Tired closing comments on the “Aryan” debate

Earlier this month I was part of a podcast discussion about AIT and its counter (OIT?) with Razib, Mukunda, Kushal Mehra, and a Carvaka regular Kartik Mohan. It was a good discussion though I doubt if it would come out as a great podcast.

Personally, I have gone down the AIT/OIT rabbit hole enough last few years to want a long break from these discussions. However, before I take the break, I would like to summarize my current position which would also act as my notes for the podcast. For my position on this topic a year ago please find the following blogpost – From OIT to AIT

You can listen to the podcast here.

Language & Genes:

I firmly believe that ancient genetics is the strongest method for unraveling the mysteries of prehistory. For pre-modern societies, I do not believe there were any mechanisms of the spread of primary languages without mass movements of people. Language is a meme but unlike religions, it has complex mechanisms of spread that take years and requires (in most cases) familial teaching. If we take examples of memetic spread in recorded history – be it the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia or Buddhism in East Asia(via trade, etc) both happened without fundamental alterations in the primary language of the recipient regions. So in essence I do not find the model of primary language shift through mechanisms of trade or other N mechanisms posited as feasible.

As Razib pointed out in the podcast – everywhere on the earth where Indo-European languages were spoken as primary languages in pre-modern times, the Steppe genetic signal is present in substantial amounts. I do not think any other explanation other than some form of Steppe hypothesis can explain this data. Of course, PIE homeland (including Hittite) could be in the Steppe or it could be elsewhere. I believe what we can firmly state is not where PIE originated, but where PIE developed and was spread out of.

If we want to look at a potential model of IA spread into India from the historic record we can take a look at the British isles. The languages are nicely split in the east-west direction along Germanic/Celtic lines similar to the North-South split of Aryan and Dravidian languages in India. Not only that only around 38% ancestry of Britain is Anglo Saxon with an east-west gradient.

Critics of OIT like to attack particulars of the 2007 Anthony book as new evidence is unearthed as if any dissonance in Anthony/Mallory model is a slamdunk against the Steppe hypothesis. Personally, I have no strong positions on the details of the Steppe hypothesis as argued by Anthony and Mallory. The evidence of horseback riding for the Sredny Stog or even the Yamnaya is circumstantial at best (I believe some form of horseback riding as a tool of herding by young shepherds might have been a possibility), so we cannot firmly assume that horseback riding was the reason for the massive demographic changes brought about by the Steppe men. This might have mattered before the ancient DNA revolution, but now we know the genes of the steppe pastoralists spread, maybe because of the horseback riding or maybe just due to the benefits of horse husbandry or some other reasons. We know massive demographic and (probably) linguistic changes occurred from the Steppes, the “how” question might eventually get solved (or it might not) – but that doesn’t poke holes in the larger “Steppe hypothesis” built on top of Archaeogenetics.

This doesn’t mean that any other mechanism of IE spread cannot work with the available data but it has to go beyond the tenuous mechanisms like trade-aided language spread. Even the Elite migration hypothesis (minus demographic changes) doesn’t seem to work as well as we assumed before the ancient DNA. The Hittite and Mitanni IE elites did not cause any substantial demographic changes nor did they cause any long-term linguistic alterations in the middle eastern region. Closer to home, Indians have had elite rules who spoke Greek, Iranian languages, Turkic languages, and lastly English. These massive elite dominations for centuries have only resulted in superstrates and languages like Urdu (I am not sure if we call it a creole). By the end of an efficient British Raj, not even 1% of Indians spoke English as a primary language. Thus anyone who tries to explain away IA spread out of India has to account for the 20-30% paternal ancestry (50% Y chromosomes) which seems to have changed in the other direction. This paternal ancestry matters a lot as we know the ancient Aryas were patriarchal, patrilineal, and patrifocal.

Also, it is often overlooked that AIT is just one node of the larger PIE – Steppe hypothesis. Even if details of AIT are contested how much does that matter to the PIE question? Also even if PIE shifts out of Pontic Steppe into Iran or Anatolia it would still be against any model for OIT and in favor of some form of AIT.

