Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Collapse of the Aryan Invasion Theory

By N. Kazanas, August 2010
The AIT started in late 18th and early 19th centuries as an explanation of the caste system. Thus various European scholars postulated an invasion from non-Indic people (Egyptian or Mesopotamian) who conquered the natives: the invaders (with a strong priestly class) became the two upper castes and the natives the two lower ones (vaishyas and shûdras). This was refined and turned into a linguistic matter after Jones made his speech about the relation between Sanskrit, Greek, Latin etc. The invaders became IE and so was formed a general theory of Aryan or IE invasions to account for the Greek, Italic, Germanic people and so on, in their historical habitats.In mid-nineteenth cent. Max Müller turned the Theory into an entirely linguistic affair. He postulated certain dates for the composition of Indic literature and these became fixed in the minds of indologists. Thereafter, all linguistic refinements for  the  IE  tongues  (Hittite, Greek, Baltic, Slavic etc) were worked out on  this model, namely  that  there was a PIE language which mainly  through migrations  and  invasions  spread  from  an  unspecified  centre  (but  not  India)  and developed into the present different IE language including Old Indic (=Vedic Sanskrit) and Iranian (=Avestan and Old Persian).

At the turn of the 19th to the 20th centuries this view was turned by Europeans  (later the Nazis) into a thoroughly racial affair ascribing to themselves superiority. This racial doctrine has now been abandoned and we have only the linguistic one.
In the 1920s were made the first important discoveries of the ancient Indus Valley or Harappan civilisation. This should have alerted indologists to the possibility that a large part of the Vedic literature was composed by this civilisation which I shall call hereafter the Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation or ISC in short, since most settlements were unearthed on or along the old Sarasvati river. This did not happen. Instead, indologists (mainly sanskritists) found in the ruins of this civilisation evidence that Indo-Aryans invaded and destroyed these cities just as the Rgveda says, according to their own interpretation, that Indra, the chief god of the conquerors destroyed the enemy purs ‘towns, forts’. So a big paradox remained: on the one hand, there was Vedic Literature (a vast corpus) without any other cultural (=archaeological) remains  to  support  it;  on  the  other,  a  large  culture  unearthed  by  archaeologists  but without  literature  despite  its knowledge of writing!
However, in the 1960’s it was established by archaeologists that there had been no invasion , no wars, no violence, and that those towns had fallen into ruination because of natural causes, such as earthquakes which diverted the waters of some rivers and thus caused desiccation on a large scale. But the linguists persisted in their doctrine and the invasion became now “immigration”. But this produced now a second big paradox, i.e. the aryanisation of this vast area where toponymics (=names of rivers, mountains etc) are Aryan (=Sanskritic), not Dravidian or names from another language: small waves of  immigrants, according  to  linguists, produced  the SJ &  IA C 2 aryanisation of a country which only invasion, conquest and coercion could have effected!

Any impartial study of the facts, archaeological and linguistic, shows that there is no evidence of any kind to support the so called “waves of immigrations”.

On  their  side,  all  archaeologists, Western  and  Indian,  say  emphatically  that  there  is  unbroken  continuity  in  the development of the ISC from the seventh millennium to the sixth cent. BCE when the Persian incursions occur. There is no trace at all of any other culture intruding into the ISC.

(a) Anthropological evidence (cranial and skeletal) shows that there was no demographic disruption down to c 600, except perhaps for the period 6000-4500.
(b) Genetical studies now show that there was no inflow of genes into the Indian subcontinent prior to c 600. On the contrary there was flow of genes out of India and into the north-western regions.

Max Müller’s dating of the Vedic Literature is based on fictions and has no basis whatever in reality.

The  so-called  linguistic  evidence  (i.e.  isoglosses,  loan-words  etc)  can  be,  and  have  been,  shown  to  require  no immigration. One eminent  linguist at  least demonstrated  that  the original homeland  is Bactria which  is adjacent  to Saptasindhu, the Land of the Seven Rivers (=N-W India and Pakistan).

Positing Saptasindhu as the original homeland not only does not create problems but, on the contrary, dissolves all difficulties. For instance: (a) Vedic alone has dhâtus and on the whole invariable principles in generating verbs and their conjugations and nouns and their declensions etc. (b) Vedic has both augmented Aorist (=past tense) like á-dhât and an augmented dhât from √dhâ put’. Germanic has only anaugmented and Greek only augmented. (c) Vedic poetry has both  strict metre  and  alliteration whereas Greek  and  Latin  have  only metrical  verses  and Germanic  poetry  has alliterative lines only without strict metre. (d) No two IE cultures ( e.g. Baltic, Celtic, Germanic etc) have any IE theonyms (=names of deities)  to  the exclusion of Vedic. On  the other hand, Vedic has 20  theonyms of which Greek has , Germanic 8, Italic (=Latin) and Celtic 6 and the others even less.

It  is agreed by all,  including Western  invasionists  like Witzel,  that  the ? gveda hymns were composed around  the Sarasvati area. But while  they give a date of composition c 1200-1000,  the available  literary, anthropological and archaeological evidences indicate a date before 3500. Here I summarise broadly the most important points.

