They came, they conquered, & they were swallowed

By Razib Khan 121 Comments

A reader sent me a post they wrote, The Aryans were Invasive to India:

The Aryan Migration into India was invasive; characterized by violent conquest, rape, racism, and religious supremacy. This was not a unique phenomenon in the premodern era, but a relatively standard episode that would ensue when two different tribes had to struggle over the same resources.

The Sanskrit-Vedic culture spread over India by Aryan conquest was likely not significantly influenced by native Indian traditions. That being said, Indian traditions certainly did work their way into later expressions of Hinduism, particularly after the rise of Buddhism, and the resulting reformations the latter faith affected in the former.

They asked for my opinion. I agree with many of the aspects of the piece. There is something of an attempt, in my opinion, to downplay the coercion and violence that were part of the expansion of many Y chromosomal lineages, groups of males, ~4,000 years ago. In fact, the author of the above piece probably overestimates the fraction of Aryan mtDNA in India; most West Eurasian lineages in South Asia are probably from West Asian, not the Sintashta.

The violent conquest and rape are probably correct. There are details though that need to be clarified. I suspect the violent conquest was of the shadows and ruins of the Indus Valley societies. The Aryans were barbarians who arrived in a barbarized world. As far as rape goes, modern Americans would define the act of killing a woman’s brothers and fathers and taking her as a bride rape, but it was quite normal in the ancient world. The dramatic arc of Achille’s sulking in the Iliad is triggered by the fact that Agamemnon took his sex slave.

But I think racism and religious supremacy are terms I would avoid. The reason is that there is generic racism, which is pretty typical, and historically contingent, embedded and systematized racism developed in the 19th century in the West. This is what casts a shadow over us today. But racism in the premodern world was different. It is well known that in early Anglo-Saxon England the local British population were second class citizens. We know this because the fine for killing a Briton was less than a fine for killing a Saxon of the same class. But, we also know genetically and culturally that many Britons assimilated into Anglo-Saxon culture and become English. The lineage of Alfred the Great, who “saved” Anglo-Saxon England from the Danes, seems to have been one of Brythonic warlords who were Anglicized. Many of the early members of the House of Wessex had Celtic names.

The second issue is religious supremacy. There is a particular type of religious exclusion, supremacy, and ideology, that is common in the modern world, and dates to the last few thousand years. Let me quote from a 2005 article in The New York Times:

Next door to four houses flattened by the tsunami, three rooms of Poorima Jayaratne’s home still stood intact. She had a ready explanation for that anomaly, and her entire family’s survival: she was a Buddhist, and her neighbors were not.

“Most of the people who lost relatives were Muslim,” said Ms. Jayaratne, 30, adding for good measure that two Christians were also missing. As proof, she pointed to the poster of Lord Buddha that still clung to the standing portion of her house.

This is a way of thinking that makes sense in light of universal meta-ethnic religions which have flourished over the past few thousand years. During the Bronze Age, such religions did not exist. Rather, religion was to a great extent an extension of tribal custom and practice. The destruction of the idols of one’s enemies was part and parcel of violence against the enemy, not a particularly religious act. It is a cliche in anthropology that many primitive tribes refer to their own people as “human”, and other peoples as non-human. But this reflects a reality that premodern humans were quite ethnocentric. But they were not racist or religious supremacists in the fully-fleshed way we would understand that today, so I would be cautious about using these terms.

The final point about Sanskrit-Vedic culture being mostly exogenous, I disagree with this. The essay doesn’t really provide much evidence but makes a general argument. I have read some of the Vedas, and much of it does seem to resemble generic Indo-European barbarism. But there are clear differences and distinctions which indicate non-Indo-European uptake. It is quite like that southern Indo-Iranians learned soma/homa from the Bactria-Margiana culture. Those who know tell me that Vedic Sanskrit already shows strange influences that are probably broadly Indic. The most famous one being the retroflex consanant:

Retroflex consonants are concentrated in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages, but are found in other languages of the region as well, such as the Munda languages and Burushaski. The Nuristani languages of eastern Afghanistan also have retroflex consonants. Among Eastern Iranian languages, they are common in Pashto, Wakhi, Sanglechi-Ishkashimi, and Munji-Yidgha. They also occur in some other Asian languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Javanese and Vietnamese.

Narasimhan et al. show that the BMAC people didn’t have a genetic impact on the Indo-Aryans who arrived in India, but they were culturally influential. Similarly, it seems quite likely that the various eastern Iranian/northwest Indian populations were also influential and integrated into the Indo-Aryans. As I have pointed out before, the figure of 30% “steppe” refers to Sintashta ancestry. It is quite plausible that the Indo-Aryans who arrived in India had already mixed with various eastern Iranian peoples in Khorasan and modern Afghanistan, before arriving in India.

The idea that Jainism and Buddhism were indigenous reactions to Aryan Brahmanical religion is common and widely asserted. The Shramanic sects are often assumed to be non-Aryan cultural revolts. I no longer believe this. Rather, I think a more philosophical and transnational religion naturally emerges out of complex societies. My argument is closer to a Marxist one than an ethnic one. The Vedic religion was not fundamentally viable in anything more than fossil form once India’s Iron Age polities arose. It maintained some archaisms from the steppe period, and, it was suited for a semi-mobile agro-pastoralist society.

8+

121 Replies to “They came, they conquered, & they were swallowed”

  1. “more philosophical and transnational religion naturally emerges out of complex societies”

    a) What is a complex society? Correct me if I am missing something but, before the advent of new age spirituality related stuff, it seems that such (well known) religions almost exclusively (started and) survived in South, South-East, and East Asia. I would agree if you meant a more accommodating, moral, philosophical and transnational ‘culture’ emerges out of complex society.

    b) Things like our perpetual sense of dissatisfaction/meaningless-ness, need for belonging and kaleidoscope of other emotions borne out of the interplay between external circumstances and hormones will always take precedence over logic, philosophy, coherence, universality etc. When it comes to ‘personal’ religion we (individually) are neither looking for the ‘right answer’ and most of us are anyways incapable of finding it even if we wanted to.

    I am certain most people are not out looking for logic, philosophy in religion either, they are looking for succor from real and imagined hardships. Judge them by their personal conduct, not by what they say.

    1. Something that may be interesting came up in my head. Not sure if it is relevant or well argued.

      I once attended a funeral of a old family member (in his mid 80s) and everyone was crying out loudly. When the ‘arthi’ party left for the cremation ground I talked to one of my father’s aunt. She was a jolly village lady who adored me and always addressed me with love as Sala-Harami (little Bastard). In brief she was candid, direct and truthful. On relentless suggestions by me that the dead guy was quite old and it was stupid to cry she first acted irritable but eventually relented. Stopping her acting she told me that it is customary to cry and she along with almost everyone making noise there was customarily showing grief. They were, like me, not sad at all but the social situation demanded that they play their roles and she had no clue why they were doing it or how would it help.

      Organized religion is like that, people are not being logical, deliberate, thorough or consistent they are playing along, doing something, anything, halfassed-ly without direction or control in the face of real/imagined suffering and tragedy. There is no direction or purposeful drive towards philosophy otherwise why would there be Mormons with their ideal lives but retarded religion.

  2. The original article {The Aryans were Invasive to India} is not taking into account the period & is more interested in wanting to prove something akin to Aryan invasion so that false equivalences can be created with the later invasions into the subcontinent & hence i oppose such equivalences.

    While i have no problem in conceding that is a good possibility of invasions but how they happened, why & where they happened etc. can not be resolved especially considering how other studies don’t provide clear proofs of invasions. Also you have suggested elsewhere that Aryans probably came in multiple small waves rather than one single large migration which further complicates invasion narrative.

    I am glad that you have cleared your position regarding religious evolution in the subcontinent since it is one of the most contentious issue in these debates.

    1. Also you have suggested elsewhere that Aryans probably came in multiple small waves rather than one single large migration which further complicates invasion narrative.

      this percolation makes more sense for south India. i think there was some political/social confederacy in the north

    2. I agree. I think the writer of that article is correct in that the invasion or migration, whatever you want to call it, was not likely to be peaceful. But that does not mean that the 19th century British framing (Aryans invaded, Dravidians were oppressed and colonized) is a good fit for whatever happened in that era. On the other hand, it is a very good fit for British colonization of India and a reasonable fit for Turkic colonization (the Turks were more violent and cruel than the Brits, but less concerned with racial purity BS).
      I also wonder if Arain will be equally “black and white” about the Turkic colonization of India. If he (or she, I have no idea who they are) are secular Indian (or educated Paknationalist), they may then start talking about syncretism, intermarriage, “became local”, etc.. all of which has some truth to it, but this “nuance” will not be extended to Aryans 🙂

      1. The original article referenced by Razib – https://medium.com/@ArainGang/the-aryans-were-invasive-to-india-2776a16be8b5, is really rationalizing why Muslim conquests of India were no different from Aryan conquests, and hence Hindu nationalists have little ground to stand on. In short cultural and ethnic depredation was “normal” and hence not something of note.

        How would “araingang” feel about Muslims being cleansed from today’s India using similar arguments – the strong do what they will and the weak definitely do not inherit the earth!

