Indo-Aryan migration

Indo-Aryan migration

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Indo-Aryan migration'
Start a new discussion about 'Indo-Aryan migration'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans
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...

 to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of 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...

. Claims of Indo-Aryan migration are drawn from linguistic
Natural language
In the philosophy of language, a natural language is any language which arises in an unpremeditated fashion as the result of the innate facility for language possessed by the human intellect. A natural language is typically used for communication, and may be spoken, signed, or written...

, genetic and even archaeological sources, as well as from a multitude of data stemming from Vedic
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

 religion
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

, rituals, poetics
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 as well as some aspects of social organization and chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

 technology.

Indo-Aryan language derives from an earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian stage, usually identified with the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 Sintashta and Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 north-east of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. Their migration to and within Northwestern parts of South Asia is consequently presumed to have taken place in the Middle to Late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, contemporary to the Late Harappan phase (ca. 1700 to 1300 BCE).

History and political background


The terms North Indian and South Indian are ethno-linguistic categories, with North Indian corresponding to Indo-Aryan-speaking, more Caucasoid peoples and South Indian corresponding to Dravidian-speaking, more Australoid peoples; however, because of admixture, these two groups often overlap. The majority of North Indians tend to have more in common with West Eurasians, whereas the majority of South Indians tend to have more in common with East Asians. In 19th century Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

, the language of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 was the most archaic Indo-European language known to scholars, indeed the only records of Indo-European that could reasonably claim to date to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. This "primacy" of Sanskrit inspired some scholars, such as Friedrich Schlegel, to assume that the locus of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat had been in India, with the other dialects spread to the west by historical migration. This was however never a mainstream position even in the 19th century. Most scholars assumed a homeland either in Europe or in Western Asia, and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 must in this case have reached India by a language transfer from west to east, in a movement described in terms of invasion by 19th century scholars such as Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

. With the 20th century discovery of Bronze-Age attestations of Indo-European (Anatolian
Anatolian languages
The Anatolian languages comprise a group of extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.-Origins:...

, Mycenaean Greek), Vedic
Vedic
Vedic may refer to:* the Vedas, the oldest preserved Indic texts** Vedic Sanskrit, the language of these texts** Vedic period, during which these texts were produced** Vedic pantheon of gods mentioned in Vedas/vedic period...

 Sanskrit lost its special status as the most archaic Indo-European language known.

The Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 (IVC) was discovered in the 1920s. The discovery of the Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

, Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

 and Lothal
Lothal
Lothal is one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization. Located in Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarāt and dating from 2400 BCE. Discovered in 1954, Lothal was excavated from February 13, 1955 to May 19, 1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India...

 sites changed the theory from a migration of "advanced" Aryan people towards a "primitive" aboriginal population to a migration of nomadic people into an advanced urban civilization, comparable to the Germanic migrations after the Fall of Rome, or the Kassite
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 invasion of Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

. The decline of the Indus Valley Civilisation at precisely the period in history for which the Indo-Aryan migration had been assumed, provides independent support of the linguistic scenario. This argument is associated with the mid-20th century archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler
Mortimer Wheeler
Brigadier Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler CH, CIE, MC, FBA, FSA , was one of the best-known British archaeologists of the twentieth century.-Education and career:...

, who interpreted the presence of many unburied corpses found in the top levels of Mohenjo-daro as the victims of conquest wars, and who famously stated that the god "Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

 stands accused" of the destruction of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

In the later 20th century, ideas were refined along with data accrual, and migration and acculturation
Acculturation
Acculturation explains the process of cultural and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both interacting cultures. At the group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, customs, and...

 were seen as the methods whereby Indo-Aryans spread into northwest India around 1500 BC. These changes were thought to be in line with changes in thinking about language transfer in general, such as the migration of the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 into Greece (between 2100 and 1600 BC) and their adoption of a syllabic script, Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

, from the pre-existing Linear A
Linear A
Linear A is one of two scripts used in ancient Crete before Mycenaean Greek Linear B; Cretan hieroglyphs is the second script. In Minoan times, before the Mycenaean Greek dominion, Linear A was the official script for the palaces and religious activities, and hieroglyphs were mainly used on seals....

, with the purpose of writing Mycenaean Greek, or the Indo-Europeanization of Western Europe (in stages between 2200 and 1300 BC).

Most recent genetic research indicates that the Indian subcontinent was subjected to a series of massive Indo-European migrations about 3,500 BC. The decline of the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 because of Indo-European "elite dominance" of the Indus Valley around 1,200-3,500 BC, resulted in a gradual movement of the indigenous Dravidian-speaking Australoid population towards the better-watered areas of Haryana
Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

 and Gujarat, and subsequently to the Ganges and Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

 rivers in the east, as indicated by recent discoveries of Indus Valley type small townships in Gujarat and Haryana in India. This opened up the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 to further expansion and conquest by semi-nomadic Indo-Aryan-speaking peoples.

Local political debate and implications


The debate over such a migration, and the accompanying influx of elements of Vedic religion
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

 from Central Asia is politically charged in modern 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...

