Out of India theory

Out of India theory

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The Out of India theory (OIT, also called the Indian Urheimat Theory) is the proposition that the Indo-European language family originated in 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...

 and spread to the remainder of the Indo-European region through a series of migrations. A notable proponent was Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829).

Originally proposed in the late 18th century in an attempt to explain connections between 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...

 and European languages, it was rapidly marginalized within academic linguistics, particularly those who tend to favor the Kurgan model
Kurgan hypothesis
The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

 instead.

Still, the Out of India theory today builds primarily on the idea that Aryans are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent
Indigenous Aryans
The notion of Indigenous Aryans posits that speakers of Indo-Aryan languages are "indigenous" to the Indian subcontinent.The "Indigenous Aryans" position may entail an Indian origin of Indo-European languages, and in recent years, the concept has been increasingly conflated with an "Out of India"...

 rather than on the archaeogenetic and other academic developments. The theory's recent revival in Hindu nationalist writing has made it the subject of a contentious debate in Indian politics. These recent "OIT" scenarios posit that 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...

 was Indo-Aryan and uses mainly evidence from Sanskrit literature. The hypotheses have been espoused mainly by the radical nationalist 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,...

 and Indian author Shrikant Talageri. These scenarios have also been defended by the archaeologist B.B. Lal.

Early proposals


When the finding of connections between languages from India to Europe led to the creation of 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...

 in the late 18th century some Indians and Europeans believed that the Proto-Indo-European language
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...

 must be 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...

, or something very close to it. A few early Indo-Europeanists, such as Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 pioneers Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

, and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel had a firm belief in this and essentially created the idea that India was the Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

 of all Indo-European languages. In a 1775 letter, Voltaire expressed his belief in that the "dynasty of the Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

s" taught the rest of the world: "I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges." The idea intrigued Kant who "suggested that mankind together with all science must have originated on the roof of the world [the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 ]." Most scholars, such as William Jones
William Jones (philologist)
Sir William Jones was an English philologist and scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages...

, however realized from earliest times that instead, Sanskrit and related European languages had a common source, and that no attested language represented this direct ancestor.

The development of historical linguistics
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

, specifically the law of palatals and the discovery of the laryngeals in Hittite, shattered Sanskrit's preeminent status as the most venerable elder in this reconstructed family. The demotion of Sanskrit to the status of one daughter language among many eroded the remaining support of India as the Indo-European homeland.

The ethnologist and philologist Robert Gordon Latham
Robert Gordon Latham
Robert Gordon Latham FRS was an ethnologist and philologist.Born at Billingborough, Lincolnshire, Latham studied philology in Scandinavia. He graduated from King's College, Cambridge in 1833, becoming a Fellow of King's...

 was the first to state that, according to the principles of natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

, a language family's most likely point of origin is in the area of its greatest diversity which, in the case of Indo-European, is roughly in Central-Eastern Europe, where 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...

, 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 the Indo-European language family are attested, as opposed to South Asia, where only the Indo-Aryan branch is. Lachhmi Dhar Kalla
Lachhmi Dhar Kalla
Lachhmi Dhar Shastri Kalla was Reader of Sanskrit at St. Stephen's College, the University of Delhi, and head of the Department of Sanskrit from 1922 to 1949.-Works:...

 responded by arguing that the greater linguistic diversity of Indo-European in Europe is the result of absorbing foreign linguistic elements, and that a language family's point of origin should be sought in the area of least linguistic change, since it has been least affected by substrate interference. Dhar's line of argument has a history in Western debates in the Indo-European homeland (e.g. Feist 1932 and Pissani 1974 as cited in ) where it has been used to locate the Indo-European homeland near the area where the Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

and 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:...

 branches of Indo-European are attested.

1999 "revival"


An Indian Urheimat has been promoted more recently by and , which led to an exchange of criticisms with Michael Witzel.

In what its editor J. P. described as a "sense of fair play," the Journal of Indo-European Studies
Journal of Indo-European Studies
The Journal of Indo-European Studies is a peer-reviewed academic journal of Indo-European studies, founded in 1973 by Roger Pearson. It publishes papers in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, mythology and philology relating to the cultural history of the Indo-European speaking peoples. The...

 waived peer review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

 in order to publish
Kazanas' (2002, 2003) defence of the "Indigenous Indo-Aryan" viewpoint — which cited and . Mallory's reasoning for this exceptional omission of peer-review was as follows:
The debate consisted of an article by , nine highly critical reviews by referees, Kazanas' (2003) response to those criticisms, and a few further responses available online.

warned:

Chronology


Neolithic and Bronze Age Indian history is periodized into the Pre-Harappan (ca. 7000 to 3300 BC), Early Harappan (3300 to 2600), Mature Harappan (2600 to 1900) and Late Harappan (1900 to 1300 BC) periods.

