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Unmasking AIT
i have my answers or at least notions already.

those are somewhat in between the AIT and the OIT (out of india theory).

main points -

1) no invasion occured.
2) indus civilization is by the same people who wrote the vedas and then settled in the ganges valley after sindhu-saraswati wasnt good anymore.
3) iranians and north indians are more or less the same peole sharing a single cultural, genetic and religious pool.
4) all hinduism is of sanskritic manufacture. once upon a time only north india was hindu till Agastya muni and others exported hinduism to the south. "fair" tamils like ramesh krishnan are the descendants of the brahmins who went south. another north indian export is the brahmi script.
5) the dravidians are a people, with their own distinct language and religion (agama and other books based) who used to reside in their 13 odd "nadus" of which only 5 are in india, and the rest are in sundaland, sri lanka etc. google "lemuria".
6) tribals are the "vanabasis" mentioned in the ancient sanskrit texts and the hanuman and other monkey characters of ramayan are modelled on them. they were never in the caste system and the "scheduled tribe" thing is all sham. the tribals are no more the "original inheritors" of the subcontinent than the rest of us.
7) sanskritic/hindu influence has been exported out of india to places as far as ireland (druidism = poor man's hinduism), lithuania (their language is the most similar to sanskrit of all european languages), and europe in general. Also to middle east via the mittanis and hitties etc.
8) rig ved is 5000+ years old, as proved by its astronomical references and is older than the avesta. iranians are a breakway faction of sindhu saraswati civilization people, who moved out with their version of hinduism/vedas and then later came up with zorastrianism.
9) max muller and micheal witzel are inbred fools.
Some relevant issues at this site: http://indiaresearch.org/articles.html



<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Jul 28 2006, 09:01 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Jul 28 2006, 09:01 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://voi.org/books/ait/



from the same book (http://voi.org/books/ait/ch54.htm - 5.4.3. Afro-Dravidian kinship), about the following statement i made -

<!--QuoteBegin-ben_ami+Jul 28 2006, 12:31 AM-->QUOTE(ben_ami @ Jul 28 2006, 12:31 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->4) all hinduism is of sanskritic manufacture. once upon a time only north india was hindu till Agastya muni and others exported hinduism to the south. "fair" tamils like ramesh krishnan are the descendants of the brahmins who went south. another north indian export is the brahmi script.
5) the dravidians are a people, with their own distinct language and religion (agama and other books based) who used to reside in their 13 odd "nadus" of which only 5 are in india, and the rest are in sundaland, sri lanka etc. google "lemuria".

the following hypothesis is found -


5.4.3. Afro-Dravidian kinship

One of the most remarkable findings related in some detail by Bernard Sergent, on the basis of three independent studies (by Lilias Homburger, by Tidiane Ndiaye, and by U.P. Upadhyaya and Mrs. S.P. Upadhyaya) reaching similar conclusions, is the multifarious kinship of the Dravidian language family with African languages of the Sahel belt, from Somalia to Senegal (Peul, Wolof, Mandè, Dyola). As Sergent notes, all Melano-African languages have been credibly argued to be related, with the exception of the Khoi-San and Korama languages of southern Africa and the Afro-Asiatic family of northern Africa; so the kinship of Dravidian would be with that entire Melano-African superfamily, though it would be more conspicuous with some of its members.

Thus, between Dravidian and Bantu, we find the same verbal endings for the infinitive, the subjunctive, the perfect, the active participle or nomen agentis, related postpositions or nominal case endings, and many others. In over-all structure, Dravidian and the Melano-African languages (as distinct from North-African and Khoi-San languages) form a pair when compared with other language families: “The tendency to agglutination, the absence of grammatical gender, the absence of internal vowel change, the use of pre-or postpositions instead of flection are some of the main traits which set the Negro-African and Dravidian languages jointly apart from the Indo-European and Hamito-Semitic groups.”93 Here I would say that this doesn’t prove much: the first trait is shared with some more, and the other ones are shared with most language families on earth; it is IE and Semito-Hamitic which stand out jointly by not having these traits.94

But there are more specific similarities: “A simple system of five basic vowels with an opposition short/long, vocalic harmony, absence of consonant clusters in initial position, abundance of geminated consonants, distinction between inclusive and exclusive pronoun in the first person plural, absence of the comparative degree in adjectives, absence of adjectives and adverbs acting as distinct morphological categories, alternation of consonants or augmentation of nouns noted among the nouns of different classes, distinction between accomplished and unaccomplished action in the verbal paradigms as opposed to the distinction of time-specific tenses, separate sets of paradigms for the affirmative and negative forms of verbs, the use of reduplicated forms for the emphatic mode, etc.”95

Sergent himself adds more isoglosses: “Preference for open syllables (i.e. those ending in vowels), the rejection of clusters of non-identical consonants, the generally initial position of the word accent in Dravidian and in the languages of Senegal”.96 The similarity in the demonstrative affixes is among the most striking: proximity is indicated by [i], initial in Dravidian but terminal in Wolof; distance by [a], intermediate distance by [u].

Knowing little of Dravidian and nothing at all of African languages, I don’t feel qualified to discuss this evidence. However, I do note that we have several separate studies by unrelated researchers, using different samples of languages in their observations, and that each of them lists large numbers of similarities, not just in vocabulary, but also in linguistic structure, even in its most intimate features. Thus, “the preposed demonstratives of Dravidian allow us to comprehend the genesis of the nominal classes, the fundamental trait of the Negro-African languages”.97

To quite an extent, this evidence suggests that Dravidian and some of the African languages (the case has been made in most detail for the Senegalo-Guinean languages such as Wolof) have a common origin. At the distance involved, it is unlikely that the isoglosses noted are the effects of borrowing. Either way, Proto-Dravidian must have been geographically close to the ancestor-language of the Negro-African languages. Did it come from Africa, as Sergent concludes? Should we think of a lost Saharan culture which disappeared before the conquests of the desert? Note that earlier outspoken fans of Dravidian culture didn’t mind describing the Dravidians as immigrants: unlike the Aryans, they were bringers rather than destroyers of civilization, but they were immigrants nonetheless.98 Or should we follow Tamil chauvinists in assuming that the Dravidians came from Tamil Nadu and the now-submerged lands to its South, and took their language and civilization to Africa?

