Stuhrmann, Witzel and the Joke that is Western Indology
Shrikant G Talageri
A German scholar, Rainer Stuhrmaan, has written a paper in German, entitled "Die Zehnkönigsschlacht am Ravifluß" ("The Ten Kings' Battle on the Ravi"), appearing in Witzel's "Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies", Volume 23 (2016), Issue 1:
The paper itself is in German, a language which is Greek to Indian (Hindu) bank-employee yokels like myself, but, fortunately, we have a summary of the paper translated (from German to English) by none other than Witzel himself, which sheds a little light on the scholarly findings published in this paper. This paper is important because it shows more clearly than anything else how Indological studies in western academia are nothing short of a joke: paper after paper is still written by scholar after scholar, reiterating utterly discredited and disproved themes and ideas which carry on nineteenth century misconceptions with the doggedness of the horse with cast-iron blinkers, who can neither see, nor is expected to see, newer interpretations and new facts and data in deeply-researched papers by writers outside the hallowed circle of the closed-door clique that constitutes the "peer reviewed" mutual admiration society that is western academia. It shows the utterly fake, fraudulent and outdated nature of present-day western "Indology", which has become nothing more than a powerful, academically recognized and financed, propaganda club or juvenile writers' cottage industry.
Before examining (on the basis of the translated summary of the paper by Witzel) the hopelessly outdated aspects of Stuhrmann's paper, it will be pertinent to point out a few positive points in Stuhrmann's paper:
1. First, when he quotes Witzel in describing the Battle of the Ten Kings as the "main political occurrence of the Rig-Veda (Witzel 2007:435)". Indeed it is the main (and oldest recorded) political occurrence in Indo-European history, since it records the presence of five (Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Armenian, Greek and Albanian) of the twelve recognized branches of Indo-European languages, in fact the very five branches classified by linguists as being the last five branches to remain in any proposed Homeland after the departure of the other seven branches, in the most important historical event in the Homeland before the migration of four of these branches from that Homeland. See the last section of part 3 of my blogspot article:
2. Two, when he goes against the consensus of most western Indologists that treats the Pūru tribe as being among the enemies of Sudās in the battle. Apart from accepting that the Bharata-s were "a subtribe of the Pūru", he writes: "Because of stanza 13 most interpreters of the hymn 7.18 are of the opinion that the Pūru who are allied with the Bharata throughout the Rig-Veda, belong to the defeated enemies of Sudās. However [….] the Pūru somehow must have been on the side of King Sudās and the Bharata, though not in the actual Ten kings' battle". Of course, he immediately spoils it by reiterating the usual Indological confusion, identifying Purukutsa with the Pūru tribe! [Note: in his pointless "review" of my second book in 2001, Witzel had treated my use of the word "king" for Sudās as indicative of my pathetic ignorance of the state of the Civilization in Rigvedic times!]
3. Three, when, in the face of a determined trend among political scholars, including Witzel, who have all along maintained that the Sarasvatī of the Rigveda is the present-day Ghaggar-Hakra river, but (after my three books) have now suddenly started a campaign to deny the identification, Stuhrmann writes: "archeological research of Mughal and others have shown that until the mid-second millennium BCE the banks of the Sarasvatī were still dotted with Indus Culture settlements", thus confirming the identity of the two rivers.
Apart from these little points, Stuhrmann writes as if nothing has been written about the Battle of the Ten Kings since the nineteenth century (apart, of course, from the writings of "scholars" like Witzel, who also have not moved beyond the nineteenth century). He completely ignores (as we will see in detail presently) not only the irrefutable conclusions demonstrated by me in my books, but also the actual data in the Rigveda on the basis of which I have drawn those conclusions, and bases his interpretations wholly and solely on purely extraneous theories and hypotheses which have been concocted by the Indologists on the principle that the Rigveda simply should not be treated as a source book of data and that theories and hypotheses about the Rigveda are to be concocted strictly without reference to any data from the text.
