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The Aryan Invasion Theory: more than

meets the eye

There are some Indians today who are convinced that the subcontinent's population can be
classified into Indo-Aryan and Dravidian ethnic groups. Ignoring the fact that Indo-Aryan and
Dravidian are defined as being merely language families and so do not denote ethnicity at all,
their conviction shows that it has now become a question of identity.

The Indo-European language family represents a model of the world which incorporates a view
of history, of population dispersal and of language diffusion. Within its framework are to be
found the now-familiar concepts of Aryan, Dravidian, Indo-European languages and their
subfamilies, as well as the notion that at some point in its history, India accommodated entrants
from Eurasia who supposedly brought with them India's first Indo-European language and an
equally alien culture.

With these concepts having entered our everyday lives today (not just our vocabulary, but also
our view of history), it is easy to forget how recent the Indo-European (IE) framework actually
is. In a short span of time, just over two centuries, something has changed entirely. Indians have
started to identify themselves with terms defined within the IE framework and have internalised
its views.

Language and thought

Today, the Indo-European world-view has very cleverly and dangerously reduced our choices to
either Indo-Aryan or Dravidian, thereby excising the valid third option of 'Indian'. This might
appear very trivial, but it is a form of language control. Language control is a means to alter and
limit people's way of thinking. George Orwell's cautionary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four [1]
describes a totalitarian dictatorship that systematically destroys language, thereby shaping the
very thoughts and reality of its undermined subjects. [2]

Language is the means through which humans understand and formulate ideas, and by which we
communicate and express ourselves. Denying language is to deny thought; and controlling
language is to control thought. Although this is what propaganda attempts to do in its own crude
and overt manner, the subtlety of the IE world-view in imposing language control on Indians has
mostly gone unnoticed by us. Many Indians have subconsciously absorbed its views and can now
only look at the world according to how the IE framework has defined it. For a long time now, it
has been shaping the reality of present-day India. Consider that we have a political party (the
DMK) whose name contains the term 'Dravidian', whilst history books have long been teaching
children about Aryans who allegedly invaded India sometime around 1500 BCE. The IE world-
view, through denying us access to the term 'Indian', has effectively started denying our thinking
of ourselves as Indians. It is shaping our perceptions of our own identity.

A few other examples of language control that Indians are being subjected to today include how,
through the media, the term 'Dalit' has slowly but consistently been replacing 'Harijan' [3]; the
vague and merely geographic 'South Asia' has come to replace the historic entity of the 'Indian
subcontinent'; and we are forced to use the Portuguese-derived word 'caste' which describes
neither jati nor varna nor any other Indian word or Hindu concept. [4] Though one may not
immediately see it, these are impositions on our way of viewing and understanding history, our
present world, and ourselves.

Another example: the Holocaust memorial in the US commemorates the genocides of the
'Soviets' and 'Yugoslavs' of World War II. Yet which nation today is called the Soviet Union?
Where is Yugoslavia? There are no people and no nations today that go by these names. This is
tantamount to an act of rewriting history: through calculated use of language, historic atrocities
against the Russians and Serbs have been pushed to the background. Why? In order to prevent
either from gaining public sympathy when the west intends to take action against them: Serbia
during the Balkan Wars of the last decade; and Russia, because its imminent rise might come to
pose a threat to the west. [5]

We return now to the Indo-European framework, which has attempted to explain (that is, to
model) the observed linguistic similarities between European languages and India's Samskritam
and northern languages. Like all models, it is based on some assumptions. Retracing the history
of how the IE linguistic family was formulated will uncover the assumptions underlying its
world-view. By re-examining their validity in light of what is known today, we can re-evaluate
the IE framework and its applicability. And then perhaps, instead of passively accepting it, we
may be in a better position to decide whether or not its world-view should be considered so final
as to determine our own.

The west's understanding of its history and origins prior to

the IE world-view
The origin of language and language diversity

In A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Andrew Dickson White
writes how until the second half of the 18th century, biblical doctrines expounded by the Church
defined all western understanding about the origins of languages, which taught that
the language spoken by the Almighty was Hebrew,--that it was taught by him to Adam,--and that
all other languages on the face of the earth originated from it at the dispersion attending the
destruction of the Tower of Babel.
In the whole of this period, all attempts at explaining the origins of language were based on
Christian theology:
The most amazing efforts were made to trace back everything to the sacred language. English
and Latin dictionaries appeared, in which every word was traced back to a Hebrew root. No
supposition was too absurd in this attempt to square Science with Scripture. [6]
White discusses how
the sacred theory of human language had been developed: how it had been strengthened in every
land until it seemed to bid defiance forever to advancing thought; how it rested firmly upon the
letter of Scripture, upon the explicit declarations of leading fathers of the Church, of the great
doctors of the Middle Ages, of the most eminent theological scholars down to the beginning of
the eighteenth century, and was guarded by the decrees of popes, kings, bishops, Catholic and
Protestant, and the whole hierarchy of authorities in church and state. [7]

The origin of various peoples

Genesis 9:18 to 9:27 of the Old Testament tells the tale of Noah and his three sons, Shem,
Japheth and Ham. For a transgression by Ham, Noah curses Ham's son Canaan (and all his
descendants) to become slaves to Shem and Japheth (and their descendants). [8] According to the
biblical view of history, all the people of the world belonged to one of three races, each
descended from one of Noah's three sons: [9]

• from Shem came the Semitic race, which today includes the Jewish and Arabian people;
• from Japheth came all the Europeans, as per Genesis 10:5 which narrates that the sons of
Japheth moved to the "isles of the Gentiles" or the Greek Isles;
• from Ham came the Hamitic race: long believed to be all other people of the world
(Africans, Asians, native Americans, etc.)

Until but a few centuries ago, this was the understanding that Christian Europe had about its
origins, and that of others. Unlike the Jews, whom the Bible accorded the special position of
being the biblical God's Chosen People, the Europeans - who due to their religion nevertheless
resigned themselves to the biblical view - had no particularly privileged status. Being in second
place did not match with their then expanding powers as colonisers nor with their ambitions.
After the rediscovery of the majesty of the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations, Europeans
wanted to find out more about their origins: A glorious present deserved a glorious past. They
never fully quit the racial biblical view, however, but built on it. [10]
The creation of the IE framework
The field of philology, such as it was, floundered until the 'discovery' of Sanskrit. Andrew
Dickson White writes that the period between Leibnitz (1646 - 1716) arguing against the
cherished "sacred theory" of languages, and this modern development was a period of
philological chaos. It began mainly with the doubts which Leibnitz had forced upon Europe, and
ended only with the beginning of the study of Sanskrit in the latter half of the eighteenth century,
and with the comparisons made by means of the collections of Catharine [the Great], Hervas, and
Adelung at the beginning of the nineteenth.
Further, Such was that chaos of thought into which the discovery of Sanskrit suddenly
threw its great light. Well does one of the foremost modern philologists say that this "was the
electric spark which caused the floating elements to crystallize into regular forms." [11]
When the west encountered Sanskrit in the 18th century, the discovery brought about a
fundamental change in its outlook. Sanskrit was instrumental in the development of the IE
world-view and its associated fields like philology, linguistics and comparative studies. It was
the driving force in the re-imagining of Europe's history, the origin of its peoples and languages.

Sir William Jones (1746 – 1794), the philologist regarded as a linguistic prodigy, made and
propagated "the observation that Sanskrit bore a certain resemblance to classical Greek and
Latin". In his The Sanscrit Language, he "suggested that all three languages had a common root,
and that indeed they may all be further related, in turn, to Gothic and the Celtic languages, as
well as to Persian." [12] He then proposed that there was a relationship between these languages.
Having turned the observation into suggestion and then into proposition, Jones determined that
all these languages were part of a family of languages which he referred to as Japhetic. (See
[13], [14]) This word, biblical in origin, denotes European of descent. Thus the very naming of
this family as Japhetic, reveals the perceived European nature of non-European languages such
as Samskritam, Avestan and other Indian and Iranian languages.

Of course this raised an important question for the west: how did a 'Japhetic' language come to
be spoken in lands populated by 'Hamitic' people? In time, this perceived discrepancy lead to the
idea that these languages would have been introduced from a place external to India. What, then,
had been the means of language transfer? The missionary Abbé Dubois, in his early 19th century
Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, conflated the biblical character Magog, one of the
seven sons of Japheth, with the Indian character Gautama. He then postulated that the brahmanas
of India, because of their knowledge of Samskritam, were descendants of Japheth and originated
in the Caucasus. [15] Obviously, this could not explain how such a vast number of Indians were
speaking Samskritam-derived languages like Hindi. An explanation on a much larger scale was
By the time of Max Müller, the Japhetic language group was being referred to as the Aryan
language family. [16] Slowly there emerged an ever-expanding vision of ancient Europeans, by
then called Aryans, charging through India:

• Max Müller had arbitrarily fixed the date of the Vedas to around 1200 BCE - 1000 BCE
• Equally arbitrarily, the time of entry of the Caucasian Aryans was chosen to lie
somewhere between the 2nd millennium BCE and 1500 BCE
• The linguists had determined that there existed in South India a set of languages unrelated
to any languages of Europe
• The remains of the Indus Valley Civilisation were discovered and found to be much older
than the random dates accorded to the Vedas and the purported entry of the Aryans

And so the Aryan Invasion theory (AIT) was born: in the 2nd millennium BCE, waves of
nomadic chariot-riding Caucasian people from beyond would have come, destroying the Indus
Valley Civilisation, driving the Hamitic (signifying non Caucasian, non Semitic) Dravidians to
the south, subduing and oppressing all. [18]

Koerner [19] tells us how 19th century scholarship in the field of Indo-European languages was
not devoid of racism, even after dropping terms like Japhetic and Hamitic:

To return to the 19th century for a moment, racialist and what we now would call `white
supremacist' views can be traced without any trouble in many scholarly writings, and to dispel
the impression that it was largely a German affair, I could refer to books by American authors
where we find such ideas expressed, one book entitled Lectures on the Arya (Pike 1873), another
The Aryan Race: Its origin and achievements (Morris 1888), the latter affirming "all the savage
tribes of the earth belong to the Negro or Mongolian race [], the Caucasian is pre-eminently the
man of civilization" (pp.23-24), and that it were these Caucasians who had "perfected the Aryan
method of language" (p. 51). (Let us remember, however, that `Aryan' was widely used in lieu of
`Indo-European' in the Anglo-Saxon world, at least until the early 20th century, and certainly not
always with `supremacist' undertones.)

