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Recent findings in archaelogy and related fields have led scholars to replace "invasion" with "migration" in the "Aryan invasion" theory. E.g. Romila Thapar in this edition of The Penguin History of Early India.

Further discoveries (E.g. the satellite mapping of the Saraswati river) have forced a relook at the whole idea of Aryans entering India through the North-West corridor. However, such discoveries remain confined to academic journals or remain scattered in different scholarly silos until somebody collects them and analyzes them collectively.

What are, if any, books/articles which have done this collective analysis in the last couple of years?

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can you elaborate precisely what do you consider "Aryan invasion theory" and what would you consider as a "demolish"? For example, would you consider Aryan "diffusion" or "migration" as a "demolish"? – Anixx Apr 26 '12 at 19:00
@Anixx : "Aryan invasion theory" is widely understood to mean an "invasive, destructive" movement of people into India through its NorthWestern corridor from Central Asia, and that's the definition I go by. Aryan "migration" is another, more recent version of the theory, but it starts from the same assumptions. As for demolish, I am referring to "demolish"ing the theory itself (it's not related to diffusion or migration) – talonx Apr 27 '12 at 8:11
@Anixx Clarifying the last point - I would not consider "migration" as a demolish, in light of recent evidence, hence the reason for including it in the question title with "invasion". – talonx Apr 27 '12 at 8:18
talonx, what other possibilities remaining? That they came to India by another way? Do you mean this to be the demolishing theory? – Anixx Apr 27 '12 at 8:31
This question appears to be off-topic because it asks for sources. – Tyler Durden Jun 9 '14 at 22:37

OK. I've looked into this as best I can. And I'll preface this by saying Indian history is my weakest point, so I didn't really have an opinion on this going in.

First off, for a tribal people like the Iranians/Aryians there really isn't a dime's worth of difference between a "migration" and an "invasion". All of Eurasia was settled by this time, so when a tribe moves into a new area, the old inhabitants have to be pushed out somehow.

You could try to picture some kind of peaceful coexistance and absorption if you want, but that would certianly fly in the face of the historical record we have for these same Iranian peoples' arrival at the same time in the near east. They pretty much wiped out the Elamite poeple in Persia, and the Akkadians in Mesopotamia. They weren't using all those chariots for circuses.

So now let's follow your link, like you suggested. Any time I see an interesting book on Amazon I like to read the favorable reviews and the unfavorable ones. Often the unfavorable ones contain the most information. Here's the one for the book you linked. I won't quote it here because it is both too long, and to detail-filled to really cull parts of it.

Still, this is just one guy. So the next step is to hit the Wikipedia page for the author. This should give us a good idea of how accepted his theories are among historians.

Well, there we find out that this is one in a series of books by this same author that reinterpret history in a rather unusual (and Hindu-nationalist) manner.

Bryant (2001) commented that Frawley's work is more successful in the popular arena, to which it is directed and where its impact "is by no means insignificant", rather than in academic study and that "(Frawley) is committed to channeling a symbolic spiritual paradigm through a critical empirico rational one".

In a series of exchanges published in The Hindu, Michael Witzel rejects Frawley's linking of Vedic literature with the Harappan civilisation and a claimed lost city in the Gulf of Cambay, as misreading Vedic texts, ignoring or misunderstanding other evidence and motivated by antiquity frenzy. Witzel argues that Frawley's proposed "ecological approach" and "innovative theories" of the history of ancient India amount to propagating currently popular indigenist ideas.

Bruce Lincoln attributes autochthonous ideas such as Frawley's to "parochial nationalism", terming them "exercises in scholarship ( = myth + footnotes)", where archaeological data spanning several millennia is selectively invoked, with no textual sources to control the inquiry, in support of the theorists' desired narrative.

Basically what these critics are saying is that (according to them) it seems he decides what he wants the history to be, then goes out and looks for facts to back it up. It should go without saying that good science does things the other way around.

I note on this same page that there's actually a Wiki page for the Indigenous Aryans theory. Reading through there, it appears the theory itself isn't taken particularly serioiusly by the various historical and scientific communities it touches on. To give an example, one of the largest sections in there is titled "Pseudoscience and postmodernism".

Regardless, you may buy his argument, and he may even turn out to be right. However, getting back to your question, I think it is fair to say that you aren't in fact going to find a lot of serious published research along these same lines.

I am sorry.

