SV: SV: SV: Vicious Debate

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Thu Dec 3 21:22:26 UTC 1998

Subrahmania wrote:

> I am sure that many people on this list are tired of this
> whole Aryan/Indo-European thing - and so am I - we can
> pick it up again sometime in the future.
> There is no point in restating the same views from both sides,
> and we have more important things to do as well.

It seems to me that you are dodging the question. I don't recollect that we
have discussed that question before.

So let me repeat the question:

You wrote:
> I find it amazing that people are so eager and willing to attribute
> political motives against Indian scholars, but do not have the
> courage to look at their own motives and prejudices.
I wrote:
I am a bit curious about this. When we look at the arguments put forward by
German Indologists in the 1930's about the homeland (which was preferably to be
put somewhere in the middle of Germany :-)), it is easy to see a political
bias. However, it would be interesting (at least for me) to know how you
construe the motives and prejudices of modern Western Indologists like e.g.
Witzel, Zydenbos and myself. For one thing: how do we profit politically or
otherwise from assuming that the homeland was somewhere in Eurasia? (Mind you:
personally, I have no dogmatic idea about WHERE in Eurasia it was. I only
contend that it wasn't in India, and for this I state linguistic and cultural

The reason why I go on about this, is that it often seems to be assumed that
Western Indologists somehow share the same prejudices as their colleagues a
century ago. Therefore, a clear answer to the question stated above would be
most interesting.

> Lars wrote..
> >Would you please enlighten me?
> >
> I am afraid, I cannot give you instant moksha at this time :)

What a pity! Having to wait for moksha makes it less instant :-(

> But, let me give the next best thing -- a quote
> "....But, the most powerful reason which has kept this
>  theory [i.e IE homeland] alive is that the vast majority
> of the scholars interested in the subject were Europeans,
> and the idea that their ancestors could have come from
> another region simply did not occur to them.......
> Perhaps the time has come to wrench 'Indo European'
> prehistory out of the century old scholarly ruts......"

Unfortunately, the quote (whoever said it) contains an error: To begin with,
Europeans thought that the Indo-Europeans came from somewhere in Asia. A party
was in favour of the Hindu Kush. Others claimed the point of origin would be
somewhere in Asia north of the Himalayas. It is only in the second half of this
century that Asia is "out" and Eurasia "in".

> Pretty strong indictment, eh ?
> Guess...who wrote it ?

However strong the indictment, it is not born out by the facts. So, whoever
wrote it did not have a good day :-)


Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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