian king Sesostris conquered land till the Ganges; the second, that the caste system was obtained from the Arabs.

Once these were out of the way, Dubois presented his thesis. After the flood, the whole world was repopulated again. For this, Noah and his sons dispersed around the world. One group went West, while the others under the guidance of Magog, Noah’s grandson, went to the Caucasian range. From there they came via the North into India and populated it. He even has a date  for this migration - nine centuries before Christian era. Thus the Brahmins, according to Dubois, were descendants of Magog’s father Japheth.

By the time Dubois wrote his manuscript, comparative linguistics had just arrived on the scene in a big way. In 1786, Sir William Jones published his The Sanscrit Language in which he observed that Sanskrit resembled Greek and Latin and suggested a common source, which would be called proto-Indo-European. Dubois decided to dabble in a bit of linguistics himself.

For Dubois, Magog and Gotama sounded the same. He suspected that they were the same person. He also found similarities between Prometheus and Brahma (say Brema and Prome aloud few times and you will get it. Or may be not). If you think that this Brahma = Prometheus thing does not add up, here is the clincher. Like how Prometheus asked Hercules for help, Brahma also asked Vishnu for help, not once, but many times. As I found myself nodding in agreement, he ruined it for me with the statement that Prometheus could be Magog himself.

With our current understanding it is easy to dismiss the work as fanciful narrative, but in the 19th century it was taken seriously; Dubois’ work was influential. He gave the French manuscript to Mark Wilks, the British Resident of Mysore, who in turn sent it to the Madras government. In 1816, it was translated to English. The prefatory note to the English edition was by none other than F. Max Muller, who wrote that Dubois, though a missionary, was free from theological prejudices. Lord William Bentinck, who would later become the Governor General and would play a part in Macaulay’s education in India, recommended the book highly. Bentinck praised the book saying that it would help the East India Company employees a great deal in their conduct with the natives. The East India company paid 2000 star pagodas for the manuscript.

While everyone — Wilks, Bentick, Muller — praised the book for the observations on the caste system, no one found the Biblical connection objectionable. Even preface to the 1906 edition which I read did not question it. Thus Indian history of the 19th century combined Sir William Jones’ comparative linguistics, Dubois’ Biblical Migration theory and Max Muller’s arbitrary dating of the Vedas. The impact of Sir William Jones and Max Muller are still present in the same form, while Dubois’ migration theory is present in a modified version.

The path taken by Indo-Europeans of the Aryan Migration Theory 2.0 is the same as that proposed by Dubois: from the Caucasus to India. A group of Indo-Europeans would go West, like Noah’s sons, to be the Mittani.[1]

Though he came to covert, by his own account, Dubois was not a successful missionary[4].

Text not available

Dubois later wrote a controversial pamphlet — Letters on the state of Christianity in India — in which he declared that it is next to impossible to convert Indians. He went back to Paris on Jan 15, 1823, never to return again. He kept a low profile and Max Muller who visited Paris in 1846 did not know that Dubois was well and alive at that time. Dubois died two years later.

Postscript:Â Dubois was paid well and he lived off the money for some time. There is a controversy that the original manuscript was not written by Dubois, but was based on something written by Pere Coeurdoux in 1760s[5].

1. The Wonder That Was India by A L Basham
2. Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History; By Edwin Bryant, Laurie L. Patton
3. A Survey of Hinduism by Klaus Klostermaier
4. Debate Transactions of the Royal Historical Society By Royal Historical Society
5. Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. By Nicholas B. Dirks
6. Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies by Abbe J. A. Dubois

Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 06-19-2009

<b>The peopling of India

A genomic unity that goes back 50,000 years</b>

Michel Danino | Leave a comment

Michel Danino[1]

From a structuralist perspective, there is probably no queerer theory than that of an invasion of India by Aryans or Indo-Aryans in the second millennium BC. In its nineteenth-century version, it posited a subcontinent peopled by undefined autochthons (or, the earliest known inhabitants) was suddenly submerged, in its northern parts at least, by a wave or several waves of Aryan invaders on the warpath. This view, with numerous variants, generally held until the 1960s, when US and Indian archaeologists began pointing out that such a phenomenon could hardly have taken place without leaving some traces in the archaeological record, which not only stubbornly refused to yield such evidence at site after site, but increasingly stressed continuity rather than disruption. The Hollywood-style Aryan Long March soon mutated into a leisurely stroll into India by bands of peaceful migrants in search of greener pastures.

