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The Indo-Europeans and the Indo-Aryans: the Philological, Archaeological and Historical Context Karel Werner

As is well known the discovery of the Indo-European (IE) connection of the majority of the Indian population for scholarship was a by-product of European colonial expansion. The Christian missionaries were first on the scene and soon discovered the existence of ancient Indian religious scriptures written in Sanskrit. Some of them learned the language and the first Sanskrit dictionaries and grammars were written by them.{1} But the real impetus which started Sanskrit studies on a bigger scale came from political and administrative quarters. The English came to India first as merchants, but even when in 1613 the East India Company was granted permission by Shah Jahangir to establish its first trading factory in Surat, it had to look after the safety of its goods and employees, both English and native, and that involved, besides armed protection, also some administrative duties which increased with the founding of further factories in different parts of India. These duties became fully official when in 1698 the Sultan of Bengal granted the Company the status of a zamindar or landlord in his province. Since there were three villages within the Company’s estate, it had now to administer justice in them as well.{2} Having thus become a part of the established order of the land the Company, with its military forces, played an ever increasing role in the internal political affairs of the Mughal Empire. This role reached its peak when, in a treaty with the Emperor Alam II in 1765, the Company received the office of Diwani over Bengal, Bihar and Orissa with full ruling powers over those provinces. The Company, which was brought under British Parliamentary control in 1773, then assumed ruling powers in all other territories in which it had a foothold and kept increasing them, using both diplomacy and military force, until the Indian Mutiny in 1857. After its suppression the last Mughal Emperor was pensioned off and India was turned into a Crown Colony. The ease with which the British could assume power over large parts of India and the readiness with which the population accepted their supremacy is partly due to the sensitivity and skill with which their officials administered justice in the day to day running of British ruled territories. One of the factors in that process was their respect for the customs and traditions of the population, including their legal procedures. Soon after the Company’s elevation to the Diwani status, Warren Hastings, its Governor in Bengal since 1772 and Governor-General from 1774 to 1785, had a compendium of Indian law compiled by a special team of pandits. It was, of course, written in Sanskrit.{3} In this respect Hastings acted in the same way as the only enlightened Mughal emperor Akbar and, later, the unfortunate crown prince Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan, who proved his abilities as viceroy in Gandhara, but was later deprived of his right to the throne and his life by his bigoted younger brother Aurangzeb who had no similar regards for the Hindu population.{4} On completion of the Compendium it was found that there was no one available to the administration who could translate it into English and so it had to be rendered first into Persian and then into English. At the instigation of Warren Hastings Sir Charles Wilkins, in the service of the Company, learned Sanskrit under the instruction of pandits in Benares. He then published, in 1785, the first English translation of the Bhagavad Gîtâ, with other works to follow. His 1

Sanskrit Grammar was printed in 1808. After him Sir William Jones (1746-1794) who had studied Oriental languages in Oxford, particularly Arabic and Persian, took up the post of a high court judge in Calcutta in 1783 and founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal a year later. Having mastered Sanskrit he translated a number of Sanskrit works, among them Kâlidasa’s Œakuntalâ which was rendered from English into German in 1791 and inspired Goethe to write some poetry in Oriental vein. With his deeper knowledge of languages Jones corroborated (1786) the position of Sanskrit as a language related to Greek, Latin, Gothic and Celtic as well as old Persian and recognised the similarities between Greco-Roman and ancient Indian mythology.{5} But the real founder of Indian philology was Sir Henry Thomas Colebrook (1765-1837), from 1782 an administrator and later a judge in Bengal and from 1801 the professor of Sanskrit in the College of Fort William till 1814 when he returned to England. In 1805 he published his famous essay “On the Vedas”. He further wrote essays on Indian law, philosophy, religion, grammar and sciences, published in London in 1837 as Miscellaneous Essays in two volumes. He also translated and edited a number of Sanskrit works and inscriptions and left a huge collection of Indian manuscripts.

The Foundation of Indo-European Comparative Philology The discovery of close philological links between Sanskrit and European languages led to the establishment of a new academic discipline by the German scholar Franz Bopp (1791-1867), from 1821 a professor in the University of Berlin. He published the first comparative study of Sanskrit conjugation (1816) and postulated an original Indo-European language. His epoch making comparative grammar of Sanskrit, Zend, Armenian, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Old Slavonic, Gothic and German started appearing in 1833 and its last edition was published in 1868. His comparative dictionary is still useful. Bopp probably introduced the name Indo-European (Indoeuropäisch) for the newly discovered family of languages, preferring it to the older expression, Indo-Germanic (Indogermanisch) coined by J. Klaproth in 1823 which has been used by most German scholars ever since, while scholars of other nationalities have given preference to the term Indo-European. The latter is more logical since both its components are geographic expressions, while Germanic refers to only one of several Indo-European language groups found in Europe. Nowadays European languages, particularly English and Spanish, and to a minor degree French and Portuguese, are spoken in many parts of the world as a result of colonial settlements, but the designation Indo-European is still justified since the main historically known developments and cultural achievements of this vast family of nations originated and took place in India and Europe.

Âryan and Indo-European A considerable number of scholars has been using the term Âryan when dealing with nations and languages of the Indo-European family. Others object to this usage, but it still persists. The expression comes from the Sanskrit word ârya- which the Vedic Indians used when referring to themselves in contradistinction to the earlier, “barbaric”, inhabitants of India against whom they fought in numerous battles. Later usage narrowed down the meaning of the word to “noble”.{6} 2

The word is further known from Avesta (sometimes referred to as Zend Avesta), the sacred scripture of ancient Persia, where it has the form airya- and a similar meaning as in the Vedas. From it comes the modern name of the country, Iran, chosen by the recently overturned Pahlavi dynasty to replace the previous name Persia, thus stressing the ancient tradition of the country; the Persians, who were just one of many ancient Iranian tribes, gained prominence during the time of the expansion of their power which led to (unsuccessful) attempts to subjugate even ancient Greece. It was from that time that Iran became known as Persia. It has not been proved, but it can be assumed that the word ârya- once had its equivalent forms in all Indo-European languages and in the postulated Indo-European parent language, if it ever existed, and that it was used by Indo-European national groupings in the same way as by Vedic Indians, namely to refer to themselves and their common heritage. The only Western Indo-European language group to preserve the designation is the Celtic one, in its old Irish form aire- which means “chief” or “noble”. Its meaning “us” and “what is ours” is testified to by the name the ancient Irish gave to their country, viz. Eire, anglicised as Ireland. Thus there is some justification in using the adjective Âryan as a synonym for Indo-European and in view of the persistence of this usage in some quarters it is better to respect it to prevent confusion.{7} When referring to Âryan tribes in India I shall therefore consistently use the expression Indo-Âryan, not merely Âryan. When referring to their ancestors before they entered India they will be called Proto-Indo-Âryans. When dealing with the Iranian tribes, who are the nearest cousins of Indo-Âryans, their designation as such is free from any possible misunderstanding and is retained. When writing about them before they moved into Iran and Afghanistan from Central Asia or their East European original home, I will refer to them as Proto-Iranians. When Indo-Âryans and Iranians are spoken of as two components of a greater unit distinct from other Indo-European, i.e. Âryan, groups, such as the Slavonic, Germanic etc., they will be called Indo-Iranians (and not Âryans). It is assumed that Indo-Iranians once formed one family and split into Proto-Indo-Âryans and Proto-Iranians either in the course of their migration when they started moving east to Asia from Eastern Europe or even while still settled there. There is some evidence showing that when they were living in Central Asia they already formed two distinct groups of tribes. When referring to this assumed early state of their unity I will use for them the designation Proto-Indo-Iranians (and not merely Âryans, Early Âryans or Proto-Âryans as a number of authors, Burrow among them, still call them).{8}