. Some nationalist organizations, especially, remain opposed to the concept. Outside India, the political overtones of the theory are not as pronounced, and it is discussed in the larger framework of Indo-Iranian
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....

 and Indo-European
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 expansion.

Outside of academic debate, an "Indian Urheimat
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...

" has some proponents among writers linked to Hindu nationalism such as and Kazanas (2001, 2002, 2009). "Out of India
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...

" scenarios locating the Indo-European homeland on the Indian subcontinent have gained currency in the Indian nationalist
Indian nationalism
Indian nationalism refers to the many underlying forces that molded the Indian independence movement, and strongly continue to influence the politics of India, as well as being the heart of many contrasting ideologies that have caused ethnic and religious conflict in Indian society...

 discourse since the 2000s.

Linguistics


Linguistic evidence points to the Indo-Aryan languages as intrusive into South Asia, some time in the 2nd millennium BC
2nd millennium BC
The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

. The language of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, the earliest stratum of Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 is assigned to about 1500-1200 BC.

Diversity


According to the linguistic center of gravity principle, the most likely point of origin of a language family is in the area of its greatest diversity. By this criterion, India, home to only a single branch of the Indo-European language family (i.e. Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

), is an exceedingly unlikely candidate for the Indo-European homeland, compared to Central-Eastern Europe, for example, which is home to the Italic
Italic languages
The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

, Venetic
Venetic language
Venetic is an extinct Indo-European language that was spoken in ancient times in the North East of Italy and part of modern Slovenia, between the Po River delta and the southern fringe of the Alps....

, Illyrian
Illyrian languages
The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by groups identified as Illyrians: Ardiaei, Delmatae, Pannonii, Autariates, Taulanti...

, Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

, Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

, Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

, Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

, Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

 and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 branches of Indo-European.

Both mainstream Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

 solutions locate the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the vicinity of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

.

Dialectical variation


It has been recognized since mid-19th century that a binary tree model
Tree model
A language tree, or family tree with languages substituted for real family members, has the form of a node-link diagram of a logical tree structure. Additional linguistics terminology derives from it. Such a diagram contains branch points, or nodes, from which the daughter languages descend by...

 cannot capture all linguistic alignments; certain areal features cut across language groups and are better explained through a model treating linguistic change like waves rippling out through a pond. This is true of the 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...

 as well. Various features originated and spread while Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 was still a dialect continuum
Dialect continuum
A dialect continuum, or dialect area, was defined by Leonard Bloomfield as a range of dialects spoken across some geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas, but as one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the...

. These features sometimes cut across sub-families: for instance, the instrumental
Instrumental case
The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...

, dative and ablative plurals in Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 and Balto-Slavic
Balto-Slavic languages
The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development...

 feature endings beginning with -m-, rather than the usual -*bh-, e.g. Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 instrumental plural synъ-mi 'with sons', despite the fact that the Germanic languages are centum, while Balto-Slavic languages are satem.

The strong correspondence between the dialectical relationships
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

 of the Indo-European languages and their actual geographical arrangement in their earliest attested forms makes an Indian
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...

 origin for the family unlikely.

Substrate influence



Dravidian and other South Asian languages share with Indo-Aryan a number of syntactical and morphological
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 features that are alien to other Indo-European languages, including even its closest relative, Old Iranian. Phonologically, there is the introduction of retroflexes, which alternate with dentals in Indo-Aryan; morphologically
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 there are the gerund
Gerund
In linguistics* As applied to English, it refers to the usage of a verb as a noun ....

s; and syntactically there is the use of a quotative
Quotative
A quotative is grammatical device to mark reported speech in some languages. It can be equated with "spoken quotation marks". In the English sentence John said "Wow,"...

 marker
Marker (linguistics)
In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word, phrase, or sentence. In analytic languages and agglutinative languages, markers are generally easily distinguished. In fusional languages and polysynthetic languages, this is often not...

 ("iti"). These are taken as evidence of substratum
Substratum
In linguistics, a stratum or strate is a language that influences, or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum is a language which has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratum and superstratum...

 influence.

It has been argued that Dravidian influenced Indic through "shift", whereby native Dravidian speakers learned and adopted Indic languages. The presence of Dravidian structural features in Old Indo-Aryan is thus plausibly explained, that the majority of early Old Indo-Aryan speakers had a Dravidian mother tongue which they gradually abandoned. Even though the innovative traits in Indic could be explained by multiple internal explanations, early Dravidian influence is the only explanation that can account for all of the innovations at once – it becomes a question of explanatory parsimony
Occam's razor
Occam's razor, also known as Ockham's razor, and sometimes expressed in Latin as lex parsimoniae , is a principle that generally recommends from among competing hypotheses selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.-Overview:The principle is often summarized as "simpler explanations...

; moreover, early Dravidian influence accounts for the several of the innovative traits in Indic better than any internal explanation that has been proposed.