        Razib, your post is excellent, but may be worth reading all the articles by “araingang” in Medium for context?

        1. 1) i got that feeling. i did read them. but as long as someone is civil i try and not get too hung up on their biases. he was and is civil. i do the same for OIT people too!

          2) he doesn’t think it’s the same. he thinks it was way worse. in terms of body count it certainly once. the Turks seem to have left very little genetic imprint in south Asian Muslims. tbh i don’t believe a lot of the stuff about mass killings by the turco-muslims, because premodern people were shitty at killing. what they usually did was disrupt the subsistence economy so people starved. or, disease like the new world.

  3. We should considered India as pagan/Indic cultural civilization than didn’t succumb to Abrahamic faiths even thought people are Abrahamizing nowadays.

    Retroflex consonants are concentrated in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages, but are found in other languages of the region as well, such as the Munda languages and Burushaski. The Nuristani languages of eastern Afghanistan also have retroflex consonants. Among Eastern Iranian languages, they are common in Pashto

    I have heard Pashto songs and this is certainly true but could it be because of influence of North Indian/Pakistani culture. They also use the ड़ consonant which is pronounced similar to r and half d combined.

    Idk but indian people are preserving the religion because of threat of Islam. That’s it.

    The srilankan lady seems pretty devout in buddhism. But indian people ( most probably) wouldn’t say they were saved because they are Hindu or whatever.

    1. We should considered India as pagan/Indic cultural civilization than didn’t succumb to Abrahamic faiths even thought people are Abrahamizing nowadays.

      the term pagan is too generic. but you can use the word.

  4. for some one from a non geneticist back ground, i didn’t see any thing new in the paper.
    on the other hand, are there any records of the females left at “home” by the invaders? were they taken by the left over men?
    will any alpha male agree to this arrangement?

    1. you may not realize this, but men can take more than one wife, and in humans it is normal for more women to reproduce than men. younger sons are often expelled from polygynous societies to ‘make their own way.’ most die. but some do not.

      are you aware of the settlement of the new world by spaniards and its sex ratio?

  5. The Medium article reaches new levels of absolutism. There is not a single established corpus or body of archealogical, literary or cultural research to support any of the statements. On the contrary, there are several pointers attributing to a Gangetic/Indus homeland for the Aryans.

    The oldest part of the Rgveda (Mandalas 2,3,4,6,7) specifically references Indian fauna like elephant, lion, peacock and the water-buffalo – none of which are/were present in the Steppes. It is very strange that the principal war deity of the Aryans, mighty Indra, rides an elephant of all things. The logical animal should have been an horse, perhaps even a chariot pulled by a horse.

    None of the 7 rivers (Sapta) have a non-Sanskritic name. This is a clean break from several historical traditions where conquerors give an imagined name to places and rivers in the countries where they enter.

    Animal genetics proves conclusively that there was an intrusive migration of the Indian Zebu cattle into West Asia around 2500 BC.
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6449/173
    No such evidence for reverse migration exists.

    1. Let me ask you this.
      Where do gangetic Aryans came from outside the subcontinent? Or they were there before advent of farming?
      Indra riding a elephant means it was probably indigenised by indians.
      Agni (fire god now fire)has commanility with Lithuanian Ignis still have different motifs depending upon the region.
      Deva and Deus, Asvah with Asb in ancient Iranian etc
      Who is saying that Authors of Rigveda were outsiders No they were not they were explorers who claimed homeland to India and India only.
      Horse is used in marriage ceremonies . Could’ve been used to take brides with them during the Aryan intrusion. It’s not bogus analogy i would say.
      My question is what can’t you accept that people were barbarian, rapists etc in the ancient times and Indian culture and geography helped them to get civilized enough so they became agro pastoralists from nomads.
      Also why cant IVC be dravidian clearly south India has done better than the north in terms of preservation, education,health and safety etc.
      Where do dark skinned indian populations come from ?
      Why are brahmins in every society tend to be lighter than rest?because of selective breeding or some thing else?

      1. Bal Gangadhar Tilak had a theory that Aryans came from the Arctic. Sri Aurobindo theorized that they could have become from Bengal. OIT’ers presume that they could only have been from the Gangetic plains. Gimbutas felt they came from north of the Black Sea.

        The Aryan has become almost the perfect Rorschach test for the modern day Indologists and the public. In light of so many competing theories, I would prefer to use the law of parsimony on the basis of non-human evidences (flora, fauna etc) to seek an explanation that has as few assumptions as possible.

  6. Well, it seems we know many things.

    We know that Aryans were rapists and probably racists and religion supremacists. The Aryans were barbarians. However, in spite of this, the Sanskrit-Vedic culture spread over India by Aryan conquest was likely not significantly influenced by native Indian traditions…some of the Vedas resemble generic Indo-European barbarism…..Can we assume that 200 million of South Asians are rape by-products who are proud of their barbarian rapist forefathers’ culture?

    What we don’t know?

    We don’t know who were Indo-Europeans (meaningless term without substance), where they originated, we don’t know who were Aryans, which language they spoke, where they came from, what was their religion, what were their genes and what is the age of their genes in different parts of the world. We even don’t know the origin/meaning of the continent name. We don’t know how barbarians with superior weapons and technology, enforced Sanskrit-Vedic culture without ‘significant influence from native Indian traditions’? This culture is now the Hindu pride of the highest order. Strange. If the barbarians created (did they?) Rig Veda, could they bring at least one toponym from their homeland?

    After all previous, it seems that – scio me nihil scire!

  7. Two points (and probably controversial):

    It was much worse in Europe where R1a and R1b reach frequencies unseen of in South Asia. At least South Asia has a decent mixture of H, L, R2, J2, and R1a. Regarding R1a and R1b in Europe: Sure it might have been somewhat less sex biased but the admixture between EHG and CHG was pretty much all EHG men with CHG women. I would imagine most European mtdna is from WHG, EEF and CHG and not EHG. EHGs probably shared some mtdna withs WHG and that is inflating how many IE mtdnas are in Europe imo.

    Austo-Asiatic populations did the exact same thing in South Asia on a smaller scale. But I think there’s definitely people who aren’t offended that because those were brown people not white people even though both are fucked up things.

    1. agreed. why do you think it is not presented as such? because it was white on white for Europe?

      1. Pretty much. People are looking at it in terms of modern racial politics. They don’t care if it was a violent invasion (or choose to ignore it or not frame it that way) unless it was a whiter population inflicting violence on a darker population and then these people were a special type of racist, barbaric scum of the earth as if the Neolithic farming expansions, Turkic expansions and Bantu expansions were all peaceful.

        I think this also leads to the idiots arguing R1a/R1b/IE languages originated between Turkey and Iran and migrated as Neolithic farmers who somehow ended up with their paternal lineages dominating the European genepool through peaceful means. As if you can replace 70% of the previous male population through peaceful means whether you’re a farmer or steppe nomad.

        1. I mean I see more glorification of conquerors with “we waz kangz and shit” mentality than I do shaming of them outside of post modernist leftist intellectual niches. There is a ton of steppe dick measuring and aryan glorification on the interwebz, especially among upper caste hindus and NW agricultural tribal group descendants.

        2. I mean I see more glorification of conquerors with “we waz kangz and shit” mentality than I do shaming of them outside of post modernist leftist intellectual niches. There is a ton of steppe dick measuring and aryan glorification on the interwebz, especially among upper caste hindus and NW agricultural tribal group descendants.

          1. Everyone’s glorifying them to some degree I agree. But there are plenty of upper caste Hindus and Iranians arguing these people came from their homeland too thus there was no violent invasion.

            I can also see why they would be glorified to some degree given the later history of the subcontinent involves a lot of succumbing to Islam, Turko-Mongols, Arabs and Europeans. I can see why the groups like the White-Huns, Kushans, Indo-Scythians would be glorified.

            Also in case its hard to pick up on username is poking fun of those Jatts who think they are somehow ethnically distinct from anybody else in the Indus Valley.

          2. All castes are now ethnically distinct due to 2,000 years of endogamy, however I do agree with your sentiment on the Scythian nonsense. In fact, I will go further and deny any special Scythian implications (special as in aside from the trace post-Iron age admixture in all north Indians) in the formation of Jats since that doesn’t account for the extra steppe ancestry, at least in eastern Jaats (the hypothetical non-scythian ancestors would still be ~30% Sintashta as opposed to ~20% Sintashta non-Scythian ancestors of regular upper castes like Brahmins and Kshatriyas). The high frequency of pre-steppe male lineages, the modest frequency of male steppe lineages and the fact that Jathera seems to be somewhat like Dravidian (Kodava) ancestral veneration puts me in a peculiar position where I am one of the few people who make a distinct connection between Jats and Dravidians (Ezhava, Kodava .etc) which is not to be found in most other north Indians.

    2. It was much worse in Europe where R1a and R1b reach frequencies unseen of in South Asia.

      yes. but most ppl i talk to presume this has something to low population density in northern Europe vs. s Asia. southern Europe is more like north India, though even there the % steppe is higher.