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I'm not trying to "picture" any specific scenario here. I'm not a professional historian. Yes, I am Indian and trying to find the current state of research on this.Going by the responses I usually receive depending on which "camp" the responder is supposed to be in, it's pretty difficult to determine the actual state of affairs. Contd... – talonx Apr 28 '12 at 15:34
Contd...I would like to add, however, that I'm viewing this not just from a purely historical perspective, but also keeping in mind recent (and not so recent) works on allegations of Eurocentrism in historical writing, and hence the interest in the so-called Hindu-nationalist writers. Here's a balanced Preface from a book on the subject edited by the same Bryant you cite from Wiki - bit.ly/IyqwIf (See Introduction by Laurie L. Patton) – talonx Apr 28 '12 at 15:34
Well, my answer is just addressing the current state of scholarship. I will say that I don't think there is much doubt that a lot of the analysis of the available facts has been horribly stilted by the fact that it has mostly been done by those of European ancestry. The part that makes me despair is when the response is not to reanalyze the same information logically, but to make up entirely new information with the apparent purpose of compensating. Every peoples I've ever looked at end up having a long history of accomplishments to be proud of, without having to resort to extreme revisionism. – T.E.D. Apr 28 '12 at 16:10
Yes, there are extremists on both sides. Let's hope the facts come out in the end. – talonx Apr 28 '12 at 16:12
@T.E.D. There was this article a few years ago which might interest you. It makes extensive use of the latest molecular anthropology (absent in the present answers) to push its case. www.newslaundry.com/2014/08/11/indiana-jones-and-the-troublesome-aryans/ – Gaurav Jun 22 at 14:42

Firstly, linguistic groups do not represent genetic haplogroups. If by "race" we mean a constructed identity based upon language, then the debate on AIT, OIT (Out of India Theory) and other such theories make sense. With respect to genes, however, the results are far more confusing, because genetic 'types' seem to be much more mixed up.

This study reported in the European Journal of Human Genetics seems to suggest that the transfer of the R1a haplotype "predate(s) the upper bound of the age estimate of the Indo-European language tree". It concludes-

Although this distinction by geography is not directly informative about the internal divisions of these separate language families, it might bear some significance for assessing dispersal models that have been proposed to explain the spread of Indo-Aryan languages in South Asia, as it would exclude any significant patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, at least since the mid-Holocene period.

Another study, reported in Nature, suggests an Ancestral North Indian and an Ancestral South Indian gene pool. However, Thangaraj, one of the authors, has explained that the ASI group is 60,000 years old, and the ANI group at least 40,000 years old.

A third study

[...] found that the influence of Central Asia on the pre-existing gene pool was minor. The ages of accumulated microsatellite variation in the majority of Indian haplogroups exceed 10,000–15,000 years, which attests to the antiquity of regional differentiation.

In other words, again, the possible gene pool transfer pre-dates the AIT dates.

A fourth study on Y-chromosomes seems to suggest a similar conclusion:

The Y-chromosomal data consistently suggest a largely South Asian origin for Indian caste communities and therefore argue against any major influx, from regions north and west of India, of people associated either with the development of agriculture or the spread of the Indo-Aryan language family.

A fifth source concludes:

Our result indicates that the Indian mtDNA pool consists of several deep rooting lineages of Macrohaplogroup 'M' suggesting in situ origin of these haplogroups in South Asia, most likely India.

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The debate between Frawley and Witzel over the use of the word Samudra does not led to a clear-cut "victory" for the latter. Witzel has been known to make mistakes and even play politics. He also starts from the "Aryans originate in Central Asia" premise and proceeds to get the (mainly linguistic) evidence for it.

The Harappans of the Indus Valley have left profuse archaeological records over a vast region - from the borders of Iran and beyond Afghanistan to eastern UP and Tapti valley, and must have supported over 30 million people and believed to be living an advanced civilization. And yet these people have left absolutely no literary records.

The Vedic Aryans and their successors on the other hand have left us a literature that is probably the largest and most profound in the world. But according to the AIT there is absolutely no archaeological record that they ever existed. Either on the Indian soil or outside its boundaries. So we have concrete history and archeology of a vast civilization of 'Dravidians' lasting thousands of years that left no literature, and a huge literature by the Vedic Aryans who left no history and no archaeological records. The situation gets more absurd when we consider that there is profuse archaeological and literary records indicating a substantial movement of Indian Aryans out of India into Iran and West Asia around 2000 BC. This is the paradox.