The Indian Urheimat proposal put forward by , which he dubs the "emerging non-invasionist model," is as follows: During the 6th millennium BC, the Proto-Indo-Europeans were living in the Punjab region
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...

 of Northern India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

. As the result of demographic expansion, they spread into Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 as the Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

. The Paradas moved further and inhabited the Caspian
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...

 coast and much of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 while the Cina
CINA
CINA is a Canadian radio station, which broadcasts multicultural programming at AM 1650 in Mississauga, Ontario.Approved by the CRTC on April 23, 2007, the station is owned by Neeti Prakash Ray and began testing at 1650 kHz in late 2008....

s moved northwards and inhabited the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 in northwestern China, forming the Tocharians
Tocharians
The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. They were known as, or at least closely related to, the Yuezhi of Chinese sources...

 group of I-E speakers. These groups were Proto-Anatolian and inhabited that region by 2000 BC. These people took the oldest form of the Proto Indo-European (PIE) language with them and, while interacting with people of the Anatolian and Balkan region, transformed it into its own dialect. While inhabiting Central Asia they discovered the uses of the horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

, which they later sent back to Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

. Later on during their history, they went on to take Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 and thus spread the Indo-European languages to that region. During the 4th millennium BC, civilization in India was evolving to become the urban 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...

. During this time, the PIE languages evolved to Proto-Indo-Iranian Some time during this period, the Indo-Iranians began to separate as the result of internal rivalry and conflict, with the Iranians expanding westwards towards 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 Persia, these possibly were the Pahlavas. They also expanded into parts of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. By the end of this migration, India was left with the Proto-Indo-Aryans. At the end of the Mature Harappan period, the Sarasvati river began drying up and the remainder of Indo-Aryans split into separate categories. Some travelled westwards and established themselves as rulers of the Hurrian 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...

 kingdom by around 1500 BC (see Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion....

). Others travelled eastwards and inhabited the Gangetic basin while others travelled southwards and interacted with the Dravidian people.

Linguistics

See also linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 or historical linguistics
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

.


According to , OIT proponents tend to be linguistic dilettantes who either ignore the linguistic evidence completely, dismiss it as highly speculative and inconclusive (e.g. Chakrabarti 1995 and 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...

 1995, as cited in , or attempt to tackle it with hopelessly inadequate qualifications; this attitude and neglect significantly minimizes the value of most OIT publications.

and have adapted the language dispersal model proposed by Johanna Nichols
Johanna Nichols
Linguist Johanna Nichols is a professor emerita on active duty in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include the Slavic languages, the linguistic prehistory of northern Eurasia, language typology, ancient linguistic...

 (in ) to support OIT by moving Nichols' proposed Indo-European point of origin from Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

-Sogdiana
Sogdiana
Sogdiana or Sogdia was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great . Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created...

 to India. These ideas have not been accepted in mainstream linguistics.

argues that it is altogether more likely that the Urheimat was in satem territory. The alternative from the angle of an Indian Urheimat theory (IUT) would be that India had originally had the centum
Centum-Satem isogloss
The centum-satem division is an isogloss of the Indo-European language family, related to the different evolution of the three dorsal consonant rows of the mainstream reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European:...

 form, that the dialects which first emigrated (Hittite, Italo-Celtic, Germanic, Tokharic) retained the centum form and took it to the geographical borderlands of the IE expanse (Europe, Anatolia, China), while the dialects which emigrated later (Baltic, Thracian, Phrygian) were at a halfway stage and the last-emigrated dialects (Slavic, Armenian, Iranian) plus the staybehind Indo-Aryan languages had adopted the satem form. This would satisfy the claim of the so-called Lateral Theory that the most conservative forms are to be found at the outskirts rather than in the metropolis.

Comparative linguistics


There are twelve accepted branches of the Indo-European family
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...

. The two Indo-Iranian
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...

 branches, Indic
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 (Indo-Aryan) and Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

, dominate the eastern cluster, historically spanning Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Northern India. While the exact sequence in which the different branches separated or migrated away from a homeland is disputed, linguists generally agree that 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:...

  was the first branch to be separated from the remaining body of Indo-European.

Additionally, Graeco-Aryan isoglosses seem suggestive that Greek and Indo-Iranian may have shared a common homeland for a while after the splitting of the other IE branches. Such a homeland could be northwestern India (which is preferred by proponents of the OIT) or the Pontic steppes (as preferred by the mainstream supporters of the Kurgan hypothesis).

