The Rigveda and the Aryan Theory: A Rational Perspective
THE FULL OUT-OF-INDIA CASE IN SHORT
Shrikant Gangadhar Talageri
[This was originally a paper presented at the ICHR conference in New Delhi in 2018 - yet unpublished. The world is now in a totally unprecedented state of flux, where almost nothing seems to matter anymore. No-one knows what will happen tomorrow. So I am uploading the article on my blogspot. The full piece is a bit long, so it may be described as a book rather than an article.
Here I have slightly modified and corrected the article, and significantly expanded it, with two major appendix sections containing important new evidence from my two other articles, "The Elephant and the Proto-Indo-European Homeland" and "India's Unique Place in the World of Numbers and Numerals", to present in one place THE FULL CASE FOR THE OUT-OF-INDIA THEORY].
[A small addition to section V. has been added on 29/3/2020].
[Edited on 3/4/2020 to correct the lists of geographical references]
The Rigveda is the oldest extant recorded text in India, and in fact in the entire Indo-European world. Its importance in etching out the earliest history of Indian Civilization as well as Indo-European history is uncontestable. And this fact is recognized across the entire academic world of Indian Historiography.
However, there are strong differences of opinion as to what exactly the Rigveda has to tell us about this ancient-most history, and what exactly the position of the Rigveda and the "Vedic Aryans" (the composers of the Rigveda) is in this history.
There are two major perspectives on this matter:
1. The Aryan-Invaders perspective, which treats the Vedic Aryans as an invader race in India. The period of history represented in the Vedic texts is represented as a decisive break in the continuity in Indian history, where an earlier culture (the "Harappan" or "Indus Valley" culture) was almost completely supplanted by a new culture (primarily language and religion) brought in by groups of invaders/immigrants called "Aryans" coming from outside India around 1500 BCE.
2. The Indigenous-Aryans perspective, which treats the Vedic Aryans as indigenous people, whose culture contains the oldest, and indigenous, seeds and roots of the whole of Indian Civilization (and, in extreme cases, even of World Civilization).
The Aryan-Invaders perspective is based on the discovery made by European scholars in the colonial period that the major languages of northern India are related to the languages of Iran, Central Asia and Europe. Linguistic studies in the last few centuries established that these languages together belong to a "language family", which has been given the name "Indo-European" (formerly called "Aryan", since the composers of the two oldest Indo-European language texts, the Indian Rigveda and the Iranian Avesta, called themselves ārya/airya).
The languages of northern India (Kashmiri, Punjabi, Sindhi, Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Gujarati, Marathi, etc., as well as Nepali and Sinhalese) belong to the Indo-Aryan branch of Indo-European languages, of which Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest recorded language.
The other languages of India belong to five distinct other language families: Dravidian (Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, etc.), Austric (Santali, Mundari, Nicobarese, Khasi, etc.), Sino-Tibetan (Ladakhi, Lepcha, Meitei, Garo, Naga languages, etc), Burushaski and Andamanese.
These Indo-European languages are divided into twelve branches: Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Greek, Anatolian, Armenian, Tocharian, Iranian and Indo-Aryan. Two of these, Anatolian (mainly the Hittite language) and Tocharian, are extinct, and known only through archaeological and textual references and records. The linguistic evidence shows that the speakers of the ancestral, or proto-, forms of these twelve branches lived together in one geographical space before they started separating from each other around 3000 BCE or so.
Linguists and philologists attempting to arrive at the geographical location of this ancestral area, the Original Homeland of the Indo-European languages, concluded in an almost general consensus that this original area was in South Russia:
a) From this arose the conclusion that the Indo-Aryan languages, or the oldest known (and presumed to be ancestral) Vedic Sanskrit language, must have come into India from outside.
b) The date of this hypothetical arrival of the Indo-Aryan languages into India was calculated at 1500 BCE and the composition of the Rigveda (the oldest text of the vast and entirely pre-Buddhist Vedic literature) at 1200-1000 BCE, by calibrating the date of their presumed exit from South Russia (around 3000 BCE) with the date of their securely known and recorded indigenous presence all over northern India (600 BCE or the period of the Buddha).
c) The Harappan sites were discovered in the early twentieth century. Their archaeological dating was as early as 3500 BCE (with roots going further back) and there was a slow archaeological demise of this culture after 1800 BCE. The writings found on artifacts found in these sites have not been deciphered, but were interpreted to mean that this was a different and linguistically unidentified "pre-Aryan" culture which was supplanted after 1500 BCE by the culture of the "invading Aryans".
d) All this led to the AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory) perspective of interpreting the Rigveda as the oldest record of the early days of the Aryan invaders in their first outpost in northwestern India before they spread out all over northern India. The Iranian Avesta represented an almost parallel culture to that of the Rigveda. This led to the further theory that two of the twelve branches of Indo-European languages, Indo-Aryan and Iranian, migrated together from South Russia around 3000 BCE or so, and settled down together for a considerable period in Central Asia (where they developed the culture common to the Rigveda and the Avesta) before they separated from each other. The Indo-Aryans subsequently entered into the SaptaSindhava area (Greater Punjab, or present-day northern Pakistan) where they composed their first text, the Rigveda.
This approach suffers from many very grave flaws. To point out the most obvious ones:
1. There is no archaeological or textual/inscriptional record of the Proto-Indo-European or the Rigvedic language or culture anywhere outside India: neither in South Russia, nor in Central Asia, nor in any of the areas on the routes leading from South Russia to Central Asia or Central Asia to the SaptaSindhava area.
2. The Rigveda does not contain even the faintest hint of any extra-territorial memories: there is no reference to areas outside the Indian sphere, let alone any reference to such areas as being ancestral areas from where they migrated into India. On the contrary, the hymns of the Rigveda show that the composers considered themselves native to the Vedic area, to which they show great sentimental attachment.
3. The Rigveda is supposed to be the earliest text composed by Indo-European language speaking people newly arrived into an originally non-Indo-European language area, the site of a great ancient Civilization, the Harappan Civilization. But it does not refer to a single individual or entity, friend or foe, who can be identified linguistically as Dravidian, Austric or Burushaski, or anything linguistically non-Indo-European. Let alone refer to conflicts with such individuals or entities, let alone hint that such individuals or entities are natives of the area while the composers of the hymns themselves are not.
4. Even at that point of time, the local rivers and local animals mentioned in the Rigveda have Indo-European (Indo-Aryan) names, and definitely not Dravidian/Austric/Burushaski/etc. names, an unparalleled circumstance in any alleged invasion/migration scenario anywhere in the world.
5. The invasion/migration scenario and the alleged subsequent post-Rigvedic "Aryan" expansion into and colonisation of the rest of northern India is totally unsupported by the post-Rigvedic texts and traditional Sanskrit historical traditions, or by the traditions of any non-Indo-European language speaking community in India.
6. The whole process of squeezing the Indo-Aryan history in India (as derivable from the textual and archaeological evidence) from the pre-Rigvedic stage to the date of the Buddha into a period of a thousand years or so has a very sharp aura of utter unreality and incompatibility with the facts.
In spite of all this, the AIT is still taught in India, and in the rest of the world, as an established historical narrative. Apart from the more obvious factors (international academic pressure, the power of the established leftist academia in India with their virulent anti-Hindu bias, and the compulsions of political vested interests, all "buttressed by the weight of two centuries of scholarship" ERDOSY 1995:x), one reason for this is that the anti-AIT narrative in India also suffers from two fundamental flaws:
1. It firmly ignores or rejects the fact that the Vedic Indo-Aryan language belongs to just one of many distinct branches of a distinct language family (Indo-European: distinct from other Indian languages belonging to other language families like Dravidian and Austric), or else it tries to derive all the Indo-European languages of the world (and even the Dravidian and other non-Indo-European languages within India) from the Vedic language.
2. It equally firmly ignores the fact that the geographical data in the Rigveda shows that the "Vedic Aryans" occupied a space restricted to only a portion of northern India (from western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the east to the border areas of Afghanistan in the west), and that this shows there were other (than "Vedic Aryan") people living in the rest of northern India during the Rigvedic period. And that the expanding geographical horizon of post-Rigvedic texts shows some kind of historical phenomenon.
In fact, the opponents of the AIT are united with the proponents of the AIT in treating the Vedic language and culture as some form of "ancestral" culture to the rest of Indian or Hindu Civilization: treating, for example, the present-day "Aryan" languages of northern India, as well as religious and other elements in Hinduism not found in the Rigveda or in the other Samhitas, as "later" developments from the Vedic language, religion and culture. Such an approach actually leaves no scope for any other logical interpretation of the facts other than the AIT scenario itself.
Hence, in order to arrive at the most rational and accurate perspective on India's most ancient history, it is necessary to understand:
I. The Exact Identity of the "Vedic Aryans".
II. The Actual Date of the Rigveda.
III. The Geographical Evidence of the Data in the text.
IV. The History of the Emigration of the other Indo-European branches.
V. The Nature of the Spread of the Vedic Religion in India.
My two newer articles, "India's Unique Place in the World of Numbers and Numerals", and "The Elephant and the Proto-Indo-European Homeland" contain extremely important and conclusive new evidence for the Out-of-India Theory. I will attach two appendices giving summaries of this evidence.
VI. Appendix 1: The Evidence of the Indo-European Numbers.
VII. Appendix 2: The Evidence of Animal and Plant Names.
I. The Exact Identity of the "Vedic Aryans"
The Vedic Aryans, as per the AIT, entered northwestern India from further northwest into a totally non-Indo-European land. They linguistically and culturally supplanted the original inhabitants of this area (the "Harappans"). They then composed the hymns of the Rigveda in this area (variously referred to as "SaptaSindhava" or "The Land of the Seven Rivers", or "the Greater Punjab", i.e. mainly present-day Northern Pakistan), and later spread deeper into the rest of India and soon colonized and established their language, religion and culture over the whole of northern India. Their (Vedic Sanskrit) language developed into the modern Indo-Aryan languages and their Vedic religion into modern Hinduism.
The opponents of the AIT reject the earlier parts of the above theory, and treat the Vedic Aryans as indigenous people identical with the Harappans.
But they also treat the Vedic language, religion and culture as ancestral to the modern Indo-Aryan languages and to modern Hinduism.
They do this by ignoring or denying the evidence of the geographical data in the Rigveda. Since the geography of the Rigveda is restricted to westernmost U.P. and Haryana and areas further west and northwest, in effect their approach also, even when it does not expressly say so, treats the Vedic Aryans as people who later spread deeper into India from the northwest (although from within India) and soon colonized and established their language, religion and culture over the whole of an originally non-Indo-European northern India. But is this what the textual evidence actually shows?
The Puranas start their traditional history with the mythical ancestral king, Manu Vaivasvata, ruling over the whole of India, and dividing the land between his ten sons. However the detailed narrative in the Puranas is restricted primarily to the Indian area to the north of the Vindhyas, and they concentrate only on the history of the descendants of two sons: Ikṣvāku and Iḷa. The tribes descended from Ikṣvāku are said to belong to the Solar Race, and the tribes descended from Iḷa are said to belong to the Lunar Race. The history of the descendants of the other eight sons of Manu is either totally missing, or they are perfunctorily mentioned in confused myths in between narratives involving the Aikṣvākus and the Aiḷas. As per both the AIT and the Indigenous Aryans perspectives, all these numerous eponymous tribes are sections among, or descendants of, the Vedic Aryans.
However, an examination of the geographical data in the Puranas gives us a clear picture: the tribes described as descended from Ikṣvāku lived in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The descendants of Iḷa were divided into five main conglomerates of tribes (mythically treated in the later narratives as descended from the five sons of Yayāti, a descendant of Iḷa):
a) the Pūru tribes in the area of Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh,
b) the Anu tribes to their North in the areas of Kashmir and the areas to its immediate west,
c) the Druhyu tribes to the West in the areas of the Greater Punjab,
d) the Yadu tribes to the Southwest in the areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan and western Madhya Pradesh,
e) and the Turvasu tribes to the Southeast (in unidentified and unspecified areas to the east of the Yadu tribes).
The Puranas fail to give details of the history and even the precise geography of the other eight sons of Manu, as well as of the Turvasu tribes (who are generally mentioned in tandem with the more important Yadu tribes). The main concentration of Puranic (and the Epic and other later traditional) narrative is on the history of the northern tribes, the Pūru and the Ikṣvāku, and the Yadu tribes to their southwest. The early history of the Druhyu tribes is given, but later they disappear from the horizon (for reasons that we will see presently) and the history of the Anu tribes occupies a comparatively secondary space in the Puranas (again for obvious reasons, as we will see).
Does the Rigvedic data confirm this scenario of "Vedic Aryans" being ancestral to all these various Puranic groups, or of all these various Puranic groups being component sections among the "Vedic Aryans"? The first scenario is ruled out, because the Rigveda does already refer to these various Puranic tribal groups as distinct groups. The second situation is also ruled out, because the Rigvedic data shows that the "Vedic Aryans" constitute only one among these various tribal groups: the Pūru. It must be noted, to begin with, that the Pūru, as per the Puranic descriptions, originally occupied exactly the same geographical space which is the core area of the Oldest Books of the Rigveda (Books 6,3 and 7): the area of Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.
The Rigvedic data shows that the Pūru were the "Vedic Aryans", and the composers of the Rigveda were their particular sub-tribe the Bharata Pūru, who were the inhabitants of the core Rigvedic area of the Oldest Books (6,3,7): Haryana and adjacent areas. Their neighboring tribes and people in all directions were the other non-Vedic (i.e. non-Pūru), but "Aryan" or Indo-European language speaking, tribes.
The Pūru expansions described in the Puranas explain all the known historical phenomena associated with the "Aryans":
a) the expansion of Pūru kingdoms eastwards (Panchala, Kashi, Magadha) explains the phenomenon which Western scholars interpreted as an "Aryan expansion into India from west to east": the area of the Rigveda extending eastwards to Haryana and westernmost U.P., the area of the Yajurveda extending further eastwards to cover the whole of U.P., and the area of the Atharvaveda extending even further eastwards up to Bengal,
b) and the Pūru expansion westwards described in the Puranas and the Rigveda was the catalyst for the migration of Indo-European language speakers from among the Anu and Druhyu tribes (whose dialects later developed into the other eleven branches of Indo-European languages) from India.
The Rigveda frequently refers to the "panchajana" or the "Five Tribes", i.e. the five Aiḷa tribes: Druhyu, Anu, Pūru, Yadu, Turvasu, who are named together in I.108.8. Five of the specific references are in the form of enumerations (as we would say: "Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravid, Utkal, Banga…") or in the sense of directional references ("Kashmir to Kanyakumari.."): I.47.7; 108.8; VI.46.8; VIII.4.1; 10.5. However, note how the other (than these six) specific references to the six tribes make the identities very clear:
1. The word Ikṣvāku occurs only once (in X.60.4) as an epithet of the Sun.
2. The Yadu and Turvasu (Turvaṣa in the Rigveda) are mentioned many times (i.e. in 19 hymns). But almost every time (i.e. in as many as 15 hymns) they are mentioned together (as one groups together outsiders or distant peoples from one direction or general area: as an insular Maharashtrian in Mumbai, for example, would use phrases like "U.P.-Biharwale", "Gujarati-Marwadi", "Punjabi-Sindhi", or "Chini-Japani", or else "Madrasi" or "Kanadi" to encompass all South Indians, etc.). What is more, they are named mostly in references to two specific historical incidents which specifically describe them as living "far away" and having to cross several rivers to reach the Vedic area; and they sometimes figure as allies and sometimes as enemies.
3. The Druhyu are only mentioned thrice in a single hymn (VII.18), and there they are enemies of the composers of the hymn. The Anu are mentioned in 4 hymns: in the two more specific of them (VI.62; VII.18, both in the Old Books), they also are enemies of the composers of the hymns. In the other two more general references (V.31; VIII.74 both in the New Books), the word Anu is used as a synonym for the Bhṛgu priests who originated the fire-sacrifice (Bhṛgu also figure as enemies in VII.18).
4. In contrast with all this, the Pūru are found referred to throughout the Rigveda in the first-person sense. They are the "We" of the Rigveda: in IV.38.1 and VI.20.10, the Pūru are directly identified with the first person plural pronoun. All the Vedic Gods are identified as the Gods of the Pūru: Agni is described as being like a cooling “fountain” to the Pūru (X.4.1), as a “priest” who drives away the sins of the Pūru (I.129.5), the Hero who is worshipped by the Pūru (I.59.6), the protector of the sacrifices of the Pūru (V.17.1), and the destroyer of enemy castles for the Pūru (VII.5.3). Mitra and Varuṇa are described as affording special aid in battle and war to the Pūru, in the form of powerful allies and steeds (IV.38.1,3; 39.2). Indra is described as the God to whom the Pūru sacrifice in order to gain new favours (VI.20.10) and for whom the Pūru shed Soma (VIII.64.10). Indra gives freedom to the Pūru by slaying their enemies (IV.21.10), helps the Pūru in battle (VII.19.3), and breaks down enemy castles for the Pūru (I.63.7; 130.7; 131.4). He even addresses the Pūru, and asks them to sacrifice to him alone, promising in return his friendship, protection and generosity (X.48.5), in a manner reminiscent of the Biblical God’s “covenant” with the "People of the Book", the Jews. In VIII.10.5, the Aśvins are asked to leave the other four tribes (the Druhyu, Anu, Yadu and Turvasu, all of whom are specifically named) and come to "us".
a) The area of the Sarasvatī river was the heartland of the Vedic Aryans. It was so important that it is the only river to have three whole hymns (apart from references in 52 other verses) in its praise: VI.61; VII.95 and 96. Sarasvatī is also one of the three Great Goddesses praised in the āprī sūktas (family hymns) of all the ten families of composers of the Ṛigveda. As per the testimony of the Rigveda, the Sarasvatī was a purely Pūru river, running through Pūru territory, with Pūru dwelling on both sides of the river: “the Pūru dwell, Beauteous One, on thy two grassy banks” (VII.96.2).
b) The identity of the Pūru with the Vedic Aryans is so unmistakable, that the line between “Pūru” and “man” is almost non-existent in the Rigveda: Griffith, for example, sees fit to directly translate the word Pūru as “man” in at least five verses: I.129.5; 131.4; IV.21.10; V.171.1 and X.4.1. In one verse (VIII.64.10), the Rigveda itself identifies the Pūru with “mankind”: “Pūrave […] mānave jane”. The Rigveda actually coins a word pūru-ṣa/puru-ṣa (descendant of Pūru), on the analogy of the word manu-ṣa (descendant of Manu), for “man”. In his footnote to I.59.2, Griffith notes: "Pūru's sons: men in general, Pūru being regarded as their progenitor", and again, in his footnote to X.48.5, Griffith notes: "Ye Pūru: 'O men' - Wilson", and likewise in his footnotes to VII.5.3 and X.4.1.
c) The identity of the Pūru with the Vedic Aryans is impossible to miss: Prof. Michael Witzel points out that it is “the Pūru, to whom (and to ... the Bharata) the Ṛigveda really belongs” (WITZEL 1995b:313), and affirms that the Rigveda was “composed primarily by the Pūrus and Bharatas” (WITZEL 1995b:328), and notes that the Bharatas were “a subtribe” (WITZEL 1995b:339) of the Pūru. Southworth even identifies the Vedic Aryans linguistically and archaeologically with the Pūru.
d) The only two unfriendly references to the Pūru, in this case clearly to sections of non-Bharata Pūru who entered into conflict with the Bharata clan or sub-tribe who are the Vedic Aryans proper of the Rigveda (especially during the period of the Family Books, after which the Rigveda becomes a general Pūru text), are in VII.8.4 which talks about “Bharata’s Agni” conquering the (other) Pūru, and VII.18.3 which talks about conquering “in sacrifice” the scornful Pūru (who failed to come to the aid of the Bharatas in the Battle of the Ten Kings. According to many scholars, the other Pūru were actually allies of the Bharatas in the war and the verse refers to a dispute over sharing of the "spoils"!). The Bharatas are undoubtedly the unqualified heroes of the hymns in the Family Books 2-7 (all but one of the references to the Bharatas appear only in the Family Books: I.96.3; II.7.1,5; 36.2; III.23.2; 33.11,12; 53.12,24; IV.25.4; V.11.1; 54.14; VI.16.19,45; VII.8.4; 33.6): in many of these verses even the Gods are referred to as Bharatas: Agni in I.96.3, II.7.1,5; IV.25.4 and VI.16.19, and the Maruts in II.36.2. In other verses, Agni is described as belonging to the Bharatas: III.23.2; V.11.1; VI.16.45 and VII.8.4. There is not a single reference in the whole of the Rigveda even faintly hostile to them.
i) The deity (Bhāratī) of the Bharata subtribe of the Pūru is one of the three Great Goddesses (like Sarasvatī) praised in the family hymns of all the ten families of composers in the Rigveda: the third Great Goddess is the ancestral Iḷā.
ii) While nine of those ten families of composers are priestly families, the tenth is a family exclusively consisting of composers from the royal dynasty of the Bharata subtribe of the Pūru, whose āprī sūkta is X.70.
f) But most significant of all is the use of the word ārya in the Rigveda. The word ārya (which everyone acknowledges to be the word by which the Vedic people referred to themselves) is used in the Rigveda in the sense of "belonging to our community/tribe". It is used only in reference to Bharata kings like Sudās and Divodāsa, never in reference to non-Pūru kings. Non-Pūru patrons (mainly in the dānastuti hymns of the Atri and Kaṇva rishis) are never called ārya. Even when non-Pūru kings like Mandhātā, Purukutsa and Trasadasyu are praised to the skies (Trasadasyu is even called a "demi-god" or "ardha-deva" in IV.42.8-9), it is only because of the help rendered by them to the Pūru (this help is referred to in I.63.7; IV.38.1, VI.20.10; VII.19.3), and they themselves are never called ārya. And the Rigveda even clearly indicates that ārya is a synonym for Pūru, in I.59.2 (vis-a-vis I.59.6 in the same hymn) and VII.5.6 (vis-a-vis VII.5.3 in the same hymn).
The word ārya is found in 34 hymns, of which 28 are composed by composers belonging either to the Bharata family or the two priestly families directly affiliated to them, the Angiras and Vasiṣṭha, and 2 more by the Viśvamitra rishis, who were also affiliated to the Bharata king Sudās before being supplanted by the eponymous Vasiṣṭha. One more within the Family Books is by the Gṛtsamada (note that the Gṛtsamada are descended from an Angiras rishi).
Only 3 hymns are by rishis not affiliated to the Bharatas, and the references to ārya in those three hymns are interesting as they demonstrate the neutrality of the composers vis-à-vis the Bharata Pūru: One hymn (IX.63) is by a composer from the most neutral and apolitical family of rishis in the Rigveda, the Kaśyapa, and the word ārya is used twice in the hymn in the only case in the whole of the Rigveda where the word has a purely abstract meaning ("pure") rather than any personal or tribal meaning. The other two hymns are by the Kaṇva, who (alongwith the Atri) are politically active rishis not affiliated solely to the Vedic Aryans (Bharatas and Pūru) but closely associated with other tribes as well. Consequently, in one reference (VIII.51.9), the Kaṇva composer expresses (his) neutrality between ārya and dāsa (i.e. between the Pūru and Other Tribes); but in the other (VIII.103.2), even the unaffiliated Kaṇva composer of this hymn uses the word ārya only in reference to the Bharata king Divodāsa.
Most interesting of all:
i) 9 (IV.30, VI.22,33,60, VII.83, X.38,69,83,102) of the above 34 hymns refer to ārya as enemies (8 of them jointly to ārya and dāsa enemies)! All the nine hymns are by Bharata composers or the two families of rishis closely affiliated to them, the Angiras and Vasiṣṭha.
ii) Further, 7 more hymns (I.100,111, IV.4, VI.19,25,44, X.69) refer to jāmi (kinsmen) and ajāmi (non-kinsmen) enemies, all 7 being composed by the Bharata and Angiras.
iii) And one more (X.133), by a Bharata composer, refers to sanābhi (kinsmen) and niṣṭya (non-kinsmen) enemies. In addition, one more (VI.75), by an Angiras, likewise refers to sva araṇa (hostile kinsmen) and niṣṭya (non-kinsmen) enemies.
This has no logical explanation in AIT interpretation except to say that the Aryans "must also have fought amongst themselves". But the pattern of references makes the actual explanation clear: it is Bharata (Pūru) as the Vedic ārya fighting against (non-Bharata) Pūru as the enemy ārya. Finally, the Rigveda itself makes this clear when it tells us in the Viśvamitra hymn III.53 (which records the aśvamedha performed by Sudās on the eastern banks of the Sarasvatī, after which he is described as expanding his kingdom in all directions) that it is the Bharata who, when they set out to do battle, do not differentiate between those who are close to them (i.e. kinsmen) and those who are distant from them (non-kinsmen).
Note: There are only 19 hymns in the Rigveda (out of a total of 1028 hymns) composed by composers from the Bharata family. But 3 out of 34 hymns in the Rigveda which use the word ārya, 2 out of 9 hymns in the Rigveda which refer to "both ārya and dāsa enemies", 1 out of 7 hymns in the Rigveda which refer to "jāmi and ajāmi enemies", and the only hymn which refers to "sanābhi and niṣṭya enemies", are by Bharata composers.
The evidence is very clear: The Pūru ̶ and only the Pūru ̶ and particularly the Bharata Pūru from among them, are the "Vedic Aryans", composers of the Rigveda and speakers of the Vedic dialect (the "Indo-Aryan" of the linguists). And the other tribes named in the Puranas are logically not "Vedic Aryans", but they are speakers of non-Vedic Indo-European languages. The other tribes find mention in the Pūru Rigveda only in the same way as the non-Jewish tribes of Palestine, and the Egyptians, Hittites, Babylonians and Persians, are mentioned in the Jewish Tanakh (Old Testament).
II. The Actual Date of the Rigveda
The compulsions of the linguistic data compel the linguists to postulate that the "Vedic Aryans" entered India as intruders (whether invaders or immigrants) only around or after 1500 BCE, and composed the Rigveda between 1500 BCE and 1200 BCE. The linguistic data shows that speakers of all the twelve branches of Indo-European languages were together in the Original PIE (Proto-Indo-European) Homeland (wherever it be located) till around 3000 BCE, and only started separating from each other and migrating from that Homeland after or around that point. As per the AIT, this Homeland was in South Russia. At the same time, the securely dated archaeological and textual evidence from around the period of the Buddha (600 BCE or so) shows that the Indo-Aryan languages were definitely well established and spoken by local people all over northern India at that time. Achieving a balance between these two dates compels the date of intrusion to be fixed at 1500 BCE: the fact that the Iron Age commenced in northern India by 1200 BCE (although the latest evidence now takes this date back by several centuries), and that the Rigveda is clearly a pre-Iron-Age text, also prevents the postulation of a later date.
The oldest datable and decipherable material or inscriptional evidence for the definite established presence of Indo-Aryan (Indo-European) languages in northern India is represented by the inscriptions of Ashoka (269-232 BCE). This gives the proponents of the AIT the freedom to postulate this speculative as-late-as-possible date for the invasion post-1500 BCE. A significantly earlier date would automatically disprove the South Russian Homeland theory (since it would be difficult to callibrate such an early date for the totally locally-oriented Rigveda with the postulated departure from South Russia around 3000 BCE) and would prove that India itself is the Original Homeland.
Till the beginning of the twentieth century, the only contemporary external (non-Indian) source for any data to be compared with that of the Rigveda was the Iranian Avesta. But this text also shared the Rigveda's characteristic of having been orally transmitted during the earlier part of its existence, and was hence not datable on the basis of material inscriptions. But in the early twentieth century, it was discovered on the basis of datable records in West Asia that the Mitanni rulers of Syria-Iraq from around 1500 BCE were of "Indo-Aryan" origin. Their established presence in West Asia more than 200 years even earlier before that completely skewed the established consensus about the date of the Rigveda. However, this was sought to be adjusted within the AIT by postulating that the Mitanni Indo-Aryans separated from the main (i.e. Vedic) Indo-Aryans as well as the Iranians in Central Asia well before 1500 BCE in a pre-Rigvedic period. They migrated westwards into West Asia; while the proto-Vedic Indo-Aryans, later, migrated into northwestern India, and the proto-Iranians into Afghanistan, where they, later and separately, composed the Rigveda and the Avesta respectively.
The dated Mitanni records of the mid-second millennium BCE, therefore provide the first and the only datable material inscriptional evidence for the computation of "Indo-Iranian" chronology. But what does this computation show? Does it show that the recorded Mitanni Indo-Aryan data is of the pre-Rigvedic Indo-Aryan stage, as the AIT proponents insist it does?
The Rigveda consists of 10 Books or Maṇḍalas, numbered 1 to 10, containing different numbers of hymns and verses: the total number of hymns is 1028, and the number of verses is 10552. The Books belong to different periods, but the Indologists studying the internal chronology of the Books are unanimous in classifying 6 Books, the Family Books 2-7, as being older than the 4 non-Family Books 1, 8-10. Again, among the Family Books, it is agreed that Book 5 is closer to the non-Family Books than to the other five Family Books. Thus we get two categories of Books: the 5 Early/Old Books 2,3,4,6,7, and the 5 Late/New Books 1,5,8,9,10. The Early/Old Books include Old hymns and verses, as well as Redacted hymns and verses (i.e. hymns which were added, edited or modified during a later period, at the time of inclusion of the New Books, as per the Indologists). The number of Hymns and verses in the three categories is as follows:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 280 Hymns, 2351 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 62 Hymns, 890 verses.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 686 Hymns, 7311 verses.
A. THE MITANNI DATA:
If the classification of the Mitanni culture as representing a pre-Rigvedic stage of "Indo-Aryan" culture is correct, then the elements common to the Rigveda and the Mitanni (and also the Avesta) should be found in the greatest numbers in the Old Books of the Rigveda (which would be closest in time to the connection with the proto-Mitanni Indo-Aryans), should become less frequent in the New Books (with the passage of time and increase of distance from the proto-Mitanni Indo-Aryans and the Iranians) and least frequent in the post-Rigvedic texts. However, we find exactly the opposite case, i.e. a huge mass of common elements is completely missing in the Old Hymns in the Old Books, found a few times in the Redacted Hymns in the Old Books (which were edited in the period of the New Books), but found in abundance in the New Books and in post-Rigvedic texts and later literature:
The common Vedic-Mitanni elements consist of names having the following prefixes and suffixes: -aśva, -ratha, -sena, -bandhu, -uta, vasu-, ṛta-, priya-, and (as per the analysis of the Indologist P.E.Dumont), also bṛhad-, sapta-, abhi-, uru-, citra-, -kṣatra, yama/yami-. There is also the word maṇi, "bead/ornament".
A1. Composer Names:
The following is the distribution of names with these prefixes and suffixes among the composers of hymns in the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 108 Hymns.
V. 3-6, 24-26, 46, 47, 52-61, 81-82 (21 hymns).
I. 12-23, 100 (13 hymns).
VIII. 1-5, 23-26, 32-38, 46, 68-69, 87, 89-90, 98-99 (24 hymns).
IX. 2, 27-29, 32, 41-43, 97 (9 hymns).
X. 14-29, 37, 46-47, 54-60, 65-66, 75, 102-103, 118, 120, 122, 132, 134, 135, 144, 154, 174, 179 (41 hymns).
Not a single hymn in the Old Books is composed by a composer with names with these prefixes and suffixes.
A2. References Within the Hymns:
The following is the distribution of names with these prefixes and suffixes, and the word maṇi, in references within the hymns of the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 2 Hymns, 2 verses.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 78 Hymns, 128 verses.
VII.33.9 (1 hymn, 1 verse and name).
IV.30.18 (1 hymn, 1 verse and name).
V.19.3; 27.4,5,6; 33.9; 36.6; 44.10; 52.1; 61.5,10; 79.2; 81.5 (9 hymns, 12 verses and names).
I.33.8; 35.6; 36.10,11,17,18; 38.5; 45.3,4; 83.5; 100.16,17; 112.10,15,20; 116.2,6,16; 117.17,18; 122.7,13,14; 139.9; 163.2; 164.46 (14 hymns, 26 verses and names).
VIII.1.30,30,32; 2.37,40; 3.16; 4.20; 5.25; 6.45; 8.18,20; 9.10; 21.17,18; 23.16,23,24; 24.14,22,23,28,29; 26.9,11; 32.30; 33.4; 34.16; 35.19,20,21; 36.7; 37.7; 38.8; 46.21,33; 49.9; 51.1,1; 68.15,16; 69.8,18; 86.17 87.3 (24 hymns, 42 verses and 44 names).
IX.43.3; 65.7 (2 hymns, 2 verses and names).
X.10.7,9,13,14; 12.6; 13.4; 14.1,5,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15; 15.8; 16.9; 17.1; 18.13; 21.5; 33.7; 47.6; 49.6; 51.3; 52.3; 58.1; 59.8; 60.7,10; 61.26; 64.3; 73.11; 80.3; 92.11; 97.16; 98.5,6,8; 123.6; 132.7,7; 135.17; 154.4,5; 165.4 (29 hymns, 46 verses and 47 names).
The only references in the Old Books are in two Redacted Hymns.
The above evidence is not partial or ambiguous. It is clear and sweeping: the elements of the culture common to the Rigveda and the Mitanni are not pre-Rigvedic (formed during some hypothetical period in Central Asia before the "arrival" of the Indo-Aryans "into" India). They are Late Rigvedic, i.e. they belong to the period of composition of the New Books.
B. THE AVESTAN DATA:
But this common culture is not just a Vedic-Mitanni culture: it is a Vedic-Mitanni-Iranian culture. So let us examine the provenance of the common Vedic-Avestan names and name types in the Rigveda, to see whether the Iranian evidence also shows this to be a late Vedic culture developed in the period of the New Books of the Rigveda. The Avestan data available is much more massive than the Mitanni data available, and includes other important data including hosts of other common words, as well as metres, etc.:
The common Vedic-Avestan names and name types include not only names with the prefixes and suffixes found in the Mitanni records already considered earlier except -uta (i.e. -aśva, -ratha, -sena, -bandhu, vasu-, ṛta-, priya-, and, as per the analysis of the Indologist P.E.Dumont, bṛhad-, sapta-, abhi-, uru-, citra-,-kṣatra and yama/yami-) and the word maṇi, but also names with the prefixes and suffixes aśva-, ratha-, ṛṇa-, -citra, pras-, ṛṣṭi-, -ayana, dvi-, aṣṭa-, -anti, ūrdhva-, ṛjū-, -gu, saṁ-, svar-, -manas, śavas-, -stuta, śūra-, sthūra-, vidad-, nṛ-, pṛṣad-, prati-, -śardha, pṛthu-, jarat-, maya-, hari-, -śruta, śyāva-, -toṣa, -tanu, -rocis, -vanta/-manta, -kratu, etc., and the following names: Ghora, Āptya, Atharva, Uśīnara, Avasyu, Budha, Ṛkṣa, Gandharva, Gaya, Sumāyā, Kṛpa, Kṛṣṇa, Māyava, Śāsa, Traitana, Urukṣaya, Nābhānediṣṭha, Vṛṣṇi, Vaivasvat, Virāṭ, etc., as well as a few words common to the Rigveda and Avesta which are found only as words in the Rigveda but as words as well as in names in the Avesta or vice versa (such as prāṇa, kumbha, śepa, etc., and the names of certain animals). Also, there are numerous other words, listed by earlier Indologists (like Hopkins) and present-day Indologists (like Lubotsky and Witzel), which are peculiar to only the Indo-Aryan and Iranian branches and are not found in the other IE languages. These include the following prominent words: āśā, gandha/gandhi, kadrū, sūcī, tiṣya, phāla, saptaṛṣi, mūjavat, stukā, ambhas, samā, strī, tokman, evathā, udara, kṣīra, sthūṇa, chāga, kapota, vṛkka, śanaih, pṛdāku, bhaṅga, parṣa, pavasta, dvīpa. Also the words gāthā and bīja.
B1. Composer Names:
The following is the distribution of names with these prefixes and suffixes among the composers of hymns in the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 1 Hymn, 3 verses (last 3 of the 18 verses in the hymn).
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 309 Hymns, 3389 verses.
III.36.16,17,18 (1 hymn, 3 verses).
V.1, 3-6, 9, 10, 20, 24-26, 31, 33-36, 44, 46-49, 52-62, 67, 68, 73-75, 81, 82 (39 hymns, 362 verses).
I.12-30, 36-43, 44-50, 99, 100, 105, 116-139 (61 hymns, 710 verses).
VIII.1-5, 10, 14, 15, 23-38, 43-51, 53, 55-58, 62, 68, 69, 75, 80, 85-87, 89, 90, 92, 97-99 (52 hymns, 878 verses).
IX.2, 3, 5-24, 27-29, 32-36, 41-43, 53-60, 63, 64, 68, 72, 80-82, 91, 92, 94, 95, 97, 99-103, 111, 113, 114 (62 hymns, 547 verses).
