On the “Aryan” debate – the linguistics POV

There has been a recent flurry of activity online (mostly on Twitter and mostly by Indian Twitter trolls, not counting yours truly) around the Aryan invasion/migration issue sparked by one piece in particular – namely written by Mr Tony Joseph in the Hindu. The original piece can be accessed here. Since I have a few substantive points to make from a linguistics standpoint, and lacking any expertise in genetics whatsoever I will focus of the former.

The controversy, dating back to the colonial period and weighed down by a lot of colonial baggage, has essentially been around the origin of the various peoples of India, primarily in the North & the North-West. The idea that the basis of what we now call Hindu (or more generally Indic) culture is actually European in origin (and brought to India via the Aryans) was first mooted during the colonial period. With the expansion of the British Empire, British orientalists starting from Sir William Jones (one of the founders of IE linguistics and founder of the Royal Asiatic Society in Calcutta) and followed by people like James Prinsep (decipherer of the Kharoshthi and Brahmi scripts), Sir Marc Aurel Stein, Sir Olaf Caroe, Col James Tod, Alexander Cunningham and the suchlike, came to India and contributed to this general theme in various ways. Note that most, if not all, of them were first-rate scholars of history and driven by a genuine desire to research their subject with due diligence. However, even the best researcher has a context in which (s)he operates and for these colonial historians the idea of an exogenous origin of Indian culture had a strong pull. Furthermore, all this historical research work done on the general topic of the “Aryan invasion” was, by necessity, devoid of any substantiation by population genetics – simply because the field was not invented until the 1930s. The idea of noble Aryan invaders of the hoary past who brought civilization to barbarians clearly resonated with the 20th century Fascist regimes* too, who imbibed a half-arsed notion of Aryan-ness and usage of symbolism like the Swastika, also from Sanskrit svastikaH, a compound (or samAs) form of the phrase su-asti-karoti iti (lit. good-is-doing that).

It is the linguistic and cultural notion of what Aryahood really is (the old problem) that I am interested in. While population genetics can certainly shed some light on magnitude and timing of population transfers into the Indian subcontinent, it really cannot say very much about cultural and linguistic development because that information is not encoded in our DNA but rather in our literature, in our everyday language and to some extent in our socio-religious traditions.

did Indo-European language speakers, who called themselves Aryans, stream into India sometime around 2,000 BC – 1,500 BC when the Indus Valley civilisation came to an end, bringing with them Sanskrit and a distinctive set of cultural practices? Genetic research based on an avalanche of new DNA evidence is making scientists around the world converge on an unambiguous answer: yes, they did.

Therefore, when Mr Joseph answers the second clause of his question in a ringing affirmative based on genetic evidence, he is on really thin ice. Did these self-avowed Aryans (henceforth Arya, as that is the correct Sanskrit term) actually bring Sanskrit with them? Can they be called outsiders in any meaningful sense? Is the oldest extant literature composed by people who self-designated as Arya non-Indian? The answer is an emphatic no! to all three questions.

  • Let’s start with the they-brought-Sanskrit-with-them spiel first. It is well-hypothesized that Proto-Indo-Iranian (the putative ancestor of the Indic and Iranian language families) split off from Proto-Indo-European around 2500-2000 BCE, quite possibly a result of a drawn-out process of a feudal elite immigrating, influencing or inter-marrying with tribal chieftains across Central Asia. These people clearly had a technological edge in horse domestication and use of horses yoked (cf. Skt. yoga, lit. to join together, past-participle yukt) to chariots (Skt. ratha cognate with Latin rota or Old Saxon rath, i.e. wheel). The process of largely cultural transmission took around a good 500-1000 years, before we can date use of Sanskrit in India from ~1500 BCE.