According to Hock, if evidence like linguistic isogloss patterns is ignored, then the hypothesis of an Out-of-India migration becomes "relatively easy to maintain".

Substratum influences in Vedic Sanskrit


Evidence of 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 is solid reason to exclude India as a potential Indo-European homeland.

Burrow
Thomas Burrow
Thomas Burrow was an Indologist and the Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford from 1944 to 1976. His work includes Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, The Problem of Shwa in Sanskrit and The Sanskrit Language....

 compiled a list of approximately 500 foreign words in the Ṛgveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 that he considered to be loans predominantly from Dravidian
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

. Kuiper identified 383 Ṛgvedic words as non-Indo-Aryan—roughly 4% of its liturgical vocabulary—borrowed from Old Dravidian
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

, Old Munda
Munda languages
-Anderson :Gregory Anderson's 1999 proposal is as follows. Individual languages are highlighted in italics.*North Munda **Korku**Kherwarian***Santhali***Mundari*South Munda **Kharia–Juang***Juang***Kharia...

, and several other languages. Thieme
Paul Thieme
Paul Thieme was a scholar of Vedic Sanskrit. He received his doctorate in Indology in 1928 in Göttingen, and habilitated there in 1932. From 1932 to 1935 he taught German and French at the University of Allahabad...

 has questioned Dravidian etymologies proposed for Vedic words, for most of which he gives Indoaryan or Sanskrit etymologies, and condemned what he characterizes as a misplaced “zeal
Zealotry
Zealotry was originally a political movement in 1st century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Iudaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy land by force of arms, most notably during the Great Jewish Revolt...

 for hunting up Dravidian
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

 loans in 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...

”. Das
Rahul Peter Das
Rahul Peter Das is the professor of South Asian studies at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, where he is also the Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Philosophy I and erstwhile Director of the Centre for Languages of the University...

 contends that there is “not a single case in which a communis opinio has been found confirming the foreign origin of a Rigvedic (and probably Vedic in general) word”. Burrow in turn has criticized the "resort to tortuous reconstructions in order to find, by hook or by crook, Indo-European explanations for Sanskrit words". Kuiper reasons that given the abundance of Indo-European comparative material—and the scarcity of Dravidian or Munda—the inability to clearly confirm whether the etymology of a Vedic word is Indo-European implies that it is not. argues that the earliest level of the Rigveda shows signs of para-Munda
Munda languages
-Anderson :Gregory Anderson's 1999 proposal is as follows. Individual languages are highlighted in italics.*North Munda **Korku**Kherwarian***Santhali***Mundari*South Munda **Kharia–Juang***Juang***Kharia...

 influence and only later levels of Dravidian, suggesting—against the older widespread two-century-old belief—that the original inhabitants of Punjab were speakers of para-Munda
Munda people
The Munda are tribal people of the Chota Nagpur Plateau region.They are found across Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Assam states of India, and into parts of Bangladesh...

 rather than speakers of Dravidian, whom the Indo-Aryans encountered only in middle Rigvedic times.

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. 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"). Several linguists, all of whom accept the external origin of the Aryan languages on other grounds, are quite open to considering that various syntactical developments in Indo-Aryan could have been internal developments (Hamp 1996 and Jamison 1989, as cited in rather than the result of substrate influences, or have been the result of adstratum (Hock 1975/1984/1996 and Tikkanen 1987, as cited in . About retroflexion states that "in view of the strictly areal implications of retroflexion and the occurrence of retroflexes in many early loanwords, it is hardly likely that Indo-Aryan retroflexion arose in a region that did not have a substratum with retroflexes."

Another concern raised is that there is large time gap between the comparative materials, which can be seen as a serious methodological drawback. The latter is however not a cogent argument, if one compares, for example modern Lithuanian (laukas patis) with early Vedic Sanskrit (loka-pati), which too are divided by a time span of c. 3200 years.

proposes that any Dravidian in Sanskrit can still be explained via the OIT. He suggests through David McAlpin's Proto-Elamo-Dravidian theory
Elamo-Dravidian languages
The Elamo-Dravidian languages are a hypothesised language family which links the living or proto Dravidian languages of India to the extinct Elamite language of ancient Elam . Linguist David McAlpin has been a chief proponent of the Elamo-Dravidian Hypothesis...