The Indo-European Family of Languages After the exciting discovery of Sanskrit’s close relatedness to the classical languages of Europe, Greek and Latin, and to the ancestral languages of nearly all modern European nations{9}, the scholars of the newly established discipline of IE Comparative Philology became busy classifying IE languages, both historical and contemporary, into branches and investigating their historical development and mutual relations. This process has been going on since the first half of the nineteenth century and still continues, although with less vigour than in its heyday, which lasted from the 1860s till the 1930s. In a shortened selective outline the division of IE groups of languages may be summarised as follows{10}: 1. Anatolian (Hittite, Luwian, Hieroglyphic Hittite, Lycian, possibly also Lydian). The group is 3

extinct. Hittite is the oldest known IE language, the evidence dating back to at least 1900 B.C. 2. Hellenic (archaic Greek or Mycenean; classical Greek dialects: Aeolic, Doric, Ionic and Attic, and subsequent stages of spoken Greek up to neo-Greek as used today). 3. Italic (Venetic, Oscan, Umbrian, Faliscan, Latin). Sometimes Venetic, Oscan-Umbrian and Latin-Faliscan are regarded as three distinct IE groups and not subgroups so that Italic as an IE group would not exist. Latin, the language of the Roman region, replaced in time all the other languages in Italy and spread further afield. Modern Romance languages are its descendants (i.e. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Romaunch in Switzerland and Rumanian). Creolised forms of some of them are spoken in some former colonies (e.g. Haitian derived from French or Papiamentu based on Spanish and Portuguese in Curacao and Aruba). 4. Celtic (Gallic, Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Irish, Scottish, Manx). There are other divisions and subdivisions of the Celtic group. Some Celtic languages have survived and are used on a limited scale. 5. Germanic is sometimes, not quite correctly, called Teutonic (since Teutons were just one of many Germanic tribes). Its old branches are extinct, but Gothic is known from a fragment of a Bible translation (cca 350 A.D.) and archaic Scandinavian from runic inscriptions. Descendants of Scandinavian are Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Faroe and Icelandic. German had two forms, Low and High. The latter became modern German which has an off-shoot called Yiddish, developed by Jews in Eastern Europe. Dutch (called Flemish in Belgium) is close to Low German and has a creolised form, Afrikaans, developed by the Boers in South Africa. Frisian, a Low German dialect, is still spoken in a part of Holland and in Schleswig. English descended from Anglo-Saxon dialects of Germanic tribes who settled in Britain in the 5th century A.D. It has become the world language of our time. Examples of its creolised forms are Krio in Sierra Leone and Sranan in Dutch Guyana. 6. Tocharian, now extinct, is an archaic IE language known in two distinct dialects from relatively late documents, mostly Buddhist, dated from 6-8th centuries A.D. and found in caves of East Turkestan at the beginning of the twentieth century. 7. Thraco-Phrygian (Thracian, Phrygian, Armenian). Only Armenian has survived and developed into a modern language. 8. Illyrian is long extinct and so is its off-shoot Messapian, but Albanian has probably descended from the two, although it has also Thracian traces and its vocabulary is very much romanised. 9. Baltic has two living forms, Lithuanian and Latvian, and a third one, Old Prussian, extinct since the 17th century. Old Lithuanian is very important for IE philological studies. 10. Slavonic forms a large group. An old form of Bulgarian, close to what once was Primitive Slavonic, is still used in liturgy as Old (Church) Slavonic. East Slavonic includes Russian, Ukrainian, Ruthenian and Belo-Russian. West Slavonic comprises Czech, Slovak, Polish, Upper and Lower Sorbian (also known as Lusatian or Wendish and spoken in Germany north of Bohemia) and Polabian (extinct). South Slavonic includes Slovene, Serbian, Croatian (previously merged into Serbo-Croatian, but after the demise of Yugoslavia again separated), Bulgarian and Macedonian. 11. Indo-Iranian has two large subgroups, Indian (Indo-Ă‚ryan) and Iranian which are closely related. Old Indian is known in its earliest recorded form from cuneiform tablets in Western 4

Mesopotamia (the present-day Syria) dated around 1500 B.C. They were records of treaties between Hittite and Mitanni rulers, the latter being of Proto-Indo-Âryan stock. The earliest form of Old Indian found in India was Vedic from the time before 1000 B.C. The Indo-Âryans of that time undoubtedly spoke a number of dialects, Vedic being one of them. Later one of these dialects (not the Vedic one {11}) developed into a literary language which became known as Sanskrit and was spoken by educated classes throughout the centuries and is still used to this day in a similar capacity as Latin was used in medieval Europe. The tribal Âryan languages or dialects spoken by Indo-Âryan people instead of and alongside Sanskrit during the classical time are called Prâkrits or Middle Indian. The oldest known Prakrit is Pali, the language of the canonical literature of Theravâda Buddhism, reaching back to about 500 B.C., but recorded in writing only in the 1st century B.C. It is a mixed dialect, probably based on Mâgadhî and it did not develop from Sanskrit, but from some other older idioms close to Vedic.{12} The historically oldest Prâkrit records are rock inscriptions of the Emperor Aœoka from the middle of the 3rd century B.C. in various local dialects. Other Prakrits are known from dramatic literature as Maharâstrî . . (the best literary Prâkrit), Œaurasenî, Mâgadhî and Paiœâcî (the Prâkrit of the lowest classes). Jaina literature employs Prâkrits which appear to be variations of the ones known from dialogues in dramas. They are called Ârsa and . or Ardha- Mâgadhî, Jaina-Maharâstrî .. Jaina-Œaurasenî. .

From about 600 A.D. another literary Prâkrit idiom appears, viz. Apabhramœa. It has been preserved mainly in Jaina literature dating from about the 10th century. It is a clear forerunner of the modern Indo-Âryan languages, which begin emerging soon after 1000 A.D. as they start being used for literary purposes. There are dozens of modern Indo-Âryan languages, but the main ones spoken in the larger states of the Indian republic are: Hindî (which has been chosen to become the official language of India; it has a Muslim off-shoot called Urdû spoken mainly in Pakistan), Bengâlî, Oriya, Assamese, Bihârî, Nepâlî, Râjasthânî, Pañjâbî, Kaœmîrî, Sindhî, Gujarâtî and Marâthî. Sinhalese, the main language of Sri Lanka, developed from a Prâkrit form of Middle Indian which was brought there by a group of Indo-Âryan immigrants probably around 500 B.C. It has preserved a more archaic vocabulary and structure and is therefore closer to Sanskrit than any Indo-Âryan language spoken in India. The numerous minor, non-literary Indo-Âryan languages or dialects, sometimes called Dardanic or modern Piœâca languages, include also the Gypsy dialect spoken not only in India, but still even by European Gypsies who migrated from India in medieval times through the Middle East and reached the Balkans via Turkey and Spain via North Africa to spread virtually throughout Europe. One Proto-Indo-Âryan language which has two forms or dialects was for the first time discovered as late as the mid 1950s in Soviet Central Asia by western philological research. It is called Pârya (and Romany Pârya). It is closest to the central group of Indian languages which include Hindî/Urdû, Gujarâtî, Pañjâbî, and Râjasthânî. Pârya has never been spoken in India and its speakers would appear to be the only surviving group descended from Proto-Indo-Âryans of remote time when their tribal communities lived in Central Asia before most of them moved south to Iran and Afghanistan and then to India.{13} Old Iranian is represented first by an East Iranian dialect, Avestan (in older works not quite properly called Zend), preserved in the gâthâs (verses) of the Zoroastrian scriptures called Avesta. It is archaic and closely related to Vedic and therefore certainly reaches back to the time before 5

1000 B.C.{14} The second specimen is Old Persian, a South-Western Iranian dialect, known from cuneiform inscriptions executed during the time of the Achaemenian rulers (7th-6th centuries B.C.). This language is much less archaic than Avestan. Of the Middle Iranian languages the foremost is Middle Persian, also called PâhlavÎ, which developed into modern Persian now prevalent in Iran, and further Sogdian and Khotanese. Other modern Iranian languages are Pashto, spoken mainly in Afghanistan, Kurdish in parts of Iran, Iraq and east Turkey as well as in the Caucasus, where Ossetic also survives. Tâdjik is spoken in Central Asia together with a variety of Persian and other proto-Iranian languages of the so-called Pamir group. Some of these languages reach also into the Sinkiang province in China.

The Original Indo-European Homeland The close relatedness of IE languages as established by Comparative IE Philology already in the nineteenth century pointed to the obvious conclusion that the IE nations must have had a common origin and shared a common language or must once have lived in close proximity and spoken closely resembling dialects. In the early days of IE studies the theory was favoured of a unitary parent language whose hypothetical form could be reconstructed from words common to the oldest known IE languages, particularly Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Old Slavonic and a few others. This is no longer advocated. Even nowadays there are different regional dialects within practically every spoken language, although the educational system, literature and modern media guarantee the existence and widespread knowledge of a common standard form of every national language. In prehistoric times when such advanced means of communication did not exist a unitary common language is unthinkable. A single IE parent language could have existed only if all IE nations had originated from a relatively small tribal community. That would point to such a remote prehistoric epoch that there will never be a way of ascertaining the truth. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the numerous IE languages now spoken in the world have spread around the globe from originally limited areas and that much of this process of diffusion occurred through the migration of nations known from history. Furthermore, an impressive amount of earlier migrations in prehistoric times has been established by archaeological evidence. When Sanskrit, after its discovery, was regarded as the closest language to the hypothetical IE parent tongue, it was assumed that the IE homeland lay in Central Asia whence different IE tribes migrated to Europe, the Near East and India. Soon, however, it was realised that there was not the slightest trace of evidence that the numerous IE tribes which peopled Europe and developed the great variety of ancient, medieval and modern national languages had travelled that far to their new homelands. On the contrary, purely linguistic considerations lead to the conclusion that it was Western and Central Asia which was colonised through the expansion of the Indo-Iranians preceded by a smaller IE group of Tocharians and that the early IE arrivals in the Near East, the Hittites, came there from Europe via Hellespont and some earlier groups also across Caucasus. As to Europe it was quite clear that Italy and Greece were colonised by IE tribes from the North and Western Europe from the East. At an early date, before the Tocharian and Indo-Iranian migrations to Asia, Finno-Ugrians occupied the territory between the Volga and the Urals and so some Indo-Europeans were slowly spreading from Central and Southern Russia to Middle Europe and possibly as far as the Rhine. The desire to derive IE languages from a unitary parent tongue 6

