Story Of Vedic Civilisation

 

How Ancient Is The Vedic Tradition

Dr Kenneth Chandler

Origins Of Vedic Civilisation

Summary : Euro-centrism and Objective Science

For years, theories of the origins of the Indo-European people were based on small bits of evidence that were used to make sweeping generalisations. The Euro-centric perspective so heavily biased the discussion that it became necessary for scientists of the later twentieth century to re-examine and re-balance the perspectives in order to remove long-standing misconceptions formed by two centuries of speculative mythmaking. When these misconceptions are eliminated by objective science, no evidence remains that the Veda tradition came to India from outside.

Now we come to our second main question, How long ago was the Veda first cognised ?

When did the Veda first come to be known in the civilisation of India ?

How far back in time does the Vedic tradition go ?

How Ancient is the Vedic Tradition ?

New Light on the Cradle of Civilization

A second myth that dies hard is that Vedic civilisation came into existence as recently as 1000 to 1200 BC. Many scholars today have come to think that these dates are ridiculously recent and that the Vedic tradition, meaning the tradition of reciting the Rig Veda and the Vedic literature, is far more ancient. Scholars of the nineteenth century, the highly venerated Max Muller for one, give dates as recently as 1,000 to 1,200 BC. These dates, like the Aryan invasion theory, are products of a Euro-centric bias. They were rooted in unsustainable religious, cultural, and ethnic assumptions that were not based on scientific evidence.

Max Muller, one of many Christian missionaries to India, was firmly committed to the Biblical account of creation. Muller accepted the date of creation given in the Bible at 4004 BC and the great flood at 1500 BC. This compelled him to date the Rig Veda much later in time than an impartial scientist would have done. Muller had to fit the entire Vedic tradition into a time-frame following the great flood, which Biblical scholars held took place in 1500 BC.

Muller wrote a letter to his wife, dated 1886, in which he said “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.” These are hardly the words of an unbiased scientist. No matter how great Muller’s scholarly reputation, we have to examine his reasons for setting the dates around 1000 to 12000 BC.

Muller recognised that the Vedic tradition had to exist before Buddha, who lived in about 500 BC and who reacted against the Vedic tradition. Muller and other Germanic scholars also noticed that the Agni Purana and other Vedic texts refer to Buddha, so they felt justified in thinking that the Vedic tradition was just a little more ancient than Buddhism, and they put the dates of the Vedic period roughly two-thirds of way between the great flood (the Biblical limit they accepted) and the time of Buddha.

* * * These dates were given by Max Muller. For a recent discussion of Muller’s projected dates, which were meant as a minimum of time, not an actual dating, see Maurice Winternitz, A History of Vedic Literature, Vol. 1, (New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1981), pp. 270-288, especially p.273.

Muller thus set the dates of the Vedic period at 1000 to 1200 BC. Muller reasoned that if Buddha rejected the Vedic tradition, the Rig Veda must have preceded him by at least several centuries, but it had to have started (in his opinion as a Bible scholar) after the great flood.

Even Muller, however, recognised that this was an estimate of a bare minimum of time that lapsed between the beginning of the Vedic tradition and the time of Buddha. However, it became commonplace for textbooks to give the dates of the Vedic tradition as 1,000 to 1200 BC, based on Muller’s minimum estimate. Soon these were known as the dates of the Rig Veda. This fixed Muller’s estimate of a bare minimum into an absolute date in the popular imagination. The mud of speculation had become sedimented into the brick of common belief.

Current evidence shows that the Veda did not began so recently in human history. The references to Buddha occur in very late additions and have no bearings on the far more ancient origins of the Vedic tradition.

Satellite Photographs and Geological Evidence :

Dates of the Saraswati River and the Rig Veda

More recent scholars, such as David Frawley, Dr. B.G. Siddharth, Dr. S.B. Roy, Professor Subhash Kak, Dr. N.R. Waradpande, and Bhagwan Singh have made a case for much more ancient dates of the Rig Veda. Also B.G. Tilak, P.C. Sengupta, Pargiter, Jagat Pati Joshi, Dikshit, K.N. Shastri, Sri Aurobindo, Hermann Jacobi, Dayananda Saraswati, among many others, have argued for its greater antiquity.

David Frawley and N.S. Rajaram, in Vedic “Aryans” and the Origins of Civilisation, put forward an interesting and compelling theory of the origins of Vedic civilisation. Drawing upon a large array of evidence from anthropology, satellite mapping, geology, historical linguistic, and literary study, they have helped discredit the old “Aryan invasion theory” to establish that the Rig Veda was of much greater antiquity than Muller had estimated.

One of the strongest bits evidence comes from satellite pictures of an ancient and dried riverbed that is now taken to be the former bed of the Saraswati river. This great river, described in the Rig Veda as a “mighty river flowing from the mountains to the sea,” has long since disappeared from the maps of modern India, until satellite pictures revealed the bed of an ancient river running from the Himalayas to the western gulf of the Indian ocean, roughly paralleling the course of the Indus, but lying to the east of the Indus.

* * * There is strong evidence that Max Muller mistakenly judged the antiquity of the Indian literature by thousands of years or more. His arbitrary and most unconvincing placement of Alexander’s visit to India to coincide with Chandragupta Maurya is widely disputed today by many scholars. According to the evidence of the Purunas, Buddha lived approximately 1,800 BC, and Chandragupta/Tekshasila (Taxila) was about 1700 BC. The university at Nalanda probably flourished around 1,400 BC.

Satellite photos and geological field studies show that the Saraswati ceased to be a perennial river and flowed only seasonally, sometime before 3,000 BC. Also, since approximately 1900 BC the Saraswati riverbed has been completely dry. This, as we will see, is a key piece of the scientific evidence to establish dates of the Rig Veda. The Saraswati was fed by melt from Himalayan glaciers, after the receding of the last ice age, about 8,000 BC. As the melting glacial waters ceased to feed the river, it changed its course, became a seasonal river, perhaps went underground, and eventually dried up in its former riverbed. Some, like Subhash Kak, hold that the change in thecourse of the river was due to an earthquake.

This event left the many settlements along the banks of the Saraswati to their fate. As the river dried, without water the agricultural settlements and villages were no longer sustainable. After this time, the towns and cities were re-located to the Indus river valley nearby and still later, after the droughts and flooding that came to the Indus and Saraswati valleys around 1,900 BC, settlers migrated further east to the Ganges river plain.

The Rig Veda mentions the Indus river quite often, and it mentions the Saraswati no less than 60 times. Its reference to the Saraswati as a “mighty river flowing from the mountains to the sea” shows that the Rig Vedic tradition must have been in existence long before 3,000 BC when the Saraswati ceased to be a “mighty river” and became a seasonal trickle. Frawley and Rajaram drew the conclusion that the Rig Veda must have been composed long before 3,000 BC.

Rajaram writes that the “Saraswati described in the Rig Veda belongs to a date long before 3,000 BC.” He concludes that, “All this shows that the Rig Veda must have been in existence no later than 3,500 BC.” He thus places the beginning of the Vedic tradition “long before 3,000 BC” and its end before 2,000 BC. The Mahabharata, the great epic of classical Sanskrit, describes the Saraswati as a seasonal river. Since the Saraswati dried up by 1900 BC, the Mahabharata would have to be dated at least before 1,900 BC. Since it was still a seasonal river in 3,000, Rajaram and Frawley put the date of the Mahabharata in 3,000 BC.

Evidence from French SPOT satellite and the Indo-French field study have changed this conception of history. By showing that the Saraswati ceased to be a mighty river long before 3,000 BC, they showed that the Rig Vedic civilisation must have begun long before the Saraswati became a seasonal trickle sometime long before 3,000 BC. If the Rig Vedic tradition began before 3,500 BC, this would date it earlier the civilizations of Egypt, Harappa, or Mesopotamia.

The next in series….

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Story Of Vedic Civilisation

How Ancient Is The Vedic Tradition

Dr Kenneth Chandler

Origins Of Vedic Civilisation

Causes of the Decline of the Indus-Saraswati Civilisation

Geological and archeological evidence, it turns out, give strong evidence that a long and devastating drought followed by devastating floods led to the abandonment of the settlements along the banks of the Indus and Saraswati rivers in western India, ending an urban civilisation that had flourished, archeologists now surmise, sometime between 2,600 BC and 1,900 BC. The Indus and Saraswati valley civilisation was vast and widespread, and covered over 250,000 square miles, from north central India in the east all the way to the eastern edge of Iran in the west. There is no evidence to suggest that this vast civilization was destroyed by Indo-European Aryan invaders, but rather, it is now virtually certain that its demise came as a result of widespread climatic changes that occurred in 1,900 BC.

Recent studies by Louis Flam of H. H. Lehman College of the City University of New York have shown that the course of the Indus river changed dramatically around 1,900 BC, probably flooding many settlements along the river and disrupting the Indus valley civilisation. Jim Schaffer of Case Western University has found impressive evidence that settlers of the Indus valley migrated at this time east to the plains of the river Ganges.

Mortimer Wheeler, the anthropologists who excavated Mohenjo-Daro in the in the 1920s , one of the most well-preserved cities of the Indus Valley civilisation, brought to the project an “outside invasion theory.” He found unburied skeletons in the most recent layers of the city which led him to think that he had evidence that the civilisation was overrun by invaders from outside. More reliable recent evidence has shown that the people of the Indus valley were not victims of invasion and massacre, but that their civilisation withered as a result of various climactic changes, including prolonged droughts and extensive flooding, and possibly also earthquakes that changed the courseof the rivers.

It was not outside invaders of India who brought an end to the Indus-Saraswati civilisation, but a series of climactic changes and natural disasters. The biases of European scholarship caused them to see invaders where there were none. They existed only in the imagination of European scholars.

Historical Linguistics and Migrations of Early Civilisation

The other issue that needs to be considered is language origins. Historical linguistics appears to detect patterns of language change which some think may imply patterns of migration of early peoples, and which may therefore provide a clue to the origins of Vedic civilisation.

The original theory proposed by the early historical linguistics who considered these issues was that Vedic Sanskrit conserved the original sound system of the “proto-Indo-European” language most closely, and that Iranian and European languages underwent a systematic sound shift, creating break-away or daughter languages spoken by the people who populated India and Europe. According to this theory, Vedic Sanskrit was put at near the trunk of the proto-Indo-European language tree, if not the trunk itself.

This theory has been challenged and hotly debated in recent years, most especially by computer linguists. Since the 1990s, it is now common for computer linguists to hold that Sanskrit is not so near the root of the Indo-European language tree, but a subsequent branch. A currently dominant theory is that the original Indo-European language stemmed from an Indo-European proto-language that has since been lost.

The first languages to break off from the proto-Indo-European root, according to the dominant contemporary linguistic theories, was Anatolian (the language of what is now central Turkey), followed by Celtic (a language found in nearby Thrace in northeastern Greece, and also Ireland suggesting that there was a commerce or colonisation between Ireland and early Thrace), then Greek, and then Armenian. According to these theories, the Indian and Iranian language groups are still later branches off the proto-Indo-European “root.”

The linguistic evidence appears to imply migrations of people from the Black Sea area into India, and yet there is no anthropological evidence to support either a migration into northern India, or an invasion. Evidence from skeletal remains, as we saw, as well as pottery and other artifacts, show no cultural replacement at any time in north Indian history. This makes it difficult to conclude that a people speaking a proto-Indo-European root language migrated to India from outside, resulting in a language shift to the daughter language of Sanskrit. The hard anthropological evidence just does not support such a view. How else, then, can we account for the apparently late evolution of Sanskrit from the proto-Indo-European root language ?

* * * Dr. Don Ringe and Dr. Ann Taylor, two linguists at the University of Pennsylvania, with the help of computer scientist Dr. Tandy Warnow, developed a computer algorithm to sift through the Indo-European languages and look for grammatical and phonetic similarities between them. Their work, published in 1996, has thrown up four possible family trees. “We have come up with a favorite,” says Dr. Warnow. The tree shows that the first breakaway language was Anatolian, an ancient group of languages once spoken in Turkey. Celtic was quick to follow, spawning Irish, Gaelic, Welsh and Breton. Armenian and Greek then developed from proto-Into-European. Strangely enough, one of the later branches to emerge, according to the runs of the computer programs, was Sanskrit.

It is interesting that the Celts settled in Thrace in northern Greece, just a short distance from Anatolia. Thrace was the birthplace of the Orphic mysteries which swept into Greece in the sixth century BC. Celtic is one of the earliest languages, along with Anatolian and Greek, to break off from the Indo European proto-language. The technique for self-knowledge described by Socrates were said to have come from Thrace. The Anatolians of central Turkey occupied the area near where the pre-Socratic tradition sprang up in the sixth century BC. This suggests that a technique was passed from India into the Celtic language.

Eminent computer linguists caution against drawing conclusions from computer-simulated language programs—which may reflect the assumptions of the programmers more than the branches of the linguistic tree. They caution that computer linguists tend to program in assumptions that reflect their own biases and expectations, and therefore the outcomes cannot be any more accurate than the assumptions. Computer linguistics does not necessarily mean unbiased, objective linguistics, but may, on the contrary, program in distinct biases of the linguists. If linguists start with a theory of an outside invasion, they will naturally bring those biases into their work, and it is not unthinkable that such biases have colored computer and historical linguistic theories.

It also needs to be pointed out that if a false assumption is programmed in, then anything at all can come out. Anything at all can be derived from a false assumption. If the assumption that Sanskrit is not the proto-Indo-European language root be false, then anything follows.

More on the Indo-European Proto-Language

* * * In 1990, Thomas V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov, authors of the two volume The Indo-European Language and the Indo-Europeans, published an article in Scientific American, in which they state, “The landscape described by the reconstructed Indo-European proto-language is mountainous—as evidenced by the many words for high mountains, mountain lakes and rapid rivers flowing from mountain sources.” They note also that, “the [proto-Indo-European language] has words for animals that are alien to Europe, such as “leopard,” “snow leopard,” “lion,” “monkey” and “elephant.”” The authors suggest, on the basis of this and other linguistic evidence, that the homeland of the proto-Indo-Europeans was somewhere in the Caucasian mountains of western Asia near the Black Sea in around 4000 BC.

These same words could be used to make the case that the mountainous terrain, and more especially the elephant, monkey, and snow leopard are more commonly found in the region of northern India and the Himalayas. If the words for elephant, monkey, snow leopard, and mountains are in fact more abundant in the Indo-European proto language, this would most likely put the proto-Indo-European home somewhere in the Himalayan region of northern India, rather than in the Mountains to the east of the Black Sea. This would tend to support the hypothesis that the Indo-European proto language originated in the region of the Himalayas of northern India and Tibet, rather than in the area of central Turkey, where there are few monkeys and elephants.

At present, there is simply not enough evidence to discern the early patterns of migration and language shift that brought about the different language groups. We can say with relative certainty, however, that the Vedic people did not migrate into India from outside, so it is relatively unlikely that the Vedic language came from outside India. Thus the origins of Vedic Sanskrit remain obscure.

Many linguists stress that our “linguistic heritage, while it may tend to correspond with cultural continuity, does not imply genetic or biological descent. There is no more reason to suppose that we, as speakers of an Indo-European language, are descended biologically from the speakers of proto-Indo-European, than that the English speaking population of Nigeria is Anglo-Saxon.”17 It is necessary to be very careful in drawing conclusions about migration patterns and racial origins from linguistic evidence.

Rules of Language Transformation

A main tool of historical linguistics is the set of rules of sound and grammatical transformation governing the language change. One language evolves into another due to cultural or geographic separations of peoples due to migrations or other cultural displacements, such as conquest. Using the rules of historical linguistics, it appears to be possible to discern patterns of change and to determine which language has shifted into the other.