But one central question remained: whether an invasion or a migration—and leaving aside here its assumed linguistic and cultural impact—not radically alter India’s demographic landscape? The answer, clearly, could only be a matter of proportion. Either the newcomers arrived in large numbers, or they just “trickled in,” yet somehow managed to trigger off a chain reaction, perhaps like the proverbial butterfly setting off a distant hurricane, in the spirit of chaos theory. Most proponents of the invasionist or migrationist scenario continued to prefer the former view, insisting that “the Indo-Aryan immigrants seem to have been numerous and strong enough to continue and disseminate much of their culture.”[1] Those who, of late, have tried to trim down the numbers of Aryan tribes to the barest minimum[2] have been compelled to do so by two formidable obstacles: the archaeological stumbling block and the growing objections raised from the 1990s by geneticists studying Indian populations, whose voice uncannily sounded like that of archaeologists.

Initially, a few genetic studies appeared to confirm the arrival of a new population from Central Asia, matching the linguistic division between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian speakers.[3] But they were victims of the usual circularity, a priori accepting the invasionist scenario, then matching a limited strand of genetic evidence to it. As the samples studied grew larger and more diverse, and as the tools of the young science became more refined, startling new results have emerged in the last few years.

Basics of Genetic Studies

Before we briefly review those relevant to the invasion debate,[4] let us refresh our memories. To study the ancestry of human populations, geneticists look at two types of DNA: the Y-DNA, contained in the Y-chromosome of the cell’s nucleus and transmitted from father to son; and the mtDNA or mitochondrial DNA, found in the cell’s mitochondria and transmitted by the mother alone. DNA molecules undergo slight alterations or “mutations” in the course of time, which act as specific genetic markers: thus two persons sharing an mtDNA with the same mutation must share a common ancestor somewhere in the maternal line. Those genetic markers are then grouped in categories called “haplotypes,” which are in turn organised in “haplogroups,” each of which genetically identifies a particular ethnic group. Within such a framework, “genetic distances” between several populations can be assessed, but it is important to remember that haplogroups have nothing to do with the old racial classifications, which have no scientific validity whatsoever: it is impossible to genetically define an “Aryan” race or a Dravidian one.

Chief Findings

In India’s case, genetic studies are specially complex, not only because of entrenched prejudices on racial or linguistic divisions (and the consequent temptation to equate linguistic groups with ethnic ones), but because of the high genetic diversity of the subcontinent, next only to that of Africa. Yet a few important by-products have emerged from a dozen studies conducted by teams of biologists in Western and Indian Universities:[5]

* One study concluded that “high castes share more than 80 percent of their maternal lineages with the lower castes and tribals” and some biologists now speak of a “caste-tribe continuum.” Another study found that “the Indian mtDNA tree in general is not subdivided according to linguistic (Indo-European, Dravidian) or caste affiliations.” In other words, geography, not caste or language, tends to define Indian genetic groups, an important conclusion that runs counter to the invasionist scenario.
* It is worth stressing that “caste populations of ‘north’ and ‘south’ India are not particularly more closely related to each other than they are to the tribal groups.” For instance, “Southern castes and tribals are very similar to each other in their Y-chromosomal haplogroup compositions.” Again, a 2009 study found Brahmins and the caste system to be of “autochthonous origin.”
* Also, studies found linguistic families to be “all much younger” than genetic lineages, and it would be “highly speculative,” at this stage to assume that a “linguistically defined group in India should be considered more ‘autochthonous’ than any other.” This knocks the bottom out of the notion of adivasi propounded by the now discredited nineteenth-century racial anthropology—and still in use in India today despite its lack of scientific validity.
* Even with India’s genetic diversity, its populations, whatever their linguistic areas or castes, share a “fundamental genomic unity” traceable to the original peopling of India by migrants from Africa some 50,000 years ago.
* Quite a few Indian populations (including tribal ones and Dravidian speakers) exhibit some connection with Central Asian populations; however, this connection turns out to date back to the migration from Africa, not to the second millennium BC.
* Indeed the “deep, common ancestry between the two regions” (India and Central Asia) is more readily explained by northward migrations from India’s Northwest some 40,000 years ago.

Invisible Aryans

The conclusion is inescapable: just as the putative Aryan invasion/migration left no trace in Indian literature, in the archaeological and the anthropological record, it is invisible at the genetic level. If biologists had never been told anything about such a migration, they would be incapable of inferring it from the DNA of Indians, whether tribes or upper castes, from the South or North.

