Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sun Jun 28 14:22:35 UTC 1998

On Sun, 28 Jun 1998, Yaroslav V. Vassilkov wrote:

>   The historicity of the Puraa.nas, ....
often reflects/describes in the most generalised
> and idealised way the typical, long-termed historical situations

I think most will agree with you here. But there are always those who even
reconstruct, with the help of some Epic/Puranic account, the "gray ware
people" of the middle Vedic period....

> stayed there: but since the Zatapatha Br. the region is constantly
> characterised in the texts as inhabited by barbarians, as an impure
> land.

INDEED, and AB says the at the west has long wildernesses (dIrgha araNya)
as opposed to the settled "east". Hardly any post-RV texts (if at al,
Kapisthala Samhita? Parts of the older Ait. Br.) from the post-RV Panjab.

> the pre-Aryan (Late Harappan) cultural
> substratum raised again (the Kar.naparvan of the Mbh calles the
> barbarious tribes of the NW in their totality the "Arattans" - and there
> are good chances, I believe, that "Aratta" was the name which the IVC
> people themselves called their country).

I think, a good suggestion: Their name corresponds with the substrate
pattern of the Panjab etc., with its -Ta suffixes for tribes (in my
forthc.Michigan Aryan/NonAryuan conf. contribution).

Aratta is already attested in Baudhayana Srautasutra. (cf.  Early Eastern
Iran and the Atharvaveda. Persica 9, 1980, 86-128). Strange connection
with Aratta, the land of Lapis Lazuli in the east (from the point of view
of the Mesopotanians). Lapis is found in Badakhshan (N. Afghanistan) and
in the Baluchi Chagai Hills....

it is, however, my impression that the Gandharas (homeland of Panini,
and homeland of the best speech, in Kausitaki Br.) were often excluded
from the denigration met out to the "panjabis". But I did not check all
passages right now.

In this context, the oldest "Sikh joke", is in Patanjali who calls the
Panjabis (Bahika) an "ox". (gaur vai bahIkaH)

Michael Witzel                       witzel at fas.harvard.edu

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list