* * * Thomas V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov, “Family Tree of the Indo-European Languages,” Scientific American, March, 1990, argue that more “recent evidence now places the probable origin of the Indo-European language in western Asia.” They hypothesize that the proto-Indo-Europeans originated sometime around 4,000 BC in the region around the Black Sea.

* * * Radio-carbon dating of skeletal remains of the “Kennikut man” found in the late 1990s in the Columbia river gorge on the west coast of north America shows that caucasoidal men inhabited Oregon more than ten thousand years ago. Some words of the Klamath Indians of that region of Oregon are also of apparent Indo-European origin. The Klamath word which means “to blow” is “pniw” and may be linked to the Greek “pneu” which means breath or to blow, and ultimately to the Sanskrit “prana” which means breath. Linguists assume this was mere accident before the discovery of Caucasoid remains in the area. This would suggest that a migration into the Americas took place 10,000 years ago or more—and the immigrants brought with them an Indo-European language, putting the dates of the proto-European root at before 10,000 BC. The Rig Veda civilisation, like the American Indians, had a bow and arrow technology. Rig Vedic civilisation can be placed in time as more advanced than the Indian culture of 10,000 years ago.

One of the rules of historical linguistics is the softening of consonants over time. Thus, for example, the “v” in the Sanskrit “Veda,” meaning knowledge, is transformed into the softer English “w” in “wit,” “witten,” “wisdom” and the German “wissen,” which also means knowledge, and derives from the more ancient Sanskrit root. The Sanskrit “deva” is transformed into the softer Latin “deus,” Greek “theos,” Lithuanian “dewas,” Irish “dia,” and Old Prussian “diews.”

Using such transformation rules, linguists attempt to reconstruct which languages are earlier and which broke off later in the transmutation of language. Historical linguists assume that these rules are constant over time and that they apply to early transformations as well as later ones.

If we assume that the basic rules of language transformations are constant and do not mutate over time, then these conclusions follow. But could there have been sound shifts in the opposite direction at much earlier times in history ? Perhaps different laws applied at the time when Vedic Sanskrit changed from and to other languages.

Consider that there are also changes in the reverse direction. For example, the “g” in the Sanskrit “go,” (meaning cow) is transformed into the harder consonant “k,” to make the German word “kuh” for cow. The English word “cow,” pronounced with a hard “k,” is a harder, guttural form than the “g” in the Sanskrit “go.”

Also, in the case of the Vedic tradition, we have a people who were highly conscious of language and sound and the rules of sound transformation, even from the early Vedanga period. The Vedangas give elaborate theories of sound and its relation to meaning. Ancient Sanskrit grammar has its own rules for the transformation of consonants, internal rules for change, codified in ancient texts on phonology and grammar (Nirukta and Vakaran), both of which express elaborate theories of sound. Such self-reflective theories at an early date may have influenced the direction of language shift and may be anomalous to the rules applied in later linguistic theory.

Other hypotheses may explain why Vedic Sanskrit appears to not be the proto-Indo-European root language. One might propose, for example, that an early form of Sanskrit arose in northern India, and that some north Indian peoples migrated west to the Black Sea area, where their language mutated into Anatolian, Armenian, Celtic, and Greek. Then language change within Vedic Sanskrit, due to self-reflective grammatical theories, have mutated this earlier form of Sanskrit in a direction contrary to the typical rules of linguistic transformation.

Computer simulated models of language change may be simply wrong or misleading. In other words, the transformation “rules” of historical linguistics may not apply to changes as early as Vedic Sanskrit. Or they may reflect more the racial and cultural biases of the programmers. Rather than assume a migration from the Black Sea area into India, which is not supported by anthropological evidence, we must simply acknowledge that we do not have enough knowledge to discern the early patterns of migration of the people who wrote the Vedic literature.

The simplest hypothesis to account for the data may be that Vedic Sanskrit is itself is the mother tongue of the proto-Indo-European peoples.

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Story Of Vedic Civilisation

How Ancient Is The Vedic Tradition

Dr Kenneth Chandler

Origins Of Vedic Civilisation

To many European scholars of the nineteenth century (characterised more by their Euro-centrism than by scientific attitudes towards peoples of other cultures), the idea that the family of European languages family could have originated in India was unthinkable. It was just not culturally acceptable to think that the roots of European language and culture could be traced to darker-skinned peoples indigenous to India. So European thinkers began to speculate about a pre-historic “proto-Indo-European” race who had migrated from somewhere in Western Asia, perhaps around the Black Sea, Eastern Europe, or Russia, to settle in India and in Europe. This, as we will see, was a purely racial and cultural bias, with no basis in archeological fact.

Many European scholars immediately bought in to the “Indo-European hypothesis,” which was the stimulus to develop the discipline of historical linguistics. European scholars like Max Muller, Thomas Young, Joseph de Goubinau, Dwight Witney, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, A.L. Basham, George Cox, and John Fiske all adopted the theory of Indo-European origins. They commonly proposed that a people speaking “proto-Indo-European” came from somewhere in central or Western Asia or southeastern Europe, invaded India from the northwest, overran the local culture, and settled in the north of India.

These Indo-Europeans were said to be “Aryans” in race and language, which meant primarily fair-haired and light-skinned people. By the twentieth century they were conceived, mainly by German scholars, as a blue-eyed, blond race that was the stock of the Germanic people—all nicely fitting the cultural-political-racial agendas of Western Europe—and Nazi Germany in particular.

In spite of the large number of scholars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century who believed the invasion theory, it turns out, as we see below, that there is almost no shred of evidence to support it. It is one of the great myths formed by European scholars to support their bias that outside invaders created early Indian civilisation. Anthropologist today find all evidence points to an origin of the Vedic tradition that is indigenous to northern India.

Scientific Archeology : The End of the Invasion Theory

In the 1990s, a new wave of scientific evidence, coming partly from satellite photos, geological study, archeological digs, and other anthropological finds began to seriously discredit the old myth. Once the rubble of false assumptions was cleared away, a far more simple scientific picture of the origins of ancient north Indian civilization began to emerge.

* * * Professor Colin Renfrew, professor of archeology at Cambridge University, in his Archeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, (1988) gives evidence for Indo-Europeans in India as early as 6,000 BC. He comments : As far as I can see there is nothing in the Hymns of the Rigveda which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking population were intrusive to the area : this comes rather from a historical assumption about the ‘coming’ of the Indo-Europeans.

* * * Professor Schaffer at Case Western University writes in “Migration, Philology and South Asian Archaeology” that there was an indigenous development of civilization in India going back to at least 6000 BC. He proposes that the Harappan or Indus Valley urban culture (2600-1900 BC) centered around the Saraswati river described in the Rig Veda and states that the Indus Valley culture came to an end, not because of outside invaders, but due to environmental changes, most important of which was the drying up of the Saraswati river.

Schaffer holds that the movement of populations away from the Saraswati to the Ganges after the Saraswati dried up in about 1900 BC, is reflected in the change from the Saraswati-based literature of the Rig Veda to the Ganges-based literature of the Itihasa and Puranic texts. He also states that the Aryan invasion theory reflects a colonial and Euro-centric perspective that is quite out of date. He concludes : We reject most strongly the simplistic historical interpretations… that continue to be imposed on south Asian culture history…Surely, as south Asian studies approach the twenty-first century, it is time to describe emerging data objectively rather than perpetuate interpretations without regard to the data archaeologists have worked so hard to reveal.

Anthropologist Brian Hemphill of Vanderbilt University has been studying the human remains of the northern Indian subcontinent for years. He states categorically that his analysis shows no indication of population replacement or large-scale migration.

Archaeologist Mark Kenoyer, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and co-director of the Harappa Archeological Research project, holds that the invasion theory is completely unsupported by archeological, linguistic, or literary evidence. He writes in an article on the Indus valley civilisation : Colin Renfrew, Professor of Archeology at Cambridge University, in his famous work, Archeology and Language : The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988) Renfrew also sees evidence that the Indo-Europeans were in Greece as early as 6,000 BC. If previous scholars were wrong about the origin of the Indus people, they also missed the boat when it came to explaining their downfall, which they attributed to an invasion by Indo-Aryan speaking Vedic tribes from the northwest. Archeological evidence simply does not support the thesis of an outside invasion.

Kenoyer argues, “it’s likely that the rivers dried up and shifted their courses, altering trade routes and undermining the economy.” Kenoyer holds that the Indus valley script can be traced to at least 3,300 BC—making it as old or older than the oldest Sumerian written records.

Archaeologist Kenneth Kennedy writes that no Aryan skeletons have been found in the Indus valley that differ from the skeletons of indigenous ethnic groups. All prehistoric human remains recovered from the Indian subcontinent are phenotypically identifiable as south Asians. Furthermore their biological continuity with living peoples of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the border regions is well established across time and space.

Scientific archeology, it is now safe to say, no longer gives the invasion theory a grain of credibility. It has lost its supporters among serious scientists. Also, as professor Renfrew argues, there is no internal evidence from the ancient Vedic literature that Vedic civilisation originated outside India. The verses of the Rig Veda, the most ancient songs of Vedic tradition, detail many aspects of daily life of the people. There is no hint in this vast literature of a migration or of a history that lies in a homeland beyond the mountains of northern India. All evidence from archeology, anthropology, and Vedic literature indicate that Vedic civilisation was indigenous to northern India. Geological data now explains the demise of the Indus and Saraswati valley civilisations in terms of climactic change, bringing an end to the outside invasion theory.

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Journal : Alternate History

Concluding Part of the series of articles on Indo-European Homeland studies…

Archaic Dialectology

The second significant aspect of the study of the proto-language, on the basis of which an Indian homeland was rejected by the linguists, was that Sanskrit, in some respects, represents a phonetically highly evolved form of the original Proto-Indo-European : thus, to quote the most common factor cited, Sanskrit is a “Satem” language and in fact, alongwith Avestan, the most highly palatalised of the Satem languages

The original Proto-Indo-European language, it is cited, was a “Kentum” language and the Satem branches evolved by a process of palatalization of original velars (k, g) into palatals (c, j) and into sibilants (s, S).  The Kentum branches thus represent an older form of Indo-European, and all the Kentum branches are found only in Europe – or so it was thought until the discovery of Tokharian in Chinese Turkestan. But this discovery was quickly sought to be absorbed into the western homeland theory by postulating an early migration of the Tokharians from the west into the east.

However, the phenomenon of palatalization, as also various other phonetic evolutions from the Indo-European original, are now accepted as innovations which took place in the heartland of the Proto-Indo-European homeland after the migrations of early branches which retained the original features.

As Winn puts it: “Linguistic innovations that take place at the core may never find their way out to peripheral areas, hence dialects spoken on the fringe tend to preserve archaic features that have long since disappeared from the mainstream.” Therefore, the fact that Sanskrit represents a phonetically evolved form of the Proto-Indo-European language, far from being a negative factor in respect of the idea of an Indian homeland, is a positive one.

In fact, there are three factors, in respect of archaisms, which add up to make a strong case for an Indian homeland :

  • 1. Various evolved phonetic features in Sanskrit, as we have seen, particularly in the matter of palatalization of original velars, definitely point towards India as the original homeland.

2. At the same time, in respect of vocabulary, Sanskrit is the most archaic or representative language in the entire Indo-European family.  As Griffith puts it in the preface to his translation of the Rig Veda, “we see the roots and shoots of the languages of Greek and Latin, of Kelt, Teuton and Slavonian… the science of comparative philology could hardly have existed without the study of Sanskrit…”

The fact that Sanskrit has retained the largest number of Proto-Indo-European words, even when its phonetic and grammatical features continued to evolve, is strong evidence of an Indian homeland : the language of a migrating group may retain many of its original phonetic or grammatical features, even when these features are lost or evolved away in the language still spoken in the original area, but it is likely to lose or replace a substantial part of its original vocabulary (though it may retain many tell-a-tale archaic words) as compared to the language still spoken back home.

Warren Cowgill, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, points out that this was the case with most of the ancient Indo-European languages: “In prehistoric times, most branches of Indo-European were carried into territories presumably or certainly occupied by speakers of non-Indo-European languages… it is reasonable to suppose that these languages had some effect on the speech of the newcomers.  For the lexicon, this is indeed demonstrable in Hittite and Greek, at least.  It is much less clear, however, that these non-Indo-European languages affected significantly the sounds and grammar of the Indo-European languages that replaced them.”

The same was the case with the modern languages : “When Indo-European languages have been carried within historical times into areas occupied by speakers of other languages, they have generally taken over a number of loan-words… however, there has been very little effect on sounds and grammar.”

  • 3. Finally, and most significantly, we have the fact that within India itself certain isolated languages have retained archaisms already lost even in Vedic Sanskrit.  There is no way in which the presence of these languages, which definitely represent remnants of extinct branches of Indo-European other than Indo-Aryan or even the hypothetical “Indo-Iranian”, can be incorporated into any theory of migration of the Indo- Aryans from South Russia to India.

There are two such languages, one of which is now accepted by the linguists as a remnant of an extinct Kentum branch of Indo-European languages, but in respect of the other, detailed research is necessary from a point of view hitherto unsuspected :

a. The BangANI language, spoken in Garhwal region of the western Himalayas was brought into dramatic highlight by Clans Peter Zoller, a German linguist, in 1987 when he announced the discovery of the remnants of an ancient Kentum language in the older layers of this language.

Zoller pointed out that BangANI contained three historical layers : “The youngest and most extensive layer is where BangANI shares many similarities with the Indo-Aryan languages of Himachal Pradesh and Garhwal.  The second is an older layer of Sanskrit words where one can observe a strikingly large number of words that belongs to the oldest layer of Sanskrit, the Sanskrit of the Vedas.  The third and the oldest layer in BangANI is formed by words that have no connection with Sanskrit but with the Kentum branch of Indo-European languages.”

By 1989, Zoller presented a full-fledged case, which created a furore in linguistic circles.  An immediate reaction to it was a joint project to examine Zoller’s claims, led by an Indian linguist Suhnu Ram Sharma and a Dutch linguist George van Driem.  According to these scholars, “Zoller’s BangANI findings not only had far-reaching implications for our understanding of the prehistoric migrations of ancient Indo-Europeans, they also appeared to violate much of what is received knowledge in historical linguistics.” Hence : “In 1994, we conducted fieldwork in order to verify these remarkable findings.  The results of our investigation are presented here.  On the basis of these results, it is our contention that no Kentum Indo-European remnants exist in the BangANI language.”

Not only did these linguists reject Zoller’s findings, but they also leveled serious allegations regarding Zoller’s professional integrity : “In view of our findings, and in view of the manner in which Zoller presented his, the question which remains for the reader to resolve in his own mind is whether Zoller has fallen prey to the wishful etymologizing of transcriptional errors or whether he has deliberately perpetrated a hoax upon the academic community.  In other words, was the joke on Zoller, or was the joke on us ?”

The above is an example of the vicious reaction any serious scholarly study that supports the Indian homeland theory evokes among scholars inimical to the idea.

But the matter did not end there.  Zoller took up the challenge and issued a strong and detailed rejoinder to the allegations of van Driem and Sharma.  Even more significant was a detailed counter study by Anvita Abbi and Hans Hock which not only conclusively demolished their “refutation” of Zoller’s findings, and conclusively proved that BangANI does indeed contain the remnants of an extinct Kentum language, but also clearly showed that it was Suhnu Ram Sharma and George van Driem who had attempted to deliberately perpetrate a hoax on the academic community.