X.1-10, 13-29, 37, 42-47, 54-66, 72, 75-78, 90, 96-98, 101-104, 106, 109, 111-115, 118, 120, 122, 128, 130, 132, 134, 135, 137, 139, 144, 147, 148, 151, 152, 154, 157, 163, 166, 168, 170, 172, 174, s175, 179, 186, 188, 191 (95 hymns, 892 verses).
The only hymn in the Old Books whose composer has a name with any of these prefixes or suffixes is III.36 (in fact, only the last 3 verses out of 18 in this hymn), a Redacted Hymn, classified in the Aitareya Brahmana VI.18 as a late addition into the Old Book 3.
B2. References Within the Hymns:
The following is the distribution of names with these prefixes and suffixes, and the other common Vedic-Avestan or "Indo-Iranian" words, within the hymns of the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 14 Hymns, 20 verses.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 225 Hymns, 434 verses.
VI.15.17; 16.13,14; 47.24 (3 hymns, 4 verses and names).
III.38.6; 53.21 (2 hymns, 2 verses and names).
VII.33.9,12,13; 55.8,8; 59.12; 104.24 (4 hymns, 6 verses, 7 names).
IV.30.8,18; 37.7; 57.7,8 (3 hymns, 5 verses and names).
II.32.8; 41.5,12 (2 hymns, 3 verses and names).
V.10.3,6; 18.2; 19.3,3; 27.1,4,5,6; 30.9,12,14; 31.10; 33.9,10; 34.8; 35.4; 36.3,6; 41.5,9; 44.5,10,10,10,11,11,12,12; 45.11; 52.1; 53.13; 54.13; 61.5,6,9,10,18,19; 62.6,7,8; 64.7; 74.4; 75.8; 79.2; 81.5 (23 hymns, 42 verses, 47 names).
I.7.1; 10.2; 18.1; 22.14; 23.22; 24.12,13; 25.15; 30.3,4; 33.8,14,15; 35.6; 36.10,10,10,11,17,17,18; 38.5; 39.3; 42.9; 43.4,6; 44.6; 45.3,3,3,4; 51.1,3,13; 52.1; 59.1; 61.7; 66.1; 80.16; 83.5,5; 88.1,5; 91.6; 100.16,17; 104.3; 112.7,9,10,10,11,12,15,15,15,19,20,23,23; 114.5; 116.1,2,6,6,12,16,16,20,21,23; 117.7,8,8,17,17,18,18,20,22,24; 119.9; 121.11; 122.4,5,7,7,13,14; 125.3; 126.3; 138.2; 139.9; 140.1; 158.5; 162.3,7,10,10,15; 163.2,2; 164.7,16,46; 167.2,5,6; 169.3; 187.10; 188.5; 190.1; 191.16 (50 hymns, 95 verses, 113 names).
VIII.1.11,30,30,32; 2.1,9,37,38,40,40,41; 3.9,10,12,12,12,16; 4.1,2,2,19,20; 5.25,25,37,37,37,38,39; 6.6,39,45,46,46,48; 7.23; 8.18,20; 9.7,10,15; 12.16; 17.8,12,14; 19.24,37; 20.4; 21.17,18; 23.2,16,23,24,24,28; 24.7,14,18,22,23,28,28,29; 25.2,22; 26.2,9,11; 27.19; 32.1,2,30; 33.4,17; 34.3,16; 35.19,20,21; 36.7; 37.7; 38.8; 45.5,11,26,30; 46.21.21,21,22,24,24,31,33; 47.13,14,15,16,17; 49.9; 50.5; 51.1,1,1,1,1,2,2; 52.1,2,2,2,2; 54.1,2,2,8; 55.3; 56.2,4; 59.3; 62.10; 66.8; 68.10,15,15,16,16,17; 69.8,18; 70.15; 71.2,14; 74.4,4,13,13,13; 75.6; 77.2,5,10,10; 80.8; 85.3,4; 87.3; 91.3,5: 92.2,25; 93.1; 97.12; 98.9 103.8 (55 hymns, 128 verses, 157 names).
IX.8.5; 11.2,4; 43.3; 58.3; 61.13; 65.7; 67.32; 83.4; 85.12; 86.36,47; 96.18; 97.7,17,38; 98.12; 99.4; 107.11; 112.4; 113.3,8; 114.2 (18 hymns, 23 verses, 23 names).
X.8.8; 9.8; 10.4,7,9,13,14; 11.2; 12.6; 13.4; 14.1,1,5,5,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15; 15.8; 16.9; 17.1,1,2,5; 18.13,13; 20.10; 21.5,5; 23.6,7; 24.4; 27.7,10,17; 28.4; 31.11; 33.7; 34.1,11; 39.7; 47.3,6; 48.2; 49.5,6; 51.3; 52.3; 55.8; 58.1,1; 59.6,8,10; 60.5,7,10,10,10; 61.13,17,18,21,26; 62.8; 63.17; 64.2,3,8,16,17; 65.12,12; 67.7; 72.3,4; 73.11; 80.3; 82.2; 85.5,6,37,37,40,41; 86.4,6,23,23; 87.12,16; 89.7; 90.5,13; 91.14; 92.10,11; 93.14,15,15; 94.13; 95.3,15; 96.5,6,8; 97.16; 98.1,3,5,6,7,8; 99.6,11; 101.3; 103.3; 105.2; 106.5,6; 109.4; 115.8,9; 120.6,9; 123.4,6,7; 124.4; 129.1; 130.5; 132.7,7; 135.1,7; 136.6; 139.4,6; 146.6; 148.5; 150.3; 154.4,5; 159.3; 164.2; 165.1,2,3,4,4,5; 166.1; 177.2; 189.2 (79 hymns, 146 verses, 160 names).
The only references in the Old Books are in fourteen Redacted Hymns.
B3. Dimetric Meters:
In addition, the following is the distribution in the Rigveda of the newer dimetric meters, i.e. meters having 8 syllables per line [other than the old gāyatrī (8+8+8) and anuṣṭubh (8+8 +8+8), which are found throughout the Rigveda], i.e. the pankti (8+8+8+8+8), mahāpankti (8+8 +8+8 +8+8) and dimeter śakvarī (8+8+8+8+8+8+8), common to the Avesta and the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 1 Hymn, 1 verse.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 50 Hymns, 255 verses.
VI. 75.17 (1 verse).
V. 6.1-10; 7.10; 9.5,7; 10.4,7; 16.5; 17.5; 18.5; 20.4; 21.4; 22.4; 23.4; 35.8; 39.5; 50.5; 52.6,16-17; 64.7; 65.6; 75.1-9; 79.1-10 (49 verses).
I. 29.1-7; 80.1-16; 81.1-9; 82.1-5; 84.10-12; 105.1-7,9-18; 191.10-12 (60 verses).
VIII. 19.37; 31.15-18; 35.22,24; 36.1-7; 37.2-7; 39.1-10; 40.1-11; 41.1-10; 46.21,24,32; 47.1-18; 56.5; 62.1-6,10-12; 69.11,16; 91.1-2 (86 verses).
IX. 112.1-4; 113.1-11; 114.1-4 (19 verses).
X. 59.8,9; 60.8,9; 86.1-23; 133.3-6; 134.1-7; 145.6; 164.5; ; 166.5 (41 verses).
The only verse in the five Old Books is in a notoriously late Redacted Hymn.
In sum: the common data, representing the cultural elements common to the Rigveda, the Avesta, and the securely dated Mitanni documents and records, is not found at all in the 280 Old Hymns and 2351 Old verses in the five Old Books. It is found sparingly in the 62 Redacted Hymns and 890 Redacted verses in these Old Books (which were redacted or edited during the period of composition of the New Books), and found in great abundance in the 686 New Hymns and 7311 New verses in the five New Books as well as in all subsequent Vedic and Sanskrit literature.
To summarize the data only in the Old Hymns and the New Hymns respectively, leaving aside as a distraction the Redacted Hymns (Old hymns edited during the New period), we get an absolutely uni-directional picture:
TOTAL HYMNS AND VERSES:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 280 Hymns, 2351 verses.
2. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 686 Hymns, 7311 verses.
COMMON RIGVEDIC-AVESTAN-MITANNI NAME TYPES IN COMPOSER NAMES:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 309 Hymns, 3389 verses.
COMMON RIGVEDIC-AVESTAN-MITANNI NAME TYPES AND WORDS WITHIN THE HYMNS:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 225 Hymns, 434 verses.
COMMON RIGVEDIC-AVESTAN NEW DIMETRIC METERS:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 50 Hymns, 255 verses.
The Avestan-Mitanni data, and its complete identity with the new data in the New Books of the Rigveda, thus presents us with solid scientifically dated evidence for dating the Rigveda:
1. The Mitanni kingdom flourished in Syria-Iraq for about 200 years from around 1500 BCE or so. But the recorded evidence shows that they were in West Asia more than 200 years prior to the establishment of their kingdom. Further, the presence of another Mitanni-like people, the Kassites, in Iraq (Babylon) is also attested from around 1750 BCE: the Kassites had a king named Abirattaš, one of the late name-types (with the suffix -ratha) found in the Mitanni names.
2. The presence of the Mitanni and Kassites in Syria-Iraq in the 18th century BCE, and the presence in their culture of cultural elements in common with the New Books of the Rigveda, however harks back to a far earlier period: The Mitanni and Kassites were already speakers of totally non-Indo-European languages. Witzel classifies these Indo-Aryan elements in the Mitanni data as the "remnants" of Indo-Aryan in the Hurrite/Hurrian language of the Mitanni (WITZEL 2005:361); and J.P.Mallory calls them "little more than the residue of a dead language in Hurrian", and tells us that "the symbiosis that produced the Mitanni may have taken place centuries earlier" (MALLORY 1989:42). By any conservative estimate, these cultural elements must date back long before 1800 BCE in West Asia itself.
3. The Old Books of the Rigveda, earlier, and the New Books of the Rigveda, later, form two parts of one single cultural continuum. Therefore, the new cultural elements in the New Books, which are not found in the Old Books, represent new cultural developments within the culture of the Old Books, and within the same geographical area. The Old Books (6,3,7,4,2) preceded the development of the common Rigvedic-Mitanni-Avestan culture, and the New Books (5,1,8,9,10) represents the period of this development: both within the same broad geographical horizon. The geographical horizon of the Rigveda is therefore the geographical horizon of the area where this new culture originally developed: i.e. this common culture developed in the area stretching from westernmost Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the east to Afghanistan in the west. And this is the area from which the proto-Mitanni Indo-Aryans and the proto-Iranian ancestors of the Avestan composers migrated to their historical areas, taking this common culture with them.
4. The Mitanni people in West Asia (Syria-Iraq) already in the 18th century BCE represented the "remnants" and "residue" of this common culture inherited from their Indo-Aryan ancestors. Those ancestors must by any logic have already arrived in West Asia by 2000 BCE at the latest. They must therefore have migrated from the Rigvedic area (stretching from westernmost Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the east to Afghanistan in the west) many centuries before their presence in West Asia. By any logic, this can only be a date somewhere in the second half of the third millennium BCE at the latest.
5. The culture that the proto-Mitanni Indo-Aryans took with them was clearly already a fully developed and flourishing culture in this home area of the Rigveda at the time they migrated from the area taking this culture with them. Therefore the beginnings of this new culture of the New Books of the Rigveda must go back at the very least to 2500 BCE and even further back into the first half of the third millennium BCE.
6. The period of composition of the Old Books (which are themselves divided into two periods: an Earlier Old Period of the Oldest Books 6,3,7 in that order, and a Later Old Period, or Middle Period, of Books 4,2), in which this new culture of the New Books is completely absent, will therefore go much further back in time before 2500 BCE at the very latest: to 3000 BCE or earlier.
This dating is further confirmed by the references in the Rigveda to certain technological innovations which took place in the second half of the third millennium BCE, which are likewise completely absent in the Old Books:
Spoked wheels were invented (supposedly around Central Asia) in the second half of the third millennium BCE. Likewise, the “Bactrian camel was domesticated in Central Asia in the late 3rd mill. BCE” (Witzel). The following is the distribution of references to camels and to spokes in the Rigveda, all exclusively in the New Books and completely missing in the Old Books:
I.32.15; 141.9; 138.2; 164.11,12,13,48.
VIII.5.37; 6.48; 20.14; 46.22,31; 77.3.
7. The fact that the Old Books of the Rigveda were composed in the area stretching from westernmost Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the east to Afghanistan in the west in a period anterior to 3000 BCE (at minimal estimates) gives us two very significant equations:
a) This is the area as well as the period of the "Indus Valley"/"Harappan"/"Sindhu-Sarasvatī" Civilization. Therefore clearly the Rigvedic culture is identifiable with the "Indus Valley"/"Harappan"/"Sindhu-Sarasvatī" culture.
b) As per the linguistic evidence, the speakers of all the 12 branches of Indo-European languages were together in the PIE Homeland, the "Original Homeland of the Indo-European languages", till around 3000 BCE. Therefore that PIE Homeland in 3000 BCE is clearly in northern India.
The Date of the Other Vedic Texts: Another important point which must be clarified here is the relative position of the other Vedic texts (the other Samhitās, the Brāhmaṇas, the Āraṇyakas, the Upaniṣads and the Sūtras) vis-à-vis the Rigveda in terms of their period of composition. If the Rigveda was completed by 1500 BCE or so, does this mean that the other texts follow each other in a chronological line after 1500 BCE?
The fact is: there is nothing to indicate that the periods of the different texts are mutually exclusive. While the points of completion of the different texts are indeed in line with their hitherto accepted chronological order, there is no reason to believe that the entire bodies (so to say) of the different texts were necessarily composed in mutually exclusive periods. The composition of the bulk of the oldest texts or the oldest parts of the texts in most of these categories must already have started at different points of time within the later Rigvedic period, along with the composition of the hymns in the New Books of the Rigveda: it is only that the Rigveda, for ritual reasons, was preserved with much greater precision and exactitude than the other texts, and therefore the New Books preserved older linguistic forms than the other Vedic texts which may have been constantly redacted and linguistically updated. The exact chronological details must await detailed investigation, including an examination of genuine astronomical details or data which may be available in these texts.
III. The Geographical Evidence of the Data in the text.
Can the above data somehow be fitted into any scenario where the Indo-Aryans can still be brought into India from outside around 3000 BCE, so that they occupied this geographical space in northern India from west to east? An examination of the geographical data in the Rigveda in fact shows exactly the opposite.
The geographical horizon of the Rigveda can broadly be divided into three regions:
1. The Eastern Region: the Sarasvatī and areas to its east: mainly present-day Haryana and westernmost Uttar Pradesh.
2. The Central Region: the Saptasindhu or Punjab between the Indus and the Sarasvatī, mainly the northern half of present-day Pakistan and contiguous parts of Indian Punjab.
3. The Western Region: the Indus and areas to its west: mainly Afghanistan and contiguous areas of northwestern most Pakistan.
The geographical data pertaining to the Eastern region is as follows:
River names: Sarasvatī, Dṛṣadvatī/Hariyūpīyā/Yavyāvatī, Āpayā, Aśmanvatī, Amśumatī, Yamunā, Gangā, Jahnāvī.
Place names: Kīkaṭa, Iḷaspada/Iḷāyāspada (indirectly Vara-ā-pṛthivyāh, Nābhā-pṛthivyāh).
Animal names: ibha/vāraṇa/hastin/sṛṇi (elephant), mahiṣa (buffalo), gaura (Indian bison), mayūra (peacock), pṛṣatī (chital, spotted deer).
Lake names: Mānuṣa.
The geographical data pertaining to the Central region is as follows:
River names: Śutudrī , Vipāś, Paruṣṇī, Asiknī, Vitastā, Marudvṛdhā.
Place names: Saptasindhavah (indirectly sapta+sindhu).
The geographical data pertaining to the Western region is as follows:
River names: Tṛṣṭāmā, Susartū, Anitabhā, Rasā, Śvetyā, Kubhā, Krumu, Gomatī, Sarayu, Mehatnū, Śvetyāvarī, Suvāstu, Gaurī, Sindhu (as the Indus river), Suṣomā, Ārjīkīyā.
Place names: Gandhāri.
Mountain names: Suṣoma, Ārjīka, Mūjavat.
Animal names: uṣṭra (Bactrian camel), mathra (Afghan horses), chāga (mountain goat), meṣa (mountain sheep), vṛṣṇi (ram), urā (lamb), varāha/varāhu (boar).
Lake names: Śaryaṇāvat(ī).
The Old Books of the Rigveda, as we saw, go back beyond 3000 BCE. If the Indo-Aryans entered India from the northwest and then expanded eastwards into northern India, the geographical data in the Rigveda should show a prior acquaintance with the northwest. However, the data actually shows exactly the opposite. It shows that the Vedic Aryans in the period of the Old Books were not familiar with the northwest, and only expanded westwards in that direction from the interior of India by the time of composition of the New Books of the Rigveda:
A. THE EASTERN NON-RIVERINE DATA VERSUS THE WESTERN NON-RIVERINE DATA:
Eastern: The following is the distribution of the eastern geographical data (excluding the rivers) in the Books of the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 22 Hymns, 23 verses, 24 names.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 4 Hymns, 6 verses, 7 names.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 69 Hymns, 81 verses, 85 names.
VI. 1.2; 4.5; 8.4; 17.11; 20.8 (5 hymns, 5 verses and names).
III. 5.9; 23.4,4,4; 45.1; 46.2 (4 hymns, 4 verses, 6 names).
VII. 40.3; 44.5; 69.6; 98.1 (4 hymns, 4 verses and names).
IV. 4.1; 16.14; 18.11; 21.8 (4 hymns, 4 verses and names).
II. 3.7; 10.1; 22.1; 34.3,4; 36.2 (5 hymns, 6 verses and names).
III. 26.4,6; 29.4,4; 53.11,14 (3 hymns, 5 verses, 6 names).
IV. 58.2 (1 hymn, 1 verse and name).
V. 29.7,8; 42.15; 55.6; 57.3; 58.6; 60.2; 78.2 (7 hymns, 8 verses and names).
I. 16.5; 37.2; 39.6; 64.7,7,8; 84.17; 85.4,5; 87.4; 89.7; 95.9; 121.2; 128.1,1,7,7; 140.2; 141.3; 143.4; 162.21; 186.8; 191.14 (17 hymns, 20 verses, 23 names).
VIII. 1.25; 4.3; 7.28; 12.8; 33.8; 35.7,8,9; 45.24; 69.15; 77.10; 87.1,4 (10 hymns, 13 verses and names).
IX. 33.1; 57.3; 69.3; 72.7; 73.2; 79.4; 82.3; 86.8,40; 87.7; 92.6; 95.4; 96.6,18,19; 97.41,57; 113.3 (14 hymns, 18 verses and names).
X. 1.6,6; 5.2; 8.1; 28.10; 40.4; 45.3; 49.4; 51.6; 54.4; 60.3; 65.8; 66.10; 70.1; 91.1,4; 100.2; 106.2; 123.4; 128.8; 140.6; 189.2; 191.1 (21 hymns, 22 verses, 23 references).
It will be seen that:
1. The eastern references are found distributed evenly throughout every part of the Rigveda, from the earliest books and hymns to the latest ones.
2. It is not only the pattern of references which shows the familiarity of the Vedic Aryans with the eastern region throughout the period of the Rigveda, the references themselves make it clear. The references to the eastern animals are not casual ones: it is clear that the animals and their environment form an intimate part of the idiomatic lore and traditional imagery of the Rigveda: the spotted deer, for example, are the official steeds of the chariots of the Maruts. The name of the buffalo (like that of the bull) is used as an epithet, applied to various Gods, signifying great strength and power. The Gods approaching the place of sacrifice to drink the libations are likened to thirsty bisons converging on a watering place in the forest. The outspread tails or manes of Indra's horses are likened to the outspread plumes of the peacock's tail. The elephant is clearly a very familiar animal fully integral to the traditional culture and environment of the Vedic people: IV.16.14 compares Indra's might to that of a mighty elephant, and at least three verses (I.64.7; 140.2; VIII.33.8) refer to a wild elephant crashing its way through the forests and bushes: in the third reference the elephant is "rushing on this way and that way, mad with heat" (GRIFFITH). X.40.4 refers to hunters following two wild elephants, I.84.17 refers to household elephants as part of the possessions of a wealthy householder, IV.4.1 refers to royal elephants as part of the entourage of a mighty king, and IX.57.3 refers to a ceremonial elephant being decked up by the people. VI.20.8 refers to battle elephants, or at least to elephants in the course of the description of a battle.
Western: On the other hand, the following is the distribution of the western geographical data (excluding the rivers) in the Books of the Rigveda:
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10: 44 Hymns, 52 verses, 53 names.
I. 10.2; 29.5; 34.9; 43.6; 51.1; 52.1; 61.7; 84.14; 88.5; 114.5; 116.2,16; 117.17,18; 121.11; I26.7; 138.2; 162.3,21 (16 hymns, 19 verses and names).
VIII. 2.40; 5.37; 6.39,48; 7.29,29; 34.3; 46.22,23,31; 56.3; 64.11; 66.8; 77.10; 85.7; 97.12 (12 hymns, 15 verses, 16 names).
IX. 8.5; 65.22,23; 86.47; 97.7; 107.11; 113.1,2 (6 hymns, 8 verses and names).
X. 27.17; 28.4; 34.1; 35.2; 67.7; 86.4; 91.14; 95.3; 99.6; 106.5 (10 hymns, 10 verses and names).
In sharp contrast to the eastern references, it will be seen that the western references are completely absent in the Old Books. In fact, they are completely absent even in the New Book 5, which (being a Family Book) is older than the other four non-Family New Books 1,8,9,10.
They are found only in the New non-Family Books.
[Interestingly, a word associated with Gandhāri is gandharva: the gandharva in the Rigveda is the guardian (or, in the plural, the guardians) of the Soma in the western mountains. This word is also completely absent in the Old Hymns in the Old Books, found only once in a Redacted Hymn, and is otherwise found only in the New non-Family Books:
III. 38.6 (1 hymn, 1 verse and name).
I. 22.14; 163.2 (2 hymns, 2 verses and names).
VIII. 1.11; 77.5 (2 hymns, 2 verses and names).
IX. 83.4; 85.12; 86.36; 113.3 (4 hymns, 4 verses and names).
X. 10.4; 11.2; 80.6; 85.40,41; 123.4,7; 136.6; 139.4,5,6; ; 177.2 (8 hymns, 11 verses and names)].
Thus there is clearly a distinct difference in the geographical horizon of the Old Books versus the New Books. The geography of the Old Books is totally eastern, while that of the New Books spans the entire area from east to west.
The non-riverine geographical references indicate the cultural milieu familiar to the composers of the hymns. The eastern cultural milieu is clearly a part of the cultural ethos of the composers of the Rigveda in every period of the Rigveda, from the earliest Books and hymns to the latest ones. The western cultural milieu is however completely absent from the cultural ethos of the composers of the Old Hymns in all the five Old Books and even in the New Book 5, and becomes a part of the Rigveda only during the period of composition of the four New non-Family Books.
B. THE RIVER NAMES IN THE RIGVEDA AND THE VEDIC EXPANSION FROM EAST TO WEST:
The river references indicate the area of activity of the composers of the hymns. The following is the distribution of the names of the eastern rivers in the Books of the Rigveda:
1. Old Books 2,3,4,6,7: 24 Hymns, 45 verses, 47 names.
2. New Books 1,5,8,9,10: 30 Hymns, 37 verses, 39 names.
VI. 27.5,6; 45.31; 49.7; 50.12; 52.6; 61.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,10,11,13,14 (6 hymns, 17 verses and names).
III. 4.8; 23.4,4,4,; 54.13; 58.6 (4 hymns, 4 verses, 6 names).
VII. 2.8; 9.5; 18.19; 35.11; 36.6; 39.5; 40.3; 95.1,2,4,5,6; 96.1,3,4,5,6 (9 hymns, 17 verses and names).
II. 1.11; 3.8; 30.8; 32.8; 41.16,17,18 (5 hymns, 7 verses and names).
V. 5.8; 42.12; 43.11; 46.2; 52.17 (5 hymns, 5 verses and names).
I. 3.10,11,12; 13.9; 89.3; 116.19; 142.9; 164.49,52; 188.8 (7 hymns, 10 verses and names).
VIII. 21.17,18; 38.10; 54.4; 96.13 (4 hymns, 5 verses and names).
IX. 5.8; 67.32; 81.4 (3 hymns, 3 verses and names).
X. 17.7,8,9; 30.12; 53.8; 64.9; 65.1,13; 66.5; 75.5,5,5; 110.8; 131.5; 141.5; 184.2 (11 hymns, 14 verses, 16 names).
Again, we find the eastern river references, like the eastern non-riverine references, distributed evenly throughout every part of the Rigveda, from the earliest books and hymns to the latest ones: the only exception here is Book 4, for historical reasons, as we will see shortly.
But note the distribution of the names of the western rivers in the Books of the Rigveda:
1. Old Books 2,3,4,6,7: 4 Hymns, 5 verses.
2. New Books 1,5,8,9,10: 57 Hymns, 72 verses.
IV. 30.12,18; 43.6; 54.6; 55.3 (4 hymns, 5 verses and names).
V. 41.15; 53.9,9,9,9,9,9 (2 hymns, 2 verses, 7 names).
I. 44.12; 83.1; 112.12; 122.6; 126.1; 164.4; 186.5 (7 hymns, 7 verses).
VIII. 7.29; 12.3; 19.37; 20.24,25; 24.30; 25.14; 26.18; 64.11; 72.7,13 (9 hymns, 11 verses).
IX. 41.6; 65.23; 97.58 (3 hymns, 3 verses).
X. 64.9; 65.13; 66.11; 75.1,3-9; 108.1,2; 121.4 (6 hymns, 14 verses).
It will be seen that the western river references are completely absent in four (6,3,7,2) of the five Old Books: as in the case of the eastern river references, this time also the only exception is Book 4. Book 4 therefore clearly occupies a peculiar position: its cultural milieu is eastern like the other Family Books, but its area of activity is western. This is explained by the historical westward thrust of the "Vedic Aryans" (the Pūru) from east to west as described in the Rigveda, as we will see now:
The Old Books of the Rigveda have a completely eastern geography: the western non-riverine geographical names are completely absent in the Old Hymns in all five of the Old Books (6,3,7,4,2), and the western river names are completely absent in all the hymns (Old as well as Redacted) in four of the five Old Books (6,3,7,2).
The oldest of the five New Books, Book 5 (a Family Book like the five Old Books), shows a middle position: western non-riverine geographical names are completely absent in it, but western river names are found in it.
The other four New Books, the four non-Family Books (1,8,9,10), have both eastern and western non-riverine as well as river names in equal measure.
All this clearly shows a historical expansion of the "Vedic Aryans" (the Pūru) from the east in the Old Books to the west by the time of the New Books, and this expansion took place during the course of composition of the Rigvedic hymns. Therefore, this expansion has to be found recorded in the Rigveda.
This movement or expansion from the east to the west obviously took place across the central region (the area between the Sarasvatī and the Sindhu rivers), and has to have taken place during the course of composition of the Old Books. Therefore it should become clear from an analysis of the geographical data in the Rigveda pertaining to this Central region in the Old Books. There are no mountain or lake names from this area in the Rigveda, and there are no animals peculiar to this area other than those found to its east or its west. The river names and place names of the Central region are found in the Rigveda as follows (in this case, the specific names are given below in order to understand the geographical movement of expansion):
1. In Old Books 2,3,4,6,7: 7 Hymns, 9 verses.
2. In New Books 1,5,8,9,10: 12 Hymns, 12 verses.
III. 33.1 Vipāś, 1 Śutudrī (1 hymn, 1 verse, 2 names).
VII. 5.3 Asiknī; 18.8 Paruṣṇī, 9 Paruṣṇī (2 hymns, 3 verses and names).
IV. 22.2 Paruṣṇī; 28.1 sapta+sindhu; 30.11 Vipāś (3 hymns, 3 verses and names).
II. 12.3 sapta+sindhu,12 sapta+sindhu (1 hymn, 2 verses and names).
V. 52.9 Paruṣṇī (1 hymn, 1 verse and name).
I. 32.12 sapta+sindhu; 35.8 sapta+sindhu (2 hymns, 2 verses and names).
VIII. 20.25 Asiknī; 24.27 Saptasindhavah; 54.4 sapta+sindhu; 69.12 sapta+sindhu; 74.15 Paruṣṇī (5 hymns, 5 verses).
IX. 66.6 sapta+sindhu (1 hymn, 1 verse).
X. 43.3 sapta+sindhu; 67.12 sapta+sindhu; 75.5 Śutudrī, 5 Paruṣṇī, 5 Asiknī, 5 Marudvṛdhā, 5 Vitastā (3 hymns, 3 verses, 7 names).
The historical sequence of the five Old Books is clear:
1. Book 6 is the Oldest Book, pertaining mainly to the time of the early Bharata king Divodāsa: "In book 6 of the Bharadvāja, the Bharatas and their king Divodāsa play a central role" (WITZEL 1995b:332-33). Divodāsa is mentioned a number of times: VI.16.5,19; 26.5; 31.4; 43.1; 47.22,23; 61.1. In fact, the book goes many generations back into the period of the earliest Rigvedic and pre-Rigvedic history: it mentions Divodāsa's father Sṛñjaya: VI.27.7; 47.25; also in one hymn, VI.61.1, by the insulting epithet Vadhryaśva, meaning "impotent". It mentions Divodāsa's grandfather Devavāta: VI.27.7; and contains the only reference in the Rigveda to the eponymous ancestral Bharata himself: VI.16.4. It also mentions Pratardana, son of Divodāsa: VI.26.8
2. Books 3 and 7 are the second and third oldest Books of the Rigveda in that order, and pertain to the time of Divodāsa's descendant Sudās: "Book 3 [….] represents the time of king Sudās" (WITZEL 1995b: 317), and, as the number of references show, Book 7 even more so. In that order, because it is accepted by all scholars, including the Indologists, that Viśvāmitra of Book 3 was the priest of Sudās for a short and earlier period, and was later replaced by Vasiṣṭha of Book 7. Sudās is mentioned many times in these Books: III.53.9,11; VII.18.5,9,15,17,22,23,25; 19.3,6; 20.2; 25.3; 32.10; 33.3; 53.3; 60.8,9; 64.3; 83.1,4,6,7,8. His father Pijavana is mentioned in VII.18.22,23,25.
3. Book 4 pertains to the period of Sudās' descendants Sahadeva and (his son) Somaka, who are mentioned in IV.15.7,8,9,10 and IV.15.9 respectively.
These four books form one distinct historical era: they are the only Books which refer to Divodāsa's grandfather Devavāta: VI.27.7; III.23.2; VII.18.22; IV.15.4. Other early Bharata kings are also mentioned in these Books: in one hymn, III.23, Devaśravas, either a contemporary of Sudās or another name for Sudās himself, is described as offering oblations to a sacred fire established by his ancestor Devavāta. Sudās and the Bharatas are also referred to as Pratṛda (descendants of Pratardana) in VII.33.14, and as Tṛtsu in VII.18.7,13,15,19; 33.4,5,6; 83.4,6,8. [Incidentally, Bharatas as such represent the earliest era of the Rigveda as a whole: the word Bharata is found only in the Family Books (2-7) and one reference is found in I.96.3. This hymn is in the Kutsa upa-Maṇḍala of Book 1 (consisting of hymns I.94-115) which seems aligned with Book 4, since it also mentions Sahadeva in I.100.17].
4. Book 2 is the last of the Old Books. It is definitely later than Books 6,3 and 7, and it is definitely an Old Book by any criterion, and therefore much older than the five New Books 5,1,8,9,10: as we saw earlier on in respect of the common Rigvedic-Mitanni-Avestan data and the geographical data, Book 2 falls in line with the other Old Books on every count. Its position with regard to Book 4 is ambiguous: it is either contemporaneous with Book 4 or perhaps belongs to an even later era, since it shares many words, names and features with Book 4 which are missing in the three Oldest Books. The only noteworthy point about Book 2 is that it does not refer to any other river apart from the Sarasvatī.
The step-by-step geographical direction of movement or expansion is clearly seen in the westward movement of the river names in the Old Books, as well as explicitly recorded in the historical narrative:
1. Book 6 is the Oldest Book of the Rigveda, and its antecedents and prehistory go far back into the past beyond the period of Divodāsa and his son Pratardana to the period of their ancestors. But its geography is totally eastern: it not only does not mention any geographical data (riverine or non-riverine) from the western region, but it does not even mention any geographical data (riverine or non-riverine) from the central region either. It refers to the Sarasvatī (VI.49.7; 50.12; 52.6; 61.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,10,11,13,14) as well as to other rivers to the east of the Sarasvatī: the Gaṅgā (VI.45.31) and the Hariyūpīyā/Yavyāvatī (VI.27.5,6).
[Hariyūpīyā and Yavyāvatī are alternate names of the Dṛṣadvatī and refer to "a tirath in Kurukṣetra" (THOMAS 1883): the Dṛṣadvatī is known as Raupyā in the Mahabharata, clearly a development of the Rigvedic Hariyūpīyā; and the Yavyāvatī, which is often sought, without any basis, to be identified with the Zhob river in Afghanistan, is found mentioned only once anywhere else in the whole of Vedic or Sanskrit literature, in the Panchavimsha Brahmana, about which Witzel admits: "the river Yavyāvatī is mentioned once in the RV; it has been identified with the Zhob in E. Afghanistan. At PB 25.7.2, however, nothing points to such a W. localisation. The persons connected with it are known to have stayed in the Vibhinduka country, a part of the Kuru-Pañcāla land" (WITZEL 1987:193), i.e. in Haryana to the east of the Sarasvatī].
The activities of the ancestors of Divodāsa are all located in this eastern region even in other Books: VI.27 describes a battle fought on the banks of the Hariyūpīyā/Yavyāvatī by Sṛñjaya son of Devavāta; VI.61 describes this formerly "impotent" (Vadhryaśva) father of Divodāsa worshipping on the banks of the Sarasvatī and being granted the birth of Divodāsa; III.23 describes Devaśravas, a contemporary of Sudās, or another name for Sudās himself, worshipping the eternal fire established on the banks of the Dṛṣadvatī and Āpayā (and lake Mānuṣa) by Devavāta.
2. Book 3 of the Viśvāmitras, in the time of Sudās, a descendant of Divodāsa, refers for the first time to the first two rivers of the central region, the Punjab, from the east: the Śutudrī (present day Sutlej) and the Vipāś (present day Beas). This Book still does not mention any other geographical name to the west of the Sarasvatī other than these two names. And these names are mentioned in hymn III.33 in the context of a historical crossing of these two rivers by Sudās and his army of Bharata warriors. This crossing was undertaken, as per III.33.5, to access the Soma lands to the west from which the Vedic Aryans imported Soma (somewhat like the mediaeval Europeans trying to find a sea-route to India to access its spices).
The earlier activities of Sudās under the priesthood of Viśvāmitra, described in this book, are also confined to the east: in III.29, the Viśvāmitras kindle a sacred fire at Iḷāyāspada, at Nābhā Pṛthivyāh, in the Haryana area to the east of the Sarasvatī; and in III.53, they perform a sacrifice at the same place (Vara-ā-Pṛthivyāh): "Come forward, Kuśikas, and be attentive; let loose Sudās' horse to win him riches. East, west, and north, let the King slay the foeman, then at earth's choicest place perform his worship" (III.53.11 as per Griffith's translation), after which Sudās commences his expansionist activities in all directions. These forays further east include Kīkaṭa (III.53.14): this is often assumed by traditional scholars to refer to as distant an area as Magadha in Bihar, but, even without going so far, even Witzel accepts it to be a place to the south-east of Haryana: "in eastern Rajasthan or western Madhya Pradesh" (WITZEL 1995b:333 fn).
3. Book 7 of the Vasiṣṭhas, who replaced the Viśvāmitras as the priests of Sudās halfway through his conquests, refers for the first time to the third and fourth rivers of the Punjab from the east, immediately after the Śutudrī and the Vipāś: the Paruṣṇī (present day Ravi) and the Asiknī (present day Chenab). This Book also still does not mention any other geographical name to the west of the Sarasvatī other than these two names. The context is the great battle, the dāśarājña or Battle of the Ten Kings, fought by Sudās on the banks of the Paruṣṇī with an alliance of ten sub-tribes of the Anu and some remnants of the Druhyu tribes.
This battle clearly represents the next steps in the east-to-west expansion: after all the descriptions of the activities of his far ancestors in the east (detailed above), and the commencement of his conquest with a ritual sacrifice again in the east, and after crossing the two easternmost rivers of the Punjab as described in Book 3, Sudās now fights this battle on the banks of the Paruṣṇī (VII.18), and his enemies are described as the people of the Asiknī (VII.5.3), clearly indicating that Sudās is approaching from the east and they are fighting from the west from the side of the Asiknī river. The enemies are specifically described as abandoning their possessions after their defeat, and scattering abroad (VII.5.3) in the westward direction (VII.6.3).