After WWII, the term Indo-European would replace what were formerly called Aryan languages.
[20] But the discussions of the invasion of India would always inevitably involve the proposed
Aryans invading, destroying and then imposing their culture on the subdued populace. Along
with their languages, they were then credited with having brought their Gods, beliefs and social
ethos and having thereafter produced the Hindu religio-philosophical systems. While allegedly
bringing this civilisation to India, the ancestors and relatives of these invaders had meanwhile
also been the people supposedly behind the Parthian, Persian, Median, Greek, Roman and other
civilisations all associated with the Indo-European language family. Europe had finally designed
an ancestry that fit with its then imperial position as colonisers of the world: their Caucasian
ancestors, the Aryans, would have devised and brought high civilisation everywhere.

The myth expands

Arya in Samskritam and Airya in Avestan (ancient Iranian, language of the Zoroastrian
scriptures) are adjectives and do not denote either race or language.

When referring to Aryans, the indologists mean neither the citizens of Aryavarta, nor the people
of the region Aryana in adjoining Afghanistan, nor the Zoroastrian Persians of Airyana (Iran)
whom Greco-Romans had referred to as 'Arians' to indicate their nationality. [21] Instead,
indology, being firmly entrenched in its world-view, interprets the above as supporting the IE
framework and regards all these lands as those peopled or invaded by the various sub-branches
of the founding Aryans.

Having invented and defined the original Aryans as the people who had dispersed in various
directions and created civilisations in so many quarters of the Eurasian landmass, and having
explained, through a series of invasion and migration models, the presence of languages deemed
IE in non-European countries, Europe now set itself new quests:

+ search for the supposed original language of the supposed original Aryans
The original Aryans were presumed to have spoken the parent IE language, because the linguistic
rules developed by indologists (to establish the relationship between the languages they had
proposed as IE [22]) pointed to the existence of such a language, which they deemed extinct. It is
to be noted that this hypothetical language, Proto-Indo-European (PIE) as it is called, exists only
within the IE framework. It is nowhere attested in the historical record, it has left no traces of
itself in any literature, there is no physical evidence for its ever having existed. Undeterred by
this, however, the indologists focussed much effort into reconstructing it. Since there is not even
a shred of tangible proof for PIE's existence, there can be no question of confirming the accuracy
of any reconstruction: there are no external (non-linguistic) means of validating it. Thus, IE
linguistics becomes the sole arbiter of determining whether or not any reconstruction of PIE is

+ search for the supposed original homeland of the supposed original Aryans
This is purported to be the region of the Eurasian landmass where the Aryans would have
originated (where they spoke PIE) and from where they would have dispersed. It is referred to as
the Urheimat, German for 'original homeland, place of origin'.
The search for the Urheimat has looked through various places: from Germany, Scandinavia and
other parts of north-western Europe, to Eastern-Europe and parts of Russia, to south-eastern
Europe (Anatolia) and Central Asia, and - in the initial stages of IE research - India and Iran. [23]
North-west Europe was eventually ruled out for the most part. There are still several takers for
Eastern-Europe, the Russian expanse or the Caucasus, and a number for Anatolia (now Turkey).
In general, the Urheimat has now come to be described by a vague 'Central Asia' - a term taken
to encompass most of Eurasia beyond the Indian and Persian lands.

That the search for the Aryan homeland is often motivated and influenced by reasons other than
the pursuit of truth, is shown by Koerner, who observes that

Both linguists and archaeologists have been obsessed with the desire to pinpoint the location of
the homeland of the Indo-Europeans since the beginning of our studies, and their search has
unfortunately not always been devoid of political motivation
and that in the 19th century a sizeable number of linguists, too, had ideological, including at
times religious and possibly political, agendas for doing so. From the 19th century onwards,
we can see the number of possible homelands proposed, not always by linguists but also by
archaeologists, cultural historians, and amateur writers, beginning to multiply: from Anatolia to
the Balkans, from the southern Russian steppes to northern Europe, to central Europe, and
eventually to Germany. The arguments in favour of a particular location were manifold, and
varied according to the authors' expertise, personal interests or beliefs and, maybe, prejudices.
They could be based on matters of climate, geography, history, archaeology, myth, religion, and
of course language. More often than not, people seem to have picked a `pet' location first,
and then engaged in selecting their `evidence' from any field in support of their `theory'.
Koerner then goes on to find that this held true not just prior to and during WWII, but also in
recent times. Next to Gamkrelidze's arguments [25] for a place close to his native Georgia:
Other recent authors could be added, like Kilian (1983) arguing in favour of Central Europe,
notably Lithuania, or Witold Ma _ czak (b.1924), in a variety of publications over the past
twenty years, pleading for today's Poland as the location of the Indo-European homeland.2

In short, Europe's interest in its origins had now taken it a long way from the start:

• They invented the Aryans, whom no one had heard of and of whom there is no evidence.
There are no historical markers testifying to the 'original Aryans' poised to disperse and
invade; there are only records of items and cultures that are considered flattering enough
to be deemed 'Aryan'.
• Then they thought that these Aryans would probably have had an original homeland.
Thus the Aryan Urheimat idea was born and they started frantically looking for the
homeland which they assumed that the supposed Aryans (whom they had invented)
would have had.
• They also looked at rebuilding the hypothetical PIE language, which they thought extinct,
supposedly spoken by the unattested Aryans in their unknown Urheimat. Since this was a
linguistic matter, both the evidence for the existence of PIE and the proof of correctness
of its reconstruction were provided entirely within the field of linguistics, making PIE

From there having been no knowledge of any Aryans at all, Europe had within a few decades
envisioned them, attributed qualities to them (Caucasian appearance, civilisational and
philosophical skills), constructed the language they might have spoken and looked for the place
they might have originated. And all this for a people about whom history is entirely silent.

The IE world-view and reality

Sanskrit was the key for generating the Indo-European theory and in the development of its
associated subjects like philology and linguistics. Only after 1830, when indologists had
translated numerous Sanskrit texts, did the west finally form an origin theory for its languages
and people that was independent of the Bible. Until the IE language family and corresponding
world-view gave them an alternative (non-religious) vision, the history of Europe had been the
history of Christianity and their origin understood to be as given in the Bible.
It allowed the west to devise a secular narrative of history for itself (the IE framework) - one
based on a model of language dispersal and migration of races, instead of one based on biblical
myths. It was this non-Christian narrative that later became the secular western understanding of
the past. But it was also used by communism in projecting the history and origin of Europe as
being separate from religion.

The assumptions and central premise of the Indo-European world-view

We have seen how the name of the language family has evolved along with the times: from
initially being called Japhetic (signifying its European-ness), to Aryan (referring to the Caucasian
people thought to have migrated to other parts and invaded other lands), and finally to the
present term of Indo-European. Its new name, having now lost the overt racialist connotations,
appears to merely signify the expanse from Europe to India where these languages have been
spoken historically. Yet the underlying premise of the IE world-view has not changed, regardless
of the change in name. The IE framework still holds fast to the idea that these languages are
European in origin: not connected to Europe geographically, but intrinsically connected to those
of its people whose ancestors are thought to have spoken an Indo-European language. The IE
world-view is still centred on the idea that this group of people, the so-called Aryans, gave rise to
the Indo-European languages and the civilisations derived from it; that these people and their
languages share a common origin. [26] As evidence for this, linguists point to Proto-Indo-
European - despite the fact that PIE itself is constructed and validated only by IE linguistics.

Since the central thesis posits that all IE languages are rooted in PIE and are therefore European
('Aryan') in origin, all assumptions of the IE framework derive from this:

• Any language that does not bear similarities to Europe's IE languages, is considered not
IE and not related. Thus, the languages of South India, bearing no relation to Europe's IE
languages, are not IE. They are therefore also dismissed in toto from ever being
considered as related to Samskritam. The IE framework has restricted all talk of
relationships between these Indian languages to that of only 'substrates' and 'borrowing'.
• Indians are not allowed to have developed an indigenous language that evolved into
Samskritam, because Samskritam, being deemed IE, must have been derived from PIE
and so is related to European languages, making it European (Aryan).
• Religio-philosophical, cultural and other civilisational developments associated with
Samskritam are automatically conferred on the mythical Aryans as being 'Indo-European'
• India is consequently only ever viewed as a meeting place of various ethnic groups and
languages - that is, various peoples were to have invaded or migrated into India and
brought their languages with them. The IE world-view does not allow any possibility of
considering the opposite: that India might have been the seeding ground for large
diversifying population groups, giving rise to its different languages; with some outward
bound populations.