As I tried pointing out in the podcast, I see a lot of issues with Talageri and other OIT (anti-AIT scenarios) – I have not read Talageri’s books yet but have read his blog posts and interpretation of RV and listened to his podcasts on Carvaka. My points against those interpretations are

  1. The east to west movement of the Bharatas based on the mandalas 6-3-7 seems to hold on to some very tenuous points from the RV (eg: 2-3 references to Ganga). This reasoning might appear possible (not probable) but has zero archeological records to support it – especially for the timelines Talageri argues for (3000 BCE). Before 2000 BCE we have no archaeological data from the Gangetic plains to buttress these extraordinary claims.
  2. The lack of references to rice in RV is also inconsistent with the Gangetic origins of Aryas.
  3. The whole Asva/Ratha argument in Talageri model old RV as other equids/carts doesn’t seem to work in my preliminary reading of the RV. While the point made by Talageri “that all references to Asva/Ratha need not mean Horse/Chariot” is a correct one; the opposite isn’t automatically true => All references to Asva/Ratha need not be non Horse/non Chariot references. On the contrary, reading the RV I felt reading those references as horse/chariots make more sense (maybe it’s my priors). Interested readers can read through RV 3.43 3.45 6.29 6.44 6.45 7.18 7.19 and see for themselves if the references to Asva/Ratha appear to be for Horse/chariots or for Cart/Donkeys. (especially the Dasrajna hymns).
  4. Whatever inferences I take from RV, I find it difficult to impose them on whatever we know of the IVC. This doesn’t automatically rule out the possibility of Arya poets living on the peripheries of IVC and composing RV but makes it unlikely IMO.

However to conclusively deny these assertions one would have to do a meta-analysis of RV, if ever I get down this rabbit hole in the future I might do it myself. However in the meantime, one can look at this.

Needless to say, such interpretations will remain “circumstantial” be they in support of the AIT or OIT. After all, RV only captures a thread of the ancient Indian past while the others may be completely lost.

Personally, I would be open to alternative scenarios to explain the IA spread into India, like IA migration during the IVC (before the Sintastha) while migrations downstream of Sintastha which are attested via Genetics being responsible for the consolidation of Aryas as Kshatriya/Brahmana elites of the Vedic age. But these are extraordinary scenarios and they would require at least some robust objective pieces of evidence like

  1. Steppe signal from before 2000 BCE.
  2. Chariots or other classical IE motifs before 2000 BCE.
  3. Or deciphering of IVC script (or any other script from ancient India) to a Sanskrit-like language.

Outside the world of religion and mathematics, there is no absolute certainty. As a result outlier individuals from academic disciplines will continue to have non-conformist takes (like Kazanas for example). Such takes over the decades will continue to be used to create elaborate theories, be it using linguistics, genetics, and something else and they will continue getting traction in some groups (European pagans, Serb nationalists, Indian nationalists). The solutions to the PIE question are models, some more parsimonious; some tenuous, others ridiculous.  There is certainly enough circumstantial data to spin wild theories putting the homeland from Iberia (initial bell beakers) to Gangetic plains (OIT), but none of these theories is the best fit for the data we have today. Maybe with newer data, some better candidates can emerge (though I doubt it). But going by the academic consensus from 3 fields -> Genetics, Linguistics, and Archaeology some model of the Steppe hypothesis is the best fit for the Indo-European question.

But for all, we know someone can still spin a theory based on some evidence that puts the PIE homeland in the sunken Atlantis.

Post Script:

I have had enough of the AIT/OIT debate and I will be avoiding this topic in the future. It has become a political and emotional topic and there is only so much that there can be no conclusion as what people assume to be at stake isn’t merely an academic question like Pre-Clovis peopling of the Americas.

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43 thoughts on “Tired closing comments on the “Aryan” debate”

  1. Great summary and good job connecting different threads!

    I am very pessimistic about how this debate will play out in India though, at least for the next decade or two. A couple of days ago I caught a bit of a video/podcast my dad was listening, with the usual RW themes about India’s past greatness and colonialism and stuff. The AIT was mentioned once in dismissal, i.e., that it was propagated by colonisers and has been “refuted” (this is a word Talageri keeps using too), and given the mendacity of foreigners on this question, we shouldn’t trust them about anything else.