rather than from a number of related dialects led many to assume a stage when the Indo-Europeans were a small unit and occupied a limited area in Central and Southern Russia. This may have been so, since the large spread of IE nations at the dawn of history must have been the result of a population explosion preceded by a long period of primitive life on a smaller scale, but even a relatively small conglomerate of clans and tribes would hardly support an entirely unitary language, although the dialectal variations probably were not very great. The picture eventually arrived at by philological research places at the centre of the IE family a group consisting of subgroups which later developed into Indo-Iranian, Balto-Slavonic and possibly Thraco-Phrygian-Illyrian branches. Around this central group were four peripheral ones: (1) Near-Eastern, i.e. Anatolian which appears, for linguistic reasons, to have separated earliest from the others, (2) South-European represented by Hellenic, (3) West-European comprising the beginnings of Italic, Celtic and Germanic and (4) East-European of which only the late form of Tocharian is known. {15} This picture assumes the diffusion of the Indo-Europeans from their East-European homeland in the following sequence: First Proto-Anatolians separated from the main body of the early Indo-Europeans in Eastern Europe and travelled south to the Balkans and then across the Hellespont to Anatolia, splitting further in the course of subsequent migrations until one part of them known as Hittites arrived in upper Mesopotamia. Next the branch which comprised the two Tocharian languages migrated further eastwards from its home on the Eastern periphery of the IE homeland in Europe. It must have gone through or bypass (on the south) the territory of Finno-Ugrians. The Proto-Tocharian group is supposed to have lived for a considerable time in isolation from the other IE branches. When the Indo-Iranian branch of the Central IE group also started its migration east beyond the Urals the Tocharian group was either already far away or retreated further east under the pressure. The Indo-Iranian migration was very slow, stretching over a period of several centuries, and left many clans or tribes, partly settled or leading a semi-nomadic life, along the whole route. Even after the bulk of Proto-Indian and Iranian tribes had reached their respective destinations where they still live, many related tribes stayed behind. The best known of their descendants in historical times became Scythians, reported on by Herodotos and known to later Indians as Sakas who invaded their land for the first time in the 2nd century B.C. and for a time were a significant force there. Soon after the Proto-Indo-Iranians had gone east, the Greeks moved from their Southern periphery colonising the South Balkans and the Western coast of Asia Minor. Then came the move of Italics and Celts, or perhaps more correct to say, the Proto-Italo-Celts, from their Western periphery further west with Germanic tribes following. The Slavs of the Central group largely stayed put except for the Yugoslavs, who reached the Balkans, and Western Slavs who followed the Germanic tribes as far as Holland, but were later pushed back or absorbed by the Germanic group so that virtually only Czechoslovaks and Poles have survived. This impressive picture of the migration of nations gained by philological research supported in its later phases by historical records would have covered, according to philological considerations, some three thousand years. The movement of the Germanic tribes was one of the main factors which brought about the downfall of the Roman Empire. About one thousand years later the Western Indo-Europeans, mainly the English, the Dutch, the French, the Spaniards and the Portuguese, were again on the move colonising other continents around the globe and this movement ended only in the twentieth century with decolonisation after the Second World War.


The Archaeological Contribution It is a great tribute to the excellence of the scholarship in the field of Comparative IE Philology that, in the main, modern archaeological research has nowhere seriously contradicted its results. What the research does is push the chronological boundaries further into the past. There were voices even in the last century advocating a longer timescale, but only the assessment of new excavations and the new radiocarbon or carbon 14 methods of dating them have furnished the means of confirming the astounding antiquity of the IE culture in its original homeland and the early date of the first IE migration movements. As a result the study of Indo-European antiquity has been enjoying a certain revival after a period of several decades when it lay more or less dormant, because philological and historical research had yielded virtually all of which it was capable and it could not provide new materials and insights. The centre of intellectual activity in the field moved, however, across the Atlantic into the USA, although the basic materials came, of course, from Europe as did often the human resources. One of the main authorities on Indo-European antiquities is the Rumanian born Marija Gimbutas of the University of California utilising her knowledge of materials gained through excavations by Soviet and Soviet bloc archaeologists.{16} The proto-Indo-European culture as reconstructed by philological research with the help of common words was archaeologically pinned down as the so called Kurgan culture which was originally centred north of the Black Sea from where it spread eastwards into Central Asia, westwards into Europe, southwards into the Near East, and simply everywhere where IE nations have been found to have migrated to. The word kurgan introduced by Gimbutas and now generally accepted is Russian and means “barrow”. Kurgans are tumuli or round burial mounts and there is a direct, though long, line from them to the Buddhist stûpas. They are easily identifiable once discovered and excavated and burials and artefacts found in them readily allow their classification.

The Chronology of the IE Dispersal According to Gimbutas’ scenario the original centre of the settled proto-IE Kurgan culture in Southern Russia (called Kurgan I or the early period) dates back to about 5000 B.C. and was predominantly pastoral. Agriculture was also practised, but was not highly developed. Crude unpainted pottery was decorated by incision or stabbing with a sharp tool. The use of horses was proved by carbon dating to around 4400 B.C. and bridles identified from around 4000 B.C. together with wooden vehicles with solid wheels (probably ox-drawn, like those still used in many parts of India today). As well as burials the existence of villages and hill forts was also established. The climate being warmer and damper in the forest-steppe country of Southern Russia in the 5th millennium B.C. than it is now, it must have been a time of prosperity and population growth with the yield from domestic animals and fields supplemented from rich hunting grounds. And so the middle period called Kurgan II and III (4th millennium) was a time of continuous waves of expansion. Towards the end of Kurgan I parts of the Ukraine were taken and the Balkans were reached. Kurgan II (4000-3500) spread as far as Yugoslavia and westwards to Hungary. Some migration eastwards beyond the Urals must also be assumed, possibly of advanced groups of Proto-Tocharians. The climax of expansion during Kurgan III (3500-3000) brought IE tribes further south in the Balkans to Macedonia, further west to Southern Poland and to Czechoslovakia as well as to Northern Europe. They also crossed the Caucasus into Anatolia 8

and Northern Iran. The Kurgan IV or late period (3rd millennium) achieved a remarkable degree of consolidation of a uniform IE culture towards the end of the Neolithic Age which eventually crystallized into the Bronze Age culture centres in Europe. Scandinavia was fully colonised, the Aegean area was settled (including Troy II), Mesopotamia was ruled by Kurgan kings by 2500 B.C. and Palestine was also reached. The IE warrior groups can further be regarded as the so-called ‘Peoples of the Sea’ who threatened Egypt around 2200 B.C. Views differ as to when the Greek linguistic element appeared among the IE invaders of the Aegean. Earlier linguistic and archaeological research favoured later dates, around 1600-1400 B.C., but the balance of opinion is now pointing to earlier dates. In any event, the early IE tribes who arrived in the Balkans would have been of Thraco-Phrygian-Illyrian stock of the Central group leaving their Russian homeland some time after the Southern (Tocharian) group departed to Asia followed part of the way by a splinter group of Proto-Armenians.{17} The Proto-Helens must have headed for the Balkans soon after. Gimbutas favours 2300-2200 B.C. for that. Between 2500-2000 Central European settlements were consolidated and Western Europe penetrated, including the British Isles, Italy, Spain and the Mediterranean islands. The early IE occupation of Central Europe, possibly already at the end of Kurgan III or early Kurgan IV, may have been the accomplishment of a single Proto-Italo-Celtic group which became split around 2000 B.C. (end of Kurgan IV) by Proto-Germanic invasion from the East. The southern splinter group then moved further south to become Italics while the northern one developed into Celts whose erratic migratory movements then led different tribal groups in all possible directions where they mostly disappeared without trace, except in Western Europe and the British isles.{18} It is important to realise that all these movements took place over a long period of time and were not planned migrations or determined campaigns of conquest, although they were frequently accompanied by fighting, ambushes and sieges. Perhaps the penetration and infiltration of small groups into new areas interspersed with waves of invading forces from time to time is the picture closest to what was happening over periods of centuries. The archaeological assessment of the Kurgan culture also fully agrees with the earlier reconstruction of the IE cultural setting based on linguistic evidence. This includes, in addition to economic and technological conditions, the social structure, particularly the stratification of society into a warrior nobility and a labouring common folk, and religious data, such as the worship of a thunder god; the cult of the sun, fire and some sacred animal gods or spirits represented by horse, bull, wolf, dog and snake; a strong belief in the afterlife; animal and human sacrifices and some form of ritual.{19}