Does that mean Sanskrit isn’t native to India? Of course not. Languages aren’t things fixed in time and space, but evolving speech patterns. What we call (Vedic or pre-Classical) Sanskrit is a time snapshot of the language of Northern India and (what is now) Pakistan from around 1500 BCE (composition of the earliest Veda) to roughly 500 BCE (roughly contemporaneous with Panini) with a strong local substrate effect visible all through this period. This implies that whenever the native speakers of the old substrate language switched to a newer one, it was long before the existence of speech forms we now label Sanskrit, and Sanskrit itself evolved entirely on the subcontinent. Saying that Sanskrit is exogenous to India is as foolish as claiming that French is exogenous to France – which is obviously silly because even though (vulgate) Latin was picked up by the local Gallic-Celtic population of France under Roman rule, the French language developed entirely within what’s now France. The evidence of Sanskrit ever being used outside modern-day Indo-Pak geographical boundary is absolutely zilch!


  • What about Vedic literature’s cultural/geographical moorings? The actual content of Sanskrit compositions shows no cultural dislocation unlike, say, Turkish or Persian compositions by speakers of those languages who immigrated to India or by the bards of Old-Saxon in what’s now England. Old English epics like Beowulf are culturally and geographically located in Northern Germany and regions of Scandinavia further North. On the other hand, even the oldest compositions in Sanskrit can’t get enough of the Indus and its tributaries or of the Himalayas or the flora and fauna of Northern India. Sanskrit shows a very strong Dravidian substrate, which includes a entire series of consonants called retroflexes (or murdhanya in Sanskrit) which clearly are correlated with the Dravidian language family. Sanskrit speakers not only got the retroflex substrate but innovated on it – leading to aspirated retoflexes /Th/ and /Dh/ (where aspiration is a purely IE feature). This again is further evidence that the Sanskrit language could not have existed outside India. Further, Sanskrit also includes tonality characteristic of Austro-asiatic (of which Munda or Burmese are modern day forms). Latter-day North-Eastern IA Prakrits have Tibetan and Tai-Kadai substrate too (cf. Nepalese or Axomiya). Nonetheless, existence of substrates is not a weird or exotic feature of Sanskrit but a general natural condition of all languages. E.g. around 20-30% of all Germanic vocabulary is attributable to a substrate non-IE langauge that no longer exists.


  • Finally, I contend that the old use of the term Arya in the Indian context has primarily been a marker of culture and language use rather than racial classification. It is akin to the Classical use of the word Roman, which signified citizenship of the Roman state (senatus populus que romanus) and knowledge of (and fluency in) Latin literature and language. I do not know of a single unambiguous citation from the earliest of the Vedic scripture (which predates the oldest Avestan Gathas by half a millennium, give or take a century) that uses the term Arya for family or tribe – e.g. like the Rg Veda talks about the Bharatas, Pakhtas, Bhalanas etc. The term Arya is squarely used to define a linguistic culture and knowledge of or adherence to a specific canonical tradition, not as a tribal ethnonym. So one speaks and behaves like an Arya, if one’s educated in Sanskrit speech (vAk) and adheres to the orthodox Vedic ritual (vrata). The people who could not speak proper Sanskrit and had little/no knowledge of the Vedas were variously termed anarya, barbara (lit. stammerer, cf. Hindi verb baRbaRana to utter meaningless noise, Gk. barbaros uncivilized) or mlecchha. Going by that definition, even the Persians and Greeks were non-Aryans for the Indians – and the Mahabharata epic (probably composed originally, as Jaya, sometime around 900 BCE, with later additions up to 3rd century BCE) says so very explicitly. It terms the pArasikAH (Persians), yavanAH (Ionians/Greeks), chInAH (Chinese) etc as barbarians irrespective of their skin-tone or “racial” classification. E.g. Mahabharata Book 6 (bhISmaH parvaH), Chapter 10:

Among the tribes of the north are the Mlecchas, .. O best of the Bharatas: the Yavanas, the Chinas, the Kambojas, the Darunas, and many Mleccha tribes; the Sukritvahas, the Kulatthas, the Hunas, and the Parasikas; the Ramanas, and the Dasamalikas.