5.4.4. Additional indications for Afro-Dravidian

Bernard Sergent argues against the Indian origin of Dravidian. One element to consider is that the members of the Dravidian family have not diverged very much from one another. The relative closeness of its members suggests that they started growing apart only fairly recently: a thousand years for Tamil and Malayalam (well-attested), perhaps three thousand for the divergence of North- from South-Dravidian. This would indicate that Dravidian was still a single language covering a small area in the early Harappan period, after having entered the country from the West.

That the “genealogical tree” of the Dravidian family seems to have its trunk in the coastal West of India, i.e. to the northwest of the main Dravidian area, has long been recognized by scholars of Dravidian.99 It also fits in with the old Brahminical nomenclature, which includes Gujarat and Maharashtra in the Pañcha-DraviDa, the “five Dravida areas of Brahminical settlement” (as contrasted with Pañcha-GauDa, the five North-Indian ones). The northwestern coast was the first part of India to be dravidianized, the wellspring of Dravidian migration to the south, but also an area where Dravidian was gradually displaced by Indo-Aryan though not without influencing it.

Another indication for the Dravidian presence in Gujarat is the attestation in Gujarati Jain texts of inter-cousin marriage, typically South-Indian and quite non-Indo-European.100 The IE norm was very strict in prohibiting even distant forms of incest, a norm adopted by both Hinduism and Christianity.101 Linguists had already pointed out, and Sergent confirms, that Dravidian has left its mark on the Sindhi, Gujarati and Marathi languages (as with the distinction between inclusive and exclusive first person plural) and toponymy. So, it is fairly well-established that Dravidian culture had a presence in Gujarat while spreading to South India.

It is possible that Gujarat was a waystation in a longer Dravidian migration from further west. Whether the itinerary of Dravidian can ultimately be traced to Sudan or thereabouts, remains to be confirmed, but Sergent already has some interesting data to offer in support. Africans and Dravidians had common types of round hut, common music instruments, common forms of snake worship and tree worship. Thus, a South-Indian board game pallankuli closely resembles the African game mancalal; varieties of the game are attested in Pharaonic Egypt and in a pre-Christian monastery in Sri Lanka.102

A point which I do not find entirely convincing is the distinction, based on Mircea Eliade’s research, between two types of Shamanism, one best known from Siberia and in evidence among all people originating in North and East Asia including the Native Americans and the Indian Munda-speaking tribes, another best known from Africa but also attested among some South-Indian tribes.103 This is a distinction between Shamanism properly speaking, in which the Shaman makes spirit journeys, despatches one of his multiple souls to the spirit world to help the soul of a sick person, etc.; and the religion of ghost-possession, in which the sorcerer allows the ghost to take him over but at the same time makes him obey. The latter is perhaps best known to outsiders through the Afro-Caribbean Voodoo religion, but is also in evidence among South-Indian tribals such as the Saora and the Pramalai Kallar.

If anthropologists have observed these two distinct types, I will not disbelieve them. It does not follow that there must be a link between Africa and South India: Sergent himself notes that the same religion of ghost-possession is attested among the Australian aboriginals, who are related with the Veddoid substratum in India’s population.104 On the other hand, this theme of ghost-possession is but one of Sergent’s numerous linguistic and anthropological data which all point in the same direction of Afro-Dravidian kinship.

5.4.5. Uralic-Dravidian kinship

If Dravidian migrated from Africa to India through the Middle East, it could have left traces in Egypt and countries under Egyptian influence as well, explaining the data which led earlier researchers to the thesis of a Dravidian “Indo-Mediterranean” culture.105 Sergent links Indian forms of phallus worship with Sahel-African, Ethiopian, Egyptian and Mediterranean varieties of the same. The Egyptian uraeus (“cobra”), the snake symbol on the pharaonic regalia, has been linked in detail with Dravidian forms of snake worship, including a priest’s possession by the snake’s spirit. Dravidian cremation rituals for dead snakes recall the ceremonial burial of snakes in parts of Africa.106 Others have added the similarity between the Dravidian naga-kal (Tamil: “snake-stone”, a rectangular stone featuring two snakes facing one another, their bodies intertwined) and the intertwined snakes in the caduceus, the Greek symbol of science and medicine.

It has consequently been suggested that some Dravidian words may also have penetrated into the European languages. Thus, Dravidian kal, “stone”, resembles Latin calculus, “pebble”, and Dravidian malai, “mountain”, resembles an Albanian and Rumanian word mal, “rock, rocky riverside”.107 But this hypothesis is a long shot and we need not pursue it here.

Far more substantial is the Dravidian impact on another language family far removed from the recent Dravidian speech area, viz. Uralic. The influence pertains to a very sizable vocabulary, including core terms for hand, fire, house (Finnish kota, Tamil kudi), talk, cold, bathe, die, water, pure, see, knock, be mistaken, exit, fear, bright, behind, turn, sick, dirty, ant, strong, little, seed, cut, wait, tongue, laugh, moist, break, chest, tree; some pronouns, several numerals and dozens of terms for body parts.108 But it goes deeper than that. Thus, both language families exclude voiced and aspirated consonants and all consonant clusters at the beginning of words. They have in common several suffixes, expressions and the phonological principle of vocalic harmony.

As the Dravidian influence, like that of IE, is more pronounced in the Finno-Ugric than in the Samoyedic branch, we may surmise that the contact took place after the separation of the Samoyedic branch. But the main question here is how Dravidian could have influenced Uralic given their actual distance. Sergent suggests that a lost branch of Dravidians on the way from Africa strayed into Central Asia and got assimilated but not without influencing their new language.

He also rejects the theory that Dravidian forms one family along with Uralic, Turkic, Mongolian and Tunguz. The latter three are often grouped as “Altaic”, a partly genetic and partly areal group which may also include Korean and Japanese, and all the said languages have at one time or another been claimed as relatives of Dravidian, with which they do present some isoglosses. However, the isoglosses are fragmentary and mostly different ones for every language group concerned. Moreover, some Dravidian influences are also discernible in Tokharic, or Arshi-Kuchi (Tokharic A c.q. Tokharic B) as Sergent appropriately calls it, which is obviously a matter of influence through contact. So Sergent concludes that this is a matter or areal influence rather than genetic kinship: Dravidian was a foreign language entering Central Asia at some point in time to briefly exert an influence on the local languages before disappearing.109

I am not sure this will convince everyone: if Dravidian is not genetically linked with all the said language groups, it might still be so with one of them, viz. Uralic, at least on the strength of the data Sergent offers. Tamil chauvinists may well be tempted to complete the picture by claiming that before the Indo-Europeans from India colonized Central Asia and Europe, it was the turn of the Dravidians to colonize Central Asia and, after mixing genetically and linguistically with the natives, to develop the Uralic languages. At a time when subtropical Neolithic cultures had a tremendous technological and demographical edge over the hunter-gatherers in the inhospitable northern countries, it would not even be so far-fetched to imagine that a small wayward group of Dravidians could enter the vast expanse of Central Asia and completely change the linguistic landscape there.