The Migration of Proto-Indo-Iranians Leaving the details of the IE colonisation of Europe and the Near East aside, we can now turn to the migration of the branch of the IE family from which eventually emerged the conglomerate of Indo-Âryan tribes who created the Vedic culture in India. It seems fairly clear that the Central IE group was a very large one at the time it started splitting again after the departure of some of the Proto-Thraco-Phrygian-Illyrian elements. The new 9

splinter groups, namely the Balto-Slavonic and Indo-Iranian subgroups also greatly increased in size before they, too, began splitting. The latter started penetrating eastwards soon after the departure of the Tocharian peripheral group, followed part of the way by the proto-Armenian remainder of the Thraco-Phrygians. All this may already have started in Kurgan I and continued during Kurgan II and III, but in any event the late period or Kurgan III (3000-2000) would have seen Indo-Iranians spread out over a vast territory stretching from the Black Sea to the Pamir. Although they must have been very numerous to cover such a huge area, the estimate has to be tempered by consideration of the nature of their way of life. This was one of mixed farming and herding, the latter accompanied by skilful horsemanship which enabled them the control of large areas. The split of Proto-Indo-Iranians into Proto-Iranians and Proto-Indo-Âryans must have occurred either already in Russia during the build-up of population which led to the migration or soon afterwards, because the tribes that remained along the route (near the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea), some surviving till modern times, were and still are of Iranian type. The Proto-Indo-Âryan group probably advanced more readily and eventually stopped for some centuries in Central Asia, soon to be joined by some of their Proto-Iranian cousins following behind. As Burrow points out, at the time of their greatest expansion in the Eurasian steppes, even before entering Iran and India, the Indo-Iranians occupied a territory much greater than that of all other IE peoples put together.{20}

The Occupation of Iran There must have followed a longer period of increasing prosperity in the Central Asiatic settlements of Indo-Iranians, which resulted in new population growth. This in turn led to the need for further expansion. They had come from the West, the North was inhospitable and the East largely blocked by the high mountains of Pamir, so the obvious route was to the South. The centre of the temporary home of the Indo-Iranians was between the rivers Syr Dârya (Yaxartes) and Amu Dârya (Oxus), a territory known later from the Indian vantage point as “Transoxiana”, but locally as Chorasmia and Sogdiana, and around the shores of the Aral Sea. They still benefited from their pastoral control of the West Asiatic steppes while they were also supported by improved agriculture.{21} The old Iranians retained some memory of their earlier home even when living in Iran and called it airyana-vaeja-. The Vedic Indians, i.e Indo-Âryans, after they settled in India, seem to have lost any recollection of their Central Asiatic homeland by the time the Vedas came to be codified; no reference is made in them to the fact that they had entered the country from beyond the mountains of the Hindukush, although they frequently mention battles which the Indo-Âryans fought against the indigenous dark inhabitants for the possession of the land, cattle and overall supremacy. Indirect pointers to their previous habitats can, however, be found in some river names. First there is the river Sarasvati, originally a Proto-Indo-Âryan name for a river in Iran when they lived there after leaving Central Asia and before moving to India. After the move to India they transferred the name to a river in the new country. Meanwhile the Proto-Iranians left Central Asia and settled in Iran, which was sparsely populated by small groups of Proto-Indo-Âryans who had not journeyed on to India. The newly arrived Iranians took over the name of the Sarasvati river which became for them Haravaiti-. This is not an Iranian but an “iranianised” Indo-Âryan word. 10

Similarly the name of the old Iranian river Haraiva- or Haroyu-, called Sarayu by the Proto-Indo-Âryans while in Iran, was transferred to a river in North-West India and, with the further migration of the Indo-Âryans eastwards, to a tributary of the Ganges. Next a case can be made for explaining the ancient Greek name for Amu Dârya, Oxus, as drawn from the Sanskrit word vaksu. (= stream, derived from the verbal root vah-, “to flow”) known from the Mahâbhârata and Kalidâsa.{22} Another reference in the Vedas to the Central Asiatic homeland of the Proto-Indo-Âryans can be found in the river name Rasâ which could not be identified in India and appears to be a mythical river in later Vedic times. Indications are that it has to be sought beyond Kubhâ (Kabul) river and it has been suggested that it is identical with . Ranha, the Avestan name for Yaxartes.{23}

The Mitannian Adventure The Proto-Indo-Âryans must have started moving south from Central Asia well before 2000 B.C. They occupied North Iran and gradually spread throughout the Iranian plateau and lower Afghanistan. One contingent of Proto-Indo-Âryans appears to have moved westwards between the coast of the Caspian Sea and the Alborz mountains and occupied a territory later known as Mâzana. From here warrior expeditions were launched to the Hurrian country in Upper Mesopotamia and a powerful kingdom called Mitanni was formed with the Proto-Indo-Âryan aristocracy as the ruling class (lasting from about 1700-1350 B.C.). As a result Proto-Indo-Âryan gods otherwise known only from the Vedas in India were introduced into the area. They are documented in preserved diplomatic correspondence and treaties with Egypt and the kingdom of the IE Hittites who had reached the area via the Balkans and Asia Minor. When the Mitannian kingdom, exhausted by wars with the Hittites, was finally finished off by the Assyrians, its Proto-Indo-Âryan upper class was absorbed by the non-IE peoples around it and disappeared from the scene.{24} The Proto-Indo-Âryans in Mâzana survived for several more centuries and well into the time when, as we shall see presently, they became isolated from the main body of Proto-Indo-Âryans, because of the latter’s move to India, while Iran was occupied by various Iranian tribes. The Mâzanian Proto-Indo-Âryans continued worshipping their Proto-Vedic{25} deities (devas, in Iranian daevas) even after the Iranians embraced the Zoroastrian religion. Consequently they were looked upon as heretics and were subjected to military crusades (probably by the Medes). Outnumbered, they retreated into a smaller mountainous territory known as Mâzandarân. Some may also have been dispersed further west and Burrow thinks that their descendants can be identified as the tribes which fought Alexander the Great and were called Mardians by the Greeks.

The Passage to India Back with the bulk of Proto-Indo-Âryans who entered Iran well before 2000 B.C. and settled there and in Afghanistan we find that within a few generations they had again become prosperous enough to increase in numbers to such an extent that it was felt by some that the time had come to seek new pastures once more. This increase in numbers may have come about not solely by the natural growth of population in Iran, but also by further waves of immigration from Central Asia. There was only one possible direction in which to go, namely south east over the mountains into 11

the unknown but apparently lush country of the Indian subcontinent. Advanced parties of warriors and peripheral tribal communities not particularly interested in settling down to farming life may already have started seeping through the mountain passes of the Hindukush to India before the need for the move on the part of the majority was felt, perhaps very early, possibly even a century or two before 2000 B.C. In the north-west of India in the third millennium B.C. there was a flourishing civilisation centred along its vital artery, the river Indus. Two of its great cities have been partly excavated: at Harappa which gave it its name and is situated on the shores of Ravi, one of the five rivers of Pañjâb converging into the Indus, and at Mohenjo-daro, 350 miles downstream on the lower Indus. Other partly excavated sites and general considerations lead to a picture of strong administrative domination not only of cities, but also of a large agricultural area extending to the north-western mountain ranges, with a cultural influence reaching even Baluchistan.{26} In the south the domination covered the Kathiawar peninsula and surroundings and in the north the whole area of the Pañjâb river system, with influence to the east identified as far as the Jumna basin.{27} By the time the Proto-Indo-Âryans in Iran and Afghanistan were poised for another migration the Harappan civilisation was showing clear signs of crisis marked particularly by city centre decay. It had enjoyed nearly a millennium of evolution, growth and prosperity during which it had developed a strong sense of orderliness reflected in its architecture and town planning and a high standard of living shown in its spacious housing, the sophistication of its hygienic facilities and daily utensils and in artistic objects of luxury. But around 2000-1900 B.C. the situation appears to be one of gradual break-down of its administrative grip on towns, the dereliction of large buildings and overcrowding. The general feeling of insecurity is testified to by finds of hoards of jewelry and other precious objects. Some settlements on the north western rural periphery of the Harappan realm appear to have been sacked and burnt, in others evidence of occupation by newcomers is revealed.{28} As with all IE movements, gradual infiltration, small raids and then a bigger move of warrior tribes probably preceded the main waves of the Âryan immigration to India. Some settlements on the outskirts of the Harappan territory may have been taken over by Indo-Âryan tribes and groups of them may even have infiltrated the cities. In Marshall”s view one of the four racial types found in Mohenjo-daro can be identified as Alpine and Hrozný even believed he had discovered IE linguistic features when attempting to decipher Harappan inscriptions.{29} It is no longer believed that the Harappan civilisation suffered violent destruction at the hands of the Indo-Âryans, but there can be little doubt that some of their advance parties or adventurous warrior tribes following in the footsteps of the earlier infiltrators fought their way into and through the Harappan territory. Being more nomadic minded than the bulk of Proto-Indo-Âryans still in Iran and Afghanistan, their way of life was probably based on herding (and stealing) cattle and raiding foreign farming communities as well as the smaller cities. Some intelligence about rich pastures, fields and settlements in India would probably have been percolating for some time to the Proto-Indo-Âryan communities beyond the Hindukush and so when the moment arrived some of them were readily on their way with all their possessions on ox-drawn carts, their cattle herded alongside and their warriors on horse-drawn chariots leading and flanking the caravan. The waves of Âryan immigration to India continued for several hundred years and it was probably completed in the main by 1500 B.C. Some links with Afghanistan most likely continued even after that as they clearly did later, throughout historical times, almost 12

without interruption.