, that the ancient homeland for Proto-Elamo-Dravidian was in the Mesopotamia region, from where the languages spread across the coast towards Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 and eventually to South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 where they still remain. According to Elst, this theory would support the idea that Early Harappan culture was possibly bi- or multi-lingual. claims that the presence of the Brahui language, similarities between Elamite and Harappan script as well as similarities between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian indicate that these languages may have interacted prior to the spread of Indo-Aryans southwards and the resultant intermixing of races and languages.

Elfenbein (as cited in ) argues that the presence of Brahui in Baluchistan is explained by a late immigration that took place within the last thousand years.

Elst believes that there is evidence suggesting that Dravidian influences in Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 and Gujarat were largely lost over the years. He traces this to linguistic evidence. Some occurrences in Sangam Tamil
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

, or ancient forms of Tamil, indicate small similarities with 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...

 or Prakrit
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

. As the oldest recognizable form of Tamil have influences of Indo-Aryan, it is possible that they had Sanskrit influence through a migration through the coastal regions of western India.

Writing specifically about language contact phenomena, state that there is strong evidence that Dravidian influenced Indic through "shift", that is, native Dravidian speakers learning and adopting Indic languages. 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.

states that the most plausible explanation for the presence of Dravidian structural features in Old Indo-Aryan is that the majority of early Old Indo-Aryan speakers had a Dravidian mother tongue which they gradually abandoned.

Hydronymy


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 the oldest source of place and river names in northern India – which Shrikant G. Talageri sees as an argument in favor of seeing Indo-Aryan as the oldest documented population of that area
Demographics of India
The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people , more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.5% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing...

.

According to Witzel, river names are conservative, and "in northern India, rivers in general have early Sanskrit names from the Vedic period, and names derived from the daughter languages of Sanskrit later on." Talageri cites this in support of the Out of India theory, though Witzel himself would dispute jumping to that conclusion. Rather, he points out that non-Sanskritic names are common in the "Sarasvati" (Ghaggar) area.

Kazanas argues that this indicates that the Harappan
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...

 civilization must have been dominated by 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...

 speakers, supposing that the arrival of Indo-Aryan migrants in Late Harappan times to the remnants of a 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...

 formerly stretching over vast area could not have resulted in the suppression of the entire native hydronymy.

However, Witzel argues exactly that: "The failure to preserve old hydronomes even in the Indus Valley (with a few exceptions, noted above) indicates the extent of the social and political collapse experienced by the local population."

Paralleling Witzel, characterizes place names as the deepest ethnic and linguistic layer, and states that the first network of river and place names in Spain was created by very ancient Indo-European populations, and was dense enough to resist successive language changes. According to , even in those areas which are historically Basque (i.e. non-Indo-European), the ancient names of places and people have a prevailing Indo-European character, with very few names of non-Indo-European Basque etymology documented in ancient sources. cites this in support of the Paleolithic Continuity Theory
Paleolithic Continuity Theory
The Paleolithic Continuity Theory , since 2010 relabelled as the Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm , is a hypothesis suggesting that the Proto-Indo-European language can be traced back to the Upper Paleolithic, several millennia earlier than the Chalcolithic or at the most Neolithic estimates in other...

.

Position of Sanskrit


Vedic Sanskrit conserves many archaic aspects, in the words of T. Burrow: "Vedic is a language which in most respects is more archaic and less altered from original Indo-European than any other member of the family".

Kazanas argues that linguistic stability corresponds to geographic stability, claiming that if "the Indo-Aryans were on the move over many thousands of miles (from the Russian steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

, 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...

 and/or Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

) over a very long period of centuries encountering many different other cultures", their "language should have suffered faster and greater changes".

points out that this reasoning can be countered by arguing that Vedic retained the Indo-European accent because, as a sacerdotal language
Sacred language
A sacred language, "holy language" , or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life.-Concept:...

, it artificially preserved forms that would otherwise have evolved in a normal spoken language. Vedic Sanskrit is, like other sacred language
Sacred language
A sacred language, "holy language" , or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life.-Concept:...

s, an extinct language
Extinct language
An extinct language is a language that no longer has any speakers., or that is no longer in current use. Extinct languages are sometimes contrasted with dead languages, which are still known and used in special contexts in written form, but not as ordinary spoken languages for everyday communication...

, having evolved into Classical Sanskrit by the 6th century BC, reaching stability long after Northern India had been settled by Indo-Aryans.

By contrast, Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

 is a living, vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 language that has preserved Indo-European archaisms to the present day, thousands of years longer than Vedic did.

Philology


The determination of the age in which Vedic literature started and flourished has its consequences for the Indo-Aryan question. The oldest text, the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, is full of precise references to places and natural phenomena in what are now Punjab and Haryana, and was unmistakably recorded in that part of India. The date at which it was composed is a firm terminus ante quem for the presence of the Vedic Aryans in India. In the academic mainstream view it was composed in mid to late 2nd millennium BC (Late Harappan) and OIT proponents propose a pre-Harappan date.