The two main discredited points Stuhrmann reiterates throughout his paper are a) that the enemies of Sudās and the Bharata-s in the battle were mainly "indigenous non-Aryans" native to the area of the Indus Civilization, and b) that the direction of movement and conquest of Sudās and the Bharata-s was from "west to east":
I. "Indigenous Non-Aryans"
Stuhrmann tells us: "Shortly after crossing the Ravi river, he [Sudās] was encircled by an alliance of Aryan and non-Aryan tribes", and again: "The alliance consisted of Aryan and non-Aryan tribes with whom the earlier Aryan immigrants, such as the Turvaśa, Yadu and Druhyu, had allied themselves". He continues: "much points to non-Aryan indigenous tribes settled on the banks of the Ravi river and belonging to a 'hydraulic' civilization that had mastered the knowledge and tools necessary to affect a river system. In fact, there are many indications in the Rig-Veda of a hydraulic civilization that was familiar with river management by controls, dykes, reinforcement of dykes and with sluices - in other words: the Indus civilization". In short, the "Aryan Invasion" of the "non-Aryan indigenous" Indus civilization, according to Stuhrmann, is actually recorded as the "main political occurrence of the Rig-Veda (Witzel 2007:435)". He generously concedes that these "non-Aryan indigenous tribes" (i.e. the people of the Indus civilization) had some "allies" among some "earlier Aryan immigrants, such as the Turvaśa, Yadu and Druhyu", thereby making it perfunctorily "an alliance of Aryan and non-Aryan tribes".
The insolence of such claims continuously being made in these Indological papers is breath-taking. These "scholars" at least should be aware that "Aryan" and "non-Aryan" (as they use these terms) are not general adjectives meaning something like "good" and "bad" or "pleasant" and "unpleasant" or "noble" and "ignoble" to be used in a general and subjective sense. Precisely speaking, in the context in which these "scholars" use them, they mean "Indo-European" and "non-Indo-European" in a very precise linguistic sense. But, even as they freely describe the enemies of Sudās as "non-Aryan", they are not able to give one single example of a word, in the hymns referring to the battle, which could be interpreted as a reference to any entity which could be categorized as linguistically non-Indo-European: not one word which can be linguistically identified as referring to speakers of a Dravidian language, an Austric (Kol-Munda) language, the Burushaski language, or an Andamanese dialect, or, for that matter, a Semitic, Sino-Tibetan, Uralo-Altaic or any other language belonging to any known language family in existence (or now extinct, like the Sumerian language) anywhere in the world. Then in exactly what sense do they have the academic guts to describe the enemies of Sudās as "non-Aryan"?
On the other hand, the data in the Rigveda makes it very clear that the enemies of Sudās (who belonged to the Bharata sub-tribe of the Pūru tribal conglomerate) belonged to the Anu tribal conglomerate. In fact, as I have pointed out in detail in my books, and in the last section of part 3 of my blogspot article cited earlier, the enemy tribes, specifically named in the two battle hymns, bear the names of the ancient tribes among the Iranian, Armenian, Greek and Albanian branches of Indo-European languages. To quote from that blog, the two hymns use the following tribal appellations for the enemies of Sudās who belonged to the Anu tribal conglomerate:
VII.18.7 Paktha, Bhalāna, Alina, Śiva, Viṣāṇin.
VII.83.1 Parśu/Parśava, Pṛthu/Pārthava, Dāsa.
[Puranic Anus: Madra.]
To further quote from my above blog:
These tribal names are primarily found only in two hymns, VII.18 and VII.83, of the Rigveda, which refer to the Anu tribes who fought against Sudās in the dāśarājña battle or "the Battle of the Ten Kings". But see where these same tribal names are found in later historical times (after their exodus westwards referred to in VII.5.3 and VII.6.3). Incredibly, they cover, in an almost continuous geographical belt, the entire sweep of areas extending westwards from the Punjab (the battleground of the dāśarājña battle) right up to southern and eastern Europe:
(Avestan) Afghanistan: Proto-Iranian: Sairima (Śimyu), Dahi (Dāsa).
NE Afghanistan: Proto-Iranian: Nuristani/Piśācin (Viṣāṇin).
Pakhtoonistan (NW Pakistan), South Afghanistan: Iranian: Pakhtoon/Pashtu (Paktha).
Baluchistan (SW Pakistan), SE Iran: Iranian: Bolan/Baluchi (Bhalāna).
NE Iran: Iranian: Parthian/Parthava (Pṛthu/Pārthava).
SW Iran: Iranian: Parsua/Persian (Parśu/Parśava).
NW Iran: Iranian: Madai/Mede (Madra).
Uzbekistan: Iranian: Khiva/Khwarezmian (Śiva).
W. Turkmenistan: Iranian: Dahae (Dāsa).
Ukraine, S, Russia: Iranian: Alan (Alina), Sarmatian (Śimyu).
Turkey: Thraco-Phrygian/Armenian: Phryge/Phrygian (Bhṛgu).
Romania, Bulgaria: Thraco-Phrygian/Armenian: Dacian (Dāsa).
Greece: Greek: Hellene (Alina).