At any rate, Sergent’s observations represent a clean break with earlier theories which had the Dravidians originate in the Uralic speech area and preceding the Indo-Aryans in an invasion of India from Central Asia.


which also to some extent answers my question here in the "dravidianism movement" thread about how has it come to be, that dravidian languages have connections with finnish, egyptian, japanese et al.
About my own post 16:
A number of my questions are obviously preliminaries, which will be answered when one starts studying linguistics. For example (referring to the numbered questions in post 16):
(2) One will learn whether the rules that apply within one language family also work on another family
(6) When one studies IE linguistics, it will become apparent whether they use fudging to make the model fit (special pleading, special rules for special cases, etc).

Though some of the other questions I posed will not be answered in linguistics <i>classes</i>, studying linguistics and how it works will allow one to get an understanding of the process which will then enable answering the remaining questions for oneself, I'm guessing.

About what I mean when I use the term non-determinism for describing the method: it's when one cannot determine causation. That is, given the output, one cannot confirm what the input was using the method, because any number of inputs would give rise to the same output (which input it was remains a mystery).
A very simple example in maths, which is a precise science: for instance, given y = x ^2 (x-squared) and y = 4, we don't know for certain that x was 2. Because it could have been -2. That's a case of only 2 solutions being possible (2 inputs for output y = 4). However, there are other example cases of mathematical formulae where there can be n solutions (values of x) for output y.
World history and that of languages is not maths, its far more ambiguous. Small changes can cause greater and unforeseen effects. End result is known because it can be observed, but the cause/instigation cannot be determined from the observations.
So how this relates back to the IE-family model and its view of language diffusion is this: although they might have recognised the relationship between the languages and modelled their vision (a scenario) of how language dispersal occurred, and their methods of showing inter-IE-language relationships followed this vision, could there not have been many other ways/means in which the dispersal happened that would still explain the same observed similarities between the IE languages?

Post 17:<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Not at all, on the contrary. Thanks for the analysis. I still think we must study Philology and even disprove its present "rulebook" if needed. Remember - "Solution of a Problem is through it"?
Anyways dont you think we have got to follow Philology even to unearth the true evolution theory?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I understand what you are saying now and agree with you completely.
We do need to study philology and find out how it works - that is, find out how they defined the rules. Then we can use the same means to define rules that would support (or ideally test, since we actually want to be scientific) our hypothesis. Because at present, the IE view is merely a model that they'd fitted onto the data in a time when there was little external evidence (from other sciences) to corroborate or disprove it, and it was one that appears to not require any external support or validation to stand independently, seeing as how the counter-evidence from other sciences have left it yet unaffected.
We'd want to propose a new linguistic model using the comparable logic, and then test whether its more valid and fits the data (and the findings of the other fields) better.
Post 24:
The same class of people who created the IE model, also determined that there exist Dravidian languages AND that Dravidian languages are not related to Samskritam (AND that there exists a family of IE languages AND that all IE languages are related in specific ways AND that there exists PIE as parent of the IE family).
This is a classification scheme - a model - with set rules for classifying (based on certain assumptions).

I want to give an example of another classification scheme in a totally different field, that of biology and the classification of living organisms:
In the mammal category, we have the Elephant. What is the closest living relative of the elephant? Is it the rhinoceros that is also large and bulky, that also walks on four legs? No. Not the hippopotamus either.
But a small, tiny little creature that looks a lot like a mouse.
It is proven to be the closest relative of the Elephant - genetics has shown this. All initial observational results (dissimilarities in external appearance) go out the window here. The facts are entirely different to perceived categorisation.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The hyrax: more elephant than rodent </b>
The name 'hyrax' comes from the Greek for shrew-mouse. But despite the appearance of today's hyraxes (here, a rock hyrax), the evidence points to a much larger ancestor.
As well as having common gene sequences, hyraxes and elephants share eye-lens proteins and amino acid sequences in their blood haemoglobin. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Coming back to Samskritam (and other N Indian languages) and S Indian languages: perhaps in this case too, more than mere superficial observation is necessary.
Discovery of Dravidian as the Common Source of Indo-European
by V. Keerthi Kumar
I would also like to add some questions to the ongoing debate and would appreciate if someone could comment on those.

As people have already mentioned, to replace AIT, another hypothesis needs to be put forward that explains all the discrepancies. In this regard, I think that it is equally important to look at indian historical texts for answers.

For example, is 3000 BC a valid date for the Mahabharata war. If so, that would mean that the vedic period existed way before the late Harappan period. So looking for clues in the SSVC sites for rigvedic history is bound to yield nothing of much significance.

The myth of Indra and vrita would place the rigvedic period just after the last ice age. In fact, I would argue that part of the rigvedic period may have overlapped with the ice age. It would also make sense that the last ice age, when europe was frozen, would have been the best time for development of the Indo-Iranian languages and culture.

The vedas are followed by the upanisads. If the bharata war was fought in 3000 BC, then the upanisads would have existed when the gita was recited. Does anyone know if the gita mentions the existence of other upanisads?

So with the above chronology, the late harappan period would coincide with the start of Kaliyuga, when the golden age was comming to an end - and that would coincide with the drying up of the Saraswati.

Next, is anyone aware of any genetic data where someone compared DNA samples from SSVC sites with DNA samples from current Indian populations. I would think that would be the absolute clincher that the current Indian genetic stock (at least north indian) are direct descendants of SSVC people.

Another aspect is the Hiittites-Mittanis in the middle east. Am I right to think that the current Kurds are descendants of these people.