We should be very careful in reading our modern-day biases into ancient history generally, and both the far-Left and Right in India have been quite guilty of it. Of course, they all have their own pet periods of Indian history to read their views into but the ramifications are similar. Pakistanis, on the other hand, have no skin in this hot Aryan-invasion controversy because they’re Arabs and Turks after all 🙂

I don’t really think the (more recent) question of genetics of the Indian subcontinent is very germane to the socio-politics of the subcontinent. Evidence that the composers of the Vedas had patrilineal descent – separated by roughly 20 to 40 generations – from people of (what is now) Eastern Europe can be an interesting factoid and quite possibly correlated with the spread of IE languages in this part of the world, but it really adds little to the study of the Indian language or culture from the Vedic period onwards (which both the Left and Right have strong opinions on). E.g. it cannot be used in any meaningful sense to dent claims of cultural nativism made by the Hindu Right. There are other effective ways to counter such pernicious chauvinism, but that’s a topic for another day.



[*] in which I include the Iranian Pahlaviyan Shahdom along with the Third Reich, who changed the name of the country to Iran in the 1930s (from Old Persian Airiyanam-khshathra lit. dominion of the Aryans).

Author: Slapstik

I was born in Kashmir and a strange turn of events spanning over 2 decades led me to London, where I now live and work. I have a deep interest in linguistics, geo-political history, Science and philosophy of Science and occassionally my writings reflect that interest. I am an ardent Popperian, a technophile, a trekkie and a below average cook. Twitter: @kaeshour

25 thoughts on “On the “Aryan” debate – the linguistics POV”

  1. a minor note: the term ‘eastern europe’ is probably being applied very liberally here. the ancestors of the indo-aryans probably emerged in the pontic-transcaspian steppe area. so very marginally in ‘europe.’

    1. Definitions of Europe have changed over the ages, but I’d say the Pontic Steppe is firmly in Eastern Europe. It’d be hard to consider that part of the world north of the Black Sea as marginal Eastern Europe; that’s where much of Ukraine is located.

      Technically speaking, the Caspian Steppe is also in Eastern Europe, even the parts that stray into western Kazakhstan, although I can see how these parts can be thought of as marginal Europe.

      1. Definitions of Europe have changed over the ages, but I’d say the Pontic Steppe is firmly in Eastern Europe. It’d be hard to consider that part of the world north of the Black Sea as marginal Eastern Europe; that’s where much of Ukraine is located.

        this is a really dumb argument. you can say it’s ‘firmly’ in europe. i’m 95% sure it has to be considered liminal. many reasons. including *geography*

        1. I’d argue that the Pontic-Caspian steppe is not just technically in Eastern Europe; to me it’s part of core Eastern Europe, with really nothing liminal about it.

          This might be in large part a personal preference based on a modern world view, because I really have a hard time imaging that Ukraine and nearby parts of Russia are anything but classic Orthodox East Slavic Eastern Europe, but I reckon I could make a case that it’s much more than that based on geographic barriers largely blocking off the European part of Russia from Asia (Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Caucasus, Urals) and resulting in relatively strong genetic barriers both in modern and ancient DNA.

          Obviously, the nature of these barriers has changed significantly, but they generally seem to be there, like EHG vs CHG, Yamnaya vs Kura-Araxes, European Iron Age nomads vs the significantly more East Eurasian Asian nomads. It’s generally possible to eyeball the Eastern European and West Asian clusters on a PCA across the ages, and I’d say this has to be linked to the aforementioned geographic barriers between Eastern Europe (inc. Pontic-Caspian steppe) and West Asia.

          1. By the way, I agree that Eastern Europe, either in whole or in parts, has often been viewed as the European periphery. But I think this is different from saying that the term ‘Eastern Europe’ is probably being applied very liberally when referring to the Pontic-Caspian steppe.

            It might be possible to argue that the Pontic-Caspian steppe should not be thought of as part of Eastern Europe or even Europe. But as per my post above, the Pontic-Caspian steppe is largely blocked off from West Asia by some major geographic barriers, but on the other hand, wide open to the rest of Europe.

            In other words, things get fuzzy around Poland (is that East Central Europe or Eastern Europe? Where’s the boundary between the two?) but not in far Eastern Europe, even though admittedly it is very far to the east.