Albania: Albanian: Sirmio (Śimyu).
a) The leader of the enemy alliance is Kavi Cāyamāna: Kauui is an Iranian (Avestan) name.
b) The priest of the enemy alliance is Kavaṣa: Kaoša is an Iranian (Avestan) name.
c) Kavi Cāyamāna of the battle hymn was a descendant of Abhyāvartin Cāyamāna, who is described in the Rigveda (VI.27.8) as a Pārthava. The later Iranian (Avestan) dynasty (after the Iranians migrated westwards from the Rigvedic Greater Punjab into Afghanistan, and composed the Avesta), the oldest Iranian dynasty in historical record (outside the Rigveda) to which belonged Zarathushtra's patron king and foremost disciple Vištāspa, is the Kavyān (Pahlavi Kayanian) dynasty descended from this same Kavi/Kauui. In later historical times, it is the Parthians (Parthava) who maintained a strong tradition that the kings of the Kavyān dynasty of the Avesta belonged to their tribe.
In the face of all this very specific and detailed evidence within the hymns, in the form of the actual concrete data in the Rigveda, can these Indological papers, which continue to describe the enemies of Sudās in the Battle of the Ten Kings as linguistic "non-Aryans", without finding it necessary to produce an iota of evidence for this claim, be regarded as anything but lies and trash?
In the process, Stuhrmann refers to Sudās and the Bharata-s as "the Pūru and Bharata latecomers", and as "Vedic conquerors". Hindu opponents of the AIT will object to these phrases, especially to the idea that the actions of Sudās and the Bharata-s were the actions of "conquerors", and would instead insist that it was a fight between "good Aryans" (represented by Sudās and the Bharata-s) and "fallen Aryans" (represented by their enemies), and insist that these "good Aryans" were somehow provoked into attacking, or were even fighting in self-defence against, an unholy alliance. However, the two phrases are right, but not in the sense that Stuhrmann uses them: the Pūru-Bharata tribes were indeed imperialistic "conquerors" of the land and territory of other tribes, but they were not originally non-Indian "Aryan/Indo-European" tribes from the west conquering the land of indigenous Indian "non-Aryans/non-Indo-Europeans", they were indigenous Indian "Aryans/Indo-Europeans" (Pūru-s) from the east conquering the land of other equally indigenous Indian "Aryans/Indo-Europeans" (Anu-s) to their west, a normal (if unfortunate) phenomenon of mutually warring and conquering tribes that can be seen in any ancient civilization in the world. And they were "newcomers" not into India, but "newcomers" (as conquerors) from Haryana and western U.P. in the east into the then Punjab area of the Anu-s. Both these groups of tribes were components of what Stuhrmann calls "the Indus civilization" (or, more correctly, "the Indus-Sarasvati civilization").
II. "From West to East" or "From East to West"?
Even more brazenly, Stuhrmann tells us: "Along the Bharatas' trail of conquest [….] Sudās had crossed the Ravi from west to east, just as he had, earlier on, the Indus". He repeats the lie: "the Ten Kings battle took place after the crossing of the Ravi river from west to east". And then: "it opened up the further path eastward into the Indian core territory, where the Vedic conquerors followed the carriers of the Indus civilization that had been weakened by tectonic and hydrological changes".
Let us start examining this trail of lies from the starting point in Stuhrmann's story: the crossing of the Indus river "earlier on" by Sudās:
The three Oldest Books of the Rigveda, in that order, are 6, 3 and 7. In any case, more relevant to the point under discussion, these are the books associated with the periods of Sudās and his ancestors: "In Book 6 of the Bharadvāja, the Bharatas and their king Divodāsa play a central role" (WITZEL 1995b:332-333), and "Book 3 [….] represents the time of king Sudās" (WITZEL 1995b:317) (as, obviously does book 7, the Book of the Battle of the Ten Kings). In these three Books, the word "Sindhu" is used only in its original etymological sense of "river": except in 8 verses, it is used in the plural in the sense "rivers". In the 8 verses where the word is used in the singular, it refers in every case to a specific "river" whose identity is clear from the reference itself: Vipāś (III.33.3,5; 53.9), Paruṣṇī (VII.18.5), Yamunā (VII.33.3), Sarasvatī (VII.33.6; 95.1), and the ocean (VII.87.6).
Nowhere in these three Books is there a single reference even to the Indus river itself, let alone (either in these three Books or elsewhere in the Rigveda) to any "earlier crossing" of the Indus, let alone to any "earlier crossing" of the Indus by Sudās, let alone to any "earlier crossing" of the Indus by Sudās "from west to east". So where do Witzel and Stuhrmann get the information about this "earlier crossing" of the Indus by Sudās "from west to east"? Did Sudās appear in a dream and convey this information to them?