OIT proponents propose that bulk of Rigveda was composed prior to Indus Valley Civilization by linking archaeological evidence with data from Vedic text and archaeo-astronomical evidence.

Sarasvati River


Many hymns in all ten Books of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 (except the 4th) extol or mention a divine and very large river named the Sarasvati
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...

, which flows mightily "from the mountains to the [Indian] Ocean”. Talageri states that "the references to the Sarasvati far outnumber the references to the Indus" and "The Sarasvati is so important in the whole of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 that it is worshipped as one of the Three Great Goddesses".

According to palaeoenvironmental scientists the desiccation of Sarasvati came about as a result of the diversion of at least two rivers that fed it, the Satluj and the Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

. "The chain of tectonic events ... diverted the Satluj westward (into the Indus) and the Palaeo Yamuna eastward (into the Ganges) ... This explains the ‘death’ of such a mighty river (the Sarasvati) ... because its main feeders, the Satluj and Palaeo Yamuna were weaned away from it by the Indus and the Gangaa respectively”. This ended at c 1750, but it started much earlier, perhaps with the upheavals and the large flood of 1900, or more probably 2100. P H Francfort, utilizing images from the French satellite SPOT, finds that the large river Sarasvati is pre-Harappan altogether and started drying up in the middle of the 4th millennium BC
4th millennium BC
The 4th millennium BC saw major changes in human culture. It marked the beginning of the Bronze Age and of writing.The city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia...

; during Harappan
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...

 times only a complex irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

-canal network was being used in the southern region of the Indus Valley. With this the date should be pushed back to c 3800 BC.

The Nadistuti hymn (RV 10.75) gives a list of names of rivers where Sarasvati is merely mentioned while Sindhu receives all the praise.
This may well indicate that RV 10 could be dated to a period after the first drying up of Sarasvati when the river lost its preeminence. It is agreed that the tenth Book of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 is later than the others.

The 414 archeological sites along the bed of Saraswati dwarf the number of sites so far recorded along the entire stretch of the Indus River, which number only about three dozen. About 80 percent of the sites are datable to the fourth or third millennium BCE, suggesting that the river was in its prime during this period. If this date were used for the composition of the hymns about Sarasvati, then the Indo-Aryans would necessarily have been in India in the 4th millennium BC
4th millennium BC
The 4th millennium BC saw major changes in human culture. It marked the beginning of the Bronze Age and of writing.The city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia...

.

Items not in the Rigveda


Some items typical of later Sanskrit literature are absent from the Rigveda. This is usually taken as strong evidence that the Rigvedic hymns have a geographical background restricted to the extreme northwest of the Indian subcontinent, corresponding to the route of immigration. OIT proponents have taken the same evidence as indicating an extremely early date for the Rigveda, predating the Harappan civilization.
  • The Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     does not mention silver
    Silver
    Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

    , though it does mention ayas (metal
    Metal
    A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

     or copper
    Copper
    Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

    /bronze
    Bronze
    Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

    ) and candra or hiran-ya (gold
    Gold
    Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

    ). Silver is denoted by rajatám híran-yam literally ‘white gold’ and appears in post-Rigvedic texts. There is a generally accepted demarcation line for the use of silver at around 4000 BC and this metal is archaeologically attested in the Harappan Civilization

  • The Rigveda makes no reference to the Harappan culture. The characteristic features of the Harappan culture are urban
    Urban contemporary
    Urban contemporary is a music radio format. The term was coined by the late New York DJ Frankie Crocker in the mid 1970s. Urban contemporary radio stations feature a playlist made up entirely of hip hop/rap, contemporary R&B, pop, electronica such as dubstep and drum and bass and Caribbean music...

     life, large building
    Building
    In architecture, construction, engineering, real estate development and technology the word building may refer to one of the following:...

    s, permanently erected 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....

     altars and brick
    Brick
    A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

    s. There is no word for brick in the Rigveda and iswttakaa (brick) appears only in post-Rigvedic texts. (Kazanas 2000:13) The Rigvedic altar is a shallow bed dug in the ground and covered with grass (e.g. RV 5.11.2, 7.43.2-3; Parpola 1988: 225). Fixed brick-altars are very common in post-Rigvedic texts.