4. Book 4, of the period of Sudās' descendant Sahadeva and his son Somaka, takes the expansion deep into the west: the two central rivers it mentions are the Vipāś (IV.30.11) and Paruṣṇī (IV.22.2), clearly harking back to the early ancestral days of the beginnings of the expansion westwards. One of these two hymns describes the culmination of this expansion in the battle on the banks of the western river Sarayu (IV.30.18), the Harirud (Herat) river to the west of the Sindhu (IV.30.12). This book does not mention any eastern river, not even the Sarasvatī, which is prominent in every other Book of the Rigveda, but it mentions western rivers in other hymns as well: the Rasā (IV.43.6) and the Sindhu (IV.54.6; 55.3).
The completely western river names in Book 4 contrast sharply with the fact that the near-contemporary book 2 mentions only one river, the eastern Sarasvatī: II.1.11; 3.8; 30.8; 32.8; 41.16,17,18. This may indicates two areas of composition in the later Old period: hymns from the expanding Pūru in the western areas in Book 4, and hymns from the home area east of the Sarasvatī in Book 2.
Many AIT-oriented scholars try to exploit the western orientation of the river names in Book 4 to suggest that Book 4 must be the oldest Book of the Rigveda with the "invading Aryans" still in the west - and some even try to suggest the same about Book 2 by insisting that the Sarasvatī of this Book must be the Avestan Haroyu of Afghanistan. This ignores both the voluminous details about the activities of the early Bharatas in Books 6, 3 and 7 (detailed above) in the east, of whom the Bharatas in Books 4 and 2 are descendants, as well as the historical narrative in these Books about the Bharata expansion from east to west. It also ignores the fact that the non-riverine references in both Books 4 and 2 are completely eastern and emphatically non-western: Nābhā Pṛthivyāh (II.3.7); Iḷaspada (II.10.1); ibha/hastin, elephant (IV.4.1; 16.14); mahiṣa, buffalo (II.18.11); gaura, Indian bison (IV.21.8; 58.2); pṛṣatī, chital (II.34.3,4; 36.2). There is, however, one new western factor appearing in Book 4: a reference to Afghan sheep: avi (IV.2.5), otherwise found only in the New Books 5,1 and 10.
The fully eastern base of the three Oldest Books (6,3,7) is also clear from the fact that even the references to seven rivers in the form sapta+sindhu are totally missing in these three Books. These start only in the two later Old Books of the Rigveda: IV.28.1 and II.12.3,12, and are found in all the New non-Family Books: I.32.12; 35.8; VIII.54.4; 69.12; IX.66.6; X.43.3; 67.12, while the specific word saptasindhavah as the name of an area (the central region or the Punjab) appears only in Book 8 in VIII.24.27.
5. Book 5, the last of the Family Books and the first of the New Books, represents a middle position between the Old Family Books and the New non-Family Books in many ways. Its arrangement of the hymns is as per the scheme of arrangement in the Old Family Books; but its scheme of ascription of hymns is as per the system in the New Books: each hymn is ascribed to the actual composer of the hymn rather than to the eponymous ancestral rishi as in the Old Books. The common Rigvedic-Mitanni-Avestan culture, as we saw, is already fully developed in the period of Book 5, but the base area of the Book is still rooted in the east:
a) while it does refer to western rivers in two hymns (to the Rasā in V.41.15, and to 6 rivers, Sarayu, Kubhā, Krumu, Anitabhā, Rasā, Sindhu, in one hymn and verse V.53.9), most of the western river names are in one hymn V.53 by Śyāvāśva, who also mentions the central river Paruṣṇī and the eastern river Yamunā in another hymn, in V.52.9 and 17 respectively. As Witzel points out, all these river names only indicate that the particular poet is widely traveled, and not necessarily that the Vedic people actually occupied the areas of the rivers named: “all these geographical notes belonging to diverse hymns are attributed to one and the same poet, Śyāvāśva, which is indicative of the poet’s travels” (WITZEL 1995b:317).
Likewise the reference to Rasā in V.41.15 is by Atri, who elsewhere refers to the eastern Sarasvatī in V.42.12; 43.11. The Sarasvatī is also referred to by two other composers in V.5.8 and 46.2 respectively.
b) while it refers to western rivers, Book 5 does not mention any western non-riverine names, except the Afghan sheep, avi (V.61.5, again by Atri), already mentioned in Book 4, but it does mention eastern non-riverine names: Śyāvāśva mentions the pṛṣatī, chital, in V.55.6; 57.3; 58.6; 60.2, and Atri also mentions it in V.42.15. Another composer refers to the mahiṣa, buffalo in V.29.7,8.
6. The non-Family Books 1 and 8 represent the next chronological phase in the Rigveda (although some of the hymns in Book 1 are sometimes earlier than the hymns in Book 8 and some are much later), and Book 9, the Book of Soma Pavamāna, follows them: as Proferes, a student of Witzel, points out, “the pavamāna collection consists primarily of late authors, those from Books 1, 5, 8 and in a limited number of cases, 10” (PROFERES 1999:69).
Book 10 comes much later; so much so that, in spite of the marked difference within the language and culture of the first nine Books of the Rigveda, the language of Book 10 stands apart: as Ghosh puts it (before giving a long list of words and grammatical features to prove the point), "On the whole [...] the language of the first nine Maṇḍalas must be regarded as homogeneous, inspite of traces of previous dialectal differences […] With the tenth Maṇḍala it is a different story. The language here has definitely changed […] The language of the tenth Maṇḍala represents a distinctly later stage of the Rigvedic language" (GHOSH 1951/2010:240-243).
This makes it all the more significant that non-Family Books 1,8,9, and even the Family Book 5, fall into one distinct group with Book 10 (including in terms of the common Rigvedic-Mitanni-Avestan vocabulary, as New Books, versus the five Old Books 6,3,7,4,2), and it emphasizes the long chronological period covered by the New Books, as well as the chronological isolation of the Old Books from this long later period.
The geographical horizon of the four non-Family Books expands over the entire area of the Rigveda as a whole: Books 4 and 5 gave us a glimpse of the west, but these four non-Family Books show a new and comprehensive familiarity with the west which is completely unknown to the five Old Books (and even to Book 5):
a) For the first time, these Books introduce a place name from the northwest, Gandhāri, southern Afghanistan, in I.126.7; a lake from the northwest, Śaryaṇāvat, in I.84.14; VIII.6.39; 7.29; 64.11; IX.65.22; 113.1; X.35.2; and the mountains of the northwest, Ārjīka, Suṣoma, Mūjavat in VIII.7.29,29; IX.65.23; 113.2; X.134.1, as well as a reference to the snow-capped peaks of the northwest, himavanta, in X.121.4.
b) There is a flood of new names of animals of the northwest in these four Books: meṣa sheep, chāga mountain goat, urā ewe, uṣṭra camel, mathra Afghan horse, varāha/varāhu boar in I.43.6,6; 51.1; 52.1; 61.7; 88.5; 114.5; 116.16; 117.17,18; 121.11; 138.2; 162.3; VIII.2.40; 5.37; 6.48; 34.3; 46.22,23,31; 66.8; 77.10; 97.12; IX.8.5; 86.47; 97.7; 107.11; X.27.17; 28.4; 67.7; 86.4; 91.14; 95.3; 99.6; 106.5. Most of these names are found in Iranian as well, in the Avesta: maēša (sheep), ura (lamb), uštra (camel) and varāza (boar).
c) Apart from the western rivers already mentioned in Books 4 and 5, Sindhu, Sarayu, Rasā, Kubhā, Krumu, these Books mention many other western rivers for the first time, namely Tṛṣṭāmā, Susartū, Śvetyā, Gomatī, Mehatnū, Śvetyāvarī, Suvāstu, Gaurī, Suṣomā, Ārjīkīyā: I.44.12; 83.1; 112.12; 122.6; 126.1; 164.4; 186.5; VIII.7.29; 12.3; 19.37; 20.24,25; 24.30; 25.14; 26.18; 64.11; 72.7,13; IX.41.6; 65.23; 97.58; X.64.9; 65.13; 66.11; 75.1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9; 108.1,2; 121.4.
d) The New Books, and particularly Book 8, represent the closest parallels with the Mitanni and the Avesta: here we now find names of patron kings which have been identified by western Indologists (including Witzel) as actual proto-Iranian names (Vṛcayā, Kuruṅga, Caidya, Tirindira, Parśu, Varosuṣāman, Anarśani, Kanīta): I.51.13; VIII.4.19; 5.37,38,39; 6.46; 23.28; 24.28; 25.2; 26.2; 32.2; 46.21,24; X.86.
Here, we also find Rigvedic names (Mitrātithi, Devātithi, Subandhu, Indrota, Priyamedha) in common with Mitanni names (Mittaratti, Dewatti, Subandu, Indarota, Biriamasda) in I.45.3,4; 139.9; VIII. 3.16; 4.20; 5.25; 6.45; 8.18; 32.30; 69.8,18; X.33.7; 73.11; and as composers of V.24; VIII.2,4,68,69; IX.28; X.57,58,59,60,75.
e) The New Books, and particularly the extensive Book 8, clearly represent the period and area of the mature Harappan culture (although Book 10 is post-Harappan for the most part), and, in keeping with the archaeological evidence of Harappan trade with Babylon, we find two Babylonian words associated with trade and commerce in Book 8: in VIII.78.2, we find the word manā (a measure of weight) and in VIII.66.10, we find the word bekanāṭa (money-lender).
In this Harappan period, certain eastern rivers (primarily the rivers of the core Haryana area, Dṛṣadvatī, Āpayā, Hariyūpīyā, Yavyāvatī) prominent in the Oldest era, are now on the periphery of the Rigvedic horizon, and do not find any mention in the New Books: this may also be indicative of the slow drying up of the eastern tributaries of the Sarasvatī by this time. These four historical rivers do not find mention even in the nadī sūkta X.75, although the Gaṅgā still remains prominent and important and is the first river to be mentioned in this Hymn to the Rivers as the easternmost river within the Rigvedic horizon. As the Sarasvatī had three whole hymns dedicated to it in the Oldest Books (VI.61, VII.95,96), the Sindhu, Indus, has now become the most important river, to whom the nadī sūkta is primarily dedicated, and it is also now lauded along with some other deities in the last verse of a number of hymns in Book 1 (I.94,95,96,98,100,101,102,103,105,106,107,108,109,110,111,112,113,114,115), apart from other stray verses in the New Books.
The journey from the Oldest Book (Book 6 with its pre-Rigvedic background) to the very late Book 10 is clearly a long one in time (as we saw, Book 6 goes back far beyond 3000 BCE) as well as in space (the Vedic Aryans expanding from an original Homeland in Haryana in the east into southern Afghanistan).
As we noted at the very outset, certain points about the Vedic data, ignored or downplayed by the Indologists, made the AIT perspective highly suspect even assuming a date of composition post-1500 BCE and a west to east expansion within the text: namely:
a) the total absence of extra-territorial memories (or memories of any invasion from outside India) in the text,
b) the total absence of any entity or name identifiable linguistically as Dravidian or Austric (or of any other known non-Indo-European language) in the text, and
c) the fact that the rivers and animals of the area have purely Indo-Aryan (i.e. Indo-European) names in the text.
Now, we see that the date of the Oldest Books goes back beyond 3000 BCE, that there is solid and unchallengeable evidence of an expansion from an originally eastern Homeland into western areas which were earlier unknown, and further, and that even in this Oldest period the Vedic composers clearly have a strong emotional attachment to the eastern region: in VI.61.14, the composer begs the river Sarasvatī: "let us not go from thee to distant countries"; in VI.45.31, the long bushes on the banks of the Gaṅgā are used in a simile (showing their long acquaintance and easy familiarity with the topography and flora of the Gaṅgā area); and in III.58.6, the banks of the Jahnāvī (i.e. presently Jāhnavī, the name of the Gangā close to its source) are referred to as the "Ancient Homeland" of the Gods. All this, before or around 3000 BCE, makes the AIT perspective totally impossible and untenable.
IV. The History of the Emigration of the other Indo-European branches.
As the linguistic data shows, the Indo-Aryans were one of many dialectal groups of Indo-European language speakers in the Original Homeland. There were other dialectal groups (present knowledge knows eleven other dialects which have developed into known branches of Indo-European languages) who lived around them in 3000 BCE.
Likewise, the "Vedic Aryans" are one of many territorial tribal groups mentioned in the Puranic traditional history, the Pūru. And in the Family Books, they are one particular branch or sub-tribe of the Pūru known as the Bharata Pūru, who originally lived in the areas of westernmost U.P and Haryana as indigenous inhabitants in and before 3000 BCE. There were other territorial tribal groups who lived around them. The logical inference is that the area of the Pūru in 3000 BCE was part of the Original Homeland, and the other territorial tribal groups around them included the other dialectal groups which later became the other eleven branches of Indo-European languages.
If northern India was the Original Indo-European Homeland, another logical inference is that those of the other groups around them who migrated out of India are more likely to have been to the west of the Pūru, since all the other historical branches of Indo-European languages are found far to the west outside India. The two most likely candidates are the Anu and the Druhyu. The evidence can be examined as follows:
A. The Geography of the Two Tribal Groups.
B. The Linguistic Classification of the Migrating Branches.
C. The Recorded Migrations.
D. The Textual and Linguistic Evidence.
A. The Geography of the Two Tribal Groups:
As per the Puranic descriptions:
a) the Anu tribes originally inhabited the areas to the North of the Pūru in the areas of Kashmir and the areas to its immediate west, and
b) the Druhyu tribes originally inhabited the areas to the West of the Pūru in the areas of the Greater Punjab (present-day northern Pakistan).
Certain early (and clearly pre-Rigvedic) events recorded in the Puranic traditions led to a realignment in the areas of these two tribes: the Druhyu tribes started conquering eastwards and southwards, and their conquests brought them into conflict with all the other tribes and peoples. This led to a concerted effort by the other tribes to drive them out, and the result was that they were driven out not only from the east but also from their homeland in the northern half of present-day Pakistan. This area was occupied by a major branch of the Anu tribes who moved southwards and westwards: “One branch, headed by Uśīnara established several kingdoms on the eastern border of the Punjab […] his famous son Śivi originated the Śivis [footnote: called Śivas in Rigveda VII.18.7] in Śivapura, and extending his conquests westwards […] occupying the whole of the Punjab except the northwestern corner” (PARGITER 1962:264): the Druhyu tribes were pushed far to the west, into Afghanistan: “the next Druhyu king Gandhāra retired to the northwest and gave his name to the Gandhāra country” (PARGITER 1962:262).
a) the Anu now became inhabitants of the areas to both the North (Kashmir and areas to its west) as well as the West (northern Pakistan) of the Pūru, and
b) the Druhyu were pushed out further west and northwest (i.e. into the northwestern corner of the Punjab, and into Afghanistan), only some remnants remaining in the original area.
B. The Linguistic Classification of the Migrating Branches:
As per the linguistic analysis of the isoglosses (linguistic features) shared by the various Indo-European branches, the twelve branches (i.e. their ancestral Dialect forms) are classified into three main and distinct groups in respect of the chronology and sequence of their migration from the Homeland (wherever that Homeland be located):
1. The Early Branches: Anatolian (Hittite) and Tocharian in that order.
2. The European Branches: Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic in that order.
3. The Last Branches (given here by their historical locations from west to east, since their particular sequence of migration from the Homeland is not clear): Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Iranian and Indo-Aryan.
The significant points of the linguistic analysis are:
1. After the early emigration of Anatolian, all the remaining branches (Tocharian, the European Branches, and the Late Branches) developed some fundamental isoglosses in common which are absent only in Anatolian:
a) Feminines in *ā, *ī, *ū. (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:35).
b) Instrumental plural masculine *-ōis (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345).
c) Independent (deictic) demonstrative pronouns *so, *sa, tho (pl.th) (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345).
2. The Early Branches and the Last Branches do not share any major isogloss (other than the above ones shared by Tocharian with all the non-Anatolian branches), indicating that there was no major linguistic interaction among them after the migration of both the Early Branches from the Homeland.
3. The European Branches and the Last Branches share many isoglosses, showing close interaction between the two groups in the Homeland after the migration of the two Early Branches:
a) Middles in *-oi/*-moi (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Germanic-Baltic-Slavic, Albanian-Greek-Armenian-Iranian-IndoAryan.
b) The comparison of adjectives in *-thero and *-is-tho (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Germanic, Greek-Iranian-IndoAryan.
c) The instrumental singular masculine *-ō (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Germanic-Baltic, Iranian-IndoAryan.
d) Satem assibilation: palatals > assibilated stops (> sibilants) (HOCK 1999a:14-15): Baltic-Slavic, Armenian-Iranian-IndoAryan.
e) The “Ruki” rule (HOCK 1999a:14-15): Baltic-Slavic, Armenian-Iranian-IndoAryan.
f) The merger of the original PIE velars and labio-velars (HOCK 1999a:15): Baltic-Slavic, Armenian-Iranian-IndoAryan.
g) The Locative *-s-u/*-s-i (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Baltic-Slavic, Greek-Iranian-IndoAryan.
h) The relative pronoun *yos (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Slavic, Greek-Armenian-Iranian-IndoAryan.
i) The genitive-locative dual *-os (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Slavic, Iranian-IndoAryan.
j) A first person singular pronoun: nominative, genitive and accusative (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Slavic, Iranian-IndoAryan.
4. The European Branches share important isoglosses with the Early Branches:
a) The relative pronoun *khois (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Anatolian-Tocharian, Italic.
b) The genitive singular *-ī (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Tocharian, Italic-Celtic.
c) Subjunctives in *-ā, *-ē (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Tocharian, Italic-Celtic.
d) Middle passives in *-r (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Anatolian-Tocharian, Italic-Celtic.
e) The Middle present participle in *-mo- (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Anatolian, Baltic-Slavic.
f) Modal forms in *-l- (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Anatolian-Tocharian, Slavic.
5. Some of the Last Branches share certain isoglosses with the European Branches missing in IndoAryan:
a) The original Proto-Indo-European *tt changed to ss: Baltic-Slavic, Greek-Albanian-Iranian. [It changed to tst in Anatolian, and to st in Italic-Celtic-Germanic, and remained tt only in IndoAryan].
b) A loss of aspiration in voiced aspirated stops (LUBOTSKY 2001:302): Germanic-Baltic-Slavic, Iranian.
6. All the Last Branches developed several sweeping isoglosses in common after the departure of the Early Branches and the European Branches:
a) A “complete restructuring of the entire inherited verbal system” (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:340-341,345), with the formation of athematic and thematic aorists, augmented forms and reduplicated presents: Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Iranian, IndoAryan.
b) Oblique cases in *-bhi- (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:345): Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Iranian, IndoAryan.
c) The prohibitive negation *mē (MEILLET 1908/1967:39): Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Iranian, IndoAryan.
7. Some of the Last Branches developed certain isoglosses in common missing in IndoAryan:
a) Change of *s > h from initial *s before a vowel, from intervocalic *s, and from some occurrences of *s before and after sonants, while *s remained before and after a stop (MEILLET 1908/1967:113): Greek-Armenian-Iranian.
C. The Recorded Migrations:
The emigrations of the Druhyu and Anu tribes are actually a matter of recorded history:
1. The Druhyu, as per the original Puranic locations of the five Aila tribes, were originally inhabitants of the Greater Punjab area (the SaptaSindhava, or present day northern Pakistan) to the west of the Pūru.
Later, after the Anu displaced them from this area, the Druhyu in a pre-Rigvedic era were pushed farther to the west, into Afghanistan or "the Gandhāra country" (PARGITER 1962:262).
Even later, they started migrating to the north into Central Asia and beyond:
"Indian tradition distinctly asserts that there was an Aila outflow of the Druhyus through the northwest into the countries beyond, where they founded various kingdoms" (PARGITER 1962:298).
"Five Purāṇas add that Pracetas’ descendants spread out into the mleccha countries to the north beyond India and founded kingdoms there" (BHARGAVA 1956/1971:99).
"After a time, being overpopulated, the Druhyus crossed the borders of India and founded many principalities in the Mleccha territories in the north, and probably carried the Aryan culture beyond the frontiers of India" (MAJUMDAR 1951/1996:283).
2.The Anu, as per the original Puranic locations, were originally inhabitants of the North: of Kashmir and the areas to its west.
Then, still in the pre-Rigvedic era, "One branch, headed by Uśīnara established several kingdoms on the eastern border of the Punjab", and later, by the time of the Oldest Books of the Rigveda (6,3,7) they had extended their "conquests westwards […] occupying the whole of the Punjab except the northwestern corner” (PARGITER 1962:264).
In the period of the Oldest Books, the expansionist activities of the Bharata Pūru king Sudās and his descendants led to the westward migration of major sections of the Anu: the dāśarājña war led to the possessions (territory) of the Anu being taken over by the Bharatas. As we have already seen, they are specifically described (VII.18.13) as abandoning their possessions after their defeat, and scattering abroad (VII.5.3) in the westward direction (VII.6.3).
Clearly there were two major migrations: the migration of the Druhyu towards the North (into Central Asia, and later further westwards), and the migration of the Anu towards the West (into Afghanistan, and later further westwards).
This explains the two main groups of Indo-European branches: The European Branches form one cohesive group along with the Early Branches and constitute a northern belt of Indo-European languages, while the Last Branches constitute a southern belt. Therefore:
a) the Druhyu are to be identified at least with the European Branches (the nomenclature possibly covering the Early Branches as well), and
b) the Anu are to be identified with the Last Branches (except the Pūru Indo-Aryan).
D. The Textual and Linguistic Evidence:
As per the popular theory, the Original Homeland was in South Russia: the Anatolian branch first migrated to the south, then the Tocharian branch migrated to the east, later the European Branches migrated towards the west. Much later, the Albanian and Greek branches migrated to the southwest, the Armenian branch to the south, and the Iranian and Indo-Aryan branches to the east.
The Indian Homeland theory shows first the Anatolian and Tocharian branches migrating in that sequence to the north from Afghanistan into the western and eastern parts respectively of Central Asia, much later followed into Central Asia by the Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic branches in that sequence. The first two branches remained in Central Asia for a long time (the Tocharian branch till the end of its existence), and the Anatolian branch later migrated westwards through Kazakhstan and then south into Anatolia (Turkey) around the Caspian Sea. The European Branches expanded northwestwards, finally moving into Europe.
The Albanian, Greek, Armenian and Iranian branches migrated westwards from Afghanistan, with the tail-enders of the Iranian group continuing in Afghanistan (later also spreading northwards into Central Asia), and Indo-Aryan continuing in the Original Homeland to the east of Afghanistan.
The Indian Homeland theory, being recorded in the ancient texts, already eclipses the Russian Homeland theory which is pure speculative hypothesis.
But even the bare evidence of the Isoglosses alone makes it clear that the South Russian Homeland theory is untenable while the Indian Homeland theory fits in perfectly with the data:
1. Migrations almost always take place in one general direction, as in the Indian homeland theory: the South Russian homeland theory has all the different branches migrating in every possible direction.
2. It is logical that the Homeland should be located in the historical area of one of the five Last Branches, with one branch continuing to remain in the area after the migration of the other four, as in the Indian homeland theory. The South Russian Homeland theory has every single one of the Last Branches migrating from the Homeland, with one European Branch (Slavic) finally returning back into the area in historical times.
3. The Anatolian branch was the first to migrate from the Homeland, and all the other branches evolved together as a group separately from Anatolian, and later also from Tocharian. However, we find a large number of important isoglosses formed jointly between the Early and European Branches, and between the European and Late Branches, but none between the Early and Late Branches.
In the South Russian Homeland theory, Anatolian migrated to the south, Tocharian to the east and then the European Branches to the west. Later, Albanian and Greek migrated to the southwest, Armenian to the south, and Iranian and Indo-Aryan to the east. Given the wide range of directions in which all these branches dispersed, there is no explanation at all for the isoglosses:
a) The Early Branches (going south and east respectively) formed important isoglosses with the European Branches (going west),
b) the European Branches (going west) formed important isoglosses with the Late Branches (going southwest, south and east respectively),
c) but the Early Branches (going south and east respectively) did not form any isoglosses with the Late Branches (going southwest, south and east respectively).
However, in the Indian Homeland theory, these facts have a natural explanation: the Early Branches first migrated to the north of Afghanistan and settled in Central Asia. The Late Branches never went north of Afghanistan in the formative period, and therefore did not form any isoglosses with the Early Branches to the north. The European Branches, on the other hand, remained in Afghanistan for a considerable period, when different isoglosses were formed with various Late Branches. Later they migrated northwards into Central Asia (still later moving towards Europe through the northwest of Central Asia), when different isoglosses were formed with the Early Branches.
4. In the Russian Homeland theory, Indo-Aryan and Iranian are supposed to have migrated together eastwards from South Russia as one group (Indo-Iranian), completely distinct from the other branches. Nevertheless, Iranian shares certain isoglosses in common with other Late Branches, or jointly with certain European Branches and Late Branches, which are missing in Indo-Aryan.
This has no explanation in the South Russian Homeland theory, but in the Indian Homeland theory, these are explained as isoglosses formed by Iranian with the other branches in the west in Afghanistan, and these are missing in Indo-Aryan because it remained in the east.
Similar to these isoglosses is the presence in Iranian (mainly Avestan and Ossetic) of a small category of words, which we may call "northwestern" or "Afghan" words pertaining to a mountainous land with ice and snow, found also in the European Branches but not found in Indo-Aryan:
Av. aēxa "frost, ice" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic.
Oss. tajyn "thaw, melt" (verb) with cognates in Slavic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic (and also Greek and Armenian).
Av. udra "otter" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic.
Av. bawra-/bawri- "beaver" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic.
Oss. wyzyn "hedgehog" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic (and also Greek and Armenian).
Oss. læsæg "salmon" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic (and also Armenian).
Av. θβərəsa- "boar" with cognates in Celtic.
Av. pərəsa- "piglet" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic.
Pehl. wabz- "wasp" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic.
Av. staora- "steer" with cognates in Germanic.
Apart from all these basic considerations, there is significant textual and linguistic evidence for the migration of each of the three groups from the Indian Homeland:
THE EARLY BRANCHES:
1. Logistically, the two Early Branches migrating northwards from Afghanistan into Central Asia takes them almost directly into their historically attested areas: Tocharian remained in eastern Central Asia till the end, and Anatolian reached its earliest recorded historical area (Turkey) by a natural expansion westwards towards, and then around the shores of, the Caspian Sea.
On the other hand, at least the presence of Tocharian in Central Asia is an anomaly in the South Russian Homeland theory: as Childe had accepted long ago, “the simplest explanation of the presence of a Centum language in Central Asia would be to regard it as the last survivor of an original Asiatic Aryan stock. To identify a wandering of Aryans across Turkestan from Europe in a relatively late historical period is frankly difficult” (CHILDE 1926:95-96).
2. The two Early Branches Anatolian and Tocharian are referred to in the Puranas as the two great tribes or peoples living to the north of the Himalayas, whom they call the Uttara-Madra and the Uttara-Kuru. The Uttara-Kuru are easily identified by their geographical location with the Tocharians: this is supported by the simiḷarity of the name Uttara-Kuru with the name Tocharian (Twghry in an Uighur text, and Tou-ch’u-lo or Tu-huo-lo in ancient Chinese Buddhist texts). Clearly Uttara-Kuru is a Sanskritization of the native appellation of the Tocharians, preserving, as closely as possible, what Henning calls "the consonantal skeleton (dental + velar + r) and the old u-sonant [which] appears in every specimen of the name" (HENNING 1978:225). Since the eastern of the two great tribes to the north were called the Uttara-Kuru, the western must have been called the Uttara-Madra on the analogy of the actual Kuru and the Madra tribes of the south being to the east and the west respectively; and the term Uttara-Madra must therefore refer to the Anatolians (proto-Hittites).
3. The presence, in Hittite mythology, of Indra, as the God/Goddess Inara who helps the rain-God to kill the Great Serpent, is significant. Indra is completely unknown to all the other Indo-European mythologies and traditions (except of course, the Avesta, where he has been demonized): Anatolian can only have acquired this God and nature-myth from an earlier sojourn close to the Vedic area.
[The name is so uniquely Indo-Aryan that Lubotsky and Witzel (see WITZEL 2006:95) feel emboldened to classify Indra as a word borrowed by "Indo-Iranian" from a hypothetical BMAC language in Northern-Afghanistan/Central-Asia! Incidentally, the Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology actually describes Inar/Inara as “Inar, a God who had come from India with the Indo-European Hittites” (LAROUSSE 1959:85)].
4. Finally, incredible as it may seem, we actually have some kind of racial evidence (though nothing to do with any "Aryan race") indicating that the proto-Hittites immigrated into West Asia from the east (Central Asia) rather than from the West: it was only in the beginning of the twentieth century that their language was discovered and studied in detail and they were conclusively identified linguistically as Indo-Europeans. Shortly after this, a paper in the Journal of the American Oriental Society makes the following incidental observations: "While the reading of the inscriptions by Hrozny and other scholars has almost conclusively shown that they spoke an Indo-European language, their physical type is clearly Mongoloid, as is shown by their representations both on their own sculptures and on Egyptian monuments. They had high cheek-bones and retreating foreheads." (CARNOY 1919:117).
THE EUROPEAN BRANCHES:
1. The three northern tribal groups as per Indian tradition were the Pūru, Anu and Druhyu. All three shared a common, or interrelated, culture in western North India, with religious systems exhibiting the same two central religious features: hymnology and fire-rituals. The priests of the Pūru (the Indo-Aryan speakers) were the Aṅgiras, of the Anu (mainly the Iranian branch) were the Bhṛgu, and of the amorphous group of tribes further west were the Druhyu (which is why the group was itself referred to as Druhyu). [For details, see TALAGERI 2000:254-260, 2008:247-250, and for greater details about the complicated Aṅgiras-Bhṛgu history and relations, see TALAGERI 2000:164-180].
That there were three main groups of rival priests, and that the third group (besides the Aṅgiras and the Bhṛgu) were the Druhyu, is made clear in the Rigveda and the Avesta: Rigveda VII.18.6 refers to the priests of the Anu-Druhyu coalition against Sudās as "the Bhṛgu and the Druhyu". Likewise, in the Avesta in Vendidad 19, it is an Angra and a Druj who try to tempt Zaraθuštra away from the path of Ahura Mazda. [the priests of the Iranians were the Āθrauuans (Atharvans or Bhṛgus), including Zaraθuštra himself].
After examining the similarities and common religious features among the ancient Indo-European branches, Winn concludes that the “Celts, Romans, and Indo-Iranians shared a religious heritage dating to an early Indo-European period” (WINN 1995:103).
The only European group which preserves the original PIE priestly class is the Celtic group, whose religion exhibits the same two central religious features found in the Vedic and Avestan religions, i.e. hymnology and fire-worship. It also preserves the original name Drui (gen. Druid), i.e. Druhyu. As in the Vedic and Iranian religions:
a) the main curriculum of the “Celtic Druids [….] involved years of instruction and the memorization of innumerable verses, as the sacred tradition was an oral one” (WINN 1995:54) and
b) fire-rituals formed the centre of the religion. The fire rituals were originated by the Bhṛgu priests, and the Rigveda (even in the Oldest Books, where the Bhṛgu are regarded as enemies: see TALAGERI 2000:172-174) gives them due credit for the same. Similarly, The Bhṛgu (of the Anu tribe) are indirectly remembered in Celtic traditions as the earliest rishis or teachers: two of the three Great Goddesses of the Celts were named Anu and Brigit, and while all the Goddesses in general were associated with fertility cults, “Brigit, however, had additional functions as a tutelary deity of learning, culture and skills” (LAROUSSE 1959:239). Most significantly, Brigit is primarily associated with the maintenance of eternal fires, like the eternal fires of the Iranian priests (and the eternal fire referred to in the Rigveda III.23), and this was the central feature of her main temple at Kildare in Ireland, where eternal flames were maintained by priestesses.
While Celtic is the only branch which preserves the original PIE priestly system with the name Drui (Druhyu, as well as the names Anu and Brigit), it is clear that this priestly class really prevailed in all the European Branches:
a) The word Druhyu and its cognates (Druh, Drugh, drogha, droha) in the Rigveda, as well as the word Druj in the Avesta, refer to demons or enemies. But cognate forms have the opposite meaning in the European languages: while Drui is the name for the priests of the Celtic people, the word means “friend” in the Baltic and Slavonic languages (e.g. Lithuanian draugas and Russian drug), and something like “soldier” in the Germanic languages (Gothic ga-drauhts, Old Norse drōtt, Old English dryht, Old German truht). “Friend” may have been a symbolic word for a militant "priest": the Rigvedic reference to the two priestly classes of Sudas’ enemies is as follows, Griffith’s translation: “The Bhṛgus and the Druhyus quickly listened: friend rescued friend mid the two distant peoples”.
b) The Bhṛgu are also indirectly remembered in Germanic tradition: the Norse god of poetry and wisdom is Bragi, and although he is not directly associated with fire rituals, a suggested etymology of his name, often rejected simply because he is not known to be associated with fire or fire rituals, is from the word braga, “to shine”: i.e. his name is also derived from the same IE root as the name of the Bhṛgu, the originators of the Vedic fire-rituals, and the related Phleguai, the Greek fire-priests.
All this confirms the identity of the Druhyu of Indian historical tradition with the speakers of the ancestral forms of the European Branches.
2. A very detailed and complex linguistic study by Johanna Nichols and a team of linguists, appropriately entitled "The Epicentre of the Indo-European Linguistic Spread", examines ancient loan-words from West Asia (Semitic and Sumerian) found in Indo-European and also in other language families like Caucasian (with three separate groups Kartvelian, Abkhaz-Circassian and Nakh-Daghestanian), and the mode and form of transmission of these loan-words into the Indo-European family as a whole as well as into particular branches, and combines this with the evidence of the spread of Uralic and its connections with Indo-European, and with several kinds of other linguistic evidence : "Several kinds of evidence for the PIE locus have been presented here. Ancient loanwords point to a locus along the desert trajectory, not particularly close to Mesopotamia and probably far out in the eastern hinterlands. The structure of the family tree, the accumulation of genetic diversity at the western periphery of the range, the location of Tocharian and its implications for early dialect geography, the early attestation of Anatolian in Asia Minor, and the geography of the centum-satem split all point in the same direction [….]: the long-standing westward trajectories of languages point to an eastward locus, and the spread of IE along all three trajectories points to a locus well to the east of the Caspian Sea. The satem shift also spread from a locus to the south-east of the Caspian, with satem languages showing up as later entrants along all three trajectory terminals. (The satem shift is a post-PIE but very early IE development). The locus of the IE spread was therefore somewhere in the vicinity of ancient Bactria-Sogdiana." (NICHOLS 1997:137): i.e. all this linguistic evidence locates the locus of the spread of the European Branches in the very area outside the exit point from Afghanistan into Central Asia indicated by the data in the Puranas regarding the emigration of the Druhyu tribes.
3. Independently of the diverse linguistic evidence analyzed by Nichols above (which pertains to linguistic contacts of the European dialects with languages to the west and southwest of Central Asia), there is other linguistic evidence further east:
a) A western academic scholar of Chinese origin, Tsung-tung Chang, shows, on the basis of a study of the relationship between the vocabulary of Old Chinese (as reconstructed by Bernard Karlgren, Grammata Serica, 1940, etc.) and the etymological roots of Proto-Indo-European vocabulary (as reconstructed by Julius Pokorny, Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, 1959) that there was a very strong Indo-European influence on the formative vocabulary of Old Chinese. His conclusions: "Among Indo-European dialects, Germanic languages seem to have been mostly akin to Old Chinese" (CHANG 1988:32), and all this indicates that "Indo-Europeans had coexisted for thousands of years in Central Asia [….] (before) they emigrated into Europe" (CHANG 1988:33).
b) The association of proto-Germanic, as well as proto-Celtic, with ancient Central Asia is confirmed by Gamkrelidze and Ivanov as well, who deal with this point at length in section 12.7 in their book, entitled "The separation of the Ancient European dialects from Proto-Indo-European and the migration of Indo-European tribes across Central Asia" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:831-847), where they trace the movement of the European Dialects from Central Asia to Europe on the basis of a trail of linguistic contacts between the European Dialects and various other language families on the route: this evidence includes (apart from borrowings from the European Dialects into Old Chinese, already discussed above) borrowings from the Yeneseian and Altaic languages into the European Dialects and vice versa. Significantly, Gamkrelidze and Ivanov are proponents of a Homeland in Anatolia, but the linguistic evidence compels them to postulate a hypothetical movement of the European Branches eastwards into Central Asia before they moved out westwards towards Europe.