As I understand, the jews are the original semetic people

the Arabs are sunnis,

the persians, after being converted to islam - broke off as a seperate sect - the shias

the turks - central asian nomads who were converted to islam and brought over by the arabs beacuse of their fighting skills

the Kurds are treated as second class muslims by the arabs, persians and the turks. What is their history, they apear to still practise some older pagan rituals (like fire worship), What does their history tell of their origins? Are they the people who were the last to come in the region, possible from the SSVC sites. Is that the reason they are treated poorly by the older inhabitants (arabs and persians) of the region.
<span style='color:red'>As people have already mentioned, to replace AIT, another hypothesis needs to be put forward that explains all the discrepancies.

What is the most viable alternative theory(ies) to AIT? How matured?

My question is do Indian scholars really need to create another hypothesis or alternative theory to disprove AIT?
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Aug 2 2006, 08:12 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Aug 2 2006, 08:12 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->

My question is do Indian scholars really need to create another hypothesis or alternative  theory to disprove AIT?

The burden of proof does not lie on the other side (of AIT/AMT). Had AxT theories explained "scientifically" whatever they set out to, then, yes the burden of proof lies with the other side. Not only to explain what the earlier theory explained and could not explain, and show that the alternate theory does support both - explaining old and new hypotheses and observations - and build consensus etc.

In simple words - Should alternate theory support the old theories of supremacy based on and led to: Racism, culture, colonialism, imperialism, white man's burden, etc etc.

Some folks on this forum seem to be asking for just this - alternate theory to support all the crap and more.

Short answer: NO.
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Aug 2 2006, 08:12 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Aug 2 2006, 08:12 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='color:red'>As people have already mentioned, to replace AIT, another hypothesis needs to be put forward that explains all the discrepancies.

What is the most viable alternative theory(ies) to AIT? How matured?

My question is do Indian scholars really need to create another hypothesis or alternative  theory to disprove AIT?

Yes, it is needed to explain justification used for AxT such as linguistic similarities between Indo-European languages. The alternate theory could be that people migrated from India to Europe or that there was strong interaction between people of India and west (then question like how they interacted will come up).
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Aug 1 2006, 10:42 PM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Aug 1 2006, 10:42 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->
My question is do Indian scholars really need to create another hypothesis or alternative  theory to disprove AIT?

Acharya, it is like this. By now, all sane minded people should be convinced that AIT has too many loop holes for it to be true. Latest evidences are all against it. So as with all falsehood, AIT will also fall flat on its face in some time to come under its own weight (Satyamev Jayate).

Now the onus on Indian Scholars is to find out what the real truth is, of the evolution of the civilization of India, and come up with the strong hypothesis which would be able to answer all kinds of evidences and questions. Therefore the purpose of Indic scholars in finding out the real theory/hypothesis in not just in disproving AIT, but much beyond - finding the real truthful occurances of our civilization - and proving it with evidence.

Having said that - I am not suggesting that assault on AIT should stop in any ways. It must actually be accelerated - hand-in-hand with finding the alternative theory.

By the way supremacy questions - are irrelevant and unnecessary.
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Aug 2 2006, 02:19 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Aug 2 2006, 02:19 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->

Now the onus on Indian Scholars is to find out what the real truth is, of the evolution of the civilization of India, and come up with the strong hypothesis which would be able to answer all kinds of evidences and questions.  Therefore the purpose of Indic scholars in finding out the real theory/hypothesis in not just in disproving AIT, but much beyond - finding the real truthful occurances of our civilization - and proving it with evidence.

The purpose of the Indian scholars is to find the origins of the Hindu civilization and get the research funded officially by the government of India. This should have been the policy when India got its independence in 1947. All reasearch on the Indic civilization should be funded by the Indian government.
The foundation of research should be genetics, archeology and other hard sciences so that generations in the future are not misled into false history.

Indian nation can still do it and this research should be the mission in the 21st century. Indians have to create a massive public lobby to get this done.
Absolutely! In fact Indian government must learn lessons from what Chinese communist goverment did a few decades back. At one time only Europeans were supposed to be the Chinese civilization experts. but starting from 1960s, China government funded major archeological and historical projects on all levels, including the educational corrections.

So, at one time, the history of China was also full of derogatory mis-information about their ancestors, and vastly deprived of grace. Look at the Chinese history now, including in Western universities. This happened only after their government took active interest in it, and got Chinese people themselves to do their own relearch in subjects of Chinese civilization. Now they have proved that agriculture was a native invention of China, and not taought to them by Steppe clans, and so on.

I had read some article about it some time back. I will try to find and reproduce it here.
Post 33 (acharya):
I think that's brilliant. That's exactly what India needs to do. But with p-secs, commies, ChristoIslamists and their foreign friends - the exact opposite is happening. Indian history is not underfunded. Instead the money is redirected to people who are rewriting our history. They don't care what happened, in fact, if they find anything good in Hindu history they either ignore it or lie about it.

Post 34 (Bodhi):
The Chinese government, though communist and thus callous to its individual citizens, cares about the country as a whole and how it is perceived by its own people and others. <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->their government took active interest in it, and got Chinese people themselves to do their own research in subjects of Chinese civilization.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> It is ensuring that its people can be proud about who they are, and that will make their nation strong and create people willing to defend their country, civilisation and way of life. In India, our government and the usual suspects are weakening us by rewriting history in such a way as to make us feel ashamed about ourselves. If what they wrote was true, this shouldn't matter so much. But they are lying.
We've always had a unified identity and a history that all Dharmic Indians can be proud of. We deserve to rediscover who we are by knowing what we were, and we certainly don't deserve to be lied to.


Tacitus, the classical Roman writer, claimed to have described past events and personalities in his works sine ira et studio, free from hostility and bias. This motto has guided serious historians through the ages, and it became their highest ambition to write history 'objectively', distancing themselves from opinions held by interested parties.

The ideal was not always followed, as we know. We have seen twentieth century governments commissioning re-writings of the histories of their countries from the standpoint of their own ideologies. Like the court-chroniclers of former times, some contemporary academic historians wrote unashamedly biased accounts of events and redesigned the past accordingly.

When, in the wake of World War II the nations of Asia and Africa gained independence, their intellectuals became aware of the fact that their histories had been written by representatives of the colonial powers which they had opposed. More often than not they discovered that all traditional accounts of their own past had been brushed aside by the 'official' historians as so much myth and fairytale. Often lacking their own academically trained historians-or worse, only possessing native historians who had taken over the views of the colonial masters-the discontent with existing histories of their countries expressed itself often in vernacular works that lacked the academic credentials necessary to make an impact on professional historians.
The situation is slowly changing. A new generation of scholars who grew up in post-colonial times and who do not share the former biases, scholars in command of the tools of the trade-intimacy with the languages involved, familiarity with the culture of their countries, respect for the indigenous traditions-are rewriting the histories of their countries.