  • The Rigveda mentions no rice
    Rice
    Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

     or cotton
    Cotton
    Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

    . A compound term is used which later referred to rice cakes used for sacrificial purposes, but the word vrīhí, meaning 'rice', does not occur. Rice was found in at least three Harappan sites: Rangpur
    Rangpur
    Rangpur may refer to:*Rangpur - citrus fruitplaces*Rangpur Baghoor*Rangpur, India in Gujarat*Rangpur Division in Bangladesh**Rangpur District in Bangladesh**Rangpur, Bangladesh, administrative centre of Rangpur District...

     (2000 BCE - 1500 BCE), 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...

     (c 2000 BCE) and Mohenjodaro (c 2500 BCE) as Piggott, Grist and others testify. Yet, despite the importance of the rice in ritual in later times, the Rigveda makes no mention of it. The cultivation of cotton
    Cotton
    Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

     is well attested in the Harappan civilization and is found at many sites thereafter.

  • Nakshatra
    Nakshatra
    Nakshatra is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu astrology. A nakshatra is one of 27 sectors along the ecliptic...

     were developed in 2400 BCE, they are important in a religious context yet the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     does not mention this, which suggests the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     is before 2400 BCE. The youngest book only mentions constellation
    Constellation
    In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....

    s, a concept known to all cultures, without specifying them as lunar mansions.

  • On the other hand, it has been claimed that the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     has no term for "sword
    Sword
    A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

    ", while Bronze swords
    Bronze Age sword
    Bronze Age swords appear from around the 17th century BC, in the Black Sea region and the Aegean, evolving out of the dagger. They are replaced by the Iron Age sword during the early part of the 1st millennium BC....

     were used aplenty in the Bactria
    Bactria
    Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

    n culture and in Pirak
    Pirak
    Pirak is an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization located in Balochistan, Pakistan. It is 20 km south of Sibi east of the Nari River. The mound is 8m high and covers approximately . The site of Pirak was first reported by Robert Raikes in 1963...

    . Ralph Griffith uses “sword” twelve times in his translation, including in the old books 5 and 7, but in most cases a literal translation would be more generic "sharp implement" (e.g. ), the transition from "dagger
    Dagger
    A dagger is a fighting knife with a sharp point designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon. The design dates to human prehistory, and daggers have been used throughout human experience to the modern day in close combat confrontations...

    " to "sword
    Sword
    A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

    " in 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...

     being a gradual process.


The fore-mentioned features are found in post Rigvedic texts – the Samhitas, the Brahmanas and fully in the Sutra literature. For instance, brick altars are mentioned in Satapatha Brahmanaṇa 7.1.1.37, or 10.2.3.1 etc. Rice ( vrihi ) is found in AV 6.140.2; 7.1.20; etc. Cotton karpasa appears first in Gautama’s (1.18) and in Bandhāyana's (14.13.10) Dharmasūtra. The fact of the convergence of the post-Rigvedic texts and the Harappan culture was noted long ago by archaeologists. Bridget
Bridget Allchin
Bridget Allchin is an archaeologist who specializes in South Asian archaeology. She has published many works, some co-authored with her late husband F...

 and F. Raymond Allchin
F. Raymond Allchin
Frank Raymond Allchin FBA was an archaeologist who specialized in South Asian archaeology. He was born in Harrow, London and studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic. He first visited India in 1944 whilst serving with the army in the Royal Corps of Signals, and from then on his interest in the...

 stated unequivocally that these features are of the kind “described in detail in the later Vedic literature” (1982: 203).

Based on these set of statements, OIT proponents argue that the whole of the RV, except for some few passages which may be of later date, must have been composed prior to Indus Valley Civilization.

Memories of an Urheimat


The fact that the Vedas do not mention the Aryans' presence in India as being the result of a migration or mention any possible Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

, has been taken as an argument in favour of the OIT. The reasoning is that it is not uncommon for migrational accounts to be found in early mythological and religious texts, a classical example being the Book of Exodus in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, describing the legendary migration of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan.

Proponents of the OIT, such as Koenraad Elst, argue that it would have been expectable that migrations, and possibly an Urheimat were mentioned in the Rigveda if the Aryans had only arrived in India some centuries before the composition of the earliest Rigvedic hymns. They argue that other migration stories of other Indo-European people have been documented historically or archaeologically, and that the same would be expectable if the Indo-Aryans had migrated into India.

From the mainstream academic viewpoint, the concern is the degree of historical accuracy that can be expected from the Rigveda, which is a collection of hymns, not an account of tribal history, and those hymns assumed to reach back to within a few centuries of the period of Indo-Aryan arrival in Gandhara make for just a small portion of the text.

