Indo-Aryan invasion

Edwin Bryant ebryant at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Mar 4 10:08:36 EST 1998


In view of the widespread suspicion of the Indo-Aryan invasion/migration
theory amongst many intellectuals in India, in view of the
sensitivities of many people in this regard, and in view of the massive
amount of just plain bad scholarship that has been churned out of the West
on this issue over the last two centuries (which has partly contributed
to the theory's rejection by such intellectuals), I propose that for
discussion's sake it would be useful and appropriate if we trimmed
the migration theory of all superfluous details, unwarranted assumptions,
speculations that may be reasonable but not decisive, interpretations that
can be reversed to support an opposing viewpoint, etc, and establish the
basic, compelling, and irrefutable arguments that support or necessitate
the claim of an external origin for the Indo-Aryans into the
Indian subcontinent.

To my sensitivities, we have so far presented one such substantial support
of the theory, vis, that had PIE arisen in India, there would have been
some kind of variety of non-Indo-Iranian, IE languages extant in the
subcontinent in ancient times (this has been contested by Eric, but that
would lead us to  a discussion, which is probably inevitable at some
point, on the RV/IVC connection--but let's stick with linguistics for
now).

Can we discuss other irrefutable linguistic evidence?

Lars: regarding the gypsies--I was not aware that their vocab contained
items of this nature.  I would be eager to see lists of words referring to
exclusively Indian items of material culture such as fauna and flora in
their lexicon if you can give me a good reference in this regard.  Also,
one would have to factor in variables such as the difference in time
period between their departure from India and that of our hypothetical
case scenario, as well as the difference in linguistic conservatism
between itinerant groups and sedentary groups, no?
Regards, Edwin Bryant



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