            I might write something up about this because it’s a recurring topic of discussion for me. Correlating ancient DNA patterns on a PCA with geographic continental barriers might be interesting.

    2. Yes, “Eastern Europe” is indeed being applied as an approximation to the area NE of the Black Sea – modern day Ukraine and Southern Russia. More correctly, culturally and geographically on the Eastern periphery of Europe.

  2. As a South Indian, I have always noticed this divide on caste and race lines in southern india. The ones who are at the bottom of these caste lines are racially different than the well to do castes. I don’t know whether it was a migration or an invasion or the Sanskrit developed inside or outside but there are definite differences clearly visible on race and caste lines, what I believe is there were people living in India before the coming of Aryans and they are now at the bottom of the caste system.

    1. // I don’t know whether it was a migration or an invasion or the Sanskrit developed inside or outside but there are definite differences clearly visible on race and caste lines //

      You may not know but that does not mean it’s undecided. Sanskrit is an entirely Indian language, and never spoken by anyone but geographically and culturally Indic people.

      As far as visible differences go, for a country the size of and population of India – I’d be surprised if there weren’t genetic differences between people. India is the cul-de-sac of Asia and it shows.

      1. What about the Mittani? They had a clearly Indic as opposed to Iranian admixture. So it seems to me that it is impossible to rule out that the split into Iranian and Indic happened outside India.

  3. Nice article. Approx 30% of my extended family has brown/green eyes(both maternal and paternal) and light hairs (North Indian brahmin and strong intracaste marriage). Since they are staunchly right wing and don’t believe in AIT. Most of the times they tie themselves in knots in trying to explain why they look so different from other Indians.

  4. Is the identification of “barbara” with Hindi “baRbaRaana” linguistically established or a conjecture? If so, I’m also tempted to see a connection from “anarya” to the Hindi “anaaRi” (clumsy, inept).

    On the article itself, I find the issue with Sanskrit to be something of a straw man. I don’t think anyone thinks that IE invaders came to India speaking Sanskrit per se. Clearly (as you also indicate) they spoke a language largely ancestral to Sanskrit.

    Another question I have, based on my ignorance, is the origin of Indic names among the Mitanni in the Levant/Asia Minor. In EOTSR, Beckwith seems to suggest a West to East migration from the Middle East to India through Iran – or perhaps I misremember …

    Have to agree with Razib on the Pontic Steppe and Eastern Europe. Not at all standard geographical usage. But then, Beckwith and Frankopan pretty much include the entire Oikumene in the “Silk Road” 🙂

    1. 1. It is not linguistically established, but a conjecture with a tight correlation. E.g.
      Skt. pharphara (dart, flit) > phaRphaR
      Skt. karkara (hammer) > kaRkaR

      I am not so sure of “anaaRi”, mainly because we know how Sanskrit “arya” (in general any vowel-r-y combination) morphed in the Prakrits. The -ry- of Sanskrit changed to -jj- in early Prakrits (elision of /r/ and /y/ > /j/).

      So, Arya > ajja > aji or simply ji in modern Hindi-Urdu (as in, “aji, sunté ho?” or “aji kyā bāt kar rahé haiN!” or “ji janāb”)

      Similarly: karma-kArya > kām-kāj,

      2. I’d be very happy if the Sanskrit-was-brought-to-India were nothing more than a strawman, but in a politically riven India it is unfortunately not.

      3. Regarding IA superstrate in Mitanni there’s very little linguistic evidence to conclude much – some IA names in treaties and words used in horse-training manuals. I believe the current understanding (e.g. Witzel) that Indo-Aryans formed the older vanguard of a general southward (both SE and SW) migration of IIr culture. What we now identify as “Iranic” came a little later – the oldest attested Iranian variety (Avestan, an Eastern dialect) lags Vedic Sanskrit by around 5 centuries. Further Vedic seems more conservative in its IE-ness (grammar, syntax) compared to Avestan. So a direct West->East migration of IIr speakers is fairly unlikely.

      4. By Eastern Europe I actually meant Ukraine and Southern Russia, though given recent political events it might as well be just Russia soon. The Pontic Steppe is indeed the current best archaeological guess of IE homeland and I have nothing to add there.