  8. This narrative phrasing of Annexation, Invasion, Conquest, Rape.
    Man, if it takes freaking 500 PLUS years for a group to do those things it must have been a comical cartoonish sight to behold.

    500 years of Raping? Like after a certain point one needs to question are these Humans or Rats or something.

    Even other examples can be used as proxies to at least frame the situation. Afghan/Turkic raiders into India post 10th Century CE didn’t leave a genetic or even cultural mark and even they couldn’t sustain a 500 Plus year Raping, Pillaging, Invasion paradigm. The North eventually got relatively enough stable Polities.
    The European Pillaging of Americas again didn’t last that long and the native population statistical disparity wasn’t as massive as the ones these so called Steppe people would have in 2100-1500 BCE in NW India.

    If it takes a human group 500 years to “Conquer” someone, A) they ain’t all that good at “Conquering” and B) for this to be valid they would need to be coming from a Source-Region unpolluted, which is impossible because humans don’t behave that way, esp in an era where Generational change is much more rapid because average-life-expectancy ain’t 70 Years plus much less Written text propagation among common folk.

    Meaning even if someone was “Raping” & “Pillaging”, they were already in the NW India, which basically means they were just like what happened in later millenia in India with local polities fighting among themselves and leaving a mark when 1 dominated. Buddhism-Jainism and similar doctrines dominated for around 1500 years, this didn’t arise in Gujarat or Punjab, it came from a certain cultural zone of the Sub-continent.

    1. Why’d are we still talking about origin. If evolution is true then there is no origin. I am going proper philosopher now.
      The languages and genetics similarities are enough to show the commanility and differences between culture.
      Elamite with indo Iranian and Dravidian with indo aryan .

    2. The European Pillaging of Americas again didn’t last that long and the native population statistical disparity wasn’t as massive as the ones these so called Steppe people would have in 2100-1500 BCE in NW India.

      this is false. can you bother to look things up? until the 19th century there was a MASSIVE disparity in numbers in Latin America btwn small numbers of white men who were very polygynous and native peoples. the 19th century changed things with the rise of steam ship so larger numbers of European immigrants arrived in places like Argentina

      1. this is false. can you bother to look things up? until the 19th century there was a MASSIVE disparity in numbers in Latin America btwn small numbers of white men who were very polygynous and native peoples. the 19th century changed things with the rise of steam ship so larger numbers of European immigrants arrived in places like Argentina

        Razib, a cursory look at Population Demography wiki page for Indigenous Americans gives a range of 2-18 Million in North America for pre-Colombian era.

        It took till 19th century for the Natives to rebuild population they had in 15th because of massive disease die offs. Even if we accept this for Steppe-NW India it would have to be backed with some corroborating findings.

        But the point of that section of mine was the Population Scale Disparity.
        US had a population of 75 Million in 1900.
        India is estimated to have 75 Million in 1 AD.
        World Population is supposed to be 30-70 Million in 2000 BCE (of which it is safe to assume 30-40% is Indian).

        Now how many Steppe Male(without female/families, like a lot of Europeans eventually did) people are supposed to have come (in waves which imply Active Conflict Subjugation/Hostility since that is the context framework)?
        Just how many people did Steppe lands even have, if it was so huge how in the heck did that region support it and why was there a need to go so far down south or to Europe anyway? They went because Steppe wasn’t supporting a decent enough population mass anyway, unlike Europe which despite Black Death still had a big population and could afford to shed to its Colonies in Americas which anyway had less population relative to Asia, Africa, Europe across ages.

        Americas Native population even if bigger than we assume is still not as big as what NW India had back then and even if Europeans were early on coming in smaller number they would still outnumber the Steppe Male Migration/Invasion/Conquest force (ships like those end up carrying far more people quicker than marauding/pillaging Horsemen), meaning the Population Skew/Disparity among these groups was NOT as vast as it was when Steppe people would have encountered the Indus-Punjab river plains where the population would be Planetary scale juggernaut, given that it was Late Harrapan so even a collapse of IVC was only just beginning but not done.

        Some estimates are giving the population for Late Harrapan at 1-5 Million however since Steppe people also pushed into Gangetic plains, it means North India itself becomes necessary to tally.

        The other aspect of my comment was Time-scale. Native Americans didn’t have to really enter conflict phase for 500 years, that phase really only lasted like 3 centuries(over a much-much-much wider land area, thus reducing Density dynamics) before the outcome was on the wall, and without any meaningful mixing of people or socio-cultural ideas esp.
        Even the Vikings in England example is not appropriate for Steppe-NW India because there again the Population disparity wasn’t as massively skewed and the timeline wasn’t as stretched as it was in India.

        1. you are using the wrong analogies. or at least not taking into account differences in period

          1) it seems that sedentary populations got ‘better’ at maintaining continuity and high population over time as they got better at agriculture and social control systems. so, in europe, where there was an even larger population replacement than india the late neolithic farmers had a massive collapse around 3000 BC, and turned into agro-pastoralists for the last 500 years or so before they were overwhelmed by steppe people.

          basically large population sizes can crash very fast in premodern env., and the furhter back you go the bigger the crash can be (the late bronze age system collapse is probably prefigured by the one around 2000 bc, which extends across west asia to south asia).

          2) cumulative selection is what you are missing. in a stratified societiy if there is skewed reproduction for a certain class of people, or a certain lineage of people, then differences over generations could easily result in replacement.

          also, not sure you got the polygny point re: native america. the mestizo populations of the new world have many fewer fathers than mothers due to high levels of common law polygyny in 17th century new world (people noticed this). the Y chromosomes in the new world show evidence of bottleneck.

          3) the empirical fact is we have enough circumstantial ancient DNA that a huge perturbation happened btwn 2000 and 500 BC. depending on the caste/place, 5-30% of the genome became steppe from ~0% (about 15% in the indo-gangetic plain for a peasant, 30% for a UP brahmin).

  9. Razib, It seems that Indian pre-/history is all about Nomadic invasions starting from Indo Europeans to Turco-Mongols including Scythians, Kushans etc.. Same thing can be said to Iran. China somehow managed to stop such thanks to Great Wall. Unfortunately India were united to have common “Indian interest” to stop invaders.

    Nomads are underrated.

    1. China somehow managed to stop such thanks to Great Wall. Unfortunately India were united to have common “Indian interest” to stop invaders.

      the great wall wasn’t that effective. the manchus adopted a nomadic lifestyle and were let in by a rebel general. though the manchus were a hybrid people (ag + nomadism + hunting).

    2. Well no Indian empire other than Maruyans was either smart enough or strong enough to realize that securing the Khyber Pass (and Bolan pass to a much smaller extent) should be the first goal for any Indian empire. For some reasons South Asians even let Sino-Tibetans invade from North of the Himalayas. And Austo-asiatics from the east. We have a bunch of unrealized natural borders.

      1. there is a major asymmetry in dense settled societies vs. thin mobile societies. it’s really really hard before gunpowders to obtain final victory as against nomadic populations. the Chinese and the Byzantine paid off their nomad nemeses quite often. the manchus engaged in genocide against western mongols to fix that problem in 1800s, but could only do so with collusion with Russian empire.

        basically if you know the history of other eurasian rim societies you know that western Europe, japan and SE Asia were exceptional after zero AD in NOT being conquered by heartland nomads

  10. “The idea that Jainism and Buddhism were indigenous reactions to Aryan Brahmanical religion is common and widely asserted. The Shramanic sects are often assumed to be non-Aryan cultural revolts. I no longer believe this. Rather, I think a more philosophical and transnational religion naturally emerges out of complex societies. The Vedic religion was not fundamentally viable in anything more than fossil form once India’s Iron Age polities arose.”

    Great insight. I think one can add Vaishnavism (more philosophical and transnational) as a reaction against Vedic religion too.

    1. LOL at Jainism and Buddhism being the revolt of the non-Aryans,/ Dravidians.
      Both Vardhaman (Mahavir’s actual name) and Siddhartha (Buddha) were born to Kshatriya kings/ chiefs in Northern Bihar.
      In Mahavir’s case, the Shwetamber version of his life story places his conception in the womb of a Brahmin woman. However since he was destined to be a Tirthankar/ Chakravarti ( Chakravarti = king whose dominion extends to the end of the earth; also used for spiritual masters ) he couldn’t be born in a “lowly” Brahmin family. So the Gods transfer the embryo from.the womb of the Brahmin woman to that of a Kshatriya queen to whom he was eventually born. Who are these Gods who intervene? Indra and his posse..
      When Mahavir is born, Indra and his Gods are overjoyed and celebrate in the skies and shower flowers, diamonds, sandalwood , pearls etc to honor the boy who will be Tirthankar..
      The birth story points to an INTRA Indo Aryan rivalry between Brahimns and Kshatriyas. It could also potentially be of much later provenance – between 8th and 12 the century AD a resurgent Sanatan Dharma was winning against the Shramanic religions.
      All of this is to say that both the Shramanic religions are firmly placed in the Info Aryan milieu of mid 1st millenium BC of Northern India ..
      PS: Mahavir’s story also highlights the fact that Indra was still around as a known God / character at that time. his complete demise was probably still a few hundred years away

    2. All Hindu religious and philosophical systems like vaishanavism take Vedas as ‘pramana’ , so they can’t said to be as reaction against vedic religion. They saw themselves as continuation of vedic religion. In fact attitude to Vedas as pramana what distinguished Astic and Nastic religions

  11. I agree with Razib’s title as it bring out the nuance involved. Ariangang ridicules the OIT proponents for refusing to change narrative with new incoming data but sadly even after acknowledging the finer points returns to the ‘Indra stand accused’ narrative.