Research in other sciences which contradict the IE framework

Current research in genetics, archaeology and anthropology have shown that there was no
invasion (AIT), no migration (AMT) and no influx of Aryans into India:

• The inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), after its demise due to natural
causes, resettled in the Punjab and Gujarat - not the South as the Aryan Invasion Theory
had us believe. Other than this, archaeology can detect no cultural discontinuity in the
Indian subcontinent, but rather affirms the opposite. [27] The same is confirmed in
anthropology, which finds that the remains of the ancient Harappans of IVC match with
the present-day people of the subcontinent's north-west (Punjab, Gujarat). [28]
• Most of the subcontinent's gene pool is ancient and indigenous. India has received no
significant genetic input from Central Asia. (See [29] for more information.) The little
that has been found, could merely be from the Shaka invasions of the 1st century BCE, or
it could be counter-indicative: outward-bound migrations of a number of small Indian
tribes who settled West Asia and Central Asia. This is also supported by the fact that the
Tarim Basin dwellers were specifically not European, but were the same as the
inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilisation. [30]

This means that the method by which indologists had envisioned the introduction of Indo-Aryan
languages (starting with Samskritam) into the subcontinent has fallen through. Therefore, the
very nature of the link between Samskritam and the European languages has to be re-investigated
[31] - but indology is not doing that. (See also [32])

Unwilling to re-evaluate the IE framework's basic premise

If data from genetics, archaeology and anthropology appear to support the IE framework, they
are cited as evidence for the entry of Aryans into India and for the introduction of an IE language
sub-family. However, when studies in these sciences show no entrants into India anywhere near
the time-frame considered and instead reveal a picture of a continuous indigenous civilisation
going back many millennia, the IE framework disregards all such evidence as being merely
secondary in nature. [33]

Linguistics is thus considered the field that trumps all others; the IE framework's basic premise is
considered to have the final say in all matters. Regardless of whether any external evidence
supports it, it is to be blindly accepted that the internal, linguistic evidence supporting the IE
framework is so strong, that its fundamental premise still holds in spite of any indications to the
contrary. Since it is self-sustaining - originating within linguistics, its existence verified and its
rules validated internally by linguistics - it cannot be disproved by the other sciences.

It is this underlying basis of the IE world-view which gave rise to the theory of an Aryan
Invasion of India. [34] It follows then, that even on disproving this invasion, or migration or
influx, the central thesis will still not be abandoned: Samskritam will still be considered of
European extraction, because it is considered an IE language derived from PIE. IE's central
premise, kept alive unnaturally by not allowing challenges to itself from areas external to
linguistics, continuously gives rise to variations on the AIT/AMT/influx/acculturation theories as
it constantly attempts to explain the perceived extra-Indian origins of Samskritam.
For instance, at a time when the genetics research into the subcontinent had not yet progressed
far, Frank Raymond Allchin [1995] argued that there must have been Indo-Aryan entrants into
India to bring the Indo-Aryan languages there:

we hold the view that the initial introduction of any ancient language to a new area can only have
been a result of the movement of speakers of that language into that area. [35]
That was in 1995. With each genetics study, therefore, genetic markers that could potentially
indicate the 'Aryan entry' were regarded with great interest. As it happened, each of those which
were initially considered to be 'Aryan Invasion markers', eventually turned out to be indigenous
to India instead, being both older and more diverse within the Indian gene pool. [36] After a
recent genetics study, the National Geographic News article of January 10, 2006 begins with:
India Acquired Language, Not Genes, From West, Study Says
Most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading Central Asian steppe dwellers,
a new genetic study reports. [37]
Since the gene pool of the Indian subcontinent has now been shown to be ancient and
indigenous, the final resort for indology is to claim that only the language was transferred. This,
in spite of the fact that they had previously - by their own admission as seen above - insisted that
any ancient language required the immigration of its speakers to introduce it into new territories.
Disheartened perhaps, but not defeated, the proponents of the IE framework have only changed
their explanations of what constitutes an invasion, migration or influx. The new models
generated by indology for explaining the means of IE language diffusion are becoming
increasingly more divorced from anything that can be (in)validated by other sciences. In this
way, the field of linguistics has now entirely appropriated control of picturing the history of the
IE language in India. [38] Comparative linguistics and philology, working in a theoretical
vacuum, insist on continuing to do so when it comes to Indo-European language matters by
disregarding counter-indications from the other sciences.

Bias in Indo-European research


That the field of linguistics is not without its share of ideological bias, is revealed by Koerner in
Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language, which focussed on

specific, conscious or subconscious underpinnings of arguments made or maintained within the

science of language, i.e., the field of linguistics, which is often presumed to be guided only by
value-free scientific principles in the search of truth.
He deals specifically
with two other areas in the history of linguistics that can be shown to have carried along with
them in one form or another an ideological baggage from the early 19th century onwards,
namely, language classification and the search for the Indo-European homeland.
Koerner cites numerous instances of ideological considerations influencing language
classification and typology in IE research since the 19th century [39]:
The connection between language and the people who speak it has always been there, of course;
it just needed to be argued that some languages and hence their speakers were more `primitive'
than others. For instance, Franz Bopp (1791-1867), the supposed `founder' of comparative Indo-
European linguistics ... could be shown to have made connections, if not a direct identification,
between language structure and the cultural state of its speakers.
Indeed, a careful study of language classification and the `genius' of the people speaking
particular languages would reveal that these value judgments and prejudices are by no means
confined to German-speaking lands: France and the United States, for instance, have their fair
share in this. Even the great American Sanskritist and general linguist William Dwight Whitney
(1827-1894) cannot be excluded from criticism (Whitney 1867; cf. Hutton 1998:269-271), at
least from today's vantage point. However, none of these scholars could be found expounding
racial theories.
Koerner concludes that:
the field must learn to accept that linguistics, past and present, has never been 'value free', but
has often been subject to a variety of external influences and opinions, not all of them beneficial
to either the discipline itself or the society that sustains it. [40]


Besides other ideological motivations [41], racism, too, has played its part in IE studies and the
framework it constructed, as has been noted by a number of scientists in the field. As recently as
the late 90s, archaeologists Jim Schaffer and Diane Lichtenstein remarked:

As data accumulate to support cultural continuity in South Asian prehistoric and historic periods,
a considerable restructuring of existing interpretative paradigms must take place. We reject most
strongly the simplistic historical interpretations, which date back to the eighteenth century, that
continue to be imposed in South Asian culture history. These still prevailing interpretations are
significantly diminished by European ethnocentrism, colonialism, racism, and antisemitism.
Surely, as South Asia studies approaches 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. [42]
Anthropologist Edmund Leach wrote an essay on the same in 1990. [43] In spite of all this,
visions of Caucasians and even Nordic stereotypes invading India, which had been so prevalent
in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, never really died out and are still held by several
indologists. (See also [44].) Evidently, the terms 'Aryan' and 'Indo-European' have not lost their
original racial connotations.

The Aryan Invasion of India, postulated by early western indologists, hinged on their methods of
classifying languages. Their linguistic rules for doing so appear to have been motivated by their
bias in favour of their belief in Aryans (which had lead them from Japhetic to racial Aryans to
linguistic Aryans who were yet Caucasoid, to the basic assumption that all IE languages are
European of origin). Since there was no way to go back in time to check on the real events of
history, the early indologists felt confident that their constructed version of history was secure
from questioning.

As time progressed, the field of indology got more sophisticated. With the new name for their
language family (Indo-European) no longer betraying its less scientific origins, and with the
establishment of whole fields of science dedicated to researching and tracking down the Aryans,
PIE, and the IE Urheimat, the IE framework has by now gained so much legitimacy that it has
managed to convince many Indians to uncritically accept its whole premise.

The parallel case of Rwanda

Timothy Longman's paper Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda [45] discusses the
creation of ethnic categories in Rwanda by missionaries, its enforcement by the German and
Belgian colonial governments and its perpetuation through the missionary-colonial education
system. The paper highlights a case very similar to that of India.
In the introductory essay to his edited volume on the construction of ethnicity in Southern Africa,
Leroy Vail argues that European Christian missionaries played a crucial role in the development
of ethnic ideologies in Africa.
Vail argues that missionaries "incorporated into the curricula of their mission schools the lesson
that the pupils had clear ethnic identities," and claims that they "educated local Africans who
then themselves served as the most important force in shaping the new ethnic ideologies."(16)
The role of missionaries in the construction of ethnicity in Rwanda offers an excellent example
of the process that Vail describes. In Rwanda, missionaries played a primary role in creating
ethnic myths and interpreting Rwandan social organization -- not only for colonial
administrators, but ultimately for the Rwandan population itself. The concepts of ethnicity
developed by the missionaries served as a basis for the German and Belgian colonial policies of
indirect rule which helped to transform relatively flexible pre-colonial social categories into
clearly defined ethnic groups. Following independence, leaders who were trained in church
schools relied extensively on ethnic ideologies to gain support, thus helping to intensify and
solidify ethnic divisions. The exact meaning of the categories of Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa in pre-
colonial Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire is a subject of considerable debate among scholars. Nearly
all scholars, however, agree that the three were not clearly distinct and rigidly separated
ethnic groups. The three groups shared a common language and common religious practices,
and they lived in the same communities throughout the region. The groups were distinguished
primarily by their position within the political and economic system, which assigned members of
each group specific economic activities and social roles.
Longman then writes how the missionaries
viewed Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa as three distinct peoples representing three separate waves of
immigration. They viewed the Twa as the autochthonous population, the original inhabitants of
the region, who many centuries earlier were subdued by Bantu migrants from the west who
became the Hutu. According to the missionary account, the Tutsi arrived from the northeast
sometime later, around 1600, and because of their clear superiority, conquered the Hutu, whom
they had ruled ever since. Doubting that Africans could have designed so complex and efficient a
political system, the missionaries hypothesized that the Tutsi were not really African but a
Hamitic or Semitic group from the Middle East, perhaps a lost tribe of Israel.(18)
The shift in missionary support from Tutsi to Hutu in the 1950s did not substantially alter either
the nature of the Rwandan ethnic system or the role of the churches in defining ethnicity in
Rwanda. While myths of Tutsi superiority and a long history of dominance over the Hutu served
to justify continued Tutsi control of Rwanda in the early colonial period, the same inaccurate
history became justification for revolution in the era following World War II. The new
"progressive" missionaries who championed the cause of the Hutu in the 1950s promoted an
ideology of exploitation that identified the Tutsi as the culprits in Rwandan history while
ignoring exploitation by the German and Belgian colonial rulers. Hence, when a Hutu uprising
occurred in 1959, attacks were directed against the Tutsi rather than the Belgian
administrators.(21) The inaccurate idea promulgated by the missionaries that Tutsi had grossly
exploited the Hutu for centuries continues to shape Hutu understandings of Rwandan history and
eventually became a primary ideological justification for genocide.