The Proto-Vedic Religion and Zoroaster As Burrow pointed out, not all Proto-Indo-Âryans left Iran and Afghanistan. Besides the splinter group in Mâzanian country some Proto-Indo-Âryans who had settled in the fertile plateaus of Iran and Afghanistan stayed behind, but of course the country was then only sparsely populated. Whether consciously taking advantage of the situation or for some other reasons the Proto-Iranians from Central Asia soon started moving in to fill the gap and eventually took over the country. For a time the two closely related groups coexisted, with the Iranians having the upper hand. They spoke very similar languages and shared many religious beliefs and ways. However, by the time the Indo-Âryans in the Pañjâb were comfortably settled and busying themselves with codifying their ancient religious heritage into neat Vedic collections, having probably forgotten that it was of IE origin but remaining aware of its antiquity, the Iranians had been converted to a new religion by a persuasive prophet who appeared from their midst, Zarathushtra, better known by the Greek form of his name (except to lovers of R. Strauss’ music and readers of Nietzsche) as Zoroaster. Zoroaster introduced a new supreme god, Mazda, and used for him the old Proto-Indo-Iranian epithet (with IE connections) ahura- (Sanskrit asura- meaning “lord, overlord, sovereign”) which became part of his name so that he is now known exclusively as Ahura Mazda. In the Vedas the epithet was used for a few gods like Varuna, . Mitra and the Âdityas, but fell into disuse and changed its meaning towards the end of the Vedic period, when it came to denote a class of beings adversary to gods, i.e. demons.{30} The religion of the Iranians had certainly been very similar to the Proto-Vedic one of the Proto-Indo-Âryans, with some important differences. Their Pantheons overlapped, but were not identical, and the word used prevalently for “god” was baga- in Iranian and deva- in Proto-Indo-Âryan as is known from the Vedas. In them Bhaga as one of the seven or eight Âdityas is the god of giving. In Old Slavonic bogß means “god” as in Iranian and this shows not only the obvious IE connection, but suggests also the early split between the Proto-Indo-Âryans and the Proto-Iranians, the former departing from East Europe earlier and the latter staying longer in the neighbourhood of the Slavs. In pre-Zoroastrian times the Iranians had respected and even joined in the worship of Proto-Indo-Âryan devas, in Iranian daevas, but after Zoroaster’s reforms only the old Iranian gods were tolerated, though in the Avesta, the Zoroastrian scriptures, they are mostly called yazatas, the adorable ones, and only rarely bagas. The Proto-Indo-Âryans in Iranian territory did not succumb to conversion and stuck to their old religion with its deva/daeva worship which earned them persecution and the demonisation of their gods. Later daeva- even came to designate all sorts of demons, monsters and evil spirits, but the old religion persisted for a considerable time as can be seen from the Vendidad, a later portion of the Avesta, and an inscription of Xerxes (486-465 B.C.) in which he boasted that he had destroyed the daiva country and forbiddden the daiva worship. Not with full success, since a Sasanian inscription (3rd century A.D.) also speaks about the destruction of devs.{31} The Proto-Iranians started moving to the nearly deserted East Iran soon after most Proto-Indo-Âryans had left it. Their migration would have been a protracted process reaching its 13

peak around 1400. The connection with Transoxiana was not completely lost and when Zoroaster introduced his religion around 1200 B.C. it found followers even in the old country in the north. The date is supported by several indications. First there is the antiquity of the language of the oldest part of the Avesta, the gâthâs, which closely corresponds to that of the Rg . Veda. Also, the imagery used is very archaic, echoing the pastoral life of the Proto-Iranians in the vast Asian steppes. Further, Zoroaster calls himself zaotar (= Vedic hotar, i.e. priest) which points to the closeness of his mental horizon to the very ancient Iranian tradition which was parallel to and contemporary with the Proto-Vedic one. Finally there are a few geographical references, personal names and circumstances mentioned in the early Yašts of the Avesta which make it possible to date the beginning of the expansion of Zoroastrian Iranians westwards around 900 B.C.{32} No obvious influence of Zoroastrianism in India can be traced until the time of the rise of Mahâyâna when Buddhism reached Afghanistan and central Asia. After the islamisation of Persia some persecuted Zoroastrian communities found refuge in India where they still live and are known as Parsees.

The Âryanisation of Northern India{33} As indicated earlier, the Indo-Âryans probably to some extent infiltrated Harappan cities as part of a general drift of rural population from the (north)western periphery. Further pressure from tribes in Iran may have caused waves of refugees to crowd into the cities, which would account for the breakdown of their traditional orderliness. Some smaller townships and settlements were sacked and burned down by invading Indo-Âryan warrior tribes, but the big cities were not directly attacked while still fully inhabited and defended, but were bypassed. In time they were probably deserted by the bulk of the population when their administration collapsed because of the loss of rural dependencies, regular supplies and communications. There is some evidence of violent deaths and limited burning in the final phase and of subsequent squatting and temporary occupation of the cities which may be attributable to groups of Indo-Âryan invaders. The best example of such an occupation by newcomers is the so-called cemetery H at Harappa.{34} As further and further Indo-Âryan tribes kept arriving in the Pañjâb the descendants of the earlier, more adventurous and mobile Indo-Âryan invaders were pushed further east and penetrated into the wooded areas along the Jumna and Ganges as far as present-day Bihâr and Bengâl, i.e. Magadha of the Buddha’s time. The bulk of the Indo-Âryan tribes who became the creators of the Vedic civilisation occupied the area of seven rivers (sapta sindhavah. as it is called in the Vedas and often referred to simply as Saptasindhu), which included modern Pañjâb now mostly in Pakistan, to which must probably be added Hâryana and part of Uttar Pradesh with upper Jumna and Ganges. Both these rivers are mentioned in the youngest portion of the Rg . Veda (RV) and were therefore reached not long before 1000 B.C. The first settlements were undoubtedly on the upper Indus and soon spread throughout the whole river system with its tributaries. This area became the heartland of the Vedic civilisation. But the momentum eastwards continued and within a few centuries the eastern parts of the Vedic territory were colonised, too. If we accept the date around 1500 B.C. for the last waves of Indo-Âryan immigration from beyond the Hindukush and the beginning of the pioneering Indo-Âryan penetration further east into the Gangetic plain, then the Âryanisation of Northern India would have been achieved by 14

1300 B.C., i.e. within one or two centuries. It was, however, uneven. The Vedic territory stretching from the river Kabul in the west to the upper Jumna and Ganges in the east became fully colonised with its developing civilisation supported by prospering agriculture while the eastern part along the lower Ganges was occupied by less numerous Indo-Âryan tribal communities who remained seminomadic for some considerable time.