According to Stuhrmann's fairy-tale (and Witzel's before him), Sudās, and obviously his ancestors before him, were somewhere beyond (to the west of) the Indus river till the time Sudās and the Bharata-s set out on their "trail of conquest". Does the data in the Rigveda support this blatant and brazen lie? See what the geographical data in the Rigveda tells us, for which I will quote from part 2 of my blogspot article:
a) The geographical area of the Early Old Books (6,3,7 in that order) [….] covers only the eastern parts of the Rigvedic area. These Early Old Books show complete ignorance of western areas, but easy familiarity with and emotional attachment to the eastern areas (in VI.61.16, the composer begs the river Sarasvatī: "let us not go from thee to distant countries"):
These three oldest books mention the eastern rivers Gaṅgā/Jahnāvī, Yamunā, Dṛṣadvatī/Hariyūpīyā/Yavyāvatī, Āpayā, Sarasvatī, Śutudrī, Vipāś, Paruṣṇī, Asiknī, but they do not mention the western rivers Marudvṛdhā, Vitastā, Ārjīkīyā, Suṣomā, Sindhu and its western tributaries Triṣṭāmā, Susartu, Anitabhā, Rasā, Śveti, Shvetyāvarī, Kubhā, Krumu, Gomatī, Sarayu, Mehatnu, Prayiyu, Vayiyu, Suvāstu, Gaurī, Kuṣavā, all of which are mentioned in the New Books.
They mention the eastern place names Kīkaṭa, Iḷāspada (also called vara ā pṛthivyā or nābhā pṛthivyā, i.e. "the best place on earth" or "the centre of the earth") but they do not mention the western place names Saptasindhava, Gandhāri, both of which are mentioned in the New Books.
They mention the eastern lake Mānuṣā, but they do not mention the western lake Śaryaṇāvat(ī) and the western mountains Mūjavat, Suṣom and Arjīk, all of which are mentioned in the New Books.
They mention eastern animals like the buffalo, the gaur (Indian bison), the elephant, the peacock and the spotted deer, but they do not mention western animals (whose names are found in common with the Avesta) like the uṣṭra, varāha, mathra, chāga, vṛṣṇi, urā and meṣha, all of which are mentioned in the New Books.
b) Further, the western place names, lake name, mountain names and animal names are missing not only in the Early Old Books (6,3,7), but also in the Middle Old Books (4,2) and in the New Book 5: in short, in all the family books. And the river names appear from east to west in historical contexts:
i) The oldest Book 6 refers only to the Sarasvati (which is deified in three whole hymns, VI.61, VII.95-96, and in 52 other verses in the three Early Old Books) and to the rivers east of it: in VI.45.31 the long bushes on the banks of the Gaṅgā figure in a simile (showing their long acquaintance and easy familiarity with the topography and flora of the Gaṅgā area).
ii) The next Book 3 refers in III.58.6 to the banks of the Jahnāvī (Gaṅgā) as the "ancient homeland" of the Gods. In III.23.3-4, it remembers the establishment of a perpetual sacred fire by Devavāta, a far ancestor of the Rigvedic king Sudas, at Iḷaspada (in Haryana) on the eastern banks of the Sarasvatī. In III.33, it refers for the first time to the first two easternmost rivers of the Punjab, the Vipāś and Śutudrī, in the context of the militarist expansion in all directions (after a religious ceremony performed at vara ā pṛthivyā in Haryana) by Sudās, and the reference is to his moving from Haryana into the Punjab and crossing the two rivers with his warriors.
iii) The next book 7 (which refers to the Yamunā in VII.18.19) describes (in VII.18, and also 19,33 and 83) the dāśarājña battle (the Battle of the Ten Kings) in which Sudās, fighting from the east on the banks of the third easternmost river of the Punjab, the Paruṣṇī, fights the coalition of ten Anu tribes who are described (in VII.5.3) as the Asiknī people (as they are fighting from the west, from the direction of the fourth easternmost river of the Punjab, the Asiknī).
The three Early Old Books (6,3,7) do not refer to rivers further west.
iv) The Middle Old Book 4 (but not yet the Middle Old Book 2, whose riverine references are restricted to the Sarasvatī) for the first time refers to the Indus (Sindhu) and its western tributaries (Sarayu and Rasā), in clear continuation of the earlier westward movement: it refers (in IV.30.18: which, incidentally, is a Redacted Hymn) to the battle fought by Sahadeva and Somaka, descendants of Sudās, in an area "beyond the Sarayu".