The long and short of it is that BangANI is now accepted by linguists all over the world as a language whose oldest layers contain remnants of an archaic Kentum language, a circumstance which is totally incongruous with any theory of Indo-Aryan immigrations into India.

b. The Sinhalese language of Sri Lanka is generally accepted as a regular, if long separated and isolated, member of the “Indo-Aryan” branch of Indo-European languages; and no linguist studying Sinhalese appears, so far, to have suggested any other status for the language.

However, apart from the fact that Sinhalese has been heavily influenced not only by Sanskrit and Pali, and by Dravidian and the near-extinct Vedda, the language contains many features which are not easily explainable on the basis of Indo-Aryan.

Wilhelm Geiger, in his study of Sinhalese, points out that the phonology of the language “is full of intricacies… We sometimes meet with a long vowel when we expect a short one and vice versa”, and further : “In morphology there are formations, chiefly in the verbal inflexion, which seem to be peculiar to Sinhalese and to have no parallels in other Indo-Aryan dialects… and I must frankly avow that I am unable to solve all the riddles arising out of the grammar of the Sinhalese language.”

However, not having any particular reason to suspect that Sinhalese could be anything but an “Indo-Aryan” language descended from Sanskrit, Geiger does not carry out any detailed research to ascertain whether or not Sinhalese is indeed in a class with the “other Indo-Aryan dialects”.  In fact, referring to an attempt by an earlier scholar, Gnana Prakasar, to connect the Sinhalese word eLi (light) with the Greek hElios (sun), Geiger rejects the suggestion as “the old practice of comparing two or more words of the most distant languages merely on the basis of similar sounds, without any consideration for chronology, phonological principles or the historical development of words and forms…”

M.W.S. de Silva, in his detailed study of Sinhalese, points out that “Indo-Aryan (or Indic) research began with an effort devoted primarily to classifying Indian languages and tracing their phonological antecedents historically back to Vedic and Classical Sanskrit… Early Sinhalese studies have followed the same tradition.” However, Sinhalese “presents a linguistic make-up which, for various reasons, distinguishes itself from the related languages in North India… there are features in Sinhalese which are not known in any other Indo-Aryan language, but these features, which make the story of Sinhalese all the more exciting, have not received much attention in the earlier studies.”

 He also points out : “Another area of uncertainty is the source of the small but high-frequency segment of the Sinhalese vocabulary, especially words for parts of human body and the like : oluva ‘head’, bella ‘neck’, kakula ‘leg’, kalava ‘thigh’, etc. which are neither Sanskritic nor Tamil in origin.  The native grammarians of the past have recognized that there are three categories of words – (a) loan-words, (b) historically derived words and (c) indigenous words… No serious enquiry has been made into these so-called indigenous words”.

 In his preface, de Silva notes that “there is a growing awareness of the significance of Sinhalese as a test case for prevailing linguistic theories; more than one linguist has commented on the oddities that Sinhalese presents and the fact… that Sinhalese is ‘unlike any language I have seen’.” He quotes Geiger : “It is extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible, to assign it a definite place among the modern Indo-Aryan dialects.”

But, it does not strike de Silva, any more than Geiger, that the reason for all this confusion among linguists could be their failure to recognize the possibility that Sinhalese is not an Indo-Aryan language at all but a descendant of another branch of Indo-European languages.

From historical point of view, “a vast body of material has been gathered together by way of lithic and other records to portray the continuous history of Sinhalese from as early as the third century BC.” in Sri Lanka, and “attempts have been made to trace the origins of the earliest Sinhalese people and their language either to the eastern parts of North India or to the western parts”.

But de Silva quotes Geiger as well as S. Paranavitana and agrees with their view that “the band of immigrants who gave their name Simhala to the composite people, their language and the island, seems to have come from north-western India… their original habitat was on the upper reaches of the Indus river… in what is now the borderland between Pakistan and Afghanistan”. He quotes Paranavitana’s summary of the evidence, and his conclusion : “All this evidence goes to establish that the original Sinhalese migrated to Gujarat from the lands of the Upper Indus, and were settled in LATa for some time before they colonised Ceylon.”

A thorough examination, with an open mind, of the vocabulary and grammar of Sinhalese, will establish that Sinhalese represents a remnant of an archaic branch of Indo-European languages.

The evidence of BangANI and Sinhalese (the one word watura itself) constitutes a strong case for an Indian homeland since it clashes sharply with any theory of Indo-Aryan migrations into India.

Basically, the confusion that we see in respect of Sinhalese studies is also found in the study of Indo-Aryan languages in general.  And the root of all this confusion is the general theory which maintains that :

a. The “Indo-Iranians” represented a branch of Indo-Europeans who separated from the other branches in distant regions and migrated to Central Asia, and shared a joint “Indo-Iranian” phase there, before separating and migrating into India and Iran respectively.

b. The “Indo-Aryans” represented that section of the “Indo-Iranians” who entered India and composed the Rigveda during the earliest period of their sojourn in the northwestern parts of India, before expanding into the rest of India and giving birth to the ancestral forms of the present-day Indo-Aryan languages.

The linguistic evidence, even apart from the archaic evidence of BangANI and Sinhalese, totally fails to fit in with this theory :

  • 1. Indo-Aryan” and Iranian do not constitute one branch, but at least two distinct branches :

Winn lists “ten ‘living branches’… Two branches, Indic (Indo-Aryan) and Iranian dominate the eastern cluster.  Because of the close links between their classical forms – Sanskrit and Avestan respectively – these languages are often grouped together as a single Indo-Iranian branch”. And he notes that these close links came about due to “a period of close contact between Indic and Iranian people (which) brought about linguistic convergence, thus making the two languages appear misleadingly similar”.

As Meillet had long ago pointed out : “It remains quite clear, however, that Indic and Iranian developed from different Indo-European dialects, whose period of common development was not long enough to effect total fusion.”

The evidence of comparative mythology also disproves the common Indo-Iranian hypothesis.  Rigvedic mythology is often the only connecting link between all other different Indo-European mythologies, while Avestan mythology appears to have no links with any other Indo-European mythology other than that of the Rig Veda itself.

The “period of common development” which brought about the “close links between… Sanskrit and Avestan” was of course the “period of close contact between Indic and Iranian people” in the Late Period of the Rig Veda, for which detailed evidence has already presented earlier on in this series.

  • 2. The Iranian language shares at least one isogloss with Greek and Armenian :

It fits in with our classification of these three branches as constituting the Anu confederation of the Early Rigvedic Period. This isogloss is not shared by Sanskrit, which disproves the hypothesis that Indo-Iranian constitute a single branch of the IE family : “In three Indo-European languages, whose grouping is significant – Greek, Armenian and Iranian – the shift from s to h occured, not as in Brythonic at a relatively recent date, but before the date of the oldest texts.  Moreover, in all three, the distribution pattern is exactly the same : h develops from initial *s before a vowel, from intervocalic *s and from some occurences of *s before and after sonants; *s remains before and after a stop.”

This shift, which is universal in the three branches, is not found in Sanskrit and a majority of the Indo-Aryan languages, although a similar shift took place “at a relatively recent date” in some modem Indo-Aryan dialects of northwest and west (Gujarati, etc.) and, significantly, in Sinhalese.

Another fact, a minor one, is that Greek, Armenian and Iranian share a common development, distinct from Sanskrit, as each have “those cases in which a morphological element ends with a dental consonant and the following element begins with a t”. All the three branches show ‘st’ while “Sanskrit regularly shows tt”.

  • 3. There is one isogloss which is found only in the three branches referred to above (Greek, Armenian and Iranian) as well as in Sanskrit, and in some modern Indo-Aryan dialects of the north and north-west including Hindi, but not in the majority of modern Indo-Aryan languages : “the prohibitive negation *mE is attested only in Indo-Iranian (mA), Greek (mE) and Armenian (mI)” and is totally absent elsewhere. And this isogloss exists in Greek, Armenian and Persian irrespective of the stage of their development, ancient or modern.

But there is a difference in this respect between the ancient stage of Sanskrit and a majority of its language offshoots in the modem stage of what the linguists classify as the “Indo-Aryan” branch (except for modem Hindi spoken in western India : mat, etc.). This could be because most of the Indo-Aryan languages lost this word; but it could also be because most of the modern Indo-Aryan languages are descendants of Indo-European dialects which never had this word, and were not directly part of the common culture developed by the PUrus (the Vedic Aryans) and the Anus (Iranians, Armenians, Greeks), then located respectively in the north and north-western parts of North India, after the departure of the Druhyus.  Their ancestral dialects were what we have called the “Inner Indo-European” dialects spoken in the interior of India.

  • 4. This, it is clearly demonstrated in the development of Indo-European l in “Indo-Iranian” : “all of Indo-Iranian tended to confuse r and l …. Every IE “l” becomes “r” in Iranian.  This same occurence is to be observed in the North-west of India and consequently in the Rig Veda, which is based on idioms of the Northwest.”

So, is this an “Indo-Iranian” phenomenon ?  Apparently not : “On the other hand, initial and intervocalic “l” was present in Indic dialects of other regions.  Numerous elements of these dialects were gradually introduced into the literary language, which became fixed in Classical Sanskrit.  This explains the appearance of “l” in more recent parts of the Rig Veda and its subsequent rise in frequency.”

Meillet correctly observes that this is an instance of concordance of Iranian with Indic idioms spoken in Indo-Aryan regions closest to Iranian areas. There is clear Iranian discordance with Indic idioms common in regions further to the East. The concept of an “Indo-Iranian” branch is based on “the close links between their classical forms – Sanskrit and Avestan respectively”, which is the result of a “period of common development”.  This period of common development took place in Indian North-west region before the Iranian people migrated further west and north, and separated from the Vedic people.

But this conversion of the original Indo-European “l” into “r” is a phenomenon pertaining to this period of common development, and it is not shared by the ancient “Indo-Aryan” dialects to the east of the Rigvedic region.  These dialects in the east, therefore, represent a continuity from pre-“Indo-Iranian” phase of Indo-European, which is incompatible with any theory of an Indo-Iranian phase in Central Asia and Afghanistan before the separation of the Indo-Aryans and Iranians and consequent migration of Indo-Aryans into India.

It is also incompatible with any theory of the origin of the “Indo-Aryan” languages from the Vedic language which forms part of this joint “Indo-Iranian” phase.  Therefore, while the word “Indo-Aryan” may be used in the sense of “Aryan or Indo-European languages historically native to India”, it cannot and should not be used in the sense in which it is generally used : that is. as languages descended from the Vedic Sanskrit language which, or whose proto-form, shared a joint “Indo-Iranian” phase with Proto-Iranian.

  • 5. The theory that the Indo-Aryan languages are descended from Vedic Sanskrit is not really corroborated by linguistic factors.  Well-known scholar, S.K. Chatterji, makes the following remarks about the Old, Middle and New phases of Indo-Aryan :

The Aryan came to India, assuredly not as a single, uniform or standardised speech, but rather as a group or groups of dialects… only one of these dialects or dialect-groups has mainly been represented in the language of the Vedas – other dialects… (might) have been ultimately transformed into one or the other of the various New Indo-Aryan languages and dialects.  The mutual relationship of these Old Indo-Aryan dialects, their individual traits and number as well as location, will perhaps never be settled… The true significance of the various Prakrits as preserved in literary and other records, their origin and interrelations, and their true connection with the modern languages, forms one of the most baffling problems of Indo-Aryan linguistics… and there has been admixture among the various dialects to an extent which has completely changed their original appearance, and which makes their affiliation to forms of Middle Indo-Aryan as in our records at times rather problematical.”

Thus S.K. Chatterji unwillingly admits, though within the framework of the invasion theory, that :

a.  There were many different dialects, of which the language of the Rig Veda was only one, and that the modern Indo-Aryan languages may well be descended from these other non-Vedic dialects.

b. The relations within each chronological group : Old, Middle or New, as well as between different chronological groups among Old Indo-Aryan ( Rigvedic and Classical Sanskrit, as well as the “other” dialects or dialect groups), Middle Indo-Aryan (Prakrits) and the present-day New Indo-Aryan languages are “baffling” and “problematical” and “will perhaps never be settled”.

The problem will certainly “never be settled” if examined from the viewpoint of an Aryan invasion of India which treats the Indo-Aryan languages as descended from the languages of people who migrated into India from the north-west after an “Indo-Iranian” phase in Central Asia and an Indo-European phase in South Russia.

Our understanding harmonises however when begin to consider that Proto-Indo-European, and its earlier forms, developed in the interior of North India, in more central locations in present day states of Haryana, West Uttar Pradesh and North Rajasthan.  In ancient times, it developed as various dialects, many of which expanded into the northwest and Afghanistan.  The divisions of these dialects can be conveniently classified in Puranic terms, howsoever unpalatable it may sound to modern ears, with :

  • extreme north-west region of Indian sub-continent being home to ancestral forms of most of the European languages, as well as Hittite and Tocharian, being the Druhyu dialects;
  • the dialects further east, in north-west region of Indian sub-continent, were the ancestral forms of Iranian, as also Armenian and Greek, being the Anu dialects;
  • and the dialects in the northern parts of North India (Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and nearby areas) being the PUru dialects (including Vedic).  
  • In the interior were other dialects which represented other Puranic groups : Yadus, TurvaSas, IkSvAkus, etc.

With the emigration of the Druhyus, and later the Anus, and the Rigvedic language came to occupy a predominant position with spread of Vedic culture all over India. It then incorporated all the religious systems of the land in course of time and itself became the elite layer of an all-inclusive Pan-Indian religious system in the sub-continent. Thence began the phase of Indian history which the linguists and historians have interpreted as the “Indo-Aryan”.

The Rigvedic language heavily influenced all the other languages of India including those descended from remnants of Outer Indo-Aryan dialects (Druhyu, Anu), from Inner dialects (Yadu, TurvaSa, IkSvAku, etc), and also the Dravidian and Austric languages in the South and East.

In turn, the literary forms which developed from Rigvedic language – the Epics and Classical Sanskrit – were heavily influenced by all the other languages (Indo-European, Dravidian and Austric).  As Meillet, in a different context, puts it : “Numerous elements of these dialects were gradually introduced into the literary language which became fixed in Classical Sanskrit.”

And finally, as Chatterji correctly identifies : “there has been admixture among the various dialects to an extent which has completely changed their original appearance.”

To sum up the whole study we have of the Indo-European homeland :

  1. The evidence of archaeology completely disproves, or, at the very least, completely fails to prove, the non-Indian origin of the Indo-Europeans.
  1. The evidence of the oldest literary records ( the Rigveda and the Avesta ) proves the Indian homeland theory from three distinct angles :

a. The evidence of comparative mythology.

b. The evidence of internal chronology and geography of Rig Veda.

c. The direct evidence in the Rigveda about the emigration of identifiable Indo-European groups from India.

  1. The evidence of linguistics in some aspects is either ambiguous or neutral and, in some others, definitely confirms the evidence of the literary records that indicate India as original homeland of Proto Indo-Europeans.

It is of course natural that entrenched scholarship, both in India and in the West, will find it hard to swallow all this evidence and conclusions that inevitably and inexorably arise from it.  It would especially gall such scholars who have spent all their lives in ridiculing and rejecting the Indian homeland theory, establishing or corroborating the theory of Aryan invasion and mass migration into India.

The body of experts with western pedigree in their scholarship find it particularly hard to swallow if the convincing analyses and proof of an alternate thesis, contrary to theirs, is presented by an Indian – who they very conveniently declare and dismiss as “Indian chauvinist” or “Hindu fundamentalist”.

The following tongue-in-cheek excerpt from Antoine de Saint-ExupEry’s well known children’s storybook, The Little Prince, illustrates the situation :

“…the planet from which the little prince came is the asteroid known as B-612.  This asteroid has only once been seen through a telescope.  That was by a Turkish astronomer, in 1909.  On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration.  But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said. …Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume.  So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance.  And this time everybody accepted his report.”