India's situation during colonialism was also fuelled by similar reasons: the euro-centrism of the
imperialists, the theological motivations of its missionaries posing as scholars, as well as serving
political and economic purposes. Koenraad Elst observes:

The AIT was turned into a political tool in order to question the Indian identity of the Indians,
and thereby weaken the claims of Indians to their own country. This political use of the AIT
continues till today, especially at the hands of what Hindu nationalists call “the anti-national
forces”. Christian “liberation theologians”, Islamic missionaries, assorted separatists and like-
minded anti-Hindu or anti-India activists... [46]

For all of the similarities with the myth created for Rwanda, there is but one main difference in
India's case: the linguistic one. It stems from the fact that Rwandan Tutsis were identified as
possibly Semitic, not Japhetic like North Indians were (for speaking languages thought to be IE).
This intimately tied India and its people to Europe's search for its own origins and identity.
Whatever myth Europe has created for itself has now enmeshed India with it. The linguistic
aspect has become but an additional support for the fictive history created for India; one that has
served to perpetuate the tale long after the British Empire ceased to exist.

The west has now dropped the lies it had created about Rwandan origins - perhaps it was the
recent genocide that claimed between 800,000 and a million Rwandan lives, that finally did it.
The IE-framework, however, in spite of the copious genetic and other evidence to the contrary,
still insists on 'Aryans' entering 'Dravidian' India, merely in order to satisfy its linguistic model.

The linguistic model central to the IE framework is non-falsifiable, because it does not lend itself
to extra-linguistic scrutiny or evaluation. Logically speaking, the rejection of the major
AIT/AMT-related scenarios, which posited that Caucasian IE-speakers came to India (and upon
which hinged indology's model of IE language diffusion in the subcontinent), should have made
indologists take another look at their basic premise and the very nature of the linguistic
connections. (Refer to [47].) Yet indologists still refrain from questioning their linguistic model:
they do not re-assess their central assumptions about PIE, the Aryans and the Urheimat. This is
why present-day findings in genetics, Indian archaeology and anthropology, including that of the
Tarim Basin, has but lessened the force of the IE world-view's thrust. Since indology still retains
the basic premise that underpins its whole framework, it attempts to bypass the findings of the
other sciences by giving rise to new scenarios of small-scale Aryan migrations down to tiny
There might be other explanations to account for the similarities that Samskritam and Avestan
bear to the various European languages; explanations which do not necessarily coincide with the
monolith of the IE framework. Indology's continued insistence on linguistics being the final
determinant in all matters relating to the spread of IE languages and in defining the nature of the
connections between various languages deemed IE, could well be obstructing the envisioning of
new paradigms: models that might be able to explain the observed similarities between
Samskritam, Avestan and European languages, whilst still being consistent with the data revealed
in the other sciences.

Time to ask why

Why does their model still persist? Why do indologists not reconsider the fundamental premise
of their theory? Though they have retracted the Aryan Invasion and have been forced to give up
large scale migrations (to the point where, at present, one must imagine tiny bands of Aryan
entrants to have silently crept into India, wiped out all records of their presence and interactions
there, and then disappeared or died out without passing on their genes), they refuse to
reformulate or even re-evaluate their basic assumption.
Why? What are the reason(s) governing indology's non-self-critical approach when dealing with
counter-evidence from other sciences?

As we have seen, linguistics has historically been, and continues to be, motivated by concerns
that are not always scientific. What motivations are driving IE linguistics and indology research

• Is it inertia? Are they unwilling to sift through the material that laid the foundations of IE
research in the last 150 years of the field? Or are they, unlike real scientists [48], so sure
of the inerrancy of their framework that they are unwilling to re-evaluate it, its
assumptions and central premise?
• Has the IE world-view come to define the very identity of the west? Has their view of
their past and their origins become so intimately tied up with the Indo-European
framework? (See also [49])
• Are there other motivations propping up the IE framework today, just like there was
during the period of British imperialism when the AIT served its purpose? [50]

Indians today need to reconsider whether they should so whole-heartedly base their entire world-
view upon a model whose very premise remains unverified and unverifiable. [51]

[1] Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, 1949, electronic version
[2] As described by a casual reviewer summarising this particular thrust of George Orwell's
[3] Dalit or Harijan? Self-Naming by Scheduled Caste Interviewees by Alan Marriott
The terms harijan and dalit have evolved over the last many decades, with the latter more or less
replacing the former in published works of recent years. What do members of the scheduled
castes call themselves?
Though the media prefers to use dalit consistently, the same does not hold true for the very
Indians under consideration:
The data from the National Family Health Survey of 1998-99 suggests they strongly prefer
harijan to dalit.
The paper also states that
while harijan (or harizan or some other spelling) was used by 1351 respondents in 18 different
states, and a number of respondents used scheduled caste, not one respondent chose dalit.
[4] Similarly, the term 'adivasi' (meaning aboriginal or indigenous), introduced by Christian
missionaries as a means to designate India's tribes, implies that all other Indians are not
indigenous. See Koenraad Elst, Who is a Hindu, Voice of India, New Delhi (Ch. 9)
[5] See What is the Vatican Hiding? The Vatican's Complicity in Genocide in Fascist Croatia -
The Suppressed Chapter of Holocaust History by Barry Lituchy, 1998
[6] A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, by Andrew Dickson
White, 1896
The biblical world-view permeating the west determined their understanding of all aspects of the

• The biblical chronology, which put the creation of the world at around 4004 BCE, greatly
influenced the dating of various distant civilisations and cultures.
• Not only did Christian peoples of the west believe that the mythical Babel incident gave
rise to the many languages of the world, but The Warfare of Science With Theology by
Andrew Dickson White reveals how some went so far as explaining that America (like
other 'drifting' continents) was separated from Europe by the same divinely-instigated
natural disaster which had caused the tower of Babel to fall.
• White also states how there were even those who argued that not only all the languages,
but all the learning of the world, had been drawn from the Hebrew records.
• For a long time, even letters were thought to have come down from Adam, who was also
regarded as the first philosopher for having named all animals (except fish) according to
their natures. From the 18th century on, writing was attributed to Moses. Yet, writes

this theory of letters was soon to be doomed like the other parts of the sacred theory.
Studies in Comparative Philology, based upon researches in India, began to be reenforced
by facts regarding the inscriptions in Egypt, the cuneiform inscriptions of Assyria, the
legends of Chaldea, and the folklore of China--where it was found in the sacred books
that the animals were named by Fohi, and with such wisdom and insight that every name
disclosed the nature of the corresponding animal.

[7] ibid.
[8] Genesis 9, New International Version. (In some versions of the Bible, the Hebrew word for
'slave' is translated as 'servant'. The NIV has translated this correctly as 'slave'.)
[9] Wikipedia, Japhet, as at 26 July 2006
The first chapter of Stefan Arvidsson's Aryan Idols, titled "From Noah’s Sons to the Aryan Race:
The Foundation Is Laid", looks at how the idea of Aryan (Indo-European) ethnicity originated in
the Bible's racial classification. (Stefan Arvidsson, Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as
Ideology and Science. Translated by Sonia Wichmann, The University of Chicago Press, 2006)
[10] As we have seen, it was not just the racial ideas of the Bible that continued to hold sway in
scholarship. For a long time, the origins of the various languages of the world were still
accounted for by referring to the biblical Babel myth:
By the 19th century the idea of Hebrew as the lingua Adamica had been abandoned, and Babel
was no longer used as an explanation for the varieties of languages in the world, though some of
these ideas lingered on among members of the educated public.
E. F. K. Koerner, Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language, University of Ottawa
[11] A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, by Andrew Dickson
White, 1896
[12] Wikipedia, William Jones, as at 26 July 2006
[13] That William Jones was influenced by and not independent of his biblical leanings is
additionally corroborated by Koerner (Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language):
Sir William Jones, in 1792, still adhered largely to traditional biblical scholarship, which set the
date of the Flood as about 2,350 B.C
Jones also took Genesis to be true, including the Babel myth:
we may for the present assume, that the second, or silver, age of the Hindus was subsequent to
the dispersion from Babel
[14] Because of the many indologists who were working entirely from and for the Christian
perspective, the biblical account of history was made secure by condensing Indian history to fit
into the Christian chronology.
Edwin Bryant (Quest of the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate, 2000)
writes that near the end of the 18th century, philologer Sir William Jones
concluded his researches by claiming to have “traced the foundation of the Indian empire above
three thousand eight hundred years from now” (145), that is to say, safely within the confines of
Bishop Usher's creation date of 4004 B.C.E. and, more important, within the parameters of the
Great Flood, which Jones considered to have occurred in 2350 B.C.E. Such undertakings afford
us a glimpse of some of the tensions that many European scholars were facing in their encounter
with India at the end of the eighteenth century; the influence of the times clearly weighed
heavily. However, Jones's compromise with the biblical narrative did make the new Orientalism
safe for Anglicans: “Jones in effect showed that Sanskrit literature was not an enemy but an ally
of the Bible, supplying independent corroboration of the Bible's version of history” (Trautmann,
1997, 74). Jones's chronological researches did manage to calm the waters somewhat and
“effectively guaranteed that the new admiration for Hinduism would reinforce Christianity and
would not work for its overthrow” (74).
Nevertheless, numerous indologists in the 18th century were of the opinion that India was the
origin of civilisation.
[15] Abbé J.A. Dubois, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, 1816 (p. 100-103). Scans of
these pages: 100-101, 102-103
The languages native to Caucasia (the Caucasus region) are called Caucasian languages. They
are non-Indo-European. Since IE languages are not native to Caucasia and most of them arrived
there in later times, this makes Abbé Dubois' suggestion - that the Samskritam-speaking
brahmanas must have originated in the Caucasus - another of his uninformed conjectures.
Caucasia, Microsoft Encarta 2002 (Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)