4. There is plenty of other linguistic evidence to show that there was a westward, and not eastward, migration of Indo-European languages. For example:
a) Semitic words borrowed by ancient Indo-European (taurus, wine) are found in all the nine branches to the west, but not in the three eastern branches (Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Tocharian): further, the words for "wine" are found in the western branches in three reconstructed forms corresponding to their stage of migration westwards. Thus, the Early Branch Hittite (Anatolian) has borrowed the form *wi(o)no, the European Branches have borrowed the form *weino, and the Last Branches Albanian, Greek and Armenian have borrowed the form *woino.
b) Indo-Aryan and Iranian words have been massively borrowed by the Uralic languages of eastern Europe, but there are no reverse borrowings, showing that the two eastern branches did not come from the west and never had contact with the Uralic speakers, but small groups of Indo-Aryan and Iranian speaking people must have migrated westwards with the European Branches and settled down among the Uralic speakers, finally getting integrated into their ranks.
[Incidentally, the Finnish scholar Parpola is a strong proponent of the theory that the Indo-Iranians, before "migrating" eastwards to their historical habitats, were inhabitants of a far western region to the southeast of the Uralic, or more properly the Finno-Ugric, people. He regularly, including in the above article, cites the evidence of the huge number of Indo-Iranian, Iranian or Indo-Aryan loans in Finno-Ugric to this effect. He therefore treats this as evidence that the Indo-Iranians came from the Uralic areas.
This is a classic example of upside-down half-witted logic: there are genuinely massive numbers of very important ancient Indo-Iranian/Iranian/Indo-Aryan words borrowed into Finno-Ugric: “The earliest layer of Indo-Iranian borrowing consists of common Indo-Iranian, Proto-Indo-Aryan and Proto-Iranian words relating to three cultural spheres: economic production, social relations and religious beliefs. Economic terms comprise words for domestic animals (sheep, ram, Bactrian camel, stallion, colt, piglet, calf), pastoral processes and products (udder, skin, wool, cloth, spinner), farming (grain, awn, beer, sickle), tools (awl, whip, horn, hammer or mace), metal (ore) and, probably, ladder (or bridge). A large group of loanwords reflects social relations (man, sister, orphan, name) and includes such important Indo-Iranian terms like dāsa ‘non-Aryan, alien, slave’ and asura ‘god, master, hero’. Finally a considerable number of the borrowed words reflect religious beliefs and practices: heaven, below (the nether world), god/happiness, vajra/‘Indra’s weapon’, dead/mortal, kidney (organ of the body used in the Aryan burial ceremony). There are also terms related to ecstatic drinks used by Indo-Iranian priests as well as Finno-Ugric shamans: honey, hemp and fly-agaric” (KUZMINA 2001:290-291).
But decades of desperate efforts have failed to locate a single Finno-Ugric word borrowed into the Indo-Iranian languages of the east
Except to extremely motivated scholars with a disdain for data and logic, this cannot indicate that the Indo-Iranians of the east came from the west, but only that certain Indo-Iranian groups (now lost to history, like the Mitanni Indo-Aryans) must have migrated westwards into the Finno-Ugric areas from the east in ancient times.
Immigrants always give new words into the local languages. Indian languages have large numbers of words borrowed from Arabic/Persian (during the centuries of Islamic rule in India), the Austric and Sino-Tibetan languages of southeast Asia and northern Asia have large numbers of Sanskrit borrowings, the Konkani dialects of Goa have large numbers of Portuguese borrowings (many, like balde "bucket" and paõ "bread", have spread to other Indian languages), English (following the Norman invasion of England) has many French borrowings, the Tamil dialect of Pondicherry has many French borrowings, many languages in former British colonies have large numbers of English borrowings.
In every case, the reverse also takes place: the immigrants also borrow local words from the local languages.
But in none of the above cases do we find the immigrants transferring these local words to their homeland (no Indian words transferred back to Arabic and Persian, no Thai or Cambodian or Indonesian words transferred back to Sanskrit, etc. - except where colonialists move back to their home areas with words borrowed from the colonies, as in English, and write literature popularizing those words).
So the evidence in fact strongly disproves the idea that the Indo-Iranians came from the west, and shows that the presence of Indo-Iranian words in Finno-Ugric (matched by the absence of Finno-Ugric words in Indo-Iranian) shows a situation of Indo-Iranian migrants to, and not from, the Finno-Ugric areas.
Strangely, as per Parpola's logic, the Finno-Ugric languages borrowed all these words somewhere near South Russia from the ancestral speakers of Indo-Aryan and Iranian: in short, as far away as in South Russia and as long ago as in remote pre-Vedic times, the putative "Indo-Iranians" already had words like ārya, dāsa, *medhu- (but not *melith-), and even a name for the Bactrian camel!]
c) There were contacts in remote pre-PIE times between proto-Indo-European and proto-Austronesian (the ancestral form of the languages of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the islands of the Pacific). Isidore Dyen (DYEN 1970) showed the striking similarities between many words reconstructed in the proto-Indo-European and proto-Austronesian languages, including such basic words as the first four numerals, many of the personal pronouns, and the words for “water” and “land”. And Dyen points out that “the number of comparisons could be increased at least slightly, perhaps even substantially, without a severe loss of quality” (DYEN 1970:439). And these contacts could only have been in India:
S.K.Chatterjee, the well known linguist separately notes: “India was the centre from which the Austric speech spread into the lands and islands of the east and Pacific” (CHATTERJI 1951/1996:156), and “the Austric speech […] in its original form (as the ultimate source of both the Austro-Asiatic and Austronesian branches) […] could very well have been characterized within India” (CHATTERJI 1951/1996:150).
5. Of all the extant Indo-European groups, it is the European Dialects for whom we have the clearest archaeological evidence regarding their movement into their historical habitats (i.e. most of Europe). As Winn points out: "A ‘common European horizon’ developed after 3000 BC, at about the time of the Pit Grave expansion (Kurgan Wave #3). Because of the particular style of ceramics produced, it is usually known as the Corded Ware Horizon. [….] The expansion of the Corded Ware cultural variants throughout central, eastern and northern Europe has been construed as the most likely scenario for the origin of PIE (Proto-Indo-European) language and culture. [….] the territory inhabited by the Corded ware/Battle Axe culture, after its expansions, geographically qualifies it to be the ancestor of the Western or European language branches: Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Italic" (WINN 1995:343, 349-350).
The origins of the Corded Ware culture has been traced further east: to the Kurgan Culture of the South Russian Steppes, to the north of the Caucasus and south of the Urals. And more recently, the earliest origins of many of the elements of the Kurgan Culture have been traced to Central Asia.
This archaeological evidence "does not [….] explain the presence of Indo-Europeans in Asia, Greece and Anatolia" (WINN 1995:343), but it explains the presence of the European branches, and their expansion through Eastern Europe to the northern and western parts of Europe.
THE LAST BRANCHES:
There is voluminous evidence about the close contacts between the Iranian and Indo-Aryan branches even after their separation from the other 10 branches of Indo-European languages.
To explain this, the linguists have postulated a hypothetical separation of a joint "Indo-Iranian" branch from the other branches in the postulated South Russian Homeland itself, and the development of a common "Indo-Iranian" culture in a pre-Rigvedic era in Central Asia (on the way from South Russia to the oldest recorded historical habitats of these two branches).
However, as we have seen, the common cultural data in the Rigveda and the Avesta shows that this common culture developed in the period of the New Books of the Rigveda in the area between Haryana and Afghanistan. The voluminous evidence for this common "Indo-Iranian" history is given in detail in my books (TALAGERI 2000:163-231; 2008:258-277, etc.). The Pūru-Anu (Vedic-Iranian) rivalries or conflicts are preserved in the traditions of the Puranas and the Avesta in the form of the Deva-Asura or Daeva-Ahura conflicts and the Aṅgiras-Bhṛgu/Atharvan (Bṛhaspati-Śukrācārya) or Aṅgra-Āθrauuan rivalries.
Two of the Indo-European expansionary or migratory movements had already taken place in the pre-Rigvedic period itself:
a) The separation of the Early Branches from this Homeland area, and their movement into and settlement in Central Asia from Afghanistan, and
b) the separation of the European Branches from this Homeland area, and their movement into and settlement in Afghanistan.
In the period of the Oldest Books of the Rigveda (6,3,7), the Last Branches were still present within the Rigvedic horizon. It was the dāśarājña battle and the expansionary activities of Sudās (Book 7) which led to the movement of the Last Branches, the Anu, into Afghanistan, triggering the northward movement of the Druhyu tribes (the European Branches) from Afghanistan into Central Asia (and later westwards), and later the expansion and movement of the other Last Branches westwards from Afghanistan:
1. It is generally recognized, on the basis of the late isoglosses developed in the Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Iranian and Indo-Aryan branches, that these were the five branches which remained within the Original Homeland area after the separation of the other seven branches. This area is hypothetically assumed by the proponents of the South Russian Homeland theory to be in South Russia.
However, the data in the Rigveda regarding the dāśarājña battle and the expansionary activities of Sudās (Book 7), shows this area to be in the Punjab. As we saw, Sudās, the Vedic (Indo-Aryan/Pūru) king enters the Punjab area from the east and fights this historical battle against a coalition of ten tribes (nine Anu tribes, and one tribe of the remnant Druhyu in the area), and later these tribes start migrating westwards.
The Anu tribes (or the epithets used for them) named in the battle hymns are:
VII.18.7 Paktha, Bhalāna, Alina, Śiva, Viṣāṇin.
VII.83.1 Parśu/Parśava, Pṛthu/Pārthava, Dāsa.
(Another Anu tribe in the Puranas and later tradition is the Madra).
A few words on some of these names:
a) Dāsa: This is a word which refers to any non-Pūru (i.e. non-"Vedic Aryan"), but particularly to Iranians: it is found in 54 hymns (63 verses) and the overwhelming majority of these references are hostile references. But there are three verses which stand out from the rest: they contain references which are friendly towards the Dāsa:
a. In VIII.5.31, the Aśvin-s are depicted as accepting the offerings of the Dāsa.
b. In VIII.46.32, the patrons are referred to as Dāsa.
c. In VIII.51.9, Indra is described as belonging to both Ārya and Dāsa.
As all these three hymns are dānastutis (hymns in praise of donors), it is clear that the friendly references have to do with the identity of the patrons in these hymns. Two of these hymns (VIII.5,46) have camel-gifting patrons (and it is very likely that the third hymn has one too: this dānastuti does not mention the specific gifts received, and merely calls upon Indra to shower wealth on the patron), and the only other hymn with a camel-gifting patron is another dānastuti in the same book: VIII.6.48.
These four hymns (VIII.5,6,46,51) clearly belong to a separate class from the other Rigvedic hymns:
a) 3 of them (VIII.5,6,46) refer to patrons who gift camels,
b) 3 of them (VIII.5,46,51) speak well of the Dāsa, and
c) 3 of them (VIII.5,6,46), all being the hymns with camel-donors, have patrons whose names have been identified as proto-Iranian names: a range of western Indologists (including Hoffman, Wilson, Weber, Witzel and Gamkrelidze) have identified Kaśu (VIII.5), Tirindira Parśava (VIII.6), and Pṛthuśravas Kānīta (VIII.46) as proto-Iranian names. Ruśama Pavīru, the patron of VIII.51, is not specifically named as Iranian by the scholars. However, the Ruśama-s are identified by M.L.Bhargava (BHARGAVA:1964) as a tribe of the extreme northwest from the Soma lands of Suṣomā and Ārjīkīyā. This clearly places them in the territory of the Iranians.
Now the word dāsa, though used for non-Pūru and mostly in a hostile sense in the Rigveda (and meaning "slave" in later Sanskrit), is clearly a word with an originally benevolent connotation. It is derived from the root √daṁś- "to shine" (obviously with a positive connotation), is found in the name of Divo-dāsa in a positive sense, and is used to describe the patrons of the hymns in the above references. Clearly, it was a tribal name among the Anu (the Iranians): note that the word "daha" means "man" in the (Iranian) Khotanese language. It was first used by the Bharata Pūru for the Anu in general and later extended to all non-Pūru tribes and people.
b) Śimyu: This word is found only in the Rigveda, and only twice in the Rigveda: once in VII.18.5 in reference to the enemies of Sudās and later once more in I.100.18, in the hymn which describes the Vārṣāgira battle (the "battle beyond the Sarayu") in Central Afghanistan, in reference to the enemies of the descendants of Sudās.
c) Madra: The Madra are not referred to in the Rigveda, in the descriptions of the battle between Sudās and the Anu tribes, but they were one of the most prominent Anu tribes of the area even in much later post-Rigvedic times.
d) Viṣāṇin: This may seem the only weak link in the identifications of the Anu (Iranian) tribes. However, it seems to complete the picture if they are identified with the Piśācin or Piśāca (the Nuristanis): note the interchangeability between "p" and "v" in "Paṇi" and "vaṇi", and the change of "Bhalāna" (Bolan) to "Baluch".
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 are found dotted over 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:
Afghanistan: (Avestan) 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).
The above named Iranian tribes include the ancestors of almost all other prominent historical and modern Iranian groups, such as the Scythians (Sakas), Ossetes and Kurds, and even the presently Slavic-language speaking (but formerly Iranian-language speaking) Serbs, Croats and others.
We also see here an important historical phenomenon: the tribal group which migrates furthest retains its linguistic identity, while those of that tribe who remain behind or on the way get absorbed into the surrounding linguistic group:
a) The Śimyu who migrated furthest retained their Albanian identity and language (Sirmio), while those among them who settled down on the way got linguistically absorbed into the Iranians (Avestan Sairima, later Sarmatians).
b) The Alina who migrated furthest retained their Greek name and language (Ellene/Hellene), while those among them who settled down on the way got linguistically absorbed into the Iranians (Alan).
c) The Bhṛgu who migrated furthest retained their Thraco-Phrygian/Armenian name and language (Phryge/Phrygian), while those among them who settled down on the way got linguistically absorbed into the Iranians (their priestly class the Āθrauuan), and those who remained behind got linguistically absorbed into the Indo-Aryans (as the priestly class of Bhṛgu). [The Armenians, in the Caucasus area, lost the name, but retained their language much influenced by Iranian].
d) The Madra who migrated furthest retained their Iranian name and dialect (Mada/Mede/Median), while those who remained behind got linguistically absorbed into the Indo-Aryans (Madra) while retaining their tribal identity as Anu.
a) The name of the king of the ten-tribe alliance against Sudās is Kavi Cāyamāna (VII.18.8) (a descendant of Abhyāvartin Cāyamāna of VI.27.5,8, who is called a Pārthava in VI.27.8) and their old priest is Kavaṣa (VII.18.12). Both these names are Iranian names found in the Avesta: Kauui, Kaoša. Kavi Cāyamāna was undoubtedly the first king of the Kauuiiān dynasty so prominent in the Avesta: in later times it was the Parthian kings who claimed to be descendants of this dynasty.
b) Earlier, the southward march of the Anu into the Punjab had commenced with Uśīnara: "One branch, headed by Uśīnara established several kingdoms on the eastern border of the Punjab", and later, by the time of the Oldest Books of the Rigveda (6,3,7) his son Śivi Auśīnara had extended the Anu "conquests westwards […] occupying the whole of the Punjab except the northwestern corner” (PARGITER 1962:264). Aošnara is an Iranian name found in the Avesta.
c) Even earlier, there were the original Anu of the North (Kashmir and areas to its west) from whom this "one branch" had migrated southwards into the Punjab. Significantly, this northern area even today is the Home of the Nuristani languages which exhibit many pre-Iranian features (the proto-Iranian dental affricates ć (ts), ź (dz), ź (dz), etc.).
The Anu identity of at least the Iranians continues till much later times: in later historical times, the name Anu is prominently found at both the southern and northern ends of the area described in the Avesta:
a) Greek texts (e.g. Stathmoi Parthikoi, 16, of Isidore of Charax) refer to the area and the people immediately north of the Hāmūn-ī Hilmand in southern Afghanistan as the anauon or anauoi, and
b) Anau is the name of a prominent proto-Iranian or Iranian archaeological site in Central Asia (Turkmenistan).
It is clear that the speakers of the proto-forms of the four Last Branches (Albanian, Greek, Armenian and Iranian), were in the Punjab at the time of the dāśarājña battle or "the Battle of the Ten Kings" in the period of the Oldest Books (6,3,7) which, as we saw, go back in time to 3000 BCE at least, and only started migrated westwards after that.
2. While there are no records for the prehistory of the Albanian and Armenian branches before they entered their historical habitats, most linguists postulate a close linguistic relationship between the Greek, Albanian and Armenian branches. Some evidence for the movement of the Greek language through West Asia may be found recorded by Gamkrelidze, in a section entitled “The Greek migration to mainland Greece from the east. Greek-Kartvelian lexical ties and the myth of the Argonauts” (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:799-804), even though only as part of his theory that the Indo-European homeland lay in Anatolia: “The numerous lexical resemblances between Greek and Kartvelian, found precisely among the ‘pre-Greek’ words of non-Indo-European origin, are to be interpreted as showing that a number of Kartvelian words were borrowed by Greek… somewhere in the Near East during the Greek migrations from the proto-homeland westward to historical Greek territory… some… prehistoric borrowings from Greek into Kartvelian… show that the Greek-Kartvelian borrowings went in both directions” (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:801-802).
There is of course, plenty of recorded evidence for the Iranian movement from the east:
The earliest references to Iranians in Iran do not occur till after the beginning of the first millennium BCE:
“We find no evidence of the future ‘Iranians’ previous to the ninth century BC. The first allusion to the Parsua or Persians, then localized in the mountains of Kurdistan, and to the Madai or Medes, already established on the plain, occurs in 837 BC in connection with the expedition of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. About a hundred years afterwards, the Medes invaded the plateau which we call Persia (or Iran) driving back or assimilating populations of whom there is no written record” (LAROUSSE 1959:321).
“By the mid-ninth century BC two major groups of Iranians appear in cuneiform sources: the Medes and the Persians. [….] What is reasonably clear from the cuneiform sources is that the Medes and Persians (and no doubt other Iranian peoples not identified by name) were moving into western Iran from the east” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1974, Vol.9, 832).
“‘Persians’ are first mentioned in the 9th century BC Assyrian annals: on one campaign, in 835 BC, Shalmaneser (858-824) is said to have received tributes from 27 kings of Paršuwaš; the Medes are mentioned under Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BC) [….] There are no literary sources for Iranians in Central Asia before the Old Persian inscriptions (Darius’s Bisotun inscription, 521-519 BC, ed. Schmitt) these show that by the mid-1st millennium BC tribes called Sakas by the Persians and Scythians by the Greeks were spread throughout Central Asia, from the westernmost edges (north and northwest of the Black Sea) to its easternmost borders” (SKJÆRVØ 1995:156).
Therefore, it is clear that the location of the Indo-European Homeland in northern India, and the migrations of the different branches from this Homeland are a matter of actual recorded history.
THE LAST BRANCH IN THE HOMELAND:
The last and only branch (of the three northern Aiḷa branches, or the twelve Indo-European branches) to remain in the Homeland was Indo-Aryan: the language of the "Vedic Aryans" or the Pūru. Before examining (in section V) the position of this Vedic culture vis-à-vis the other eastern tribes, we should first understand its position vis-à-vis the western tribes (the Anu and Druhyu) who were the speakers of the proto-forms of the other eleven branches which migrated out of India.
As per the Aryan-Invader perspective, there are three phases in the Vedic "Indo-Aryan" heritage:
a) The Indo-European heritage shared with the other eleven branches in the PIE Homeland in South Russia.
b) The Indo-Iranian heritage shared with the Iranian branch in Central Asia, after the separation of the Indo-Aryan and Iranian branches from the other ten branches and migration eastwards.
c) The Indo-Aryan heritage, developed all by itself after separating from Iranian and entering India.
As per the Out-of-India or Indian Homeland perspective based on the recorded history of the Indo-European migrations, also, there are these same three stages:
a) The Indo-European heritage shared by all the twelve branches in their joint Homeland in northern-northwestern India.
b) The Indo-Iranian heritage shared by the Indo-Aryan and Iranian branches after the departure of the other ten branches.
c) The Indo-Aryan heritage, developed all by itself after the separation and emigration of the Iranians.
If the Aryan-Invader perspective were right, the Vedic culture portrayed in the Rigveda would be a very diluted form of the original PIE culture in the Homeland. As we saw, the Vedic language is not the ancestor of the other branches, it is just one of twelve branches of Indo-European languages. After the distance travelled all the way from South Russia over long centuries, very few traces of the ancestral PIE language and culture should have remained in the culture depicted in a text (the Rigveda) composed in northern India in which there is not the faintest trace of extra-territorial memories.
However, the picture presented by the Vedic language and culture shows it to be so close to the PIE language and culture that it seems to be literally hot out of the PIE oven: as Griffith puts it in the preface to the first edition of his translation of the Rigveda: “The great interest of the Ṛgveda is, in fact, historical rather than poetical. As in its original language we see the roots and shoots of the languages of Greek and Latin, of Kelt, Teuton and Slavonian, so the deities, the myths, and the religious beliefs and practices of the Veda throw a flood of light upon the religions of all European countries before the introduction of Christianity.”:
1. The mythology of the Rigveda represents the most primitive form of Indo-European mythology: as Macdonell puts it, for example, the Vedic gods “are nearer to the physical phenomena which they represent, than the gods of any other Indo-European mythology” (MACDONELL 1963:15). In fact, in the majority of cases, the original nature myths, in which the mythological entities and the mythological events are rooted, can be identified or traced only through the form in which the myths are represented in the Rigveda.
All the other Indo-European mythologies, individually, have numerous mythological elements in common with Vedic mythology, but very few with each other; and even these few (except those borrowed from each other by neighboring languages in ancient but historical times, such as the Greek god Apollo, borrowed by the Romans) are ones which are also found in Vedic mythology (see TALAGERI 1993:377-395).
The following, for example, is an almost exhaustive list (I have not used phonetic spellings for the non-Vedic names) of common Indo-European deities found in the mythologies of more than one branch. Note that every single one of these deities is found in the Rigveda:
Dyaus Pitar (Vedic), Zeus Pater (Greek), Jupiter (Roman), Dei Patrous (Illyrian), Dievs (Baltic).
Uṣas (Vedic), Eos (Greek), Aurora (Roman), Aushrine (Baltic).
Varuṇa (Vedic), Odinn/Wodan (Germanic), Ouranous (Greek), Velinas (Baltic).
Asura (Vedic), Aesir (Germanic), Ahura (Avestan).
Marut (Vedic), Ares (Greek), Mars (Roman).
Parjanya (Vedic), Perkunas (Baltic), Perunu (Slavic), Fjorgyn (Germanic).
Traitana (Vedic), Thraetaona (Avestan), Triton (Greek).
Aryaman (Vedic), Airyaman (Avestan), Ariomanus/Eremon (Celtic).
Saramā/Sārameya (Vedic), Hermes (Greek).
Pūṣan, Paṇi (Vedic), Pan (Greek), Vanir (Germanic).
Rudra (Vedic), Ruglu (Slavic).
Danu (Vedic), Danu (Irish).
Indra (Vedic), Indra (Avestan), Inara (Hittite).
Śarvara (Vedic), Kerberos (Greek).
Śrī (Vedic), Ceres (Greek), Freyr/Freya (Germanic).
Bhaga (Vedic), Baga (Avestan), Bog (Slavic).
Apām Napāt (Vedic), Apām Napāt (Avestan), Neptunus (Roman), Nechtain (Celtic).
Ṛbhu (Vedic), Elbe (Germanic = English Elf).
Yama (Vedic), Yima (Avestan), Ymir (Germanic).
The tally (out of 19): Vedic (19), Greek (9), Avestan (7), Germanic (7), Roman (4), Baltic (4) Slavic (3), Celtic (2), Hittites (1), Albanian (1). And in all the deities which are shared by the Avesta, it is clear that the connection is to and through the Rigvedic deity: further, the Avesta represents a highly evolved, highly anthropomorphized and highly transformed state of religion and mythology, which shows very few connections with the natural phenomena that they represent, except through analogical comparison with the Rigveda.
Not only are Vedic deities the only ones to have clear cognates in all the other branches, but in many cases, it is almost impossible to recognize the connections between related mythological entities and events in two separate Indo-European mythologies without a comparison of the two with the related Vedic versions. Thus, for example, the Teutonic (Germanic) Vanir are connected with the Greek Hermes and Pan, but it is impossible to connect the two except through the Vedic Saramā and Paṇi (see TALAGERI 2000:477-495 for details). The Avestan mythology stands aloof from all other Indo-European mythologies and is connected only to Vedic mythology.
2. Linguistically, the Vedic language is the only language which still retains the verbal roots of the most common cognate words in the different Indo-European languages. This point, first noted by Nicholas Kazanas, has been dealt with in more detail by Koenraad Elst, who points out that the roots of many of the most basic and commonest cognate words (for example, the words for father, son, daughter, bear, wolf, etc.) are still active and productive roots in the Vedic/Sanskrit language with many other words being created from the same verbal roots, while only these isolated cognate words are present in the other branches with no clear clues as to their etymologies.
Further, an examination of the Rigveda shows all the three stages (the Indo-European stage, the Indo-Iranian stage and the Indo-Aryan stage) are present within the history of the text. All these three stages are geographically located within India, and in fact the three Oldest Books of the Rigveda (6, 3, 7, in that order) are geographically restricted to the areas in Haryana and further east (i.e. in the region to the east of the Sarasvati), and it is only during the course of composition of the Rigveda that the geography of the text expands northwestwards. This can be illustrated with the history of just one word "night":
a) The common Indo-European word throughout the Rigveda is nakt-. It is common to almost all the other branches: Greek nox (modern Greek nychta), Latin noctis (French nuit, Spanish noche), Hittite nekuz, Tocharian nekciye, German nacht, Irish anocht, Russian noc', Lithuanian naktis, Albanian natë, etc.
b) A less common Indo-Iranian word throughout the Rigveda is kṣap. It is found in the Avesta (where the word related to nakt- is completely missing except in a phrase upa-naxturusu, "bordering on the night") as xšap: modern Persian shab (as used in Urdu, and in the phrase shab-nam "night-moisture= dew").
c) The common Indo-Aryan Sanskrit word, which appears for the first time only a few times in the latest parts of the Rigveda, is rātri, which completely replaces the earlier words in post-Rigvedic Sanskrit and is the common or normal word in all modern Indo-Aryan languages as well as in all other languages which have borrowed the word from Sanskrit, but is totally missing in the IE languages outside India (which had already departed before the birth of this word).
The words uda-, āpah and pānīya for "water" is another such example.
The Rigvedic language shows the "roots and shoots" of all the other Indo-European languages, and the "deities, the myths, and the religious beliefs and practices of the Veda throw a flood of light upon the religions of all European countries before the introduction of Christianity", precisely because northern India was the Original Homeland of all the twelve branches, and the Rigveda, though representing the language and religion of only one branch (the Indo-Aryan branch, or the Pūru),
a) continued to remain in the Original Homeland long after all the other branches had undergone long migrations to their historical habitats, and
b) had maintained a continuous tradition and records of the original common language and mythology in the form of the traditional history in the Puranas and the meticulously preserved hymns of the Rigveda.
V. The Nature of the Spread of the Vedic Religion in India.
It is clear that northern India was the Homeland of the Indo-European family of languages and that all the other branches of Indo-European languages in the world migrated from India. There was no "Aryan Invasion of India", and the area of the Harappan (Indus Valley or Sindhu-Sarasvati) Civilization in its earliest phases was the area from which the speakers of the proto-forms of the other eleven branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Greek, Anatolian, Armenian, Tocharian and Iranian) migrated westwards.
Now, the question remains: if the Vedic language, religion and culture were originally native to the area from westernmost U.P. and Haryana, and expanded westwards in the Rigvedic period itself up to Afghanistan, what exactly was the nature of the spread of this culture eastwards into India? Did our Classical Indian/Hindu Civilization originate from this Vedic culture, as the proponents of both, the Aryan Invasion Theory as well as the Indigenous Aryan Theory, would like to believe? Are the modern "Indo-Aryan" languages of North India descended from the Vedic language of the Pūru (the "Indo-Aryan" of Indological and linguistic studies)? Are the elements of Indian religion found in post-Rigvedic texts (the Atharvaveda, the Upanishads, the Puranas and Epics, and in latter-day popular Hinduism in all parts of the country) "later developments" from this original Vedic culture? It is necessary to have a proper perspective on this point to understand the situation fully and correctly.
The eleven branches of Indo-European languages outside India are descended from the languages of the Anu and Druhyu tribes to the west of the Pūru, while the Vedic language was the language of the Pūru tribes. The entire Indo-European paradigm is based on the comparative study of the eleven (presently) out-of-India branches and the Vedic language (which is treated as the twelfth branch).
However, the modern Indo-Aryan languages of North India are not descended from the Vedic language of the Pūru: they are descended from other Indo-European languages which were spoken by the tribes to the east and south of the Pūru: i.e. the Ikṣvāku, Yadu, Turvasu, and others. This is proved by various linguistic factors:
a) Prakrits and Indo-Aryan dialects in eastern India retained the r/l distinction, which is technically “pre-Indo-Iranian” since the “Indo-Iranians” of the Rigveda-Avesta-Mitanni records had merged r/l into r.
b) The Bangani language isolated in the hills of Uttarakhand has Kentum language features: the branches of Indo-European languages are divided into Kentum (classically Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek and Tocharian) and Satem (classically Baltic, Slavic, Iranian and Indo-Aryan).
c) Archaic words are preserved in Sinhalese which are not found in Vedic/Sanskrit: for example the word watura (English water, Hittite watar).
d) Archaic features and words are also found in eastern and southern Prakrits, which are missing in Sanskrit and Iranian: K.R. Norman, in his study of the variations between the OIA (Old Indo-Aryan: Vedic and Classical Sanskrit) and MIA (Middle Indo-Aryan: Prakrits), finds MIA dialects contain many forms “which are clearly of IA, or even IE, origin, but have no attested Skt equivalent, e.g. suffixes not, or only rarely, found in Skt, or those words which show a different grade of root from that found in Skt, but can be shown not to be MIA innovations, because the formation could only have evolved in a pre-MIA phonetic form, or because a direct equivalent is found in an IE language other than Skt” (NORMAN 1995:282).
The Prakrits and consequently the modern Indo-Aryan (or NIA or New Indo-Aryan) languages of northern India, and in fact the rich Sanskrit lexicons, contain large numbers of words which have been classified by the Prakrit grammarians as deśī (local) words distinct from tatsama (directly borrowed Vedic or Sanskrit) words and tadbhava (derived or evolved from Vedic or Sanskrit) words. Linguists and Indologists have tried hard to prove these words to be borrowings from Dravidian and Austric, but failed; and have ultimately had to brand them hypothetically as "non-Aryan" words of unknown origin, probably borrowed from some unknown, unrecorded, unidentifiable and completely extinct "non-Aryan" languages which must have been spoken in northern India before the "arrival" of the "Aryans". Most of these words are the common words in the modern Indo-Aryan languages of northern India. These "new" words include, for example, ghoṭaka (horse), kukkura (dog), prastara (stone), pānīya (water), etc. for the original Vedic/Sanskrit words aśva (horse), śvan (dog), aśman (stone), uda-/āpah (water), etc.
However, these are not "non-Aryan" words, but words from the Inner Indo-European languages spoken to the east and south of the Vedic Pūru area: for some of these words "a direct equivalent is found in an IE language other than Skt" as Norman puts it above, but most of them are not found in the other IE languages either. This is because though they are IE words, they are often derived from different roots found in the speech of the eastern or Inner Indo-Europeans (the Ikṣvāku, Yadu, Turvasu, etc.) but not found in the speech of the Druhyu-Anu-Pūru tribal cluster of the north and northwest whose twelve descendant branches have been used in the comparative studies on the basis of which the "PIE" language has been reconstructed. These words entered the Sanskrit language in the post-Rigvedic stage, but words like rātri (night) are examples of such eastern Indo-European words which started entering the Vedic language even towards the end of the Rigvedic period itself. In fact, even the rare Dravidian word started entering the Vedic language towards the end of the Rigvedic period, e.g. kāṇá (one-eyed/cross-eyed) from Dravidian kaṇ (eye) in X.155.1, and the root √pūj (VIII.17.12) from Dravidian pū (flower), indicating interaction between the Vedic people and the people of the South. In later times, there was a massive influx of Inner Indo-European words, and even many Dravidian and Austric words, in the pan-Indian Sanskrit lexicons: e.g. heramba (buffalo) from Dravidian yerumai (buffalo).
The great linguist S.K Chatterji, although he puts it in terms of the AIT in which he was an unquestioning believer, puts it as follows:
"MIA and NIA languages are not, strictly speaking, derived from the language of the Rigveda or from Classical Sanskrit" (CHATTERJI 1926:36).
"[…] these Aryans of the eastern tracts seem to be different from the Midland or Vedic Aryans in many respects - in religious observances, in many practices, in dialect" (CHATTERJI 1926:40).
"[…] these Aryans were distinct from those other Aryans of the West among whom the Vedic culture grew up, distinct in dialect, in religion and in practices" (CHATTERJI 1926:45).
I had put the situation as follows in my first book: "The earliest form of Indo-European speech (proto-proto-Indo-European) was spoken in the interior of India, and in late prehistoric times, it spread out as far north and west as Kashmir and Afghanistan" (TALAGERI 1993:229). It developed into different dialects or languages, of which the outermost ones (i.e. the dialects of the Druhyu and Anu) "spread out of India into Europe, West Asia and Chinese Turkestan […] The modern Indo-Aryan languages are not descendants of the Rigvedic dialects [i.e. the Pūru dialects], but of other dialects which were contemporaneous with the Rigvedic dialects [i.e. the dialects of the Ikṣvāku, Yadu, Turvasu, etc.], but which belonged to a different section of Indo-European speech (the Inner Indo-European section) […] The Vedic dialects remained the vehicles of the Vedic literature that followed the Rigvcda; but soon the 'Classical Sanskrit' language was artificially created by the ancient Indian grammarians (Panini was preceded by hundreds of other linguists and grammarians, many of whom are named by him in his Ashtadhyayi) in order to achieve a refined via-medium between the Vedic language and the Inner Indo-European dialects (which had developed conjointly with the Dravidian languages over the course of millenniums, and were therefore structurally different from Vedic, and also had their own roots and words). Later the 'Prakrits' (which were also not fully natural forms of speech, but which successively approximated, to a greater and greater degree, the Inner dialects) came into vogue. Finally the Inner dialects came into their own in the form of the 'New Indo-Aryan' languages, as heavily Sanskritised as the Dravidian languages. During the course of the millenniums, upto the present day, the various 'Indo-Aryan' […] dialects and languages influenced each other in innumerable ways, too complicated to be analysed here" (TALAGERI 1993:230).
RELIGION AND CULTURE:
In India, as in the rest of the world, religion was originally a tribal affair. Tribes in every corner of India, as of the inhabited world of the time, were followers of different tribal religions. As in other parts of the world, the rise of organized and urbanized civilization led to the development of one particular kind of organized religion among the different tribes and people spread out over a certain area. In India, this area was the North and Northwest, covering particularly present day northern Pakistan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and the western parts of U.P. This area covered many different tribes, notably the conglomerates of tribes known to traditional Indian history as the Druhyu, Anu and Pūru.
The religion which developed in this area concentrated on worship of the elements (the sun, moon, clouds, rain, sky, earth, rivers, etc.) and worshipped the Gods perceived in these elements through sacrifices offered through the medium of fire, and through the medium of sounds couched in the form of hymns. This religion is found in the Rigveda (the religious book of the Pūru), the Zend Avesta (the religious book of the main groups among the Anu who migrated westwards into Afghanistan), and in the religious practices of the ancient European priests, mainly the Celtic Druids (emigrants to Europe from among the Druhyu); and in fact the revival by a section of Lithuanians of their ancient religion, which they call darna, also consists of these same two elements: fire rituals and the chanting of hymns. Evolved versions of the root Vedic nature-myths with more developed mythologies are found in the other European religions (Greek, Teutonic, Slavic, Lithuanian, etc.).
In India, after the emigration of the Anu and Druhyu tribes, the religion of the Pūru, because of its highly organized and systematically developed priesthood and rituals, spread over the rest of the country along with Vedic culture. As the religions of the different tribes all over the country converged into the increasingly diluted Pūru religion, the original Pūru (Vedic) rituals and myths increasingly came to occupy the position of a nominal upper layer in a new multi-layered and multi-facetted religion which was rapidly becoming the common Pan-Indian religion of the sub-continent. When this pan-Indian religion and culture came to be known as Hindu is a matter of irrelevant dispute. That it is known as Hindu is an indisputable fact.