    Author spends quite some time on labels AAT vs AMT which is of great importance to get recognition in Left/PC folks I guess. I am not expert but there is no AAT promotion or big conspiracy to diguise AAT as AMT that can be remembered in media. It was and still called AIT in general public on twitter and OIT by people against it.

    In genetics he doesnt mention about the other non R1a genes that were talked about here. Also author conveniently lumps AASI + Indus people as dasyus with darker complexion without any proof of them all being one group. In fact reading this blog I understand that it was far from so.

    In terms of texts, only Rgveda is used as it serves the purpose. The later text and changes in worship are conveniently left out. Rgveda is not ‘The book’ like Bible or quran for Hinduism for all conclusions to be based on one book.

    Then there is very peculiar example of Turkish crescent making its way as Islamic symbol. Author wants to suggest that since the symbol got accepted as general Islamic symbol, it suggests transmission of symbols doesnt denote continuity. Here he conflates turks using their pagan symbol to denote their superiority over other Muslims with aryans using symbols of conquered people in ‘their Hinduism’.

    Also how much theology, deities, myths, stories got transferred from Turkish pagan religion in later day Islam? Here we see a lot of such transfers (I did say majority of the unique cultural practices in India today, but let the experts confirm). What amount of cultural transfer is necessary before one sided conquering & imposition becomes joint development?

    We can also use the same example of Turkish crescent against author’s position. If using same motifs, symbols doesnt necessarily denote continuity, then why do we have to assume continuity between Aryan religion and hinduism? They might be using elements of it but does that mean Hinduism exclusively belongs to Aryans alone?

    In conclusion, author needs to differentiate between Aryan religion, Vedic religion and Hinduism as a changing entity. Then place Rgveda in right context before making sweeping assumptions about religious supremacy and blanket conclusions like ‘The Sanskrit-Vedic culture spread over India by Aryan conquest was likely not significantly influenced by native Indian traditions’.

  12. Araingang’s work is often quoted by staunch Pak Nationalists. I just want to point that out. I am not in his brain, so I cannot know what he is thinking for sure. But based on the way he is quoted heavily from anthorafora to Pakdefense, I get the impression that a big part of his schtick is to show the hypocrisy of Indian Hindus venerating their “aryan conquerors” but dismissing their islamic ones, when in fact both are equally foreign. Something that is just not true. Given how Hinduism as we know it pretty much developed entirely in Inida, with much of the indo-european religion of old, including the King of Gods Indra, largely sidelined now.

    Additionally, elevating Buddhism as a status above Hinduism and then claiming Hindus were equally barbaric towards Buddhists as Muslims were to Hindus, while conveniently attempting to portray modern day Pak as a cohesive area of Buddhism and then Islam, thus distinct for millennia plus from Hindu India. A lot of this in the end comes down to shaming Hindus and Hinduism and justifying two nation theory on more than just religious grounds but one of a more distinct civilizational differential identity. He also credits most of the positive reformation in Hinduism to Buddhism which is a bit laughable. Buddhism had its own share of backwards practices, including cannibalism in MP that Adi Shankra noted on his various travels. None of these religions are particularly clean of superstition. But Buddhism and Hinduism are certainly heavily indigenized and known as Indian religions for a reason. Islam is clearly more of a foreign entity.

    I still find it funny how him and I are both medical students (now soon to be residents) around the same age in the US.

    1. Wow, everything makes more sense now. Somehow the usual lines of defense starting with conflating Aryan religion with Hinduism as if it was brought in Hardback copies from Europe and same being used till now unchanged to ‘you did same to Buddhism’ look familiar to the ones used by resident Pak nationalists.
      The ultimate aim as always is to try to show our ‘Pak land’ had nothing to do with Hinduism and Hindus !

      Just like Stockholm syndrome this is ‘Pak Nationalist syndrome’ where you try to racially abuse your own people but fail to do so since you cannot differentiate yourself enough from them due to facts !!

      1. That’s a good comment. These losers have some sort of fantasy of Buddhism as a steppe region originating in and practiced by white people free of any Hindu influence except for the good parts.

    2. That makes sense. Not sure the logic that both are equally foreign makes sense. One group imparted their language and genes on the Indian population. In fact only South Asians have the genes and languages of Indo-Aryan when the genes and languages of the Islamic conquerors from Turko-Mongols to Arabs to Pashtuns is not common in Pakistan or unique to Pakistan.

      Also given where Buddha was born Buddhism is foreign to the Indus Valley as well. There always seems to be this thing especially with Pakistanis, Afghans and Iranians trying to make Buddhism appear as this straight out of the steppe religion free of “dirty” Hindu influence and practiced by a bunch of Nordic Gods. I guess they forget where Buddha was born.

      Also have you heard about this loser white supremacist Jason Reza Jorgani? Some weird Iranian nationalist who was actually arguing Buddhism is some sort of eastern Iranian philosophy that originated in Gandhara (which he falsely claims as an Iranian region given we know Gandhari prakit was an Indo-Aryan language)? Loser claimed Buddha was some sort of Scythian.

      1. oh none of it ever makes sense. But that is the basic line of defense to justify Pak existence on more than just religious grounds.

        It can be argued that India as a united state united only for a minority of it’s history relative to a place like China as a united state, despite both respectively being seen as distinctive civilizational entities.

        But the Pak nationalists want to paint Pak as a separate civilization from the beginning. Many even use words like “Ancient Pakistan,” when describing the Indus Valley…

        The leaps are astounding. The focus is to create a narrative of more organic division. Then taking that division and asserting supremacy by stating everything really good in Indian Civilization is from Pakistani Civilization. Indians are barbaric dark dirty sub humans who are trying to oppress the rest of the subcontinent. They make up for their “cowardice” with simply larger numbers. They are from a lesser civilization. That’s the type of stuff it comes down, when these arguments get fleshed out in the Pak nationalist spaces online.

        1. @thewarlocke To add to your list somewhat: there is the narrative of the neolithic migration (with a focus on Mehrgarh alone) that they staunchly support, rejecting the 7,000 BC dates from Bhirrana and other Indian neolithic sites which support a local neolithic origin. It all boils down to something along the lines of “I am not the hindoo australoid, I am a neolithic migrant, I am an Arab, even a steppe migrant (makes me closer to my former Turkic overlords), but I can never be a hindoo”. Self hate goes through the roof with those types of people.

    3. 99% of Pakistani history discussions have politics as a subtext either overtly or covertly. Anti-India politics is the algorithm behind much of ‘history’ as understood in pakistan.

  13. Mostly no one cares on who invaded what. Who an invader, migrant or a liberator is dependent on the politics (and demographics) of today. Islam which is seen as the liberator in Pakistan is seen as Invader in India. Reasons we all know why.

    All the other stuff are just justification of “what my people did” vs “what ur people did”

    1. I guess in the Indian context, since political/historical records from the Bronze and Iron ages are close to non-existent, genetics discussions invariably spill over to political ones.

      But yeah, who invaded what is mostly irrelevant to current day politics. The English literally kicked our butt and we have detailed records of how deeply they excluded Indians, but we are falling over ourselves to learn their language and move to their countries. Anglo countries are rich and the most devout Hindutvavadi can find some rationalization to access that wealth.

      Mid level and poor Pakistanis probably feel the same way about the Muslim Gulf states. Take out Gulf remittances, US aid support and Pakistan may well end up a left wing country 😛

      Hindu nationalists should focus on getting rich and the rhetoric against Hinduism will then become a lot more benign like it is against WASPs in the US.

      1. Vikram, agreed. Always thought the indian long game with pakistan would be to just become significantly richer, and most things will fall into place. A country 7x the population and say 2.5x the per capita GDP, will have clusters of affluence that are orders of magnitude greater and hence aspirational. Pakistanis like punjabis are pragmatic prosperity-loving people. They looked down on india when it was the underfed leviathan who’s civil servants wore tacky polyester safari suits. I have quite a few pakistani friends who’s perceptions of india have changed markedly, and inspite of rabid hindutva, there is a respect that was not previously there. A guy i know from lahore with a delhi high-society spouse self-deprecates about how his hometown is a village in comparison. This is in such contrast to the haughtiness you’d observe as recently as the 90’s. Cultural prestige is usually a lagging indicator, and not picking up on the runaway advantages that india has yet to reap because of its wealth surge, the leadership has presumed a weaker position.

    2. Mostly no one cares on who invaded what.

      people care a lot. don’t bullshit.

      (yes, it’s bullshit too to care that much but ppl obv do)

  14. I have little interest in AIT etc debates. I would just mention that the citations on the RV verses are incomplete. And their interpretation reeks of confirmation bias. The author who used them clearly has no training in the language.