A pre-Indo-European linguistic substratum
Substratum
In linguistics, a stratum or strate is a language that influences, or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum is a language which has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratum and superstratum...

 in South Asia would be a good reason to exclude India as a potential Indo-European homeland. However, several linguists, all of whom accept the external origin of the Aryan languages on other grounds, are still open to considering the evidence as internal developments rather than the result of substrate influences, or as adstratum effects.

Archaeology


The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations, with separation of Indo-Aryans proper from Proto-Indo-Iranians dated to roughly 2000–1800 BC. The Gandhara Grave
Gandhara grave culture
The Gandhara grave culture emerged ca. 1600 BC, and flourished in Gandhara, Pakistan ca. 1500 BC to 500 BC ....

, Cemetery H
Cemetery H culture
The Cemetery H culture developed out of the northern part of the Indus Valley Civilization around 1900 BCE, in and around western Punjab region located in present-day India and Pakistan...

, Copper Hoard
Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture , is a 2nd millennium BC Bronze Age culture of the Indo-Gangetic Plain . It is a contemporary to, and a successor of the Indus Valley Civilization. The OCP marks the last stage of the North Indian Bronze Age and is succeeded by the Iron Age black-and-red ware and...

 and Painted Grey Ware
Painted Grey Ware culture
The Painted Grey Ware culture is an Iron Age culture of Gangetic plain, lasting from roughly 1200 BC to 600 BC. It is contemporary to, and a successor of the Black and red ware culture. It probably corresponds to the later Vedic period. It is succeeded by Northern Black Polished Ware from ca. 500...

 cultures are candidates for subsequent cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements, their arrival in the Indian subcontinent being dated to the Late Harappan period.

It is believed Indo-Aryans reached Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 in the west and the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 in the east before 1500 BC: the Hurrite speaking Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 rulers, influenced by Indo-Aryan, appear from 1500 in northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, and the Gandhara grave culture emerges from 1600. This suggests that Indo-Aryan tribes would have had to be present in the area of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2300–1700 BC, located in present day Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan and northeastern Iran, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on...

 (southern Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

/northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

) from 1700 BC at the latest (incidentally corresponding with the decline of that culture).

Andronovo



The conventional identification of the Andronovo culture as Indo-Iranian
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....

 is disputed by those who point to the absence south of the Oxus River of the characteristic timber graves of the steppe.

Based on its use by Indo-Aryans in Mitanni and Vedic India, its prior absence in the Near East and Harappan India, and its 19-20th century BC attestation at the Andronovo site of Sintashta
Sintashta
Sintashta is an archaeological site in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. It is the remains of a fortified settlement dating to the Bronze Age, c. 2800–1600 BC, and is the type site of the Sintashta culture...

, Kuzmina (1994) argues that the chariot corroborates the identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian. Klejn
Leo Klejn
Lev Samuilovich Klejn , better known as Leo Klejn, is a Russian archaeologist, anthropologist and philologist.-Early life:Klejn was born on 1 July 1927 in Vitebsk, Belarus, to two Jewish physicians, Polish-born Stanislav Semenovich and Asya Moysseevna...

 (1974) and Brentjes (1981) find the Andronovo culture much too late for an Indo-Iranian identification since chariot-wielding Aryans appear in Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 by the 15th to 16th century BC. However, dated a chariot burial
Chariot burial
Chariot burials are tombs in which the deceased was buried together with his chariot, usually including his horses and other possessions....

 at Krivoye Lake to about 2000 BC and a BMAC burial that also contains a foal has recently been found, indicating further links with the steppes.

Mallory (as cited in ) admits the extraordinary difficulty of making a case for expansions from Andronovo to northern India, and that attempts to link the Indo-Aryans to such sites as the Beshkent and Vakhsh cultures "only gets the Indo-Iranian
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....

 to Central Asia, but not as far as the seats of the Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, Persians or Indo-Aryans". However he has also developed the "kulturkugel" model that has the Indo-Iranians taking over BMAC cultural traits but preserving their language and religion while moving into Iran and India.

Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC)



Some scholars have suggested that the characteristically BMAC artifacts found at burials in Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

 and Baluchistan are explained by a movement of peoples from Central Asia to the south.

Jarrige and Hassan (as cited in ) argue instead that the BMAC artifacts are explained "within the framework of fruitful intercourse" by "a wide distribution of common beliefs and ritual practices" and "the economic dynamism of the area extending from South-Central Asia to the Indus Valley."

Either way, the exclusively Central Asian BMAC material inventory of the Mehrgarh and Baluchistan burials is, in the words of , "evidence of an archaeological intrusion into the subcontinent from Central Asia during the commonly accepted time frame for the arrival of the Indo-Aryans".
However, archaeologists like B.B. Lal have seriously questioned the BMAC and Indo-iranian "connections", and thoroughly disputed all the proclaimed relations. .

Indus Valley Civilization


Indo-Aryan migration into the northern Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 is thus approximately contemporaneous to the final phase of the decline of the Indus-Valley civilization (IVC). Many scholars have argued that the historical Vedic culture is the result of an amalgamation of the immigrating Indo-Aryans with the remnants of the indigenous civilization, such as the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture , is a 2nd millennium BC Bronze Age culture of the Indo-Gangetic Plain . It is a contemporary to, and a successor of the Indus Valley Civilization. The OCP marks the last stage of the North Indian Bronze Age and is succeeded by the Iron Age black-and-red ware and...