Nowhere is this more evident than in India. India had a tradition of learning and scholarship much older and vaster than the European countries that, from the sixteenth century onwards, became its political masters. Indian scholars are rewriting the history of India today.</b>
The Aryan Invasion Theory and the Old Chronology
One of the major points of revision concerns the so called 'Aryan invasion theory', often referred to as 'colonial-missionary', implying that it was the brainchild of conquerors of foreign colonies who could not but imagine that all higher culture had to come from outside 'backward' India, and who likewise assumed that a religion could only spread through a politically supported missionary effort.

While not buying into the more sinister version of this revision, which accuses the inventors of the Aryan invasion theory of malice and cynicism, there is no doubt that early European attempts to explain the presence of Indians in India had much to with the commonly held Biblical belief</b> that humankind originated from one pair of humans- Adam and Eve to be precise (their common birth date was believed to be c.4005 BCE)-and that all peoples on earth descended from one of the sons of Noah, the only human to survive the Great Flood (dated at 2500 BCE). The only problem seemed to be to connect peoples not mentioned in Chapter 10 of Genesis ['The Peopling of the Earth'] with one of the Biblical genealogical lists.
One such example of a Christian historian attempting to explain the presence of Indians in India is the famous Abbé Dubois (1770-1848), whose long sojourn in India (1792-1823) enabled him to collect a large amount of interesting materials concerning the customs and traditions of the Hindus. His (French) 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 </b>with a Prefatory Note by the Right Hon. F. Max Müller.2 Abbé Dubois, loath 'to oppose [his] conjectures to [the Indians'] absurd fables' categorically stated:

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.

Rejecting other scholars' opinions which linked the Indians to Egyptian or Arabic origins, he ventured to suggest them 'to be descendents not of Shem, as many argue, but of Japhet'. 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.'3 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.

Max Müller (1823-1903), who was largely responsible for the 'Aryan invasion theory' and the 'old chronology', was too close in spirit and time to this kind of thinking, not to have adopted it fairly unquestioningly. In his Prefatory Note he praises the work of Abbé Dubois as a 'trustworthy authority. . .which will always retain its value.'

That a great deal of early British Indology was motivated by Christian missionary considerations, is no secret. The famous and important Boden Chair for Sanskrit at the University of Oxford was founded by Colonel Boden in 1811 with the explicit object 'to promote the translation of the Scriptures into Sanskrit, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian Religion'.4 Max Müller, in a letter to his wife wrote in 1886: 'The translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It 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 3 000 years.'5
<span style='color:red'>
When the affinity between many European languages and Sanskrit became a commonly accepted notion, scholars almost automatically concluded that the Sanskrit speaking ancestors of the present day Indians were to be found somewhere halfway between India and the Western borders of Europe-Northern Germany, Scandinavia, Southern Russia, the Pamir-from which they invaded the Punjab. (It is also worth noting that the early armchair scholars who conceived these grandiose migration theories, had no actual knowledge of the terrain their 'Aryan invaders' were supposed to have transversed, the passes they were supposed to have crossed, or the various climates they were believed to have been living in).</span> Assuming that the Vedic Indians were semi-nomadic warriors and cattle-breeders, it fitted the picture, when Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were discovered, to also assume that these were the cities the Aryan invaders destroyed under the leadership of their god Indra, the 'city-destroyer', and that the dark-skinned indigenous people were the ones on whom they imposed their religion and their caste system.<b>

Western scholars decided to apply their own methodologies and, in the absence of reliable evidence, postulated a timeframe for Indian history on the basis of 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.</b> 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. 1000 BCE
Brahmanas, c. 800 BCE
Aranyakas,Upanishads, c. 600 BCE

Max Müller himself conceded the purely conjectural nature of the Vedic chronology, and in the last work published shortly before his death, The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy, admitted: 'Whatever may be the date of the Vedic hymns, whether 1500 or 15 000 BCE, they have their own unique place and stand by themselves in the literature of the world' (p.35). There were, even in Max Müller's time, Western and Indian scholars, such as Moriz Winternitz and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who disagreed with his chronology and postulated a much higher age for the Rigveda.

Indian scholars pointed out all along that there was no reference in the Veda of a migration from outside India, that all the geographical features mentioned in the Rigveda are those of north-western India and that there was no archaeological evidence whatsoever for the Aryan invasion theory. On the other side there were references to constellations in Vedic works whose timeframe could be calculated. The dates arrived at, however, 4500 BCE for one observation in the Rigveda, 3200 BCE for a date in the Shatapatha Brahmana, seemed far too remote to be acceptable, especially if one assumed-as many nineteenth century scholars did, that the world was only about 6 000 years old and that the flood had taken place only 4 500 years ago.

Debunking the Aryan Invasion Theory: The New Chronology
Contemporary Indian scholars, admittedly motivated not only by academic interests, vehemently reject what they call the 'colonial-missionary Aryan invasion theory'. They accuse its originators of superimposing-for a reason-the purpose and process of the colonial conquest of India by the Western powers in modern times onto the beginnings of Indian civilisation: as the Europeans came to India as bearers of a supposedly superior civilisation and a higher religion, so the original Aryans were assumed to have invaded a country on which they imposed their culture and their religion.
A recent major work offers 'seventeen arguments: why the Aryan invasion never happened'.6 It may be worthwhile summarising and analysing them briefly:

1. The Aryan invasion model is largely based on linguistic conjectures which are unjustified (and wrong). Languages develop much more slowly than assumed by nineteenth century scholars. According to Renfrew speakers of Indo-European languages may have lived in Anatolia as early as 7000 BCE
2. The supposed large-scale migrations of Aryan people in the second millennium BCE first into Western Asia and then into northern India (by 1500 BCE) cannot be maintained in view of the fact that the Hittites were in Anatolia already by 2200 BCE and the Kassites and Mitanni had kings and dynasties by 1600 BCE
3. There is no memory of an invasion or of large-scale migration in the records of Ancient India-neither in the Vedas, Buddhist or Jain writings, nor in Tamil literature. The fauna and flora, the geography and the climate described in the Rigveda are that of Northern India.
4. There is a striking cultural continuity between the archaeological artefacts of the Indus-Saraswati civilisation and subsequent Indian society and culture: a continuity of religious ideas, arts, crafts, architecture, system of weights and measures.
5. The archaeological finds of Mehrgarh (copper, cattle, barley) reveal a culture similar to that of the Vedic Indians. Contrary to former interpretations, the Rigveda shows not a nomadic but an urban culture (purusa as derived from pur vasa = town-dweller).
6. The Aryan invasion theory was based on the assumption that a nomadic people in possession of horses and chariots defeated an urban civilisation that did not know horses, and that horses are depicted only from the middle of the second millennium onwards. Meanwhile archaeological evidence for horses has been found in Harappan and pre-Harappan sites; drawings of horses have been found in paleolithic caves in India; drawings of riders on horses dated c. 4300 BCE have been found in Ukraina. Horsedrawn war chariots are not typical for nomadic breeders but for urban civilisations.
7. The racial diversity found in skeletons in the cities of the Indus civilisation is the same as in India today; there is no evidence of the coming of a new race.
8. The Rigveda describes a river system in North India that is pre-1900 BCE in the case of the Saraswati river, and pre-2600 BCE in the case of the Drishadvati river. Vedic literature shows a population shift from the Saraswati (Rigveda) to the Ganges (Brahmanas and Puranas), also evidenced by archaeological finds.
9. The astronomical references in the Rigveda are based on a Pleiades-Krittika (Taurean) calendar of c. 2500 BCE when Vedic astronomy and mathematics were well-developed sciences (again, not a feature of a nomadic people).
10. The Indus cities were not destroyed by invaders but deserted by their inhabitants because of desertification of the area. Strabo (Geography XV.1.19) reports that Aristobulos had seen thousands of villages and towns deserted because the Indus had changed its course.
11. The battles described in the Rigveda were not fought between invaders and natives but between people belonging to the same culture.
12. Excavations in Dwaraka have lead to the discovery of a site larger than Mohenjodaro, dated c. 1500 BCE with architectural structures, use of iron, a script halfway between Harappan and Brahmi. Dwarka has been associated with Krishna and the end of the Vedic period.
13. A continuity in the morphology of scripts: Harappan, Brahmi, Devanagari.
14. Vedic ayas, formerly translated as 'iron,' probably meant copper or bronze. Iron was found in India before 1500 BCE in Kashmir and Dwaraka.
15. The Puranic dynastic lists with over 120 kings in one Vedic dynasty alone, fit well into the 'new chronology'. They date back to the third millennium BCE Greek accounts tell of Indian royal lists going back to the seventh millennium BCE.
16. The Rigveda itself shows an advanced and sophisticated culture, the product of a long development, 'a civilisation that could not have been delivered to India on horseback' (p.160).
17. Painted Gray Ware culture in the western Gangetic plains, dated ca 1100 BCE has been found connected to (earlier) Black and Red Ware etc.</b>

Let us consider some of these arguments in some detail. As often remarked, there is no hint in the Veda of a migration of the people that considered it its own sacred tradition. It would be strange indeed if the Vedic Indians had lost all recollection of such a momentous event in supposedly relatively recent times- much more recent, for instance, than the migration of Abraham and his people which is well attested and frequently referred to in the Bible. In addition, as has been established recently through satellite photography and geological investigations, the Saraswati, the mightiest river known to the Rigvedic Indians, along whose banks they established numerous major settlements, had dried out completely by 1900 BCE-four centuries before the Aryans were supposed to have invaded India. One can hardly argue for the establishment of Aryan villages along a dry river bed.

When the first remnants of the ruins of the so-called Indus civilisation came to light in the early part of our century, the proponents of the Aryan invasion theory believed they had found the missing archaeological evidence: here were the 'mighty forts' and the 'great cities' which the war-like Indra of the Rigveda was said to have conquered and destroyed. Then it emerged that nobody had destroyed these cities and no evidence of wars of conquest came to light: floods and droughts had made it impossible to sustain large populations in the area and the people of Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and other places had migrated to more hospitable areas. Ongoing archaeological research has not only extended the area of the Indus-civilisation but has also shown a transition of its later phases to the Gangetic culture. Archeo-geographers have established that a drought lasting two to three hundred years devastated a wide belt of land from Anatolia through Mesopotamia to Northern India around 2300 BCE to 2000 BCE.

Based on this type of evidence and extrapolating from the Vedic texts, a new story of the origins of Hinduism is emerging that reflects the self-consciousness of Hindus and which attempts to replace the 'colonial-missionary Aryan invasion theory' by a vision of 'India as the Cradle of Civilisation.' This new theory considers the Indus-civilisation as a late Vedic phenomenon and pushes the (inner-Indian) beginnings of the Vedic age back by several thousands of years. One of the reasons for considering the Indus civilisation 'Vedic' is the evidence of town-planning and architectural design that required a fairly advanced algebraic geometry-of the type preserved in the Vedic Shulvasutras. The widely respected historian of mathematics A. Seidenberg came to the conclusion, after studying the geometry used in building the Egyptian pyramids and the Mesopotamian citadels, that it reflected a derivative geometry-a geometry derived from the Vedic Shulva-sutras. If that is so, then the knowledge ('Veda') on which the construction of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro is based, cannot be later than that civilisation itself.7

While the Rigveda has always been held to be the oldest literary document of India and was considered to have preserved the oldest form of Sanskrit, Indians have not taken it to be the source for their early history. The Itihasa-Purana served that purpose. The language of these works is more recent than that of the Vedas and the time of their final redaction is much later than the fixation of the Vedic canon. However, they contain detailed information about ancient events and personalities that form part of Indian history. The Ancients, like Herodotus, the father of Greek histo-riography, did not separate story from history. Nor did they question their sources but tended to juxtapose various pieces of evidence without critically sifting it. Thus we cannot read Itihasa-Purana as the equivalent of a modern textbook of Indian history but rather as a storybook containing information with interpretation, facts and fiction. Indians, however, always took genealogies quite seriously and we can presume that the Puranic lists of dynasties, like the lists of paramparas in the Upanishads relate the names of real rulers in the correct sequence. On these assumptions we can tentatively reconstruct Indian history to a time around 4500 BCE.