Regarding migration of Indo-Aryans and imposing language on Harappans, Kazanas notes that "The intruders would have been able to rename the rivers only if they were conquerors with the power to impose this. And, of course, the same is true of their Vedic language: since no people would bother of their own free will to learn a difficult, inflected foreign language, unless they had much to gain by this, and since the Aryan immigrants had adopted the “material culture and lifestyle” of the Harappans and consequently had little or nothing to offer to the natives, the latter would have adopted the new language only under pressure. Thus here again we discover that the substratum thinking is invasion and conquest." "But invasion is the substratum of all such theories even if words like ‘migration’ are used. There could not have been an Aryan immigration because (apart from the fact that there is no archaeological evidence for this) the results would have been quite different. Immigrants do not impose their own demands or desires on the natives of the new country: they are grateful for being accepted, for having the use of lands and rivers for farming or pasturing and for any help they receive from the natives; in time it is they who adopt the language (and perhaps the religion) of the natives. You cannot have a migration with the results of an invasion."

Material archaeology


The opinion of the majority of professional archaeologists interviewed seems to be that there is no archaeological evidence to support external Indo-Aryan origins. Thus while the linguistic community stands firm with the Kurgan hypothesis
Kurgan hypothesis
The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

 archaeological community tends to be more agnostic.

According to one archaeologist, J.M. Kenoyer:
"Although the overall socioeconomic organization changed, continuities in technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, subsistence practices, settlement organization, and some regional symbols show that the indigenous population was not displaced by invading hordes of 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...

 speaking people. For many years, the ‘invasions’ or ‘migrations’ of these Indo-Aryan-speaking Vedic/Aryan tribes explained the decline of the Indus civilization and the sudden rise of urbanization in the Ganga-Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

 valley. This was based on simplistic models of culture change and an uncritical reading of Vedic texts..."


The examination of 300 skeletons from the Indus Valley Civilization and comparison of those skeletons with modern-day Indians by Kenneth Kennedy
Kenneth A. R. Kennedy
Kenneth Adrian Raine Kennedy is an anthropologist who studied at the University of California, Berkeley. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology and Asian Studies in the Division of Biological Sciences at Cornell University...

 has also been a supporting argument for the OIT. Kennedy claims that the Harappan inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization are no different from the inhabitants of India in the following millennia. However, this does not rule out one version of the Aryan Migration Hypothesis which suggests that the only "migration" was one of languages as opposed to a complete displacement of the indigenous population.

Haüsler (as cited in ) also found that archaeological evidence in central Europe showed continuous linear development, with no marked external influences.

grants that "there is at least a series of archaeological cultures that can be traced approaching the Indian subcontinent, even if discontinuous, which does not seem to be the case for any hypothetical east-to-west emigration."

Genetic anthropology




Unlike the Indo-European migration hypothesis, there is no clear genetic evidence for a prehistoric migration out of India. There is no evidence of widespread genetic displacement in Europe after the Paleolithic. And finds "no support for any model that calls for the ultimate origins of north Bactrian oasis Oxus Civilization populations to be inhabitants of the Indus Valley."

The virtual absence of India-specific mtDNA haplogroups outside of India has been arguing to preclude a large scale population movement out of India. Tracing a possible "out of India" migration has therefore until recently focused upon Y-chromosome haplogroups
Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups
In human genetics, a Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in the non-recombining portions of DNA from the Y chromosome ....

. Concerning Y DNA, haplogroup R2
Haplogroup R2 (Y-DNA)
- Paragroup R2a* :Paragroup is a term used in population genetics to describe lineages within a haplogroup that are not defined by any additional unique markers...

 is characterized by genetic marker
Genetic marker
A genetic marker is a gene or DNA sequence with a known location on a chromosome that can be used to identify cells, individuals or species. It can be described as a variation that can be observed...

 M124, and is rarely found outside India, Pakistan, Iran, and southern Central Asia. Outside of southern Eurasia, M124 was found at an unusually high frequency of 0.440 among the Kurmanji
Kurmanji
Kurmanji or Northern Kurdish is the most commonly spoken dialect of the Kurdish language.- Scripts and books :...

 of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, but at a much lower frequency of only 0.080 among the Kurmanji
Kurmanji
Kurmanji or Northern Kurdish is the most commonly spoken dialect of the Kurdish language.- Scripts and books :...

 of 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...

. The M124 frequency of 0.158 found among Chechens
Chechen people
Chechens constitute the largest native ethnic group originating in the North Caucasus region. They refer to themselves as Noxçi . Also known as Sadiks , Gargareans, Malkhs...

 may be unrepresentative because it was derived from a sample size
Sample size
Sample size determination is the act of choosing the number of observations to include in a statistical sample. The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample...

 of only 19 Chechens. Outside of these populations and the Romani people, M124 is not found in Eastern Europe.