    E.g. comments like “the term Dasa/Dasyu refers to the native Indians” are complete nonsense as the IIr cognate of Vedic dásyu is dax́iiu in Avestan (dahyu in Old Persian), and was almost exclusively used to represent Iranian peoples cf airiianąm dax́iiunąm (lit. of the Iranian peoples).

    Vedic dásyu could represent almost any enemy, including non-IA Iranic tribes.

    Also the term सखिभिः शवित्न्येभिः (in RV 1.100.18) translated by Griffith as “with fair-complexioned friends” can just as easily be translated as “with resplendent friends” or “with white-clad friends”. The root śveta- means bright / white-clad as well as just white.

    1. You should have anounced some giveaway for the first one to recognise that.

      Well its thewarlock who cracked it first.

      1. What was there to crack, it was pretty obvious. I mean do u really think any Pakistani would be really into IVC and Aryan invasion and stuff. LOL.

    2. tbh ideological motivations are fine so long as they are married with good understanding of the source material.

      I think it is a fine thing Paks are interested in Skt lit (even if it is for proving that Pak was a separate entity all along). Go for it. But for heaven’s sake study the language properly….

  15. I think the author should take it easy on these random posts on the internet. FWIW, you’re only contributing to their trolling.

    1. How do they explain away the entire concept of partition and the fact that there are still 2-8 million Hindus in Pakistan today?

  16. i think the argument is that these people were hinduized later?

    arguments with smarter variants of this type result in a shell-game of what it means to be Hindu. e.g., “Hindu identity was invented in 1800”

    1. They make a lot of funny points

      yeah India is new. Hinduism new. Good stuff like philosophy of Buddhism and anti brahminism is a NW thing. Caste does not exist among Jats, arains, gujjars, and agricultrual tribes of Pak. All of the intellectual achievements are from the IVC and Gandhara and so are the greatest warriors. The smartest, greatest, best looking, highest IQ S Asians are all from that area. They then go into how the NW is .1% Denisovan and as you go South it approaches .3%. The list of stupid arguments is endless. It basically descends into painting the upper castes of the NW aka upper caste Pak Punjabis largely as intellectually, morally, physically, and creatively superior and a different species than the entire rest of the subcontinent, one power of a very separate and superior lineage and legacy and a more impressive future to come.

      The only challenge comes from the vile racist dark ugly subhuman Hindoos who challenge the half aryan- 1/4 iranic- 1/4 persian/arab/Greek/turkish/afghan elites of the NW through shear demography and chicanery of the Brahmins and Banias They are currently oppressing Muslims and especially aryan Kashmiri bretheren. It was good the lowly dark hindu convert Bengalis split off. Of course, this was due to a conspiracy of the Indians. And in reality Indians killed and raped more during 1971 because they targeted Muslim Biharis. Rape gangs are a conspiracy in the UK. Reality is that women cannot stop lusting after the Imran Khanesque lotharios.

      I notice they also like to bring up Winston Churchill a lot and all of the Victoria Crosses Indians (actually they say Pakistanis and claim they were all from W Punjab) won for their masters during WWII. The whole thing is quite comical.

      1. They also worship Pashtuns ,a people that most people in the world look down upon.

        1. @Jatt_Scythian

          They worship Pashtuns? Please….

          Many Pakistani Punjabis are terrified of us; many of them refuse to even visit the Pashtun highlands of Pakistan, on the assumption that just a trip amongst the “Pathans” constitutes a death sentence.

          And when a Punjabi actually goes beyond Peshawar and receives incredible hospitality, and suffers not the slightest hint of danger, they tend to act either pleasantly shocked (as if it’s a great surprise that they didn’t encounter tribal barbarians), or construe it as a miracle (cuz only God could have kept them safe amongst those bloodthirsty savages).

          Their fears are founded on bullshit: the days of Pashtun highwaymen, of tribal wars and militias, of vendettas between neighbors and/or cousins, and of Pashtun Ghazis drunk on the prospect of plunder in northern India… those days are long, long gone. Those men no longer exist, and their descendants are very much either normal Pakistani citizens, or war-weary Afghans. The stereotype of hard and violent Pashtuns is often just an excuse to treat Pashtuns as subhuman (witness the treatment of Pashtuns living in Lahore, or of internally displaced refugees all across Pakistan).

          On top of that, many Pakistani Punjabis like to think of themselves as being very distinct from other South Asians (as in not South Asian at all). So it can be galling for them to deal with a people whose culture is the easternmost extension of the West Asian highland zone, and whose appearance entails much fairer skin than themselves. They see us as alien to them in both culture (too Turanian and Iranian) and phenotype. Our presence reminds them of their own Indian-ness, which is tough on the Punjabis who think that Hindus are a wholly distinct category of people from themselves.

          So it’s not worship at all; rather more like disdain partly founded on jealousy/neurosis.

          And on the topic of whether people in the rest of the world look down upon us, all I can say is this:

          The British Empire was continuously occupied with attempts at holding the eastern Pashtuns at arms length. They had their asses handed to them so often that they just stopped fighting, and ended up with a policy of paying the tribesmen to be good to them (like actual payments to Mohmands, Afridis, and Shinwaris to stay away from British controlled territory). And they fought three wars against the western Pashtuns, all of which were either disastrous for them (the first one), or utterly anticlimactic.

          Yet despite the constant headaches and humiliations they encountered, British colonial literature is filled with gushy descriptions of “brave, hardy, and handsome Pathans”, or “rugged, dogged, and honorable Afghans”. The harshest descriptions are always vaguely cool still (“the Pathans are wild and free”-type stuff).

          And across the Islamic world, Afghans enjoy a level of respect for having defeated the Soviets, and for essentially defeating the United States. Tell an Arab or Turk that you’re an Afghan, and see what happens.

          So, I don’t know about the whole “looked down upon by all the world” thing.

          Sorry for the length; rant over lol.

          1. our pakistani friends would tell us that Arabic is the language of heaven and Pashtun the language of hell. my parents didn’t really know how to take that since they didn’t have strong opinions of pashtuns. though there was apparently some dispute about a wife and someone by some local pashtun when my dad landed in west Pakistan for his master’s degree in the late 60s and the cab driver said “those pashtuns are like that” so he heard some stereotypes.

          2. Pashtuns are seen as an ideal Muslim archetype by a lot of Indo-Gangetic Muslims. Its a bit like ancient Greeks and Americans. Folks from rich European countries might not think much of the Greece of today, but they realize that they wouldnt be who they are today if not for the Greeks.

            The Pakistani market is a lot better developed than those of Pashtun areas, with access to the ocean and contacts with the Americans and Chinese. So it doesnt really matter how highly Arabs and Turks think of Pashtuns, they simply cant provide the network access Pakistanis can.

          3. Re: Bhadraloks and Pathans. Are you sure one story (by a noted bleeding heart, no less) represents social attitude ? The story itself goes on at lengthof how the little girl’s mother disapproves her growing attachment to the Pathan hawker.

  17. They then go into how the NW is .1% Denisovan and as you go South it approaches .3%.

    seriously? lol.

    The smartest, greatest, best looking, highest IQ S Asians are all from that area.

    the smart thing is funny. that being said, Indian and s Asian ppl of the south and east and inferiority complex vs those of north and west. so they’re leveraging something real, not fake.

    I’ve never had a comment of the form: “hey, i’m Punjabi, but dark and short. do you think i’m descended from Tamil immigrants?” but the reverse comment happens all the time. “people say ackchually you look Iranian…”

    1. I grew up in a cosmopolitan setting in Mumbai, and the funny thing is that I don’t really recall ever any feelings or undertones of inferiority vis a vis Punjabis or N Indians in my family circles, it was quite the contrary actually. I’ve always been the one to ask my folks to cool off on the N Indian stereotypes and the Tamil chauvinism, and Tamils were seen as the ‘model’ citizens with our hard working and hard studying ethos, emphasis on classical music, etc. It’s strange how perceptions and stereotypes vary so much from place to place

      1. I would agree with this.

        One doesn’t know what a truly superior Brahmin self-image is until one has met a TamBram. Often with justification.

  18. I read the referred article. This guy does not know much about swastika. It was present in Vinca 9000 years ago and used as a letter in the world oldest alphabet. I wrote couple times about this and there are hundreds of photos of figurines with swastika on Internet.

    By the way, who were Scythians, which language they spoke, what were their genes, where they came from and what’s happened with them? Were they rapists, too? I can see that one guy here has this in his name, I guess he is probably proud for having such ancestry. Also, does he know where the Jatts came from or they are indigenous to SA?

  19. Good point regarding the retroflex in Sanskrit. As for Aryan culture being alien, I was more concerned with the religious aspect in the piece; its enough for me to note that Indians were not already speaking Sanskrit when the Aryans arrived.

    I’m not attempting to draw equivalencies between the Aryan Invasion and latter (read Muslim) invasions. The Aryans were a lot worse, the genetic and cultural turnover makes that clear. I believe Tony Joseph calls it the most traumatic event in Indian history, which is surprising as I think he sometimes flirts with the AAT theory.