But there was a big difference in the spread of Hinduism all over India and the spread of Abrahamic religions all over the world. Unlike these Abrahamic religions, which demonised the Gods, beliefs and rituals of the religions which they sought to uproot, destroy and supplant, Hinduism accepted and internalised the Gods, beliefs and rituals of the tribal religions which converged into it. The result is that today the most popular Hindu deities in every single part of India are originally local tribal Gods: whether Ayyappa of Kerala, Murugan of Tamilnadu, Balaji of Andhra, Vitthala of Karnataka (Vithoba of Maharashtra), Khandoba of Maharashtra, Jagannatha of Orissa, etc., etc., or the myriad forms of the Mother Goddess, with thousands of names, in every nook and corner of India. Further, every single local (originally tribal) God and Goddess is revered by every Hindu in every corner of India, in the form of the kuladevata, the grihadevata or the gramadevata. In time, of course, myths were formed nominally associating many of these deities with one or the other of the main Gods and Goddesses of Puranic Hinduism as their manifestations, these Puranic Gods themselves being additions from different parts of India to the Hindu pantheon (or originally Vedic Gods like Vishnu and Rudra with basic characteristics adopted from the other local and tribal deities). But these associations were not an imposition “from above”, they were the result of popular local myth-making and part of the consolidation of the national popularization of the local deities: the deities retained their local names, forms, rituals and customs, and became all-India deities, objects of pilgrimages from distant areas.
But it is not only in respect of “Gods” and “Goddesses” that Hinduism freely and respectfully adopted from local tribes and religions: even the most basic concepts of the Hindu religion are originally elements adopted from the tribal and local religions from every part of India. The original Pūru (Vedic) layer of religion which forms the pan-Indian umbrella of Hinduism was originally more or less the religion depicted in the Rigveda: the worship of Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Agni, Soma, the Maruts and Ashvins, and other specifically Vedic deities (including Vishnu and Rudra, who later become the most important Puranic Gods), and the main religious rituals were the Agni rituals (homa, yajña, etc.) and the Soma rituals. The Soma rituals are completely defunct today (in fact, even the exact identity of Soma is debated and disputed), the Agni rituals are still performed, but only during major ceremonies (birth, death, weddings, ritual inaugurations of houses, etc.) and on other major occasions, and the major Vedic Gods are minor figures of Puranic stories.
Practically every single basic feature of Hinduism today was adopted from the religious beliefs and rituals of the other, originally tribal, religious traditions of the people from every single corner of India as they all converged into Hinduism. To begin with, Idol-worship which is absolutely the central feature of Hinduism and which includes (a) the worship of the lingam, “rude blocks of stone” with eyes painted on them, or roughly or finely carved or cast images of stone, metal or some other material, (b) treating the idols as living beings (bathing, dressing and feeding them, putting them to sleep, etc.), (c) performing puja by offering flowers, water and fruits, bananas and coconuts, clothes and ornaments to the idols, (d) performing aarti by waving lights and incense before the idols, (e) performing music and dance before the idols, (e) partaking of prasad of food offered to the idols, (f) having impressive idol-temples with pillared halls, elaborate carvings and sculptures, sacred tanks and bathing ghats, temple festivals with palanquins and chariots, etc. (g) applying ash, sandal-paste, turmeric, vermillion, etc. on the forehead as a mark of the idols, etc. This entire system in all its variations was adopted from the various practices of the people of eastern, central and southern India, along with the Gods and idols themselves.
All the basic philosophical concepts of mainstream Hinduism are likewise adopted from the tribal and local populations of different parts of India: the concept of rebirth and transmigration of souls, the concept of auspicious moments based on the panchanga and the tithis, the worship of particular trees and plants, animals, birds and reptiles, the worship of particular forests, groves, mountains and rivers, the worship of ancestors in elaborate ceremonies, etc., etc.
The spread of this Vedic religion (ultimately Vedic only in name) from an original Pūru centre in Haryana to all over India can in no way be treated as an invasion, any more than the spread in later times (after 600 BCE) of Buddhism and Jainism from an original Ikṣvāku centre in Bihar to all over India (and in the case of Buddhism, all over Asia at one time).
And all these features in Hinduism are not "new" or "later" developments from (or in) an original Rigvedic kind of religion, as is generally assumed. For example, it is believed that the philosophical culture of the Upanishads is a "later" development from the Vedic religion: the karma kāṇḍa of the Rigveda developing into the upāsana kāṇḍa of the Upanishads, etc. But in actuality this culture of philosophical speculation and religious organization was clearly a feature of the Ikṣvāku culture of the east (just as the Vedic type religion of hymns and fire rituals was a feature of the Pūru-Anu-Druhyu culture of the North and Northwest, the Harappan area): here we find the development of the Upanishad philosophies (many of the speculative philosophical discussions in the Upanishads take place in the eastern court of the Ikṣvāku king Janaka), of the Buddhist, Jain, Vratya and Charvaka religions and philosophes, of the concept of Vegetarianism as a virtue, etc. Further east of the Ikṣvāku culture was the home of Tantric customs and religious practices. To the South, as already pointed out, was the home of the elaborate systems of Idol-worship and Temple Culture which are the central feature of Hinduism all over India today.
All these (and many, many more) different aspects of the Pan-Indian Hindu Religion and Culture, and of Classical Indian/Hindu Civilization, may appear to be "new entrants" into an "original Rigvedic culture" if looked at from the point of view of their chronology of appearance in the Sanskrit texts as Indian civilization consolidated itself. But that would be like treating the areas of America and Australia as "new areas" looked at from the point of view of their chronology of appearance in European references. All these religious systems are probably as old as the Vedic/Harappan culture itself: it is not mere myth which makes the Jains talk about long lineages of Tirthankaras preceding Mahavir, or the Buddhists refer to the many previous incarnations of the Buddha.
The Pan-Indian Hindu Religion and Culture, and Classical Indian/Hindu Civilization, are indeed prime examples of the popular slogan "Unity in Diversity". It is time Indian historians learnt to accept this holistic and rational perspective of looking at Indian history, rather than treating Indian history as a "development" from the Vedic/Harappan culture, or alternately as a conflict between the Vedic and other cultures which are components of the Indian/Hindu ethos.
Footnote: Incidentally, searching for "Harappan-type" cities in the East and South is also a little presumptuous: the culture of the other people in the other parts of India, e.g. the culture of the Ikṣvāku of eastern U.P. and Bihar, or the cultures of areas further South, would naturally be different from the Pūru-Anu-Druhyu or Harappan culture of the North and Northwest, even if equally old, and their archaeological sites and material artifacts would be different from the Harappan ones.
Additional section, from another blog article with some modification, added to V. The Nature of the Spread of the Vedic Religion in India on 29/3/2020:
As we saw, the Vedic culture and religion, in the Vedic days, before the Hindu religion welded the entire nation into one all-encompassing bond, was distinct from the culture of the east and the south. Were these different aspects of our Hindu religion and culture, then, totally unknown to each other at that time, or even hostile to each other in some way as Hindu-hating leftist ideologues like to insist? They cannot have been totally unknown to each other at a time when even the cultures of West Asia were in contact with the Vedic-Harappan culture: Harappan ships travelled not only to the ports of the Gulf, but probably into the Mediterranean Sea as well (see my blog article "The Elephant and the Proto-Indo-European Homeland").
Is there any evidence of Vedic-Dravidian contacts in the Vedic period? As we will see now, there definitely were such contacts.
Are there any Dravidian words at all in the Rigveda? Seeing the geographical location of the Harappan civilization and the known geographical location of the Dravidian languages in the South, it would be rather difficult to see how such interaction could take place in those remote times. The presence of the Brahui language in Baluchistan was originally the most prominent factor cited in claiming that the Harappan area was originally inhabited by Dravidian speaking people, but now it has been accepted that the Brahui language actually migrated to Baluchistan from the South comparatively recently: as Witzel points out, “its presence has now been explained by a late migration that took place within this millennium (Elfenbeim 1987)” (WITZEL 2000a:§1). Likewise, Southworth, even while urging a Dravidian presence in the Harappan areas, admits that: “Hock (1975:87-8), among others, has noted that the current locations of Brahui, Kurux and Malto may be recent” (SOUTHWORTH 1995:272, fn22).
But there are two words in the Rigveda which, however unpalatable it may be to Sanskrit-centric opponents of the AIT, are very definitely linguistically Dravidian words:
1. The verbal root pūj- "to revere, worship, respect, honour (usually an idol, with flowers)", derived from the Dravidian, e.g. Tamil pū-, "flower", representing a form of worship totally unknown to the Vedic culture, and representing the religion of the South.
2. The word kāṇa, "one-eyed" or "cross-eyed", very clearly derived from the Dravidian, e.g. Tamil kaṇ, "eye".
It is true that civilization and culture developed differently in different parts of the country, and the Rigvedic culture of the northwest in its initial stages (i.e. in the Old Books, restricted to Haryana and its immediate environs) need not necessarily show elements from other parts of India. But what about in the period of the Mature Harappan = New Rigvedic civilization with its far-reaching trade contacts and relations?
Twelve years ago, in my 2008 book "The Rigveda and the Avesta - The Final Evidence", I noted the situation as follows: "let us accept that there may be some adstrate words of Dravidian or Austric origin in 'Indo-Aryan' ― perhaps we protested a bit too much in our earlier books, due to the implications sought to be drawn from such alleged 'non-Indo-Aryan' words in Classical or even Vedic Sanskrit. The word kāṇa 'one-eyed', in the RV, for example, is obviously derived from the Dravidian word kaṇ 'eye'. Other, not implausible suggestions include the words daṇḍa and kuṭa". (p.292).
As a matter of fact, an examination of the actual Rigvedic data shows us that the Rigvedic culture did include some Dravidian elements. These elements were not residual elements of an original Dravidian Harappan civilization invaded and taken over by invading "Aryans", as often suggested, they are new elements imported from the Dravidian South. This is proved by the fact that:
1. They are not found in the Old Books, and the geographical names in the Old Books show that Dravidian speaking people never lived in the Harappan area before or during that period.
2. They are found as incidental elements in the New Books, in a period which shows massive oversea trade contacts even with foreign places like Mesopotamia (two Babylonian words: bekanāṭa, money-lender to traders, in VIII.66.10, and manā, a unit of measure which is still used to this day, in VIII.78.2.), and which is the period preceding the Avestan and Mitanni eras: the common elements with the Avesta and the Mitanni are abundantly found in the same texts and hymns which show these incidental Dravidian elements.
3. The Indian traditions and linguistics unambiguously and very clearly connect the people associated with these elements - actually Rigvedic rishis of Dravidian identity - with the South. And these people are not inimical to the Rigvedic culture but a part of it.
There seem to be at least two distinct streams of originally Dravidian speaking rishis:
1. As we saw, the Rigveda contains two important words - very important and common in later Sanskrit as well as in modern Indo-Aryan, but found only once each in the Rigveda - of undoubtedly Dravidian origin. These are:
a) The verbal root pūj-.
b) The word kāṇa.
These two words are found (both in the New Books) as follows:
a) pūj- in VIII.17.12, attributed to Irimbiṭhi Kāṇva,
b) kāṇa in X.155.1, attributed to Śirimbiṭha Bhāradvāja.
It cannot be a coincidence that both the words are composed by two different rishis with such strikingly similar, unusual and non-Indo-Aryan names. The rishi-ascriptions in book 10 are very often garbled. In my 2000 book "The Rigveda - A historical Analysis", pp.25-26, I had written "Maṇḍala X is a very late Maṇḍala and stands out from the other nine Maṇḍalas in many respects. One of these is the general ambiguity in the ascriptions of the hymns to their composers. In respect of 44 hymns, and 2 other verses, it is virtually impossible to even identify the family of the composer". It is clear that the composer of X.155 is the same as the composer of VIII.17, i.e. Irimbiṭhi Kāṇva.
The name is clearly Dravidian: in fact, we still have a place in Kerala named Irimbiḷiyam: it is not impossible that this, or a nearby area, is the home-area of this Rigvedic composer - more than 4000 years old! Note that there are two more words in the same hymn, VIII.17, which have also been identified as Dravidian:
a) -khaṇḍ- in VIII.17.12,
b) kuṇḍa in VIII.17.13,
and, to crown it all, the word muni, found only five times in the whole of the Rigveda (thrice in one hymn in Book 10), and referring to holy men from the non-Vedic areas of the East and South within India, is also found in the next verse: in VIII.17.14 . That we should have so many indications in three consecutive verses is incredible but extremely significant.
Very clearly, this rishi Irimbiṭhi is a person from the Dravidian South who, like members of different religious orders in present-day India who are found in parts of India other than their area of origin, migrated to the busy cosmopolitan Mature Harappan = New Rigvedic civilization area from the South and subsequently became a Rigvedic rishi.
2. But Indian tradition has one more, and a very important, rishi who is unanimously and resoundingly associated, in the traditions of both the North and the South, with the South: Agastya. Puranic and Epic tradition tells us that Agastya migrated to the South and settled down there. But here is what Wikipedia has to say:
"Agastya was a revered Vedic sage of Hinduism. In the Indian tradition, he is a noted recluse and an influential scholar in diverse languages of the Indian subcontinent. He and his wife Lopamudra are the celebrated authors of hymns 1.165 to 1.191 in the Sanskrit text Rigveda and other Vedic literature.
Agastya appears in numerous itihasas and puranas including the major Ramayana and Mahabharata. He is one of the seven or eight most revered rishis in the Vedic texts, and is revered as one of the Tamil Siddhar in the Shaivism tradition, who invented an early grammar of the Tamil language, Agattiyam, playing a pioneering role in the development of Tampraparniyan medicine and spirituality at Saiva centres in proto-era Sri Lanka and South India. He is also revered in the Puranic literature of Shaktism and Vaishnavism. He is one of the Indian sages found in ancient sculpture and reliefs in Hindu temples of South Asia, and Southeast Asia such as in the early medieval era Shaiva temples on Java Indonesia. He is the principal figure and Guru in the ancient Javanese language text Agastyaparva, whose 11th century version survives.
Agastya is traditionally attributed to be the author of many Sanskrit texts such as the Agastya Gita found in Varaha Purana, Agastya Samhita found embedded in Skanda Purana, and the Dvaidha-Nirnaya Tantra text. He is also referred to as Mana, Kalasaja, Kumbhaja, Kumbhayoni and Maitravaruni after his mythical origins."
Even more to the point: "The etymological origin of Agastya has several theories. One theory states that the root […] is derived from a flowering tree called Agati gandiflora, which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and is called Akatti in Tamil. This theory suggests that Agati evolved into Agastih, and favors Dravidian origins of the Vedic sage".
He is a "non-Aryan Dravidian whose ideas influenced the north […] In Southern sources and the North Indian Devi-Bhagavata Purana, his ashram is based in Tamil Nadu, variously placed in Tirunelveli, Pothiyal hills, or Thanjavur".
Therefore, despite later legends taking him from the North to the South, historically he was clearly a Dravidian sage from the South who, or rather whose descendants, migrated northwards and became an important part of the Rigvedic priesthood, being recognized as a separate and independent family of Rigvedic rishis:
a) Tradition shows him to be different from the other Vedic rishis, more of a recluse and a forest-dweller, who prefers to stay away from the glamour and lucre of urban settings and royal patronage.
b) He is totally absent from the major part of the Rigveda, and his descendants have hymns only in the New Books (mainly in book 1, where most of the Dravidian words are found) but tradition not only outside the Rigveda but even within the Rigveda (VII.33.10) consistently portrays him as an ancient Rishi contemporaneous to Vasiṣṭha, with whom he is sought to be connected in this verse.
c) The only reference to him, outside the New books 1 and 8 (I.117.11; 170.3; 179.6; 180.8; 184.5; VIII.5.26), is an incidental one in a Redacted Hymn, probably redacted by a descendant, in VII.33.10. And this hymn has a Dravidian word daṇḍa in the next verse VII.33.11.
3. The arrival of the Irimbiṭhas and Agastyas into the Rigvedic area in the Mature Harappan period seems to have brought in a small stream of Dravidian words, which stream became a small flood in later post-Vedic Classical Sanskrit.
The following is a list of other words allegedly of Dravidian origin, found in the Rigveda: vaila, kiyāmbu, vriś, cal-, bila, lip-, kaṭuka, kuṇḍṛṇācī (?), piṇḍa, mukha, kuṭa, kūṭa, khala, ulūkhala, kāṇuka, sīra, naḍa/naḷa, kulpha, ukha, kuṇāru, kulāya, lāṅgala. They are found only in the New Rigveda and in the Redacted Hymns, except for the occurrence of mukha in IV.39.6, kulāya in VII.50.1, and kulpha in VII.50.2. But note that Arnold (whom Hock cites as an expert on these matters) has classified both these hymns IV.39 and VII.50 also as Redacted Hymns on metrical grounds: so we do not find a single one of these Dravidian words in the Old Rigveda! The references (other than those already mentioned above: VII.33.10; IV.39 and VII.50) are found as follows:
VI. 15.10; 47.23; 75.15.
I. 11.5; 28.1,6; 29.6; 32.11; 33.1,3,3; 46.4; 97.6,7; 144.5; 162.2,13,15,19; 164.8; 174.10; 191.1,3,4.
VIII. 1.33; 43.10; 77.4.
X. 16.13; 48.7; 81.3; 85.34; 90.11; 97.6; 102.4.
Remember, these Dravidian rishis and words are found in the New Books before 2000 BCE, and long before the first appearance of the Mitanni in Syria-Iraq and the Indo-European Iranians (Persians, Parthians, Medians) in Iran, and nearly two millenniums before the Tamil Sangam Era! So the Vedic-Dravidian relationship is an old and friendly one.
VI. Appendix 1: The Evidence of the Indo-European Numbers
An unexpected new type of conclusive evidence for the OIT or Indian-Homeland Theory is the evidence of the Indo-European numbers, which I have detailed in my article "India's Unique Place in the World of Numbers and Numerals". The relevant evidence is given here in short.
The number system in the Indo-European languages is a decimal system based on 10. This is the case in most languages of the world as a natural consequence of the fact that human beings have 10 fingers to count. Due to a minor variant method of counting on both fingers and toes, many languages of the world also have vigesimal number systems based on 20. Due to the influence of the non-Indo-European Basque language (originally spoken in south-western Europe before the arrival of Indo-European languages in the area), the Celtic languages like Irish and Welsh have developed a vegisimal system, and the Italic French language shows some traces of this influence:
1-10: bat, biga, hirur, laur, bortz, sei, zazpi, zortzi, bederatzi, hamar
11-19: hameka, hamabi, hamahirur, hamalaur, hamabortz, hamasei, hamazazpi, hamazortzi, hemeretzi
20, 40, 60, 80, 100: hogei, berrogei, hiruetanogei, lauetanogei, ehun
Other numbers: vigesimal + ta + 1-19. Thus:
21: hogei ta bat (20+ta+1), 99: lauetanogei ta hemeretzi (80+ta+19).
1-10: un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump, chwech, saith, wyth, naw, deg
11-15 un-ar-ddeg, deuddeg, tri-ar-ddeg, pedwar-ar-ddeg, pymtheg
16-19 un-ar-bymtheg, dau-ar-bymtheg, tri-ar-bymtheg, pedwar-ar-bymtheg
20, 40, 60, 80, 100: hugain, deugain, triugain, pedwarugain, cant
The numbers from 21-99 are regularly formed by the numbers 1-19 + ar + vigesimal (here the units come first. Note, in Old English also, the units came first, as in the nursery rhyme "four-and-twenty blackbirds"). Thus:
21: un ar hugain (1+ar+20) and 99: pedwar-ar-bymtheg ar pedwarugain (19+ar+80).
1-10: aon, dō, trī, keathair, kūig, sē, seakht, okht, naoi, deikh
11-19: aon-dēag (1+10), etc.
20, 40, 60, 80, 100: fikhe, dā-fhikhid, trī-fhikhid, kheithre-fhikhid, kēad
Other numbers: the numbers 1-19 + is + vigesimal (here also the units come first). Thus:
21: aon is fikhe, 99: naoi-deag is kheithre-fhikhid (19+is+80).
[But the language also alternatively retains the original Indo-European tens numbers:
10, 20, 30, etc: deikh, fikhe, trīokha, daikhead, kaoga, seaska, seakhtō, okhtō, nōkha, kēad].
French (IndoEuropean-Italic) [but only partially]:
1-10: un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix
11-19: onze, douze, treize, quatorze, quinze, seize, dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf
20-100: vingt, trente, quarante, cinquante, soixante, soixante-dix, quatre-vingts, quatre-vingt-dix, cent
The numbers from 21-99 are generally formed as follows, e.g. 20: vingt, 1: un, 21: vingt et un
The et ("and") only comes before un, otherwise 22 vingt-deux, etc.
But note the words for 70, 80 and 90 mean "60+10", "4x20" and "4x20+10" respectively. So the numbers 71-79 are soixante et onze, soixante-douze, (60+11, 60+12) etc., and the numbers 91-99 are quatre-vingt-onze, quatre-vingt-douze, (4x20+11, 4x20+12) etc. (81-89 are the normal quatre-vingt-un, quatre-vingt-deux, etc.).
However, all the other Indo-European languages have the original decimal system, in three stages. There are actually four stages of development of the decimal system, but the first stage is not recorded in any Indo-European language (somewhat like the unrecorded PIE language), however, it is found in certain other non-Indo-European languages in India, and it is logical that the earliest PIE must have had this system.
A. The First Decimal Stage: In the first decimal stage, the language has numbers for 1-10 and a number for 100. The other numbers in between are formed from these eleven words (directly or by some other system). This system is primarily found in the Sino-Tibetan languages (Chinese, Tibetan, Thai, etc.) and in some Austric languages (Vietnamese, etc), including the Santali language in India, and is also found in different individual languages all over the world:
1-10: mit', bar, pɛ, pon, mɔrɛ, turūi, ēāe, irәl, arɛ, gɛl
tens 20-90: bar-gɛl, etc. 100: mit-sae
Other numbers: tens+khān+unit.
Thus: 11: gɛl khān mit', 21: bar-gɛl khān mit', 99: arɛ-gɛl khān arɛ
[Alternately, the other numbers can be formed without inserting the word khān]
[If English had used this system, the following, in its simplest form, would have been the way the other numbers would have been formed: 11=ten-one, 20=two-ten, 21=two-ten-one, 99=nine-ten-nine].
B. The Second Decimal Stage: In the second decimal stage, the language has numbers for 1-10, for the tens numbers 20-90, and for 100. The other numbers in between are formed from these twenty words (directly or by some other system). This system is primarily found in the Altaic languages (Turkish, Mongolian, Manchu, Korean, Japanese), and is also found in different individual languages all over the world.
Among Indo-European languages, this system is found only in Sanskrit, although camouflaged to some extent by the highly inflectional nature (i.e. the rules of sandhi) of the language, and in actual spoken (as opposed to the artificial literary) Sinhalese to the south and Tocharian B to the north:
1-9: eka, dvi, tri, catur, pañca, ṣaṭ, sapta, aṣṭa, nava
tens 10-90: daśa, viṁśati, triṁśat, catvāriṁśat, pañcāśat, ṣaṣṭi, saptati, aśīti, navati, śatam
Other numbers: units-form+tens.
[The tens do not undergo any change in combination, with the sole exception of the word for 16, where -daśa becomes -ḍaśa in combination with ṣaḍ-. And, by the regular Sanskrit phonetic rules of sandhi or word-combination, in the unit-form+tens combinations for 80-, a-+-a becomes ā, and i-+-a becomes ya, so 81: ekāśīti, 82: dvyaśīti, etc].
1 eka: ekā- (11), eka- (21,31,41,51,61,71,81,91).
2 dvi: dvā- (11,22,32), dvi- (42,52,62,72,82,92).
3 tri: trayo- (13,23,33), tri- (43,53,63,73,83,93).
4 catur: catur- (14,24,84,94), catus- (34), catuś- (44) catuḥ- (54,64,74).
5 pañca: pañca- (15,25,35,45,55,65,75,85,95).
6 ṣaṭ: ṣo- (16), ṣaḍ- (26,86), ṣaṭ- (36,46,56,66,76), ṣaṇ- (96).
7 sapta: sapta- (17,27,37,47,57,67,77,87,97).
8 aṣṭa: aṣṭā- (18,28,38,48,58,68,78,88,98).
9 nava: ūna- (19,29,39,49,59,69,79,89), nava- (99).
1-9: eka, deka, tuna, hatara, pasa, haya, hata, aṭa, navaya
tens 10-100: dahaya, vissa, tisa, hatalisa, panasa, hɛṭa, hɛttɛɛva, asūva, anūva, siyaya
tens-stems 10-100: daha-, visi-, tis-, hatalis-, panas-, hɛṭa-, hɛttɛɛ-, asū-, anū-, siya-
The other numbers are regularly formed tens-stem + unit.
Thus: 11: daha-eka, 21: visi-eka, 99: anū-navaya
1-10: se, wi, trai, śtwer, piś, ska, sukt, okt, ñu, śak
11-19: ten + unit. Thus 11: śak-se.
[Being an extinct language found only in documents, nothing is known about the exact form of the other numbers]
[If English had used this system, the following, in its simplest form, would have been the way the other numbers would have been formed: 11=ten-one, 20=twenty, 21=twenty-one, 99=ninety-nine].
C. The Third Decimal Stage: In the third decimal stage, due to influence from neighboring non-Indo-European languages with vigesimal number systems (like Burushaski in the northwest, and Austric languages like Turi and Saora in the east), the numbers from 11-19 came to be formed in a different way from subsequent sets (21-29, 31-39, 41-49, etc.). In this third decimal stage, the language has numbers for 1-10, for the tens numbers 20-90, and for 100. The numbers 11-19 are formed in one way, and the other numbers in between (21-29, 31-39, 41-49, etc.) are formed in a different way (directly or by some other system). This system is primarily found in two language-families of the world: Indo-European and Dravidian, although.it is also found in different individual languages all over the world.
The strange thing is that this system is found universally in all the 8 branches of Indo-European languages outside India other than Indo-Aryan and Tocharian and the Celtic languages which, as we saw, have adopted a vigesimal system from Basque (nothing is known about the exact numbers in Hittite); and in Indo-Aryan, it is found in only one language: the one Indo-Aryan language which migrated out of North India: literary Sinhalese.
Consider the following examples from each of these 9 branches and from literary Sinhalese:
1-10: yak, dū, si, cahār, pañj, shish, haft, hasht, nuh, dah
11-19: yāzdah, davāzdah, sīzdah, chahārdah, pānzdah, shānzdah, hīvdah, hījdah, nūzdah
tens 20-100: bīst, sī, chihil, pañjāh, shast, haftād, hashtād, navad, sad
Other numbers: tens+u+unit. Thus 21: bīst u yak, 99: navad u nuh
1-10: mēk, erkou, erekh, chors, hing, veçh, eòthә, outhә, inә, tas
11-19: tasnmēk, tasnerkou, tasnerekh, tasnchors, tasnhing, tasnveçh, tasneòthә, tasnouthә, tasninә
tens 20-100: khsan, eresoun, kharrasoun, yisoun, vathsoun, eòthanasoun, outhsoun, innsoun, hariur
Other numbers: tens+unit. Thus: 21: khsan mēk, 99: innsoun inә
Ancient Greek (IndoEuropean-Hellenic):
1-10: heîs/mía/hen (m/f/n), dúo, treîs, téssares, pénte, héks, heptá, oktṓ, ennéa, déka
11-19: héndeka, dṓdeka, treîs-kaì-déka, téssares-kaì-déka, pentekaídeka, hekkaídeka, heptakaídeka, oktokaídeka, enneakaídeka
tens 20-100: eíkosi, triákonta, tessarákonta, pentḗkonta, heksḗkonta, hebdomḗkonta, ogdoḗkonta, enenḗkonta, hekatón
Other numbers: tens+kaì+unit or unit+kaì+tens. Either form can be used. Thus:
21: eíkosi kaì heîs or heîs kaì eíkosi, 99: enenḗkonta kaì ennéa, or ennéa kaì enenḗkonta
[Note: Greek vowels have a tonal accent, which is marked. A special form for neuter 4: téssara]
1-10: një, dy, tre, katër, pesë, gjashtë, shtatë, tetë, nënd, dhjëte
1-18: një-mbë-dhjëte, etc. 19: nëntë-mbë-dhjëte
tens 20-100: njëzet, tridhjet, dyzet, pesë-dhjet, gjashtë-dhjet, shtatë-dhjet, tetë-dhjet, nënd-dhjet, një-qind
Other numbers: tens+e+unit. Thus 21: njëzet e një, 99: nënd-dhjet e nënd
[Note: 20 and 40 seem to be formed on a principle of 1x20, 2x20].
1-10: odin, dva, tri, cyetyrye, pyat', shyest', syem', vosyem', dyevyat', dyesyat'
11-19: odin-nadçat', dvye-nadçat', tri-nadçat', cyetyr-nadçat', pyat-nadçat', shyest-nadçat', syem-nadçat', vosyem-nadçat', dyevyatnadçat'
tens 20-100: dvadçat', tridçat', sorok, pyat'-dyesyat, shyest'-dyesyat, syem'-dyesyat, vosyem'-dyesyat, dyevyanosto, sto
Other numbers: tens+unit: Thus 21: dvadçat' odin, 99: dyevyanosto dyevyat'
1-10: vienas, du, trys, keturi, penki, šeši, septyni, aštuoni, devyni, dešimtis
11-19: vienuolika, dvylika, trylika,keturiolika, penkiolika, šešiolika, septyniolika, aštuoniolika, devyniolika
tens 20-100: dvidešimt, trisdešimt, keturiasdešimt, penkiasdešimt, šešiasdešimt, septyniasdešimt, aštuoniasdešimt, devyniasdešimt, šimtas
Other numbers: tens+unit. Thus 21: dvidešimt vienas, 99: devyniasdešimt devyni
1-10: eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zehn
11-19: elf, zwölf, dreizehn, vierzehn, fünfzehn, sechzehn, siebzehn, achtzehn, neunzehn
tens 20-100: zwanzig, dreissig, vierzig, fünfzig, sechzig, siebzig, achtzig, neunzig, hundert
Other numbers: unit+und+tens (as one word, but eins becomes ein). Thus:
21: einundzwanzig, 99: neunundneunzig
1-10: uno/una, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, séis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez
11-19: once, doce, trece, catorce, quince, dieciséis, diecisiete, dieciocho, diecinueve
tens 20-100: veinte, treinta, cuarenta, cincuenta, sesenta, setenta, ochenta, noventa, ciento
Other numbers: 21-29: vienti-uno, etc. Others: tens+y+unit. Thus:
31: treinta y uno, 99: noventa y nueve
Literary Sinhalese (IndoEuropean-IndoAryan):
1-9: eka, deka, tuna, hatara, pasa, haya, hata, aṭa, navaya, dahaya
1-9 unit stems: ek-, de-, tun-, hatara-, pas-, ha-, hat-, aṭa-, nava-
11-19: ekoḷaha, doḷaha, teḷaha, tudaha, pahaḷoha, soḷaha, hataḷoha, aṭaḷoha, ekun-vissa
tens 10-100: dahaya, vissa, tisa, hatalisa, panasa, hɛṭa, hɛttɛɛva, asūva, anūva, siyaya
Other numbers: unit-stem+tens. Thus the word-order for all the numbers is unit+tens.
[And, like Sanskrit and Latin (and the other modern Indo-Aryan languages which retain this feature), the number -9 is expressed by a minus-principle, where ekun- is used with the following tens-form (except, as in Sanskrit and most other modern Indo-Aryan languages, for 99)].
Thus: 21: ek-vissa, 89: ekun-anūva. Only 99 is nava-anūva.
To understand how this third stage represents a transformation from the second stage, note the difference between how Sanskrit forms the words for 11 and 12, and the way all other Indo-European and Dravidian languages form the words for 11 and 12:
Sanskrit: 1= eka, 2= dvā, 10= daśa. 11= ekā-daśa, 12= dvā-daśa. (This is a straight combination, and just like later formations: e.g. 21= eka-viṁśati, 22= dvā-viṁśati, from 20= viṁśati).
All Other Indo-European and Dravidian languages (of the third and fourth stages):
English: 1= one, 2= two, 10= ten. 11= eleven, 12= twelve.
Spanish: 1= uno, 2= dos, 10= diez. 11= once, 12= doce.
Persian: 1= yak, 2= dū, 10= dah. 11= yāzdah, 12= davāzdah.
Lit. Sinhalese: 1= eka, 2= deka, 10= dahaya. 11= ekoḷaha, 12= doḷaha.
Telugu: 1= okaṭi, 2= reṇḍu, 10= padi. 11= padakoṇḍu, 12= panneṇḍu.
Hindi: 1= ek, 2= do, 10= das. 11= gyārah, 12= bārah.
In all these languages, the words for 11 and 12 are fused together, sometimes to the extent that the original words for 1, 2 and 10 are not directly recognizable in the combinations. And in all the other Indo-European languages (other than Sanskrit, Tocharian B and Spoken Sinhalese of the second stage, and of course the Indo-Aryan languages of North India of the fourth stage) and all the Dravidian languages, the later formations (21-29, 31-39, etc.) follow a regular pattern of formation, which is different from the pattern of formation of 11-19.
D. The Fourth Decimal Stage: In the fourth decimal stage, found only in the Indo-Aryan languages of North India (i.e. not even in the Indo-Aryan language which migrated out of North India in very ancient times: Sinhalese), the language has numbers for 1-10, for the tens numbers 20-90, and for 100. The numbers 11-19 are formed in one way, and the other numbers in between (21-29, 31-39, 41-49, etc.) are formed in a different way, but not directly or by any regular system. So, unique in the whole world, it becomes necessary to individually learn by heart every single one of the numbers 1-100.
Examine the three following examples, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. Compare the difference in the forms in the three languages:
1-9: ek, do, tīn, cār, pāñc, chah, sāt, āṭh, nau
11-19: gyārah, bārah, terah, caudah, pandrah, solah, satārah, aṭhārah, unnīs
tens 10-100: das, bīs, tīs, cālīs, pacās, sāṭh, sattar, assī, nabbe, sau
The other numbers are formed by unit-form+tens-form, e.g. 21: ek+bīs = ikk-īs. The word ek here takes the form ikk-, and the word bīs takes the form -īs.
The different changes taking place in the tens forms as well as the units form in the numbers 21-99 must be noted:
20 bīs: -īs (21,22,23,25,27,28), -bīs (24,26).
30 tīs: -tīs (29,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38).
40 cālīs: -tālīs (39,41,43,45,47,48), -yālīs (42, 46), -vālīs (44).
50 pacās: -cās (49), -van (51,52,54,57,58), -pan (53,55,56).
60 sāṭh: -saṭh (59,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68).
70 sattar: -hattar (69,71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78).
80 assī: -āsī (79,81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89).
90 nabbe: -nave (91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99).
1 ek: ikk- (21), ikat- (31), ik- (41,61,71), iky- (81), ikyā- (51,91).
2 do: bā- (22,52,62,92), bat- (32), ba- (42,72), bay- (82).
3 tīn: te- (23), ten- (33,43), tir- (53,63,83), ti- (73), tirā- (93).
4 cār: cau- (24,54,74), ca- (44), caun- (34,64), caur- (84), caurā- (94).
5 pāñc: pacc- (25), paĩ- (35,45,65), pac- (55,75,85), pañcā- (95).
6 che: chab- (26), chat- (36), chi- (46,76), chap- (56), chiyā- (66,96), chiy- (86).
7 sāt: sattā- (27,57,97), saĩ- (37,47), saḍ- (67), sat- (77), satt- (87).
8 āṭh: aṭṭhā- (28,58,98), aḍ- (38,48,68), aṭh- (78,88).
9 nau: un- (29,39,59,69,79), unan- (49), nav- (89), ninyā- (99).
1-9: ek, don, tīn, cār, pāç, sahā, sāt, āṭh, naū
11-19: akrā, bārā, terā, çaudā, pandhrā, soḷā, satrā, aṭhrā, ekoṇīs
tens 10-100: dahā, vīs, tīs, cāḷīs, pannās, sāṭh, sattar, aĩśī, navvad, śambhar
The other numbers are formed by unit-form+tens-form, e.g. 21: ek+vīs = ek-vīs.
The different changes taking place in the tens forms as well as the units form in the numbers 21-99 must be noted:
20 vīs: -vīs (21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28).
30 tīs: -tīs (29,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38).
40 cāḷīs: -cāḷīs (39,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48).
50 pannās: -pannās (49), -vanna (51,52,55,57,58), -panna (53,54,56).
60 sāṭh: - sāṭh (59), -saṣṭa (61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68).
70 sattar: -sattar (69), -hattar (71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78).
80 aĩśī: -aĩśī (79,81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88).
90 navvad: -navvad (89), -ṇṇav (91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99).
1 ek: ek- (21,31,61), ekke- (41), ekkyā- (81,91), ekkā- (51,71).
2 don: bā- (22,52,62,72), bat- (32), be- (42), byā- (82,92).
3 tīn: te- (23), teha- (33), tre- (43,53,63), tryā- (73,83,93).
4 cār: co- (24), çau- (34,54,64), çavve- (44), çauryā- (74,84,94).
5 pāç: pañc- (25), pas- (35), pañce- (45), pañçā- (55), pā- (65), pañcyā (75,85,95) .
6 sahā: sav- (26), chat- (36), sehe- (46), chap- (56), sahā- (66), śahā- (76,86,96).