A key element in the revision of Ancient Indian History was the recent discovery of Mehrgarh, a settlement in the Hindukush area, that was continuously inhabited for several thousand years from c. 7000 BCE onwards. This discovery has extended Indian history for several thousands of years before the fairly well dateable Indus civilisation.8

New Chronologies
Pulling together available archaeological evidence as it is available today, the American anthropologist James G. Schaffer developed the following chronology of early Indian civilisation:

1. Early food-producing era (c. 6500-5000 BCE): no pottery.
2. Regionalisation era (5000-2600 BCE): distinct regional styles of pottery and other artefacts.
3. Integration era (2600-1900 BCE) : cultural homogeneity and emergence of urban centres like Mohenjo daro and Harappa.
4. Localisation era (1900-1300 BCE ) blending of patterns from the integration era with regional ceramic styles.

The Indian archaeologist S.P. Gupta proposed this cultural sequencing:

1. Pre-ceramic Neolithic (8000-600 BCE)
2. Ceramic Neolithic (6000-5000 BCE)
3. Chalcolithic (5000-3000 BCE )
4. Early Bronze Age (3000-1900 BCE)
5. Late Bronze Age ( 1900-1200 BCE)
6. Early Iron Age (1200-800 BCE)
7. Late Iron cultures

According to these specialists, there is no break in the cultural development from 8000 BCE onwards, no indication of a major change, as an invasion from outside would certainly be.

A more detailed 'New Chronology' of Ancient India, locating names of kings and tribes mentioned in the Vedas and Puranas, according to Rajarama9 looks somewhat like this:

4500 BCE: Mandhatri's victory over the Drohyus, alluded to in the Puranas.
4000 BCE Rigveda (excepting books 1 and 10)
3700 BCE Battle of Ten Kings (referred to in the Rigveda) Beginning of Puranic dynastic lists: Agastya, the messenger of Vedic religion in the Dravida country. Vasistha, his younger brother, author of Vedic works. Rama and Ramayana.
3600 BCEYajur-, Sama-, Atharvaveda: Completion of Vedic Canon.
3100 BCE Age of Krishna and Vyasa. Mahabharata War. Early Mahabharata.
3000 BCEShatapathabrahmana, Shulvasutras, Yajnavalkyasutra, Panini, author of the Ashtadhyayi, Yaska, author of the Nirukta.
2900 BCE Rise of the civilisations of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus-Sarasvati doab.
2200 BCE beginning of large-scale drought: decline of Harappa.
2000 BCE End of Vedic age.
1900 BCE Saraswati completely dried out: end of Harappa.

Texts like the Rigveda, the Shatapathabrahmana and others contain references to eclipses as well as to sidereal markers of the beginning of seasons, which allow us by backward calculation, to determine the time of their composition. Experts assure us that to falsify these dates would have been impossible before the computer age.

Old verses new? Or scientists verses philologists?
We are left, at present, with two widely differing versions of Ancient Indian History, with two radically divergent sets of chronology and with a great deal of polemic from both sides. Those who defend the Aryan invasion theory and the chronology associated with it accuse the proponents of the 'New Chronology' of indulging in Hindu chauvinism. The latter suspect the former of entertaining 'colonial-missionary' prejudices and denying originality to the indigenous Indians. The new element that has entered the debate is scientific investigations. While the older theory rested on exclusively philological arguments, the new theory includes astronomical, geological, mathematical and archaeological evidence. On the whole, the latter seems to rest on better foundations. Not only were the philological arguments from the very beginning based more on strong assertions and bold guesses, civilisations both ancient and contemporary comprise more than literature alone. In addition, purely philologically trained scholars-namely grammarians-are not able to make sense of technical language and of scientific information contained even in the texts they study.

Consider today's scientific literature. It abounds with Greek and Latin technical terms, it contains an abundance of formulae composed of Greek and Hebrew letters. If scholars with a background in the classical languages were to read such works, they might be able to come up with some acceptable translations of technical terms into modern English but they would hardly be able to really make sense of most of what they read and they certainly would not extract the information which the authors of these works wished to convey to people trained in their specialities. The situation is not too different with regard to ancient Indian texts. The admission of some of the best scholars (like Geldner, who in his translation of the Rigveda, considered the best so far, declares many passages 'darker than the darkest oracle' or Gonda, who considered the Rigveda basically untranslatable) of being unable to make sense of a great many texts-and the refusal of most to go beyond a grammatical and etymological analysis of these-indicates a deeper problem. The Ancients were not only poets and litterateurs, but they also had their sciences and their technical skills, their secrets and their conventions that are not self-evident to someone not sharing their world. Some progress has been made in deciphering medical and astronomical literature of a later age, in reading architectural and arts-related materials. However, much of the technical meaning of the oldest Vedic literature still eludes us.

The Rigveda-a code?
The computer scientist and Indologist Subhash Kak believes he has rediscovered the 'Vedic Code' which allows him to extract from the structure, as well as the words and sentences of the Rigveda, and the considerable astronomical information which its authors supposedly embedded in it.10 The assumption of such encoded scientific knowledge would make it understandable why there was such insistence on the preservation of every letter of the text in precisely the sequence the original author had set down. One can take certain liberties with a story, or even a poem, changing words, transposing lines, adding explanatory matter, shortening it, if necessary, and still communicate the intentions and ideas of the author. However, one has to remember and reproduce a scientific formula in precisely the same way it has been set down by the scientist or it would not make sense at all. While the scientific community can arbitrarily adopt certain letter equivalents for physical units or processes, once it has agreed on their use, one must obey the conventions for the sake of meaningful communication.

