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Indigenous Aryans

Indigenous Aryans

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The notion of Indigenous Aryans posits that speakers of Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 are "indigenous" to the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

.

The "Indigenous Aryans" position may entail an Indian origin of Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

, and in recent years, the concept has been increasingly conflated with an "Out of India" origin of the Indo-European language family. This contrasts with the mainstream model of Indo-Aryan migration
Indo-Aryan migration
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

 which posits that Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 tribes migrated to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 from Central Asia.

identifies three major types of revisionist scenario:
  1. a "mild" version that insists on the indigeneity of the Rigvedic Aryans to the North-Western region of Indian subcontinent in the tradition of Aurobindo and Dayananda;
  2. the "out of India" school that posits India as the Proto-Indo-European homeland, an idea revived by the radical anti-Muslim Hindutva
    Hindutva
    Hindutva is the term used to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism. Members of the movement are called Hindutvavādis.In India, an umbrella organization called the Sangh Parivar champions the concept of Hindutva...

     sympathizer Koenraad Elst
    Koenraad Elst
    Koenraad Elst is a Belgian writer and orientalist .He was an editor of the New Right Flemish nationalist journal Teksten, Kommentaren en Studies from 1992 to 1995, focusing on criticism of Islam, various other conservative and Flemish separatist publications such as Nucleus, t Pallieterke,...

     (1999), and further popularized within Hindu nationalism by Shrikant Talageri (2000);
  3. the position that all the world's languages and civilizations derive from India, represented e.g. by the astrologist David Frawley
    David Frawley
    David Frawley is an American Hindu author, publishing on topics such as Hinduism, Yoga and Ayurveda. He is the founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers courses on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Hindu astrology...

    .

Historiographical context


Indigenous Aryans is usually taken to imply that the people of the Harappan civilization were linguistically Indo-Aryans. In any "Indigenous Aryan" scenario, speakers of Indo-European languages must have left India at some point prior to the 10th century BC
10th century BC
The 10th century BC started the first day of 1000 BC and ended the last day of 901 BC.- Overview :This period followed the Bronze Age collapse in the Near East, and the century saw the Early Iron Age take hold there. The Greek Dark Ages which had come about in 1200 BC continued. The Neo-Assyrian...

, when first mention of Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 is made in Assyrian records, but likely before the 16th century BC, before the emergence of the Yaz culture
Yaz culture
The Yaz culture is an early Iron Age culture of Bactria and Margiana . It has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of early East Iranian culture as described in the Avesta. So far, no burials related to the culture have been found, and this was taken as evidence of the Zoroastrian...

 which is often identified as a Proto-Iranian culture.

Proponents of "indigenous Aryan" scenarios typically base their understanding on interpretations of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, the oldest surviving Indo-Aryan text, which they date to the 3rd millennium BC (in some cases much earlier), in particular based on arguments in involving identifying the Sarasvati River
Sarasvati River
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata...

 with the Ghaggar-Hakra river
Ghaggar-Hakra River
The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as the Hakra downstream of the barrage...

 and Harappan civilization, the supposed lack of genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 and archaeological evidence present to support invasion by "Indo-Aryan invaders" as postulated by the Aryan invasion theory, and sometimes archaeoastronomy
Archaeoastronomy
Archaeoastronomy is the study of how people in the past "have understood the phenomena in the sky how they used phenomena in the sky and what role the sky played in their cultures." Clive Ruggles argues it is misleading to consider archaeoastronomy to be the study of ancient astronomy, as modern...

.

Political significance



Repercussions of these divisions have reached California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

n courts with the Californian Hindu textbook case
Californian Hindu textbook controversy
A controversy in the US state of California concerning the portrayal of Hinduism in history textbooks began in 2005. Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu groups complained that their religions were in part incorrectly or negatively portrayed....

, where according to the Times of India historian and president of the Indian History Congress, D. N. Jha in a "crucial affidavit" to the Superior Court of California, "[g]iving a hint of the Aryan origin debate in India, [...] asked the court not to fall for the 'indigenous Aryan' claim since it has led to 'demonisation of Muslims and Christians as foreigners and to the near denial of the contributions of non-Hindus to Indian culture'".

Genetic studies


Most genetic studies indicate that there are clear genetic differences between Indian castes and tribal populations. They support the notion that there was a massive influx of Indo-European migrants into the Indian subcontinent around 3,500 years before present.

A recent study published in 2009 has provided substantial evidence that the North Indian gene pool also includes numerous Central Asian Y-chromosomal lineages, which include both R1 and R2: "The results revealed that a substantial part of today's North Indian paternal gene pool was contributed by Central Asian lineages who are Indo-European speakers, suggesting that extant Indian caste groups are primarily the descendants of Indo-European migrants."