    The meme has sunk in too deeply within the Indian middle class and intelligensia (excluding the few people of left-wing or liberal bent) for it to be challenged in the near future, I think. Pretty much all of Indian social media seems to agree that the AIT has been comprehensively refuted and those who promote it are “colonisers”. There is a powerful combination of victimhood, total distrust of any foreign sources, and ignorance of (or disinterest in) historical events occurring outside of India that will keep parallel narratives about the IE problem going: OIT dominating in India and AIT outside it.

    1. Well part of the issue was late 1800s early 1900s were the heyday of racialist thinking in the sciences.

      So there was this broad narrative that all the historic civilizational achievements of the Indian subcontinent were due to white Aryan people.

      The discovery of the IVC and more recent finding of a lack of steppe ancestry in IVC among a whole bunch of other shifts in understanding and end of colonialism in the 20th century have largely but not fully dismantled the racialist narrative of “non-white people can’t build civilizations”.

      The thing is India is now in the heyday of Hindutva so people are misinterpreting things through that lens.

      1. Yes, Sumit, I’m aware of why Indians find the OIT so catchy and the AIT so objectionable. Many years ago, I was one of those who used to write such comments on this blog in order to inform non-Indians (Razib and others). I just hoped people would gradually adopt a more scientific and less emotional attitude to this problem. Instead, things have gone in the opposite direction despite more ancient DNA evidence having emerged to bolster the AIT/AMT in this period.

        One reason is really more democracy and more increase in prosperity levels (both unequivocally good things IMO) but without a commensurate increase in general education or awareness of changing currents outside India (and not much contact with non-Indians too). People keep citing stuff that the 19th century racialists said, seemingly without knowing that the masses of white people in the West today would be horrified at the very thought of expressing such opinions. The few Indians like me who have lived abroad and have continuous contact with non-Indians have different opinions; we know that people there don’t all hold the same views that the real “colonialists” used to, but the average BJP supporter doesn’t know this. Which is why I said we’ll not make any progress in the OIT/AIT debate for a decade or two at least.

        1. Well the reason I am bringing it up is that AIT is a 19th century linguistics based theory and parts of the AIT package of views have indeed been proven incorrect even though in broad strokes it is correct that in so far as almost all Indians have some ancient European-like ancestry.

          Similarly the theories of phrenology are not true even though it was broad-strokes more correct than something like cartesian dualism because it believed the brain was the seat of the mind.

          I don’t think White people or White racism are relevant to the average modern day Indian. They support or oppose this stuff based on political thinking. i.e. if AIT then Hinduism is not native to India and Hindus have no special connection to the land and deserve no special consideration vis a vis Islam or Chirstianity.

          Indian academics I do think often get their work unfairly discounted by a broader global audience even in non-controversial fields (C. S. Yajnik’s diabetes research comes to mind), but I think that is a seperate issue.

          1. I agree with your point about Indian academics. Being in scientific research myself, and having practiced both in the US and back in India, I can attest that research coming out of India is often treated with less respect than that coming out of the US. Partly, this is about language (I review scientific papers routinely, and lack of English fluency sometimes hampers non-native speakers’ abilities to accurately pen their thoughts), but that is far from the full story.

            I would like to think Indians have gotten over their obsession with whites (and white racism), and that the AIT/OIT debate is not about that, but I’m doubtful. The AIT doesn’t say anything about the religion or the culture coming from outside, just the language. Particular groups of people may have the reason you described: like my own (Tamil Brahmins), who have been called interlopers by leaders of the Dravidian movement (though this sentiment is not widespread in TN.)

      2. This is true, but serious OIT didn’t emerge until 1930s with Golwalkar’s work. Prior to that, people didn’t have as much trouble in identifying as descendants of the Aryans. Prior to that, the main reaction was that Indians preserved Aryan culture while Europeans like the British did not.