Caucasia or Caucasus mountainous region ... includes the countries of Georgia, Armenia, and
Azerbaijan, as well as a portion of far southern Russia. ... The region’s native Caucasian
languages are usually divided into two main groups: North Caucasian and South Caucasian.
...The most widely spoken South Caucasian language is Georgian.
Caucasia also has a number of Indo-European languages, including Armenian, Russian, and
Ukrainian, as well as languages of the Indo-Iranian languages subfamily such as Kurdish and
Ossetic. The third major language group in Caucasia consists of Altaic languages, including the
Turkic languages Azeri and Karachay-Balkar.
In the Northern part of Caucasia, Ossetic, a modern Iranian language (modern remnant of
Sarmatian), is spoken. North Ossetia is also known as Alania - derived from the Alans, a
Sarmatian tribe who had moved into this region in the 4th century BCE. The various Sarmatian
tribes, just like the Scythians, all spoke Iranian languages. The Altaic languages (non-IE) spoken
in Caucasia are also from recent times. The Slavic IE languages Russian and Ukrainian are
spoken in North Caucasia, because this is the region where Russia borders Caucasia. In South
Caucasia (Transcaucasia), Armenian is one of the IE languages spoken; and because this is where
Caucasia borders Iran and Kurdistan, Iranian languages like Kurdish are also spoken here.
It is also interesting to note that most of the languages spoken by the very people who have been
considered as having the original European (Caucasian) features, are languages that are not part
of the Indo-European language family at all.
[16] Friedrich Max Müller, Science of Language, Vol. 1 (p.460).
Max Müller was not the first to refer to the whole language family as Aryan, but he helped
popularise it. Anquetil-Duperron had already come up with the term in 1763, after which the
19th century indologists Schlegel and Pictet used the same in their works.
[17] Life and Letters of the Rt. Hon. Friedrich Max Muller, Vol. 1 (p. 152)
The collection of hymns of the Rig-veda was completed towards 1000 B.C. That cannot of
course be proved like 2 + 2 = 4, but it is as sure as all our knowledge of these times can be.
Klaus Klostermaier, in Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian
History writes that
Max Müller himself conceded the purely conjectural nature of the Vedic chronology, and in the
last work published shortly before his death, The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy, admitted:
'Whatever may be the date of the Vedic hymns, whether 1500 or 15 000 BCE, they have their
own unique place and stand by themselves in the literature of the world' (p.35).
Astronomical data and the Aryan question by Koenraad Elst, states that
In a rather shoddy way, Friedrich Max Müller launched the hypothesis that the Rg-Veda had to
be dated to about 1200 BC, and eventhough he later retracted it, that arbitrary guess has become
the orthodoxy.1 It is forgotten too often that in his own day, other scholars rejected this
extremely late date on a variety of grounds.
Among the early arguments against Müller's dating that Elst discusses, we read that:
In 1790, the Scottish mathematician John Playfair demonstrated that the starting-date of the
astronomical observations recorded in the tables still in use among Hindu astrologers (of which
three copies had reached Europe between 1687 and 1787) had to be 4300 BC.3 His proposal was
dismissed as absurd by some, but it was not refuted by any scientist.
Playfair's judicious use of astronomy was countered by John Bentley with a Scriptural argument
which we now must consider invalid.
Bentley argued that a high antiquity for the Hindu scriptures would "sap the very foundations" of
Christianity by turning the Mosaic account into myth.
Playfair also showed that it was impossible for the ancient astronomical observations recorded in
Hindu scriptures to have been back-calculated from a later age.
That Hindu astronomical lore about ancient tuimes cannot be based on later back-calculation,
was also argued by Playfair's contemporary, the French astronomer Jean-Sylvain Bailly: "the
motions of the stars calculated by the Hindus before some 4500 years vary not even a single
minute from the [modern] tables of Cassini and Meyer. The Indian tables give the same annual
variation of the moon as that discovered by Tycho Brahe -- a variation unknown to the school of
Alexandria and also the the Arabs".6
[18] Later on, Max Müller in his Rig-Veda-Samhita: The Sacred Hymns of the Brahmans,
redefined what he had initially meant with 'Aryan':
"I have declared again and again that if I say Aryans, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair
nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language..."
That Max Müller recanted, not denied, that he ever referred to an 'Aryan race' (and in connection
with the 'Aryan languages'), is apparent from biologist Julian Huxley who repudiated Müller's
institution and use of the term in such a manner. Huxley wrote (Oxford Pamphlet No. 5, OUP: p
In 1848, the young German scholar Friederich Max Müller (1823 – 1900) settled in Oxford….
About 1853 he introduced into the English language the unlucky term Aryan as applied to a large
group of languages. … Moreover, Max Müller threw another apple of discord. He introduced a
proposition that is demonstrably false. He spoke not only of a definite Aryan language and its
descendants, but also of a corresponding ‘Aryan race’. The idea was rapidly taken up both in
Germany and in England. (Ibid.)
In England and America the phrase ‘Aryan race’ has quite ceased to be used by writers with
scientific knowledge, though it appears occasionally in political and propagandist literature…. In
Germany, the idea of the ‘Aryan race’ received no more scientific support than in England.
Nevertheless, it found able and very persistent literary advocates who made it appear very
flattering to local vanity. It therefore steadily spread, fostered by special conditions. (Ibid)
[19] E. F. K. Koerner, Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language, University of Ottawa
[20] Indo-Germanic was also used for a long time (in place of what is now called Indo-
European), often with the attendant notions of race.
[21] Diodorus of Sicily (1st century BCE) in his Library of History wrote about the Zoroastrian
(Mazdean) Iranians:
Thus it is recorded that among the Arians, Zathraustes [Zoroaster] claimed that the Good Spirit
gave him his laws...
This, however, is not proof that Iranians described themselves racially (or linguistically) as
"Aryans" (Elst, Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, Ch 1.4):
Iranian Avesta uses Airya in referring to a specific community, the cultivators in the Oxus river
basin, contrasting it with nomadic barbarians who were similar in race and equally Iranian-
speaking (generically known as Shakas/Scythians), but who were not part of the sedentary
Mazdean “Airya” world.
It is also noteworthy that Shakas (Scythians) spoke Iranian languages (Elst, Update on the Aryan
Invasion Debate, Ch 5.3), not any other languages that are considered IE:
However, every testimony we have of the Scythians, including the Haumavarga ones in whose
sites traces of the Soma ceremony have been found, is as an Iranian-speaking people.
Beyond the regions of India, Afghanistan and ancient Iran, no countries have been found with
either Arya or Airya in their name. It is a complete error, though it has now become a common
one, to imagine Ireland (Eireann, not pronounced like Aryan) is named for this word.
Mythical Ireland explains the real origins of that country's name:
Eire - variant of Eriu, one of the greatest of the women of the Tuatha de Danaan, she was one of
three daughters of the Dagda who gave her name to Ireland
[22] "The early Indo-European studies established many principles basic to comparative
linguistics", Indo-European Languages (section Establishment of the Family), Microsoft Encarta
[23] E. F. K. Koerner, Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language, University of Ottawa
[24] ibid.
[25] ibid. Apparently there is no lack of suggestions for the Aryan homeland, with each
motivated scholar creating new theories to reconstruct PIE in such a way that would make their
chosen region the Urheimat:
Gamkrelidze's paleontological reconstructions as regards the words for fauna and flora
supposedly shared by the Indo-Europeans and used in support of his argument in favour of the
location of their homeland in the northern slopes of the Caucasus, incidentally at the doorsteps of
Gamkrelidze's home country, Georgia.
Gamkrelidze's so-called Glottalic Theory is one of the major proposals in the market of ideas in
the field, and his Caucasian homeland hypothesis is one of the main current contestants, next to
the late Marija Gimbutas' (1921-1994) Kurgan or Eurasian Steppe hypothesis and Colin
Renfrew's (b.1929) Anatolian theory. So we cannot argue that we have here to do with a marginal
author, outside the main field of Indo-European studies.
[26] Though it is no longer made explicit, these Aryans (or Indo-Europeans) are still by-and-
large assumed to be Caucasian in features (see [44]). The IE framework does allow that their
precursors, the 'Proto-Indo-Europeans', might not have had the Caucasian features expected of
the later PIE-speaking Aryans. This is yet another area where IE research has set itself a quest:
finding the untraceable Aryans was not enough. Their ancestors too have been considered.
[27] Archaeology:
In Migration, Philology and South Asian Archaeology (1999), archaeologists James Schaffer and
Diane Lichtenstein conclude:
That the archaeological record and significant oral and literature traditions of South Asia are now
converging has significant implications for regional cultural history. A few scholars have
proposed that there is nothing in the "literature" firmly placing the Indo-Aryans, the generally
perceived founders of the modern South Asian cultural traditions(s), outside of South Asia, and
now the archaeological record is confirming this…. Within the context of cultural continuity
described here, an archaeologically significant indigenously significant discontinuity was a
regional population shift from the Indus valley, in the west, to locations east and southeast, a
phenomenon also recorded in ancient oral traditions. As data accumulate to support cultural
continuity in South Asian prehistoric and historic periods, a considerable restructuring of existing
interpretative paradigms must take place.
James Schaffer and Diane Lichtenstein, Migration, Philology and South Asian Archaeology, in
"Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia: Evidence, Interpretation and History," (University of
Michigan Press, 1999).
[28] Physical anthropology (Wikipedia, as at 31 July 2006):

1. Kenneth Kennedy (1984), who examined 300 skeletons from the Indus Valley
Civilization, concludes that the ancient Harappans

“are not markedly different in their skeletal biology from the present-day inhabitants of
Northwestern India and Pakistan”(p.102).