      1. the mitanni were the pioneers of light chariots in the near east. these were invented by the sintashta people a few centuries earlier prior to the emergence of a mitanni elite among the hurrians.

  5. In Tamil ayyA from Skt. Arya > Early pkt. ayya is commonly used as a form of address meaning ‘sir’.

    Whether the PIE homeland lies within East Europe or not is pretty much a needless controversy. In my opinion the division of Eurasia into Europe and Asia stems from Eurocentric prejudice. Perhaps it is best to simply describe the PIE homeland as the ponto-caspian steppe including territories that lie within modern day ukraine, russia and Kazakhstan

    1. Aiyer is not a caste name. Aiyer is a “title”. Arya became Aryar with the suffix “ar” out of respect and then was corrupted to Aiyer. And shorted to Ayya which is in common use. My surname is Kashyapa. We do not have a caste name because Aryas do not have castes. The word “caste” comes from the Portuguese word “casta” and was used by the British when they resurrected a defunct nationality “Hindoo” as a religion to create a lumpen to destroy the congregational temple welfare system by including those (such as Dalits) who were never part of the congregation being out laws (outside of Aryan-Brahmin law). My Varna name is Sharma. I adopted the surname “Aiyer” which my father had dropped and my parents had not included in my name on record in School out of anger and defiance against the persecution of Aiyars in South India when I was in college.

      I am a Shroutha Smartha of Kashyapa Gothra. I trace my ancestry to Eurasia. I belong to the Vadama Tribe of Aryas and Vada Desha Vadama (i.e. Vadamas who did not inter marry with the Druhyu Paarpan (seer) Priesthood) sub sect of Aiyers

      My patriilneal ancestors who had come as part of Gandhari’s retinue from Pushpavihar (Peshawar) and performed the Sarpa Yajna for Janamejaya at Triyambakeshwar and accompanied him to Sucheendram (near Kanya Kumari) for Janamejaya’s prayschitha. The rituals were performed at nearby Nagar Koil before he went to seek absolution from Sthanamalaya (the Trinity of Virinchi, Narayana and Shankara, the three gunas of Savitur who preside over the Sucheendram temple and who were originally worshiped as a tree (long before the temple was first built) and who had, according to mythology, become Dattathreya after Anasuya. embraced them after sprinkling water and turning them into babies at this place) . After Janamejaya became a mendicant, my ancestors began their journey back to the Narmada Valley. They were stopped by the Chieftains of Madurai who gave them the the title of Aryar (Arya with the ‘r’ added for respect, which later devolved into Ayyar)

  6. This article is written against imaginary arguments. Hindutva claims Harappa as a Vedic/Sanskritic civilization and Sanskrit as the mother of at least the IE languages. That has been demolished by DNA and linguistic evidence. The zealots may adapt a position closer to what you argue but all signs lead to denial and continued revisionism and it has real consequences on people. The French have a rather clear picture of themselves as a product of different peoples, India is not there yet but maybe someday in the future.

    1. This comment is written against an imaginary article. Anyone who has read and understood it will realize that its audience is not the Hindu Right, it is those Leftists in India who commonly overreact to the Right by denying the Indianness of Sanskrit altogether.

  7. “Deep South”: Malayalam is more than 50% Sanskrit. When I was a child there (1950s) , using a Sanskrit noun was considered the mark of a high class, cultured Malayalam. My Dad who was brought up in the Madras Presidency (Telugu/Tamil) and my Mother who was brought up in Royal Mysore (Kannada) got on quite easily with Malayalam because of this (as both of them had a Sanskrit up bringing a home). Kannada and Tamil were replete with Sanskrit words.

    The Justice and “Dravid” parties set about systematically expurgating Sanskrit from Tamil. The efforts to generate anti-Brahmin and anti-Sanskrit hatred in Mysore (Karnataka) were not as successful as in Madarass and so still bear vestiges of Vijjayanagar-Shringeri Sanskrit. The Druid languages that came with the Semites from Mesopotamia (check “Ur”, the protypical word for “city”. The Aryans had no agriculture and therefore no architecture or cities until they derived both from the Druids intermingled with local tribal-negroid dialects of equal or greater antiquity to yield many “Tamizh” (i.e. language). Shen (pure) Tamizh, Kanvada (sweetly spoken) Thamizh, Tuluga (Scolding) Thamizh, and Mazhala (lisping) Thamizh.