  2. Some magical fairy tales that the AMT camp spins…..and never bothers to specify in detail.

    Where did the supposed IA ingression take place. From the Bolan Pass to the Makran coast, the NW of India is incredibly wide. Where exactly? Archaeological papers please.

    1. The questions that are asked about ingress into India can also be asked about egress from it.

      OIT advocates want the AIT advocates to fill in every little detail, otherwise that theory must be bogus. But when challenged about how OIT explains the spread of IE languages to the other end of Eurasia, they say that’s someone else’s job; apparently poking holes in the India-specific parts of the theory is all that can be demanded of them.

      (And where do you think ancient DNA comes from if not from archaeological digs? Why don’t you wait for more to emerge in the next few years instead of jumping the gun? Perhaps new evidence will validate your theory of choice.)

      1. @Pandit Brown

        Not a single archaeological reference in your reply but very loquacious.

        Genetics is quite clear – no Steppes component in IVC.

        Archaeology is quite clear – a predominant number of IVC settlements are on the banks of the Saraswati (Ghaggar Hakra)

        Vedic corpus is overwhelmingly composed in a riverine setting with the Saraswati and its sisters being worshipped.

        Hydromorphology is solid – Saraswati did not retain its unbroken flow beyond 2000 BCE

        It’s beyond any doubt that the IVC was the civilization of the Aryas.

        I can understand the need for you to bring OIT into the picture whenever you get agitated. There are 3 logical outcomes.

        1. AIT in 1500 BCE
        2. Neither AIT nor OIT – IVC is IE speaking
        3. OIT in 3000 BCE

        The middle conclusion is perfectly balanced with all the evidence.

        1. correction -> what seems most parsimonious about second scenario is
          IVC had a IE speaking class – whose memory is preserved in early RV.

          Maybe the best explanation is Steppe ancestry also came in and added to this IE class and the amalgamation resulted in Vedic culture – but some form of Vedic Sanskrit in which early RV is composed was part of larger IVC.
          The exceptionally high % Y and moderate autosomal DNA needs an explanation

          I would not be surprised if this comes out though i do not think this is the best fit.

          The argument made by Razib, Kaeshour was Vedic culture is already IE + IVC.
          But there needs to be some responses to why the language shifted to rapidly. So i dont think that explanation is also 100%

          1. The preponderance of evidence is on the AIT/AMT side but the trick people like Ugra play is to obsessively litigate that evidence without providing a plausible alternate model.

            Another trick is to avoid revealing the true puzzle: which is why IE languages are spoken across much of Eurasia, and instead portraying the problem solely as whether Vedic culture is indigenous or brought to India by people from outside (about which Indians either have strong feelings or tend to acquire strong feelings through internet and social media forums.)

            About the puzzle of the language shift: I heard the debaters say (and I’ve heard this in the past too) that the IVC had a very high population density and so it doesn’t make sense that a small number of people could influence such a big linguistic change. What exactly is the evidence for high population density throughout the IVC? Is there material evidence from digs or is it conjecture based on knowledge of other riverine civilizations (like Egypt and Sumer)? If the IVC density was not so high, say, because of ecologically driven population collapse, then a language shift driven by invasion/migration becomes plausible, no?

          2. No Pandit_Brown my point was slightly different;

            If 50% paternal lineages of Brahmins are IVC or non Steppe – why isnt the language of these 50% preserved more in form of substrate ? or only as liturgical language — because nearly 90% + mt DNA is indigenous.

            So i am not saying this is not possible – but why would 50% males impact outside 150% — despite 50% males being represented in Vedic Elites.

        2. Seriously moronic comment.

          Genetics is quite clear – no Steppes component in IVC.

          Yeah, genius, and then you have Steppe component in later generations of people living around that area (like Swat) and in all modern Indians. (Surely you can’t be thick enough for the implication of that to escape you?)

          Neither AIT nor OIT – IVC is IE speaking
          The middle conclusion is perfectly balanced with all the evidence.

