Out-of-India model: last comments

Edwin Bryant ebryant at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sun Feb 22 18:50:26 UTC 1998

Last comments.

On Sat, 21 Feb 1998, Bh. Krishnamurti wrote:

> I do not think
> Edwin Bryant is correct in saying that the main stream academia support
> the theory that India was the homeland of IE.   Regards, Bh.K.

That's not quite what I said.  A considerable majority of scholars I
interviewed simply felt that there is no evidence for the Indo-Aryans
intruding into the subcontinent.  Few actually then proceed to argue that
they went out (although, as we all know, some scholars, usually the more
motivated, do). Obviously, if the languages didn't come in then they must
have gone out.  But the more sober scholars simply feel that the evidence
is insufficient to determine anything conclusively.   There are certainly
scholars still supporting the I-A migration hypothesis, but I found them
to be in the minority.  Most at least felt the need for reconsideration
and reexamination of the evidence. My research was based on umpteen hours
of recorded interviews in around 25 University campuses across the
subcontinent (and most of the Arch and other surveys of India). If you
have any additional substantive data you can share, please contact me
privately: I will eagerly include it.

> Jacob Baltuch wrote:
> >One last question. Edwin Bryant wrote:
> >
> >I just can't imagine how one could learn
> >proper modern linguistics if one's linguistic
> >training included "theories" that Sanskrit
> >was identical to PIE or that IA and Dravidian
> >were close genetic relatives. That would
> >be really something on a par with the Marr
> >madness in Soviet linguistics. I do hope the
> >answer is no.

One last answer:  The more sober members of the so-called Indigenous Aryan
school do not argue either that Sanskrit is equal to PIE, or that
Dravidian is from the I-A language family (although obviously some have
done so). The relationship of Sanskrit to PIE need have no bearing on the
geographical location of the so-called homeland (ie, I-A could have
evolved from PIE in a variety of different places).

I should note that most of the scholars in the Indigenous Aryan school are
archaeologists, historians and philologers.  When I was last in India
(94-95) I could only find three departments where serious courses in IE
linguistics were being offered: Calcutta, Varanasi and Poona (Annamalai
had closed its department, and, as I recall, the Poona IE post had been
vacant for a year, at the time).  The odd course is offered here and there
(ie in Delhi U.), but historical IE linguistics is not seen as a priority
for scarce university resources.  Accordingly, most Indigenous-Aryanists
reveal a blatant lack of awareness (and interest) in the IE linguistic
evidence. This is an obvious Achilles heel, since the whole I-A migration
hypothesis was originally predicated on the linguistic evidence and can
only be dismantled by addressing this evidence. There have been some
attempts to address the linguistic evidence, however, of varying worth.

That's really all I have time for due to teaching overload.  And I
have experience that these discussions tend to go on for ever and pretty
soon people start becoming emotional and offensive and the scholarly
value of the discussion evaporates.   Regards,   Edwin Bryant

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