The Growth of the Vedic Civilisation When describing the earliest time one should speak about Vedic culture rather than civilisation, because the invading Indo-Âryans, although culturally quite sophisticated, were unfamiliar with city life and had no use for the crumbling Harappan towns. However, at the end of the Vedic time we find flourishing cities all over Northern India and there is no doubt that the process of urbanisation of Indo-Âryan culture which certainly took several centuries must have started during the Vedic time, although there is little evidence of it in the collections of Vedic scriptures themselves. What they do reflect is the process of appropriation of the country from the indigenous dark-skinned inhabitants named Dâsas or Dasyus. Frequent references to the conquest of cities (pura-) in the RV show that parts of the Harappan population were surviving in fortified enclosures, but all were eventually conquered and subdued. Apart from numerous battles with enemies of non-Âryan (anârya-) stock intertribal wars between Indo-Âryans were common in the process of carving out the conquered territories. Since the Harappan population was not ethnically unitary it is possible that some sections of it which did not fit the description of Dâsas, particularly those of the Alpine variety, managed to play a part in the new situation. They may even figure among the names of tribes and clans mentioned in the RV which would mean that they managed to integrate themselves into the Indo-Âryan community. This would have been facilitated if they were of IE stock, but possible even if all or some of them were not. One such group may have been the mysterious Panis . referred to in the RV as wealthy niggards who did not give offerings to gods and refused to patronise Vedic priests.{35} However, even some Dâsas managed to integrate or at least be temporarily accepted by becoming allies of some Âryan communities in their intertribal warfare and, more importantly, by worshipping Vedic gods and giving gifts to brahmins (cf. RV 8, 46, 32). Although divided into a large number of independent tribes with, necessarily, some cultural differences and in spite of their intertribal rivalry and occasional wars, the Indo-Âryans of the Vedic area, the Saptasindhu, possessed a strong sense of their collective superiority over the indigenous population on account of the colour of their skin, way of life and common religious tradition. In addition they spoke, of course, a common language, even if we have to assume the existence of a number of dialects within it. Their social organisation showed a tripartite division which was an inheritance from their IE past (Dumezil, 1958) and comprised the ruling warrior class, the priestly class and the common folk. It became a fourfold division when the conquered Dâsas were incorporated into the fold as serfs. Its petrification into a rigid caste system, however, is a post-Vedic and gradual development.

Indo-Âryans in the East


The Indo-Âryan communities which penetrated eastwards were less numerous than those behind them and differed from the Vedic tribes both culturally and in social organisation. They seem to have been organised in tribal fraternities which combined religious vows or oaths (vrata-) with combat, forming a kind of sworn confederacy (vrâtya-) and known therefore as Vrâtyas.{36} Social stratification into three classes was not as clearly developed among them as among the Vedic Âryans and they did not adopt settled life very readily. The vast wooded expanses of the Gangetic plain allowed Vrâtya communities to create clearings for temporary settlements, farm them for a time and then move on again. Gradually some sections of the fraternities settled down permanently, while others continued an itinerant life style. The Vrâtyas possessed an ancient religious and mythological tradition which overlapped with that of the Vedic Âryans in the West, but apart from that they also had their own wealth of magic, ritual and speculative material as well as mystical procedures and ecstatic practices. But while among the Vedic Âryans religious and spiritual traditions were safeguarded mainly by families or clans of priests and were quickly becoming their sole possession, active involvement in ritual, magic and all kinds of mystical and ecstatic events was much more widespread among the Vrâtyas so that one cannot clearly perceive a class of priests, magicians or medicine-men among them. When eventually all their communities had settled down to a regular agricultural way of life and their sworn allegiances started wearing out, many individuals and smaller groups of Vrâtyas who were too involved in their magic or spiritual pursuits continued a kind of itinerant existence as religious renunciants, ascetics, magicians or mystics. Hauer sees here the beginnings of what later became known as Yoga. Other Vrâtyas who were deeply involved in their religious practices did settle down with their communities, and then may have started functioning as their medicine-men or priests (later to be incorporated into the Brahminic caste when the Vedic civilisation spilt over into their territory). Some wandering Vrâtyas, individually or in small groups, apparently used to stray back into the western parts of Northern India, some of them offering their services as magicians to Vedic communities and individuals.

The Brahmanisation of the Vrâtyas For a time the fraternities of Vrâtyas may have nearly or entirely lost contact with their Âryan cousins settling down in the West, but if they did it was soon resumed again. Just as itinerant Vrâtyas wandered into the Vedic region, perhaps attracted by its growing material wealth, so adventurous individuals and groups of Vedic Âryans ventured into the little known East, seeking new lands to dominate. When the density of population in the West increased as a result of prosperity a large scale colonisation of the East followed. Further clearances of forests ensued, but virtually no fighting with the forest dwellers (called nisâdaby the Âryans) was necessary so . that the process of colonisation of the east was much smoother than the acquisition of the old Vedic region in the West had been. The Harappan civilisation had had very little influence in the East and the local population of forest tribes was rather primitive and not at all numerous. Nevertheless the encroachment by Âryan settlers resulted in the displacement of some forest tribes from their villages and hunting grounds. The consequence was that some of them then lived on the fringe of the Âryan settlements and gradually became a part of the Indo-Âryan social pyramid at its very base, but 16

outside the official caste system. This was probably the origin of the depressed classes later known as “untouchables” who made a living by performing the lowest menial and unclean tasks for society. The whole process and the time scale of the growth and complete change of the Indo-Âryan agrarian society hostile to the Harappan way of life into a prosperous urban civilisation, undoubtedly under the influence of the surviving Harappan trends, is still shrouded in the mists of time. The drive from the Vedic region eastwards started already some time before 1000 B.C. and became increasingly strong around and after that date. Five hundred years later we find many flourishing cities throughout Northern India, many of them in the new territories in the East, with even the centre of political and cultural activities now shifted from the Pañjâb (the old Saptasindhu) into the North East of India. Before they overspilled in very large numbers into the country of the Vrâtyas, the Vedic Âryans developed fully their religious system. Its basis became the codified collections of sacred hymns, chants and descriptions of ritual practices often referred to in those days as the Three Vedas. It is, however, quite obvious that during the time of the codification of the Three Vedas there existed some contacts between the Vedic Âryans and the Vrâtyas. Some Vrâtya elements can be traced already in late portions of the RV and there certainly was some awareness on the part of the redactors of the RV of Vrâtya activities. The Yajur Veda bears even more signs of Vrâtya influence and clearly betrays the acquaintance of the redactors with the Eastern territories. Consequently the possibility that its redaction was completed in the East cannot be ruled out. The tradition of the Three Vedas was jealously guarded by the class or caste of priests (brâhmana-, brahmans or brahmins) who gained a virtual monopoly in the sphere of religion as . mediators between men and gods and guarantors of prosperity for the rest of the population through the magic of their rituals. The attainment of their dominating position by the brahmins after the codification of the Vedas heralds the end to the growth of the hymnic collection of the RV and the subsequent period of Brahminic domination is often referred to as Brahmanism. The warrior (ksatriya-) class developed into a fully fledged aristocracy, usually with a king at the . top, and the original Âryan village population (vaisya-), theoretically still forming a unitary class, . started differentiating into subclasses (later new castes and subcastes) due to urbanisation, the division of labour and the emergence of new professions. The subdued class of serfs (œûdra-) may have started merging with the vaisyaclass towards the end of the Vedic period or soon after the . brahmanisation of the East and they contributed to the gradual proliferation of new castes and subcastes as did offspring from mixed (mostly secondary) marriages and contacts. The integration of the descendants of the Vrâtya communities into the Brahminic system probably proceeded, by and large, without too many problems. It may have increased the number of common (vaisya-) classes or castes, but we find a number of aristocratic (ksatriya-) clans of . . undoubted Vrâtya descendancy in ruling positions without any indication of serious problems save the usual rivalry present wherever there is competition for power. The situation of those Vrâtyas who specialised in ritual and magic activities was quite different. They appeared to the immigrant Vedic brahmins as barbarians or heretics, because they did not possess the knowledge of the Three Vedas in the form in which they had been codified. The Vrâtyas further did not worship the same highest gods as did the Vedic Indo-Âryans, although they did share some deities with the Vedic tradition, but they had totally different rituals. The overwhelmingly larger numbers of the immigrant Vedic Indo-Âryans and the greater 17

sophistication of their civilisation won the day and the religious Vrâtyas who wished to retain their positions and influence within the community had to undergo a process of brahmanisation through special purificatory and initiation rituals called vrâtyastoma in order to be allowed to practise as priests. Thus they eventually merged with the Brahminic caste, but not without a backlash. The bulk of their sacred lore containing charms, magic, mystical elements, including hints about practices of yogic and tantric nature, and philosophical speculations, was eventually redacted under the influence of Vedic brahmins and formed into the fourth Vedic collection, the Atharva Veda (AV). Although there was some resistence against it among orthodox circles, it became in time accepted as a part of the Âryan spiritual heritage or divine revelation. Itinerant Vrâtya magicians, renunciants and ascetics did not have the same problem. They had roamed the length and breadth of Âryan India for centuries, together, perhaps, with wandering ascetics of other provenance. In any event, by then mendicancy was an accepted phenomenon and wandering ascetics did not have to conform to established religious practices and teachings. The brahmanisation of the eastern part of North India took, of course, several centuries, but was complete by the time the Buddha appeared on the scene. The redaction of the fourth Vedic collection may have been effected by 600 B.C., although its full acceptance by the Brahminic circles belonging to the schools of the three orthodox Vedas took a century or two more. The resistance to the fourth “heretic” Veda has, actually, continued sporadically in some highly conservative Brahminic communities for many centuries and was partly incorporated into the caste rules. Thus even today brahmins of the three older Vedas do not sit down to meals with or marry AV brahmins in Orissa.{37} Already during the time of brahmanisation of the north east and increasingly in the subsequent centuries the Indo-Âryan culture and civilisation with its Vedic basis and Brahminic system was expanding also to the south, but this process is, of course, outside the scope of the present article.{38} Notes. {1} A German priest, father Heinrich Roth learned Sanskrit as early as around 1650. A German Jesuit, Johannes Ernst Hanxleden (+1732), wrote a Sanskrit Grammar (Grammatica Granthamia seu Samscrdumica) and a Dictionary in Latin, but they were never published. An Austrian Carmelite, J. P. Wessdin (Fr. Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, +1805), who knew Hanxleden’s work and lived in Malabar from 1776-1789, published his Sanskrit Grammar in Rome in 1790 (Glasenapp, 1929, p. 5, and Winternitz, 1959, pp. 7-8). {2} The name of one of these villages was Kalikata. The attraction of working for the Company or just only of living under the British administration is testified to by the fact that 37 years later (1735) Calcutta had 100,000 inhabitants. {3} It was named Vivâdârnavasetu (Bridge over the Ocean of Disputes) and contained the gist .. of Indian law of inheritance and of family law together with other legal and traditional codes. Its English translation was published by the Company in 1776 as A Code of Gentoo Law. The word gentoo is the Anglo-Indian form of the Portuguese word gentio which means "heathen”, an expression then used for Hindus (though not for Muslims). {4} Dara Shikoh was a keen student of Vedântic philosophy and had several works translated from Sanskrit into Persian, among them a selection of Upanisads (1656-1657). Translated into . Latin by Anquetil Duperron in 1801-1802 under the name Oupnekhat this collection of some fifty 18