7 sāt: sattā- (27,57), sada- (37), satte- (47), sadu- (67), sattyā- (77,87,97).
8 āṭh: aṭṭhā- (28,58), aḍ- (38), aṭṭhe- (48), aḍu- (68), aṭṭhyā- (78,88,98).
9 naū: ekoṇ- (29,39,49,59,69,79,89), navvyā- (99).
1-9: ek, be, traṇ, cār, pāñc, cha, sāt, āṭh, nav
11-19: agyār, bār, ter, caud, pandar, soḷ, sattar, aḍhār, ogṇis
tens 10-100: das, vīs, trīs, cālīs, pacās, sāīṭh, sitter, ẽsī, nevũ, so
The other numbers are formed by unit-form+tens-form, e.g. 21: ek+vīs = ek-vīs.
The different changes taking place in the tens forms as well as the units form in the numbers 21-99 must be noted:
20 vīs: -īs (25), -vīs (21,22,23,24,26,27,28).
30 trīs: -trīs (29,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38).
40 cālīs: -tālīs (41,42,43,45,46,47,48), -cālīs (39), -ālīs (44).
50 pacās: -pacās (49), -van (51,52,55,57,58), -pan (53,54,56).
60 sāīṭh: -sāṭh (59), saṭh (61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68).
70 sitter: sitter (69), -oter (71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78).
80 ẽsī: ẽsī (79), -āsī (81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89).
90 nevũ: -ṇu (91,92,93,94,95,97,98,99), -nnu (96).
1 ek: ek- (21,41,61,71), eka- (31), ekā- (51,91), eky- (81).
2 be: bā- (22,52,62,92), ba- (32), be- (42), b- (72), by- (82).
3 traṇ: te- (23,33), tre- (43,53,63), ty- (83), t- (73), trā- (93).
4 cār: co- (24,34,54,64), cum- (44,74), cory- (84), corā- (94).
5 pāñc: pacc- (25), pāã- (35,65), pis- (45), pañc- (75,85), pañcā- (55,95).
6 cha: cha- (26,36.96), che- (46), chap- (56), chā- (66), chay- (86), ch- (76).
7 sāt: sattā- (27,57,97), saḍa- (37), suḍ- (47), saḍ- (67), sity- (77,87).
8 āṭh: aṭṭhā- (28,58,98), aḍ- (48,68), aḍa- (38), iṭhy- (78,88).
9 nav: ogaṇ- (29,39,49,59), agṇo- (69), ogṇā- (79), nevy- (89), navvā- (99).
The same irregularity or inflectional complexity can be seen in the formation of the numbers between 21 and 99 in all the Indo-Aryan languages of North India (right up to Kashmiri in the extreme north, and going so far westwards as to influence the Pashto language in the northwest which, although it belongs to the Iranian branch, has also been influenced by the Indo-Aryan cerebral sounds), but is found nowhere else outside the sphere of North India . Note that the irregularity of the fusion of the forms in one Indo-Aryan language do not correspond to those in another Indo-Aryan language. Thus, ek (1) has one form (ek-) in Marathi in 21, 31 and 61, but Hindi has three different forms ikk- (in 21), ikat- (in 31) and ik- (in 61), and Gujarati has two forms ek- (in 21,61) and eka- (in 31). Or pāñc (5) has one form (paĩ-) in Hindi in 35, 45 and 65, and Gujarati has two forms pāã- (in 35,65) and pis- (in 45), but Marathi pāç (5) has three different forms pas- (in 35), pañce- (in 45) and pā- (in 65).
We have shown the numbers 21-99 in these three Indo-Aryan languages in classified table form, but obviously it is simpler to learn each individual number by rote than with the help of these classification tables.
This is in sharp contrast with all the other languages in the world other than the Indo-Aryan languages of North India. In all the other languages, it is necessary to learn by heart at the most the numbers from 1-10, or from 1-19, and the tens forms (20,30,40,50,60,70,80,90). All the numbers between 21 and 99 are formed from these numbers by some sort of regular process which does not require all these individual numbers to be learnt by heart. This is the case with all other languages, including all the other non-Indo-European Indian languages (Dravidian, Austric, Sino-Tibetan, Burushaski. The Andamanese languages, as already pointed out, do not have numbers beyond 3 or 5) as well as all the non-Indian Indo-European languages (spoken outside India), including even the Indo-Aryan Sinhalese language (both spoken and literary) spoken to the south of India.
Here we get a clear and irrefutable case for the OIT or the Indian Homeland Theory of Indo-European languages:
1. The earliest form of the original PIE language was probably in the First Decimal Stage. Unless it had already evolved to the Second Decimal Stage. As the language is not recorded, we have no definite evidence about how it formed the numbers after 10.
2. The two earliest migrant branches from the Homeland were definitely in the Second Decimal Stage. We have no recorded evidence about Anatolian (Hittite) for numbers above 10, but we have already seen the evidence of Tocharian B. We also have the evidence of the oldest recorded Indo-Aryan language Sanskrit, and of spoken Sinhalese. [As I have always pointed out, Sinhalese is a very archaic Indo-European language, which retains archaisms like the word watura for "water", lost already even in Sanskrit].
3. All the other 9 Indo-European branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Iranian, although Celtic in southwest Europe later adopted a vigesimal system under the influence of Basque) as well as the only Indo-Aryan language emigrating from North India, literary Sinhalese, were in the Third Decimal Stage. Also, the Dravidian languages of South India are in the Third Decimal Stage. This shows that all these languages evolved together into the Third Decimal Stage in India - after the emigration in the Second Decimal Stage of Hittite and Tocharian and the standardization of Sanskrit.
4. The Indo-Aryan languages which continued to evolve in North India after the emigration of the other 11 branches, as well as its own Indo-Aryan Sinhalese language, are in the Fourth Decimal Stage.
Special Note: the numeral "One":
In this connection, let us take one more example, of the Indo-European words for the very first numeral "one", and see what it indicates. The majority of Indo-European languages have words for "one" which are derived from two reconstructed proto-Indo-European words: *oi-no and *oi-ko, which are prominent in the non-Indo-Iranian and the Indo-Iranian branches respectively (these are the two divisions suggested by linguists for identifying "early Indo-European" words). Thus the word *oi-no is not represented in the Indo-Iranian languages at all, and the word *oi-ko is not represented in the non-Indo-Iranian languages at all (unless the Armenian word mek is taken to represent it).
But there is one language which has alternate forms comparable to both *oi-no and *oi-ko, and this is the non-Indo-European language Burushaski spoken in northern (Pak-occupied) Kashmir. Burushaski "one"= hin (or hǝn) and hik. Note also that the Dravidian languages generally have forms comparable to *oi-no: Tamil on-ru, Malayalam on-nu, Kannada on-du, Tulu on-ji. But Telugu by contrast has oka-ṭi. Does all this, perhaps, indicate the location of the *oi-no-*oi-ko area where the non-Indo-Iranian branches split away from the Indo-Iranians?
There are some Indo-European words for "one" which are not derived from either *oi-no or *oi-ko. But almost all of these are connected with the Sanskrit words sama and eva, both of which mean "same". Thus Tocharian A to the north of Kashmir has sas (masculine) and säm (feminine): Tocharian B has a common se. The Greek heis (masculine) is obviously cognate to the Tocharian sas. Avestan to the west of India had aeva and Old Persian had aiwa; and some modern Iranian languages and a few Dardic languages have eva-forms— e.g. modern Dardic Bashgali, which has ev and Iranian Pashto which has yaw (although most modern Iranian and Dardic languages, including modern Persian yak, Baluchi yak, Tajik yak, Kurdish yek, and Kashmiri akh, have the normal *oi-ko forms). Thus all the evidence seems to point towards India.
But there are still two major Indo-European words which remain: Greek mía (neuter) and the Armenian word mi or mek. Compare the Austric (Kol-Munda) words for "one": Santali mit, Mundari mií, Korku mīa, Kharia moi, Savara mi, Juang min, Gadaba muirō. Could the Greek and Armenian words be derivatives of the Austric words? The Austric words are certainly the original, for a cognate word môt is attested by the Austric Vietnamese language, and muǝy by the Austric Khmer (Cambodian) language.
VII. Appendix 2: The Evidence of Animal and Plant Names
In the linguistic debate on the subject of the Proto-Indo-European Homeland, the discussion of flora and fauna holds a special position. As Mallory and Adams put it: "generally, those concerned with locating the Indo-European homeland through its lexicon tend to employ the evidence of its reconstructed fauna […] and flora" (MALLORY-ADAMS:2006:131).
We will examine the different aspects of this evidence as follows:
A. Temperate vs. Tropical Flora and Fauna
B. Eastern vs. Western Flora and Fauna Within the Rigveda and Vedic texts
C. PIE Flora and Fauna of the North-west and Beyond
D. The Evidence of Soma
E. The Evidence of Honey
F. The Evidence of Wine and Aurochs
G. The Evidence of the Horse
H. The Evidence of the Cow
[It must be noted that all this evidence is given in full detail in my article "The Elephant and the Proto-Indo-European Homeland". Here we only see a short basic summary of the evidence - as short as possible].
A. Temperate vs. Tropical Flora and Fauna:
Temperate Flora and Fauna:
It is generally argued that the evidence of the animal and plant names shows a homeland in the Steppe areas far outside India, since the different IE branches have common names for animals and trees of the "temperate" regions but not of tropical or semi-tropical areas like India.
Michael Witzel, for example, tells us: “Generally, the PIE plants and animals are those of the temperate climate” (WITZEL 2005:372), and that in the Rigveda "words such as those for ‘wolf’ and ‘snow’ rather indicate linguistic memories of a colder climate" (WITZEL 2005:373).
Witzel further argues that “we do not find any typical Old Indian words beyond South Asia, neither in the closely related Old Iranian, nor in Eastern or Western IE […] In an OIT scenario, one would expect ‘emigrant’ Indian words such as those for lion, tiger, elephant, leopard, lotus, bamboo, or some local Indian trees, even if some of them would have been preserved, not for the original item, but for a similar one (e.g. English [red] squirrel > North American [gray] squirrel)” (WITZEL 2005:364-365). He reiterates this argument later: “the search for Indian plant names in the west, such as lotus, bamboo, Indian trees (aśvattha, bilva, jambu, etc.), comes up with nothing. Such names are simply not to be found, also not in a new meaning” (WITZEL 2005:373).
This is in total disregard of the fact that most languages generally only preserve the names for animals and trees found in their territory and not for those found in other territories. In short, no Indo-Aryan language has a name for an animal or plant found in the Steppes of South Russia and not found in India, and, to paraphrase Witzel above: "the search for Steppe plant names in India also comes up with nothing. Such names are simply not to be found, also not in a new meaning".
About the wolf and snow: the fact is that the wolf is as much a native of the major part of India as of Steppe areas with cold climates. When Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book, featuring a boy called Mowgli raised in the jungle by wolves, he was talking about an Indian boy raised in an Indian jungle by Indian wolves: although Kipling actually was from Britain, the wolves in his story did not represent "linguistic memories" of British wolves.
And "snow" is found in India as much as in the western areas. As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica, India has "the largest area, outside of the Polar regions, under permanent ice and snow": the Himalayas. And snow is not a "linguistic memory" of the past in the Rigveda: it is mentioned in the Rigveda only once or twice in the New Books, after the Vedic Aryans expanded westwards past the Punjab into Afghanistan and the northwestern Himalayas from their Haryana homeland: The word hima, in 10 verses in the Rigveda (I.34.1; 64.14; 116.8; 119.6; II.33.2; V.54.15; VI.48.8; VIII.73.3; X.37.10; 68.10), means "winter" (and winter is also not a "linguistic memory": it is a season occuring in every corner of India, and eg. the derived Marathi word for "winter" is hivāḷā. Further, far from depicting "memories" of a cold climate, in 4 of the references, the verses talk about the Indian winter offering relief from the burning heat of the Indian summer. Notably the only reference in the three Oldest Books, VI.48.8 above, is in a Redacted Hymn), and it is only in a very late reference in X.121.4 (a reference to the snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas or the northwest) that it means "snow", and in another reference in a New Book, in VIII.32.26, it could possibly refer to a weapon made of ice.
Note the multiple fraud in Witzel's argument:
1. Witzel argues that the absence of names of Indian flora and fauna in IE languages outside India disproves an Indian Homeland (which, as we will see presently, is not strictly factual since names for many typical Indian animals like the elephant, tiger leopard, lion, ape, etc. are found outside India). But he clearly knows why the logic behind his argument (even if it is accepted as factual) is fake, since, shortly afterwards, he rejects the counter-argument that the names of "most of the IE plants and animals are not found in India" by arguing that this is because their names "have simply not been used any longer and have died out" (WITZEL 2005:374). So clearly, to paraphrase his own words, if "most of the Indian plants and animals are not found in Iran or Europe” it is only because their names “have simply not been used any longer and have died out"!
2. To compound his fake argument with a lie, he further argues that "The hypothetical emigrants from the subcontinent would have taken with them a host of 'Indian' words ― as the gypsies (Roma, Sinti) indeed have done." (WITZEL 2005:364-365). But he does not give the gypsy (Roma, Sinti) words for typical Indian flora and fauna (demanded by him for the languages of Europe and Iran) "such as lotus, bamboo, Indian trees (aśvattha, bilva, jambu, etc.)" or "such as those for lion, tiger, elephant, leopard, lotus, bamboo, or some local Indian trees, even if some of them would have been preserved, not for the original item, but for a similar one", since he is aware that in actual fact these names are "simply not to be found, also not in a new meaning" in these languages as well! Instead, clearly fully conscious of the fact that he is lying, he tries to substantiate his claim with ludicrous examples: "The Gypsies, after all, have kept a large IA vocabulary alive, over the past 1000 years or so, during their wanderings all over the Near East, North Africa and Europe (e.g. phral 'brother', pani 'water', karal 'he does')" (WITZEL 2005:366)! The gypsies migrated from deeper inside India just over a thousand years ago, and their language, Romany, is an Indo-Aryan language. If even Romany does not preserve these words, isn't it fraudulent to insist as an argument that languages from the other 11 branches of IE languages, migrating thousands of years ago from the outer northwestern parts of India, should have preserved those words?
Therefore, generally, it would not be possible to locate the Indo-European homeland on the basis of an analysis of names of fauna and flora, since each group of speakers of Indo-European languages would only preserve names for animals and plants found in their actual historical habitats and not for those found in some ancient long-forgotten homeland.
Indo-Aryan has common IE names for animals and plants of the temperate areas (the wolf, bear, lynx, fox/jackal, deer/elk, bull, cow, hare, squirrel, otter, beaver, mouse, duck/swan, dog, cat, horse, bull/cow, goat, sheep, pig, etc.) because all these animals are found in India, or, where they (and their names) are not found within India, they are found in areas to the immediate north-west of India within the Indian cultural sphere, which, in any OIT scenario, would form a part of the secondary homeland which the other branches would have to inhabit and pass through in their movement out from India.
Note also the following: Dyens talks about "some clues regarding where the Proto-Indo-European languages had been spoken: the Indo-European languages and words for certain flora and fauna (bears and beech trees are well-known examples). By plotting on a map the natural environment of these diagnostic flora and fauna, philologists established that the Indo-European Homeland was a fairly primitive place in the temperate zone" (DYENS 1988:4).
In the particular example quoted above, for example, the reference to "bears and beech trees" as being typical examples of the flora and fauna which establish the Homeland in the "temperate zone" illustrates the circularity and fraud behind the arguments:
1. Beech trees are found only in Europe, and the so-called PIE word for the beech tree is also found only in Europe! The cognate words for "beech", from the reconstructed PIE form *bhaHk'o-, are found only in the five European branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic), and even among them, the Baltic and Slavic forms seem to be borrowed from Germanic (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:534). Greek and Albanian have different words for "beech", and the forms which seem to be derived from *bhaHk'o- mean "oak". The word is totally missing in all the Asiatic branches: Anatolian, Tocharian, Armenian, Iranian and Indo-Aryan. And yet, a "beech argument" is being discussed since over a century, claiming that a common proto-form for "beech" proves a "temperate zone" European Homeland!
2. Bears are treated as indicators of a "temperate zone" Homeland in the Steppes. In actual fact:
a) There are eight species of bear in the world. Three of them are restricted to places outside the historical IE areas: ursus americanus (the American black bear, to North America), tremarctos ornatus (the spectacled bear, to South America) and ailuropoda melanoleuca (the panda bear, to Tibet and China - actually to the north of India). A fourth species, ursus maritimus (the polar bear) is restricted to the arctic areas, but this does include Scandinavia. One species, ursus arctos (the old world brown bear) is found all over the historical IE world (including Europe, the Steppes of South Russia, Anatolia, and India). The three other bears, ursus thibetanus (the Himalayan black bear), helarctos malayanus (the Malayan sun bear), and melursus ursinus (the sloth bear) are all found in parts of India: the third, in fact, only in India (and Sri Lanka). So India has four species of bears, and the "temperate zone" Steppe region has only one!
b) Further, the common PIE root *h2ṛetk- from which the common words for bear are derived (PIE *h2ṛtkos-, Vedic ṛkṣa-, Avestan arəšə-, Greek arktos, Latin ursus, Old Irish art, Armenian ar, Hittite hartagga) "is otherwise seen only in Skt. rakṣas- 'destruction, damage, night demon'" (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:138) but nowhere in the other eleven branches!
Tropical, Semi-Tropical or Indian Flora and Fauna:
But ironically, and unfortunately for all these polemicists, there are certain animals in the reconstructed names of Proto-Indo-European fauna which are found in India but not in the Steppes, and which point unmistakably to an Indian rather than a South Russian Steppe (or even Anatolian) homeland: the tiger, lion, leopard, ape and elephant. Discussions on the reconstructed fauna and its implications usually ignore these names, or argue against them:
The tiger: *wy(H)āghras, is found in three branches: Indo-Aryan vyāghra-, Iranian (Persian) babr, and Armenian vagr (borrowed into the non-Indo-European Caucasian Georgian language as vigr).
The lion: *sinĝhos, is found in two branches: Indo-Aryan siṁha-, and Armenian inj (with a transfer of name to the leopard).
The leopard: *perd, is found in four branches: Indo-Aryan pṛdāku, Greek pardos/pardalis, Iranian Persian fars-, and Anatolian (Hittite) paršana.
The monkey: *qhe/oph, is found in four branches: with the initial *qhe in Indo-Aryan kapí- and Greek kēpos, and without it in Germanic (e.g. Old Icelandic) api and Slavic (e.g. Old Russian) opica.
And most important of all:
The elephant: *leHbho-nth- or *ḷHbho-nth- is found directly in at least four branches: Indo-Aryan íbha-, Greek eléphas (Mycenean Greek erepa), Italic (Latin) ebur, and Hittite laḫpa- (all with alternate meaning, or a word transfer to, "ivory"). With a transfer of meaning to "camel", it is found in two more branches: Germanic (e.g. Gothic) ulbandus, and Slavic (e.g. Old Church Slavic) velibodŭ.
These reconstructed PIE animal names go against the establishment theory that the environment depicted by the reconstructed PIE fauna is that of the cold or temperate areas of the north. Hence most AIT supporters (including the staunch but racist-casteist Hindus) fraudulently ignore these names in their discussions and wax eloquent on the reconstructed names of animals (and trees) found in the temperate areas, but also found in India!
But most important of all is the name of the elephant:
1. The word is found distributed over the entire spectrum of Indo-European languages: it is found (a) in both Asia and Europe, (b) in both the south-easternmost branch (Indo-Aryan) as well as the north-westernmost one (Germanic), (c) in all the oldest recorded Indo-European languages: in "the earliest attested Indo-European languages, i.e. Hittite, Mycenaean Greek and Indo-Aryan" (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:99), as well as in the oldest attested European branch languages in every part of Europe: the south (Latin), north (Gothic), and east (Old Church Slavic).
As per Mallory and Adams, the criterion for determining a word to be definitely Proto-Indo-European is "if there are cognates between Anatolian and any [one] other Indo-European language", to which they add: "This rule will not please everyone, but it will be applied here" (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:109-110): here there are cognates for the elephant in Anatolian (Hittite) and five other branches!
2. Unlike the other animals named above, the elephant is found in only one of the historical Indo-European habitats: that of Indo-Aryan. There are two distinct species of elephants: the Indian elephant (elaphas maximus), found in India and in areas to its east (i.e. southeast Asia), and the African elephant (loxodonta africana), found in sub-Saharan Africa, in both cases far from the historical habitats of all the other branches of IE languages other than Indo-Aryan.
The above facts about the PIE elephant, in conjunction with the names of the four other animals named above (and see later the evidence of other animal names), constitute clinching evidence for the Indian homeland theory as opposed to the Steppe (South Russian) homeland theory; but it is testimony to the motivated nature of the discussion on the subject of the PIE homeland that the evidence of the elephant in the Rigveda is just "the elephant in the living room" for most scholars, who write as if they don't know it exists.
The desperate attempts of the scholars to stonewall the evidence of the elephant, and the untenability of those attempts, have been dealt with in full detail in my article "The Elephant and the Proto-Indo-European Homeland", and in the same article I have also detailed the extreme antiquity and prevalence of the elephant culture in the hymns of the Rigveda.
The elephant is found in the Rigveda, in both the Old and New Books, already with three distinct names: íbha-, vāraṇá, and hastín. [Later on there are many more: gaja, mātaṅga, kuñjara, dantī, nāga, karī, etc. In the Rigveda itself, Griffith and Wilson translate two more words as "elephant": apsah in VIII.45.56 and sṛṇí in X.106.6].
It is clearly a very familiar animal fully integral to the traditional culture and environment of the Vedic people: IV.16.14 compares Indra's might to that of a mighty elephant, and at least three verses (I.64.7; 140.2; VIII.33.8) refer to a wild elephant crashing its way through the forests and bushes: in the third reference the elephant is "rushing on this way and that way, mad with heat" (GRIFFITH). X.40.4 refers to hunters following two wild elephants. I.84.17 refers to household elephants as part of the possessions of a wealthy householder, IV.4.1 refers to royal elephants as part of the entourage of a mighty king, and IX.57.3 refers to a ceremonial elephant being decked up by the people. VI.20.8 refers to battle elephants, or, at least to elephants in the course of the description of a battle.
The importance of elephants and ivory in the Rigvedic culture and economy (see the above article "The Elephant and the Proto-Indo-European Homeland" for details) encompasses other Rigvedic words like tugra, bhujyu, ibhya, vetasu, daśoṇi, ṛbhu, etc.
Most significantly, the etymology of the common name for elephant/ivory speaks volumes: the reconstructed PIE form is *lebh/*ḷbhonth-. This is the Sanskrit root √ṛabh-/√labh-.
In an Indian homeland hypothesis, the elephant would be a very important animal not just from around the period of the separation and migration of the Indo-European dialects, but from long before that. The word would therefore not be just an old Rigvedic word (as its distribution in the texts shows it to be) but a very much pre-Rigvedic (and pre-PIE) word. That this is so is proved by the fact that the word ibha- has no known etymological derivation: Pāṇini does not give the etymological derivation of the word, and its meaning is given in his Uṇādi-Sūtra-s (which lists words not derived by him from verbal roots) as hastī "elephant". Usually this would be taken (in an AIT scenario) as a word borrowed by incoming "Aryan invaders" from some local language, but in this case (apart from the fact that it has cognates in other IE branches) the word is not found in any non-IE Indian language.
Therefore, in this case, the only option is that ibha- is that rare type of Vedic word: a word so old that it has already undergone a process of Prakritization in the Rigveda. The logical pre-Prakritization form of ibha- would be *ṛbha-. As the more regularly settled meaning of *ṛbha- was "tusk, ivory" (as it is in Hittite laḫpa-, Latin ebur, Myc. Greek erepa, and one of the two meanings of Greek elephas and Rigvedic ibha-, the other meaning being "elephant" itself) the suffix in Greek elephantas and the Germanic words (ulbandus-, etc., and the related Slavic words) would be explained by the suffix -vanta: *ṛbha-vanta would be "tusker".
In the Rigveda, we have a related word: ṛbhu-, which refers to a race of semi-divine artisans (identified etymologically and mythologically with the elf of Germanic mythology and folklore). As per Macdonell, the word ṛbhu- comes "from the root rabh, to grasp, thus means 'handy', 'dexterous'" (MACDONELL 1897:133). The root (due to r/l alternation in the Vedic language) has two forms in the Rigveda, √rabh and √labh, both meaning the same thing: √rabh: "to take hold of, grasp, clasp, embrace" (MONIER-WILLIAMS 1899:867) and √labh: "to take, seize, catch" (MONIER-WILLIAMS 1899:896). [A regular epithet of the ṛbhu-s is su-hastah "deft-handed" (IV.33.8; 35.3,9; V.42.12; VII.35.12; X.66.10)].
The word ibha- ~ *ṛbha- is thus also derived from the root √rabh,√labh: in this case, we have an advantage over Pāṇini as we also have the modern comparative evidence of the word as found in other IE languages. This not only explains the Vedic etymology of the word ibha-, it also explains the PIE etymology: i.e. the l-element in the Greek and Hittite versions (and the reconstructed PIE form *lebh-). [Note that ibha, also derived from the meaning "handy, dexterous", thus actually has the same sense as the later word hastin. This is ironic since the very transparent descriptive etymology of hastin has often been used as a rather pedestrian argument for it being a "new" word coined by "invading Aryans" for a "new" animal encountered by them in India].
The ancient importance of ivory-trading in India explains the dual meaning of ibha- in the Rigveda: ibha- "elephant/ivory" (*ṛbha- from √rabh,√labh), ibhya "rich" (rabhya, labhya): the root √labh is, in later times, regularly associated with profit, wealth and riches, and the Goddess of wealth, Lakṣmī, is regularly depicted surrounded by elephants (and even bears the names lābha-lakṣmī and gaja-lakṣmī).
The word ṛbhu is likewise "said […] also of property or wealth, RV.iv,37,5; viii,93,34" (MONIER-WILLIAMS 1899:226), and is translated as "wealth" in the two verses (IV.37.5; VIII.93.34) by, e.g., Wilson and Griffith.
In short, the elephant alone by itself constitutes absolutely conclusive evidence for the OIT or Indian Homeland Theory.
B. Eastern vs. Western Flora and Fauna Within the Rigveda and Vedic texts:
A look at some important Rigvedic fauna of the Old Books vis-a-vis the New Books is very enlightening:
First of all, take the following eastern animals which are native to the eastern interior areas of India but not native to the north-west (i.e. Afghanistan and beyond): the elephant (ibha-, vāraṇa, hastin), the Indian bison (gaura), the peacock (mayūra), the buffalo (mahiṣa) and the spotted deer or chital (pṛṣatī/pṛṣadaśva).
References to these eastern or Indian animals are found in every single book and period of the Rigveda. :
1. Old Hymns in Old Books 2,3,4,6,7: 16 Hymns, 17 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 2 Hymns, 3 verses.
3. New Hymns in New Books 1,5,8,9,10: 56 Hymns, 63 verses.
VI.8.4; 17.11; 20.8.
VII.40.3; 44.5; 69.6; 98.1.
IV.4.1; 16.14; 18.11; 21.8.
II.22.1; 34.3,4; 36.2.
V.42.15; 55.6; 57.3; 58.6; 60.2; 78.2.
I.16.5; 37.2; 39.6; 64.7,8; 84.17; 85.4,5; 87.4; 89.7; 95.9; 121.2; 140.2; 141.3; 186.8; 191.14.
VIII.1.25; 4.3; 7.28; 12.8; 33.8; 35.7; 45.24; 69.15; 77.10; 87.1,4.
IX.33.1; 57.3; 69.3; 73.2; 82.3; 86.25,40; 87.7; 92.6; 95.4; 96.6,18,19; 97.41,57; 113.3.
X.5.2; 8.1; 28.10; 40.4; 45.3; 49.4; 51.6; 54.4; 60.3; 65.8; 106.2; 128.8; 140.6; 189.2.
There are the western animals found only to the north-west of India (Kashmir and areas to its west, the NWFP and Afghanistan), at least in the context of Rigvedic geography (for that matter, wild mountain goats are found in the eastern Himalayas, and the Nilgiri Tahr is found as far south as in the Nilgiri hills of Tamilnadu; and wild boars are also found in the south and east): the mountain goat (chāga), the sheep (meṣa) and lamb (urā), the Bactrian camel (uṣṭra), the Afghan horse (mathra), and the wild boar (varāha). Most of the names of these north-western animals, unlike the names of the eastern animals that we just saw above, are found in the Avesta as well: maēša (sheep), ura (lamb), uštra (camel) and varāza (boar).
The western animals are found mentioned only in the New Books - and are even missing in the oldest of these, the Family Book 5 - and therefore clearly represent animals of the north-west which were unfamiliar to the Vedic Aryans until they moved out into the north-west from their original areas in the east:
1. Old Hymns in Old Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
3. New Hymns in New Books 1,5,8,9,10: 33 Hymns, 35 verses.
I. 29.5; 43.6; 51.1; 52.1; 61.7; 88.5; 114.5; 116.16; 117.17,18; 121.11; 138.2; 162.3.
VIII. 2.40; 5.37; 6.48; 34.3; 46.22,23; 56.3; 66.8; 77.10; 85.7; 97.12.
IX. 8.5; 86.47; 97.7; 107.11.
X. 27.17; 28.4; 67.7; 86.4; 91.14; 99.6; 106.5.
As we go deeper into the matter, the western domesticated ass (gardabha, rāsabha) and the boar (sūkara) are found as follows - only in the Redacted Hymns and New Books, but missing in the Old Books [Note Avestan hūkara, Tocharian kercapo. The Avestan name for the ass (xara) is found only later in the Sutras (khara)]:
I. 34.9; 116.2; 162.21;
While sheep were not familiar to the Vedic Aryans in the east, they were acquainted with wool which was imported from the west, alongwith soma which was filtered through it. The acquaintance increased as they expanded westwards. The following is the distribution of the regular PIE word ávi-, with the meaning "sheep", in the Rigveda, the word ávi-, and its derived words ávya-, ávyaya-, and avyáya-, all signifying "woollen filters" (for filtering the Soma juice), and the regular PIE word for "wool" (with cognates in most of the IE branches), ūrṇa-/ūrṇā-.
The words are missing in the Old Hymns in the three Oldest Books 6,3,7, and found only in the Middle old Books 4,2, the Redacted Hymns, and the New Books:
IV. 2.5; 22.2.
V. 5.4; 52.9; 61.5.
I. 126.7; I.135.6.
VIII. 2.2; 56.3; 97.2.
IX. 6.1,5; 7.6; 12.4; 13.1,6; 16.6,8; 20.1; 28.1; 36.4; 37.3; 38.1; 45.5; 49.4; 50.2,3; 52.2; 61.17; 62.8; 63.10,19; 64.5,25; 66.9,11,28; 67.4,5,20; 68.7; 69.34,9; 70.7,8; 74.9; 75.4; 78.1; 82.1; 85.5; 86.3,8,11,13,25,31,34,48; 91.1,2; 92.4; 96.13; 97.3,4,12,16,19,31,40,56; 98.2,3; 99.5; 100.4; 101.16; 103.2,3; 106.10,11; 107.2,10,17,22,68; 108.5; 109.7,16; 110.10.
X. 18.10; 26.6; 75.8; 90.10.
OTHER INDIAN FAUNA:
Meanwhile, it may be noted there are many other purely native Indo-Aryan (i.e. IE) names for many purely, though not exclusively eastern, Indian animals in the Rigveda:
śiṁśumāra (Gangetic or river dolphin)
These are found distributed all over the Rigveda:
I. 64.8; 95.5; 116.18; 174.3.
III. 2.11; 9.4; 26.5.
V. 74.4; 83.3.
IX. 89.3; 97.28.
X. 28.4,10; 67.9; 73.3; 95.15.
There are also some animal names which are not found within the hymns of the Rigveda, but appear only in or as personal names of particular persons rather than in references to the animals themselves (though they refer to the animals themselves in the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda):
Other such Indian animals with purely Indo-Aryan names, which do not appear in any reference in the Rigveda, are mentioned in the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda:
jatū (bat), etc.
Note: it is not intended to provide here a list of all animals named in the Rigveda: this would include the names for many of the animals common to India as well as Europe: the wolf, bear, lynx, fox/jackal, deer/elk, bull, cow, hare, squirrel, mouse, duck/swan, dog, cat, horse, mule, bull/cow, snake, fishes, various birds and insects, etc., some of which can have multiple names in the Rigveda and the other Samhitas (e.g "deer"/ "antelope": ruru, eṇi, ṛśya, hariṇa, etc.). Generally, we will only discuss animal names relevant to the AIT/OIT debate. But the following Indo-Aryan names of some birds, in the Rigveda (where specified) or at least in the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda, may be noted:
cakravāka (brahminy duck. II.39.3)
ulūka (owl, VII.104.22; X.165.4)
kapota (pigeon, I.30.4; X.165.1-5)
cāṣa (wagtail, X.97.13)
śyena/suparṇa (eagle, multiple references)
gṛdhra (vulture, many references)
śuka (parrot), etc.
PLANTS AND TREES:
In spite of all the talk about "temperate" plants and trees in the PIE vocabulary, the Rigveda does not contain the name of a single reconstructed, or otherwise, western plant or tree. In fact, it refers to a great many eastern plants and trees, native to India and extremely important to this day in Indian religion or commerce, with purely Indo-Aryan names.
In the Rigveda we have:
śiṁśapa (dalbergia sissoo, the sissoo or shisham or North Indian rosewood tree)
khadira (acacia catechu, the heartwood tree)
śalmalī (salmalia malabaricum, the silk-cotton tree)
kiṁṣuka, parṇa (butea monosperma, the flame-of-the forest)
śimbala (again salmalia malabaricum, the silk-cotton tree)
vibhīdaka (terminalia bellerica, the belleric myrobalan or behra)
araṭva (terminalia arjuna, the arjuna tree)
aśvattha, pippala (ficus religiosa, the sacred fig tree, the peepal)
urvāruka (cucumis sativus, the cucumber)
vetasa (calamus rotang or rattan/cane, used in cane furniture)
darbha, muñja, śarya, sairya, kuśara, vairiṇa (Indian grasses).
These above are found in the Rigveda as follows:
I. 135.8; 164.20; 191.3.
VII. 50.3; 59.12; 86.6.
X. 85.20; 97.5.
The Yajurveda and Atharvaveda mention many more important Indian plants and trees with purely Indo-Aryan names:
ikṣu (saccharum officinale, the sugarcane plant)
bilva (aegle marmelos, the bael fruit plant)
nyagrodha (ficus benghalensis, the banyan tree)
śamī (prosopis cineraria, the shami tree)
plakṣa (ficus infectora, the white fig tree)
pippalī (piper longum, long pepper, an important spice).
Not to mention a very long list of Indian medicinal herbs mentioned in the Atharvaveda, clearly representing an ancient heritage of a long period of local medicinal traditions. In short, the flora and fauna of the eastern interior of India form the heart of the Rigveda (and this is amplified by the data in the subsequent Samhitas: the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda), while the flora and fauna of the northwest make only a very late appearance on the Rigvedic horizon.
Incidentally, the Vedic Aryans, according to the Rigveda, used Indian timbers in the manufacture of different parts of the chariot: śiṁśapa (dalbergia sissoo, the sissoo or shisham or North Indian rosewood tree), khadira (acacia catechu, the heartwood tree), śalmalī (salmalia malabaricum, the silk-cotton tree) and kiṁṣuka (butea monosperma, the flame-of-the forest). On the other hand, in the case of the "Egyptian war chariot", Tarr points out that "the timbers in question were not of Egyptian origin but ‘came from the north’. […] The timbers used were holm-oak for the axle and the spokes, elm for the pole, ash for the felloes, the chassis and the dashboard, hornbeam for the yoke and birch bark for wrapping and for joining the spokes with the felloes and the hub […] The wooden material of the Egyptian chariots came from the Caucasus" (TARR 1969:74).
C. PIE Flora and Fauna of the North-west and Beyond:
Al this brings into focus the utter disconnect between the data analyzed above and the case which has been presented by western Indologists all these years (or rather for the last more than a century): the refrain about the reconstructed PIE flora and fauna depicting a "temperate zone" area, on the grounds that the reconstructed list includes only "temperate zone" flora and fauna and not tropical ones or peculiarly Indian ones, has been a recurring argument in spite of the fact that even many prominent western Indologists and scholars from the earliest days, who basically accepted the AIT, rejected it as illogical and plain stupid (Weber 1857, Keith 1933, Dolgopolsky 1987, etc). As they reasonably pointed out, any people travelling from one particular area to a new and distant one would naturally (over the course of centuries) forget about the flora and fauna of their original area if those were not present in the new area. The point is that the reconstructed flora and fauna considered by the Indologists are found in both India and Europe, so it cannot in itself indicate that the movement was from India to Europe or from Europe to India.
