Tampering with history

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Thu Jun 18 20:26:43 UTC 1998

Sn. Subrahmania wrote:

>> In the case of the migration theory, I, for one,
>>would regard the linguistic evidence as extemely important, whereas other
>>evidence would have to be interpreted in the light of the linguistic
>Please provide references to linguistic evidence (collected since
>150 years! ) that has conclusively proved a migration.
>All the linguists seem to agree on "migration into India" but when
>it comes to the details,  the solidarity breaks up, often contradicting
>one another completely. Just check what the various scholars say , and
>see how divergent and contradictory the views are.

It is hardly surprising that scholars disagree upon details. A number of
details are difficult to explain in an indisputable manner, which is what
you would expect. However, the agreement between linguists is due to the
fact that the main points of the migration theory fit and hang together. Not
only as far as language is concerned: see the list of phenomena that Witzel
provided a couple of weeks ago.

Everybody keeps talking about proof, but if there is no agreement upon what
proof would actually be, we can always keep doubting. To the members of the
"Earth is Flat" society, the earth is still flat, whatever the arguments of
natural science may be, just as Christian creationists keep refuting the
modern conception of the cosmos in favour of the Biblical narrative. Be that
as it may be, the linguistic evidence has been presented on this list
several times over, and all the data are in the archive. Maybe you should
take a look once more.

>Witzel in a previous posting provided references to many of
>the bhai-bhai (kinship?) linguistic hypotheses and he even discounted
>them - Do you realize why ?. Because,in my opinion, all such bhai-bhai
>thories basically  weaken the Aryan invasion/migration theory. Just
>as an example pick up the Aryan and Non-Aryan in India and verify if
>the wide range of views presented there, corroborate or contradict one

Witzel may want to answer for himself, but it is not my impression that he
rejects the migration theory. To the contrary: he has argued against it.

>Because of the wide range of views (and contradicting one another),
>your opinion, that there is conclusive linguistic evidence
>of a migration into India, is not correct.

What is "conclusive evidence" in your opinion? Based upon what we know of
languages in the Indo-European family, it is extremely improbable that they
came from India. People like Sethna is aware of this dilemma and posits an
area of "Aryanism" that includes parts of Europe/Eurasia. In other words,
Aryanism is a linguistic-cultural concept that covers an area comprising
both India and Europe in a very early period. But Sethna does not explain
how this cultural-linguistic area was created. Thus, he only pushes the
basic question back in time.

When I read your objections to the migrationist theory, I keep thinking of a
statistical exercise we did when I studied statistics. We were made to
evaluate the following problem: There is a test that with p % certainty will
tell you that  a patient has AIDS, given that he has AIDS, whereas there is
a q % probability that the test will tell you that s/he does not have AIDS,
in spite of the fact that s/he does. (p is 99.995%, and q is very small).
Furthermore, there is a z % chance (also a very small chance) that it will
tell you that the patient does not have AIDS, in spite of the fact that s/he
has. Now, would it be a good idea to test the whole Norwegian population? I
don't remember the mathematical details anymore, but the result of the
exercise was that some 40,000 Norwegians would be told that they had AIDS,
in spite of the fact that they were healthy, whereas 12,000 would be told
that they were healthy, in spite of the fact that they were sick. In other
words, it would not be a good idea to test the whole population, given the
error rate and the economic consequences it produces. (The vast majority,
4,2 million, would of course get the right message).

Now, given your logic, the test does NOT PROVE that a patient has AIDS. It
will only tell the doctor (and the patient) that there is a fairly high
chance that s/he has AIDS, or to the contrary that s/he hasn't.
Consequently, if the test says "AIDS" you could claim that there is no
reason to worry, because the test hasn't PROVED that you have AIDS.

Returning to the linguistic evidence, it works a bit like the AIDS-test. It
doesn't PROVE - in a mathematical sense, or experimentally - that the Aryans
migrated into India. But the probability that they did is extremely high.
That is why people with a bit of linguistic insight tend to prefer the
migration theory, in spite of the scholarly squabbles over details.

>Coming to the recent political postings:
>The "Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan" scholarship has had to live
>up to better scrutiny than the migrationists.
>Because of the lack of proper checks, balances and scrutiny, the
>migrationists have for long evaded answering questions and felt free
>to postulate all kinds of theories.

As far as I can see, the migrationists have been busy answering questions on
this list a long time now.

>Now that the "Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan" scholars dont look
>for big brother approval one has to resort to labelling and

Oh dear. Who has been vilified and labelled? And where is big brother?

>As for the comments  about  political motivation - All I can say is
>invasion/migration theorists should look in the mirror before attributing
>motives to others and  scholars living in the racist and political
>invasion/migration theory glass house shouldnt  be throwing stones.
>Anyone with a basic knowledge of history would know.

You have a point here. Anybody who has read Trautmann's book on the Aryans
and the British, would know that there were a few sins committed in this
respect on the European side. But I didn't raise the question of hidden
motivations. You did, when you talked about retrofitting. My point was this:
hidden motives can be found anywhere. In the case of the indigenists,
motives aren't even hidden, they are explicit and quotable. So if you stop
talking about retrofitting and the mentality of the migrationists, I won't
talk about the motives of the indigenists.

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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