          Yes, perfectly in the middle, like Schrodinger’s cat.
          If neither AIT nor OIT is true and if IVC is IE speaking and if much of Eurasia is IE speaking (you conveniently omit the last “evidence”), than what the F do you think happened? The language of the IVC magically teleported its way across to Ireland and Scandinavia?

          About your obsession with archaeological evidence, do you have any idea how complex and painstaking the unearthing of such evidence is? You are never going to get more than a portion of a tip of the iceberg. Which is why ancient DNA evidence is considered a godsend by historians; it provides more clues than those produced not just by past digs of pottery and stuff but likely future discoveries of such material artifacts too.

          1. @Pandit Brown

            You are clueless, even illiterate about the quality of evidences – the difference between empirical and rational lines. Easy for you to be gullible and drink snake-oil.

            Genetics and linguistics are rational.
            Archaeology and literary corpus are empirical.

            Empiricism is superior to rationality. There is a very strong rational line that there is a Planet Nine outside of Pluto. But no cigar until the actual planet is spotted with a telescope. Empiricism is prime!

            The Hunas, Sakas, Greeks and Achaeminids are the givers of the Steppes component to modern Indians. Because they are archaeological attested!

            The Indian archaeological institution is very mature. There is universal acceptance even among Western archaeologists (Kenoyer, Possehl) that AIT is very weak and unsupported with any field evidence.

          2. I highly recommend reading or at least listening to YouTube lectures by Kenoyer.
            It’s informative to know from the guy who actually worked with physical evidence for more than 20 years.

            A few things stand out:
            1. IVC is highly densely populated and had thriving long distance trade. This based on their food storage and consumption. If there are no people there won’t be so much sewage. (For modern equivalent look up Burj Khalifa sewage problem)
            2. It is very unlikely we will find real IVC aDNA because they practiced cremation. This is based on the sizes of cemeteries vs. dwellings. The DNA that would be found will be of outsiders or other peripheral IVC people.
            So, DNA is not the “easy” answer for IVC people.

            What is strange was that PIE was initially thought to be formed around 6000BC just from linguistics but was discarded since that’s considered too early for people to have settled life. Now we have permanent dwellings of catalhoyuk from 7500BC. But the narrative train keeps Yamnaya as holders of PIE. I don’t know how DNA is solver of that question.

          3. @Violet:

            I don’t know how DNA is solver of that question.

            It isn’t, at least by itself, as I stated more than once (I think). It just so happens that ancient DNA (when compared with modern DNA) seems to indicate that people from the steppe (Yamnaya) or steppe-derived populations (Corded Ware) happened to migrate to (or invade) a bunch of places across Eurasia in a particular sequence over a couple of thousand years. These places coincidentally happen to speak IE languages today. In addition, there is copious archaeological evidence of invasions in various European regions (though not in India) from the steppe during the same period.

            All of this may look like circumstantial evidence, but it fits the steppe model of IE dispersal. Looking only at India, the only evidence that seems contradictory is textual, i.e., what the Vedas contain and how people have interpreted the contents and form of the Vedas. To those of us who do not have strong religious convictions nor are we particularly invested in the notion that our ancestors were inerrant, this seems to be a strictly weaker form of evidence; i.e., I have no problem believing that the Vedic texts were redacted, bowdlerized, reordered, translated from older (now extinct) langauges, and are missing contents people didn’t find convenient to pass down the generations.

            If we find similar circumstantial evidence to show, either through archaeological artifacts or DNA (or ideally with both) that there was a bunch of ancient Indians who emigrated to all other IE-speaking countries, then we absolutely should take OIT as seriously as AIT (probably more). But we don’t have such evidence (yet).

          4. Just to add to my previous comment, linguistics can circumscribe how languages change and figure out if and how two languages separated by space and time are related. But it can’t (and probably never can) answer effectively how long these processes take. Glottochronology seemed to me to be little better than astrology in its rigor. And I think natural language drift doesn’t happen that often, and also probably happens slower than many people think; most changes we see after a languages disperses are most likely because of mixing with other languages.

            So I’ve never paid much attention to the postulated timings, and am always open to changing my mind based on new evidence.

