Tamil words in English/AIT

Wed Feb 18 19:43:12 UTC 1998

 First and foremost, History is a Social Science(sociology,
psychology, anthropology etc) and not a part of
Humanities(literature, lingustics, fine-arts etc).
This is significant. Indology is not just the study of
Sanskrit literature; it purports the construction of Indic past and
chronolgies thereof. If it is the guardian of these facts, it
certainly is significantly a Historical Science as well. The
fundamental methodology of science remains the matching of theory and
evidence. In the physical sciences, the fundamental asumptions
underlying the model and the method of measurement are universally
shared among scientists and it is hard to quibble with a repeatable
measurement. In the social sciences, however, the fundamental
assumptions (axioms) of the model and measurement method have to
be defined within a school of thought and are not universally shared.
The model is good only under these assumtions.
 This is obviously the case in the Aryan intrusion vs Aryan extrusion
theories. Interestinly, for the 'intrusion' proponents the Aryans are
'their' forefathers (and looked just like them..a la Gobineau who
founded this assumption), and the 'extrusion' folks say that the
Aryans are 'their' forefathers. These questions will have their
answers with the convergence of historical linguistics, archeology,
geology, astronomy, physics, mathematics, the human genome project
etc. And it is not necessary that one or the other is right and maybe
both are true; There could have been an intrusion and an extrusion.
The picture is just not clear as so much unexamined evidence does lie
on the table. For those who insist on AIT on based purely on
historical lingiustics and state chronologies as fact based on this
fail to convince me and are on very shaky ground. This more so in the
face of evidence that does not fit the the AIT model (the 'saraswati'
river sites ). As a demand of historical science the model has to
explain and accomodate all the evidence available.
 Even more interestingly, if AIT and the 'intrusion' idea and dates
are revised, it will necessarily mean the revision of models of
ancient european and middle eastern history. Because of these
linkages the inertia for a change in the AIT is and will be great;
However the vigor of the western academy is greater and a more
plausible model will emerge from young and questioning scholars in
 As for the constellations in the Veda being obscure, some are very
well known eg kritika (plaides), the big dipper etc. This does need
further looking into. btw Jacobi was a mathematician as well as was
 As for the question about competent to speak on matters Indological
because I am a physicist... you know... the matter of establishing
credibility ... Firstly, in a debate, it is better to respond to the
words/ideas presented and evaluate their merit as opposed to the
degrees and other material tattoos we cart around with us. Secondly,
questioning competence not only sidetracks the debate it ends it, and
I promise never to do that to you or anyone once I choose to
speak/debate with you. In matters of nonsense, silence is more civil.
 On matters of 'scenting' the territory of physics being off limits
to non-physicists; Au contraire. The health of any field is dependent
on the independent and concerned scholar. There are alive in academia
and society many minds who have interest in subjects out of their
professions and this helps sustain and grow this area of study.
 This applies to both physics and Indology. If you are capable of
understanding the language of the field, your opinion will be welcome
in professional circles; Nonsense will merit no response.
 If you can read the arcane language of math you to can discuss hard-
core physics with professionals. Since history is written in this
case is English and the facts accesible to those who can read, and
more so to those trained as scholars in the liberal arts tradition.
Forgive me if this is absurd, but do you think that it is
incomprehsible for a Norweigen physicist to be able to speak
reasonably knowledgeably about Norweigen history ?
  btw there is an interesting website by a fellow
by the name of Leonard Reuter on the 'Aryan Problem'.
 Once more, I realize that the matter is contentious and in general I
am content to lurk in this excellent forum.
J.B. Sharma

Lars Martin Fosse wrote :

The fantasies of Count Gobineau are of no account to AIT today. The
Aryans may have been blond and blue-eyed, or not. They most likely
mixed with other peoples on their way to India. But I believe that
there are still blue-eyed people to be found in the Punjab, so some of
them may very well have been blue-eyed. You may, by the way, want to
read "The History and Geography of Human Genes" by Cavalli-Sforza. He
discusses the realities of the AIT from a genetic point of view.

>times ? Why are the Vedas/Avesta or proto-forms thereof not
>remembered in Europe, and scholars have to look at India/Iran to look
>into the Aryan past ?

Comparative cultural studies show that there are ideas common to the Eastern
and Western branch of the Indo-European "ethnic theatre". May I suggest a
book on the subject: Bruce Lincoln, "Indo-European Themes of Creation and
Destruction", Harvard University Press, 1986.

> Most importantly, Karl Popper has emphasized the importance of
>falsification in scientific models. One case does not prove a general
>point, but one contradiction can destroy a scientific theory. If
>indeed we take the 'arrival' of Aryans in India to be around 1500 BC,
>how is it that they talk about the 'Sarasvati' river which is very
>likely the major 'dried up' river in the Hakkar-Ghagra Basin, which
>dried in 2000 BC ?

There may be several explanations. For one thing, there is no reason to
believe that no Indo-Aryans visited India before the "invasion". They may
have come as traders. I suspect that the Aryan "invasion" occurred because
the Indus culture became weakened by the ecological catastrophy that seems
to have hit it and was unable to fend off intruders. Compare the influx of
Germanic tribes in the Western Roman empire in the fifth and sixth centuries
CE. Germans had been present in Rome for centuries before they were able to
ravage the area.

But they may also simply have talked to the locals - after all a mighty
river that simply disappears could easily get stuck in mythology.

I don't think it is correct to say that the study of the Vedic sky is in its
infancy. After all, Herman Jacobi wrote several hundred pages on astronomy
and Indology at the turn of the century. But a fresh look at these matters
might be interesting, particularly now that we are able to simulate the sky
as it was millennia ago by means of computer programs.

> One more thing; Some time ago someone pointed out the 'manifesto' of
>this list discouraging folks from 'math and physics' to post on this
>list as this does not prepare them for 'humanities'. This points to
>an egregiously false notion that Indology is a field of 'humanities'.
>Humanities does not purport to construct historical chronologies,
>historical science does.

This must be a misunderstanding. History is very much part of the
humanities, and historians deal with chronological problems all the time.
Indologists have been discussing chronological problems for a 150 years. And
I fail to see how knowledge of physics and mathematics alone can sort out
the tangled web of Indian literatures! I have tried to use statistics on the
problem, and reached the conclusion that statistics may be useful, but only
in conjunction with traditional methods.

And if indeed there is a place for
>construction of historical models in Indology based on linguistics,
>archeology, geology, physics (radio-carbon dating), astronomy (vedic
>sky) etc, there is a legitimate place for scientists to participate
>in the discussion.

Provided we know what constellations we are talking about. Part of the
problem is that we do not always know exactly what the Vedic literature
means when it talks about astronomical phenomena. But I agree that the
sciences and their potensiality may have been neglected, and that many
people in the humanities are deplorably lacking in even elementary
scientific knowledge.

> Once more, a cursory glance at the historical wastebasket shows many
>a discarded paradigms. So AIT is subject to a Toynbeean 'challenge
>and response'. The challenge has been there for some time, and sadly
>the response has in most part been vilification of the challenger. It
>will perhaps take a generation of Indologists to remove this spectre
>of competing histories and get a clearer picture of 'what really
>happened (most likely).".

There is nothing wrong in challenging the AIT, as long as it is done in a
competent manner. But let me ask you as a physicist: Do you accept a
challenge against physical theory from a person without adequate
mathematical knowledge and no proper qualifications in physics? If you were
a geophysicist, would you spend much time discussing the reality of the
earth's rotundity with a member of the "Flat Earth Society" (there really is
- or at least recently was - such a thing)?

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at online.no
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45

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