Monday, February 28, 2011

The collapse of the Aryan Invasion Theory: Nicholas Kazanas (Feb. 2011)

The collapse of the Aryan Invasion Theory

N. Kazanas, 26 Feb. 2011, IIT, Chennai

The Aryan Invasion Theory (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 anaugmented 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 RV must 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 RV must 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 RV as 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 USAand 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

See also:

'Indo-Aryan indigenism and the Aryan Invasion Theory arguments' (refuted)
by N. Kazanas
This paper examines the general IndoEuropean issue and argues in favour of Indoaryan indigenism against the AIT (Aryan Invasion/Immigration Theory) which has been mainstream doctrine for more than a century. The extreme positions that there was no ProtoIndoEuropean (PIE) language or that this language is as currently reconstructed are refuted: the evidence suggests there was a PIE language but this cannot be reconstructed and all efforts and confidence in this reconstruction are misplaced. Indeed, all reconstructions of Proto-languages seem futile and, since they are in no way verifiable, should not be used as evidence for historical events. Indeed all the data used as evidence by the AIT are wholly conjectural and arbitrary and often consist of misrepresentations and distortions, as will be clearly demonstrated in detail. All the arguments used for the AIT have been analytically presented by E. Bryant (2001) and summed up in his concluding chapter. These will be examined one by one and shown to be fallacious. We shall also refer to some material not in Bryant - e.g. genetic studies after 2001CE and mythological motifs never examined in this connection. 
 (Download the PDF file - 291kB)

'Indigenous Indoaryans and the Rigveda', by N. Kazanas
In this paper I argue that the IndoAryans (IA hereafter) are indigenous from at least 4500 (all dates are BCE except when otherwise stated) and possibly 7000. In this effort are utilized the latest archaeological finds and data from Archaeoastronomy, Anthropology and Palaeontology. I use in addition neglected cultural and linguistic evidence. I find no evidence at all for an invasion. The new term "migration" is a misnomer since a migration could not have produced the results found in that area. The Rigveda (=RV) is neither post-Harappan nor contemporaneous with the ISC but much earlier, ie from the 4th millennium (with minor exceptions) and perhaps before.
The bibliography of this study is available as a separate pdf file.
This paper was published in the Journal of IndoEuropean Studies 2002.
 (Download the PDF file - 300kB)

'The RV Date - a Postscript', by N. Kazanas 
This examines some of Prof M Witzel's (erroneous) notions which perpetuate the AIT (=Aryan Invasion Theory) and which had not been discussed in 'The RV and IndoEuropeans'. It presents some new evidence and new ideas for a pre-3100 BC date of the RV and the indigenous origin of the IndoAryans and criticizes Prof Witzel's vicious attacks on some Indian and non-Indian scholars, who promote the indigenist point of view.
 (Download the PDF file - 78kB)

'AIT and Scholarship', by N. Kazanas 
N Kazanas wrote 'AIT and Scholarship' in May-June 2001. This was first posted here. It deals with some additional (erroneous) notions of Prof M Witzel and the major (but not all) aspects of his 'Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts' (EJVS 7-3, pp 1-93, 2001). Apart from the AIT, this study examines other cases of corruption in academic disciplines like Egyptology, Anthropology etc, where evidence against maistream views is discarded, as well as the etymology of the terms 'academia' and 'academic' and the development from Plato's Academy in Athens to modern notions.
 (Download the PDF file - 233kB)

'Reply to prof. Witzel', by N. Kazanas 
Prof Witzel wrote a very superficial critique of 'AIT and Scholarship' ignoring the title, lampooning the presentation of the development of modern academia and making all kinds of irrelevant remarks (5/7/01). So N Kazanas wrote a reply selecting some of the mosts salient points in 'Addendum to "AIT and Scholarship"': reply to Prof Witzel and incorporating some (lengthy) remarks of V Agarwal. All this was completed and posted in sept 2001 here. The most significant point, apart from Prof Witzel's irrelevances, is N Achar's firm discovery that some astronomical dates in the Mahabharata indicate the date of 3067 BC for the Great War.
 (Download the PDF file - 138kB)

'Final Reply', by N. Kazanas.
Reply to nine critics in the debate on Indoaryan Οrigins initiated by and published in theJournal of Indo-european Studies, 2002-2003.
 (Download the PDF file - 170kB)

'A Reply to Michael Witzel's 'Ein Fremdling im Rgveda'' by Vishal Agarwal, 
11 August 2003.
(Journal of Indo-European Studies, Vol. 31, No.1-2: pp.107-185, 2003).
The " A Reply to Michael Witzel's 'Ein Fremdling im Rgveda' " was sent to us by V.Agarwal (Minesotta, USA). It was written in July 2003 as a reply to Prof M. Witzel's 'Ein Fremdling im Rgveda', 2003, Journal of Indo-European Studies, and was posted on the Journal's website. It provides supplementary material to N. Kazanas' 'Final Reply' covering various aspects not dealt with by, or unknown to the latter. One should note that when Kazanas mentions "black copper" (kRshNa-/karshaNa-ayas or Syama- 'swarthy metal') he nowhere means bronze as Witzel takes it (p 175) and Agarwal need not have elaborated the bronze-aspect.
 (Download the PDF file - 596kB)
 (Bibliography - Download the PDF file - 118kB)

'Sanskrit and Proto-Indo-European' by N. Kazanas
This essay is published in 2004 Indian Linguistics. It challenges many generally accepted notions in IndoEuropean linguistics like the 5-grade ablaut, labio-velar sounds, roots etc. At the same time it discloses the great antiquity of Sanskrit (or Vedic) and argues that the Sanskrit retroflex sounds are ProtoIndoEuropean, but lost in the other IE stocks. 
 (Download the PDF file - 159kB)

'Coherence and Preservation in Sanskrit
Published in VVRI 2006
This paper examines more than 400 lexical items that have cognations in 3 or more IE branches (Vedic, Greek, Italic etc) and denote as far as possible invariable things, qualities and activities (bodily parts, relations and actions like breathing, dressing, rising etc). Sanskrit appears to have lost far fewer items and preserves much greater inner organic coherence than the other branches. This supports the general idea that Sanskrit is much closer to Proto-Indo-European and that, since this could happen only in sedentary conditions, the Indoaryan speakers of Sanskrit did not move (much) from the original homeland. Moreover, the criticism that this conclusion does not take into account the large literature in Sanskrit is shown to be fallacious. This collection of words is a good treasury for any comparisons.
 (Download the PDF file - 415kB)

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