A later study [a] finds no evidence of discontinuities in the skeletal record during and
immediately after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization. The two discontinuities
that Kennedy finds in the prehistoric skeletal record do not correspond to the second
millennium BCE. The first of these discontinuities occurred between 6000-4500 BCE (a
separation of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic inhabitants of Mehrgarh), and the second
occurred after 800 BCE (between 800-200 BCE). He concludes that

"there is no evidence of demographic disruptions in the north-western sector of the

subcontinent during and immediately after the decline of the Harappan culture. If Vedic
Aryans were a biological entity represented by the skeletons from Timargarha, then their
biological features of cranial and dental anatomy were not distinct to a marked degree
from what we encountered in the ancient Harappans.” (1995: 54).

Comparing the Harappan and Gandhara cultures, Kennedy remarks that:

“Our multivariate approach does not define the biological identity of an ancient Aryan
population, but it does indicate that the Indus Valley and Gandhara peoples shared a
number of craniometric, odontometric and discrete traits that point to a high degree of
biological affinity.” (1995: 49).

The craniometric variables of prehistoric and living South Asians also showed an

"obvious separation" from the prehistoric people of the Iranian plateau and western Asia
(1995: 49).

2. Brian E. Hemphill and Alexander F. Christensen's study (1994) of the migration of

genetic traits does not support a movement of Aryan speakers into the Indus Valley
around 1500 BC. According to Hemphill's study,

"Gene flow from Bactria occurs much later, and does not impact Indus Valley gene pools
until the dawn of the Christian era."

In a more recent study, Hemphill concludes that

"the data provide no support for any model of massive migration and gene flow between
the oases of Bactria and the Indus Valley. Rather, patterns of phenetic affinity best
conform to a pattern of long-standing, but low-level bidirectional mutual exchange."[b]
[a] (Hemphill, Lukacs and Kennedy 1991, see also Kenneth Kennedy 1995)
[b] Hemphill 1998 "Biological Affinities and Adaptions of Bronze Age Bactrians: III. An initial
craniometric assessment", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 106, 329-348.; Hemphill
1999 "Biological Affinities and Adaptions of Bronze Age Bactrians: III. A Craniometric
Investigation of Bactrian Origins", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 108, 173-192
[29] Genetics:

1. Stephen Oppenheimer's book The Real Eve on population genetics shows how humans
from Africa first went to India and from there, humans then settled the rest of the world.
According to his research, India was populated from the South, to the East and then the
rest of India. (Oppenheimer's results on human population dispersal are summarised in a
pictorial presentation: Journey of Mankind). He specifically writes what his research
findings revealed about any Aryan Invasion of India:

For me and for Toomas Kivisild, South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17 and
his ancestors; and sure enough we find highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17
line in Pakistan, India, and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 is not only
more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia but diversity characterizes its presence in
isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a marker of a
`male Aryan Invasion of India', (p. 152).

Study of the geographical distribution and the diversity of genetic branches and stems
again suggests that Ruslan, along with his son M17, arose early in South Asia,
somewhere near India, and subsequently spread not only south-east to Australia but also
north, directly to Central Asia, before splitting east and west into Europe and East Asia
(p. 153).

Higher diversity and frequency indicate greater ancientry and origin populations, thus
making South Indian tribes the origin for M17.
Central Asia was initially populated from India:

Nowhere outside of Africa do we find such deep diversity [as in South Asia] except, to a
much lesser extent, in Central and North Asia. This picture of Central Asia as another
transition zone between East and West is borne out in the rich mixture of European and
Asian maternal mtDNA line also found in that region, suggesting that one of the primary
splits after the arrival in India was to travel north up the Indus to Central Asia. (p.191)

2. Kivisild et al., Deep common ancestry of Indian and western-Eurasian mitochondrial

DNA lineages, Current Biology, 9:1331–1334, 1999
It shows that the European and Indian lineages for a key genetic cluster (haplogroup U2)
split around 53,000 +/- 4000 years ago.
3. Kivisild et al., An Indian Ancestry: a Key for Understanding Human Diversity in Europe
and Beyond, Archaeogenetics: DNA and the population prehistory of Europe, edited by
Colin Renfrew & Katie Boyle, McDonald Institute of Monographs, 267-275, 2000
This confirms Stephen Oppenheimer's research on population dispersal, but this paper
specifically looks at how Europe was populated and the part the Indian gene pool played
in it.
4. Kivisild et al., The Genetic Heritage of the Earliest Settlers Persists Both in Indian Tribal
and Caste Populations, The American Society of Human Genetics, 72:313–332, 2003
Two ancient tribal groups from South India - the Chenchus and Koyas - were analysed
and it has been shown that not only are their genes pervasive throughout the entire Indian
population, but they are also present in the West Asian population (Afghanistan, Iran):

Taken together, these results show that Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely
from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have
received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene.

5. Kivisild et al., The Genetics of Language and Farming Spread in India, Examining the
farming/language dispersal hypothesis, edited by Peter Bellwood & Colin Renfrew,
McDonald Institute of Monographs, 215-222, 2003

Indians appear to display the higher diversity both in haplogroups 3 and 9 - even if a
pooled sample of eastern and southern European populations was considered. If we were
to use the same arithmetic and logic (sensu haplogroup 9 is Neolithic) to give an
interpretation of this table, then the straightforward suggestion would be that both
Neolithic (agriculture) and Indo-European languages arose in India and from there,
spread to Europe.

That is, were the researchers of this paper to use the same reasoning (as the indologists
who expected haplogroup 9 to be the invasion marker, indicating the direction of IE
language diffusion) in determining which genes were associated with the spread of IE
languages and farming, then the results of their research would point to India as having
been the origin for both. Of course, the IE world-view does not accept genetics
interpretations that will make India the origin of IE languages, thereby contradicting the
central premise of the IE framework.

6. Sengupta et al., Y-Chromosomal Variation in India, The American Journal of Human

Genetics, 78:202-221, 2006
("Polarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distributions in India
Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic
Influence of Central Asian Pastoralists")

The ages of accumulated microsatellite variation in the majority of Indian haplogroups

exceed 10,000–15,000 years, which attests to the antiquity of regional differentiation.
Therefore, our data do not support models that invoke a pronounced recent genetic input
from Central Asia to explain the observed genetic variation in South Asia. R1a1 and R2
haplogroups indicate demographic complexity that is inconsistent with a recent single
history. Associated microsatellite analyses of the high-frequency R1a1 haplogroup
chromosomes indicate independent recent histories of the Indus Valley and the peninsular
Indian region. Our data are also more consistent with a peninsular origin of Dravidian
speakers than a source with proximity to the Indus...
This shows that the genetic input from Central Asia in recent times is very minor - and
such as it is, it does not necessarily indicate a small band of Aryans bringing the IE
Additionally, the results indicate how old the regional genetic variation in India actually
is: exceeding 10,000-15,000 years. It also reveals that South Indians were not driven
south from the IVC, but had generally been living in the peninsular region of India even
as far back as the times of the Harrappan civilisation.

[30] Bioarchaeology: The Lives and Lifestyles of Past People, Clark Spencer Larsen, Journal of
Archaeological Research, Vol. 10, No. 2, June 2002 .
..Cavalli-Sforza (2000) argued that populations living in the Tarim Basin of western China
(Xinjiang Province) had a European origin. He noted that the mummies Bioarchaeology 145
found there lacked the so-called “Mongoloid” cranial features that distinguish them from
surrounding Asian groups. Hemphill’s biodistance analysis of cranial metrics, however, provides
compelling evidence that the ancestry of the Tarim Basin groups was non-European (Hemphill,
2000). Rather, his analysis reveals a biological affinity with the Indus Valley population of
northern India for the earlier groups, whereas the later groups show affinity to populations of the
Oxus River valley in south-central Asia.
The Oxus River starts in the Pamir mountain region of north-eastern Afghanistan and south-
western Tajikistan, and passes northeast through the border region between Turkmenistan and
Uzbekistan, emptying in the Aral Sea.
[31] Of course, the relation between Persia's Avestan and India's Samskritam is apparent from
these two countries' ancient scriptures, the Zend-Avesta and the Rg Veda. See also Shrikant G.
Talageri, The Rigveda, A Historical Analysis, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi (Ch. 6)
[32] The preface to Myth of Aryan Invasion, Update by Dr. David Frawley (2005) takes into
account the results of recent studies in bringing together the findings about the Indian
subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and provides an explanation that is consistent with the data.
[33] The initial searches for Aryan entrants into India looked for invaders or migrants from
Central Asia, Eastern-Europe and beyond. Since the sciences found nothing but a dearth of
evidence for this, the case has become so desperate that proponents of an 'Aryan entry' have now
started looking for migrations from regions nearer by: Iran, Afghanistan; even Pakistan and areas
west of the Sindhu which are known to have been part of the same gene pool until more recent
Nevertheless, even considering such rigged cases, genetics shows that population dispersal
occurred in the opposite direction: from within India's south, to east, then west and beyond into
West Asia. (Only in an earlier, questionable, genetics study did the data lead to concluding an
invasion; the biased nature of that study is discussed in the article Hating Hindus in a scholarly
way by V. Agarwal, section 13.)

It appears that researchers have now even been tempted to look for an invasion of India by the
Indus Valley Civilisation, but conclude that this, too, did not happen:
The pattern of clustering does not support the model that the primary source of the R1a1-M17
chromosomes in India was Central Asia or the Indus Valley via Indo-European speakers.
(Sengupta et al.: Y-Chromosomal Variation in India, 2006)
Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, indologists, firmly fixed in the IE framework, continue to
search for the Indo-Aryans.
[34] To bolster the AIT, and indeed, serving to support the general Indo-European framework,
various statements in the Vedas were misinterpreted and mistranslated (the Puranas are ignored)
to find invasionist terms and, more recently, to find mentions of any migration into India from
the west:

• Vishal Agarwal, The Aryan Migration Theory: Fabricating Literary Evidence

However, the AIT has become unfashionable now, and even certain Western Indologists
like Hans Heinrich Hock (an eminent linguist) have come to acknowledge that the earlier
invasionist interpretations of the Rigveda were in error [Ref. 9] and that the Rigveda does
not allude to any invasions from Central Asia to India.