But Witzel further argues that many of these "temperate zone" words, in spite of not being typical of the Rigvedic area, are found in post-Rigvedic Sanskrit, and some more (though missing in Sanskrit) are found in Iranian. So he argues that such words "rather indicate linguistic memories of a colder climate than an export of words, such as that for the high altitude Kashmirian birch tree, to Iran, Central Asia and Europe” (WITZEL 2005:373). His point is that many of the common PIE words represent things which are not typical "for the Panjab or the Indian plains" (i.e. the Vedic area), and they are found not just in European languages but even in Iranian languages, so they cannot have been taken there by westward migrating people from inside the Vedic area. According to him, it fits in with the AIT in which the "incoming Indo-Iranians" retained European or Steppe words till the borders of India and the Indo-Aryans alone lost them after entering India.
But the main trouble with Witzel is that he is, all the time, answering an OIT theory which would make the Vedic/Sanskrit language, of "the Panjab or the Indian plains", the ancestor of all the IE languages of the world. But that (linguistically extremely unsound) theory is not our theory, and nor does it accord with the recorded data. The recorded data shows that the Vedic Aryans, living in Haryana and further east, spoke a Pūru dialect (Vedic) of that area; while the speakers of the ancestral forms of the other IE branches spoke various Anu and Druhyu languages and dialects which were spoken in areas further west and northwest, and had words (many of them in common with each other) for northwestern flora and fauna (and doubtless many other items of vocabulary) peculiar to their areas but missing in Vedic.
The proof for this, in fact, is that many of these words are missing in the Rigveda or its earlier parts, and only entered the Vedic language (or subsequent Sanskrit) as the Vedic Indo-Aryans expanded northwestwards. More western words along the same trajectory, in areas in which the Indo-Aryans never expanded (or expanded only superficially) may reasonably be found in many other IE branches (including Iranian) but not found at all in either Vedic, later Sanskrit or the still later Indian languages.
The chronology of appearance or occurrence of the names of flora and fauna follows a distinct pattern:
1. Flora and fauna peculiar to the interior of India (elephant, chital/spotted deer, Indian bison, buffalo, peacock, lion, brahminy duck, arjuna tree, silk-cotton tree) are found right from the Old Books (6,3,7,4,2). These flora and fauna would not be very likely to be found among the Anu and Druhyu of the northwest to begin with, and would certainly stand very little chance of being retained by the (Anu and Druhyu) languages and dialects after centuries of migrations and settlement in distant areas where these flora and fauna are totally unknown: note that even the Indo-Aryan Gypsy/Sinti/Romany lost the words for these flora and fauna within a thousand years.
2. Peculiarly "common Indo-Iranian" words for northwestern flora and fauna appear later only in the New Books (5,1,8,9,10), or even later: Vedic meṣa (sheep), urā (lamb), uṣṭra (camel), varāha (boar) and sūkara (pig), kaśyapa (turtle), khara (ass), jahāka (hedgehog) = Avestan maēša, ura, uštra, varāza, hūkara, kassiapa, xara, dužuka, etc. These words represent the common northwestern vocabulary of the New Books (or later) and the Avesta (or Iranian in general).
3. The much flaunted "temperate zone" PIE words for flora and fauna of the northwest only appear in the Rigveda in the New Books (5,1,8,9,10), or even later:
a) As we saw, "old" PIE words like ávi- and ūrṇa-/ ūrṇā-, with cognates in most other IE branches, are missing in the three Oldest Books and appear only in the New Books or, at best, first appear only in Book 4 which represents the westernmost thrust of Indo-Aryan expansion during the period of Sudās' descendants Sahadeva and Somaka and the battle "beyond the Sarayu" (IV.30.18) in Afghanistan.
b) Witzel refers to the wolf and ice as "linguistic memories of a colder climate". As we already saw earlier, wolves are found over most of India, so this is an extremely stupid statement. As for ice (and snow): ice and snow appear in the Rigveda only in the New Books.
c) The word bhūrja for "birch", which Witzel refers to, is missing in the Rigveda, and appears for the first time in the Yajurveda. Significantly, the name is well represented in the Dardic, Nuristani and Iranian languages of the extreme north and northwest: "in the Dardic languages of mountainous northwestern India we have Phalura brhuǰ, Dameli brūš, Gawar-Bati bluz 'birch' (Mayrhofer 1963:11.514-15); Waigali bruǰ 'birch' (Morgenstierne 1954:238), Khotanese Saka braṁja 'birch', bruṁjə 'birchbark', Wakhi (Pamir Iranian) furz, Sanglechi barež, Shugni baruǰ 'birch', Os. bærz/bærzæ 'birch', Pashto barǰ 'birchbark band', Tajik burz, burs 'juniper' (with semantic transfer)" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:531-532). Again and again, we have this evidence of northwestern words entering the Rigveda in its later parts (or in later Sanskrit texts) as the Vedic Indo-Aryans expanded northwestwards.
4. The Avesta has a vocabulary starting from the period of the New Books of the Rigveda (as we have seen in detail in my earlier blog article "The Recorded History of the Indo-European Migrations - Part 2, The chronology and geography of the Rigveda"). But the Avesta represents an even later chronological stage than the New Books, since by the time of composition of the Avesta the proto-Iranians have moved out into Afghanistan and are in contact with more western areas and with more western IE words: i.e. with Anu words developed in common with the other Anu groups (Greek, Armenian, Albanian to the west) and even local words developed in common with, or adopted from, the Druhyu groups (Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic, Italic, to the north). The development of common Iranian-Druhyu words (missing in Indo-Aryan) took place in the snowy mountainous regions of Afghanistan and Central Asia, and some of the words clearly reflect this situation:
Av. bərəz- "hill, mountain" with cognates in Slavic, Germanic and Celtic.
Av. snaēzaiti "snows" (verb) with cognates in Germanic, Celtic and Italic (and also Greek).
Av. aēxa "frost, ice" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic.
Oss. tajyn "thaw, melt" (verb) with cognates in Slavic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic (and also Greek and Armenian).
Av. udra "otter" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic.
Av. bawra-/bawri- "beaver" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic.
Oss. wyzyn "hedgehog" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic (and also Greek and Armenian).
Oss. læsæg "salmon" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic (and also Armenian).
Av. θβərəsa- "boar" with cognates in Celtic.
Av. pərəsa- "piglet" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic.
Pehl. wabz- "wasp" with cognates in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic.
Av. staora- "steer" with cognates in Germanic.
[Witzel repeatedly cites the name of the non-Indian beaver (Old English bebr, beofor, Latin fiber, Lithuanian bēbrus, Russian bobr, bebr, and Avestan baβri) with the name of the Indian mongoose (Sanskrit babhru) as evidence for the AIT (WITZEL 2005:374). But the common non-Indian word, in the OIT scenario, developed in the region of Afghanistan and Central Asia, among the European dialects and proto-Iranian. And there is no case for any movement of the name into India: the word babhru occurs in the Rigveda, and in Mitanni IA, but as a name for a particular horse-colour. In the east, the colour word (in much later Sanskrit) was separately used as a name for the mongoose, but this cannot be as part of an Aryan movement into India in an AIT scenario, because in that case, the Aryans would have remembered the Rigvedic word babhru (which, seeing that it is also found in the Mitanni IA language, supposed, in the AIT scenario, to have separated from Vedic in Central Asia itself before the separation of the proto-Iranians, makes the meaning quite old and consistent) rather than a long-forgotten non-Indian use of the word for a beaver-like animal in a distant land before an immigration already forgotten even in the Rigveda. And, as Gamkrelidze points out, after a short discussion: “It is notable that the Indo-Iranian languages are split by this isogloss: Sanskrit shows the more archaic situation, while Avestan displays the innovation” (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:448).]
That the mountainous region of Afghanistan and Central Asia was a central part of the PIE Homeland is indicated in detail by Gamkrelidze and Ivanov (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:525-531), who point out the primary position of the oak tree, oak forests, high mountain oaks struck by lightning and the presence of a tempestuous "all-powerful thunder-deity who bore the name of the mountain oak" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:529) in the reconstructed environment of the PIE Homeland. They actually place the Homeland much further west, in Anatolia to be exact, but they point out that the landscape indicated by the data stretches over the area "including the Transcaucasus, Iran and Afghanistan" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:529). The oak tree is of great importance in this reconstructed environment: Gamkrelidze examines the oak tree first among the common PIE trees, and points out that the reconstructed common PIE form (*t'e/orw-, *t're/ou-) for "tree/wood" (Skt. dru-/ druma-/ dāru-/ taru-) has cognates in eight branches (Anatolian, Tocharian, Baltic, Slavic, Germanic, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Greek), but in three historically diverse branches (Celtic, Albanian and Greek) the name for "oak" is derived from this reconstructed form (Greek has both the words, "tree" as well as "oak", derived from the same proto-form). The Armenian and Italic branches preserve the word for "wood" in the adjective "hard" as applied to wood, thus the word originally meant "tree/wood" in all the branches, but is specifically applied to the oak in three branches.
[Note: the original word for "tree" (*t'e/orw-, *t're/ou-) remained "tree/wood" in nine of the twelve IE branches. In three other branches, the meaning became "oak", one of them being Celtic. The same root gave birth to the word Dru-hyu, the Rigvedic/Puranic name of the speakers of the five European branches - Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic - in "the mountainous region inhabited by these ancient Indo-European tribes" in Afghanistan and Central Asia, as well as to the connected word dru-i/dru-id, the name of the priestly classes of these tribes (still retained by the Celts in Ireland)].
5. But there is another reconstructed word (*pherkhou-) meaning "oak/oak forest/forest/mountain forest" (but never "wood"): the word means "oak" in Italic, Celtic and Indo-Aryan (Skt. parkaṭī-, actually a name of the white fig tree, but Punjabi pargāi refers to the holly oak, quercus ilex), and the word has a transferred meaning to "fir/pine/tree/forest" in Germanic: the Germanic, e.g. English, word for "forest" is itself derived from this word. The reconstructed PIE word is derived from the root *pheru- "cliff/mountain/rock" (found in Sanskrit and Hittite) from which we also get the Sanskrit parvata- "mountain". The name of a common PIE thunder-god is derived from the same two words (with a suffix, as *pherkhou/n- and *pheru/n-): Indo-Aryan (Vedic) Parjanya, Baltic Perkūnas, Slavic Perun, Germanic Fjǫrgyn (mother of the thunder-god Thor). As Gamkrelidze points out: "The connection between the Proto-Indo-European thunder-god *pher(kho)u-n- and terms for 'mountain oak, 'oak forest on mountain-top', 'mountain', 'cliff', *pher(kho)u-, can be explained if we assume the ancient mythological pattern of lightning striking great oaks on mountain-tops. This view must reflect some recurrent feature of the mountainous region inhabited by the ancient Indo-European tribes" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:528).
So does all this prove that the Rigveda contains "linguistic memories" of "the mountainous region inhabited by the ancient Indo-European tribes" in Afghanistan and Central Asia, or much further beyond? On the contrary:
1. The oak, by any name, is totally missing in the Rigveda and in fact in any Vedic text. The word parkaṭī-, when it does appear in much later Classical Sanskrit texts, means the Indian white fig tree, ficus infectora, already mentioned in the Atharvaveda with the name plakṣa-. The name is however found in Punjab in much later times as pargāī, one of the many names of a species of oak tree, the holly oak (quercus ilex), a tree native to the Mediterranean, and therefore clearly a name imported at a very late date from the west.
2. There are clearly two "thunder-gods" in the Rigveda: Indra and Parjanya. The name Indra has its origin in the word indu- "drop", and therefore he is a thunder-god associated with the actual rain-drops, and (apart from the fact that he is basically restricted to the Indo-Aryan branch) is clearly a god of the monsoon region of Haryana and its interior areas. The name Parjanya (apart from the fact that it has equivalents in three other European branches) has its origins, as we saw, in the oak-forests of the north-western mountains.
Indologists and AIT scholars, with their inverted logic, classify Parjanya as the original PIE and therefore also Vedic thunder-god because he is found in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic mythology as well, and Indra as a "new" thunder-god who increasingly replaced the original PIE thunder-god in India. The facts, however, indicate the opposite picture:
a) Indra is the most important deity in the Rigveda, and has over 250 hymns addressed to him or glorifying him (out of a total of 1028 hymns in the Rigveda). Parjanya has only 3 hymns addressed to him or glorifying him. Even more significantly, while Indra is present in every part of the text, old and new, and is mentioned (by this name alone, not counting his other numerous special epithets) 2415 times in 538 hymns, Parjanya is mentioned only 36 times in the following 25 hymns:
Old Books (6,3,7,4,2):
VI.49.6; 50.12; 52,6,16; 75.15.
VII.35.10; 101.5; 102.1,2; 103.1.
New Books (5,1,8,9,10):
V.53.6; 63.4,6; 83.1-5,9.
VIII.6.1; 21.8; 102.5.
IX.2.9; 22.2; 82.3; 113.3.
X.65.9; 66.6,10; 98.1,8; 169.2.
It will be seen that all the references except one (VII.35.10) are in New Books or in Redacted Hymns (underlined), and include the notoriously late hymns towards the end of Books 4,6 and 7 (there being no reference to Parjanya at all in Books 2 and 3). The sole exception (VII.35.10) is clearly just a case of a late added name in a long list of deities in a Viśvedeva ("all-gods") hymn.
This proves that Parjanya is a deity of the northwest who entered the Rigveda in the period of the New Books, as the Vedic Indo-Aryans expanded northwestwards into the mountainous areas from the monsoon area in Haryana and east. As the deity is found only in Slavic, Baltic and Germanic, it also confirms the presence of (at least the remnants of) the ancestral Slavic, Baltic and Germanic dialects in Central Asia during the period of the New Books of the Rigveda.
b) Further, while Indra is otherwise found only in Indo-Aryan (and, by opposition, as a demon in the rival Iranian tradition recorded in the Avesta), he is also represented in Hittite mythology in the name of the goddess Inara who helps the (unnamed) rain god to kill the Great Serpent who was interfering with the rainfall. Hittite (Anatolian) was linguistically the first IE branch to separate from the other branches in any hypothetical Homeland; and the presence of Inara in Hittite mythology confirms either the greater antiquity of Indra (to Parjanya), or the presence of the proto-Hittites in Central Asia at the time of the north-westward expansion of the Vedic Aryans, or both.
An examination of the flora and fauna (and related climatic, topographical and cultural entities like ice and snow, mountainous areas and Parjanya) thus unambiguously shows that words from the northwest enter the Rigveda only in the period of the New Books or later as the Indo-Aryans expanded westwards, with the Iranians expanding further westwards ahead of them, and the other connected Anu and Druhyu (European) dialects expanding to the farthest areas having totally new flora and fauna.
D. The Evidence of Soma:
The Soma rituals were an important part of the Rigveda as well as of Iranian religion. The Soma plant was probably a species of ephedra found in the extreme northwestern parts of the Himalayas extending westwards to Central Asia and beyond. Species of ephedra found further eastwards (in the Himalayas) were not capable of yielding the kind of juice described in the Rigveda. Hence, according to the Indologists, the fact that the ritual use of Soma formed such an integral part of the Rigvedic religion (and that this feature is shared with the Iranians) proves that the Vedic Aryans entered India from the northwest, bringing the Soma plant and cult with them.
However, the evidence in the Rigveda shows that:
1. The Soma plant and its rituals were an extraneous cult originally introduced to the Vedic Aryans and their priests in the east in very early times by the Bhṛgu, priests of the Anu Iranians from the Soma-growing areas to their northwest.
2. The actual Soma-growing areas were distant and unknown to the Vedic Aryans in the Old Books of the Rigveda, and became known to them only later after they expanded westwards.
3. The expansion of the Vedic Aryans (and, by a chain of events, the dispersal of the Indo-Europeans) into the west and northwest was a direct consequence of their quest for Soma.
1. The special priests of the Vedic Aryans (i.e. of the Bharatas) were the Aṅgiras, Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra. These priests, however, are not specially associated with the Soma plant and ritual. The priests very specially associated with Soma are the Kaśyapa and Bhṛgu., both of whom are associated directly with the Anu tribes or their original area (Kashmir and the northwest)
The Kaśyapa are very closely associated with Soma: over 70 % of the verses composed by them are dedicated to Soma Pavamāna, and the āprī-sūkta of the Kaśyapa family is the only āprī-sūkta dedicated to Soma (all the other nine āprī-sūkta-s are dedicated to Agni). But while the Kaśyapas are exclusive Soma priests, the fact is that they entered the Rigveda at a late stage: they became exclusive Soma priests in the period following the expansion of the Vedic Aryans into the Soma-growing areas.
As we have repeatedly seen, the Bhṛgu, except for one branch consisting of Jamadagni and his descendants, are associated with the proto-Iranians living to the north and northwest of the Vedic people. The identification of the Bhṛgu with Soma is deeper, older and more significant: it is clear that the use of the Soma plant originated among the Bhṛgu, and it is they who introduced the plant and its rituals to the Vedic Aryans and their priests:
a. The word Soma, which occurs thousands of times in the hymns of the Rigveda, is found in the name of only one composer ṛṣi: Somāhuti Bhārgava.
b. The word pavamāna, which occurs more than a hundred times in the Soma Pavamāna Maṇḍala (Book 9), is found only once outside Book 9: in VIII.101.14 attributed to Jamadagni Bhārgava.
c. Both the Rigveda and the Avesta are unanimous in identifying Bhṛgu priests as the earliest preparers of Soma: as Macdonell puts it: "The RV and the Avesta even agree in the names of ancient preparers of Soma; Vivasvat and Trita Aptya on the one hand, and Vivanhvant, Athwya and Thrita on the other" (MACDONELL 1897:114). According to the Avesta, the first preparer of Soma was Vīuuaŋvhaṇt (Vivasvat), the second was Āθβiia (Aptya) and the third was Θrita (Trita). Vivasvat in the Rigveda is the name of the father of two persons: Yama and Manu. In the Avesta also, Vīuuaŋvhaṇt is the father of Yima. Both Vivasvat and Yama Vaivasvata are identified in the Rigveda as Bhṛgu (see the references to the Bhṛgu group of ṛṣis in TALAGERI 2000:31-32), and Manu Vaivasvata is identified in the anukramaṇī-s of VIII.29 with Kaśyapa. Trita Āptya is not clearly identified with any family in the Rigveda, but it is significant that he is described by the Gṛtsamadas (Kevala Bhṛgu) in II.11-19 as belonging to "our party" (Griffith's translation).
d. Almost all the hymns to Soma in Book 9 are composed by ṛṣis belonging to the Middle and Late Periods of the Rigveda (though there are fictitious ascriptions to older composers in the "saptaṛṣi" hymns); however the hymns attributed to the Bhṛgu include twelve hymns which are ascribed (even if possibly composed or redacted by their descendants) to remote ancestral Bhṛgus of the pre-Rigvedic period, who are already ancient and mythical even in the oldest Books: Vena Bhārgava (IX.85), Uśanā Kāvya (IX.87-89) and Kavī Bhārgava (IX.47-49, 75-79). The oldest Soma hymns in the Rigveda therefore appear to be composed exclusively by Bhṛgu.
e. The Rigveda clearly indicates that it was the Bhṛgu who introduced Soma to the Vedic Aryans, and to their Gods and priests. According to at least three references (I.116.12; 117.22; 119.9), the location or abode of Soma was a secret; and this secret was revealed to the Aśvins by Dadhyanc, an ancient Bhṛgu ṛṣi, already mythical in the Rigveda, and older than even Kavi Bhārgava and Uśanā Kāvya. Dadhyanc is the son of Atharvaṇa, and grandson of the eponymous Bhṛgu.
f. Even the symbolism inherent in the eagle who brought Soma to the Vedic Aryans probably represents this role of the Bhṛgu: according to Macdonell, "the term eagle is connected with Agni Vaidyuta or lightning (TB 3, 10, 51; cp. 12.12)" (MACDONELL 1897:112) and likewise, "BERGAIGNE thinks there can hardly be a doubt that bhṛgu was originally a name of fire, while KUHN and BARTH agree in the opinion that the form of fire it represents is lightning" (MACDONELL 1897:140) (see also Griffith's footnote to IV.7.4).
2. Soma is regarded as growing in distant areas: this area is so distant that it is constantly identified with the heavens (IV.26.6; 27.3, 4; VIII.100.8; IX.63.27; 66.30; 77.2; 86.24, etc.):
a. The only specific thing known about the place of origin of Soma is that it grows on mountains (I.93.6; III.48.2; V.43.4; 85.2; IX.18.1; 62.4; 85.10; 95.4; 98.9, etc.). Nothing more specific is mentioned in the Family Books (2-7).
b. The area of Soma is clearly not part of the Vedic area (nor is there even the slightest hint anywhere in the Rigveda that it ever was): it is constantly referred to as being far away (IV.26.6; IX.68.6; X.11.4; 144.4). This area is also known as the "dwelling of Tvaṣṭṛ" (IV.18.3); and this is what the scholars have to say about Tvaṣṭṛ: "Tvaṣṭṛ is one of the obscurest members of the Vedic pantheon. The obscurity of the concept is explained [….] (by) HILLEBRANDT (who) thinks Tvaṣṭṛ was derived from a mythical circle outside the range of the Vedic tribes" (MACDONELL 1897:117).
c. Soma is mythically (and repeatedly) reported to be brought by an eagle to the Vedic people, and even to their Gods, from its distant place of origin:
IV.18.13; 26.4-7; 27.3, 4.
IX.68.6; 77.2; 86.24; 87.6.
X.11.4; 99.8; 144.4, 5.
That this place of origin is alien to the Vedic people is clear from the fact that this eagle is reported to have to hurry (IV.26.5) to escape the guardians of Soma, who are described as attacking the eagle (IV.27.3) to prevent it from taking the Soma away.
"Tvaṣṭṛ is especially the guardian of Soma, which is called 'the mead of Tvaṣṭṛ' (I.117.22)" (MACDONELL 1897:116), and Indra is described as conquering Tvaṣṭṛ in order to obtain the Soma.
In his footnote to 1.43.8, Griffith refers to "the people of the hills who interfere with the gathering of the Soma plant which is to be sought there".
d. The Family Books are generally ignorant about the exact details of the Soma-growing areas. Whatever specific information is there is in the non-family New Books (1,8,9,10): The prime Soma-growing areas are identified in VIII.64.11 as the areas near the Suṣomā and Arjīkīyā rivers (the Sohān and Hāro), northeastern tributaries of the Indus, in the extreme north of the Punjab and northwest of Kashmir, and near Śaryaṇāvān (a lake in the vicinity of these two rivers). In VIII.7.29, the reference is to the Suṣoma and Arjīka (in the masculine gender, signifying mountains; while the rivers of these names are in the feminine gender), clearly the mountains which gave rise to the two aforesaid rivers, and again Śaryaṇāvān, which also appears in X.35.2 as a mountainous area, perhaps referring to the mountains surrounding the lake of the same name.
In another place (X.34.1), the best Soma is said to be growing on the Mūjavat mountains: the Mūjavat tribes are identified (Atharvaveda V-XXII-5, 7, 8, 14) with the Gandhārī, i.e. in adjacent parts of Afghanistan.
That Gandhārī (northern Afghanistan) in the Rigveda is associated with Soma is clear from the specific role assigned in the Rigveda to the Gandharva or gandharva (mythical beings associated in the Rigveda with that region). In the words of Macdonell: "Gandharva is, moreover, in the RV often associated (chiefly in the ninth book) with Soma. He guards the place of Soma and protects the races of the gods (9.83.4; cp. 1.22.14). Observing all the forms of Soma, he stands on the vault of heaven (9.85.12). Together with Parjanya and the daughters of the sun, the Gandharvas cherish Soma (9.113.3). Through Gandharva's mouth the gods drink their drought (AV.7.73.3). The MS (3.8.10) states that the Gandharvas kept the Soma for the gods [….] It is probably as a jealous guardian of Soma that Gandharva in the RV appears as a hostile being, who is pierced by Indra in the regions of air (8.66.5) or whom Indra is invoked to overcome (8.1.11) [….] Soma is further said to have dwelt among the Gandharvas [….]" (MACDONELL 1897:136-137).
All these names are found mentioned only in the non-family New Books (1,8,9,10), with a single reference (to gandharva) in Book 3 in a Redacted Hymn described in the Aitareya Brahmana (VI.18) as a late interpolated hymn in Book 3:
I.22.14; 84.14; 126.7; 163.2.
VIII.1.11; 6.39; 7.29; 64.11; 77.5.
IX.65.22,23; 83.4; 85.12; 113.1-3.
X.10.4; 11.2; 34.1; 35.2; 75.5; 85.40,41; 123.4,7; 136.6; 139.4-6; 177.2.
e. While Soma was well known to the Vedic Aryans as a product of the distant north-western areas, imported through the Anu and other people further northwest, its use became more widespread and ritually important only in the period of the New Books, so much so that a whole separate book (Book 9) was compiled to accommodate the hymns composed for it. However, with the passage of time (i.e. in post-Vedic times), the importance of the Soma ritual was slowly lost in Indian religion as the focus shifted eastwards and new rituals and philosophies of more eastern people supplanted the Soma ritual. However, the importance of the Soma plant and ritual continued in its original territories and among its original adherents: the ephedra plant is known as haoma/homa (or derived words) in the Iranian languages (Persian, Pashto, Baluchi, as well as most of the Dardic and Nuristani languages of the extreme north/northwest) and as soma-lata even in parts of the Indian Himalayas (including in Nepal), and is used to this day in Zoroastrian ritual.
3. The expansion of the Vedic Aryans into the west and northwest was a direct consequence of their quest for Soma:
The westward movement commenced with the crossing of the Śutudrī and Vipāś by Viśvāmitra and the Bharatas under Sudās, described in hymn III.33; and the fifth verse of the hymn clarifies both the direction and purpose of this crossing.
Griffith translates III.33.5 (in which Viśvāmitra addresses the rivers) as: "Linger a little at my friendly bidding; rest, Holy Ones, a moment in your journey"; but he clarifies in his footnote: "At my friendly bidding: according to the Scholiasts, Yāska and Sāyaṇa, the meaning of me vācase somyāya is 'to my speech importing the Soma'; that is, the object of my address is that I may cross over and gather the Soma-plant".
This crossing, and the successful foray into the northwest, appears to have whetted the appetite of Sudās and the Bharatas for conquest and expansion: shortly afterwards, the Viśvāmitras perform a horse ceremony for Sudās, described in III.53.11: "Come forward Kuśika-s, and be attentive; let loose Sudās' horses to win him riches. East, west, and north, let the king slay the foeman, then at earth's choicest place [vara ā pṛthivyā = Kurukṣetra] perform his worship" (GRIFFITH).
While some expansion took place towards the east as well (Kīkaṭa in III.53.14), the main thrust of the expansion is clearly towards the west and northwest: the first major battle in this long drawn out western war is the dāśarājña on the Paruṣṇī, and the final one in Central Afghanistan beyond the Sarayu.
While Sudās was still the leader of the Bharatas in the battle on the Paruṣṇī, the battle beyond the Sarayu appears to have taken place under the leadership of his remote descendant Sahadeva in the Middle Period of the Rigveda.
Sahadeva's son (referred to by his priest Vāmadeva in IV.15.7-10), who also appears to have been a participant in the above battle beyond the Sarayu, may have been named Soma-ka in commemoration of earlier conquests of the Soma-growing areas of Central Afghanistan by his father Sahadeva.
The evidence in the Rigveda thus clearly shows that the Soma plant and rituals were initially brought to the Vedic Aryans from the Soma-growing areas of the northwest by the Bhṛgu, priests of the Anus (the proto-Iranians) from those areas, and the Vedic Aryans themselves became acquainted with the actual Soma-growing areas only in the period of the New Books after they expanded into those areas.
E. The Evidence of Honey:
Honey occupies a very important place in the Rigveda, and the word has cognates in every language, showing it was a central part of PIE culture and religion in any assumed Homeland. According to many scholars, honey and beekeeping developed in Egypt and the Mediterranean area and spread as far east as Iran. Therefore, the important position of honey in the reconstructed PIE culture shows that the PIEs lived somewhere near this beekeeping region, or passed through this area in prehistoric times. Parpola, for example, tells us (quoting another scholar Hadjú) that the honey bee "was unknown in Asia until very recent times, with the exception of Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and China [….] On the other hand, the bee is found west of the Urals in eastern Europe" (PARPOLA 2005:112). He further informs us: "Apis mellifera is native to the region comprising Africa, Arabia and the Near East up to Iran, and Europe up to the Urals in the east and to southern Sweden and Estonia in the north; its spread further north was limited by arctic cold, while its spread to the east was limited by mountains, deserts and other barriers. Another important limiting factor was that the cool, temperate deciduous forests of Europe extend only as far east as the Urals and do not grow in Siberia (see later). The distribution of Apis mellifera was confined to this area until c. AD 1600, when it started being transported to other regions" (PARPOLA 2005:112).
Gamkrelidze, likewise, tells us: "there can be no doubt that beekeeping and the word for 'bee' are Proto-Indo-European, in view of the word for 'honey' in Indo-European, the developed beekeeping economy among the Indo-Europeans, and the religious significance of the bee in all the ancient Indo-European traditions" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:516-517), and traces this to the Mediterranean area: "It is in the Mediterranean area that the transition from primitive beekeeping to more evolved types first takes place. Here we find the second stage, sylvestrian beekeeping, where bees are kept in the forest, in specially carved hollows in trees or in hollow logs set up in forest apiaries; we also find the third stage, domestic apiculture, where domestic bees are kept in manufactured hives near the homeland" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:522). Finally, he tells us about the word for "honey": "The word entered East Asia together with honey and beekeeping, brought in by Indo-European tribes who migrated eastwards" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:524).
However, here are the actual facts and evidence:
1. The Wikipedia entry on "Honey Bee" tells us: "Honey bees appear to have their centre of origin in South and Southeast Asia (including the Phillipines), as all the extant species except Apis mellifera are native to that region. Notably, living representatives of the earliest lineages to diverge (Apis florea and Apis andreniformes) have their center of origin there".
The scholars discussing the evidence tell us about the geographical range of the western bee, Apis mellifera, about "the transition from primitive beekeeping to more evolved types" involving this species in Egypt and the Mediterranean area, and about the importance of honey in the PIE branches, and conclude that the different branches of PIEs took these "evolved types" of beekeeping from the Mediterranean to their historical areas. However:
a. There is absolutely no evidence that the honey central to early PIE culture, or Vedic culture, was the honey from Apis mellifera. After telling us all about the history of Mediterranean beekeeping, Parpola discreetly tells us: "Another species of cavity-nesting honey bee, Apis cerana, is native to Asia east and south of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Korea and Japan" (PARPOLA 2005:123). The largest honey bees are the Species of Apis dorsata found in India and further east.
b. These eastern honey bees have been a source of honey in India from ancient times, and honey gathering is an ancient traditional occupation even in the remotest tribal and hill areas in the interior of the country: ancient Mesolithic rock paintings dated 8000-6000 BCE in Bhimbetka and Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh depict honey gathering: "The collection of honey is depicted in three paintings at Pachmarhi and one at Bhimbetka. A painting in the Jambudwip shelter at Pachmarhi shows a man driving out bees and a woman approaching the beehive with a pot. Both are standing on ladders. In a second Pachmarhi painting at Imlikhoh shelter a woman is driving away the bees. In a third painting at Sonbhadra shelter two men climbing a scaffold are surrounded by bees. The painting at Bhimbetka shows a man touching a beehive with a round-ended stick. The man holds a basket on his back and appears to be suspended by a rope. There are three men below him, including one standing on the shoulders of another man" (MATHPAL 1985:182). These rock paintings represent the oldest representation of honey gathering in the whole of Asia, and are only comparable to similar rock paintings of similar age in Spain and Australia.
2. The linguistic evidence in fact disproves any connection of the PIE honey culture (as distinct from the honey culture of certain specific historical IE branches, as we will see) with the domestic apiculture developed in Egypt and the Mediterranean area:
a. While there is a common PIE word for "honey", there is no common PIE word for "bee", "bee-hive", "beeswax" and "beekeeping/apiculture", all of which would have been expected in a culture which practiced evolved domestic apiculture.
This is also the case regarding the evidence from the Rigveda, which is the oldest IE language record in existence: honey (madhu-, sāragha-) is important right from the Oldest Books of the Rigveda, the Old Books pre-date the New Books, and the culture of the New Books represents a period centuries older than the period of the first appearance of the Mitanni Indo-Aryans (as well as the Hittites) in West Asia in the first half of the second millennium BCE. But the Rigveda has only a few references to bees (called makṣ/makṣikā), and none whatsoever to bee-hives, beeswax or anything which would indicate the existence of any evolved forms of beekeeping/apiculture.
b. The actual linguistic evidence of the PIE words for honey is even more devastating: the common reconstructed PIE word for "honey" is *medhu-. It is found with two distinct meanings: firstly "honey", and secondly "mead/wine/any intoxicating drink" from the primitive practice of making mead from honey. It is found with both the meanings in five branches: Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Tocharian, Slavic and Baltic. It is found with only the secondary meaning "mead/wine/any intoxicating drink" in three branches: Greek, Germanic and Celtic, where a new PIE formation *melith- has replaced the primary word *medhu- as the word for "honey". In the remaining four branches, Anatolian (Hittite), Armenian, Albanian and Italic, the word *medhu- is completely lost, but even here, *melith- only signifies "honey", and there are new words for "mead/wine/any intoxicating drink".
This evidence is startling: the branches having only the word *medhu- include the Early branch Tocharian, the European branches Slavic and Baltic, and the Last branches Indo-Aryan and Iranian. The branches having only the word *melith- include the Early branch Anatolian, the European branch Italic, and the Last branches Armenian and Albanian. In short, this isogloss cuts across all the different chronological groups of IE branches. So what is the common factor?
The answer is very clear: it is an east-west division:
i) All the five more eastern branches from each of the three groups (Early, European and Last), i.e. Tocharian, Slavic, Baltic, Indo-Aryan and Iranian, have retained the original word *medhu- and have not acquired the new word *melith-.
ii) All the other seven more western branches from the three groups have acquired the new word *melith-: of these, of the five of them closest to the Egyptian and Mediterranean world, four (Anatolian, Armenian, Albanian and Italic) have completely lost the original word *medhu-, and one (the more archaic Greek) has retained the word *medhu- for "mead/wine/any intoxicating drink" while replacing it with the new word *melith- for "honey" due to the strong influence of the beekeeping culture of the Egyptian-Mediterranean region.
iii) Likewise, the remaining two western branches (Germanic and Celtic), at a little distance from the direct influence of Egypt and the Mediterranean, have also retained the word *medhu- for "mead/wine/any intoxicating drink" while replacing it with the new word *melith- for "honey".
iv) At the same time, all the five European branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic) have borrowed the word for "bee" (reconstructed *bhe(i)-) from the Egyptian word bj.t. Three branches further south-east, Greek, Armenian and Albanian, derive words for "bee" from the borrowed word *melith-, honey. "The Hittite word for 'bee' is unknown; texts use the Sumerogram NIM.LÀL." (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:516, fn.81), so the Hittite word could have been something similar. So only the three eastern branches (Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Tocharian) definitely do not derive their words for "bee" directly from the Egyptian form or from the word *melith-.
[Note 1: Incidentally, as in the case of the Indo-Iranian words in Finno-Ugric languages, the academic scholars apply a kind of brazen anti-logic in their pronouncements. Gamkrelidze tells us that the PIE word *medhu- is derived from the Semitic word *mVtķ "sweet": "In contrast to the native Indo-European word for bee honey, *meli(th)-, the Semitic loan *medhu- began to be used in Indo-European to mean 'sweet intoxicating beverage'" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:771). As we saw:
1. The word that he claims to be a "Semitic loan" is found for both "honey" and "intoxicating beverage" in the five branches (Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Tocharian, Baltic and Slavic) whose early historical habitats were completely out of the area of Semitic influence, while out of the five branches (Italic, Albanian, Greek, Armenian and Hittite) totally within the area of Semitic influence, this "Semitic loan" is completely missing in four of them, and is found (for "intoxicating beverage") in only one (Greek). Simultaneously, the word he claims to be a "native Indo-European word" is totally missing in the first group of five branches which were out of the area of Semitic influence, but found only in the other seven branches which were within the sphere of Semitic influence!
2. Further, in the history of bees, honey and mankind, the early primitive stages of honey gathering had an equal place for honey and mead (the intoxicating beverage prepared from honey). It was only with the evolution of domestic apiculture on a major scale that honey became an important commercial product and the manufacture of mead eventually became insignificant or even non-existent. The word *medhu-, meaning both "honey" and "mead", found in the five branches historically spoken in areas far from the influence of the Semitic areas of domestic apiculture, clearly represents the "native Indo-European word". The word *melith-, meaning only "honey", found only in that sense in the seven branches historically influenced by Semitic apiculture, in four of which (spoken right in Semitic territory or in its immediate border areas) any cognate word for "intoxicating beverage" has been completely lost, clearly represents the "Semitic loan". That "honey + mead" was the original position, and "only honey" the new position induced by Semitic influence, is proved by the fact that the westernmost Iranian language Ossetic, deep in the sphere of influence of Semitic domestic apiculture, retained the word *medhu- and did not acquire the word *melith-, but, nevertheless: "The Ossetic reflex of *medhu-, Oss.myd, means only 'honey'" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:520,fn 84).]
