Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts
Author: Michael Witzel
Publication date: 2001
Number of pages: 118
Format / Quality: PDF – Excellent
Size: 0.56 Mb
The ”Aryan question” is concerned with the immigration of a population speaking an archaic Indo-European language, Vedic Sanskrit, who celebrate their gods and chieftains in the poems of the oldest Indian literature, the Rgveda, and who subsequently spread their language, religion, ritual and social organization throughout the subcontinent.
Who were the ‘Aryans’? What was their spiritual and material culture and their outlook on life? Did they ever enter the Indian subcontinent from the outside?
Or did this people develop indigenously in the Greater Panjab?
This, the ‘Aryan’ question, has kept minds — and politicians — busy for the past 200 years; it has been used and misused in many ways. And, its discussion has become a cottage industry in India during recent years.
In this paper, it will be attempted to present the pros and contras for the (non-)occurrence of a movement of an ‘Aryan’ population and its consequences. First, a summary of the traditional ‘western’ theory, then the recent Indian counter-theories; this is followed by an evaluation of its merits; the paper concludes with some
deliberations on the special kind of ‘discourse’ that informs and drives the present autochthonous trend.