The attitude satirised by Saint-ExupEry in this imaginary incident is very much a part of the academe. Anyone, Indian or Western, who writes anything howsoever logical in support of the Indian homeland theory, represents the “fundamentalist” in his Turkish costume or the odd Westerner who deserves only skepticism, ridicule and summary dismissal for his misguided infatuation for the outlandish. Conversely, anyone Western or Indian, who writes anything howsoever incredible or ridiculous in opposition to the Indian homeland theory represents the “objective scholar” dressed “with impressive style and elegance” in European costume, who deserves a sympathetic hearing and due support of the scholar community.

But the case for an Indian homeland is so strong, and the case for a non-Indian homeland so weak, that despite the academic fiat to abandon the Indian homeland theory without serious examination, or with only perfunctory and determinedly skeptical examination, the academic world will untimately be compelled to accept the viability of India being the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages.

Journal : Alternate History

Presentation of  evidence for Indo-European homeland continues …



PROTO-LINGUISTIC STUDIES

Finally, we come to that aspect of linguistic studies which first led the linguists to dismiss the idea of India being the original homeland. It is what was first used to “prove” the non-Indian origin of Indo-Europeans, an impression that persists to this day even after the method is since conclusively recognised as unreliable. Let us see how and why.

Linguists reconstructed the Proto-Indo-European language on the basis of definite phonetic rules of sound-change and development, applied to words common to different Indo-European branches. Allowing for the fact that most linguists often tend to adopt a rigid and dogmatic approach to the subject (which, as we have already seen, leads them to indulge in hairsplitting, and to reject many obvious cognate forms, like Greek theos, or to only grudgingly accept some others, like Latin canis and modern Greek ikkos), and that it is often difficult to explain changes in vocabulary, which makes it necessary to be cautious in postulating original words (as has often been pointed out, as an example, all the modem Italic languages have words for “horse” derived from a Latin word caballus: eg.  Italian cavallo, French cheval, Spanish caballo, Rumanian cal; while the actual Latin word for the horse wasequus.  If Latin had been an unrecorded language, and it had been required to reconstruct it on the basis of words common to its present day descendants, the word equus would never be reconstructed), the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language may generally be accepted as a reasonably valid one, with some natural limitations.

However, this reconstruction has not been treated as a purely academic exercise, but as a means of pinpointing the geographical location of the original homeland.  There have been two main methods by which the linguists have sought to use the exercise as a means of rejecting the idea of an Indian homeland. and, since their endeavours appear to have been so successful in mesmerising all and sundry and in effectively derailing all rational inquiry into the subject, it is necessary for us to examine these two methods :

A. Linguistic Paleontology.
B. Archaic Dialectology.

Linguistic Paleontology

Linguistic Paleontology is a method devised by nineteenth century linguists, by which they sought to reconstruct the geographical and socio-cultural environment of the Proto-Indo-European people on the basis of words common to different Indo-European branches.

On the basis of the few names of animals, birds and plants, and words indicating climate, common to different Indo-European branches, the linguists concluded that the Proto-Indo-Europeans lived in a cold environment, and were acquainted with a few plants / trees like barley, birch, pine and oak, and animals like horses, cattle, goats, sheep, deer, bears, wolves, dogs, foxes and otters.

The names of these plants and animals do not really pinpoint a specific area, since they are all found in a large area ranging from Europe to North India, covering almost the entire Indo-European belt.  But the linguists concluded that the evidence of these names clearly excluded India from being the location of the original homeland, since the common names did not include names of plants / trees and animals which are specifically found in India (such as the elephant, etc).

However, this argument is ill-considered, woefully inadequate and illogical. The case is that Indo-European languages outside India do not have names for plants and animals which are found in India but are not found in the areas where these languages are spoken. But so is it a fact that Indo-Aryan languages do not have names for plants and animals which are found in Indo-European areas outside India but not in India. Should we look for an explanation or jump to a conclusion ?

To re-state the observed fact, Indo-European languages generally, not always, seem to have retained Proto-Indo-European names for only those plants and animals that were also found in their new habitat. The names for plants and animals that were found in former habitats but not in the newer ones were lost in time.  This would naturally be the case : either through disuse of the terms over succeeding centuries or when natives adopted the speech from immigrant Indo-Europeans. Why would later generations retain terms that had been of no use for hundreds of years ? Or, why would people be concerned with learning terms that had no object to signify or be interested in them at all while having no idea of what they communicated ?

Therefore, as a method to reconstruct the original geographical environment of Indo-Europeans, the field of linguistic paleontology stands largely discredited today. It offers no negative evidence to exclude geographical areas like India from being the original homeland of Indo-Europeans.  As the eminent linguist Stefan Zimmer says : “The long dispute about the reliability of this ‘linguistic paleontology’ is not yet finished, but approaching its inevitable end – with a negative result, of course.”

As a matter of fact, far from disproving the Indian homeland theory, linguistic paleontological evidence actually supports the thesis. Two linguists, T. Gamkrelidze and V. Ivanov, who are support the Anatolian homeland theory, have recently examined words in the Indo-European languages which were earlier largely ignored or missed by the linguists in general. They have arrived at the conclusion that Proto-Indo-European names definitely existed for some more animals : leopard – Sanskrit pRdAku, Greek pardos, Hittite parsana ; monkey – Sanskrit kapi, Greek kepos … which they also link, with with Germanic and Celtic words like Old Norse api, Old English apa, Old High German affo, Welsh epa and Irish apa, “ape”, all with k/mute alteration.

Even more significantly, it seems that these IE languages are not without derivatives of Proto-IE terms for camel and elephant :

  1. The camel is native to West Asia and to Central Asia. There are cognate words for the camel in Tokharian *alpi, Old Church Slavonic velibadu, Baltic (Lithuanian) verbliudas, and Germanic words like Old Norse ulfaldi, Old English olfend, Old High German olbanta and Gothic ulbandus. A related word in Hittite, according to C D Buck, is ulupantas or ulpantas which appears to be used for “ox”.

The word is similar to the Greek word elephas for elephant, which is the source for all the European names for the elephant.  Buck suggests that this word is “based upon… Egyptian words… to be analysed as el-ephas, the second part, like Lat. ebur, ‘ivory’, from Egypt. Ab, ‘elephant, ivory’, but first part disputed”. He adds : “Hence also (though disputed by some) with shift to ‘camel’, Goth. ulbandus, ON ulfaldi, OE olfend, OHG olbanta……”

The Tocharian word *alpi is clearly a related to the Greek word elephas one since it contains both the elements, the “second part” of the word as well as the “disputed” first part. But the Tocharian word cannot have been inducted through the Egyption – Greek migration simply because no known theory of Indo-European origins and migrations admits of such transference. So, where was the Tocharian word borrowed from ?

While a “shift” from its original “elephant” meaning to a new “camel” meaning is very likely, this shift took place in Central Asia and not in Greece.  The cognate words for camel in Tocharian, Germanic, Slavonic and Baltic (and also Hittite, where there has been a second shift in meaning to “ox”) clearly prove that all these branches shared a sojourn in the camel lands of Central Asia.

  1. The Greek word el-ephas is exactly cognate (again, only the second part of the word) with the Rigvedic ibhas.  The word ibhas is just one of the four purely “Aryan” terms (ibhas, sRNI, hastin and vAraNa) for the elephant in the Rig Veda.  Gamkrelidze and Ivanov point out that the Latin word ebur, “ivory”, is also cognate to the Sanskrit ibhas.

We thus have the evidence of three different branches of Indo-European languages for the elephant as an animal known to the Proto-Indo-Europeans.  As the Proto-Indo-Europeans were not native to Africa, African elephants (not being domesticated) could not have been directly known to them (even as an imported animal) in any other proposed homeland, and the Asiatic elephant is not native to any area north or west of India, the implications of this evidence are loud and clear.

Incidentally, it is possible that the Egyptian word Ab for “elephant” or “ivory” is itself derived from Sanskrit ibhas.  We have it on the testimony of the Old Testament of the Bible (I Kings 22.10; II Chronicles 9.21) that apes, ivory and peacocks were imported from India… the peacocks confirm that the land referred to is India, or a transit port on the way from India… into Palestine, and doubtless the same was the case in Egypt as well.

The Hebrew word for “ape” in the above references is qoph which is derived by linguists from the Sanskrit kapi; and, likewise, Buck accepts kapi as the “probable source of gyptianqephi”. Significantly, the words for elephant in Arabic and Hebrew, fil and pil respectively, are clearly derived from the Sanskrit word pIlu for a male elephant, thereby indicating that it was the Indian elephant rather than the African one which was known in this region.

  1. An animal whose name is common to almost all the Indo-European branches is the cow (Sanskrit go, Avestan gao, German kuh, Latin bOs, Irish bo, Lettish guovs, Greek boûs, Old Church Slavonic krava, etc), for whom the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European word is *gwou.  It is clear that the cow was a very intrinsic part of the life of the Indo-Europeans, as is proved also by its dominant status in the culture, idiom and imagery of the oldest Indo-European texts, the Rigveda and the Avesta.

Significantly, different ancient civilizations (Sumerian gu, Ancient Chinese gou) appear to have borrowed the word from the Indo-Europeans.  It is, therefore, quite likely that the Proto-Indo-European homeland was a primary centre of diffusion of cattle breeding.

It may be noted in this context that recent research by scientists at the Trinity College in Dublin has revolutionised ideas about the origins of the domestication of cattle.  It was formerly believed that cattle domestication first took place in Anatolia, and then spread to the rest of the world; and the humped breeds of Indian cattle, known in the West as Zebu or Brahmin cattle, were believed to be descended from these Anatolian cattle.

However, the scientists “who examined the DNA of 13 breeds of modern cattle found that all the European and African cattle breeds shared the same genetic lineage.  But the eastern types came from an entirely different source.  By backtracking the number of mutations that must have occured, the scientists have also deduced that the two lines split more than 200,000 years ago; and since the two lines are still distinct, the simplest interpretation of the research was that there were two separate domestication events.”

Thus, India, the centre of domestication of other species of bovids, like the buffalo and the gayal, was also the centre of domestication of the eastern or humped cattle. And, to howsoever great or small an extent, this appears to strengthen the theory that India could be the more likely location of the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages.

In corroboration, Sanskrit retains a distinctly different root word for “milk”, which appears to be older, and closer to the proto-IE ethos, than the common word for “milk” found in almost all the other branches of Indo-European languages.

Many of the other branches have related words for “milk”: German milch, Irish mlicht, Russianmoloko, etc.  And even where they appear to differ in the noun form, they share a common word for the verb “to milk”: Latin mulgere, Old High German melchan, Greek amèlgo, Old Church Slavonic mlešti, Lithuanian milZti, Albanian mjellë, Irish bligim, etc.

Only Sanskrit and Iranian stand out in not having any word related to the above.  Instead, we have Sanskrit dugdha, “milk”, derived from the root duh-, “to milk”, with related verbal forms duxtan, dušidan, “to milk” in modern Persian (though not in the Avesta).

The root duh-, found directly only in Sanskrit and only secondarily in Iranian, appears to have deeper roots in the Indo-European languages.  According to many linguists, although many others dismiss the derivation as simplistic, the Indo-European words for “daughter” (Sanskrit duhitar, Persian dukhtar, Gothic dauhtar, Lithuanian dukte, Old Church Slavonic dUšti, Greek thugater, etc.) are derived from the same root, so that the word basically means “milkmaid”, indicating that cattle-breeding was a primary occupation among the Proto-Indo-Europeans.

 … We will take up Archaic Dialectology next …

Please refer https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/journal-alternate-history-7/ and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @ http://www.voiceofdharma.org/books/rig/index.htm

Journal : Alternate History

 Presentation of evidence for Indo-European homeland continues …

after the researched linguistic evidence earlier placed before you.

Florentine merchant Filippo Sassetti travelled to the Indian subcontinent, and was among the first European observers to study the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian, e.g. deva/dio, “God”, sarpa/serpe, “snake”,sapta/sette, “seven”, ashta/otto, “eight”, nava/nove, “nine”. This observation is today credited to have foreshadowed the later discovery of the Indo-European language family.

 

THE LITERARY EVIDENCE

We have already examined the evidence in the Rig Veda which proves that the original Indo-Iranian habitat was in India and that the Iranians migrated westward and north-westward from India. 

We will now examine further literary evidence regarding the location of the original Indo-European homeland in India, under the following heads : 

A. Tribes and Priests.
B. The Three Priestly Classes.
C. The Anu-Druhyu Migrations.

 

Tribes and Priests

The political history of the Vedic period involves various segregate communities who fall within its contemporary ambit. They are the five major tribal groups mentioned in Rig Veda : Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus, Druhyus and Purus. Tthe TRkSis are not included because they are referred to as people beyond the Vedic Aryan realm. 

It is emphasised however that the Rig Veda hymns are composed under the patronage of Purus, who alone among the five named above are Aryas or Aryans, as is meant in the text. Only the PUrus are addressed as “Arya” in the Rig Veda. The other four may or may not have been of the same racial stock but, to the Rigvedic people and the composers of Rig Veda hymns, they are considered and termed as non-Aryans or “an-Arya”. 

This brings us to the second division of people, of those whom the Rig Veda hymns include in mention and references : with Aryas – the Purus – on one part, and the other part comprising of Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus and Druhyus, 

But there are two distinct words by which the Rig Veda refers to these others :

a. DAsas 

b. Dasyus 

It is necessary to understand the distinction between the two words. 

The word DAsa is found in 54 hymns (63 verses) :

I.   32.11; 92.8; 103.3; 104.2; 158.5; 174.7; 

II.  11.2, 4; 12.4; 13.8; 20.6, 7; 

III.  12.6; 34.1; 

IV.  18.9; 28.4; 30.14, 15, 21; 32.10; 

V.  30.5, 7-9; 33.4; 34.6; 

VI.  20.6, 10; 22.10; 25.2; 26.5; 33.3;  47.21; 60.6; 

VII.  19.2; 83.1; 86.7; 99.4; 

VIII.  5.31; 24.27; 32.2; 40.6; 46.32; 51.9;  56.3, 70.10, 96.18; 

X.  22.8; 23.2; 38.3; 49.6, 7; 54.1; 62.10; 69.6;
73.7; 83.1; 86.19; 99.6; 102.3; 120.2;  138.3; 148.2.

 

The word Dasyu is found in 65 hymns (80 verses) :

I   33.4, 7, 9; 36.18; 51.5, 6, 8; 53.4; 59.6;
63.4; 78.4; 100.18; 101.5; 103.3, 4; 104.5;
117.3, 21; 175.3. 

II 11.18, 19; 12.10; 13.9: 15.9; 20.8;
III. 29.9; 34.6, 9; 49.2
IV. 16.9, 10, 12; 28.3, 4; 38.1;
V. 4.6; 7.10; 14.4; 29.10; 30.9; 31.5, 7; 70.3;
VI. 14.3; 16.15; 18.3; 23.2; 24.8; 29.6; 31.4; 45.24;
VII. 5.6; 6.3; 19.4;
VIII. 6.14; 14.14; 39.8; 50.8; 70.11; 76.11; 77.3;  98.6;
IX. 41.2; 47.2; 88.4; 92.5;
X. 22.8; 47.4; 48.2; 49.3; 55.8; 73.5; 83.3, 6;
95.7; 99.7, 8; 105.7, 11; 170.2.

There are two distinct aspects that differentiates the DAsas and Dasyus : 

  1. The term DAsa clearly refers to other tribes (ie. non-PUru tribes)

while the term Dasyu refers to their priestly classes (ie. non-Vedic priestly classes).