• It has been shown that Dasas, Dasyus and Panis are names of Iranian tribes (Dahas,
Dahyus, and the Iranian tribe which was called Parnoi in Greek). They do not therefore,
as frequently assumed, refer to any people(s) supposedly subdued by any invading
Aryans. See Koenraad Elst, The Vedic Evidence
• Koenraad Elst's, Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi
(Ch.4.8), discusses more invasionist terms
• Koenraad Elst, Aryan Invasion Theory and Politics: the Case of David Duke

Next to reading evidence for an invasion into the Vedas, indology has also ignored useful
information (though contrary to the AIT) that is present. Astronomical data and the Aryan
question by Koenraad Elst, discusses the astronomical arguments against the late dates accorded
to the Hindu scriptures.
[35] Quoted in V. Agarwal, What is the Aryan Migration Theory? See section D. Varieties of
[36] Paul Manansala, an associate of Stephen Oppenheimer, remarked on how haplogroups
(genetic clusters) formerly thought to have been of European origin and indicative of an Aryan
invasion, are later ignored when found to have originated in India. Referring to [29]6, he writes:
This looks like an "advance to the rear" strategy.
While admitting that Central Asians had little Holocene impact on South Asia in terms of Y
chromosomes, they are also cutting off any possible South Asian origin for markers in Central
Asia and Europe.
In other words, when R1a1 was thought to have indicated an Indo-Aryan invasion/migration it
had one origin, now that it could possibly show migrations the other way around, it possibly has
multiple independent origins.
[37] India Acquired Language, Not Genes, From West, Study Says, National Geographic News,
January 10, 2006
Referred to in A new genetic study says most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not
invading Central Asian steppe dwellers, Science Daily
[38] A very feeble explanation for the presence of the Indo-Aryan language subgroup of IE - one
which will leave no discernible genetic imprint nor be significant enough to be detectable in
archaeology or anthropology - has been suggested by indologist Michael Witzel (V. Agarwal,
What is the Aryan Migration Theory?, section E. The First Aryan 'Migrants': Victorious
Marchers or Lost Tribes?):
He says, in a message dated 13 April 2001 on the Indology list[6] :
Ehret's "elite kit" and a post-Indus, opportunistic shift to more pastoralism will work best here.
No big wave of "invaders" is necessary then, just some Afghani tribesmen who chose to stay in
their winter quarters in the Indus, instead of going back to the Afghani highlands (as they did in
Avestan times and as they still do.)
Of course, this new scenario ensures that the IE world-view is retained, without having to defer
to the other sciences: the IE language enters India from 'beyond' (in this case Afghanistan). And
since the effort on the part of the 'Aryan entrants' trickling in is no longer like the full-blown
Invasion of before, no (counter-)evidence for such imperceptible movements can ever be offered
in the other sciences. In this way, the job of providing evidence for such events having happened
at all, is yet again diverted to rest solely on comparative linguistics and philology. It becomes a
closed system, where scenarios are posited and proven within the IE framework, since they
cannot be substantiated outside of it.
In the end, indology might have to consider finalising the scenario to the Aryan Encounters
Theory: the Indians, all of whom are indigenous to the subcontinent, would have obtained the
Indo-Aryan languages from contact with the Aryans who came and went leaving behind no
evidence except the presence of the IE languages in India. In this way, the unattested Aryans, the
unrecorded PIE and the undiscovered Urheimat will be joined by the unrecorded Aryan Contact.
Thereby still leaving the burden of disproving this unverifiable narration on Indians.
[39] E. F. K. Koerner, Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language, University of Ottawa
Koerner shows how some linguists working in typology and language classification were
presupposed to thinking certain linguistic characteristics demonstrated that some languages were
more developed and therefore superior than others. Though this ranking was implicit at times, it
was nevertheless influenced by their perceptions and motivated by extra-linguistic
Subjective considerations are also apparent in William Jones' informal argument for a
relationship between Greek, Latin and Samskritam (published in The Third Anniversary
Discourse, On the Hindus):
The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than
the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to
both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could
possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine
them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which,
perhaps, no longer exists: there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing
that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same
origin with the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family.
It is worth noting that Old Persian (Avestan) bears a far greater resemblance to Samskritam than
any of these other languages - though Jones, in spite of his highly regarded capacity as a
philologer and his knowledge of Persian, which he had studied, failed to perceive the extent of
the close kinship between Samskritam and Avestan.
[40] E. F. K. Koerner, Linguistics and Ideology in the Study of Language, University of Ottawa
[41] Early Indology of India - part I and part II looks at the theological motivations of various
early indologists, showing how these were not always above suspicion. Yet it is not only Indo-
European linguistics that has suffered from ideologically motivated scholars. The identification
of Dravidian as a separate linguistic, cultural and even racial group, was initiated by Bishop
Robert Caldwell, a Scottish missionary, who did not always make effort to conceal his biases
[42] James Schaffer and Diane Lichtenstein, Migration, Philology and South Asian Archaeology,
in "Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia: Evidence, Interpretation and History," (University of
Michigan Press, 1999).
[43] Edmund Leach, Aryan Invasions Over Four Millennia. Published in the book "Culture
Through Time" (edited by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, Stanford University Press, 1990).
Subhash Kak in his sulekha article Indology and Racism quotes from Leach's paper:
Why do serious scholars persist in believing in the Aryan invasions?... Why is this sort of thing
attractive? Who finds it attractive? Why has the development of early Sanskrit come to be so
dogmatically associated with an Aryan invasion?...

Where the Indo-European philologists are concerned, the invasion argument is tied in with their
assumption that if a particular language is identified as having been used in a particular locality
at a particular time, no attention need be paid to what was there before; the slate is wiped clean.
Obviously, the easiest way to imagine this happening in real life is to have a military conquest
that obliterates the previously existing population!

The details of the theory fit in with this racist framework... Because of their commitment to a
unilineal segmentary history of language development that needed to be mapped onto the
ground, the philologists took it for granted that proto-Indo-Iranian was a language that had
originated outside either India or Iran. Hence it followed that the text of the Rig Veda was in a
language that was actually spoken by those who introduced this earliest form of Sanskrit into
India. From this we derived the myth of the Aryan invasions. QED.

The origin myth of British colonial imperialism helped the elite administrators in the Indian Civil
Service to see themselves as bringing `pure' civilization to a country in which civilization of the
most sophisticated (but 'morally corrupt') kind was already nearly 6,000 years old. Here I will
only remark that the hold of this myth on the British middle-class imagination is so strong that
even today, 44 years after the death of Hitler and 43 years after the creation of an independent
India and independent Pakistan, the Aryan invasions of the second millennium BC are still
treated as if they were an established fact of history.
[44] Belief in the Hamitic-Japhetic dichotomy of the IE framework continues, with communist-
historian D.N. Jha appealing to its authority in arguing for Aryans with Caucasian features,
obviously undeterred by the fact that there is no evidence for any 'Aryans' at all:
It is likely that the early Aryans had some consciousness of their distinctive physical appearance.
They were generally fair, the indigenous people dark in complexion. The colour of the skin may
have been an important mark of their identity.
There's no more talk about IE speakers, it's down to real business now. Besides speculating about
the Aryans' appearance, Jha can apparently read the minds and infer the opinions of unattested
people presumed long dead: seeing as how he discusses their consciousness and thinks to know
how they may have identified themselves. All this, whilst actual scientists have yet to find any
proof of Aryans.
This belief is shared not only by Witzel [1997:xxii, note 54] , but even exceeded by the more
extreme expectations of Victor Mair [Mair 1998:14-15] who prefers his Aryan invaders-cum-
migrants to have full-blown Caucasian features. (V. Agarwal, What is the Aryan Migration
Theory?, section G. Physical Appearance of the Aryan 'Migrants')
Not only indology, but also Indo-European studies in general, is suffering from racialist readings
and expectations. In 1999, IE researchers assumed the Tarim Basin dwellers to be Caucasian
Indo-Europeans. Nathan Light in his Hidden Discourses of Race: Imagining Europeans in China
(1999), shows how IE scholars were already hypothesising an IE contact with China, where
Caucasian Indo-Europeans would have influenced Chinese civilisation via the Tarim Basin
(effectively an Aryan Civilisational Contact scenario for China). Pages 3 and 4 of Indo-European
Pursuits, Scientific paths diverge in the quest for ancient Eurasians, Science News, Vol.147,
No.8, 1995 shows how motivated indologists readily and eagerly jumped to conclusions about IE
Europeans contributing greatly to Chinese civilisation.
Then in 2000, anthropologist Brian Hemphill showed that the Tarim Basin people were
specifically not European.
Tracking Genes Across the Globe, by Theodore G. Schurr in American Scientist Online:
Genes, Peoples, and Languages is a thorough summary of the biogenetic data from modern
human populations. But some of its interpretations don't reflect the complexity of recent
findings. The putative Caucasoid ancestry of mummified individuals found in the 1970s in the
Tarim Basin in Xinjiang Province in western China is a case in point. As Cavalli-Sforza notes,
these mummies lacked typical mongoloid (northern Asian) cranial features, had greater stature
and different hair color than other populations in the area and differed in their material culture
from surrounding Asian groups. Some individuals were buried with tartans similar to those made
in Scotland, Austria and Switzerland. It was hypothesized that the Tarim Basin people spoke an
extinct Indo-European language (Tocharian) and were pastoralists from the Russian steppes who
migrated from northern Europe into western China some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