Even a non-specialist reader of ancient Indian literature will notice the effort to link macrocosm and microcosm, astronomical and physiological processes, to find correspondences between the various realms of beings and to order the universe by establishing broad classifications. Vedic sacrifices-the central act of Vedic culture- were to be offered on precisely built geometrically constructed altars and to be performed at astronomically exactly established times. It sounds plausible to expect a correlation between the numbers of bricks prescribed for a particular altar and the distances between stars observed whose movement determined the time of the offerings to be made. Subhash Kak has advanced a great deal of fascinating detail in that connection in his essays on the 'Astronomy of the Vedic Altar'. He believes that while the Vedic Indians possessed extensive astronomical knowledge, which they encoded in the text of the Rigveda, the code was lost in later times and the Vedic tradition was interrupted.11

India, the cradle of (world-) civilisation?
Based on the early dating of the Rigveda (c. 4000 BCE) and on the strength of the argument that Vedic astronomy and geometry predates that of the other known Ancient civilisations, some scholars, like N.S. Rajaram, George Feuerstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley, have made the daring suggestion that India was the 'cradle of civilisation'. They link the recently discovered early European civilisation (which predates Ancient Sumeria and Ancient Egypt by over a millennium) to waves of populations moving out or driven out from north-west India. Later migrations, caused either by climatic changes or by military events, would have brought the Hittites to Western Asia, the Iranians to Afghanistan and Iran and many others to other parts of Eurasia. Such a scenario would require a complete rewriting of Ancient World History-especially if we add the claims, apparently substantiated by some material evidence, that Vedic Indians had established trade links with Central America and Eastern Africa before 2500 BCE. It is no wonder that the 'New Chronology' arouses not only scholarly controversy but emotional excitement as well. Much more hard evidence will be required to fully establish it, and many claims may have to be withdrawn. But there is no doubt that the 'old chronology' has been discredited and that much surprise is in store for the students not only of Ancient India, but also of the Ancient World as a whole.

Sorting out the questions:
The 'Revision of Ancient Indian History' responds to several separate, but interlocking questions that are often confused.

1. The (emotionally) most important question is that of the original home of Vedic civilisation, identified with the question: where was the (Rig-)Veda composed? India's indigenous answer to that question had always been 'India', more precisely 'the Punjab'. The European, 'colonial missionary' assumption, was 'outside India'.
2. The next question, not often explicitly asked, is: where did the pre-Vedic people, the 'Aryans' come from? This is a problem for archeo-anthropologists rather than for historians. The racial history of India shows influences from many quarters.
3. A related, but separate question concerns the 'cradle of civilisation', to which several ancient cultures have laid claim: Sumeria, Egypt, India (possibly also China could be mentioned, which considered itself for a long time the only truly civilised country). Depending on what answer we receive, the major expansion of population/civilisation would be from west to east, or from east to west. The famous lux ex oriente has often been applied to the spread of culture in the ancient world. India was as far as the 'Orient' would go.
4. It is rather strange that the defenders of the 'Aryan invasion theory', who have neither archaeological nor literary documents to prove their assumption, demand detailed proof for the non-invasion and refuse to admit the evidence available. Similarly, they feel entitled to declare 'mythical' whatever the sources (Rigveda, Puranas) say that does not agree with their preconceived notions of Vedic India.

Some conclusions:
If I were to judge the strength of the arguments for revising Ancient Indian History in the direction of 'India as Cradle of Civilisation' I would rate Seidenberg's findings concerning the Shulvasutra geometry (applied in the Indus civilisation; Babylonian and Egyptian geometry derivative to it) highest. Next would be the archeo-astronomical determination of astronomical data in Vedic and post-Vedic texts. Third is the satellite photography based dating of the drying out of the Saraswati and the archeo-geographical finding of a centuries long drought in the belt reaching from Anatolia through Mesopotamia and Northern India. Geological research has uncovered major tectonic changes in the Punjab and the foothills of the Himalayas. At one point a section rose about sixty metres within the past 2 000 years.

'Vasishta's Head', a bronze head found near Delhi, was dated through radio-carbon testing to around 3700 BCE- the time when, according to Hicks and Anderson, the Battle of the Ten Kings took place (Vasishta, mentioned in the Rigveda, was the advisor to King Sudas). A further factor speaking for the 'Vedic' character of the Indus civilisation is the occurrence of (Vedic) altars in many sites. Fairly important is also the absence of a memory of a migration from outside India in all of ancient Indian literature: the Veda, the Brahmanas, the Epics and the Puranas. Granting that the Vedic Samhitas were ritual manuals rather than historic records, further progress in revising Ancient Indian History could be expected from a study of Itihasa-Purana, rather than from an analysis of the Rigveda (by way of parallel, what kind of reconstruction of Ancient Israel's History could be done on the basis of a study of the Psalms, leaving out Genesis and Kings? Or what reconstruction of European History could be based on a study of the earliest Rituale Romanum?)

An afterword:
Hinduism today is not just a development of Vedic religion and culture but a synthesis of many diverse elements. There is no doubt a Vedic basis. It is evident in the caste-structure of Hindu society, in the rituals which almost every Hindu still undergoes (especially initiation, marriage and last rites), in traditional notions of ritual purity and pollution, and in the respect which the Veda still commands. There is a large area of Hindu worship and religious practice for which the Veda provides little or no basis: temple-building, image worship, pilgrimages, vows and prayers to gods and goddesses not mentioned in the Veda, beliefs like transmigration, world-pictures containing numerous heavens and hells and much more which appear to have been taken over from non-Vedic indigenous cultures. There have been historic developments that led to the developments of numerous schools of thought, sects and communities differing from each other in scriptures, interpretations, customs, beliefs.

Apart from its Vedic origins Hinduism was never one in either administration, doctrine or practice. It does not possess a commonly accepted authority, does not have a single centre and does not have a common history. Unlike the histories of other religions, which rely on one founder and one scripture, the history of Hinduism is a bundle of parallel histories of traditions that were loosely defined from the very beginning, that went through a number of fissions and fusions, and that do not feel any need to seek their identity in conforming to a specific historic realisation. While incredibly conservative in some of its expressions, Hinduism is very open to change and development under the influence of charismatic personalities. From early times great latitude was given to Hindus to interpret their traditional scriptures in a great many different ways. The ease with which Hindus have always identified persons that impressed them with manifestations of God has led to many parallel traditions within Hinduism, making it impossible to chronicle a development of Hinduism along one line. The presentation of a history of Hinduism will be a record of several mainstream Hindu traditions that developed along individual lines; only very rarely do these lines meet in conflict or merge to generate new branches of the still vigorously growing banyan tree to which Hinduism has been often compared.
<img src='http://www.hinduwisdom.info/images/AIT_stages.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

The Jan/Feb 2006 issue of "Hindu Renaissance" has a special issue devoted to the AIT. It has a large number of articles disproving the AIT.
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Aug 20 2006, 08:05 PM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Aug 20 2006, 08:05 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Introduction
Tacitus, the classical Roman writer, .... tree to which Hinduism has been often compared.

Acharya, who is the writer of this article? Your own work? Any external resource?

Great clarity along with a logical flow. Clarifies many things for a naive reader of AIT-propoganda.

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