[This is apart from the fact that both the terms are freely used to refer to the atmospheric demons as much as to human enemies to whom they basically refer.]

a.  According to IV. 28.4, the Dasyus are a section among the DAsas.

b.  The Dasyus are referred to in terms which clearly show

      that the cause of hostility is religious in nature : 

ayajña (worshipless): VII.6.3.
ayajvan (worshipless): I.33.4; VIII.70.11.
avrata (riteless): I.51.8; 175.3; VI.14.3; IX.41.2.
akarmA (riteless): X.22.8.
adeva (godless): VIII.70.11.
aSraddha (faithless): VII.6.3.
amanyamAna (faithless): I.33.9; 11.22.10.
anyavrata (followers of different rites): VIII.70.11; X.22.8.
abrahma (prayerless): IV.16.9.

Not one of these abusive terms are used even once in reference to Dasas. 

c.  The family-wise pattern of references to them also shows

that the Dasyus are priestly rivals while the DAsas are secular rivals.

The Dasyus are referred to by all the nine priestly families of RSis,

but never by the non-priestly family of RSis (the Bharatas).

The DAsas are referred to by the Bharatas (X.69.6; 102.3) also but not by the most purely ritualistic family of RSis, the KaSyapas, nor in the purely ritualistic of MaNDalas, the MaNDala IX. 

d.  The Dasyus, being priestly entities, do not figure as powerful persons or persons to be feared, but the DAsas, being secular entities (tribes, tribal warriors, kings, etc.) do figure as powerful persons or persons to be feared:

In three references (VIII.5.31; 46.32; 51.9), the DAsas are rich patrons.

In seven references, the DAsas are powerful enemies from whose fury and powerful weapons the composers ask the Gods for protection (I.104.2; VIII.24.27; X.22.8; 54.1; 69.6; 102.3) or from whom the Gods rescue the RSis (I.158.5).

In three others, the word DAsa refers to powerful atmospheric demons who hold the celestial waters in their thrall (I.32.11; V.30.5; VIII.96.18).

In contrast, Dasyus never figure as rich or powerful enemies. They are depicted as sly enemies who incite others into acts of boldness (VI.24.8). 

e. While both DAsas and Dasyus are referred to as enemies of the Aryas, it is only the DAsas, and never the Dasyus, who are sometimes bracketed together with the Aryas.

Seven verses refer to both Aryas and DAsas as enemies (VI.22.10; 33.3; 60.6; VII.83.1; X.38.3; 69.6; 83.1; 102.3) and one verse refers to both Aryas and DAsas together in friendly terms (VIII.51.9).

This is because both, the word DAsa and the word Arya, refer to broad secular or tribal entities, while the word Dasyu refers to priestly entities : thus, one would generally say “both Christians and Muslims”, or “both padres and mullahs”, but not “both Christians and mullahs” or “both Muslims and padres”. 

2. The second difference is in the degree of hostility towards the two. 

     The Dasyus are clearly regarded with uncompromising hostility,

     while that towards the DAsas is relatively mild and tempered :

a.  The word Dasyu has a purely hostile connotation even when it occurs in the name or title of heroes :

Trasadasyu = “tormentor of the Dasyus”.
DasyavevRka = “a wolf towards the Dasyus”. 

On the other hand, the word DAsa has an etymological meaning beyond the identity of the DAsas.  When it occurs in the name or title of a hero, it has a benevolent connotation :

DivodAsa = “light of Heaven” or “slave of Heaven”. 

b.  All the 80 verses which refer to Dasyus are uncompromisingly hostile.

On the other hand, of the 63 verses which refer to DAsas, 3 are friendly references (VIII.5.31; 46.32; 51.9); and in one more, the word means “slave” in a benevolent sense (VII.86.7: “slave-like, may I do service to the Bounteous”, ie. to VaruNa). 

c.  Of the 80 verses which refer to Dasyus, 76 verses talk of direct, violent, physical action against them, ie. they talk of killing, subduing or driving away the Dasyus. On the other hand, of the 63 verses which refer to DAsas, only 38 talk of such direct physical action against them. 

The importance of this analysis is that it brings to the fore two basic points about the rivalries and hostilities in the Rigvedic period :

a. The rivalries or hostilities were on two levels: the secular level and the priestly level.

b. The rivalries on the priestly level were more sharp and uncompromising.

Hence, any analysis of the political history of the Rigvedic period must pay at least as much attention, if not more, to the priestly categories as to secular or tribal categories.

The Three Priestly Classes

The basic tribal spectrum of the Rigveda includes the five tribal groupings of Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus, Druhyus and PUrus, and of these the PUrus alone represent the Vedic Aryans, while the other four represent the Others

But among these four it is clear that the Yadus and TurvaSas represent more distant tribes (they are mostly referred to in tandem, and are also referred to as residing far away from the Vedic Aryans), while the Anus and Druhyus fall into a closer cultural spectrum with the Purus : 

a.  In the PurANas, the Yadus and TurvaSas are classified together as descendants of sons of DevayAnI, and the Anus, Druhyus and PUrus are classified together as descendants of sons of SarmiSThA. 

b.  The geographical descriptions of the five tribes, as described in the PurANas, place the Yadus and TurvaSas together in the more southern parts (of northern India), and the Anus, Druhyus and PUrus together in the more northern parts. 

c.  The Rigveda itself, where it refers to the five tribes together (I.108.8) refers to the Yadus and the TurvaSas in one breath, and the Druhyus, Anus and PUrus in another: “yad IndrAgni YaduSu TurvaSeSu, yad DruhyuSu AnuSu PUruSu sthaH”

But, the PUrus represent the various branches of the Vedic Aryans, and the Anus represent various branches of Iranians.  It is clear, therefore, that the Druhyus represent the third entity in this cultural spectrum, and that it is mainly the Druhyus who will take us beyond the Indo-Iranian arena onto the wider Indo-European context; and appropriately, while the PUrus are located in the heartland of North India (U.P.-Delhi-Haryana) and the Anus in the northwest (Punjab), the Druhyus are located beyond the Indian frontiers, in Afghanistan and beyond. 

The priestly categories, as we have seen, play a more important role in the rivalries and hostilities in the Rigvedic period than the secular categories. In the earliest period, the only two families of Rsis, from among the families who figure as composers in the Rig Veda, were the ANgiras and the BhRgus, who were the priests of PUrus and Anus respectively.  Logically, there must have been a priestly class among the Druhyus as well, but no such priestly class figures among the composers of Rigvedic hymns. 

The explanation for this is simple : the Druhyus were a rival and non-PUru (DAsa) tribe, hence their priests do not figure as composers in the Rigveda.  Of course, the BhRgus, who were also the priests of a rival and non-PUru tribe, do figure as composers in the Rigveda, but that is because a section of BhRgus (after Jamadagni) aligned themselves with Vedic Aryans and joined the Vedic mainstream where, in fact, they later superseded all the other priestly families in importance, and became the dominant priests of Vedic tradition. 

But since the Druhyus figure in the Rigveda, the name of their priestly class must also be found in the text, even if not as the name of a family of composers. Since no such name appears, it seems logical that the name Druhyu itself must originally have been the name of this third priestly class : since priestly categories were more important for the composers of the Rigveda than the secular categories; and since the tribes for whom the Druhyus functioned as priests were an amorphous lot located far out on the frontiers of India and beyond, the name of the priestly classes became a general appellation for the tribes themselves. 

Therefore, there were three tribal groupings with their three priestly classes:

PUrus  –  Angiras.
Anus  – BhRgus and AtharvaNas.
Druhyus – Druhyus.

This trinary situation tallies with the Indo-European situation : outside of the Vedic and Iranian cultures, the only other priestly class of a similar kind is found among the Celts and the related Italics.  While the Italics called their priests by the general name flAmen (cognate to Sanskrit brAhmaNa, “priest”), the priests of the Celts were called Drui (genitive Druad, hence Druids). 

Shan M.M. Winn notes that “India, Rome, Ireland and Iran” are the “areas in which priesthoods are known to have been significant”; and he describes this phenomenon as follows: “Long after the dispersion of Indo-Europeans, we find a priestly class in Britain in the west, in Italy to the South, and in India and Iran to the east.  Though these cultures are geographically distant from one another… they have striking similarities in priestly ritual, and even in religious terminology.  For example, taboos pertaining to the Roman flAmen (priest) closely correspond to the taboos observed by the Brahmans, the priests of India.” Like the Indian priesthood, the curriculum of the “Celtic Druids … involved years of instruction and memorization of innumerable verses, as the sacred tradition was an oral one”. 

After noting, in some detail, the similarities in their priestly systems, rituals, religious and legal terminology, Winn concludes that the “Celts, Romans and Indo-Iranians shared a religious heritage dating to an early Indo-European period…” 

While the three priesthoods flourished only in these areas, they must originally have been the priests of all the branches of Indo-Europeans in early Indo-European period.  Though they themselves did not survive elsewhere, the names of the three priesthoods did survive in different ways.  An examination of these words helps us to classify the various Indo-European branches into three groups : 

1. PURUS : Indo-Aryan.

In the Rigveda, hymn VII.18, the DASarAjña battle hymn, refers to the enemy confederation once in secular (tribal) terms as “Anus and Druhyus” (VII.18.14), and once in what is clearly priestly terms as “BhRgus and Druhyus” (VII.18.6: the only reference in the whole of the Rigveda which directly refers to the BhRgus as enemies).  Once, it may be noted, it also refers to the kings of the two tribal groupings as “KavaSa and the Druhyu” (VII. 1.8.12. Thus, even here, the general appellation “Druhyu” is used instead of the specific name of the king of the Druhyus). 

The words Druh/Drugh/Drogha occur throughout the Rigveda in the sense of “demon” or “enemy”. (The word BhRgu, for obvious reasons, does not suffer the same fate.) 

2. ANUS : Iranian, Thraco-Phrygian, Hellenic.

a.  Iranian : In the Avesta, in Fargard 19 of the VendidAd, it is an Angra (ANgiras) and a Druj (Druhyu) who try to tempt Zarathushtra away from the path of Ahura Mazda. 

The priests of the Iranians were the Athravans (AtharvaNas = BhRgus), and the words  Angra and  Druj occur throughout the Avesta as epithets for the demon enemies of Ahura Mazda and Zarathushtra. 

b.  Thraco-Phrygian : While the Armenians, the only surviving members of this branch, have not retained any tradition about any of these priestly classes, it is significant that one of the most prominent groups belonging to this branch were known as the Phryge (BhRgu). 

c.  Hellenic : The fire-.priests of the Greeks were known as the Phleguai (BhRgu).

What is more, Greek mythology retains memories of both the other priestly classes, though not in a hostile sense, as the names of mythical beings : Angelos (ANgiras) or divine messengers, and Dryad (Druhyu) or tree-nymphs. 

3. DRUHYUS: Baltic and Slavonic, Italic and Celtic, Germanic.

a.  Baltic and Slavonic: The word Druhyu occurs in the languages of these two branches in exactly the opposite sense of the Vedic Druh / Drugh / Drogha and the Iranian Druj. In Baltic (eg.  Lithuanan  Draugas) and Slavonic (eg. Russian Drug) the word means “friend”. 

b. Italic and Celtic: While the Italic people did not retain the name of the priestly class (and called their priests flAmen = BrAhmaNa), the Celtic priests, as we have seen, were called the Drui (genitive Druad, hence Druid). 

A significant factor, showing that the Celtic priests must have separated from the other priestly classes before the priestly hostilities became intense, is that the BhRgus appear to be indirectly remembered in Celtic mythology in a friendly sense

The Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology notes : “whereas the Celtic Gods were specifically Celtic… the goddesses were restatements of an age-old theme”. And two of the three Great Goddesses of the Celts were named Anu and Brigit (Anu and BhRgu?).  And while all the Goddesses in general were associated with fertility cults, “Brigit, however, had additional functions as a tutelary deity of learning, culture and skills”. 

The main activity of the Drui, as already stated, was to undergo “years of instruction and the memorization of innumerable verses, as the sacred tradition was an oral one”. The fact that the Goddess of learning was named Brigit would appear to suggest that the Drui remembered the ancient BhRgus in a mythical sense, as the persons who originally introduced various priestly rituals among them (a debt which is also remembered by the ANgiras in the MaNDalas of the Early Period of the Rig Veda.

The BhRgus, by joint testimony of Vedic and Celtic mythology, would thus appear to have been the oldest or most dominant and innovative of the three priestly classes.

c.  Germanic: The word Druhyu occurs in the Germanic branch as well.  However the meaning (although the words are cognate to the Russian Drug and Lithuanian Draugas) is more militant : Gothic driugan, “do military service” and ga-drauhts, “soldier”; and Old Norse (Icelandic) drOtt, Old English dryht and Old German truht, all meaning “multitude, people, army”. 

The meanings of the word Druhyu as it occurs in the Celtic branch (“priest”), the Germanic branch (“soldier”, etc. or “people”) and the Baltic-Slavonic branches (“friend”) clearly correspond with the word in the Rigveda and Avesta, where Druhyu / Druh / Drugh / Drogha and Druj represent enemy priests, soldiers or people. 

Thus, to sum up :

1. PUru (priests Angiras) : Indo-Aryan. 

2. Anu (priests BhRgus/AtharvaNas) : Iranian, Thraco-Phrygian, Hellenic. 

3. Druhyu (priests Druhyus): Celtic-Italic, Baltic-Slavonic, Germanic.

The Anu-Druhyu Migrations

The evidence of the Rig Veda, and Indian tradition, clearly shows that the Anus and Druhyus were Indian tribes. If they were also the ancestors of the Indo-European branches outside India, as is indicated by the evidence of the names of their priestly classes, then it is clear that the Rig Veda and Indian tradition should retain memories of the migrations of these two groups from India. 

Significantly, this is exactly the case: the Rig Veda and the PurANas, between them, record two great historical events which led to the emigration of precisely these two tribes from India : 

1. The first historical emigration recorded is that of the Druhyus.  This emigration is recorded in the PurANas, and it is so historically and geographically specific that no honest, student of the Puranic tradition has been able to ignore either this event or its implications for Indo-European history (even without arriving at the equation PUrus = Vedic Aryans). 

The PurANas (VAyu 99.11-12; BrahmANDa III.74.11-12; Matsya 48.9; ViSNu IV.17.5; BhAgavata IX.23.15-16) record: PracetasaH putra-Satam rAjAnAH sarva eva te, mleccha-rASTrAdhipAH sarve hyudIcIm diSam AsritAH.

As Pargiter points out : “Indian tradition knows nothing of any Aila or Aryan invasion of India from Afghanistan, nor of any gradual advance from thence eastwards.” On the contrary, “Indian tradition distinctly asserts that there was an Aila outflow of the Druhyus through the northwest into the countries beyond where they founded various kingdoms.” 

P.L. Bhargava also notes this reference to the Druhyu emigration: “Five PurANas add that Pracetas’ descendants spread out into the mleccha countries to the north beyond India and founded kingdoms there.”This incident is considered to be the earliest prominent historical event in traditional memory. The Druhyus, inhabitants of the Punjab, started conquering eastwards and southwards, and their conquest brought them into conflict with all the other tribes and people : the Anus, PUrus, Yadus.  TurvaSas, and even the IkSvAkus. 

This led to a concerted opposition by the other tribes against the Druhyus. AD Pusalker records : “As a result of the successful campaigns of SaSabindu, YuvanASva, MAndhAtRI and Sibi, the Druhyus were pushed back from RAjputAna and were cornered into the northwestern portion of the Punjab.  MAndhAtRI killed their king ANgAra, and the Druhyu settlements in the Punjab came to be known as GAndhAra after the name of one of ANgAra’s successors.  After a time, being overpopulated, the Druhyus crossed the borders of India and founded many principalities in the Mleccha territories in the north, and probably carried the Aryan culture beyond the frontiers of India.” 