. Such remnants of IVC culture are not prominent in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, with its focus on chariot warfare and nomadic pastoralism in stark contrast with an urban civilization.

The decline of the IVC from about 1,900 BC is not universally accepted to be connected with Indo-Aryan immigration. A regional cultural discontinuity occurred during the second millennium BC and many Indus Valley cities were abandoned during this period, while many new settlements began to appear in Gujarat and East Punjab and other settlements such as in the western Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

 region increased in size. Shaffer & Lichtenstein (in ) stated that: "This shift by Harappan and, perhaps, other Indus Valley cultural mosaic groups, is the only archaeologically documented west-to-east movement of human populations in South Asia before the first half of the first millennium B.C.." This could have been caused by ecological factors, such as the drying up of 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 increased aridity in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

 and other places. The Indus River also began to flow east and floodings occurred. Shaffer (as cited in ) contends: "There were no invasions from central or western South Asia. Rather there were several internal cultural adjustments reflecting altered ecological, social and economic conditions affecting northwestern and north-central South Asia".

At Kalibangan
Kalibangan
Kalibangān is a town located at on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar , identified by some scholars with Sarasvati River in Tehsil Pilibangān, between Suratgarh and Hanumāngarh in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan, India 205 km. from Bikaner...

 (at the Ghaggar river) the remains of what some writers claim to be fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

 altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

s have been unearthed that are claimed to have been used for Vedic sacrifices, although the presence of animal bones does not seem consistent with Vedic rites. In addition the remains of a bathing place (suggestive of ceremonial bathing) have been found near the altars in Kalibangan. S.R. Rao found similar "fire altars" in Lothal
Lothal
Lothal is one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization. Located in Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarāt and dating from 2400 BCE. Discovered in 1954, Lothal was excavated from February 13, 1955 to May 19, 1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India...

 which he thinks could have served no other purpose than Vedic ritual. The sites in Kalibangan are dated back to pre-Harappan times i.e. 3500 BC, well before any likely date for the Indo-Aryan migrations, so this evidence is taken to suggest that Vedic rites are indigenous to India and not brought in from outside.

Gandhara grave culture



About 1800 BC, there is a major cultural change in the Swat Valley with the emergence of the Gandhara grave culture
Gandhara grave culture
The Gandhara grave culture emerged ca. 1600 BC, and flourished in Gandhara, Pakistan ca. 1500 BC to 500 BC ....

. With its introduction of new ceramics, new burial rites, and the horse, the Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

 grave culture is a major candidate for early Indo-Aryan presence. The two new burial rites—flexed inhumation in a pit and cremation burial in an urn—were, according to early Vedic literature, both practiced in early Indo-Aryan society. Horse-trappings indicate the importance of the horse to the economy of the Gandharan grave culture. Two horse burials indicate the importance of the horse in other respects. Horse burial is a custom that Gandharan grave culture has in common with Andronovo, though not within the distinctive timber-frame graves of the steppe.

Physical anthropology


Based on examination of skeletal remains, no evidence of massive migration has been found. The ancient Harappans were not markedly different from modern populations in Northwestern India and present-day Pakistan. Craniometric data showed similarity with prehistoric peoples of the Iranian plateau and Western Asia, although Mohenjodaro was distinct from the other areas of the Indus Valley. Cephalic measures, however, may not be a good indicator as they do not necessarily indicate ethnicity and they might vary in different environments.

Scenarios


The standard model for the entry of the Indo-European languages into India is that this first wave went over the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

, forming the Gandhara grave (or Swat) culture, either into the headwaters of the Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 or the Ganges (probably both). The Gandhara grave culture is thus the most likely locus of the earliest bearers of Rigvedic culture, and based on this assumes an immigration to the Punjab ca. 1700-1400 BC, but he also postulates a first wave of immigration from as early as 1900 BC, corresponding to the Cemetery H culture
Cemetery H culture
The Cemetery H culture developed out of the northern part of the Indus Valley Civilization around 1900 BCE, in and around western Punjab region located in present-day India and Pakistan...

. However, this culture may also represent forerunners of the Indo-Iranians, similar to the Lullubi
Lullubi
The Lullubi or Lulubi were a group of tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of in the Zagros Mountains of modern Iran...

 and Kassite invasion of Mesopotamia early in the second millennium BC. argues that there were three waves of Indo-Aryan immigration that occurred after the mature Harappan phase: the "Murghamu" (BMAC) related people who entered Baluchistan
Balochistan (region)
Balochistan or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia; it includes part of southeastern Iran, western Pakistan, and southwestern Afghanistan. The area is named after the numerous Baloch tribes, Iranian peoples who moved into the area from the west...

 at Pirak, Mehrgarh south cemetery, etc. and later merged with the post-urban Harappans during the late Harappans Jhukar phase; the Swat IV that co-founded the Harappan Cemetery H phase in Punjab and the Rigvedic Indo-Aryans of Swat V that later absorbed the Cemetery H people and gave rise to the Painted Grey Ware culture. He dates the first two to 2000-1800 BC and the third to 1400 BC.