[Note 2: The PIE word *medhu- was also historically borrowed into ancient Chinese (from Tocharian) and into the Finno-Ugric languages (from Indo-Aryan migrants)]
That the western branches alone reflect the influence of this Egyptian-Mediterranean-West Asian beekeeping culture proves one very fundamental principle in IE migrations: migrations of branches took place from the east to the west, hence important words from the central areas (the West-Asia-Anatolia-Caucasus region) and languages (Semitic, Caucasian) are found in the western branches (which passed across the longitudes of these central areas or settled down there), but are missing in the branches to the east of the central areas (since these eastern branches, being in the east from the beginning, never crossed these central areas during their formative stages).
We will now immediately see two more instances of the validity of this principle:
F. The Evidence of Wine and Aurochs:
Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, in their bid to claim proto-Semitic influence on PIE in its early stages, list seventeen potential "loanwords" from Semitic. Mallory and Adams (pointing out the limited dialectal distribution of many of these words in the IE branches) reduce the list to four: "The more significant Semitic-Indo-European comparisons are Proto-Indo-European *medhu- 'honey': Proto-Semitic *mVtk- 'sweet'; Proto-Indo-European *tauros 'wild bull, aurochs': Proto-Semitic *ṯawr 'bull, ox'; Proto-Indo-European *septṁ 'seven': Proto-Semitic *sab'atum; and Proto-Indo-European *wóinom 'wine: Proto-Semitic *wayn 'wine'" (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:82-83).
Two of these comparisons clearly represent coincidental similarities. We have already dealt with the comparison between "Proto-Indo-European *medhu- 'honey': Proto-Semitic *mVtk- 'sweet'". The second one, "Proto-Indo-European *septṁ 'seven': Proto-Semitic *sab'atum" is equally untenable: that either of the two families should have borrowed the word for "seven" from the other is incomprehensible. Especially when those advocating this "comparison" would reject a much more credible comparison of the very first four numerals in Proto-Indo-European (*sem, *dwōu/*dwai, *tri and *qwetwor: note Tocharian sas/se 'one', Romanian patru 'four', Welsh pedwar 'four') and Proto-Austronesian (*esa, *dewha, *telu and *pati/*epati: note Malay sa/satu 'one', dua 'two', tiga 'three', epat 'four') as far-fetched or coincidental.
But the other two words certainly offer very fair instances of Semitic words borrowed into Indo-European languages. But into Proto-Indo-European in its formative stages in its Homeland? Let us see the facts of the case:
The Proto-Semitic word *ṯawr 'bull, ox' is represented in all the major Semitic languages: Akkadian šȗru, Ugaritic ṯr, Hebrew šȏr, Syriac tawrā, Arabic ṯawr, South Arabic ṯwr.
In Indo-European, it is found in Italic (Latin taurus), Celtic (Gaulish tarvos, Irish tarb), Germanic (Old Icelandic ƥjórr), Baltic (Lithuanian taũras), Slavic (Old Slavic turǔ), Albanian (tarok) and Greek (taȗros). The Hittite word for "bull" is not known since it is represented by a Sumerian ideogram whose Hittite reading is not known (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:483), and Armenian has borrowed a Caucasian form (tsul) for bull. In short, here we again have a distinct case of the Semitic influence being found only in the western branches: this Semitic loan for "bull" or "aurochs" is completely missing in the three eastern branches Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Tocharian. Again it illustrates the phenomenon of migration of IE branches from east to west.
The evidence of the words for "wine" is even more devastating for the AIT. The word is either a "Semitic loan" word, or "an ancient Near Eastern migratory word" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:559) found in both in the Semitic (*wayn-, Akkadian īnu, Ugaritic yn, Hebrew yayin, Hamitic Egyptian wnš) and South Caucasian (*ɣwino- "wine", Georgian ɣwino, Mingrelian ɣwin-, Laz ɣ(w)in, Svan ɣwinel, and *wenaq- "vineyard", Old Georgian venaq, Mingrelian-Laz binex- Svan wenäq) languages. Gamkrelidze also refers to "the considerable development of viticulture and wine-making in the Transcaucasus" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:560 fn 64), even as he suggests that the PIEs could also have originally developed this word in the West Asian-Transcaucasus region.
Whether an original Semitic or Caucasian word, or an original development in PIE, the geography of the word is undoubtedly the West Asian-Transcaucasus region. And again:
1. The word is completely missing in the three eastern branches Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Tocharian, but is found in all the other nine western branches.
2. Furthermore, the word for wine is found in the nine western branches in three grades (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:557-558): *wi(o)no- with zero grade vocalism, *weino- with e-grade vocalism, and *woino- with o-grade vocalism, exactly corresponding to the three chronological groups of IE branches:
a. The Early branch which migrated to the west, Anatolian, has words derived from *wi(o)no-: Hittite wiyana-, Luwian winiyant, Hieratic Luwian wiana-.
b. The five European branches have words derived from *weino-: Italic (Latin uīnum), Celtic (Old Irish fīn, Welsh gwin), Germanic (German wine, English wine), Baltic (Lithuanian vynas, Latvian vĩns), Slavic (Russian vino, Polish wino).
c. The three Last branches which migrated to the west have words derived from *woino-: Greek (Mycenaean Greek wo-no, Homeric Greek oȋnos), Albanian (vēnë), Armenian (gini).
Different forms of the word were adopted into the three different groups of IE branches as they migrated westwards, while the branches which remained in the east remained unaffected.
G. The Evidence of the Horse:
And now we come to that animal which most advocates of the Steppe Homeland (with no justification whatsoever, as we will see) think is the clinching weapon in their arsenal: the horse. There have been so many absurd allegations, claims and theories from both sides on this issue that we must first note what is actually factual in the matter. There are basically only three indisputable facts:
1. The horse is known to the PIEs, and cognate words are found for the horse in almost every single branch: PIE *ekhwos, Anatolian (Hieratic Luwian) á-sù-wa, Tocharian yuk/yakwe, Indo-Aryan (Vedic) áśva, Iranian (Avestan) aspa-, Armenian ēš "donkey", Greek (Mycenaean) iqo, (Homeric) híppos, Germanic (Old English) eoh, (Gothic) aihwa, Celtic (Old Irish) ech, (Gaulish) epo-, Italic (Latin) equus and Baltic (Lithuanian) ešva. Ironically, it is missing only in the one branch actually spoken in the Steppes, Slavic, and the Albanian word has also not survived in the records. But this proves that the horse was very well known to the PIEs in their Homeland, before 3000 BCE, when different branches started dispersing from that Homeland.
2. The horse was known to the Vedic people throughout the period of composition of the text.
3. The horse is not native to India, but is native to a large area spread out over northern Eurasia from the Steppes of South Russia in the west to Central Asia in the east.
The first two facts are not generally disputed, but the third one is disputed by opponents of the AIT, some of whom suggest that the horse referred to in the Rigveda is not the northern horse of the Steppes, but an indigenous species: notably the Siwalik horse equus siwalensis, a sturdy species of horse indigenous to a large part of northern India in ancient times, but believed to have become extinct around 8000 BCE or so. The fact that the Rigveda I.162.18 and the Shatapatha Brahmana 13.5 describe the horse being sacrificed as having 34 ribs (when the true horse has 36 ribs, but some varieties of the Siwalik horse are supposed to have had 34 ribs) is taken as added evidence of the presence of the Siwalik horse in India in Vedic times, the lack of fossil evidence being explained as irrelevant since (as we will see) fossil evidence of the true horse is also absent in India during later periods when, and in areas where, it is known that they were abundantly present. Further, it is possible that the word *ekhwos originally referred to any equid species in general (including the onager or hemione, one of the fastest mammals known, a wild ass abundantly present in ancient north India and still native to arid regions in Kutch and Ladakh), as indeed the word "equid" as used today does. Also, sometimes in the Rigveda, the word áśva is sometimes used for mounted animals other than the horse which are used as vehicles for riding: in IV.37.4, the phrase "fat áśva" may be a reference to an elephant, and, in many verses, the phrase "spotted áśva", as vehicles of the Maruts are accepted as definitely referring to spotted deer: I.87.4; 89.7; 186.8; II.34.4; III.26.6; V.42.15; VII.40.3 (although, of course, this could also be a poetical transfer of a word originally meaning "horse" to the spotted deer). However, we will leave aside all these interesting arguments (although the references to 34 ribs certainly warrant an explanation) and only concentrate on the evidence as pertaining to the true horse "of the Steppes" which was not native to India.
From the three facts regarding horses noted above, the supporters of the AIT draw the following conclusion: the horse was not present or known in India before the arrival of the "Aryans", since no bones of the horse have been found in the Harappan sites and there is no representation of the horse in the Harappan seals. Hence the Harappan civilization must be "non-Aryan", and it was the "Aryans" who brought the horse into India from their Homeland in the Steppes of South Russia. Hock, for example, puts it as follows: “While disagreeing on minor details, those familiar with Indo-European linguistic paleontology and with the archeological evidence in Eurasia agree that the use of the domesticated horse spread out of the steppes of the Ukraine, and so did the horse-drawn two-wheeled battle chariot, as well as the great significance of the horse in early Indo-European culture and religion. Indo-Europeanists and specialists in general Eurasian archeology are therefore convinced, too, that these features spread into India along with the migration of Indo-Aryan speakers.” (HOCK 1999a:12-13).
This conclusion represents one of the most fraudulent propositions in the whole "Aryan" debate:
1. The horse was not present in India, but it was present in Central Asia to the north of Afghanistan since the earliest times. As of date, the evidence of the first fully domesticated horses in the world, more than a thousand years earlier than formerly believed, comes from the Botai culture in Kazakhstan: by 3500 BCE, the Botai culture was a fully horse breeding culture where horses were bred, milked, and ridden (examination of the teeth and jaw-bones found on the sites have confirmed that bridles and bits were being used).
But, even closer to home, strong evidence has been found that horses were domesticated, or at least tamed and kept amidst human settlements at even earlier dates, in Uzbekistan to the north of Afghanistan: see LASOTA-MOSKALEWSKA 2009 (A Problem of the Earliest Horse Domestication. Data from the Neolithic Camp Ayakagytma 'The Site', Uzbekistan, Central Asia. pp. 14-21 in Archaeologia Baltica Volume 11, Klaipeda University, Lithuania, 2009). The team of archaeologists and archaeozoologists who scientifically examined the material on the site, some 130 km. north of Bukhara city, point out that there are "two clearly separated phases: an Early Neolithic, 14c dated to ca 8000-7400 cal. BP, and Middle Neolith one, 14c dated to ca 6000-5000 cal. BP" (with a 1500 year gap caused by flooding at the site), and there is "a rich collection of animal remains, connected directly with the Neolithic settlements. Among the bone and tooth fragments, the horse remains played a very important role. Already in the earliest horizons a share of the pieces identified as belonging to the Equidae family reached 30.0-40.0 % (Table 1). In comparison with other Eurasian Neolithic sites, such numbers are rather unique" (LASOTA-MOSKALEWSKA 2009:14-15). On the basis of various factors: "the extremely high share of the Equidae remains, sometimes exceeding 40% [….] the height in withers [….] the width of the sole surfaces measured on the basis of the hoof prints [which] indicate that the animal who left them was much larger than an average wild individual, but fit well to the size of horses domesticated for a long time [….] [and] the presence [along with the horse remains on the site] of the other fully domesticated species of mammals: cattle, sheep/goat,pig and dog [….] leads us to the more than probable conclusion that the horse was domesticated since the very beginnings of the Central Asian lowlands Neolithic, which is dated to a turn of the ninth and eighth millennium cal. BP. At the same time, it would be the earliest date for horse domestication that we have today" (LASOTA-MOSKALEWSKA 2009:19-20).
So, the horse did not come with invading "Aryans" who left the Steppes of South Russia around 3000 BCE. Horses, whether fully domesticated, or in various stages of semi-domestication, were already abundantly present in human settlements to the immediate north of Afghanistan as far back as 6000 BCE.
Further, the Indian Homeland was not confined to the interiors of India. The recorded evidence shows us that by pre-Rigvedic times, the Indo-European groups, the Druhyu and Anu, had already spread out from the interior of India into the areas of Central Asia to the north of Afghanistan. The period of the Old Books of the Rigveda goes back beyond 3000 BCE, and by that time, Central Asia was already home to the proto-Anatolians, the proto-Tocharians and the vanguard of the proto-European Druhyu groups. The horse-domesticating, or at least horse-rich, areas of Central Asia were already part of the heartland of the Druhyu who formed the northern continuum of the expanded Druhyu-Anu-Pūru Homeland in 3000 BCE. Therefore, the development or adoption of a common PIE name for the horse, one of the most magnificent animals of the time (whether in the wild or in domestication) was natural and inevitable.
2. The claim that horses were unknown since horse bones are not found in the Harappan sites is also a blatant lie. Horse bones have been found in Indus sites and further in the interior of India in periods prior to the alleged "Aryan invasion of India" after 1500 BCE. As Bryant points out: "The report claiming the earliest date for the domesticated horse in India, ca. 4500 B.C.E., comes from a find from Bagor, Rajasthan, at the base of the Aravalli Hills (Ghosh 1989a, 4). In Rana Ghundai, Baluchistan, excavated by E. J. Ross, equine teeth were reported from a pre-Harappan level (Guha and Chatterjee 1946, 315–316). Interestingly, equine bones have been reported from Mahagara, near Allahabad, where six sample absolute carbon 14 tests have given dates ranging from 2265 B.C.E. to 1480 B.C.E. (Sharma et al. 1980, 220–221). Even more significantly, horse bones from the Neolithic site Hallur in Karnataka (1500–1300 B.C.E.) have also been identified by the archaeozoologist K. R. Alur (1971, 123). [.......] In the Indus Valley and its environs, Sewell and Guha, as early as 1931, had reported the existence of the true horse, Equus caballus Linn from Mohenjo-Daro itself, and Bholanath (1963) reported the same from Harappa, Ropar, and Lothal. Even Mortimer Wheeler identified a horse figurine and accepted that “it is likely enough that camel, horse and ass were in fact all a familiar feature of the Indus caravan” (92). Another early evidence of the horse in the Indus Valley was reported by Mackay, in 1938, who identified a clay model of the animal at Mohenjo-Daro. Piggott (1952, 126, 130) reports a horse figurine from Periano Ghundai in the Indus Valley, dated somewhere between Early Dynastic and Akkadian times. Bones from Harappa, previously thought to have belonged to the domestic ass, have been reportedly critically re-examined and attributed to a small horse (Sharma 1992–93, 31). Additional evidence of the horse in the form of bones, teeth, or figurines has been reported in other Indus sites such as Kalibangan (Sharma 1992–93, 31); Lothal (Rao 1979), Surkotada (Sharma 1974), and Malvan (Sharma 1992–93, 32). Other later sites include the Swat Valley (Stacul 1969); Gumla (Sankalia 1974, 330); Pirak (Jarrige 1985); Kuntasi (Sharma 1995, 24); and Rangpur (Rao 1979, 219)." (BRYANT 2001:169-170). Also, horse bones (Dhawalikar), as well as a terracotta figurine of a horse, have been found at Kayatha in the Chambal Valley in Madhya Pradesh in all the chalcolithic levels, dated 2450-2000 BCE. Also, there is a very distinctive horse figure in a "chess set" found at Lothal. Further, one of the finds (the one in Surkotada in the Kutch region of Gujarat) has been certified by the topmost horse specialist archaeologist of the time: "the material involved had been excavated in Surkotada in 1974 by J. P Joshi, and A. K. Sharma subsequently reported the identification of horse bones from all levels of this site (circa 2100–1700 B.C.E.). In addition to bones from Equus asinus and Equus hemionus khur, Sharma reported the existence of incisor and molar teeth, various phalanges, and other bones from Equus caballus Linn (Sharma 1974, 76) [....] Twenty years later, at the podium during the inauguration of the Indian Archaeological Society's annual meeting, it was announced that Sandor Bökönyi, a Hungarian archaeologist and one of the world's leading horse specialists, who happened to be passing through Delhi after a conference, had verified that the bones were, indeed, of the domesticated Equus caballus: “The occurrence of true horse (Equus caballus L.) was evidenced by the enamel pattern of the upper and lower cheek and teeth and by the size and form of incisors and phalanges. Since no wild horses lived in India in post-pleistocene times, the domestic nature of the Surkotada horses is undoubtful" (reproduced in Gupta 1993b, 162; and Lal 1997, 285)" (BRYANT 2001:170-171).
The AIT scholars resort to any one of two tactics: complete silence, or flat denial. Hock tries a middle path, and admits: "The question whether the archeological evidence supports the view that domesticated horses were a feature of the Harappan civilization is still being debated; see the summary of arguments in CHENGAPPA, 1998", but continues on to: "Significantly, however, to my knowledge no archeological evidence from Harappan India has been presented that would indicate anything comparable to the cultural and religious significance of the horse or the important role of the horse-drawn two-wheeled chariot which can be observed in the traditions of the early Indo-European peoples, including the Vedic āryas. On balance, then, the ‘equine’ evidence at this point is more compatible with migration into India than with outward migration” (HOCK 1999a:12-13).
But, according to the AIT (and Hock himself), the horse and the "horse-drawn two-wheeled battle chariot" came from the Steppes of Ukraine and South Russia with the "Aryans", who settled down for a long period in the BMAC area in Central Asia for a period of time where they developed the common "Indo-Iranian" culture and borrowed local "BMAC" words, and then moved into the Punjab after 1500 BCE where they composed the Rigveda by 1200 BCE, and then moved further eastwards into the Gangetic plains where they composed the Yajurveda, and then later spread out all over northern India. Is any of this scenario supported by "archeological evidence [....] that would indicate anything comparable to the cultural and religious significance of the horse or the important role of the horse-drawn two-wheeled chariot which can be observed in the traditions of the early Indo-European peoples, including the Vedic āryas"?
a. No archaeologist has yet been able to produce any archaeological trail of horse bones (or chariots) from the Ukraine to the BMAC, from the BMAC to the Punjab, and from the Punjab to the other eastern parts of northern India, in sequence with the accepted areas and time-frames of the AIT.
b. Bryant notes: "Another observation that needs to be pointed out is that a number of scholars are prepared to consider that the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), which will be discussed in the next chapter, is an Indo-Aryan culture. The horse has been evidenced in this culture in the form of representations in grave goods. However, no horse bones have been found despite the availability of a large number of animal bones. This again underscores the point that lack of horse bones does not equal the absence of horse. Nor, at least in the opinion of those who subscribe to the Indo-Aryan identification of the BMAC, does this lack equal the absence of Indo-Aryans. Therefore, anyone prepared to associate the BMAC culture with the Indo-Aryans cannot then turn around and reject such an identification for the Indus Valley on the grounds of lack of horse bones in the latter" (BRYANT 2001:173-174). [The BMAC culture had horses, of course, and they were "Aryans": not "Aryans" on their way to India, but Anu and Druhyu who had earlier emigrated from India to the northwest].
c. Not a single specimen of the Vedic chariot (which Hock tells us was brought all the way from the Ukrainian Steppes by the "Aryans") has yet been discovered by any archaeologist anywhere in India in their time-frames and areas. The earliest stone carvings depicting the chariot are found from the Mauryan period, after 350 BCE.
d. In fact, the occurence of horse bones in the Punjab and Haryana from 1500 BCE till at least 500 BCE is almost nil. Any stray finds reported (for example a sole reported finding of horse bones in Bhagwanpura/Bhagpur in northeastern Haryana around 1000 BCE) certainly cannot "indicate anything comparable to the cultural and religious significance of the horse or the important role of the horse-drawn two-wheeled chariot which can be observed in the traditions of the early Indo-European peoples, including the Vedic āryas", and does not represent any notable change in the situation after 1200 BCE. Further, note that the earliest horse bone findings accepted by the AIT naysayers are in the southern (Kutch) and eastern (northeast Haryana) corners of northwest India: any "Aryan horse bones" in the stretch from the BMAC area to the Greater Punjab area seem to be invisible.
Note also what the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Vol. 9, p.348, has to say in the course of a description of Indian archaeology: “Curiously, however, it is precisely in those regions that used iron, and were associated with the horse, that the Indo-Aryan languages did not spread. Even today, these are the regions of the Dravidian language group”.
Witzel, for example, even while claiming that "linguistic and textual studies confirm the presence of an outside, Indo-Aryan speaking element, whose language and spiritual culture has definitely been introduced, along with the horse and the spoked wheel chariot, via the BMAC area into northwestern South Asia", immediately admits that: "However, much of present-day Archaeology denies that. [....] So far, clear archaeological evidence has just not been found” (WITZEL 2000a:§15).
Therefore, unless one is willing to accept that no such people as the "Vedic Aryans", and no such things as the Vedic chariot and Vedic horse, ever existed, it must be accepted that the whole set of arguments concerning (the alleged absence of) horse bones in the Harappan civilization are fake, fraudulent and irrelevant. Insisting on the "Aryan" presence in the BMAC and the Punjab areas in the concerned periods in spite of the absence of horse bones, and denying their presence in the Harappan areas and period on the grounds of (the alleged) absence of horse bones amounts to extreme special pleading.
3. The Linguistic evidence clearly completely disproves any idea that the horse was unknown to the non-Indo-European language speaking people of India before "Aryans" brought it all the way from the Ukrainian Steppes and introduced it to them. The evidence shows that the horse, whether as a magnificent exotic wild beast from beyond the northwest or as an already domesticated animal, was individually and separately known to the "non-Aryans" of India: as I pointed out in my first book: “Sanskrit has many words for the horse: aśva, arvant or arvvā, haya, vājin, sapti, turanga, kilvī, pracelaka and ghoṭaka, to name the most prominent among them. And yet, the Dravidian languages show no trace of having borrowed any of these words; they have their own words kudirai, parī and mā […] The Santali and Mundari languages, however, have preserved the original Kol-Munda word sādom. Not only has no linguist ever claimed that the Dravidian and Kol-Munda words for ‘horse’ are borrowed from ‘Aryan’ words, but in fact some linguists have even sought to establish that Sanskrit ghoṭaka, from which all modern Indo-Aryan words are derived, is borrowed from the Kol-Munda languages!” (TALAGERI 1993:160).
The above point is “echoed” by none other than Michael Witzel: “Dravidian and Indo-Aryan (IE) words for domesticated animals are quite different from each other, for example, Drav. DEDR 500 Tam. ivuḷi, Brah. (h)ullī, 1711 Tam. kutirai, etc. DEDR 3963 Tam. pari ‘runner’, 4870 Tam. mā ‘animal’ (horse, elephant), Tel. māvu ‘horse’, cf. Nahali māv ‘horse’ […]; they have no relation with IA aśva ‘horse’ and various words for ‘runner’ (arvant, vājin, etc.).” Further, he adds: “Obviously, use of horses is not linked to speakers of an IA language” (WITZEL 2000a: §15). So, clearly, horses were not introduced to the "non-Aryans" of India by "invading Aryans".
In an article in an Indian newspaper, as part of a political media campaign in 2002, Witzel, however, alleges that the words in the "non-Aryan" languages of India are borrowed from different West Asian, and even Chinese, sources. He naturally does not explain the mode by which those words landed into these "non-Aryan" Indian languages and became so central to them. But, in any case, it still means that the horse was known to the non-Indo-European language speakers of India by means other than through an introduction by "Aryans".
4. The literary evidence in the Rigveda clearly shows that the horse was a well-known and respected animal right from the period of the Old Books. Naturally, this exotic, rare and much-prized animal from the (then) areas of the Anu and Druhyu in Central Asia could not possibly have been unknown to the Vedic Aryans in 3000 BCE: but the horse clearly became commoner and more important only with the invention of the spoked wheels in the period of the New Books:
a. The word ara- for "spoke" is found only in the New Books (5,1,8,9,10):
I.32.15; 141.9; 164.11,12,13,48.
b. Likewise, names with aśva and ratha appear only within the New Books:
V.27.4,5,6; 33.9; 36.6; 52.1; 61.5,10; 79.2.
I.36.18; 100.16,17; 112.10,15; 116.6,16; 117.17,18; 122.7,13.
VIII.1.30,32; 9.10; 23.16,23,24; 24.14,22,23,28,29; 26.9,11; 35.19,20,21; 36.7; 37.7; 38.8; 46.21,33; 68.15,16.
X.49.6; 60.5; 61.21.
c. And also in the names of composers of only the following hymns:
V.47, 52-61, 81-82.
VIII.14-15, 23-26, 35-38, 46.
The Bhṛgu ṛṣi, Dadhyañc, who introduced the secrets of the northwest to Indra, is supposed to have the head of a horse (I.116.12; 117.22; 119.9), and the Bhṛgu (IV.16.20) and the Anu (V.31.4) are credited with inventing the chariot for Indra. This may show the direction of movement of innovations concerning the horse and the chariot (but obviously it does not show the movements of the Vedic Aryans themselves).
The horse, though not native to India, was definitely known to the PIEs in their homeland, but this fits in perfectly well with the Indian Homeland scenario recorded in the Indian texts.
H. The Evidence of the Cow:
Finally, we come to that animal which is most central to the Indo-European ethos: much more central than the horse: i.e. the cow. In spite of all the rhetoric about "Aryans" and their horses, it is the cow which is central to the identity of the "pastoral Aryans", but, unlike the other flora and fauna discussed so far, the cow rarely seems to form a central point of discussion in faunal debates on the location of the Homeland (by advocates of the South Russian Steppes theory), for obvious reasons, as we will see. The cow/bull/cattle is probably the only animal (other than the dog, domesticated from prehistoric times) which has a form of the reconstructed PIE name in every single branch: PIE *gwṓus, Indo-Aryan Skt. gáuh, Iranian Av. gāuš, Armenian kov, Greek boûs, Albanian ka, Anatolian Hier.Luw. wawa-, Tocharian keu, Italic Latin bōs, Celtic Old Irish bō, Germanic German kuh, Baltic Lithuanian guovs, Slavic OCS govedo.
Gamkrelidze, an advocate of the Anatolian Homeland theory, points out that "the economic function of the cow as a dairy animal can be reconstructed for a period of great antiquity" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:485), and further that "The presence of cows and bulls among domestic animals goes back to an ancient period well before the domestication of the wild horse. Evidence of domesticated bulls and cows is found by the beginning of the Neolithic" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:489). But then follows some deliberate misdirection to fit in with his Anatolian Homeland theory. Gamkrelidze tells us: "There are two major centers of cattle domestication in Eurasia: a European zone where the ancestral wild cow was the huge European bison (Bos Primigenius Boj.), and a western Asian area where the ancestral wild cows were distinct species [....] the western Asian area is considered the center of first domestication of wild cattle" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:489-490). He repeatedly proceeds to refer to these as "the two centers of domestication" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:490). Then, he adds the clincher: "Indo-European dialects preserve words from a common base *thauro-, - originally 'wild cow, wild bull' in Indo-European - a Near Eastern migratory term, which shows that the speakers of these dialects were acquainted with the wild cows found specifically in the Near East" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:491).
The above contains many glaring misrepresentations, which will become clear when we see the actual facts, all of which point unanimously to an Indian Homeland:
1. There are indeed "two centers of domestication" of the cow (i.e. of domestic cattle), and they are not the subject of any controversy. The wikipedia article on "Cattle" unambiguously tells us: "Archeozoological and genetic data indicate that cattle were first domesticated from wild aurochs (Bos primigenius) approximately 10,500 years ago. There were two major areas of domestication: one in the area that is now Turkey, giving rise to the taurine line, and a second in the area that is now Pakistan, resulting in the indicine line [….] European cattle are largely descended from the taurine lineage". All other academic sources regularly point out that "the Indus Valley Civilization" was one of the two centers of domestication of cattle. [So much for the glaring difference between the "urban Harappans" and "pastoral Aryans"].
2. The Rigveda is an extremely cow-centered text. Not only is the cow mentioned many more times than any other animal (including the horse), but the word go-/gau- in the Rigveda is replete with many naturalistic and mystic meanings (where it represents the rays of the sun, the earth, the stars, and many other more mystic things not within the scope of this article) showing it to be a central feature of the Rigvedic religion and socio-economic environment. But even more linguistically important is that the Sanskrit language contains every single common IE word associated with cows and cattle, except, significantly, the "Near Eastern migratory term" borrowed from Semitic referred to by Gamkrelidze (the implications of the absence of which, in the three eastern branches, definitely shows that "the speakers of these dialects were not acquainted with the wild cows found specifically in the Near East" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:491 paraphrased) as already discussed earlier).
Mallory tells us there are three different words for "cow" in the IE languages, *gwṓus, *h1eĝh, and *wokéha-. The first, as we saw, is found in all the twelve branches. As for the other words for cow, bull, cattle, they are found in Indo-Aryan + different other branches:
a. *h1eĝh "cow": Skt. ahī-, Armenian ezn, Celtic (Old Irish) ag.
b. *wokéha- "cow": Skt. vaśā-, Italic (Latin) vacca.
c. *phekhu- "livestock": Skt. paśu-, Iranian (Avestan) pasu-, Italic (Latin) pecū, Germanic (Old English) feoh, Baltic (Lithuanian) pēkus.
d. *uk(w)sēn "ox": Skt. ukṣan-, Iranian (Avestan) uxšan, Tocharian okso, Germanic (English) ox, Celtic (Old Irish) oss.
e. *wṛs-en "bull": Skt. vṛṣṇí-, Iranian (Avestan) varəšna-.
f. *usr- "cow/bull": Skt. usra/usrā, Germanic ūro (from ūrochso).
g. *domhoyos "young bull": Skt. damya-, Celtic (Old Irish) dam, Albanian dem, Greek damálēs.
This last is particularly significant. Gamkrelidze points out the following: "that speakers of Proto-Indo-European were among those who domesticated wild cattle is also shown by the presence in Indo-European of another term for 'bull', derived from the verb *t'emH- 'tame, subdue: bridle: force': OIr dam 'bull', Ved. damya- 'young bull to be tamed', Alb. dem 'young bull', (Mayrhofer 1963:II.35), Gr. damálēs, 'young bull to be tamed', damálē 'heifer'" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:491). The weight of the evidence, however, shows that this "taming" took place in the area of the Vedic people in the Indus-Sarasvati area, and not in West Asia as Gamkrelidze tries to suggest.
Further, the following two words also illustrate the developed role of dairying in the PIE world: a) Skt. goṣṭhá- and Celtiberian (an extinct Celtic language spoken in Spain) boustom, "cattle-shed"; and b) a common PIE word for "udder": Skt. ūdhar-, Greek oŭthar, Latin ūber, Germanic (English) udder. Again, Indo-Aryan is the common factor.
3. The Vedic Indo-Aryan and Iranian branches, with their earliest recorded history located in northwestern India, have preserved the original verb "to milk": Ved. duh-/dugh- and Iranian dox-. This verb is lost in all the other branches, but the fact that this is the original verb is proved by the occurrence of the root in a very basic family relationship name indicative of the centrality of the dairying culture in the PIE world: "The dialect words for 'daughter' are an important set that go back to this root: Skt. duhitár- 'daughter', Avest. dugədar, Arm. dustr, Gk. thugátēr [....] Engl. daughter, OPruss. duckti, Russ. doč', Toch B. tkácer" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:486, fn.41). The word has long been believed to signify "milkmaid", indicating that milking the cow was an important part of the duties of the daughter of the house in a typical PIE household. The Vedic Indo-Aryan branch also derives its basic word for "milk" from this root: dugdhá-.
Iranian, however, uses two other words: Avestan xšvīd- (modern Persian šīr) and Avestan paēman, (modern Persian pīnū, "sour milk"). Both these words have their counterparts in Vedic: kṣīr- and payas-, both also meaning "milk". The words have counterparts in other branches as well (Albanian hirrë "whey", Baltic Lithuanian svíestas "butter", píenas "milk"). Another Vedic word ghṛta "cream, butter, ghee" is found as gert "milk" in Celtic Irish. And Vedic dádhi (gen. dadhnás) "yogurt/curds, sour milk" is found as dadan "milk" in Baltic Old Prussian and djathë "cheese" in Albanian.
However, there is another very widespread word for the verb "to milk", found in eight branches: PIE *melk'-, Tocharian mālklune, Celtic Irish bligim, Italic (Latin) mulgeō, Germanic (English) to milk, Baltic (Lithuanian) mélžti, Slavic (Old Russian) mlĕsti, Greek amélgo, Albanian mjel. Four of them also derive the noun "milk" from this root: Tocharian malke/malkwer, Celtic Old Irish melg/mlicht/blicht, Germanic (English) milk, Slavic (OCS) mlĕko, (Russian) moloko. From this circumstance, Gamkrelidze treats this root as the original word for "milk", and writes: "It is noteworthy that Indo-Iranian replaces both the original verb 'milk', *melk'-, and the original noun 'milk'. This may have had to do with specific details of the evolution of dairying among the cattle-breeding Indo-Iranian tribes after their separation from the other Indo-European tribes" (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:486). But the idea that this was the original word is disproved by the fact that:
a) It is totally missing in the Indo-Aryan (apart from the Iranian) branch which retains every major common word associated with cattle-breeding and dairying, and which is situated in the heart of one of the two primary centres of cattle-domestication in the world (as Gamkrelidze puts it: "In Sanskrit and Old Iranian we already find a highly developed terminology associated with the dairying function of cows" GAMKRELIDZE 1995:485, fn.35), and it would be strange that they should completely have forgotten the original word for "milking/milk" (if it were *melk'-).
b) It is also totally missing in the first-to-emigrate Anatolian (Hittite) branch.
c) The Indian root duh-, which is also the root for the word for "daughter" (as the "milkmaid" in the typical pastoral PIE family), proves to be older and more primitive and deep-rooted.
So, clearly, PIE *melk'- is a new word developed among the PIEs in their secondary Homeland in and around Central Asia after they migrated out from the northwest.
There is also another word for "milk" found in Greek gála- (gen. gálaktos), Italic (Latin) lac (gen. lactis), both meaning "milk" (note: the word galaxy "the milky way"), and Hittite galattar "a pleasant-tasting plant juice" (note Greek gála- is also "plant sap", as is Latin lac herbārum). This is another word which may have developed separately in Central Asia. [Pure speculation: could it be connected with Sanskrit go-rasa "milk" from go- "cow" and rasa "plant sap/juice"?]
4. Most significantly of all, we now have genetic evidence from cattle conclusively proving the OIT: recent scientific genetic studies of cattle have confirmed that the Indian humped zebu cattle, domesticated in the Harappan area since thousands of years, suddenly started appearing in West Asia as well as Central Asia around 2200 BCE, and by 2000 BCE there was largescale mixing of the Indian zebu cattle, bos indicus, with the genetically distinct western species of cattle, bos taurus, in West Asia. Thus we have three very distinct animal species native to India - the elephant, the peacock and the domesticated Indian zebu cattle - appearing in West Asia exactly coinciding with the presence and activities of the Mitanni in West Asia at the time, thus confirming that the Mitanni people were migrants from India to West Asia around 2200 BCE:
The most clinching evidence of all: the species of cattle found in India till modern times have absolutely no admixture with bos taurus of West Asia, which was also the cattle which spread to the Steppe areas and Europe. India had only purely zebu cattle, bos indicus, till modern times.
If we are to accept the AIT theory of "pastoral Aryans" from the Steppes migrating into India after 2000 BCE, we must accept the impossible proposition that the "pastoral Aryans" migrated into India after a journey of over a thousand years from the Steppes, without bringing a single bovine animal with them, and yet brought with them the most complete pastoral vocabulary and culture among all the Indo-European branches - or they slaughtered and ate up every single one of their bulls and cows as soon as they entered India, leaving not a single animal to mix with the local Harappan cattle which immediately became the animal of the immigrants!
Genetics can show the movements and migrations of groups of people or species of animals, though it cannot tell us which languages they spoke (assuming here that the cattle from different areas also speak different languages: they do emit distinctly different sounds). The genetic evidence of the DNA of cattle species shows that western cattle bos taurus never entered India in ancient times. But Indian cattle bos indicus did move into Central Asia as well as West Asia by the second half of the third millennium BCE, in the first stages of the migration of Indo-Europeans from an Indian Homeland into their other historical areas, until the emigrants reached areas where bos taurus were abundant and progressively mixed with or replaced the bos indicus taken by these emigrants.
In any case, to sum up, a comparison of the flora and fauna in Indo-Aryan with the flora and fauna in PIE and the various Indo-European branches points towards India as the original Homeland, and shows a changing landscape of flora and fauna as the IE branches migrated north-westwards into Afghanistan and Central Asia and then further westwards and north-westwards into their historical areas. The elephant symbolizes the original Indian ethos of the PIE environment.
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