This first historical emigration represents an outflow of the Druhyus into the areas to the north of Afghanistan (ie. into Central Asia and beyond). 

2. The second historical emigration recorded is that of the Anus and the residual Druhyus, which took place after the DASarAjña battle in the Early Period of the Rig Veda. 

As we have already seen in our chapter on the Indo-Iranian homeland, the hymns record the names of ten tribes (from among the two main tribal groupings of Anus and Druhyus) who took part in the confederacy against SudAs. Six of these are clearly purely Iranian people :

a. PRthus or PArthavas (VII.83.1): Parthians.
b. ParSus or ParSavas (VII.83.1): Persians.
c. Pakthas (VII.18.7): Pakhtoons.
d. BhalAnas (VII.18.7): Baluchis.
e. Sivas (VII.18.7): Khivas.
f. ViSANins (VII.18.7): Pishachas (Dards). 

One more Anu tribe, not named in the Rig Veda, is that of the Madras : Medes. 

All these Iranian people are found in later historical times in the historical Iranian areas proper : Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia. Two of the other tribes named in the hymns are Iranian people who are found in later historical times on the northwestern periphery of the Iranian areas, ie. in the Caucasus area :

a.  Simyus (VII.18.5) : Sarmatians (Avesta = Sairimas).

b.  Alinas (VII.18.7) : Alans.

And the name of one more tribe is clearly the name of another branch of Indo-Europeans … non-Iranians, but closely associated with the Iranians … found in later historical times in the area to the west of the Iranians, ie. in Anatolia or Turkey : the BhRgus (VII.18.6) – Phrygians. 

Significantly, the names of the two tribes found on the northwestern periphery of the Iranian area are also identifiable with the names of two other branches of Indo-Europeans, found to the west of Anatolia or Turkey.

a. Simyus (VII.18.5) : Sirmios (ancient Albanians).
b. Alinas (VII.18.7) : Hellenes (ancient Greeks). 

The DASarAjña battle ( of Ten Kings ) hymns record the emigration of these tribes westward from the Punjab after their defeat in the battle. 

Taken together, the two emigrations provide us with a very logical and plausible scenario of the expansions and migrations of the Indo-European family of languages from an original homeland in India : 

  1. The two tribal groupings of Anus and Druhyus were located more or less in the Punjab and Afghanistan respectively after the Druhyu versus non-Druhyu wars in the earliest pre-Rigvedic period. 
  1. The first series of migrations, of the Druhyus, took place shortly afterwards, with major sections of Druhyus migrating northwards from Afghanistan into Central Asia in different waves.  From Central Asia many Druhyu tribes, in the course of time, migrated westwards, reaching as far as western Europe. 

These migrations must have included the ancestors of the following branches (which are not mentioned in the DASarAjña battle hymns) :

a. Hittite. 

b. Tocharian. 

c. Italic. 

d. Celtic. 

e. Germanic. 

f. Baltic. 

g. Slavonic. 

3. The second series of migrations of Anus and Druhyus, took place much later, in the Early Period of the Rig Veda, with various tribes migrating westwards from the Punjab into Afghanistan, many later on migrating further westwards as far as West Asia and southwestern Europe.

These migrations must have included the ancestors of the following branches (which are mentioned in the DASrAjña battle hymns):

a. Iranian.
b. Thraco-Phrygian (Armenian).
c. Illyrian (Albanian).
d. Hellenic. 

The whole process gives a clear picture of the ebb-and-flow of migratory movements, where remnants of migrating groups, which remain behind, get slowly absorbed into the linguistic and cultural mainstream of the other groups among whom they continue to live, retaining only, at the most, their separate names and distinctive identities : 

1. The Druhyus, by and large, spread out northwards from northwestern Punjab and Afghanistan into Central Asia (and beyond) in the first Great Migration. A few sections of them, who remained behind, retained their distinctive names and identities (as Druhyus), but were linguistically and culturally absorbed into the Anu mainstream. 

2. The Anus (including the remnants of the Druhyus), by and large, spread out westwards from the Punjab into Afghanistan in the second Great Migration after the DASarAjña battle. A few sections of them, who remained behind, retained their distinctive names and identities (as Anus), but linguistically and culturally, they were absorbed into the PUru mainstream and they remained on the northwestern periphery of the Indo-Aryan cultural world as the Madras (remnants of the Madas or Medes), Kekayas, etc. 

3. Further migrations took place from among the Anus in Afghanistan, with non-Iranian Anu groups, such as the BhRgus (Phryges, Thraco-Phrygians), Alinas (Hellenes, Greeks) and Simyus (Sirmios, Illyrians or Albanians) migrating westwards from Afghanistan, as far as Anatolia and south-eastern Europe. A few sections of these non-Iranian Anus who remained behind, retained their distinctive names and identities but, linguistically and culturally, they were absorbed into the Iranian mainstream, and could be found on the north-western periphery of the Iranian cultural world among Armenians (who, though greatly influenced by the Iranian, retained much of their original language), the Alans (remnant of the Hellenes or Greeks) and Sarmations (remnant of the Sirmios or Albanians). 

The literary evidence of Rig Veda thus provides us with a very logical and plausible scenario of the schedule and process of migrations of various Indo-European branches from India. 

At this point, we may recall the archaeological evidence in respect of Europe, already noted by us.  As we have seen, the Corded Ware culture (Kurgan Wave # 3) expanded from the east into northern and central Europe, and the “territory inhabited by the Corded Ware/Battle Axe culture, after its expansion, qualifies it to be the ancestor of Western or European language branches : Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Italic”. 

The origins of the Kurgan culture have been traced as far east as Turkmenistan in 4500 BC. This fits in perfectly with our theory that the seven branches of Indo-Europeans, not specifically mentioned in the DASarAjña hymns, migrated northwards into Central Asia during the first Great Migration.  Five of these, the five European branches mentioned above, later migrated westwards into Europe while the other two, Hittite and Tocharian, remained behind in parts of Central Asia till the Hittites, at a much later date, migrated southwestwards into Anatolia. 

These two branches that remained behind in Central Asia, possibly retained contact with Indo-Aryans and the Iranians further south. The fact that Hittite mythology is the only mythology outside the Indo-Iranian cultural world which mentions Indra (as Inar) may be evidence of that connect. Even more significant, from the viewpoint of literary evidence, is the fact that Indian tradition remembers two important people located to the north of the Himalayas who are called the Uttara Kurus and the Uttara Madras : “The Uttara Kurus along with the Uttara Madras are located beyond the HimAlayas.  Though regarded as mythical in the epic and later literature, the Uttara Kurus still appear as a historical community in the Aitareya BrAhmaNa (VII.23).” 

It is possible that the Uttarakurus and the Uttaramadras were the Tocharian (Uttara Kuru = Tokhri) and Hittite branch of Indo-Europeans located to the north of the Himalayas. The scenario we have reconstructed from the literary evidence in the Rigveda fits in perfectly with the linguistic scenario of the migration schedule of the various Indo-European branches, as reconstructed by the linguists from the evidence of isoglosses, which we will now be examining. 

 

THE EVIDENCE OF LINGUISTIC ISOGLOSSES

A linguistic isogloss is a linguistic feature found in some branches of the family, and not in the others. Their study is of great help to linguists in chalking out the likely migration schedule of the various Indo-European branches from their original homeland.

This feature may, of course, be either an original feature of the Proto-Indo-European language that has been lost in some of the daughter branches but retained in others, or a linguistic innovation not found in the parent language and developed only in some of the daughter branches. But this feature is useful in establishing early historico-geographical links between branches which share the same isogloss. We will examine the evidence of the isoglosses as follows : 

A. The Isoglosses …
B. The Homeland Indicated by the Isoglosses …

The Isoglosses

There are, as Winn points out, “ten ‘living branches’… Two branches, Indic (Indo-Aryan) and Iranian, dominate the eastern cluster.  Because of the close links between their classical forms – Sanskrit and Avestan respectively – these languages are often grouped together as a single Indo-Iranian branch.”But Meillet notes : “It remains quite clear, however, that Indic and Iranian evolved from different Indo-European dialects whose period of common development was not long enough to effect total fusion.” 

Besides these ten living branches, there are two extinct branches : Anatolian (Hittite) and Tocharian. 

Of these twelve branches, one branch, Illyrian (Albanian), is of little use in this study of isoglosses : “Albanian… has undergone so many influences that it is difficult to be certain of its relationships to the other Indo-European languages.” 

An examination of the isoglosses which cover the other eleven branches (living and extinct) gives a more or less clear picture of the schedule of migrations of the different Indo-European branches from the original homeland. 

Whatever the dispute about the exact order in which the different branches migrated away from the homeland, the linguists are generally agreed on two important points : 

  1. Anatolian (Hittite) was the first branch to leave the homeland : “The Anatolian languages, of which Hittite is the best known, display many archaic features that distinguish them from other Indo-European languages.  They apparently represent an earlier stage of Indo-European, and are regarded by many as the first group to break away from the proto-language.” 
  1. Four branches, Indic, Iranian, Hellenic (Greek) and Thraco-Phrygian (Armenian) were the last branches remaining behind in the original homeland after the other branches had dispersed : “After the dispersals of the early PIE dialects,… there were still those who remained… Among them were the ancestors of the Greeks and Indo-Iranians… 

Greek and Sanskrit share many complex grammatical features; this is why many earlier linguists were misled into regarding them as examples of the most archaic stage of Proto-Indo-European. However, the similarities between the two languages are now regarded as innovations that took place during a late period of PIE, which we call stage III.  One of these Indo-Greek innovations was also shared by Armenian and all these (three) languages, it seems, existed in an area of mutual interaction.” 

Thus we get : “Greek Armenian, Phrygian, Thracian and Indo-Iranian.  These languages may represent a comparatively late form of Indo-European, including linguistic innovations not present in earlier stages.  In particular, Greek and Indic share a number of distinctive grammatical features……”

The following are some of the innovations shared only by Indic, Iranian, Greek and Armenian (Thraco-Phrygian) … features which distinguish them from the other branches, especially the living ones : 

a. “The prohibitive negation *mE is attested only in Indo-Iranian (mA), Greek (mE) and Armenian (mi); elsewhere, it is totally lacking… and there is no difference in this respect between the ancient and modern stages of Greek, Armenian or Persian” or, for that matter, sections of Indic (e.g. the prohibitive negation mat in Hindi). 

b. “In the formation of the Perfect also, there is a clear ‘distinction’ between Indo-Iranian and Armenian and Greek, on the one hand, and all the other languages, on the other.” 

c. The “Indo-European voiceless aspirated stops are completely attested only in Indo-Iranian and Armenian… Greek… clearly preserves two of the three voiceless aspirated stops whose existence is established by the correspondence of Indo-Iranian and Armenian.” All the other branches show “complete fusion” of these voiceless aspirated stops. 

d. “The suffix *-tero-, *-toro-, *-tro- serves in bell Indo-European languages to mark the opposition of two qualities, but only in two languages, Greek and Indo-Iranian, is the use of the suffix extended to include the formation of secondary adjectival comparatives… This development, by its very difference, points to the significance of the Greek and Indo-Iranian convergence… Armenian, which has a completely new formation, is not instructive in this regard.” But, “Latin, Irish, Germanic, Lithuanian and Slavic, on the other hand, borrow their secondary comparative from the original primary type.” 

e. “The augment is attested only in Indo-Iranian, Armenian and Greek; it is found nowhere else.” And it is “significant that the augment is not found in any of the other Indo-European languages… The total absence of the augment in even the earliest texts, and in all the dialects of Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic, is characteristic.”

Hence, “the manner in which Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic eliminated the imperfect, and came to express the preterite, presupposes an original Indo-European absence of the augment throughout this group of languages.  We thus have grounds for positing two distinct Indo-European dialect groups.” 

f. The division of the Indo-European branches into two distinct groups is confirmed by what Meillet calls the Vocabulary of the Northwest : “There is quite a large group of words that appear in the dialects of the North and West (Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic) but are not found in the others (Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek)… their occurrence in the dialects of the North and West would indicate a cultural development peculiar to the peoples who spread these dialects.” 

While Anatolian (Hittite) was “the first group to break away from the proto-language”, and Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek were “those who remained” after “the dispersals of the early PIE dialects”, the other branches share isoglosses which can help in placing them between these two extremes : 

  1. Hittite, the first to separate itself, shares many isoglosses with Germanic and Tocharian.” 
  1. Celtic, Italic, Hittite, Tocharian and (probably) Phrygian share an interesting isogloss : the use of ‘r’ to indicate the passive forms of verbs.  This feature… does not occur in any other Indo-European language.” 
  1. Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic constitute one distinct group, in contra-distinction to the other distinct group consisting of Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek. 

However, within themselves, these five branches link together as follows :

a. Italic and Celtic : “Comparative linguists have long been aware of the links between Italic and Celtic, which share a number of archaic features.  These links suggest that the two branches developed together.” Among other things: “Vocabulary is identical in parts; this is true of some very important words, particularly prepositions and preverbs.”

b. Baltic and Slavonic : “The general resemblance of Baltic and Slavic is so apparent that no-one challenges the notion of a period of common development… Baltic and Slavic are the descendants of almost identical Indo-European dialects.  No important isogloss divides Baltic from Slavic… the vocabularies of Slavic and Baltic show numerous cognates – more precisely, cognates that are found nowhere else or cognates that in Baltic and Slavic have a form different from their form in other languages.”

c. Italic, Celtic and Germanic : “The Germanic, Celtic and Italic idioms present… certain common innovational tendencies.” But, Italic apparently separated from the other two earlier: “Germanic, Celtic and Italic underwent similar influences.  After the Italic-Celtic period, Italic ceased undergoing these influences and underwent others… Germanic and Celtic, remaining in adjacent regions, developed in part along parallel lines.”

d. Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic : “Because Germanic shares certain important features with Baltic and Slavic, we may speculate that the history of the three groups is linked in some way.” 

To go into more precise detail… “The difference between a dative plural with *-bh-, eg.  Skr.-bhyah, Av. -byO, Lat. -bus, O.Osc. -fs, O.Ir.-ib, Gr. -fi(n), and one with *-m-, eg.  Goth. -m, O.Lith. -mus, Ol.Sl. -mU, is one of the first things to have drawn attention to the problem of Indo-European dialectology.  Since it has been established, principally by A. Leskien, that there was no unity of Germanic, Baltic and Slavic postdating the period of Indo-European unity, the very striking similarity of Germanic, Baltic and Slavic which we observe here cannot… be explained except by a dialectical variation within common Indo-European.” It is, therefore, clear “that these three languages arose from Indo-European dialects exhibiting certain common features.” 

To sum up, we get two distinct groups of branches :

Group A: Hittite, Tocharian, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavonic.

Group B: Indic, Iranian, Thraco-Phrygian (Armenian), Hellenic (Greek). 

No major isogloss cuts across the dividing line between the two groups to suggest any alternative grouping : the phenomenon of palatalization appears to do so, but it is now recognized as “a late phenomenon” which took place in “a post-PIE era in which whatever unity that once existed had broken down and most of the dialect groups had dispersed”, and we will examine the importance of this phenomenon later on. 

Other similarities between languages or branches which lie on opposite sides of the above dividing line are recognizable as phenomena which took place after the concerned branches had reached their historical habitats, and do not therefore throw any light on the location of the original homeland or the migration-schedule of the branches. 