          5. @ Pandit Brown

            The key point is, we are unlikely to get relevant aDNA from India due to cremation practice in IVC.

            This means we keep making theories with incomplete evidence about India.

            Even with all the aDNA and archeology in steppe, there isn’t a consensus on PIE Homeland or source population of CHG. Shows you how many varied data sources and volume needed to build confidence in a single theory. Ignoring some data just because it has lower accuracy doesn’t help to solve the case.

            Not acknowledging biased sample sets in support of a theory makes one look biased even if they insist on their objectivity based on “best data”.

  3. A very interesting discussion indeed. It does seem like the evidence in favour of either ‘camp’ are patchy and full of holes, and both sides have different ‘weapons’ that they bring to the table.

    It also does seem unfair that the die has been loaded in favour of the AIT camp as it has the first mover advantage. I don’t see the opposing camp having the decisive ‘smoking gun’ yet, and nor does the AIT camp in my eyes tbh but they’re not the ones with the burden of proof. But I am hopeful that more archaeological proof will turn up, along with more ancient DNA to fill in the gaps.

    My sympathies in this case do lie with the ‘underdogs’ but I do hope this mystery is solved sooner rather than later along with the large gaping holes in our understanding of the IVC, and Indians are able to look upon their distant past with a balanced, nuanced view.

    I did at some point hear one of the commentators say something along the lines of the ‘Aryans’ bringing Sanskrit with them – surely they can’t be sure of that? I do find it plausible that certain nomadic groups did intrude into the subcontinent in the distant past speaking a crude language (let’s call it PIE) that developed into the Sanskrit of the Vedas which attained it’s refinement in the these lands – kind of like how the old Germanic dialects the Anglo-Saxons brought with them developed into the English language that’s totally indigenous to the British Isles.

    As someone with a basic understanding of Sanskrit and having the read bits of the Vedas, I see these as very much a product of the lands and people of the subcontinent and embodying the sights, sounds, smells and stories of this land regardless of which distant tongue it might have evolved from. I really don’t see why the Indian right gets so emotional around this, this doesn’t take anything away from the genius of the language, the works written in them and the people who composed them.

    1. @Siddharth
      If steppe is an Aryan signal, then Sanskrit may not be everyone’s heritage equally, even if the latter completely gestated within the subcontinent. (I think its a great possibility that we all speak “someone else’s” language, including dravidians, munda ect.) What happens if the consensus for the primacy around classical indic culture breaks down? It has implications on national identity I’d imagine.

      1. we all speak “someone else’s” language

        Most up-to-date scholarship seems to indicate this is true of most people around the world. Everybody in Europe seems to speak an intrusive steppe (or Eastern) language (except for the Basques). The ancestors of almost all of today’s Arabic speakers (except for the Bedouins of of the Nejd) did not speak Arabic (or its immediate ancestor) 2000 years ago. Nobody in Turkey spoke Turkish 1000 years ago. Etcetera. So why are Indians specifically upset at this possibility?

        1. What is ‘an intrusive steppe (Eastern) language’? Is this Yamnaya (=Indo-European) language? How it is possible if Sanskrit (and Rg Veda) is an Indo-European language which was brought to India by non-Yamnaya (i.e. Aryan) people?

          1. In Europe, EEF came before Yamnaya, and spoke a different langauge than Yamyana. Hence Yamnaya’s languages (IE) are “intrusive”. (You can use a different term if you don’t like that.)

          2. What about the above mentioned European Indo-Iranians (aka ‘polish’)? Which language they spoke in Europe and which language they brought to India? The language they brought to India was protoSankrit (>RG Veda). Is this their original language from Europe or they picked up this language (where, from whom) on their 1500 years (according to Razib) voyage to India? Were Yamnaya people – Aryans?

