Edwin Bryant ebryant at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Mar 23 03:44:22 UTC 1998

On Sun, 22 Mar 1998, George Thompson wrote:

> What Edwin seems to be doing in his recent series of posts is this: he
> seems to be conceding the fact that the horse is not indigenous to the
> sub-continent. But [correct me if I am wrong, Edwin] he seems to be arguing
> that this fact can be severed from the claim that the Aryans themselves are
> indigenous. In other words, Edwin is trying to save the indigenous Aryan
> thesis from the absence of any supporting horse evidence.

Not 'save' exactly, but separate the arguments that are more compelling
from those that seem to me to be less so.  My role, in this exchange, is
to introduce perspectives from the Indigenous Aryan school that might help
us reexamine our assumptions and fine-tune our understanding of things.

> According to Edwin, there is no sudden spike in horse evidence in the
> archaeological record at the time when the Aryans are supposed to have
> migrated into the sub-continent.

Quite.  I have noted that, to my knowledge, there have been some findings
such as Pirac, Stacul, Hastinapur and one or two other places (including,
as has been noted, down South) in the, say, 1500-500 BCE period (but I
also noted that I need to get exact details from Meadows), and no evidence
of the chariot during this period (again, if anyone can correct this,
please do so).  I am suggesting that there may be a problem with these
types of argumenta ab silentio in the archaeological record.

> He concludes from this that the absence of
> horse evidence in the sub-continent is *not* an indicator of the absence of
> Aryans there. It indicates rather only the absence of horses.

Yes.  If the above facts are correct, and if the Aryans were very much
in the subcontinent during this period (as most scholars hold), then their
presence there is not really demonstrated by *significant* evidence of
horse, and not by any evidence of chariot at all.  If this is the case,
how can their presence even earlier be denied on *these*
particular grounds (especially since archaeological findings are obviously
going to proportionately lessen the further we go back in time).  This is
my main point.

> But as I have
> claimed on the RISA list, if you do not find horses in the sub-continent,
> then you will not find Aryans. As the infamous Vedic horse sacrifice shows,
> the two -- horse and Aryan -- go hand in hand, as it were. This is not true
> of the horse and IVC.

Well, I am questioning how true this is of the post-IVC culture as
well--although, granted, the findings that have been reported
in this period have met with Meadow's approval unlike the findings claimed
for the IVC (some of which still remain a possibility btw).   I would add
to your comments above, that *three* entities -- horse, Aryan and chariot
-- must go hand in hand.  Accordingly, perhaps you can now explain why
evidence of the chariot does not occur till the Mauryan period if we are
to argue that the chariot, too, must go hand in hand with the Aryans along
with the horse?  In the meantime, I will try and contact Meadows about the
exact nature and quantity of the horse evidence in this 1500 -- 500 BCE
period to see how much explaining the hand in hand connection has to
account for in this regard as well.

> But I hope that Edwin will clarify what he meant, rather than leaving us to
> guess.

Hope that is clearer.  Best, Edwin

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