    During and after the Krishna Yajur Veda Period (i.e. during the Aryan settlements of the Indo-Gangetic plains) when the Aryans extracted agricultural and architectural tribute from the subjugated Druhyus or Dasyus, many Sanskrit words began to enter into the various Thamizhs (languages in semitic-druidic). In the Atharva Veda Period (prior to 6000 BCE) after the Great Civil War referred to in Vyasa’s Mahabharatha decimated the Aryans and made their hegemony impossible, the Dasyus entered the Gurukula System as the fourth Varna of Shudra with full varna mobility thereafter until Ashoka put an end to the Vedic period and culture. At that time, the Druidical technologies of agriculture, architecture etc and the temple worship and idolatrous methods and rituals entered the Aryan Vedas (Primarily the Atharva Veda and the Thraithreya Upanishad) through the Agama Shastras, and reverse osmosis began with a host of Thamizh words entering the Sanskrit vocabulary and are wrongly mistaken to be words of Aryan origin. All Sanskrit words that relate to agriculture, sculpture, architecture, temple worship etc are of Thamizh origin while all Thamizh words that relate to law, military science, navigation, astronomy, astrology etc are of Sanskrit origin. (e.g. The Tamil “Shattam” so beloved of Tiru Da Karunanidhi comes from “Shastram”)

  8. What is Aryan Invasion Theory? It seems to be something that Neo-Integrationists or, “Gen Next” Jabberlal Neckscrews have drummed up as ar Redicsovery of India? I am classically educated in Sasnkrit and subscribe to Shroutha Smartha Ithihasa. I personally think that those who have not had a classical Sanskrit education and are busy trying to remove the words Brahmin and Arya from the Indian dictionary or, to recast them in consonance with or in opposition to the Periyar-Ambedkar-Nehru-Gandhi-Imported Relgion-Communist consensus should not be tampering with the History of the Druido-Aryan civilization of the Indian Subcontinent.

    It is in the nature of the adversarial and war mongering latter day Indians, who have waged the civil war decreed by the casteist and communalist Indian Constitution for seventy years, to find the notion of cultural co-existence of Aryas and Druhyus inconceivable.

    How can genetic theory debunk a wrong theory. Aryas were never a race. Aryas were mutli racial but uni cultural with the religion of Brahmanism and the law of Dharma. They roamed from present day East Europe to Mongolia in the Rik Vedic Period. In the Shukla Yajur Veda period they raided surrounding agricultural societies for food and wives. They settled in the Indo Gangetic plain heralding the Krishna Yajur Veda period and the treaty of Bharatha. After the war of Kurukshetra when most Arya Males were killed, they intermarried with the Druhyus (Druids, Dravids, Dasyus) and became one people commencing the Atharva Veda period, pantheism and the first wave of Puranas.

    All allusions to an Aryan Invasion theory are baseless because there could not have been any “invasion” when there were no “nations” Believe it or not, they did not even have passports, visas and customs in those days(!). OIT (Out of India Theory” is equally absurd). The Indo-Gangetic Plain was simply too salubrious and Fecund for anybody to migrate away except under duress

    The truth is that Aryans were multi racial in the Rik Vedic Period (taming of fire and horse) and roamed, as pastoral nomads will, the grass lands from East Prussia to Mongolia and were united by the pre-Vedic religion of Brahmanism (The Prathamo Upanishad) and Constitution (Swasthika). During difficult times, they raided neighbouring agricultural civilizations for food and women and sometimes settled there, as they did the Indo-Gangetic Plain towards the end of the Shukla Yajur Veda Period (invention of Archery and the use of horse drawn chariots in war fare) heralding the dawn of the Krishna Yajur Veda period. The plenty from the Agriculture of the Indo Gangetic Plain and the labour of the Druhyus (Dasyus) or Druids (Dravids) led to the decadence of the Sama Veda which gave birth to music.