    On Omar’s point, this doesn’t take away from the Turkic invasions of India, which were incredibly destructive. The Arab conquest of Sindh and Multan was relatively benign however.

    I don’t think Muslims or Hindus today should take these events to heart, but I think its important to be honest about what happened.

    1. If I understand you don’t know anything about Aryans. You don’t know who they were (aliens!), their language, their religion, their culture, probably neither their genes. But you know that they were rapists, racists, barbarians, and religious supremacists. You obviously don’t know about swastika, but you write about this. What do you actually know? I am surprised that Razib follows you in a couple things without any supporting evidence or logical thinking. At least, you have a couple conclusions that Aryans brought the language (Sanskrit) and their religion to the region. Based on this you could also conclude that they brought some names/toponyms as well which can be used to find their homeland. Pretty disappointing. No need to answer, I am just curious if you know who was Alexander the Great? No offence, this is my litmus test if someone uses his brain.

    2. I’m not attempting to draw equivalencies between the Aryan Invasion and latter (read Muslim) invasions. The Aryans were a lot worse, the genetic and cultural turnover makes that clear. I believe Tony Joseph calls it the most traumatic event in Indian history, which is surprising as I think he sometimes flirts with the AAT theory.

      i think it was pretty intense. the genes don’t lie. but i don’t think it was the most traumatic in indian history. this is prehistory so we can go back to the early holocene. i’m pretty sure HG populations turned over and banged up against each other too.

      the thing is for given invasions the closer and closer to the present you get the less intense the pop turnover is. why? i think it’s because human elites got better and better at extracting resources from the peasants. in the prehistoric phase conflicts were more animal competition of zero-sum wars btwn two demes. but with the emergence of stratification elites realized they could make more wealth out of not killing aliens.

      this explains why the huna were not as bad demographically as the aryans, the muslims even less bad. i think the muslim killings are exaggerated because muslims were rent seekers par excellence. they just wanted wealth from the kufar. preferably the kufar would convert, but wealth was fine too if they didn’t.

      if you are going to say the aryan were the worst event, which is fair, you are using a time-invariant standard. in which case, muhammad was a pedophile, not someone who needs to be historically contextualized.

      1. ” i think it’s because human elites got better and better at extracting resources from the peasants.”

        Curious how you would rate Europeans in the different Americas against the different invaders of South Asia.

  20. I take your point, and while I would disagree with the analogy drawn, I’m uninterested in litigating it.

    Just a quick followup as I had a chance to read through all the comments, and I think one other point merits a response. Namely, the identity of the Dasyu.

    Some do say the term refers to Iranic tribes and not Indians. They are wrong, but its not a completely fringe thought. Its quite possible (and likely imo) that the Aryans ran into some Iranians at some point, and the two exchanged mean names for each other. One of these names could be Dasyu.

    But the Dasyu referred to in the Rigveda are Indians. We know this based on how the Aryans describe them; found “all around” the Punjab, with forts far and wide, who controlled the resources of the “7 rivers” until the Aryans seized them. These are not descriptions of a rival tribal incursion from West Asia, but a longstanding established population.

    The most obvious clue however, is the phenotype ascribed to the Dasyu by the Aryans. “Black skinned, flat nosed”. This can only refer to Indians.

    1. The most obvious clue however, is the phenotype ascribed to the Dasyu by the Aryans. “Black skinned, flat nosed”. This can only refer to Indians.

      i probably lean to your position on this until i read a definitive philological takedown, i disagree with the idea that phenotypes are so straightforward. the sumerians referred to themselves as ‘black-headed people’. afrocentrists use this to argue that they must have be black because most everyone around them had black-hair, so why would they call themselves the black-headed people? this is logical, but wrong.

      so i disagree it “can only refer to indians.” people depict their enemies in all sorts of weird ways that are formulaic.

      1. You are right that phenotype designations can be slippery. That said, the West/Central Asians of this period were roughly the same skin color as the Aryans. I find it very unlikely that one of the chief descriptors the Aryans would have for these peoples would be black/dark skin.

        Same with the nose. The flat nose is a transparent reference to the type of nose shape seen in some AASI/Austro shifted Indians, very rare in West/Central Asians.

        These same descriptors can be found in works from the later Vedic period, but used for tribes in Andra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

        You are right though that I was too absolutist with my statement. Its late, I’ve been fasting, that’s my excuse.

        1. \Same with the nose. The flat nose is a transparent reference to the type of nose shape seen \
          This nose business has been given up by scholars for a long time. Just from one misunderstood word in the veda ( anâsah , which is known from RS 5,29,10189 âlone) . whole racial spiel has been constructed by 19th century vedcists and historians and continued as AASI/ASI and what have you nowadays . However anâsah is split as ‘mouthless’ by sanskritists now . This can refer to those with bad ritual speech , which was the main shtick with vedic aryas .

          Racial view of ancient Indian society was constructed by the imperialists in the 19th century and continues nowadays.

          1. Racial view of ancient Indian society was constructed by the imperialists in the 19th century and continues nowadays.

            i’m pretty noncommital about whether the stuff in the vedas is describing racial differences. but the genetics clear, very different peoples in ancestry and looks were mixing in India 6 to 2 thousand years ago. during the period btwn 1500 and 500 BC there were almost certainly unmixed AASI still in india.

            finally, classical historians like ammianus marcellinus described the huns as physically distinct. often the descriptions made them seem vaguely asiatic. for many years i read that well actually ammianus and other ancients were deploying tropes and motifs to describe the ‘other’, the huns were just like other barbarians.

            now we have genetic data from huns, and it’s pretty clear they were 50% or so east Asian. ammianus was clearly described real Asian features in all likelihood, not classical tropes and motifs.

          2. \real Asian features in all likelihood, not classical tropes and motifs.\
            That depends on the quantity and quality and unambiguousness of the descriptions given.

        2. I’m pretty sure West Asians would have been darker than Central Asians especially those from the steppes.

        3. This is the craniofacial reconstruction of two male individuals – graves found at Rakhigarhi, from 4500 yBP, corresponding to the Late Mature Harappan phase. Per AIT, the Aryans have not yet left the homeland.

          https://twitter.com/SeshatDatabank/status/1185283349478367232

          To my untrained eye, the left guy looks like a typical Gujjar herdsman. The guy on the right, appears more settled and perhaps even owning the kind of settled gaze that certain Delhi grocers bestow upon prospective customers.

          The noses are perfectly fine.

    2. “But the Dasyu referred to in the Rigveda are Indians. We know this based on how the Aryans describe them; found “all around” the Punjab, with forts far and wide, who controlled the resources of the “7 rivers” until the Aryans seized them. These are not descriptions of a rival tribal incursion from West Asia, but a longstanding established population.

      The most obvious clue however, is the phenotype ascribed to the Dasyu by the Aryans. “Black skinned, flat nosed”. This can only refer to Indians.”

      Do you happen to have the book / verse numbers from the RV Samhita for these references to Dasyu?

    3. Dasyu in sanskrit, Dahyu in Old persian and Dahae in Greek are cognates. dasyu/Dahyu/Dahae were Indo-iranian speaking and possibly what were later known as Saka.

      Vedics diatribes against dasyu would be due to ritual and religious diferences
      This is the view of Asko Parpola also.

      The Greek historians writing about Alexanders campaign mention Dahae , which means Dasyu/Dahae maintained their ethnic distinctiveness till early BC

      AN HISTORICAL ATLAS OF CENTRAL ASIA
      3. CENTRAL ASIA AT THE TIME OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT (4TH CENTURY B.C.)

      Apparently, the Sakas, as well as a different Indo-European people, Tocharians, known from the later period, also inhabited the eastern part of Central Asia, although there is no reliable information on Eastern Turkestan for the middle of the 1st millenium B.C. Several distinct groups (confederations?) of the Sakas were mentioned in Old Persian Inscriptions and by Greek authors, such as Massagetae, Apasiacae, Dahae, Saka Tigrakhauda (“the Sakas who wear pointed hats”) and Saka Haumavarga (“the Sakas who boil haoma,” an intoxicating drink), but there is often conflicting information on their location………………… The son of the Khorezmian king Phrataphernes, named Pharasmanes, came to Alexander with a small cavalry force offering his submission, together with that of the Massagetae and Dahae,

    4. More than the phenotype descriptions, which may or may not be true, the approach to conflate classical hinduism with old aryan beliefs is naive at best and ideologically motivated at worst.

      Using some verses in Rgveda alone the piece came to conclusion that there was religious supremacy involved and that the native Indian traditions didnot make it to religion forced upon by Aryans on natives through conquest. Nothing can be further from truth.

      Not only did they make it right to present but they majorly define and differentiate Hinduism from traditions outside South Asia. Surely Aryans could have conquered but they did got swallowed themselves when dust settled.

      I dont know if you would put that AAT, AMT or some other suitable label.

      1. More than the phenotype descriptions, which may or may not be true, the approach to conflate classical hinduism with old aryan beliefs is naive at best and ideologically motivated at worst.

        the religious part of the essay was the weakest. it was just a few naked assertions.