The following are two examples of such similarities :  

  1. The Phrygian language appears to share the “r-isogloss” which is found only in the Hittite, Tocharian, Italic and Celtic branches.  However : 

a. The Phrygian language is known only from fragments, and many of the linguistic features attributed to it are speculative.  About the “r-isogloss”, it may be noted, Winn points out that it is shared by “Celtic, Italic, Hittite, Tocharian and (probably) Phrygian”.

b. Armenian, the only living member of the Thraco-Phrygian branch, does not share the “r-isogloss”, and nor did the ancient Thracian language.

c. The seeming presence of this isogloss in Phrygian is clearly due to the influence of Hittite, with which it shared its historical habitat : “Phrygian later replaced Hittite as the dominant language of Central Anatolia.” 

  1. Greek and Italic alone share the change of Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops (bh, dh, gh) into voiceless aspirated stops (ph, th, kh).  Sanskrit is the only language to have retained the original voiced aspirated stops, while all the other branches, except Greek and Italic, converted them into unaspirated stops (b, d, g). 

But this similarity between Greek and Italic is because “when Indo-European languages were brought to Mediterranean people unfamiliar with voiced aspirated stops, this element brought about the process of unvoicing”, and this change took place in the two branches “both independently and along parallel lines”. Hence, this is not an isogloss linking the two branches. 

Therefore, it is clear that the two groups represent two distinct divisions of the Indo-European family.

The Homeland Indicated by the Isoglosses

The pattern of isoglosses shows the following order of migration of the branches of Group A:

1. Hittite.
2. Tocharian.
3. Italic-Celtic.
4. Germanic.
5. Baltic-Slavonic.

Some of these branches share certain isoglosses among themselves that represent innovations which they must have developed in common after their departure from the original homeland, since the remaining branches (Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek) do not share these isoglosses. 

This clearly indicates the presence of a secondary homeland, outside the exit-point from the original homeland, which must have functioned as an area of settlement and common development for the migrating branches. 

The only homeland theory which fits in with the evidence of the isoglosses is the Indian homeland theory : 

The exit-point for the migrating branches was Afghanistan, and these branches migrated towards the north from Afghanistan into Central Asia, which clearly functioned as the secondary homeland for emigrating branches. 

As Winn points out : “Evidence from isoglosses… shows that the dispersal cannot be traced to one particular event; rather it seems to have occured in bursts or stages.” 

Hittite was the first to emigrate from Afghanistan into Central Asia, followed by Tocharian. 

Italic-Celtic represented the next stage of emigration. The four branches developed the “r-isogloss” in common. 

Germanic was the next branch to enter the secondary homeland, and it developed some isoglosses in common with Hittite and Tocharian.

The Baltic-Slavonic movement apparently represented the last major emigration.  And its sojourn in the secondary homeland was apparently not long enough for it to develop any isoglosses in common with Hittite or Tocharian. 

The five branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic, in that order) later moved further off, north-westwards, into the area to the north of the Caspian Sea, and subsequently formed part of the Kurgan III migrations into Europe.  The Slavonic and Baltic branches settled down in the eastern parts of Europe, while the other three proceeded further into Europe.  Later, the Italic branch moved towards the south, while the Germanic and Celtic branches moved to the north and west. 

Meanwhile the other branches barring Indic… the Greek, Armenian and Iranian, as also perhaps the one branch (Illyrian or Albanian) which we have not taken into consideration so far, migrated westwards from India by a different and southern route.

Scholars now generally accept the evidence of the isoglosses so far as it concerns the schedule of migrations of the different Indo-European branches from the original homeland or the inter-relationships between different branches.  However, when it comes to determining the actual location of the original homeland, on the basis of this evidence, they abandon their objective approach and try to make it appear as if the evidence fits in with the particular homeland theory advocated by them, even when it is as clear as daylight that they are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

The homeland theory generally advocated by the scholars is the South Russian homeland theory.  Shan M.M. Winn advocates the “Pontic-Caspian area” within this region as the particular location of the homeland. 

An examination shows that the South Russian homeland theory (“Pontic-Caspian” or otherwise) is totally incompatible with the evidence of the isoglosses :

  1. To begin with, it is clear that we have two distinct groups of branches, which we have already classified as Group A and Group B. 

As per the evidence of the isoglosses, the branches in Group A are the branches which migrated away from the original homeland, and those in Group B are the branches which remained behind in the homeland after the other branches had departed. 

At the same time, all the branches in Group A are found to the north of the Eurasian mountain chain (except for Hittite in Anatolia, but this branch is known to have migrated into Anatolia from the north-east), while all the branches in Group B are found to the south of the Eurasian mountain chain (the northernmost, Greek, is known to have migrated into southeastern Europe from the south-east). 

The logical corollary should have been that the original homeland is also to the south of the Eurasian mountain chain, and that it is located in the historical habitat of one of the branches in Group B. 

However, the scholars regularly advocate homeland theories which place the homeland in the area of one or the other of the branches in Group A. 

  1. The branches in Group A developed certain isoglosses in common after they had migrated away from the homeland.  As we have pointed out, this makes it likely that there was a secondary homeland where they must have developed these isoglosses. 

However, any homeland theory which locates the homeland in a central area, like South Russia or any area around it, makes the location of this secondary homeland a problem : the Tocharian branch is historically located well to the east of South Russia, the Hittite branch is located well to the south of South Russia, and the Germanic and Italic-Celtic branches are located well to the west of South Russia.  It is difficult to think of a way in which all these branches could have moved together in one direction from South Russia before parting from each other and moving off in totally opposite directions. 

It is perhaps to avoid this problem that Winn suggests that the isoglosses shared in common by these branches are not innovations developed by these branches in common, but archaic features which have been retained by otherwise separately migrating branches. 

In respect of the r-isogloss, for example, Winn puts it as follows : “Celtic, Italic, Hittite, Tocharian, and (probably) Phrygian share an interesting isogloss : the use of ‘r’ to indicate the passive forms of verbs.  This feature, which does not occur in any other Indo-European language, is probably an example of the ‘archaism of the fringe’ phenomenon.  When a language is spread over a large territory, speakers at the fringe of that territory are likely to be detached from what goes on at the core.  Linguistic innovations that take place at the core may never find their way out to peripheral areas; hence dialects spoken on the fringe tend to preserve archaic features that have long since disappeared from the mainstream… Tocharian… was so remote from the center that it could hardly have taken part in any innovations.” 

However, it is more logical to treat this isogloss as an innovation developed in common by a few branches after their departure from the homeland, than to postulate that all the other otherwise disparate branches eliminated an original “use of ‘r’ to indicate the passive forms of verbs”. 

  1. What is indeed an example of the “archaism of the fringe” phenomenon is the phenomenon of palatalization. 

Winn describes it as follows : “Palatalization must have been a late phenomenon; that is, we date it to a post-PIE era, in which whatever unity that once existed had now broken down, and most of the dialect groups had dispersed : looking at the geographical distribution of this isogloss, we may note its absence from the peripheral languages : Germanic (at the northwest limit of Indo-European language distribution); Celtic (western limit); Italic, Greek and Hittite (southern limit); and Tocharian (eastern limit).  It is the languages at the center that have changed.  Here, at the core, a trend towards palatalization started; then gradually spread outward.  It never reached far enough to have any effect on the outlying languages.” 

Note that Winn calls it a “post-PIE era, in which whatever unity that once existed had now broken down, and most of the dialect groups had dispersed”, and that he locates every single other branch (except Indic and Iranian), including Greek, in its historical habitat.  He does not specifically name Baltic-Slavonic and Armenian, but it is understood that they are also located in their historical habitats, since he implies that they are “the languages at the centre” (I.e. languages in and around South Russia, which is anyway the historical habitat of these branches). 

Indic and Iranian alone are not located by him in their historical habitats, since that would clearly characterize them as the most “peripheral” or “outlying” branches of all, being located at the extreme southern as well as extreme eastern limit of the Indo-European language distribution.  And this would completely upset his pretty picture of an evolving “center” with archaic “outlying languages”, since the most outlying of the branches would turn out to be the most palatalized of them all.  Hence Winn, without being explicit but implicit in his argument, locates all the other branches, including Greek, in their historical habitats with only the Indic and Iranian branches well outside their historical habitats and still in South Russia, and keeps his fingers crossed over the possibility of the anomaly being noticed. 

Here we see, once again, how the manipulation required to locate the Indo-European homeland in South Russia compels the scholars, again and again, to postulate weird and unnatural schedules of migrations which make the Indo-Iranians the last to leave South Russia, and which locate them in South Russia long after all the other branches, including Greek, are already settled in their historical habitats : a picture which clashes sharply with, among other things, the extremely representative nature of the Rigvedic language and mythology, the purely Indian geographical milieu of the Rig Veda and the movement depicted in it from east to west, and the evidence of the names of places and rivers in northern India right from the period of Rig Veda itself. 

The “late phenomenon” of a “trend towards palatalization” which started “at the core” and “then gradually -spread outward” … and “never reached far enough to have any effect on the outlying languages” … can be explained naturally only on the basis of the Indian homeland theory : the trend started in the “core area”, in north and northwest India, and spread outwards as far as the innermost of the branches in Group A : Baltic and Slavonic, but not as far as the outermost of the branches in Group B : Greek. 

Incidentally, here is how Meillet depicts the interrelationships between the various extant branches … he does not include Hittite and Tocharian in the picture, but it is clear that they will fall in the same group as Germanic, Celtic and Italic … 

While the north-south axis clearly divides the non-palatalized branches in the west from the palatalized branches in the east, where we must locate the “core” area where palatalization started, the northeast-southwest axes neatly divides the branches into the three tribal groupings testified by Indian literary records, (click on links).

Click Here

Click Here 

  1. More than anything else, the one aspect of the evidence of isoglosses that disproves the South Russian theory is the close relationship between Indic or Indo-Iranian and the Greek, which is not satisfactorily explained by any homeland theory other than the Indian homeland theory. 

In dismissing Colin Renfrew’s Anatolian homeland theory, Winn cites this as the single most important factor in disproving the theory : “All the migrations postulated by Renfrew ultimately stem from a single catalyst : the crossing of Anatolian farmers into Greece… For all practical purposes, Renfrew’s hypothesis disregards Tocharian and Indo-Iranian.” 

Supporters of Renfrew’s theory, Winn points out, “have tried to render the Indo-Iranian problem moot. They argue that the Indo-Iranian branch was somehow divided from the main body of Proto-Indo-European before the colonists brought agriculture to the Balkans.  Greek and Indic are thus separated by millenniums of linguistic change – despite the close grammatical correspondences between them (as we saw, these correspondences probably represent shared innovations from the last stage of PIE).” 

Winn’s very valid argument against the Anatolian theory is just as applicable to the South Russian homeland theory, or any other theory which seeks to bring Indic and Iranian into their historical habitats through Central Asia : this involves an extremely long period of separation from Greek which does not fit into the evidence of the isoglosses that shows that Indic and Greek have many “shared innovations from the last stage of PIE”. 

Archaeology, for one, completely rules out any links between the alleged Proto-Indo-Iranians located by these scholars in Central Asia, and the Greeks. Winn tries to identify the Andronovo culture which “covers much of the Central Asian steppe east of the Ural river and Caspian Sea”, with the “Proto-Indo-Iranians” during their alleged sojourn in Central Asia. 

However, not only does he admit that “it is still a hazardous task to connect (this) archaeological evidence of Indo-Iranians in the Central Asian steppe with the appearance of Iranian (Aryan) and Indic (Indo-Aryan) tribes in Iran, Afghanistan and India,” but he also accepts that these so-called Proto-Indo-Iranians in Central Asia have “no links with… south-eastern Europe”, I.e. with the Greeks. 

It is only the Indian homeland theory which fits in with the evidence of the isoglosses. 

It may be noted again that :

a. The evidence of the isoglosses suggests that the Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek branches, as well as the Albanian branch, were the last to remain behind in the original homeland after the departure of the other branches.

b. These (naturally, barring Indic) are also the same branches which show connections with the BhRgus/ AtharvaNas, while those which departed show connections with the Druhyus.

c. Again, all these branches form a long belt to the south of the Eurasian mountain chain, while the other (departed) branches are found to its north.

d. And, finally, these are the only branches which are actually recorded in the DASarAjña hymns as being present in the Punjab area during the time of SudAs.

 *  *  *

We shall next present the “Inter-Familial Literary Evidence” …

Please refer https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/journal-alternate-history-7/ and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @ http://www.voiceofdharma.org/books/rig/index.htm

 

Journal : Alternate History

The Indo-European Homeland

 

The discredited Aryan Invasion hypothesis (AIT), which we observed about in much detail in previous “Alternate History” blog posts, was essentially motivated by a concern for loss of European primacy in world heritage, linguistic and cultural. The next few tranche in this series shall deal with alternate facts in that regard.

We discussed the curious case of Victor H Mair to underscore the present academic environment, monopolised as it is by the backers of AIT though without a shred of evidence … which makes it well nigh impossible for any scholar, Indian or Western, to gain acceptance of facts pointing to an Indian homeland of Proto Indo-Europeans, The strong tide of prejudice in Western academic circles tests his ardour, and the deeply entrenched leftist lobby in India’s academe renders the task of establishing the truth steeply uphill.

The primary foundation of the widely held belief regarding Indo-European homeland is derived from the purported ‘science’ of LINGUISTICS… that is said to have proved conclusively their original location in and around South Russia; and, equally without doubt, that their homeland could not have been located in India. This belief, rests as it does on misinterpretation of Rigvedic history, is so indelibly etched in scholar community, who examine the problem, that it appears to overshadow and nullify the value of all other evidence to the contrary.

We will examine the case of Indo-European homeland in the light of facts in following areas :

I.    Archaeology and Linguistics.
II.  The Literary Evidence.
III. The Evidence of Linguistic Isoglosses.
IV. Inter-Familial Linguistics.
V.  Indo-Aryan Linguistic Substrata.
VI. Proto-Linguistic Studies.  

ARCHAEOLOGY AND LINGUISTICS

The archaeological evidence has always been against the theory that there was an Aryan influx into India in the second millennium BC, an influx so significant that it was able to completely transform the linguistic character and ethos of almost the entire country.

Well known historian, D.D. Kosambi, admits : “Archaeologically, this period is still blank… There is no special Aryan pottery… no particular Aryan or Indo-Aryan technique identified by the archaeologists even at the close of the second millennium.” But the eminent historian still waxes eloquently in support of the Aryan invasion Theory.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation so far as Europe is concerned. Shan M.M. Winn, for example, points out that “a ‘common European horizon’ developed after 3000 BC, at about the time of the Pit Grave expansion (Kurgan Wave #3). Because of the particular style of ceramics produced, it is usually known as the Corded Ware horizon. However, some authors call it the Battle Axe culture because stone battle axes were frequently placed in burials… The expansion of the Corded Ware cultural variants throughout central, eastern and northern Europe has been construed as the most likely scenario for the origin and dispersal of PIE (Proto-Indo-European) language and culture.”

After a detailed description of this archaeological phenomenon, Winn notes: “Only one conclusion seems reasonably certain : the territory inhabited by the Corded Ware / Battle Axe culture, after its expansions, geographically qualifies it to be the ancestor of the Western or European language branches : Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Italic.”

However, this archaeological phenomenon “does not… explain the presence of Indo-Europeans in Asia, Greece and Anatolia”.This Corded Ware/Battle Axe culture represented the third wave of “the Pit Grave expansion (Kurgan Wave #3)” in the westward direction.  Winn suggests that “an eastern expansion from the Caspian Steppe also occured at this time”, connects the Tocharians with “the culture… known as Afanasievo… located in the Altai region… across the expanse of the Central Asian steppe to its ragged eastern boundary”, and links the Indo-Iranians with the Andronovo culture which “covers much of the Central Asian steppe east of the Ural river and Caspian Sea”.