        2. @pandit brown
          In spite of scholarly consensus, i don’t think the likelihood of language shift or displacement has trickled down to common understanding anywhere. As a default, its not just various types of indians who imagine an unbroken cultural heritage that maps to ancestry. Its problematic, not so much because it destroys a neat ethnogenesis narrative, but because it opens up a whole bunch of other possibilities and people end up getting more freedom to define themselves. For example, backward castes may depart from claiming oppression under the unified, nationalized, historical narrative, and consider the separateness of their traditions. As a corollary, they may excuse themselves from the culture wars between elite groups.

      2. @girmit
        “If steppe is an Aryan signal, then Sanskrit may not be everyone’s heritage equally, even if the latter completely gestated within the subcontinent”
        – That’s right, it’s no secret that Sanskrit is closer to the languages of N India. And Tamil is a recognised classical language in it’s own right.

        I think its a great possibility that we all speak “someone else’s” language, including dravidians, munda ect.
        – That’s true of most people in the world isn’t it? How long should a language have been around before it becomes one’s own and not ‘someone else’s’?

        What happens if the consensus for the primacy around classical indic culture breaks down? It has implications on national identity I’d imagine.
        – There are multiple centres of ‘classical culture’ and there are six officially declared classical languages. And the national identity is all the richer for it, IMO. Side note, it’s interesting that Tamil was declared one even before Sanskrit!

        1. I have addressed many of these issues in an earlier blogpost –
          Titled – Why the Aryan Debate matters and why it should not.

          However – the rules of the game set by Golwalkar and Savarkar even Periyar – wrt Indigenous vs outsiders are themselves bad goalposts.
          I have no issues with OIT as a model – like we can have endless debates in prehistory about – lets say who were the Sea peoples who brought down the late bronze age civilizations.

          Its the motivations of the OIT camp is something i feel is not good in long term – not the details or arguments. playing the same game instead of changing the rules or getting on to next game.

          1. The real damage of AIT –

            1. Encouraging archaeo-illiteracy

            2. Compression of the largest IE literary corpus in the world into a few hundred years with no concern for temporal events.

            3. Bad history writing and poor attribution – horse riding, meat eating Steppes people who bathed once a year turn into vegetarian, ritual purity obsessed composers of liturgy. Tell us how. Please.

            4. Turns pre-1500 BCE India into a black hole – mystery languages, mystery lineages, mystery religions. Wholesale amputation.

          2. are u really this thick Ugra ?

            3. Bad history writing and poor attribution – horse riding, meat eating Steppes people who bathed once a year turn into vegetarian, ritual purity obsessed composers of liturgy. Tell us how. Please.
            Pray tell me when did the Vedic people stop eating meat ? Have u any inkling ? Even the itihasas have not gone fully Vegetarian

        2. @GauravL

          They never stopped eating meat but they started idealizing vegetarianism!! Big difference, mate. Expecting Bronze Age peoples to never eat meat is just extreme.

          Just think about it – mainstream vegetarianism preceded all other IE societies by almost 4000 years. What is the sociological motivation for Steppes people to do this?? Any AIT explanation?

          In the (IVC is IE camp), there is a clear explanation – the 4.2 kya aridification event put pressure on pastures and farms. It is scientifically known that a kilo of meat requires more biomass than a plant diet.

          So vegetarianism was rooted in ecological pressures. The story comes together. On the other hand, AIT is just bad storytelling – no logic or continuity.

  4. Is there someone else who is Tired by the never ending closing comments on the “Aryan” debate….

    1. No, I find the topic fascinating (both the intellectual problem of IE origins and the crazy way in which Indians discuss it), which is why I comment so much about it.

      But I’ll admit the debate has a “blind men around an elephant” feel to it, so it can be tiresome to follow. Though I feel the OIT folks are closer to the elephant’s rectum than the AIT folks. (I kid the OIT folks!)

      1. To me what’s more fascinating, is the (least) interest shown by the descendants of ‘Aryans’ themselves (who populate N-India) which is inversely proportional to interest shown by the rest of folks (outside of N-India) frankly bordering on unhealthy/creepy.