In another 2009 study, it was found that the modern Indian population is a result of admixture between Indo-European-speaking groups (ANI) and Dravidian-speaking groups (ASI). According to Reich et al. (2009): "It is tempting to assume that the population ancestral to ANI and CEU spoke 'Proto-Indo-European', which has been reconstructed as ancestral to both Sanskrit and European languages, although we cannot be certain without a date for ANI–ASI mixture." Recent research indicates a massive admixture event between ANI-ASI populations 3500 to 1200 years ago.

These conclusions are contested by a study headed by geneticists S. Sharma and E. Rai and colleagues from the group of R. N. K. Bamezai, National Centre of Applied Human Genetics of the Jawaharlal Nehru University
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Jawaharlal Nehru University, also known as JNU, is located in New Delhi, the capital of India. It is mainly a research oriented postgraduate University with approximately 5,500 students and a faculty strength of around 550.-History:...

. Claiming that the results showed "no consistent pattern of the exclusive presence and distribution of Y-haplogroups to distinguish the higher-most caste, Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

s, from the lower-most ones, schedule castes and tribals," the study proposed "the autochthonous origin and tribal links of Indian Brahmins" as well as the origin of R1a1* in the Indian subcontinent.

Pseudoscience and postmodernism



argues that the pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 at the core of Hindu nationalism was unwittingly helped into being in the 1980s by the postmodernism
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 embraced by Indian leftist "postcolonial theories" like Ashis Nandy
Ashis Nandy
Ashis Nandy is an Indian political psychologist, a social theorist, and a contemporary cultural and political critic. A trained sociologist and clinical psychologist, his body of work covers a variety of topics, including public conscience, mass violence, and dialogues of civilizations.He was...

 and Vandana Shiva
Vandana Shiva
Vandana Shiva , is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D...

 who rejected the universality of "Western" science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and called for the "indigenous science" .
explains how this relativization of "science" was employed by Hindutva ideologues during the 1998 to 2004 reign of the BJP:
any traditional Hindu idea or practice, however obscure and irrational it might have been through its history, gets the honoric of "science" if it bears any resemblance at all, however remote, to an idea that is valued (even for the wrong reasons) in the West.

Criticism of the irrationality of such "Vedic science" is brushed aside by the notion that
The idea of 'contradiction' is an imported one from the West in recent times by the Western-educated, since ‘Modern Science’ arbitrarily imagines that it only has the true knowledge and its methods are the only methods to gain knowledge, smacking of Semitic dogmatism in religion.


traces the "indigenous Aryan" idea to the writings of Golwalkar and Savarkar
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Vināyak Dāmodar Sāvarkar was an Indian freedom fighter, revolutionary and politician. He was the proponent of liberty as the ultimate ideal. Savarkar was a poet, writer and playwright...

. Golwalkar (1939) denied any immigration of "Aryans" to the subcontinent, stressing that all Hindus have always been "children of the soil", a notion Witzel compares to the Nazi blood and soil
Blood and soil
Blood and Soil refers to an ideology that focuses on ethnicity based on two factors, descent and homeland/Heimat...

mysticism contemporary to Golwalkar. Since these ideas emerged on the brink of the internationalist and socially oriented Nehru-Gandhi government, they lay dormant for several decades, and only rose to prominence in the 1980s in conjunction with the relativist revisionism, most of the revisionist literature being published by the firms Voice of Dharma and Aditya Prakasha.

Bergunder (2004) likewise identifies Golwalkar as the originator of the "Indigenous Aryans" notion, and Goel's Voice of India
Voice of India
Voice of India is a New Delhi publishing house, supportive of Hindu nationalist sentiment and political ideology. It was founded by Ram Swarup in 1983 and later joined by Sita Ram Goel, who themselves published extensively under the label...

 as the instrument of its rise to notability:

The Aryan migration theory at first played no particular argumentative role in Hindu nationalism. [...] This impression of indifference changed, however, with Madhev Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906–1973), who from 1940 until his death was leader of the extremist paramilitary organization the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS). [...] In contrast to many other of their openly offensive teachings, the Hindu nationalists did not seek to keep the question of the Aryan migration out of public discourses or to modify it; rather, efforts were made to help the theory of the indigenousness of the Hindus achieve public recognition. For this the initiative of the publisher Sita Ram Goel (b.1921) was decisive. Goel may be considered one of the most radical, but at the same time also one of the most intellectual, of the Hindu nationalist ideologues. [...] Since 1981 Goel has run a publishing house named ‘Voice of India’ that is one of the few which publishes Hindu nationalist literature in English which at the same time makes a 'scientific' claim. Although no official connections exist, the books of 'Voice of India' — which are of outstanding typographical quality and are sold at a subsidized price — are widespread among the ranks of the leaders of the Sangh Parivar. [...] The increasing political influence of Hindu nationalism in the 1990s resulted in attempts to revise the Aryan migration theory also becoming known to the academic public.