Upanisads exercised a strong influence on some minds in Europe even before Sanskrit studies . accelerated. Schopenhauer is the best known among them. {5} Jones, 1807, pp. 37, 39, 386. In fact, the relatedness of European languages with Sanskrit was recognised by others before him, although it went virtually unnoticed: by the Florentine merchant Philippo Sassetti who spent five years in Goa (1583-1588), the German Benjamin Schultze in 1725 and the Frenchman Father Coeurdoux in 1767 (he, in fact, suggested that words in Greek, Latin and Sanskrit which bear striking similarities to each other were relics of the primitive language of mankind before the confusion of tongues at Babel). Cf. Glasenapp, 1929, p. 10-11, and Lockwood, 1977, p. 22. {6} The Petersburg Sanskrit Dictionary gives the following meaning: Der zu den Treuen, Ergebenen Gehörige, d. h. der Mann des eigenen Stammes als der den Volksgöttern des Stammes Treue. (Belonging to the faithful, dedicated ones, i.e. a member of one’s own tribe as one who is faithful to the common gods of the tribe.) When the caste system became established only the three higher castes were designated as ârya-, the fourth one (œûdras, serfs) were anârya-, nonÂryan, because composed of subjugated earlier inhabitants of India. This distinction became irrelevant when through mixing the difference between vaisyas and œûdras virtually disappeared. . The general meaning of ârya as “noble” received a further modification in Buddhist literature where it points to the meaning of “holy” and “saint”: ârya pudgala (Pâli ariya puggala) refers to a person who has acquired one of the four stages of sanctity. {7} Notable among the users of the word is Childe (1926) who employed the designation Âryan even in the title of his book on Indo-Europeans. The British library lists a number of books dealing with Indo-European history, mythology and philology under the heading Âryan race in its subject catalogue. {8} Arguing against the “misuse” of the term Âryan when applied to the Indo-Europeans in general, Burrow (1975, pp. 24-25) fails to mention the possibility that the Proto-Indo-Europeans may have used the term to refer to themselves as suggested by its preservation in Celtic. This is rather strange, since he must have been aware of this Irish connection. It can only be explained by his worry that Âryan when used instead of Indo-European leads to confusion between the intermediate habitat of Indo-Iranians in Central Asia and the original habitat of Indo-Europeans in Eastern Europe on the part of those who understand Âryan as meaning Indo-Iranian and who would then assume that the original home of all Indo-Europeans was Central Asia. This worry is now quite unfounded. The theory of the Central Asiatic cradle of Âryans or Proto-Indo-Europeans was abandoned long ago (rejected e.g. by Childe, 1926, p. 137) and completely disproved by archaeology (Gimbutas, 1970). By ignoring the case of the old Irish aireand the still used Eire Burrow invalidated his argument against the equation Âryan = Indo-European. In this context it may be appropriate to mention the real misuse of the word, in German arisch, by Nazi ideologists. They were aware that it referred to all Indo-European nations. But their relatedness and possible original unity was established by philological methods which did not focus on and could not prove their original racial homogeneity, although it has always been assumed that their predominant racial basis was white, called sometimes Alpine or Caucasian. It has always been clear that Indo-Europeans frequently imposed their language on other racial communities, often mixing with them sexually, as can easily be seen particularly in India, but also elsewhere. Nazi ideologists decided that the pure Germanic type which they called Nordic had preserved best the original Âryan racial qualities, while other Indo-European nations suffered various degrees of racial contamination. They seem to have had plans for the progressive 19

extermination not only of non-Âryans such as Jews but also of inferior Indo-Europeans and they started with the Gypsies, who came to Europe from India and speak an Indo-Âryan language. {9} The most notable exceptions are the languages of the Finno-Ugrian group which include Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian, besides a number of languages and dialects spoken in the European and Asian part of the Soviet Union, including Lapp spoken in its European North and in northern Scandinavia. (Burrow, 1977, pp. 23-27, Bodmer, 1943, pp. 193-194, Hajdu, 1975). Basque is also a non-IE language and is often regarded as unrelated to any known language (Bodmer 1943, p. 193, Tovar, 1970, pp. 267-278 ), but Karst (1931 and 1954) associated it with Eskimo. {10} There is a vast literature on the subject, the majority of it in German. It was Otto Schrader who summarised the first results of IE studies as early as 1883. (Cf. Meringer, 1897; Meillet, 1921; Dumezil, 1958; Childe, 1926; Burrow, 1977). My outline is based on a number of sources without fully following any one of them as far as the sequence and the nomenclature of the individual IE branches is concerned. Neither has been unified so far. {11} For supporting philological arguments see Gonda, 1971, p. 17ff. {12} Geiger, 1968, pp. 34-46; Winternitz, 1959, vol. I, part 1, p. 40. {13} Comrie, 1981, pp. 155-6. He calls Pârya an Indic language to distinguish it from Indian ones which are spoken in India. I think, however, that the designation “Proto-Indo-Âryan” is preferable. It also expresses clearly the fact that it is an Indo-Âryan language which never reached India. It is quite extraordinary that the Soviet authorities never suspected the existence of this language and nationality group and that the Soviet linguists did not discover it. It is not mentioned in the official Soviet publications on languages of the USSR such as the Jazyki narodov SSSR, ed. V. V. Vinogradov et al., 5 vols, Moscow - Leningrad 1966, and Pâryas are not separately listed in Soviet nationality or language statistics. Comrie reports that they number about 1,000 and live in the Gissar valley and its surroundings, from the suburbs of the Tâdjic capital Dushambe westwards into Uzbekistan. Their children are taught Pârya at home, but soon become bilingual in Pârya and Tâdjic, the latter belonging to the Iranian language group. Probably their identity remained hidden for such a long time, because they speak Tâdjic in public and are known in the area as “Afgons”. Their appearance is not distinct, but they often form separate sections of settlements and rarely marry outside their own community. {14} For this and other reasons Burrow argues convincingly for Zoroaster’s date to be placed around or before 1100 B.C. instead of the previously commonly accepted 600 B.C. (1973, pp. 136-139). For the older view cf. Klíma, 1959, p. 564, where he proposes 784-707 B.C. Boyce (1975, p. 190) argues for the period between 1400-1000. See also note 32. {15} A brief summary of some of these problems is given by Burrow, 1977, pp. 8-18. Childe”s views (1926), although still interesting, have to be read in the light of later research. {16} A series of Indo-European conferences has taken place in the Universities in the USA. For our purposes the most important one was the third whose proceedings are utilised in the following pages (Cardona, 1970). {17} The complicated linguistic argument for this suggestion can be adduced from Lane (1970) who utilises earlier works by J. Pokorný, E. Herman and E. Benveniste. Useful hints concerning Tocharian and its move eastwards are also in Burrow (1973, p. 10), although he seems to have overlooked its connection to Armenian (of Thraco-Phrygian branch). 20

