Wanderlust of the IE Tribes

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Apr 5 18:07:48 EDT 2001

<re-sent, did not go through eralier>

Our old acquaintance,  Subrahmanya, is at it and at his favorite target
(check the INDOLOGY archives for "panzer" and "tank"!)

>Shrikant Talageri's long and
>devastating analysis of Michael Witzel's _Rigvedic: poets, chieftians andn
>politics. (http://www.voi.org/books/rig/ch9.htm)

SuB has not done his homework. If he had read my recent devastating
critique of Talageri's book
carefully, he would have noticed that T.'s 52 pp. criticism of my 46 pp.
paper  (1995) is  *moot* since it is based on his faulty analysis of the
Rgveda. For which see:

http://nautilus.shore.net/~india/ejvs/issues.html, or go directly to EJVS7-2:
http://nautilus.shore.net/~india/ejvs/ejvs0702/ejvs0702b.txt  and

If Talageri's criticism had any merit I would already have responded in
I may still do so later  -- but only if and when I will have time *and
gusto* to engage in
this futile exercise of secondary and tertiary "research":
Discussing  *wrong* criticism, accusations etc., based on the *wrong*
analysis of a text in archaic Sanskrit that was only *read in Victorian
English,*  done by someone who has  neither Sanskrit nor the necessary
background in philolology, linguistics, archaeology or even biology.  Using
the wrong materials as basis for his work. Nor does any counterchecking.

We have other things to do.  ---  The tedious job to deconstruct the body
of T.'s book already took enough of my time that would have been better
used for original research -- such as  ongoing, more detailed analysis of
the Rgveda!

>Wittzels's articles has been held up by the usual euro-centric parties as
>groundbreaking,revolutionary, based on a fresh look at the old texts, etc.

Really? I would be glad to learn where -- since I do not keep track of
approval (nor of "devastating" analyses or web chatter criticism /
Will start to do so now as it will help to answer repetitive abuse such as
SuB's in one minute.

>Witzels's admits that his article is closely linked to earlier
>19th century orientalists like Oldenberg

And what is wrong with that? Nobody has refuted Oldenberg's 1888 book
[H. Oldenberg, Metrische und textgeschichtliche Prolegomena zu einer
kritischen Rigveda-Ausgabe, Berlin 1888, repr.  Wiesbaden : F. Steiner,

Certainly not our SuB. Nor Talageri who does not even *know* of Oldenberg's
fundamental investigation.

>Talageri shows that Witzels's views on the RV is as methodologically
>unsound as the endless stream of trash put out by
>missionaries and colonialists.

T. has not "shown" anything of that sort. Instead he is dead wrong in his
own 'analysis', see EJVS 7-2.

Didn't I just complain, in the editors' column of EJVS,  of stupid
correlation and identification of myself with 19th century people,
missionaries etc. If you needed any more proof, here it is.

I do not begin even talk ablout the value of *many* books written by
missionaries or local British administrators. Without them there would be
glaring gaps in our knowledge, e.g., of small languages  etc. etc. etc.

In sum: the usual rant of *current* Indian politics ...

>Witzels's historical fictions are based wholly on 19th century theories.

Nope.  Again, SuB has not done his homework. If so, he would (perhaps!)
have noticed that I use and quote the work of quite a number of 20th
century scholars, including fairly recent ones such at that of C. Ehret
(1988),  whose model is very close to what I think happened in the mid-1st
mill. BCE Greater Panjab.
If SuB thinks of other subjects, such as comparative linguistics, fine:
they are a 19th century product -- just like many other discoveries in the
(natural) sciences. But, it is people like Rajarshi  who are stuck in the
19th c.:   they have not noticed (see again EJSV 7-2 and forthc. 7-3)  that
all these fields have long since moved on...

[Ehret, C. Language change and the material correlates of language and
ethnic shift.   Antiquity 62, 1988, 564-74]

(continued with pt 2.  : pointed attacks)
Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:  http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm

Elect. Journ. of Vedic Studies:  http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs

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