        1. I think you’ve ignored all the Aryan-related posts on this site, including all of Razib’s articles on the topic. If you’d read them, you’d know that there is some “Aryan” in more or less quantity in almost all Indians, except for some STs. (Bengali Brahmins particularly so according to DNA evidence.) And Tamils are definitely more “Hindu” than Bhaiyyas, as I can attest from personal experience traveling in different parts of the country. Of course, I completely ignore the political news (they are all Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum to me), which you seem to be inordinately focused on. Political speeches and ideologies (like of the DMK types) seems to have absolutely no relevance outside the chambers in which they are composed; you’d see this if you toured the state.

          1. Most DNA is autosomal. Bengali Brahmins are about as aryan as other N Indian Brahmins. They are less aryan than some of the agricultural groups of the NW. But that is a minor point. Otherwise, you are correct. Only group with no Aryan is some S Indian SC.

          2. I thought the lavanya thing going on in the other post will finally put an end to this whole “ Tamils are definitely more “Hindu” than Bhaiyyas, “ debate.

            But sadly there is no way out of this alternate reality which Dravidian want to live in. Good luck.

        2. N.Indian Hinduism = A Political Identity obsessed with Islamic Era of S-Asian history and “rivalry” with Pakistan.
          S.Indian Hinduism = A Cultural identity that is about the spiritual traditions of S.India and it also ignores the Islamic Era&Pakistan’s existence.

          S.Indians can easily re-contextualize their cultures&beliefs outside of a Vedic Framework. Vedic Framework is the scotch tape holding S&N Indian cultures together. Hindutva’s penchant for Sanskrit primacy will most certaintly rip that tape off, but does RSS care? No, its their way or the highway and Dravidians will show RSS the highway to Aryavat.

          But sadly there is no way out of this alternate reality which Dravidian want to live in
          We don’t want to live in your alternate nightmare reality where our culture is on the brink of being wiped out by Abrahamics. Look, i’m sorry that you guys had to endure Islamic incursions for 8 centuries but that doesn’t give you an excuse to chide us not sharing your hair trigger response to Abrahamics.

          And shut up about lavanya already. S.India is not a battleground for N.India’s crusade against Abrahamics. We don’t want your Hindu VictimHood Complex and Sanskrit based EthnoNationalism, miss me with that shit.

          1. @enigma
            There are some aspects where I agree with you but I would not downplay the evangelical impact. Curious to hear your perspective on 2 concrete examples of the koodunkulam and toothkudi protests. Weren’t they funded/driven by western ngos? There might have been genuine environmental concerns and plain old nimbyism with both, but having a vector for foreign influence is not ideal imho.

          2. Bhumiputra – yes sort of the position i take.
            Generally in these threads i would agree with Enigma without his visceral/crass characterization of Northy Hindutva.

            Enigma – Do you imply that all the concerns of
            a. Hindu nationalists are illegitimate or
            b. are they just exaggerated or you agree there concerns or
            c. u detest H-Nationalists on reactions
            d. B + C

          3. It’s alright. Just like Hinduism flowed from north to south , similarly neo-Hinduism will flow from north to south as well.

            The Dravidian Pooh Pooh- ing of hindutva views, was something which Bengali used to do in previous decades, till the chicken came home to roost. As long as it’s not personal no one gives a damn. And soon Dravidians will start giving a damn.

            But just like the Bengali case we know it would be too late to salvage anything

          4. @Saurav,

            You seem to be unaware of all the “Dravidians” who have been part of the Hindutva movement since its inception. It has never been a northern project. Some of the most hardcore Hindu nationalists I have encountered in real life or online are southies (and Bengalis). But I have told you this before.

          5. Leave me, it seems even Dravidians are unaware that they have been part of the Hindutva movement since its inception. LOL

          6. 1. i am yet to meet a kannadiga who calls himself a dravidian. now, dravidian is generally understood as a type of tamil. malayalis also do not call themselves dravidian, probably out of fear of being drowned by the tamils. also malayalis are quite comfortable in their caste/religious status. telagus also do not call themselves dravidian.
            2. well, dravidianism is a movement of the so called middle castes to safeguard their interests. their hatred of brahmins is matched by their hatred of the former untouchables.
            3. if congress doesn’t revive itself in tamilnadu, bjp will take that space.

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