We can now view almost all Indian ethnic groups (except for known recent immigrants, in the North-East for instance) as essentially indigenous. Of course we are all ultimately descendants from Africans, but a period of at least 40,000 years should suffice to earn the label “indigenous.” Moreover, we may jocularly suggest that all non-African populations are basically descendants from Indians. As one study put it, “there are now enough reasons not only to question a ‘recent Indo-Aryan invasion’ into India some 4000 years ago, but alternatively to consider India as a part of the common gene pool ancestral to the diversity of human maternal lineages in Europe.

We must patiently await more advanced studies with larger samples and finer analytic methods. But the genetic wind seems to have turned for good, just as the archaeological wind did some forty years ago. If Indo-Aryans ever migrated to India, they only “trickled in.” But how could such small numbers revolutionise India’s cultural and linguistic landscape? That is another of the many paradoxes on which the invasionist scenario rests, ever more shakily.


[1] Ram Sharan Sharma, Advent of the Aryans in India (New Delhi: Manohar, 2001), p. 52.

[2] See for instance Michael Witzel, “Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts,” Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, vol. 7 (2001), No. 3 (25 May), § 8.

[3] For instance, Michael Bamshad et al., “Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations” in Genome Research, 2001, vol. 11, pp. 994-1004.

[4] I presented a more detailed study in my paper “Genetics and the Aryan Debate” published in Puratattva, No. 36, 2005-06, pp. 146-154 and available online: and

[5] Among the papers referred to here (most of which are available online), the most significant ones are:

* T. Kivisild et al., “Deep common ancestry of Indian and western-Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages” in Current Biology, 18 November 1999, 9(22):1331-4.
* Susanta Roychoudhury et al., “Fundamental genomic unity of ethnic India is revealed by analysis of mitochondrial DNA,” Current Science, vol. 79, No. 9, 10 November 2000, pp. 1182-1192.
* Toomas Kivisild et al., “An Indian Ancestry: a Key for Understanding Human Diversity in Europe and Beyond”, ch. 31 of Archaeogenetics: DNA and the population prehistory of Europe, ed. Colin Renfrew & Katie Boyle (Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2000), pp. 267-275.
* T. Kivisild et al., “The Genetic Heritage of the Earliest Settlers Persists Both in Indian Tribal and Caste Populations,” American Journal of Human Genetics 72(2):313-32, 2003.
* Sanghamitra Sengupta et al., “Polarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distributions in India Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian Pastoralists,” American Journal of Human Genetics, February 2006; 78(2):202-21.
* Sanghamitra Sahoo et al., “A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 January 2006, vol. 103, No. 4, pp. 843-848.
* Gyaneshwer Chaubey, “Peopling of South Asia: investigating the caste–tribe continuum in India,” BioEssays 2007, 29:91-100.
* Swarkar Sharma et al., “The Indian origin of paternal haplogroup R1a1* substantiates the autochthonous origin of Brahmins and the caste system,” Journal of Human Genetics (2009) 54, 47-55.

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Aryan Invasion/migration Theories &amp; Debates -2 - acharya - 07-07-2009

Look for EJ connection to the American study of Tamil language
California Tamil Academy is being partly supported by the Baptist Church and other denominations



Kinship and language


Interview with Thomas R. Trautmann, Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan.</b>

Thomas Trautmann: “It is striking how much similarity remains in languages as distantly related as English and Sanskrit, in the vocabulary of kinship.”

THOMAS R. TRAUTMANN is Marshall Sahlins Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, United States, and is also the editor of the journal Comparative Studies in Society and History.

He came under the influence of A.L. Basham at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and got interested in Indian studies. Trautmann’s first work Kautilya and the Arthasastra (1971) laid the foundation for his formidable reputation as a historian. His interest in Indian studies proved enduring, and his second book, Dravidian Kinship, came in 1982. This was followed by Lewis Henry Morgan and the Invention of Kinship (1985).

About Trautmann’s book Aryans and British India (1997), Aram A. Yengoyan wrote, “This is a creative and venturesome rethinking of issues of race, language and caste in the British colonial understanding of India.” His book The Aryan Debate (2007) focusses on the Aryan-Dravidian discourse. His last book on F.W. Ellis, The Dravidian Evidence (2008), drew a lot of scholarly attention and has been translated into Tamil. Trautmann has written a number of research papers on subjects relating to India such as the one titled “Elephants in Ancient India”.