However, archaeological evidence consistent with a mass population movement, or an invasion of South Asia in the pre- or proto- historic periods, has not been found. At best, there is evidence of small-scale migrations approaching South Asia. But, professional archaeologists in India remain quite skeptical.

Nevertheless, archaeological evidence of continuity need not be conclusive. A similar case has been Central Europe, where the archaeological evidence shows continuous linear development, with no marked external influences. In fact, archaeological continuity can be supported for every Indo-European-speaking region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

, not just India. Moreover, several historically documented migrations, such as those of the Helvetii
Helvetii
The Helvetii were a Celtic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC...

 to Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 into Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, or Gaelic
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

-speakers into Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 are not attested in the archaeological record. As sums up, "archaeology can verify the occurrence of migration only in exceptional cases".

Genetic anthropology



Language change resulting from the migration of numerically small superstrate groups would be difficult to trace genetically. Historically attested events, such as invasions by Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

s, Kushans, Mughals and modern Europeans, have had negligible genetic impact. Despite centuries of Greek rule in Northwest India, for example, no trace of either the M170 or the M35
genetic markers associated with Greeks and Macedonians have been found. Nevertheless, there seems to be genetic evidence in support of the traditional hypothesis of Indo-Aryan migration, especially when one considers the fact that upper caste Indians tend to have more in common with Central Asians and other Eurasian populations, than lower caste Indians, who are of predominantly aboriginal origin . According to one researcher, there is "a major genetic contribution from Eurasia to North Indian upper castes" and a "greater genetic inflow among North Indian caste populations than is observed among South Indian caste and tribal populations."

Some reports emphasize the finding that tribal and caste populations in South Asia derive largely from a common maternal heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians, with only limited gene flow from external regions since the start of the Holocene. However, this finding alone does not rule out the possibility of an Aryan invasion of the Indian subcontinent and in fact, actually reinforces the likelihood of such an occurrence as patterns of historical conquest and migration are ultimately reflected in terms of sex-biased admixture, with the mitochondrial heritage being more stable and of more local origin and the Y-chromosomal heritage reflecting an external influence upon the population genetic structure, as can be seen in not only such regions as South Asia, but also in such regions as Northeastern Africa (Semitic Y chromosomes vs. Niger-Kordofanian mtDNA) and Latin America (Iberian Y chromosomes vs. Amerindian mtDNA). Furthermore, the majority of researchers have found significant evidence in support of Indo-European migration and even "elite dominance" of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent, usually pointing to three separate lines of evidence: the previously widespread distribution of Dravidian speakers, now confined to the south of India; the fact that upper caste Brahmins share a close genetic affinity with West Eurasians, whereas low caste Indians tend to have more in common with aboriginals or East Asians; and the comparatively recent introgression of West Eurasian DNA into the aboriginal population of the post-Neolithic Indo-Gangetic plain .

Moreover, the latest research seems to provide unequivocal support for a massive influx of Indo-European migrants into the Indian subcontinent, further corroborating the findings of previous investigators, such as Bamshad et al. (2001), Wells et al. (2002) and Basu et al. (2003). For example, Reich et al. (2009) writes: "It is tempting to assume that the population ancestral to ANI [Ancestral North Indian] 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 [Ancestral South Indian] mixture." The problem of dating ANI-ASI admixture seems to have been resolved by a recent paper published by Moorjani et al. (2011), which has provided a time frame of between 1,200-3,500 years ago for such admixture to have taken place, coinciding with the introduction and gradual diffusion of Indo-European language and culture in India.

Some researchers have argued that Y-DNA Haplogroup R1a1a (M17) is of autochthonous Indian origin. However, the latest research sheds doubt on this claim, postulating an Eastern European origin for R1a1. Stepanov et al. (2011) writes:
"The age of the cluster admittedly brought to Hindustan from Central Asia / Southern Siberia is 3,9 +/- 1,3 ky. Probably, the primary center of the generation of diversity and expansion of R1a1a was the territory of the Eastern European Steppe. With the spread of of R1a1 carriers, secondary centers of genetic diversity and population expansions were formed in the Southern Siberia and Hindustan."

Mitanni



The earliest written evidence for an Indo-Aryan language is found not in India, but in northern Syria in Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 records regarding one of their neighbors, the Hurrian-speaking Mitanni. In a treaty with the Hittites, the king of Mitanni, after swearing by a series of Hurrian gods, swears by the gods Mitrašil, Uruvanaššil, Indara, and Našatianna, who correspond to the Vedic gods Mitra, Varuṇa, Indra, and Nāsatya (Aśvin). Contemporary equestrian terminology, as recorded in a horse-training manual whose author is identified as "Kikkuli the Mitannian," contains Indo-Aryan loanwords. The personal names and gods of the Mitanni aristocracy also bear significant traces of Indo-Aryan. Because of the association of Indo-Aryan with horsemanship and the Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 aristocracy, it is presumed that, after superimposing themselves as rulers on a native Hurrian-speaking population about the 15th-16th centuries BC, Indo-Aryan charioteers were absorbed into the local population and adopted the Hurrian language.

