New Message (aryan invasion)

thompson at thompson at
Sat Dec 7 03:09:04 UTC 1996

I'd like to respond to the recent suggestions made by Peter Claus, Luis
Gonzalez-Reimann, and Lars Martin Fosse, comparing the "aryan invasion"
with (1) "the English Invasion of India" [Peter], (2) "the spread of
Spanish in Latin America" [Luis], and (3) "the Indo-European expansion in
Europe" [Lars Martin].

Such comparisons, I think, are valuable, since in the light of these better
known "invasions," the Aryan "invasion" might be put into better
perspective.  Because our ignorance of the aryan invasion is so great, all
kinds of ludicrous assertions have been made, and accepted as more or less
equally valid with more reasonable assertions, as if there were no way to
distinguish between ludicrous and reasonable claims.

Archaeologists who can find "no evidence" of an aryan invasion, and who,
because of a lack of interest in the linguistic evidence, decide that there
isn't any [think of Jim Shaffer], should pay particular attention to what
Peter calls "ethno-archeology."

It does not make any difference how large or small was the "army" that
brought English to the Indian sub-continent.  The English brought it,
unambiguously, and it has unambiguously taken hold.  Likewise, there can be
no doubt that Spanish has taken hold in Latin America, the result of a
combination of "military conquest"  and "intermarriage," to be sure. How
large or small the "army" is irrelevant; the fact remains that the
incursion took place. Furthermore, Indigenous-Aryan theorists who perceive
ethnocentrism in the claims of IE- expansion theorists, must take into
account the claims of these IE-expansion theorists regarding the incursions
they posit into their own European nations; such claims cannot be motivated
by ethnocentrism].

As a matter of fact Sanskrit "took hold" in the northern portion of the
Indian sub-continent at some hard to determine time.  But it did in fact
*take hold*, which is to say that it wasn't there "in the beginning" [the
genetic relationship of Skt. with other IE languages makes for only two
options: either "into India" or "out of India" -- and the latter has
nothing to support it, except for crude nationalist fantasy].  So the fact
that archaeologists can find "no trace" of the IE incursion into the Indian
sub-continent is a function of the crudity of their instruments of measure.
Linguists are, it seems to me, in a much better position than
archaeologists to say, with confidence, that Sanskrit was brought into the
Indian sub-continent, and "took hold" there, for better or worse.

George Thompson

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