His new book, F.W. Ellis and the Madras School of Orientalism (Oxford University Press), is due to be launched in Chennai on August 19. He was in Chennai in April and gave a talk, at the Roja Muthiah Research Library, on F.W. Ellis. S. Theodore Baskaran spoke to him about his scholarly pursuits.
What were the formative intellectual influences that led you to India and to Tamil Nadu?

The single most important influence was A.L. Basham’s book The Wonder that Was India. The American edition appeared in my college bookstore along with other exciting new works published by Grove Press, and I found it fascinating. Basham’s big book, as I try to show in my foreword to the 50th anniversary edition by Picador, was an attempt to find a new way to write India’s ancient history in the era of decolonisation and independence, and to make a new, non-imperialist relationship for a historian from the West with India’s historians. I took it with me when I spent a year in the University of Delhi. I studied sociology in the newly opened department headed by M.N. Srinivas, an inspiring time for me and a department with which I formed a great attachment. M.S.A. Rao, in particular, was a fine teacher who became a life-long friend. Both lectured on kinship in India, combining information from fieldwork study of present-day villages with ancient sources, especially Dharmashastra texts; this combination of sociology and history, which one finds also in the work of G.S. Ghurye, their teacher, and Irawati Karve, made a long-lasting impression on me. Both Rao and Srinivas were from the South, but at that point I had no direct connection with Tamil Nadu.
What caused your move from Sanskrit to Tamil studies?

The first move was from anthropology, which was my major subject in college, to history. Basham’s book convinced me that the way to come to terms with India was to learn Sanskrit and study ancient history, with Basham, in the University of London. The kinship lectures of Srinivas and Rao also contributed to this decision. I went to London, to the School of Oriental and African Studies, and did a Ph.D. in history. Basham himself thought Tamil was essential for ancient Indian history, along with Sanskrit and Pali, and I absorbed that belief from him. Before leaving London, I made a small start in Tamil, with John Marr.
What are the distinguishing features of Dravidian kinship?

Our bodies contain, in the genes, a record of the deep past, and the words we speak contain evidence of the historic relations among languages. Kinship has something of that character, too. It is striking how much similarity remains in languages as distantly related as English and Sanskrit in the vocabulary of kinship: mother (matr), father (pitr), brother (bhratr), sister (shvasr), daughter (duhitr), son (sunu).

The vocabulary of kinship is very conservative. But even more conservative is the semantic structure of the kinship vocabulary. In Tamil, for example, the father’s brother (periyappa, chithappa) is a kind of father (appa), whereas in English he is an uncle. Similarly, a mother’s sister is a kind of mother rather than an aunt. This feature (called crossness) carries through the entire set of kinship categories. It has a systematic logic in Tamil and other Dravidian languages that shows the historical relatedness of Dravidian kinship systems traceable for at least 2,000 years, both through comparative study of kinship systems in the present and through the documents of the past recorded in inscriptions and texts. The Dravidian pattern of cross-cousin marriage is part of that systematic logic.

After taking a position in the University of Michigan to teach Indian history, it came to me that what I had learned about kinship systems when I was doing anthropology and sociology could be put to use for ancient history. I embarked on a long study towards a book called Dravidian Kinship [1981], combining historical documents with contemporary fieldwork studies of kinship in the tradition of Srinivas, Rao, Ghurye and Karve. The research led me to Tamil Nadu.
What is happening to kinship in the globalising world?

"Between the college of Fort St. George and the Mackenzie Collection, there was a network of European and Indian Scholars producing a distinctive set of historical ideas about language, literature.." Here a publication of the College Press.

In one sense you could say that kinship has never been more important as a way of understanding the world we live in. Charles Darwin gave us an explanation of deep history that shows [that] all the species of living beings are kin to one another, and Gregor Mendel explained the mechanism of inheritance. Genetic kinship has become a master narrative of deep history, and the rapid advances of genomic research have produced an explosion of new deep histories of life on earth that are kinship-based.

We may feel that in our lives the reach of kinship is not as great as it was for our ancestors because kinship now competes with so many other institutions and affiliations to organise human life. But it is a striking fact of this moment of time that kinship is seen to be everywhere and to be the key that makes the world intelligible to us.
What led you to Ellis and how has Ellis deepened our understanding of language families, especially Dravidian?