However, Brentjes (as cited in ) argues that there is not a single cultural element of central Asian, eastern European, or Caucasian origin in the Mitannian area and associates with an Indo-Aryan presence the peacock motif found in the Middle East from before 1600 BC and quite likely from before 2100 BC.

In contrast, most scholars reject the possibility that the Indo-Aryans of Mitanni came from the Indian subcontinent as well as the possibility that the Indo-Aryans of the Indian subcontinent came from the territory of Mitanni, leaving migration from the north the only likely scenario. The presence of some BMAC loan words in Mitanni, Old Iranian and Vedic further strengthens this scenario.

Rigveda


The Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 is by far the most archaic testimony of Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

. Bryant suggests that the Rigveda represents a pastoral or nomadic, mobile culture, centered on the Indo-Iranian
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....

 Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 cult and fire
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

 worship. The purpose of hymns of the Rigveda is ritualistic, not historiographical or ethnographical, and any information about the way of life or the habitat of their authors is incidental and philologically extrapolated from the context. Nevertheless, Rigvedic data must be used, cautiously, as they are the earliest available textual evidence from India.

Views on Rigvedic society (pastoral or urban?)


Fortifications (), mostly made of mud and wood (palisades) are mentioned in the Rigveda. s sometimes refer to the abode of hostile peoples, but can also suggest settlements of Aryans themselves. Aryan tribes have more often been mentioned to live in , a term translated as "settlement, homestead, house, dwelling", but also "community, tribe, troops". Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

 in particular is described as destroyer of fortifications, e.g. RV 4.30.20ab:
"Indra overthrew a hundred fortresses of stone."

This has led some scholars to believe that the civilization of Aryans was not an urban one.

However, the Rigveda is seen by some as containing phrases referring to elements of an urban civilization, other than the mere viewpoint of an invader aiming at sacking the fortresses. For example, in Griffith's translation of the Rigveda, Indra is compared to the lord of a fortification (pūrpati) in RV 1.173.10, while quotations such as a ship with a hundred oars in 1.116.5 and metal forts (puras ayasis) in 10.101.8 all occur in mythological contexts only.

There are other views such as, according to Gupta (as quoted in ), "ancient civilizations had both the components, the village and the city, and numerically villages were many times more than the cities. (...) if the Vedic literature reflects primarily the village life and not the urban life, it does not at all surprise us.". Gregory Possehl
Gregory Possehl
Gregory Louis Possehl was a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and curator of the Asian Collections at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology...

 (as cited in ) argued that the "extraordinary empty spaces between the Harappan settlement clusters" indicates that pastoralists may have "formed the bulk of the population during Harappan times".

Views on Rigvedic reference to migration


Talageri speculates that some of the tribes that fought against Sudas on the banks of the Parusni River during the Dasarajna battle
Battle of the Ten Kings
Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda , the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is a battle between Aryans...

 have migrated to western countries in later times, as they are connected with what he assumes are Iranian peoples (e.g. the Pakthas
Pakthas
For the present-day Afghan provinces of , see Paktia Province, Paktika Province and Khost Province.Pakthas are an ancient people, that find reference in Sanskrit and Greek sources and as a people living in the areas now in Afghanistan, as well as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan...

, Bhalanas
Bhalanas
The Bhalanas are one of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the Dasarajna battle.Some scholars have argued that the Bhalanas lived in East Kabulistan, and that the Bolan Pass derives its name from the Bhalanas....

).

Just like the Avesta does not mention an external homeland of the Zoroastrians, the Rigveda does not explicitly refer to an external homeland or to a migration. Later texts than the Rigveda (such as the Brahmanas, the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

) are more centered in the Haryana and Ganges region. This shift from the Punjab to the Gangetic plain continues the Rigvedic tendency of eastward expansion.

Rigvedic Rivers and Reference of Samudra



The geography of the Rigveda seems to be centered around the land of the seven rivers. While the geography of the Rigvedic rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 is unclear in some of the early books of the Rigveda, the Nadistuti hymn is an important source for the geography of late Rigvedic society.

The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

 in the east and the Sutlej
Sutlej
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.The Sutlej...

 in the west, and later texts like the Brahmanas and Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 mention that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert.

Most scholars agree that at least some of the references to the Sarasvati in the Rigveda refer to 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...

, while the Afghan river Haraxvaiti/Harauvati Helmand is sometimes quoted as the locus of the early Rigvedic river. Whether such a transfer of the name has taken place from the Helmand to the Ghaggar-Hakra is a matter of dispute. Identification of the early Rigvedic Sarasvati with the Ghaggar-Hakra before its assumed drying up early in the second millennium would place the Rigveda BC, well outside the range commonly assumed by Indo-Aryan migration theory.