Despite the fact that preliminary mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data suggested a possible
European (Eurasian) origin for these people, a craniometric study by B. E. Hemphill published
in 2000 (after Genes, Peoples, and Languages had presumably gone to press) indicates that the
Tarim Basin populations had a more complex ancestry than was initially supposed. The earliest
groups had their closest affinities with populations from the Indus Valley, and the later ones
exhibited affinities with peoples of the Oxus River Valley of south-central Asia, with both groups
being considerably divergent from one another. These results argue against a Russian steppe
origin for the Tarim Basin peoples and indicate that further genetic research is needed to clarify
their relationships to other Indo-European and South Asian populations.
The above also shows how 'Eurasian' has come to imply European (Caucasian). Thus, even in
genetics studies looking for an Aryan Invasion of India, DNA samples from Central Asia and
Eurasia are in general immediately categorised as European. This means Iranian populations of
Central Asia are classed as European too when their DNA is compared with India. [33] discusses
this further.
[45] Timothy Longman, Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda, Revision of paper
originally prepared for the Conference on Genocide, Religion, and Modernity, United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum, May 11-13, 1997, Vassar College
[46] Koenraad Elst, Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi (Ch.
[47] There are cases in which linguistics has been way off center, like in postulating an
Austronesian homeland in isolated Taiwan.
The unity of the Altaic language family (like the inclusion of Japanese therein and the connection
between Turkic and Japanese) is regularly questioned. Therefore, expressing similar doubts about
the IE language family should not be considered taboo either. In fact, some archaeologists are
critical of the linguistic approach, including when it comes to IE.
Indo-European Pursuits, Scientific paths diverge in the quest for ancient Eurasians, Science
News, Vol. 147, No. 8, 1995
In an ironic twist, Indo-European’s close family ties have triggered an estrangement in the last
decade between archaeologists and linguists, the two groups of scientists most involved in
answering questions about the origins of modern Eurasians.
Many archaeologists have come to view this linguistic exercise as potentially misleading and, at
best, secondary to excavations of ancient human settlements.
Archaeologist John Robb of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, for instance
argues that prehistoric Indo-European may elude curious linguists forever.
The growth of states and civilizations, which began around 6,000 years ago, probably wiped out
the majority of languages that had flourished for the previous few thousand years in farming
communities, Robb writes in the December 1993 ANTIQUITY. Linguistic loss was hastened in
parts of the Indo-European world by the adoption of languages used in regional trade and the
borrowing of words from foreign speakers. These words were eventually woven into entirely
new “creole” languages, Robb holds.
Indo-European tongues predominate today by happenstance. They were spoken just outside the
range of civilizations expanding out from the Middle East and thus escaped this linguistic
onslaught, the Michigan archaeologist says. Moreover, some languages now lumped under the
Indo-European rubric may have acquired vocabulary and grammatical resemblances
through random changes over time, Robb says.
[48] Compare the complacency of indology in re-evaluating its basic premise, to the behaviour
of real scientists: Guardian Unlimited (July '04), Hawking: I've solved the black hole riddle
Physicist does U-turn on his theory of the parallel universe - and loses his bet in the process
" I want to report that I think I have solved a major problem in theoretical physics." With those
words the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking opened a lecture at a scientific conference in
Dublin yesterday which, in true Hawking style, overturned decades of scientific thinking,
surprised and thrilled many of his academic peers and left everyone else scratching their heads.
[49] From the book description of Aryan Idols (Stefan Arvidsson, Aryan Idols: Indo-European
Mythology as Ideology and Science. Translated by Sonia Wichmann, The University of Chicago
Press, 2006):
Critically examining the discourse of Indo-European scholarship over the past two hundred
years, Aryan Idols demonstrates how the interconnected concepts of “Indo-European” and
“Aryan” as ethnic categories have been shaped by, and used for, various ideologies. Stefan
Arvidsson traces the evolution of the Aryan idea through the nineteenth century—from its roots
in Bible-based classifications and William Jones’s discovery of commonalities among Sanskrit,
Latin, and Greek to its use by scholars in fields such as archaeology, anthropology, folklore,
comparative religion, and history. Along the way, Arvidsson maps out the changing ways in
which Aryans were imagined and relates such shifts to social, historical, and political processes.
Concerning ethnic origins, it is particularly interesting to find that although English is considered
an Indo-European language of the Germanic subfamily and although the various Celtic
languages of the British Isles (Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Breton, Cornish) are
also grouped as Indo-European, geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer has examined the genetic data
for the region and concluded that most of the population living in these Isles have descended
from a people related to the Basques (one of Europe's pre-Indo-European peoples, who originally
spoke a non-Indo-European language).
Myths of British ancestry by Stephen Oppenheimer, October 2006
Everything you know about British and Irish ancestry is wrong. Our ancestors were
Basques, not Celts. The Celts were not wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons, in fact neither had much
impact on the genetic stock of these islands
What is more, new evidence from genetic analysis (see note below) indicates that the Anglo-
Saxons and Celts, to the extent that they can be defined genetically, were both small immigrant
minorities. Neither group had much more impact on the British Isles gene pool than the Vikings,
the Normans or, indeed, immigrants of the past 50 years.

The genetic evidence shows that three quarters of our ancestors came to this corner of Europe as
hunter-gatherers, between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago, after the melting of the ice caps but
before the land broke away from the mainland and divided into islands. Our subsequent
separation from Europe has preserved a genetic time capsule of southwestern Europe during the
ice age, which we share most closely with the former ice-age refuge in the Basque country. The
first settlers were unlikely to have spoken a Celtic language but possibly a tongue related to the
unique Basque language.

Another wave of immigration arrived during the Neolithic period, when farming developed
about 6,500 years ago. But the English still derive most of their current gene pool from the
same early Basque source as the Irish, Welsh and Scots. These figures are at odds with the
modern perceptions of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon ethnicity based on more recent invasions. There
were many later invasions, as well as less violent immigrations, and each left a genetic signal,
but no individual event contributed much more than 5 per cent to our modern genetic mix.
Therefore, most of the gene pool of the British Isles is of pre-IE European (Basque) origin, while
the genetic input of immigrants who introduced the IE languages into this region is small. This
means that most of the population of these Isles are today speaking languages of an immigrant
language-family: IE.

IE languages are also imports to Germanic-speaking lands, whose indigenous people were not
The following excerpts from Universalisme en heidendom ('Universalism and heathendom') by
Koen Elst are followed by their translations. Elst is writing from the European point of view, so
the use of 'foreign' below refers to places outside of today's Germanic-speaking regions:

Omgekeerd zijn zogenaamd voorouderlijke tradities in feite uitheems. Of zoals ik in een Asatru-
publikatie las: “De Asen kwamen uit Azie”. Zo is recent aangetoond dat de legende van koning
Arthur eigenlijk uit Iran afkomstig is.
Translation: Conversely, so-called ancestral traditions are in fact foreign. Or like I read in an
Asatru-publication: "The Aesir came from Asia." Likewise, it has recently been demonstrated
that the legend of king Arthur actually originates in Iran.
Aldus is ook het Germaanse heidendom goeddeels uitheems. Wij weten inmiddels met
toenemende nauwkeurigheid dat de Germaans-sprekende bevolking een mengsel is van een Oud-
Europese oerbevolking en een groep Indo-Europees-sprekende immigranten uit het Oosten.
Hoever uit het Oosten -- Oekraine, Centraal-Azie, India? -- is nog steeds voorwerp van diskussie,
maar in ieder geval een heel eind van hier. De kernwoordenschat van het Gerrnaans, bij uitstek
een bastaardtaal, bestaat voor zowat een kwart uit niet-Indo-Europese woorden (bv. drinken,
schaap, eik, smaak) die blijkbaar door de oerbevolking in de door hen overgenomen taal van de
dominante nieuwkomers binnengesmokkeld zijn. Op kultureel en religieus gebied is ongetwijfeld
hetzelfde gebeurd: de Germaanse tradities bestaan uit een mengsel van inheemse Oud-Europese
en ingevoerde Indo-Europese elementen.
Translation: Thus, a signicant portion of Germanic heathendom is also foreign. We now know
with increasing accuracy that the Germanic-speaking population is a mixture of an Old-
European pre-historic population and a group of Indo-European-speaking immigrants
from the East. How far from the East - Ukraine, Central Asia, India? - is still a topic of
discussion, but in any case, a great distance from here. The core vocabulary of Germanic, which
is pre-eminently a language of mixed origins, consists for about a quarter of non-Indo-European
words (e.g. to drink, sheep, oak, taste) that the original population have apparently smuggled into
the language they adopted from the dominant newcomers. No doubt the same happened in the
cultural and religious fields: the Germanic traditions consist of a mixture of indigenous Old-
European and of imported Indo-European elements.
[50] Incidentally, why are there so many 'Sanskrit' departments in the west? Why are there not
any devoted to studying and reviving an Indo-European language of Europe, like Old German,
Old Norse, or reconstructing and reviving the Gothic branch? Why not departments to teach the
reconstructed Proto-Indo-European? (Or even Persia's old language Avestan, since Iran is
somewhat closer to Europe than India.) Why Samskritam, which was never even spoken in
Europe historically and which originated and was developed in India?
[51] We also need to be aware that most terms and concepts of the IE framework are loaded with

• Aryan (Japhetic, Caucasian) implies Dravidian (Hamitic), and vice versa. In spite of these
being called 'language' families, they do have racial connotations, as we have seen.
• Aryan Invasion implies subjugation.
• Indo-Aryan implies belief in either extra-Indian ancestry (that there are descendants of
PIE-speaking Aryans in India), or belief of indigenous ancestry but that the languages
spoken in the north have extra-Indian origins (that North Indians had learnt it from
migrating Aryans). Consequently, since language is a major cornerstone of culture and
civilisation, the term Indo-Aryan also implies that all the Samskr