  21. “The most obvious clue however, is the phenotype ascribed to the Dasyu by the Aryans. “Black skinned, flat nosed”. This can only refer to Indians.”

    स इद्दासं तुवीरवं पतिर्दन्षळक्षं त्रिशीर्षाणं दमन्यत् ।
    अस्य त्रितो न्वोजसा वृधानो विपा वराहमयोअग्रया हन् ॥६॥

    The sovereign Indra attacking him overcame the loud shouting, six eyed, three headed Dasa,
    Trita invigorated by his strength, smote the cloud with his iron-tipped finger.

    — Rigveda 10.99.6

    Since we are talking about Dasyus/Dasa appearances (apart from flat nose and black skin), like this random 3 headed thing, are “Indians” as well.

    I mean our intelligence can only be contained in 3 heads

  22. Just one point on the change of goal-posts from dark skin tone to flat noses. There are 9 words in all of Sanskrit literature for the flat-nosed feature, and not one attested in the Vedic canon (let alone RV):
    1 avaṭīṭa
    2 avanāṭanāsika
    3 khuraṇas
    4 cikina
    5 cikka
    6 cipaṭa
    7 cipiṭaghrāṇa
    8 natanāsika
    9 namranāsika

    The one that is attested in the RV is anās, which means having no mouth or nose. I know Griffith sometimes translates the term as a-nās (i.e. without nose), but it is equally likely to decline the samāsa (compound) as an-ās (i.e. without mouth).

    PS: Needless to add I would strongly suggest a training in the language (to trolls and laypersons alike) before using it to score points.

  23. Coming to Dasyus/Dasas as an ethnic group , the memory of it seems to have persisted upto 10th C in Eastern Turkmenistan i.e. Xingiang.

    Back to Asko Parpola:
    Nevertheless it seems that the Aryans and the Dãsas, Dasyus and Panis understood each other’s language … In Old lranian, Proto-Aryan s has become h In Old Persian an ethnic name Daha- is attested, also as a proper noun in the administrative tablets found at Persepolis; the masculine plural is used as the name of a province of the Persian empire, placed before the similarly used name of the Sakas in a Persepolis inscription of Xerxes . In the Greek sources Herodotus (1,125) is the first to mention the people called Dáoi, as a nomadic tribe of the Persians. More accurate information on them, however, is delivered by Alexander’s historians.206 According to Q.Curtius Rufus (8,3) and Ptolemy’s Geography (6,10,2), the Dahas lived on the lower course of the river Margos (modern Murghab) or in the northern steppe area of Margiana. Pomponius Mela (3,42), based on Eratosthenes, tells that the great bend of the river Oxus towards the northwest begins near the Dahas (iurta Dahas). Tacitus (Ann. ll,l0) places the Dahae on the northern border of Areia, mentioning the river Sindes (modern Tejend) as the border. These placements agree neatly with that of the Namazga V culture of Margiana and Bactria. In the language of the Sakas living in Khotan in Chinese Turkestan (western Xinjiang) between 7th and lOth centuries 4.D,, there is a very common word daha meaning ‘male person (contrasted with striyi- ‘woman’);

    .

  24. isn’t it plausible that the vedas are a melange of peoples/places/events in india along with older memories of c. asia? it’s not like names don’t get transposed (e.g., american ‘indians’) by pepole who aren’t ethnographers?

    1. I agree they are a melange of various layers and words get re-used etc. The point really is inferring the use of a word at a given time and place requires:

      a) establishing the time and place of the composition (e.g. dasyu wasn’t a +ve word in early RV and became progressively -ve later, it was -ve throughout)
      b) applying one’s priors to the distribution of possible meanings, i.e. how likelier is usage-1 over usage-2

      There are errors in both steps and an intelligent interpreter must admit uncertainty in both them. Lack of knowledge of the language typically reflects as sampling error in b).

      ~

      My own POV on Aryan Invasion (or whatever) is that it was an exogenous culture, whose ingress must have looked quite violent to the “Indians” before them. While I have not much knowledge of the genetic footprint, the linguistic footprint of Indo-Aryan shows significant substrate. This indicates a slower rate of replacement/acculturation than say Anglicization of Britain.

      The invasions of Angles/Saxons/Jutes from the regions around N Germany and Jutland into the British Isles took just a century (450-550 CE) and the linguistic effacement was almost total. There is barely any Celtic linguistic substrate in Old English (barring toponyms), in comparison with older Latin vocab (cf Benedictine reforms from Aethelstan’s reign) and of course extensive Danish/Norse vocab and morphological influence (shirt-skirt pairs, usage of -son patronymic etc).

      Are the English losing sleep over this? I’d take the cue from that and treat this merely as interesting (if violent) history. Lots of material for TV series and movie plotlines but nothing more. We don’t get to choose our forefathers. I, personally, would love not to have monkeys as cousins but not much I can do about it 😉

      [Last post on this thread too. I’ve had my fill of AIT etc for like the next 4-5 months]

    2. I think so. but much to the delight of those along lines of OP that makes for a good time cherry picking. Like finding pictures of blonde kalash and low caste tamils to compare Pak and Indian phenos.

      The racial turnover exists and there were likely brutal aspects. I buy your more efficient rent seekers argument and how adding historical context matters. The whole “racist,” “religious supremacist,” etc sounds funnier and funnier the more I read it. Those are, like Razib has said, quite modern concepts. I think tribalist is the best term. And that was pretty almost every group back then.

      What I find funny is that the average indid Pakistani (let’s even remove mohajirs and dalits) is still probably 75% IVC+AASI and 25% steppe with N Indian peasants at an 85%-15% ratio. But the difference is blown up by the Pak side. These people were Hindu largely before conversion and many were probably Buddhist prior to that. Araingang himself might be from some Rajput lineage, granted legitimacy of the Rajput claims of many groups, especially Pak ones are questioned, insofar as inflating ancestry goofily is still common today and probably especially incentivized and easier to fraud in the so called martial designated groups.

      It is interesting also how on one hand Pak circles racially look down upon Indians, yet on the other the one component that makes them different, the bit of added steppe, they are now calling the result of the most evil thing committed in the history of the subcontinent, doing so largely just to shame Hindus for the supposed hypocrisy of venerating one group of conquerors and discriminating against another. They indirectly take pride in their, what ironically sounds unequivically like a cucking per their own descriptions of ghastly mass rape and organized total enslavement and subjugation, by both salivating at the prospect of comparing the brutality of the sexual displacement 2000 years ago yet venerating their more “caucasian features” and greater Aryan rather than Dravidian heritage, something I see consistently done.

      As a nation state, the Republic of India and the Republic of Pak are equally new and assembled a hodge podge of people. But the civilization of India is common to both. Like I have previously said, the Republic of India, much to the chagrin of the likes of Jinnah, was just smart enough to call themselves the civilizational namesake, in liue of say some odd acronym or ancient and not as recognizable of a name.

      I also notice Indians tend to be more fraternal about their feelings towards Pak people than the other way around. They view them as ideologically misguided brethren, part of the same historical fold, just badly confused really. The Pakistanis however enjoy using racial epithets, pointing out their more West Eurasian lineage (either falsely turco mongol arab persian greek at first and now the slight bump in steppe after all of that was proven to be a sham) so as to claim to be a totally separate species compared to the dark Hindoo. They also engage in the worst religious discrimination of the subcontinent, including a genocide against the Bengalis (targeting dark Hindoo conspirators more but raping hundreds of thousands total, killing perhaps millions, with their own generals proclaiming they will “aryanize” and “change the race” of Bengalis). Now, just in general trying to now fracture the history of the subcontinent, proclaiming all that has high status in the liberal circles they want to bring to their side, namely the “egalitarian revolution” of Buddhism being theirs. Again, the entire agenda, from day 1 in their biased textbooks, is to paint the Pak Punjabi Sunni as a spiritually, intellectually, physically, morally, and creatively superior to that of the dark conniving Hindoo.

      “The Aryan Migration into India was invasive; characterized by violent conquest, rape, racism, and religious supremacy.”

      ^This my fellow pundits is all projection. This is actually how Pakistanis view themselves regarding Indians. The only adage is that they view all of those things as justified because as they unsuccessfully try to show over and over again, they are part of some sort of totally separate and inherently superior lineage, with both a better past and superior future ahead.

      May the Skymother smile upon you.
      May the Autsomal River God bless you.
      May the Junglefather give you strength.

      Jai Shree Ameen

      1. “. Like I have previously said, the Republic of India, much to the chagrin of the likes of Jinnah, was just smart enough to call themselves the civilizational namesake, ”

        This reminded me of the incident narrated in Nisid Hajari’s book, where Mountbatten was trying to convince Patel to release some money or resources which Pakistan was entitled to.

        Patel’s reply was ” Why? Nobody asked them to secede.”

        1. The anecdote doesn’t flatter Patel. Confirms the sense that he was litigating the transfer of control of something rather than bringing a nation into being.

      2. The thing is Western leftists buy the bullshit so they are succeeding.

        I also find it funny how they idolize Pashtuns instead of Persians when the latter have contributed so much more to humanity.