A non-Indo-Aryan substratum
Substratum
In linguistics, a stratum or strate is a language that influences, or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum is a language which has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratum and superstratum...

 in the river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

-names and place-names of the Rigvedic homeland would support an external origin of the Indo-Aryans. However, most place-names in the Rigveda and the vast majority of the river-names in the north-west of South Asia are Indo-Aryan. Non-Indo-Aryan names are, however, frequent in the Ghaggar and Kabul River areas, the first being a post-Harappan stronghold of Indus populations.

Iranian Avesta


The religious practices depicted in the Rgveda and those depicted in the Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, the central religious text of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

—the ancient Iranian faith founded by the prophet Zarathustra—have in common the deity Mitra
Mitra
*Mitra was an important Indo-Iranian divinity. Following the prehistoric cultural split of Indo-Aryan and Iranian cultures, names descended from *mitra were used for the following religious entities:...

, priests called hotṛ in the Rgveda and zaotar in the Avesta, and the use of a hallucinogenic compound that the Rgveda calls soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

and the Avesta haoma
Haoma
Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. The Middle Persian form of the name is hōm, which continues to be the name in Modern Persian and other living Iranian languages.Sacred haoma...

. However, the Indo-Aryan deva
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

'god' is cognate with the Iranian daēva
Daeva
Daeva in Avestan language meaning "a being of shining light", is a term for a particular sort of supernatural entity with disagreeable characteristics. Equivalents in Iranian languages include Pashto dêw , Baluchi dêw , Persian dīv , Kurdish dêw...

'demon'. Similarly, the Indo-Aryan asura
Asura
-In Hinduism:In Hinduism, the Asuras constitute a group of power-seeking deities, sometimes considered sinful and materialistic. The Daityas and Danavas were combinedly known as Asuras. The Asura were opposed to the Devas. Both groups are children of Kasyapa...

'name of a particular group of gods' (later on, 'demon') is cognate with the Iranian ahura
Ahura
Ahura is an Avestan language designation for a particular class of Zoroastrian divinities.-Etymology:Avestan ahura derives from Indo-Iranian *asura, also attested in an Indian context as RigVedic asura...

'lord, god,' which 19th and early 20th century authors such as Burrow explained as a reflection of religious rivalry between Indo-Aryans and Iranians.

Two alternative dates for Zarathustra can be found in Greek sources: an unlikely 5000 years before the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, i.e. 6000 BC, or 258 years before Alexander, i.e. the 6th century BC, the latter of which used to provide the conventional dating but has since been traced to a fictional Greek source. Most linguists such as Burrow argue that the strong similarity between the Avestan language
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 of the Gāthās—the oldest part of the Avesta—and the Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 of the Rgveda pushes the dating of Zarathustra or at least the Gathas closer to the conventional Rgveda dating of 1500–1200 BC, i.e. 1100 BC, possibly earlier. Boyce concurs with a lower date of 1100 BC and tentatively proposes an upper date of 1500 BC. Gnoli dates the Gathas to around 1000 BC, as does , with the caveat of a 400 year leeway on either side, i.e. between 1400 and 600 BC. Therefore the date of the Avesta could also indicate the date of the Rigveda.

There is mention in the Avesta of Airyanəm Vaējah, one of the '16 the lands of the Aryans' as well as Zarathustra himself. Gnoli's interpretation of geographic references in the Avesta situates the Airyanem Vaejah in the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

. For similar reasons, Boyce excludes places north of the Syr Darya
Syr Darya
The Syr Darya , also transliterated Syrdarya or Sirdaryo, is a river in Central Asia, sometimes known as the Jaxartes or Yaxartes from its Ancient Greek name . The Greek name is derived from Old Persian, Yakhsha Arta , a reference to the color of the river's water...

 and western Iranian places. With some reservations, Skjaervo concurs that the evidence of the Avestan texts makes it impossible to avoid the conclusion that they were composed somewhere in northeastern Iran. Witzel points to the central Afghan highlands. Humbach derives Vaējah from cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

s of the Vedic root "vij," suggesting the region of fast-flowing rivers. Gnoli considers Choresmia (Xvairizem), the lower Oxus region, south of the Aral Sea
Aral Sea
The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

 to be an outlying area in the Avestan world. However, according to , the probable homeland of Avestan is, in fact, the area south of the Aral Sea.

Later Vedic and Hindu texts


Some Indologists have noted that "there is no textual evidence in the early literary traditions unambiguously showing a trace" of an Indo-Aryan migration. Texts like the Puranas and Mahabharata belong to a much later period than the Rigveda, making their evidence less than sufficient to be used for or against the Indo-Aryan migration theory.

Vedic


Later Vedic texts show a shift of location from the Panjab to the East: according to the Yajur Veda, Yajnavalkya
Yajnavalkya
Yajnavalkya of Mithila was a legendary sage of Vedic India, credited with the authorship of the Shatapatha Brahmana , besides Yogayajnavalkya Samhita and the Yājñavalkya Smṛti...