See also

  • Indo-Iranians
    Indo-Iranians
    Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

  • Indo-Aryan migration
    Indo-Aryan migration
    Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

  • Out of India theory
    Out of India theory
    The Out of India theory is the proposition that the Indo-European language family originated in the Indian subcontinent and spread to the remainder of the Indo-European region through a series of migrations...

  • Historiography and nationalism
    Historiography and nationalism
    Historiography is the study of how history is written. One pervasive influence upon the writing of history has been nationalism, a set of beliefs about political legitimacy and "cultural identity". Nationalism has provided a significant framework for historical writing in Europe and in those former...

  • Hinduism and creationism
  • Institute for Rewriting Indian History‎
  • Saffronization
    Saffronization
    Saffronization or saffronisation is an Indian political neologism used by critics to refer to the politics of right-wing Hindu nationalism that seek to make the Indian state adopt social policies that recall and glorify the...

  • NCERT controversy
    NCERT controversy
    The National Council of Educational Research and Training is an apex resource organisation set up by the Government of India, with headquarters at New Delhi, to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on academic matters related to school education.NCERT publishes books that are used...

  • Voice of Dharma
    • N. S. Rajaram
      N. S. Rajaram
      Navaratna Srinivasa Rajaram is an Indian mathematician, who is however notable for his publications with the Voice of India publishing house focusing on the "Indigenous Aryans" controversy in Indian politics, in some instances in co-authorship with David Frawley.He's also a member of Folks...

    • David Frawley
      David Frawley
      David Frawley is an American Hindu author, publishing on topics such as Hinduism, Yoga and Ayurveda. He is the founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers courses on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Hindu astrology...


Literature


Literature discussing the "Indigenous Aryans" ideology
  • Bergunder, Michael Contested Past: Anti-Brahmanical and Hindu nationalist reconstructions of Indian prehistory, Historiographia Linguistica, Volume 31, Number 1, 2004, 59-104.
  • Bryant, Edwin, The indigenous Aryan debate, diss. Columbia University (1997). (abstract)
  • D. N. Jha, Against Communalising History, Social Scientist (1998).
  • S. Guha, Negotiating Evidence: History, Archaeology, and the Indus Civilization, Modern Asian Studies 39.2, Cambridge University Press (2005), 399-426.
  • Stephanie Jamison, Review of Laurie L. Patton & Edwin Bryant, The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History. (2005), Journal of Indo-European Studies, Vol. 34 (2006) copy courtesy of editor of JIES
  • Trautmann, Thomas (ed.), The Aryan Debate in India (2005) ISBN 0-19-566908-8.


Literature by "Indigenous Aryans" proponents
  • Georg Feuerstein
    Georg Feuerstein
    Dr. Georg Feuerstein is a German-Canadian Indologist specializing on Yoga. Feuerstein has authored over 30 books on mysticism, Yoga, Tantra, and Hinduism...

    , Subhash Kak
    Subhash Kak
    Subhash Kak is an Indian American computer scientist, most notable for his controversial Indological publications on history, the philosophy of science, ancient astronomy, and the history of mathematics...

    , David Frawley
    David Frawley
    David Frawley is an American Hindu author, publishing on topics such as Hinduism, Yoga and Ayurveda. He is the founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers courses on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Hindu astrology...

    , In Search of the Cradle of Civilization
    In Search of the Cradle of Civilization
    In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India is a 1995 book by Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak, and David Frawley that argues against the theories that Indo-European peoples arrived in India in the middle of the second millennium BC and supports the concept of "Indigenous...

    : New Light on Ancient India
    Quest Books (IL) (October, 1995) ISBN 0-8356-0720-8
  • Lal, B. B., The Sarasvati flows on: The continuity of Indian culture, Aryan Books International (2002), ISBN 8173052026.
  • N. S. Rajaram
    N. S. Rajaram
    Navaratna Srinivasa Rajaram is an Indian mathematician, who is however notable for his publications with the Voice of India publishing house focusing on the "Indigenous Aryans" controversy in Indian politics, in some instances in co-authorship with David Frawley.He's also a member of Folks...

    , The politics of history : Aryan invasion theory and the subversion of scholarship (New Delhi : Voice of India, 1995) ISBN 81-85990-28-X.
  • Talageri, S. G., The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
    The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
    The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis is a book by Shrikant G. Talageri . It was published by Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi in 2000....

    , Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi in 2000 ISBN 81-7742-010-0 http://voi.org/books/rig/

External links