1. The Brhadâranyaka Upanisad has a list of 60 teachers. If we allow 15 years for each one, we obtain a period of 900 years. If the BU is of 600 BC, as the AIT scenario wants, the list takes as back to 1500. But none of the 60 teachers nor the doctrine ‘Atman is Brahman’ or ‘I am Brahman’ appear in the RV; the doctrine appears in the Atharva Veda in an approximate form. Given that the RV is linguistically many centuries earlier than the BU, the RVmust be put at least 500-600 earlier, i.e. before 2000!
2.  Linguistically  the  RV is  many  centuries  older  than  the  Brâhmanas and  the  Mahâbhârata.  Palaeoastronomy (astrophysicist N. Achar) has shown that astronomical references in the Shatapatha Brâhmana are true for the date 3000-2950. Several astronomical references in the epic are true for 3100-3000! Thus the RVmust be from about 3500 and before.
3. The Rgveda does not have many features that characterise the ISC and appear only later in post-rigvedic texts. Thus there are NOT–
(a) istakâ the brick, mostly of raw mud, sometimes baked. This was one of the main construction materials in the Early ISC starting at about 3500. Prior to this houses were fashioned of wood with wattle-and-daub, as described in the RV;
(b) larger urban settlements in the RVas we find them in the ISC;
(c) fixed altars or hearths as described in the Yajur Veda and the Brâhmanas;
(d) ruins or ruined towns;
(e) cotton karpâsa;
(f)silver rajata;(g) rice vrîhi;
(h) literacy ‘lipi, lekha(-na)’;
(i) artistic iconography (sculpture, relief, seals).
Bricks are mentioned first in Yajur Veda and extensively in the Brâhmanas. Silver appears as rajata-hiranya in the Yajur Veda; rice vrîhi in the Atharva Veda; cotton karpâsa, first in Baudhâyana’s Sûtras; and so on.
4. The river Sarasvatî is praised as a mighty and all nourishing river in all the Books or the RV except the fourth. Even in late hymns such as 8.21 or 10.64 and 10.177 Sarasvatî is said to give wealth and nourishment and the poets invoke her as «great». In 6.52 Sarasvatî is «swollen by other (three or more) rivers»; in 6.61 she is endless, swift-moving, most dear among her sisters and nourishing the five tribes of the Vedic people; in 2.41.16 Sarasvatî is «best river, best mother, best goddess»; in 7.95.2 this mighty river «flows pure from the mountains to the ocean».
The river dried up around 1900 BCE. So the RV is referring to a condition long before the end of the river. Archaeologists and palaeohydrologists say that Sarasvatî flowed from the Himalayas to the ocean (in the Rann of Kutch) before 3800 BCE. Satellite photos and other analyses confirm now the route of the river from the mountain to the ocean. After this period some of the rivers feeding the Sarasvatî were, due to tectonic shifts, captured by other rivers (eg the Indus and the Ganges) and so this once mighty river weakened and began to dry up reaching its final desiccation c 1900 BCE.

Consequently the RV, or at least all those hymns that praise Sarasvatî were composed before 3600 possibly before 4000. This date agrees with the building materials and techniques (the pre-brick phase) of the very early Harappan culture, as established by archaeologists and as described in RV.

Conclusion:  If  the bulk of several hymns of  the RV were composed c 4000-3600  the  Indoaryans using  the Vedic language were settled  in Saptasindhu at  that period.Whatever else might have happened before  that period,  the Indoaryans were by 1700 BCE thoroughly indigenous.

About  Prof. Nicholas Kazanas

Nicholas Kazanas was born in Greece in 1939. He studied English Literature at University College, Economics and Philosophy at the School of Economic Science and Sanskrit at theSchool of Oriental and African studies – all in London; also post-graduate at SOAS and at Deccan College in Pune. Prof. Kazanas taught in London and Athens and since 1980 has been Director of Omilos Meleton Cultural Institute. In Greece he has published treatises of social, economic and philosophical interest. He has many publications in Western and Indian Journals and some books. He is on the Editorial Board of Adyar Library Bulettin (Chennai). He has participated in international Conferences in London, in the USA and in India. From 1997 he has turned towards the Vedic Tradition and its place in the wider Indo-European culture. This research comprises thorough examination of Indo-European cultures, comparing their philosophical ideas and values, their languages, mythological issues and religions.
Source: https://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/

1 comment:

Yatin Dhareshwar said...

There was a time, when the Sarasvati was the supreme river in the Indian subcontinent by far. It was the time when the Arya tribes were finding their feet in Northern India, Pakistan and then later Afghanistan. A time of many great battles, wars and also the composition of the Rig Veda - perhaps the most ancient texts in the world.

The Sarasvati stood witness to cataclysmic events for centuries until one day it just dried up....

Blood on the river Sarasvati is my attempt to bring to life events that may have occurred several thousand years ago, when the river was at its mightiest.