 (a Vedic ritualist and philosopher) lived in the eastern region of Mithila
Mithila
Mithila was a city in Ancient India, the capital of the Videha Kingdom. The name Mithila is also commonly used to refer to the Videha Kingdom itself, as well as to the modern-day territories that fall within the ancient boundaries of Videha...

. Aitareya Brahmana
Aitareya Brahmana
The Aitareya Brahmana is the Brahmana of the Shakala shakha of the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of sacred hymns. This work, according to the tradition is ascribed to Mahidasa Aitareya.-Contents:...

 33.6.1. records that Vishvamitra's sons migrated to the north, and in Shatapatha Brahmana
Shatapatha Brahmana
The Shatapatha Brahmana is one of the prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda. It survives in two recensions, Madhyandina and Kanva , with the former having the eponymous 100 adhyayas,7624 kandikas in 14 books, and the latter 104 adhyayas,6806 kandikas in 17...

 1:2:4:10 the Asuras were driven to the north. In much later texts, Manu
Manu (Hinduism)
In various Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first brahman king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata"...

 was said to be a king from Dravida. In the legend of the flood he stranded with his ship in Northwestern India or the Himalayas.
The Vedic lands (e.g. Aryavarta
Aryavarta
Āryāvarta is a name for Northern India in classical Sanskrit literature. The Manu Smriti gives the name to "the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the eastern to the Western Sea"....

, Brahmavarta) are located in Northern India or at the Sarasvati and Drsadvati River
Drsadvati River
The Drsadvati River is a river already mentioned in the Rig Veda together with Sarasvati and Apaya...

. However, in a post-Vedic text the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 Udyoga Parva (108), the East is described as the homeland of the Vedic culture, where "the divine Creator of the universe first sang the Vedas." The legends of Ikshvaku
Ikshvaku
Ikshvaku pāli: Okkāka) was the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India.-In Hinduism:He is remembered in Hindu scriptures as a righteous and glorious king...

, Sumati and other Hindu legends may have their origin in South-East Asia.

Puranas


The evidence from the Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

 is often disputed because they are late texts, dated from c.400 to c.1000 AD. while the Rigveda dates from before 1200 BC. Thus the Rigveda and the Puranas are separated by approximately 1600 to 2200 years, though some scholars argue that some contents of the Puranas may date to an earlier period.

The Puranas record that Yayati
Yayati
Yayati was a Puranic king and the son of king Nahusha and one of ancestors of Pandavas. He was a great scholar of Vedas. He had five brothers, Yati, Samyati, Ayati, Viyati and Kriti. He had two wives, Devayani and Sharmishtha. Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya, the priest of Asuras ....

 left Prayag (confluence of the Ganges & Yamuna) and conquered the region of Sapta Sindhu. His five sons Yadu
Yadu
Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...

, Druhyu, Puru
Puru
The Purus were a tribe, or a confederation of tribes, mentioned many times in the Rigveda, formed around 3180 BCE. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharatas...

, Anu
Anu
In Sumerian mythology, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as...

 and Turvashu correspond to the main tribes of the Rigveda.

The Puranas also record that the Druhyus
Druhyus
The Druhyus were a people of Ancient India. They are mentioned in the Rigveda, often together with the Anu tribe. Some early scholars have placed them in the northwestern region....

 were driven out of the land of the seven rivers by Mandhatr and that their next king Ghandara settled in a north-western region which became known as Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

. The sons of the later Druhyu king Pracetas are supposed by some to have 'migrated' to the region north of Afghanistan though the Puranic texts only speak of an "adjacent" settlement.

See also



  • The Arctic Home in the Vedas
    The Arctic Home in the Vedas
    The Arctic Home in the Vedas is a seminal work on the origin of Aryans presented by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a mathematician turned astronomer, historian, journalist, philosopher and political leader of India during 1880 to 1920...

     by B G Tilak
  • Indo-Aryans
    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...

  • Aryan
    Aryan
    Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

  • Arya
  • Ariana
    Ariana
    Ariana was a region of the eastern countries of ancient Iran, next to India.Ariana may also refer to:* Ariana In places:*Ariana Governorate, a governorate in Tunisia*Ariana, Tunisia*Lake Ariana, a lake in Sofia, Bulgaria...

  • Aryavarta
    Aryavarta
    Āryāvarta is a name for Northern India in classical Sanskrit literature. The Manu Smriti gives the name to "the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the eastern to the Western Sea"....

  • 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...

  • Tamil nationalism
    Tamil nationalism
    Tamil nationalism in India is an aspiration by some Tamils to establish, at minimum, self determination or at maximum secession from India to establish an Independent Tamil State of which would consist of today's Tamil nadu, Puducherry and Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka...


  • Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

  • 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-Iranian languages
    Indo-Iranian languages
    The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...


  • BMAC
  • Andronovo culture
    Andronovo culture
    The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

  • Kurgan
    Kurgan
    Kurgan is the Turkic term for a tumulus; mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves, originating with its use in Soviet archaeology, now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology....


External links



Archaeology

Genetics

Religious and political aspects

Related Video