In short, the geography of the Rigveda in the period of the oldest book 6 and in the pre-Rigvedic period [….] is completely restricted to the area to the east of the Sarasvatī river, in Haryana and western U.P., which is regarded as "the ancient homeland". Needless to say, there is not the faintest trace in the Rigveda, even at this point of time [….], of any extra-territorial memories or migrations from the totally unknown far western areas.
c) Even in this oldest period [….], there is not the faintest reference in the Rigveda to any non-Indo-European language speaking (let alone specifically Dravidian or Austric language speaking) people or entities, friend or foe, in the Rigvedic area, past or present, let alone any reference to the "Aryans" having invaded and displaced them.
d) Even in this oldest period [….], the rivers in the Rigvedic area have (undeniably or arguably) purely Indo-European names, with no indication that there ever were any other names. [This is a powerful indication of the indigenous nature of the Vedic Aryans. As Witzel points out: “In Europe, river names were found to reflect the languages spoken before the influx of Indo-European speaking populations. They are thus older than c. 4500-2500 B.C. (depending on the date of the spread of Indo-European languages in various parts of Europe).” (WITZEL 1995a:104-105). But, in sharp contrast, “in northern India rivers in general have early Sanskrit names from the Vedic period, and names derived from the daughter languages of Sanskrit later on". (WITZEL 1995a:105). This is "in spite of the well-known conservatism of river names. This is especially surprising in the area once occupied by the Indus Civilisation where one would have expected the survival of older names, as has been the case in Europe and the Near East. At the least, one would expect a palimpsest, as found in New England with the name of the state of Massachussetts next to the Charles river, formerly called the Massachussetts river, and such new adaptations as Stony Brook, Muddy Creek, Red River, etc., next to the adaptations of Indian names such as the Mississippi and the Missouri”].
In the face of all this clear data in the Rigveda, which shows that the ancestors of Sudās were inhabitants of the areas (in Haryana and eastwards) to the east of the Sarasvati river many generations before Sudās set out on his "trail of conquest", can these Indological papers, which continue to tell us fairy-tales about Sudās starting out "from west to east" from areas beyond (to the west of) the Indus, and about "the Ten Kings battle" opening up "the further path eastward into the Indian core territory, where the Vedic conquerors followed the carriers of the Indus civilization that had been weakened by tectonic and hydrological changes", without finding it necessary to produce an iota of evidence for these claims, be regarded as anything but lies and trash?
III. Common Sense and Logic
This is the state of Western Indology today: the prestigious western Universities, and their respected "scholars", churning out Indological paper after paper full of blatant and brazen trash, completely ignoring the massive historical data in the Rigveda, and retailing centuries-old (and totally discredited) fairy tales about "Vedic conquerors" conquering "non-Aryan indigenous tribes settled on the banks of the Ravi river and belonging to a 'hydraulic' civilization [….] - in other other words: the Indus civilization". To buttress his fairy-tale, Stuhrmann goes a few steps ahead of his colleagues and cites "archeological" evidence about "an unusual high percentage of men, women and children killed by force that are found in the cemeteries and burial pits of late phase Harappa (ch 6)". So he combines his textual "evidence" with archeological "evidence" about Sudās' conquest of "the non-Aryan Indus civilization"!
While books and research papers (such as mine) failing to uphold the "Aryan Invasion Theory" are completely ignored by the western Indologists, such trash is accepted as academically sound scholarship, published in "peer-reviewed" journals, given doctorates, and quoted as gospel truth (or veda-vākya) by official academic circles all over the world, including or especially in the Indian media and academia.
One reason why this happens is because Indian/Hindu/anti-AIT scholarship is divided into umpteen political slots, and the writers and scholars are more busy pandering to their own religious biases, beliefs and prejudices (and those of their devout fans and admirers), or fighting their own personal ego-battles, than they are interested in countering Falsehood with Truth. In fact, the Truth pinches these scholars more than the Lies of the western Indologists. So, until all anti-AIT scholars, and all those sympathetic to the Indian side in the various "clashes of civilization" taking place in India, decide to keep aside their personal biases and prejudices, and adopt a united stance in support of what is True, Sensible and Logical, and in keeping with the facts and data, this supremacy of Lies and Falsehood will continue to prevail in the field of Indological Studies.
WITZEL 1995a: Early Indian History: Linguistic and Textual Parameters. Witzel. Michael. pp. 85-125 in “The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia”, ed. by George Erdosy. Walter de Gruyter. Berlin, 1995.
WITZEL 1995b: Rgvedic History: Poets, Chieftains and Politics. Witzel, Michael. pp. 307-352 in “The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia”, ed. by George Erdosy. Walter de Gruyter. Berlin.