Indo-Aryan im/e-migration: Horse argument

Fri Mar 20 17:18:38 UTC 1998

Subject:      Re: Indo-Aryan im/e-migration: Horse argument

> "Dominique.Thillaud" <thillaud at UNICE.FR> wrote:
> >>         Perhaps a difference between knowing horses and having a cultur
> >> based on them. Do you won't really compare this few remains with the
> >> material of the Scythian graves?

> Vidyanath Rao wrote:
> >Do the remains of horses in India ever reach the levels of Scythian
> >graves, at least before 1000 CE?

"N. Ganesan" <GANESANS at CL.UH.EDU> wrote:
> At least, Horses increase in numbers dramatically. Horses
> are allied to positions of power, eg: Bharhut stupa basreliefs.

Vidyanath Rao wrote
*How were the number of actual horses (not sculptures) estimated?

*Representations of horses and chariots in sculptures raise serious
*As Littauer pointed out once, it is hard to reconcile things like this
*with claims of horse loving chariot riding Central Asian nomads
*setting up shop. On the other hand, if horses and chariots were
*rare items acquired by trade and had only symbolic value, and were
*not in routine use, then this would not seem so strange.

Dear Vidyanath,

I know you have been writing about impossiblity of chariots
used by incoming Aryans for years in Indology, newsgroups etc.,
My expertise/interest is more towards old printed works in
tamil, tamil medieval prabandhams etc., I am not an expert
on horses. I have not even seen Prof. Parpola's book yet.
(As Dr. M. Rabe once mentioned it will give immense joy to
me :-))

But skimming some postings and upon reflection,
some things are clear to me.

Horses increase dramtically after 1000 BC. Let me explain:
In the historical period, it is for sure.

1) Take North Indian sculptures in Sanchi, etc.,
What is more, they are represented with warriors, kings,
positions of power. Bharhut, Amaravati, Jaggayapeta ...

2) Evidence from classical Tamil sangam works. Critically,
they are dated to 200 BC to 200 AD. A look into
Word Index of Tamil caGkam literature, T. Lehmann and T. Malten,
(1993, Inst. Asian studies) has atleast 150 occurences
of horse. Words like kutirai, pari, puravi, ivuLi, maa.

How long does it take to populate Southern tip of India
with horses, as is evident from classical Tamil literature.
Decades? Centuries? What is the diffusion rate?
Some could have come via sea. Roman coins in S. India;
Sangam literature talking of Yavanas, etc.,
Horses must be used by people at least from
400 B.C in Tamil Nadu. North of TN it must be even earlier.
Sculptures show it; Vedas onwards, horse is an important
part of Aryan culture (eg., azvamedha).
So from Vedic times (1200 BC? or 1000 BC?), horses in India
increase a lot. Are there excavations to determine
the no. of horses vs. each century BC/AD?

This is in stark contrast to Indus valley civilization.
Aboslutely, no horse in 4000+ seals so far;
one clay figurine but disputed. In late Indus findings,
one or two horses. pets? curiosities? That too, some are
disputed. They say they are really asses.

Even after long, long search by dedicated Indian archaelogists
motivated to find them, the horse bones are not turning in
greater quantities in IVC.

N. Ganesan

PS: I will hardly consider Dr. B. B. Lal as unbiased.
He is now a theorist of Indigenous Aryan school. One of the main
speakers in "Revisiting Indus Saravathi age" seminar in
Atlanta. This seminar organizers were S. Kak, David Frawley,
and Vishva Hindu Parishad.

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