However, he admits that these identifications are purely hypothetical, and that, even in hypothesis and assuming the Andronovo culture to be Indo-Iranian, “it is still a hazardous task to connect the archaeological evidence… in the Central Asian steppe with the appearance of Iranian (Aryan) and Indic (Indo-Aryan) tribes in Iran, Afghanistan and India”.

He consequently describes Indo-Iranian, archaeologically, as an “Indo-European branch which all homeland theories we have reviewed so far have failed to explain”.The archaeological evidence for any Indo-European (Aryan) influx into India is missing in every respect :

a. There is no archaeological link with any other Indo European culture outside India.

b. There is no archaeological trail leading from outside into India.

c. There is no internal evidence in respect of any notable change in the anthropological or material-cultural situation in the northwestern parts of India, in the second millennium BC, which could be attributed to an Aryan influx.

In fact, the situation is so clear that a majority of archaeologists, both in India and in the West, today summarily reject the idea that there was any Aryan influx into India from outside in the second millennium BC.  They, in fact, go so far as to reject even the very validity of ‘Linguistics’ itself as an academic discipline, which could be qualified to have any say in the matter.

This has created quite a piquant situation in Western academic circles.  In his preface to a published volume (1995) of the papers presented during a conference on Archaeological and Linguistic Approaches to Ethnicity in Ancient South Asia, held in Toronto on 4th-6th October 1991, George Erdosy notes that the Aryan invasion theory “has recently been challenged by archaeologists who – along with linguists – are best qualified to evaluate its validity.  Lack of convincing material (or osteological) traces left behind by the incoming Indo-Aryan speakers, the possibility of explaining cultural change without reference to external factors and – above all – an altered world view (Shaffer 1984) have all contributed to a questioning of assumptions long taken for granted and buttressed by the accumulated weight of two centuries of scholarship.”

However, Erdosy points out, the perspective offered by archaeology, “that of material culture… is in direct conflict with the findings of the other discipline claiming a key to the solution of the ‘Aryan problem’, linguistics… In the face of such conflict, it may be difficult to find avenues of cooperation, yet a satisfactory resolution of the puzzles set by the distribution of Indo-Aryan languages in South Asia demands it. The present volume aims for the first step in that direction, by removing mutual misconceptions regarding the subject matter, aims, methods and limitations of linguistics and archaeology which have greatly contributed to the confusion currently surrounding ‘Aryans’.  Given the debates raging on these issues within as well as between the two disciplines, a guide to the range of contemporary opinion should be particularly valuable for anyone wishing to bridge the disciplinary divide… indeed, the volume neatly encapsulates the relationship between two disciplines intimately involved in a study of the past.”

The archaeologists and anthropologists whose papers feature in the volume include : Jim G. Shaffer and Diane A. Lichtenstein, who “stress the indigenous development of South Asian civilization from the Neolithic onwards, and downplay the role of language in the formation of (pre-modern) ethnic identities”; J. Mark Kenoyer, who “stresses that the cultural history of South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC may be explained without reference to external agents”; and Kenneth A.R. Kennedy, who concludes “that while discontinuities in physical types have certainly been found in South Asia, they are dated to the 5th/4th and to the 1st millennium BC respectively, too early and too late to have any connection with ‘Aryans’.”

Erdosy and Michael Witzel (a co-editor of the volume) seek to counter the archaeologists in two ways :

1. By dismissing the negative archaeological evidence.
2. By stressing the alleged linguistic evidence.

We will examine their efforts under the following heads :

A. The Archaeological Evidence.
B. The Linguistic Evidence.

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

According to Erdosy, “archaeology offers only one perspective, that of material culture”. This limit renders the archaeologists unable to understand the basis of the linguistic theory.

Erdosy stresses that the theory of the spread of the Indo-European languages cannot be dispensed with : “The membership of Indic dialects in the Indo-European family, based not only on lexical but structural criteria, their particularly close relationship to the Iranian branch, and continuing satisfaction with a family-tree model to express these links (Baldi, 1988) all support migrations as the principal (albeit not sole) means of language dispersal.”

But, according to him, the archaeologists fail to understand the nature of these migrations : they think that these migrations are alleged to be mass migrations which led to cataclysmic invasions, all of which would indeed have left behind archaeological evidence.

But, these “images of mass migration… (which) originated with 19th century linguists… exist today principally in the minds of archaeologists and polemicists”. Likewise, “the concept of cataclysmic invasions, for which there is little evidence indeed… are principally held by archaeologists nowadays, not by linguists who postulate more gradual and complex phenomena”.

It is this failure to realize that the “outmoded models of language change” popular among 19th Century linguists have now been replaced by more refined linguistic models, that leads to “overreactions to them (by denying the validity of any migrationist model) by both archaeologists and Hindu fundamentalists”. Thus, in one stroke, Erdosy attributes the opposition of archaeologists to linguistic theory to their ignorance of the subject and clubs them together with “polemicists” and “Hindu fundamentalists” in one broad category of ignoramuses.

But, it is not as easy to dismiss the views of the archaeologists as it is to dismiss those of “Hindu fundamentalists”. It must be noted that the opposition of archaeologists is to the specific aspect of the Aryan theory which states that there was an Aryan influx into India in the second millennium BC, and not to the general theory that the Indo-European language family (whose existence they do not dispute) must have spread through migrations of its speakers : obviously the languages could not have spread through air as pollen does !

But Erdosy puts it as if the archaeologists are irrationally opposed to the very idea of “the membership of the Indic dialects in Indo-European family” or to the “family-tree model”.  It is as if a scientist were to reject the prescriptions of a quack doctor, and the quack doctor were to retaliate by accusing the scientist of rejecting the very science of medicine itself.

The linguists’ answer to the total lack of archaeological evidence of any Aryan influx into India in the second millennium BC, is to “postulate more gradual and complex phenomena”. But, apart from the fact that this sounds very sophisticated and scientific, not to mention superior and patronising, what does the phrase really mean ?  What “gradual and complex phenomena” could account for linguistic transformation of an entire subcontinent without leaving any perceptible archaeological traces behind ?

And it is not just linguistic transformation.  Witzel admits that while “there have been cases where dominant languages succeeded in replacing (almost) all the local languages… what is relatively rare is the adoption of complete systems of belief, mythology and language… yet in South Asia we are dealing precisely with the absorption of not only new languages but also an entire complex of material and spiritual culture ranging from chariotry and horsemanship to Indo-Iranian poetry whose complicated conventions are still used in the Rig Veda.  The old Indo-Iranian religion… was also adopted, along with the Indo-European systems of ancestor worship.”

In keeping with a pattern which will be familiar to anyone studying the writings of supporters of the Aryan invasion theory, such unnatural or anomalous phenomena do not make these scholars rethink their theory; it only makes them try to think of ways to maintain their theory in the face of inconvenient facts. Let’s see how …

Witzel suggests an explanation which he hopes will explain away the lack of archaeological-anthropological evidence. According to him, the original Indic racial stock had settled down in Central Asia, and had “even before their immigration into South Asia, completely ‘Aryanised’ a local population, for example, in the highly developed Turkmenian-Bactrian area… involving both their language and culture.  This is only imaginable as the result of the complete acculturation of both groups… the local Bactrians would have appeared as a typically ‘Vedic’ people with a Vedic civilization.”

Witzel explains that these new “Vedic people” (the Bactrians) later on… moved into the Panjab, Aryanising and assimilating the local population.By the time they reached the Subcontinent… they may have had the typical somatic characteristics of the ancient population of the Turanian/Iranian/Afghan areas, and may not have looked very different from the modem inhabitants of the Indo-Iranian Borderlands.  Their genetic impact would have been negligible, and… would have been ‘lost’ in a few generations in the much larger gene pool of the Indus people.  One should not, therefore, be surprised that ‘Aryan bones’ have not been found so far.”

Witzel, like other scholars who present similar scenarios, is suggesting that the Aryans who migrated into India were not the original Indo-Aryans settled in Central Asia or Southern Russia; they were groups of people native to the areas further south-east, who were “completely Aryanised” in “language and culture”, and that they were so few in number that “their genetic impact would have been negligible” and “would have been ‘lost’ in a few generations in the much larger gene pool of the Indus people”.

The scholars thus try to explain away the lack of archaeological-anthropological evidence by postulating a fantastic scenario which is totally incompatible with the one piece of solid evidence which is available to us today : THE RIG VEDA.

The Rig Veda represents a language, religion and culture, which is the most archaic in the Indo-European world.  As Griffith puts it in his preface to his translation : “As in its original language, we see the roots and shoots of the languages of Greek and Latin, of Celt, Teuton and Slavonian, so the deities, the myths and the religious beliefs and practices of the Veda throw a flood of light upon the religions of all European countries before the introduction of Christianity.  As the science of comparative philology could hardly have existed without the study of Sanskrit, so the comparative history of the religions of the world would have been impossible without the study of the Veda.”

Vedic mythology represents the most primitive form of Indo-European mythology : as MacDonell puts it, the Vedic Gods “are nearer to the physical phenomena which they represent, than the gods of any other Indo-European mythology”. Vedic mythology not only bears links with every single other Indo-European mythology, but is often the only link between any two of them.

Does it appear that the Rig Veda could be the end-product of a long process of migration in which the Indo-Aryans not only lost contact with the other Indo-European branches countless generations earlier in extremely distant regions, and then migrated over long periods through different areas, and finally settled down for so long a period in the area of composition of the Rigveda that even Witzel admits that “in contrast to its close relatives in Iran (Avestan, Old Persian), Vedic Sanskrit is already an Indian language”; but in which the people who composed the Rigveda were in fact not the original Indo-Aryans at all, but a completely new set of people who bore no racial connections at all with the original Indo-Aryans, and were merely the last in a long line of racial groups in a “gradual and complex” process in which the Vedic language and culture was passed from one completely different racial group to another completely different racial-cultural group like a baton in an “Aryanising” relay race from South Russia to India ? !

Clearly, the explanation offered by Witzel is totally inadequate, and untenable as an argument against the negative archaeological evidence.

We shall next present the “Linguistic Evidence” …

through the next few posts in the series !

Please refer https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/journal-alternate-history-7/ and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @ http://www.voiceofdharma.org/books/rig/index.htm

Journal : Alternate History

The Indo-European Homeland

The discredited Aryan Invasion hypothesis (AIT), which we observed about in much detail in previous “Alternate History” blog posts, was essentially motivated by a concern for loss of European primacy in world heritage, linguistic and cultural. The next few tranche in this series shall deal with alternate facts in that regard.

We have seen the evidence of the oldest literary records of Indo-European family of languages : the Rig Veda and the Avesta. They clearly, unambiguously reveal a split of Proto-Aryans into Indo-Aryans, who stayed on in the Indian subcontinent, and Indo-Iranians, who moved from their homeland in in Kashmir to Punjab and Southern Afghanistan, and from there on to west and northwest.

The hypothesised route of Aryan ‘invasion’ through Central Asia and Afghanistan is in fact the route along which the Indo-Iranian branch of Proto-Aryans migrated to Iran and Asia Minor and northwards to Russian regions of Central Asia.

This deals a body-blow to the very roots of AIT, which dogmatically places the original Indo-European homeland in the region northwest of Central Asia, that is in and around South Russia. It clearly points instead to the likelihood that the Indo-European family of languages originated in the Indian subcontinent.

Expectedly, scholars and historians are not convinced by the facts of the case that rule out their pet theory. But more, their reaction to any research, especially by an Indian, takes on rabid expressions aimed at the messenger, from declaration of suspicion to branding him as a fundamentalist or a chauvinistic nationalist. The message then remains unattended for the light of another day !

 The Curious Case Of Victor H. Mair

The fraudulent hypothesis presented by a Western scholar, Victor H. Mair, is a glaring case cultural bias and deep seated prejudice. In a compilation of papers presented at International Conference on Bronze Age and Iron Age held at University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archeology through April 19-21 in 1996, edited by himself, Mair prefaces his presentation with a sharp diatribe against “extremists, chauvinists, and other types of deranged and possibly dangerous persons” in oblique reference to those who locate the Indo-European homeland in highly improbable, if not utterly impossible places as the Arctic, along the Indus Valley, or in Tarim Basin in China. Mair calls them “nationalists and racists of various stripes; kooks and crazies who attribute the rise of Indo-Europeans to extraterritorial visitations.”

At the same time, Mair places himself in a beatific light by announcing that he himself is impelled to carry out “the search for Indo-Europeans and their homeland”, and to “pursue it with enthusiasm”, because : “I perceive such an inquiry to be (1) intrinsically compelling, (2) innately worthwhile, (3) historically significant, (4) humanistically important, (5) devoid of political content, (6) scientifically solvable, and (7) intellectually satisfying”, He, of course, dismisses scholars of a lesser breed with the pompous announcement : “If other people want to distort or pervert the search for their own purposes, that is their problem.”

Mair proceeds to present his thesis in a quasi-humorous vein, likening the spreading Indo-European family to a spreading amoeba. And he presents his final conclusions about the schedule of migrations and expansions of the Indo-European family in the form of a series of nine maps, supposed to represent the situations in 4200 BC, 3700 BC, 3200 BC, 3000 BC, 2500 BC, 2000 BC, 1500 BC, 1000 BC, and 100 BC respectively.

We are concerned here only with his depiction of the Indian geographical area in these maps : incredible as it will seem to any scholar who is even generally acquainted with the facts of the Indo-Iranian case, Mair’s map for 1500 BC shows the undifferentiated Indo-Iranians still located in the north and west of the Caspian Sea !

Which western academic scholar in his right sense, with least concern for academic credentials, will accept such a depiction of the Indo-Iranians in 1500 BC as being honest, based on known facts ? A blatantly mischievous distortion, to say the least ! But Mair, with his trademark pompousity, sweepingly claims that his maps “are intended isochronously to take into account the following types of evidence : linguistic, historical, archaeological, technological, cultural, ethnological, geographical, climatological, chronological and genetic-morpho-metric – roughly in the order of precision with which I am able to control the data, from greatest to least. I have also endeavoured to take into consideration types of data which subsume or bridge two or more basic categories of evidence (e.g. glotto-chronology, dendrochronology, and linguistic paleontology).”

An examination of the maps, on the whole and not just in respect of the Indo-Iranians, shows that Mair would be hard put to explain how his arbitrarily and whimsically drawn-out schedule of migrations and expansions fulfils any one of the above academic criteria, let alone all of them.

Mair claims to be interested in “the search for the Indo-Europeans and their homeland” for a variety of noble reasons but it is clear that his “search” is as far from his intentions as it could be, since his answer – South Russia – is pre-determined. And he lets out that his own “personal preference” would have been to locate the core of the homeland “in Southern Germany, northern Austria, and the western part of what is now the Czech Republic”, i.e. in Hitler’s home ground ! and all those who advocate any other solution automatically fall, in his opinion, in the same category as “kooks and crazies who attribute the rise of Indo-Europeans to extra-territorial visitations”.

Mair is a Western bumpkin masquerading as a scholar editor, working out a history to suit his personal preferences. By what he presents, Mair deserves his own epithets : “extremist, chauvinist… deranged and possibly dangerous person” and seems doubly dangerous, being without the conscientious which is the hallmark of a true scholar. He is deliberately dishonest in going along with the promoted thesis in existing academic environment monopolised by historians with Western pedigree, with whom he well connects, and grants respectability to most blatant fiction while condemning genuine research and shunning fact-based conclusions.

We shall present the “alternate facts” in such an environment, dear Reader …

through the next few posts in the series !

Please refer https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/journal-alternate-history-7/ and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @ http://www.voiceofdharma.org/books/rig/index.htm

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