Indo-Aryan im/e-migration (scholarly debate)

Paul K. Manansala kabalen at MAIL.JPS.NET
Mon May 4 17:35:13 UTC 1998

> From:          "Jan E.M. Houben" <JHOUBEN at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL>

> [sorry for the previous, incomplete message]
> In March, taking up a suggestion by George Thompson that we should try to make
> a discussion on "Indo-Aryan im-e-migration" more "scholarly" (and hence more
> fruitful), I tried to collect some basic relevant literature on the issue and
> proposed to look for some basic arguments. As an example I referred to the
> 'horse-argument' as formulated by Parpola, and asked whether any
> alternative/additional arguments were known which could serve as basic topics
> to be discussed in a future, more scholarly discussion on the subject. A lively
> discussion on the horse-argument followed immediately, but no-one came with an
> alternative or additional argument for Indo-Aryan im/e-migration. So, besides
> the complex and much-disputed linguistic evidence, only the horse argument (in
> my view still valid, though open to deconstruction according to others) serves
> to link speakers of Indo-Aryan in India with those in central Asia/Europe?

You're greatly overstating your case, since the idea that horses could
enter India through trade and such is quite possible. Also there is
nothing in particular that connects the earliest IE speakers with
horses.  Archaeological evidence suggests domesticated horses
originated in Central Asia, but it does not suggest the language of
the people who did the domesticating.  We also have no idea of what
language was spoken by the people who introduced horses to India,
if they were indeed introduced. The ancient Indian horse is genetically
different than the Central Asian horse.

However, the most important point is that the movement of horses or
any other domesticated animal does not imply the migration of people.
There are numerous examples of this in history. In fact, it happens
all the time today with new breeds of domesticated animals imported
from one country to the next.

Paul Kekai Manansala

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list