    After the civil war referred to in Vyasa’s “mahabharatha” Aryan hegemony was demolished as nearly 8 out of ten Aryan males were killed in the war. The Atharva Veda Period began. Druids and the Aryans intermarried and the agricultural, temple worship and architectural technologies of the Druids entered the Atharva Veda through the Aagama (that which came from outside) Shasthra. The Thraithreya Upanishad was created as a compendium for the use of Ritviks of all the Vedas and Sanskrtized the Druhyu deities through a process of amalgamation.

    The Druids entered the Guru Kulas as the Fourth Varna of Shudra with full Varna mobility therafter until Ashoka brought an end to the Vedic period, dismantled the Guru Kulas, destroyed the Temples and persecuted Brahmanism. This brought an end to Varna mobility.

    There were two great migrations of Aryans out of India. The first, after the great Civil War of Kurkukshetra when few Aryans survived and the transition from Sama Veda to Atharva Veda began with the inter marriage between the Aryas (originally from Central Asia) and the Dhruhyus who brought architecture and agriculture from Mesopotamia) with the Aaagama (that which came from outside) Shastras becoming Sanskritised, went as far as the Balkans and the Baltic.

    Then, during Ashoka’s destruction of Temples, Gurukulas and persecution of Brahmanism which brought an end to the Vedic period the migrations were largely to the South and the South East. Adi Shankara’s ancestors were among them. A fourth migration occurred by means of Islamic slave caravans from which the ancestors of present day Romanis escaped. The ongoing migration to escape persecution by the Indian Republic since 1947 is too well known to mention here. As for the Out of India Theory: The Indo Gangetic Plains were too salubrious and fecund for any who came here from the harsher Central Asia or Eastern Europe to return other than by duress. (Or for anybody to migrate out of)

    Adi Shankara, whose ancestors had fled Ashoka’s persecution to the deep south, revived Sanskrit, the Vedas, the Brahma Sutras and amalgamated the Aryan Rudra-Shankara with the Druid Shiva, The Aryan Narayana with the Druid Vishnu, the Aryan Sandhya-Savitri-Gayatri-Saraswathi and the Druid Lakshmi-Parvathi-Lalitha, with the tribal-negroid Kali; with the tribal-negroid Ganapathi, and with the Aryan Sun (or the living idol of Brahma) into the Panchayathana (Five Deities) . Not all subscribed to this, and various archetypal religions and their derivatives from human sacrifice, necrophagy and cannibalism to Vasihnavism, Shaivism and Shaktaism continued to flourish to this day.

    Much of the mythology (Puranas) was born in two phases. The first to reconcile and integrate religions during the Atharva Veda period and then to reconcile and integrate the Panchayathana. They carry shades of religious competitiveness and flights of fancy.

    The politics is evident in the absurd politics in the Puranas. Here you have Vishnu defeating Shiva, there you have Vishnu worshiping Shiva ceaselessly to prevent the end of creation, There you have Shiva plucking off Brahma’s “Fifth Head” (ROFL) for “lying” about Shiva’s infinite size, and elsewhere you have all the three prostrating before Lalitha Parameshwari to save them from demons of their own creation. . Puranas, like fables, were used to educate children by mothers and grand mothers, before the boys underwent Upanayana (re-opening of the eyes at age 7 or 9) and went to the Guru Kula in Arya Varsha for a Vedic Education. The Puranas and anything in Shloka form may be written

    Unfortunately, with the State sponsored pogrom to eradicate Brahmanism since 1921,, there are few people who have been classically educated in the Shastras, the Vedas and the Shroutha Smartha Ithihasa. The “West” including the British, Vivekananda and others borrowed what they could from the Shroutha Smartha Ithihasa, removed what was politically inconvenient and found archaeological and linguistic evidence for what remained. What can one say of an India where Parliament stood up in one accord to erase 1948 newspaper cartoons from Government approved and published School History Text Books as recently as 2012?

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