Recently, I have been looking at the study of ancient Indian history in the period of British colonial rule, provoked by Edward Said’s book Orientalism. I wrote a pair of books based on colonial Calcutta [now Kolkata] and Madras [now Chennai]. Working on the first book, Aryans and British India, centring on Jones and Indo-European, I came to find that F.W. Ellis, Collector of Madras, had written a “Dravidian proof” as I call it, that is, a demonstration that the languages of South India are historically related to one another and form a language family, but are not descended from Sanskrit although they contain many Sanskrit and Prakrit words.

The Dravidian proof was published as early as 1816, long before Bishop Robert Caldwell’s magnificent Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Languages [1856], which, however, threw the work of Ellis into the shade. The Dravidian proof of Ellis was one of three fundamental and lasting contributions to India’s deep history to come out of the colonial period, the other two being the discovery of Indo-European (Jones) and of the Indus Civilisation (Sir John Marshall and his associates, Daya Ram Sahni and R.D. Banerjee). I wanted to know more about the obscure Ellis and the circumstances that brought forth the Dravidian proof. Finding letters and writings of Ellis in the British Library, in Oxford University, in the National Library of Scotland and in the Tamil Nadu State Archives, I wrote the second book of the pair, Languages and Nations: The DravidianPproof in Colonial Madras” [2006].

Ellis was a superb scholar and formed connections with the best Indian scholars of Chennai. He planned the College of Fort St. George at which leading Indian scholars trained Indian students in grammar and law to become teachers for the civil service recruits arriving from England. These Indian scholars, especially Pattabhirama Shastri, Shankara Shastri and Chidambaram Vathiyar, plus Mamadi Venkayya of Masulipatam, were part of the network out of which the Dravidian proof emerged.

What we learn from this is that while colonial Madras was a site of the imposition of British power upon Indians, it was also the incubator of new and unprecedented ideas that came about because Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and English were cultivated by scholars there, scholars who brought together the very different traditions of European and Indian language analysis. They came together fruitfully to show that the languages of the South formed a distinct language family. This new idea was without precedent among Europeans or Indians, and it has proven more durable than the colonial connection that produced it. It is not an accident that it arose in Madras, where the ideal conditions were present.
Please tell us about your forthcoming book, “The Madras School of Orientalism”.

Learning about the Dravidian proof made me believe Madras was the place where the most interesting conversations about Indian history were occurring in the opening decades of the 19th century, generating ideas somewhat in opposition to the ideas being put out by the Orientalist establishment of Calcutta. This intellectual ferment was due to the College of Fort St George and also the Mackenzie Collection, which the great surveyor Colin Mackenzie and his establishment of scholars were making to investigate the history of South India. Between the College and the Mackenzie Collection, there was a network of European and Indian scholars producing a distinctive set of historical ideas about language, literature, religion, law and land that were alternatives to the views coming out of Calcutta.

The Dravidian proof was only one product of this conjuncture, though it was the most spectacular one. I invited a dozen scholars to explore this phenomenon in a conference on “The Madras School of Orientalism” at the University of Michigan, and the papers have now been turned into a book, to be published by Oxford.
What is the status of Indian studies in the U.S.?

Historically, the study of India has lagged behind the study of China and Japan in the United States, and that remains the case.

There has been a tradition of Sanskrit and study of Indian religions going back to the 19th century, but in such areas as history, anthropology and sociology, it was only after Independence that India acquired more than a very limited presence in American universities.

In the 1960s, there was a flowering forth of language and area studies centres devoted to India and its neighbouring countries that considerably expanded and regularised India’s (and South Asia’s) place in American universities.

Most history departments in America, for example, will have someone teaching India or South Asia, though mostly in the modern period. It is a peculiarity of the American pattern that the presence of ancient India is largely registered not in departments of history but in departments of Asian languages and literatures.
What about Tamil studies?

Tamil literature has made a place for itself in American universities to the extent that Americans have come to appreciate the beauty of ancient Tamil poetry of the Sangam through good translations. A.K. Ramanujan’s book The Interior Landscape [1975] was very influential in that direction as the translations combine scholarship with the sensibility of a practising poet. Ramanujan taught a generation of students at Chicago until his death [in 1993].

The translations of George Hart of Berkeley with the poet Hank Haifetz, and those by Martha Selby of ancient love poetry in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Tamil, have contributed a great deal. Teaching materials by George and Kausalya Hart and K. Karunakaran and others have been invaluable. There is now a small but growing number of excellent younger scholars of Tamil literature in America, and the same can be said for linguists, anthropologists, historians and historians of religion specialising in Tamil Nadu.