        1. Are you from India? You look new here.

          Btw they also idiolize Arabs like arabi characters in soap operas never have i ever seen a arabi women in Indian show with his sheikh husband.

        2. A lot of their “winning” has to do with the fact that their base is very loyal. They do face a more real existential threat, given the fact that they know India, due to shear size and military capability comparability, can 100% guarantee a win in a conventional encounter. So from the beginning, there was a sense of urgency created for the need and relevance of nationalism.

          This was seen in their textbooks, where brainwashing the youth into thinking they are a superior race to that of the cowardly and treacherous Hindoos across the border and that Muslims are entitled to victory in the subcontinent, particularly those of superior stock. These sentiments are even present in their battle cries during times of conflicts and manifest as even refusal to reclaim dead bodies after failed attempts of surprise aggression.

          So this combination of an inherent urgency, due to asymmetry of position from the beginning and especially post dismemberment in 1971, and effective brainwashing has made the Pak people ultra nationalistic relative to the Indian people. This manifests as things like the very existence of a lot of guys like Araingang who are ultra nationalistic in outlook, despite being a generation and thousands of miles removed from their parent’s homeland.
          It is almost akin to the case of Israeli nationalism among some Jewish Americans. Granted, their case is more extreme with some of my fellow Jewish classmates and friends in high school going on to even voluntarily serve in the Israeli army.

          These ultranationlist types are trained in the tongue of the Western liberal, from Imran Khan to even the new era of online bloggers, such as OP, they are exceptional with their ability to use the right buzzwords to appeal to the Western leftist, while staining maintaining a thinly disguised ultra nationalist frame.

          Indians are the opposite. They do not have this sense of existential urgency, Their textbooks, largely written by marxists, take a neutral to downright derisive view of Hinduism and a strong nationalist identity. This manifests in a lot more Indians, relative to Pakistanis, in the West talking about India as a shithole or just saying a lot of negative crap, only to win brownie points among a Western crowd rather than to be constructive and actually try to do something abou tit. The intellectual classes of Indians, namely the Congress I party, vacillate between nationalism and then caving to an overdone federalist norm that frankly looks closer to a regional confederacy.

          But India is changing. Indians are becoming more nationalistic. An identity around being Indian and a proud member of the republic is being forged stronger and stronger. I see it with my own cousins. They recognize flaws in India but are much more sensitive to the tone and zealous and false equivalencies often drawn, when such flaws are discussed in Western liberal media spaces. The dawn of the era of the proud Indian national is coming. Textbooks are also being revamped, some of it though is unfortunate with unscientific stuff but some of it is a genuine attempt to revert the self-hatred brainwashing paradigm of yesterday.

          But these dividends will pay off in a few decades. It will take time. But I am optimistic. The major next challenge is to sell the positives of Hinduism and dharmic thinking in general. Within political spaces, right now, organized Hinduism exists too much as a reactionary force to radical Islam. It has to change that narrative. Also, it has to change in such a way to be more inclusive.

          Steps are already being taken, but I am ambivalent about them. The RSS is accepting more Muslim members now. And words like “we are all hindu” are being clarified, but these nuances are tough to communicate. Like a poster here said, where they grew up everyone was a Hindu. Even Christians and Muslims were just Hindu Christians and Muslims. The connotation was that a Hindu is a son of the soil of India, one whose lineage belongs to the long history of the civilization entity that is India. Granted, this is a tricky space. Perhaps, different words are better. Maybe Hindu needs to be defined more clearly.

          1. ” An identity around being Indian and a proud member of the republic is being forged stronger and stronger. I see it with my own cousins. ”

            Ask me about it. My dad literally called me an anti national on call yesterday. This is the same guy from whom i had drawn my agnosticism through out my life.

            He used to laugh at babas, rarely visited temples, mock fun at RSS and during his mid life a big caste-nationalist voting for SP and BSP. Now mildly being critical of BJP is a crime and not voting for them is banned in my household. LOL

  25. just a note: ethnic jokes/comments made in jest/fun and good sport are OK. some of us get a sense of each other (saurav’s ironic n. Indian supremacism). but please don’t post that stuff seriously. i don’t take positively to that. if i get a sense you are serious i’m going to ban.

    1. This is one of the things that make me ashamed to be desi. These guys are way too ethnic/national centric, it’s tiresome and cringe. All this talk about, genocide, whose better due to more Steppe ancestry, and for the love of god, who has less (.1 vs .3) denisovan ancestry, which nation IVC belongs to. Pak vs India are as bad as each other.

      In a way I’m so glad my wife is Lebanese, my son being half Lebanese. And you should be too, Razib. Let’s ditch these fools!

      Love from a fellow Bengali.

      1. Self-hatred and low self-esteem is an essential feature of the Indian subcontinent. You clearly haven’t escaped yet.

    2. B4 finding this blog, i used to think no one in their right mind would be serious about all this stuff.

      I used to make fun of Gujjus, but on my liberal left wing watsapp group i stopped doing that, because now it has turned something serious. And all the gujjus in that group have quietly started leaving.

  26. Does anyone else wonder how come there are so many Bengalis in genetic studies. Is it like a Bengali-american thing?

  27. No i was just wondering almost all Bengalis who comment on the blog know so much about DNA and RNA and stuff. I have yet to find a Bengali commentator who is more like me in the sense he wants to know more about genetics and all. All of them seem to know a lot already.

    I see S-Indians, Pakistanis commentators here who just like me have some idea on genetics. So was wondering on the variance.

    1. ascertainment bias, as i’m one of the few ppl on the webs doing bengali genetics. so the ppl that show up are very motivated to find this weblog

  28. in regards to the type of comment above by an asshole-hindu. is being an asshole just normal in India in conversation? some cultures are just more ‘rude’ (e.g., the dutch are like this). i am actually keen to talk to a brahmin with some knowledge of the vedas…but the guy above was such an incredible high-grade asshole that my probability is now much lower to do such a thing.

    basically Hindu nationalists are often (not always) really good at being assholes online. no wonder it’s so easy to convince leftists they’re white supremacists if you are mehdi hasan.

    1. Hindu nationalists are terrible at selling themselves.

      They need to read Art of the Deal, written by the Orange Walrus God himself, the greatest marketing genius of all time.

      Jai Shree Trumpra

    2. @Razib Even though I didn’t have good fortune of knowing you in person, I believe you are poor judge of a person’s character.

      Why do you think that I have to put aside my pride(remember I personally asked you to ban me because I was disgusted with your verbal abuse) and write such comment all of a sudden?
      It can’t be just for the sake of ‘trolling'(to be precise your definition of trolling….). I don’t even get what was so ‘trollish’ about my recent comment except mocking you a little for the claim that you have ‘read’ the Vedas. I thought you were much more tolerant than this.

      Did you even care to ask me the name of person I was talking about?(Just in the case I’m not a real ‘troll’ ?)
      Do you believe I’m such an ‘invalid’ source of information that my comment didn’t even deserve to be pubished in this blog?
      It’s not like most of your commentators are in any way better than me.

      I would’ve never ever commented in this blog if not for my good intention of enriching knowledge of all of people who are associated with this blog.
      Since my intentions are good I will not hesitate to urge you again to take my suggestion in consideration. So if you are willing then I think there is a person who can positively contribute to your blog.

      It’s not easy to find Vedic brahmins at first place. Even if you did it’s not like most of them will care to engage with you. Even if they did there is high chance that they will be mere ‘parrots’. The Vedic interpreters are a rare species.

    3. Razib,

      Plus One for the comment,
      I also fear that this unpleasant behaviour turns off many people from conversing with the online Hindus and the leftists have a field day.

      HINDUS aught to cultivate a calm conversational attitude and not be perturbed by contrarian and even wrong views. Just keep pushing the facts. Truth eventually wins but you will not be left to see the day if you do not have the patience.

  29. stupid too. this isn’t twitter. i can delete/ban/redact.

    many years ago i read that much of the foreign western press in israel/pal ended up favoring the latter cuz Palestinian Arab culture was more ‘gracious’ than Israeli culture, which is more blunt, direct, and, aggressive.

    and i have to contrast them with kabir. he’s kind of dumb and annoying, but he doesn’t come off (usually) as a screaming asshole. the Hindu nationalists do.

    1. We have a very bad reading culture and most people (including myself) are not well read. We have an even worse writing culture, casual literacy like writing (non-professional) letters, maintaining a journal, writing blog posts etc is non-existent. This leads to structural problems like poor critical thinking habits and gut-emotional instincts/likes-dislikes masquerading as opinions. Because they are almost exclusively based on emotions and not well thought out/organized/detailed, when repudiated/opposed people have no other option but outbursts. Maybe the roots are also in parenting because Indian parents are not the most reasonable and rarely give explanation for their behaviors.

      Maybe some of it is due to translating native tongue(in which most think) into English and saying it. And some of the rudeness is because if everyone waits for getting turns to speak then you might never get a turn as there are so many people in India.

      1. Also in absence of enough data(due to lack of reading) to cite or form an opinion most debates degenerate into discussing stereotypes and generalizations. Do this long enough and world actually starts looking very simple reduced into black and white. I can write more but you would have got the gist.

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