{18} The ingenious linguistic argument for this scenario is presented by Cowgill (1970). {19} Gimbutas (1970). {20} Burrow (1975, p. 24). {21} For details of research into pastoral and agricultural economies and their interrelationship cf. Goodenough (1970). {22} Burrow (1973, p. 126). {23} Zimmer (1973, pp. 15-16). {24} Literature on Proto-Indo-Âryans in the Near East includes works by Konow, Thieme, Hauschild, Mayrhofer and Kammenhuber, some of which are utilised by Burrow (1973). The gods mentioned in documents are Indra, Varuna, . Mitra and Nâsatya as well as Sûrya in a Kassite document and Agni in Hittite sources. Also preserved is a Hittite treatise on horse-training written by a Mitannian author, Kikkuli, in which technical terms and numerals are Proto-Indo-Âryan. Burrow’s article contains some ingenious arguments throwing new light on the movements of Proto-Indo-Âryans and Iranians and the mutual relation of the two. {25} The term Proto-Vedic is used here to describe religious phenomena found outside India among Proto-Indo-Âryans but known fully only from the Vedas composed by Indo-Âryans several centuries later in India. {26} Fairservis (1971, p. 295). {27} Wheeler (1968, p. 3). {28} Piggot (1950, p. 214 ff). As to timing the Harappan civilisation, views differ and are constantly being revised. Marshall, the original excavator, estimated its emergence as early as 3250 B.C. All subsequent researchers have favoured later dates and at the other extreme Allchins (1968, p. 140) even accept 2300-1750 B.C. as the likely period of its duration. One has to assume, of course, a long preceding period if a locally originated urban civilisation is to emerge. Wheeler, although not going as far as Marshall, favoured much earlier dates (starting around 2700 B.C.) and criticised Allchins’ dating in his review of their book (1969, Antiquity, XLIII, pp. 72-73). No certainty can be established until further excavations and comparisons with other civilisations in the Near East can be made on a sufficient scale. These are now hampered by the political situation. The dates used in this article take into account the chronology of IE movements as described by Gimbutas which require earlier arrival of the Indo-Âryans in India and therefore earlier dating of the last phase of the Harappan civilisation. They also fit better with the traditional dating of the beginning and growth of the Vedic civilisation and the time thought to be necessary for the codification of the Vedas as we know them. {29} Hrozný (1941, pp. 226-230) suggested close population links between the Harappan civilisation and the contemporary Near East and regarded the IE contingent of the Harappan population as related to the Hieroglyphic Hittites, while the Alpine skeletal type found in the last Harappan strata would represent Indo-Âryan newcomers. {30} Burrow (1973) uses von Bradke’s and Darmesteter’s early works, as utilised already by Macdonell (1974, pp. 156-158) to show how this change of meaning occurred via the expression asurasya mâyâ originally meaning “magic or occult power of the lord”. Since magic powers were also used by malignant beings that expression, after the word asura- ceased to be used in 21

connection with the high gods, came to mean “magic power of a malignant being” and the word asura- then denoted the whole category of those beings, i.e. demons. As a result of a false etymology the word’s prefix a- came to be regarded as expressing a negation and a positive expression sura- emerged as its counterpart (first found in the Upanisads) with the meaning of . “god”. As a feature in subsequent Hindu mythology, which was also accepted into Buddhism, asuras are permanent adversaries of devas, gods, sometimes reminiscent of Greek Titans, but never fully defeated by the gods and sometimes even temporarily allied to them as in the myth of churning the cosmic ocean to obtain the drink of immortality. As to the Proto-Indo-Iranian meaning of asura-/ahura- Burrow points to the early borrowing of this word into Finno-Ugrian as azoro, azor (lord, master) found in Mordvin. That proves the antiquity of the word and its meaning as retained in early Iranian and Indo-Âryan going back to the time when Proto-Indo-Iranians were neighbours of Finno-Ugrians in Eastern Europe. The IE connection and therefore a still greater antiquity of the word is confirmed by Hittite hassu- (king) and Latin erus (master). {31} Frye (1976, pp. 126-128). {32} Gnoli (1980) reexamines the whole problem, accepting Burrow’s arguments only partially, and concludes that Zoroaster lived towards the end of the 2nd or the beginning of the 1st millenium B.C. in East Iran, but in any event during the first or second century after the arrival of the Iranians. Boyce (1975, p. 190) favours somewhere between 1400-1000 B.C. It all depends on tying together various events like the chronology of the Proto-Indo-Âryan movements to and from Central Asia, the period of their settlement in Iran and departure to India as well as the demise of the Harappan civilisation. {33} Title borrowed from Harris (1980). She surveys archaeological and linguistic evidence of the problem, listing as divergent views as “Âryan incursions not before cca 1200 B.C.” (p. 83) and J. M. Jarridge’s view (expounded in a paper delivered on 3.6.1986 at a Symposium on South & South-East Asian Archaeology sponsored by the British Museum) of the arrival of IE speakers being contemporary with the mature Harappan culture (p. 94). By undermining Harappan trade they contributed to the start of the decline. Evidence of some aggression and squatting even in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro dates already from 1900 B.C. Jarridge’s conclusions point also to the sophistication of the IE arrivals. Simple migratory and nomadic notions have to be abandoned. There is also some continuity between Harappan and Indo-Âryan agriculture and irrigation schemes. Indo-Âryans, of course, brought in the horse and chariot. {34} Cf. Wheeler (1968, p. 129ff.), Piggot (1950, p. 231ff.), Fairsevis (1971, p. 353-354). {35} Macdonell & Keith (1958, vol. 1, p. 471). {36} A full study of the problem was presented by Hauer (1927 and 1958). Choudhari (1964), in parts heavily dependent on Hauer, has also some usefulness. {37} Cf. Gonda (1975, p. 268) and Bhattacârya (1968, p. 39). {38} The elaboration of the picture of IE migrations with its extension on the âryanisation of Northern India as presented in this paper has been a protracted process on which generations of philologists, historians and archaeologists have worked for more than a century and a half and although it is not yet quite definitive no serious objections can be raised against its validity in principle and in broad outline. Yet the subtlety and complexity of the arguments and the variety of the interdisciplinary materials that have to be studied and coordinated proved beyond the grasp 22

and imagination of some Indian scholars influenced by the Brahminic traditional view that Jambudvîpa, the Indian subcontinent, is the centre of the world. If European nations are of the same origin as the ancient Indo-Âryans who created the Vedas, then the logical conclusion must be that they migrated to Europe from India. Here are a few examples of this kind of misguided scholarship. Prof. Purushottam Lal Bhargava, Head of the Dept. of Sanskrit, Univ. of Rajasthan, Jaipur, argues in his book India in the Vedic Age (2nd rev. ed. Lucknow & Ahmedabad 1971, 1st ed. 1956) that the homeland of all Âryans was originally in the valleys of the rivers Ghorband and Panjshir south of the Hindukush from where part of them migrated to Europe and another part to the Pañjâb from where one section later wandered off and populated Iran. Dr. Buddha Prakash, Director of the Institute of Indic Studies, Kurukshetra University, regards the Âryans (we would say, of course, Proto-Indo-Âryans) in his book Rgveda and the Indus . Valley Civilisation (Hoshiarpur 1966) to have been the authors of the Harappan civilisation. He asserts that they had lived in the area “from the very dawn of humanity”. Malati J. Shendge wrote a doctoral thesis published with the help of the Indian Council of Historical Research as The Civilised Demons: the Harappans in Rgveda (New Delhi 1977). Her . thesis which is full of fantastic stories places the home of the Âryans in Mesopotamia from where they migrated to the Pañjâb attracted by Harappan prosperity. After a time they defeated the Harappans by getting hold of their dams and flooding their territory. As the above books and many other similar ones too numerous to be even listed here have not been used as supporting sources for the purpose of this paper and have no bearing on it, they have not been included in the Bibliography.

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Gonda, J. (1975), Vedic Literature (Samhitâs and Brâhmanas), Wiesbaden. . Goodenough, W. H. (1970), ‘The Evolution of Pastoralism and Indo-European Origins.’ Cardona, 1970, pp. 253-265. Hajdu, P. (1975), Finno-Ugrian Languages and Peoples, London, (Hungarian original: Budapest, 1963). Harris, E. A. (1980), ‘The Âryanisation of North India: a Chapter in the Spread of Indo-European Languages.’ Purvadesh. International History Magazine, 1, 2, pp. 81-98. Hauschild, R. (1962), Über die frühesten Arier im Alten Orient, Berlin. Hauer, J. W. (1927), Der Vrâtya. Untersuchungen über die nichtbrahmanische Religion Altindiens. I. Die Vrâtya als nichtbrahmanische Kultgenossenschaft arischer Herkunft, Stuttgart. Hauer, J. W. (1958), Der Yoga. Ein indischer Weg zum Selbst. Stuttgart. Hrozný B. (1941), Die älteste Geschichte Vorderasiens und Indiens, Prag, 2nd rev. ed. Jones, Sir W. (1807), Works, London. Kammerhuber, A. (1968), Die Arier im Vorderen Orient, Heidelberg. 24

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Article published in: Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute LXVIII (1987) [Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar 150th Birth-Anniversary Volume], 491-523.


Indo-european and Indo-aryan - prof. Karel Werner