Other scholars like Shrikant Talageri have worked for a long time on the Indo-European homeland problem, analysed the Rig Veda and The Avesta to conclude that "India is likely to be the PIE homeland".

Then there is the history of the Lost river of Saraswathi].This thesis states that the river Saraswathi dried up around 1900 BCE. The Rig Veda predates the Indus (or Sindhu-Saraswathi) civilization, as per N. Kazanas.

Razib khan has a good genetic analysis of South Asians. It shows that Ancient South Indians and Ancient North Indians were "mixed up" long before 1500 BCE.

Koenraad Elst also refutes the AIT in detail.

A comprehensive and brief argument against the AIT was given by Rajeev Chandran a long time ago, but it is not widely disseminated.

  1. There is no archaeological attestation of aryan invasion/migration in spite of more than a hundred years of archaeological effort.
  2. There is no traditional memory or mention of aryan invasion/migration/intrusion in any of all the diverse historical traditions of India.
  3. There is no genetic trace of foreigners to attest to such a historical mixing. If at all Indian genotypes not only closer to each other but substantially more diverse and much older than European or middle eastern genotypes – therefore suggesting a reverse migration. After Africa the most ancient and diverse population happens to be that of India. In essence most other non-African people descended from prehistoric Indians.
  4. Philology is a tool of uncertain provenance and its conclusions are highly debatable. Aryan invasion/migration are hypothesis emerging basically from philology – hence open to debate.
  5. Development of historical theories on ancient India through more accurate means (archaeology & traditional history) rather than philology points to the indegenity and antiquity of Indians.
  6. Self references in many ancient Indian texts points to indegenity of Indians in a time-scale far older than those proposed by Aryan Invasion theory.
  7. In ancient Indian texts Arya means ‘noble of conduct and character’ rather than a race. If the oldest texts negate Aryan being a race – the idea of Aryan being a race of people can be traced to the rise of British imperialism and German nationalism – both historically discredited and defunct ideologies.
  8. Geology (mapping of the old Saraswati), archeo-metallurgy (iron working in ancient india), archeo-agriculture (maize, rice farming) etc points to a far greater antiquity of ancient Indians (which does not agree with Aryan Invasion Theory).
  9. Archeo-astronomy, archeo-mathematics, hydronomy (river names) seem to corraborate ancient indian texts on thier antiquity and claims of indigenity.
  10. Study of ancient Indian history has been held hostage to various extraneous constraints notably – euro-centricism, communism, various kinds of religious and regional chauvinism, and hence must be discarded.
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Well, you linked to Indus Valley Civilization, which is considered the native civilization of India. If one rejects the Aryan invasion/migration theory he should conclude that this civilization spoke an Indo-European language as the modern Indians do.

But as it is known that Indo-Europeans originated in eastern Europe, this only puts the supposed migration of Indo-European peoples into India further in time.

I do not know whether you would consider pre-Aryan indo-European migration to India as a "repellation" of the Aryan invation theory, but if you reject that any tribe of Indo-Europeans ever migrated to India, you evidently propose that Indo-Europeans originated in India and that all branches of Indo-European languages derived from Indic languages such as Sanskrit.

The latter idea is contrary to all scientific evidence, so I am sure you will have a hard time finding any academic source to support such claim.

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It wont be totally right to say that the Aryan migration theory has no physical base at all and only a philological base. The Bogazkoy inscription in Asia minor, and the Al Armena inscriptions naming Rigvedic characters, gave a strong support to the Indo Aryan Migration theory. The Rigveda mentions non Aryan people, with whom Aryans had to struggle. Aj Yakshu Kikat Pishach Shishru to name a few. The Aryans called them Anasah(flat nosed), Adevayu(not accepting Gods), Akarman, Shisradevah. Besides, there were striking dissimilarities between the lifestyle and the culture of the Aryans, as the Vedas throw light, and the Harrapans, as archaeology concludes. The Harrapans were largely an urban civilization. The Aryans had a tribal exsistence until the end of the Later Vedic age.

Philology is already a sound discipline. Yet it is strongly complemented by comparative mythology, for those whom it's not enough. The Proto Indo European belief is well established.

And yes, as T.E.D said, there have been no recent publications trying to demolish The Indo Aryan Migration theory.

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