Proposals that there is a sign of movements of people in or out of India that might be associated with Indo-European languages have tended to revolved around Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a1, which is identified with genetic marker M17. On the one hand, this Y lineage tend to be found in higher levels amongst northern Indians and amongst higher castes, and is also found in modern populations in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the pattern within India is not always so clear, with lower castes and southern populations also sometimes showing high levels, and in fact several studies have proposed that the deepest roots of this lineage may be in or near India.

The latest research conducted by Watkins et. al. (2008) also questioned the use of uniparental markers such as Y DNA or mitochondrial DNA, which may have been affected by natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

; they also argue for the need to analyze autosomal polymorphisms in addition to both Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA in order to generate a comprehensive picture of population genetic structure. The authors of the study write: "The historical record documents an influx of Vedic Indo-European-speaking immigrants into northwest India starting at least 3500 years ago. These immigrants spread southward and eastward into an existing agrarian society dominated by Dravidian speakers. With time, a more highly-structured patriarchal caste system developed ... our data are consistent with a model in which nomadic populations from northwest and central Eurasia intercalated over millennia into an already complex, genetically diverse set of subcontinental populations. As these populations grew, mixed, and expanded, a system of social stratification likely developed in situ, spreading to the Indo-Gangetic plain, and then southward over the Deccan plateau."

Reich et al. (2009) indicates that the modern Indian population is a result of admixture between Indo-European (ANI) and Dravidian (ASI) populations. The authors of the study write: "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.

Criticism

  • The linguistic center of gravity principle states that a language family's most likely point of origin is in the area of its greatest diversity. Only one branch of Indo-European, Indo-Aryan, is found in India, whereas 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...

    , 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 are all found in Central-Eastern Europe. Because it requires a greater number of long migrations, an Indian Urheimat is far less likely than one closer to the center of Indo-European linguistic diversity. However, the existence of the Tocharian
    Tocharian languages
    Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

     language family in Western China would shift the center of gravity eastward. Some scholars argue that the various language families in Central and Eastern Europe evolved fairly recently, which implies that there was less diversity in the western side of the Indo-European language family during the 2nd millennium BCE at a time contemporaneous with Vedic Sanskrit.

  • The Indic languages show the influence of the Dravidian
    Dravidian languages
    The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

     and Munda
    Munda languages
    -Anderson :Gregory Anderson's 1999 proposal is as follows. Individual languages are highlighted in italics.*North Munda **Korku**Kherwarian***Santhali***Mundari*South Munda **Kharia–Juang***Juang***Kharia...

     language families. No other branch of Indo-European does. If the Indo-European homeland had been located in India, then the Indo-European languages should have shown some influence from Dravidian and Munda.

  • To postulate the migration of PIE speakers out of India necessitates an earlier dating of the Rigveda than is normally accepted by Vedic scholars in order to make a deep enough period of migration to allow for the longest migrations to be completed.

See also

  • Indigenous Aryan Theory
  • Aryan Invasion Theory (history and controversies)
  • 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...

  • Neolithic Europe
    Neolithic Europe
    Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

  • Proto-Indo-European language
    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...

  • Proto-Indo-Europeans
    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...

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

  • Indomania
    Indomania
    Indomania and Indophilia refer to the special interest India has generated in the Western world, and more specifically, the culture and civilisation of the Indian subcontinent. During the initial period of colonialism everything about India had an aspect of novelty, especially in Britain...

    , Indophobia
    Indophobia
    Indophobia refers to hostility towards Indians and Indian culture. Indophobia is formally defined in the context of anti-Indian prejudice in East Africa and Australia as follows: "Indophobia is a tendency to react negatively towards people of Indian...

  • 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...


Competing hypotheses

  • Anatolian hypothesis
    Anatolian hypothesis
    The Anatolian hypothesis is also called Renfrew's Neolithic Discontinuity Theory ; it proposes that the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in Neolithic Anatolia...

  • Armenian hypothesis
    Armenian hypothesis
    The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, based on the Glottalic theory suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland or Aryan Highland. It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in...

  • Kurgan hypothesis
    Kurgan hypothesis
    The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

  • Paleolithic Continuity Theory
    Paleolithic Continuity Theory
    The Paleolithic Continuity Theory , since 2010 relabelled as the Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm , is a hypothesis suggesting that the Proto-Indo-European language can be traced back to the Upper Paleolithic, several millennia earlier than the Chalcolithic or at the most Neolithic estimates in other...


External links