It is now well known that modern archaeology, isotope studies of geological cores, palaeobotany, fossil palynology and software simulation of ancient astronomical events have proven that ancient Sanskrit texts record events from 5000 years ago and earlier (Khonde 2018, Gupta 2006, Kenoyer 2004, Oak 2011). Nevertheless western academia and texts still insist that the language “came to India” from outside around 1500 to 1000 BC with migrants. To make this story come true they have created four fake, non-existent entities that I call “The 4 Hoaxes”. They are, from oldest to newest: Aryans, Dravidians, the Avestan language and “Proto-Indo-European” language or PIE.
About 200 years ago no Indian was asking how his language was similar to Latin or English. As far as Indians knew they always had their language dating back to very ancient times. A large proportion of Indians knew that their language had a lot of Sanskrit derived words. Others in the South also had Sanskrit derived words but were not getting upset and claiming that their language was older or wiser, or that Sanskrit was an alien language introduced by intruders. The basic structure of alphabet, the counting and the writing were shared across the subcontinent. Everyone was quite satisfied with the ancient origins and no one was looking across the seven seas for a source of their language.
Things were a bit different in Europe back then. For Europeans, language meant nation. Countries were built around languages. While all the European languages seemed different, scholars knew that they had some similarities, though no one knew how or why. This lasted until Europeans came to India and learned Sanskrit. Suddenly, from Sanskrit, Europeans discovered how and why European languages were so similar (Max Müller 1883).
But for Europeans, similar language meant similar people. So people speaking a similar language had to be related to them in some way. So they picked up one word from the Rig Veda “Arya” and used that word to create an imagined race of people – the Aryans. The Aryans, it was said, connected Europe to India. Obviously light skinned Aryans must have come to India from Europe carrying a language that linked all European languages (Huxley 1890). But if Aryans were connected to Europe, and the same Aryans were in India, why were Indian Aryans dark skinned and practising a “horrible” un-Christian religion, worshipping the devil, as it were?
This is where it was required to invent “Dravidians” – an even more dark-skinned people speaking what seemed to be an alien language. By this time, Europeans were over-running and decimating inferior native “Indian” populations in North and South America and Australia, and had dominated Africa. Their idea of migration was conquest of “inferior peoples”. So they imagined a story where Aryan conquerors from Europe drove away the native dark-skinned Dravidians from North India and then settled down to compose the Vedas. For the conquest story to be true they had to dig through the Vedas to cherry pick and mis-translate words that they could use to fulfil the fairy tale of language coming from the west. Words from the Rig veda like “dasyu” were interpreted to mean Dravidian enemies being driven away and “anas” was taken to mean “without nose” – that is with small flat noses as Africans were supposed to have, indicating their inferior racial characteristic.
The story goes that the Aryans, after driving away the Dravidians, settled down to a peaceful rural life among rivers and forests to compose the Rig Veda. When did this happen? It was guess work and Max Muller gave this a date of about 1000 to 1500 BC (Max Müller 1883). Muller and others did not know that by 1500 BC the land was arid and dry and did not have the rivers and dense forests that were imagined for the benefit of the conquering Aryans. But these were minor impediments to the grand story. And so, gradually, over time, it was said, the European Aryans mixed with the impure Dravidians to become the corrupted heathens that they “found” in India (Johnston 1902).
Having decided that the language must have come to India from Europe or some faraway place, Indologists were still left with the problem of finding where that magnificent mother language came from. None could be found in Europe, or anywhere outside India. However they did find evidence of a “Zoroastrian” religion in Iran. The language of the Zoroastrians was discovered to exist among Parsi priests in Gujarat as well as in Sanskrit translations of Parsi texts (summarized by Sastry in this magazine recently). Using the reference texts in Sanskrit linguists created a language called “Avestan” which they claimed was spoken 3000 years ago. Again, clear proof of links between the Zoroastrian religion and the Vedas were ignored as well as evidence that the Vedas were older than the Zoroastrian texts (Boyce 1975, Darmesteter 1880). It was simply declared that “Aryan” migrants or invaders on their way to India split into two groups. One went to Iran and became Zoroastrians, and the other group went to India to compose the Vedas (after disposing of the Dravidians there). In their early years it seems likely that Zoroastrians spoke a variant of Sanskrit and not “Avestan” a language “reconstructed” 3000 years later simply to create a waypoint in the imaginary movement of “Indo-Aryan” languages. After World War 2 – the word “Aryan” was dropped and the modern name “Indo-European” languages, or IE languages was given. This conveniently whitewashed the racist origins of the name.
Having created “Aryans”, “Dravidians” and “Avestan” there still remained the problem of where the original “mother language” was, which was said to have come to India. Already, the date for Sanskrit in India had been fixed to 1500 BC or later – with no proof whatsoever, but finding a connecting language outside India remained a problem until linguists came up with the innovative idea of cooking up yet another language, this time a “mother language” for all languages from India to Western Europe. They called this language “PIE” or Proto-Indo European. PIE was reconstructed from known modern and ancient Indo-European languages. “Cognate words”- that is words from different languages that carried similar meaning and sound were used along with grammatical rules to infer and construct an “oldest common language” that was called PIE. Sanskrit and other Indian languages descended from Sanskrit (like Hindi, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati) form the major part of the “Indo” or Proto Indo-European.
If you construct a “mother” language from other languages, then it is natural that the new “constructed” language will have words that are similar to the words used to construct it. It is an illogical circular argument to construct such a language and then claim that the newly created language was the “mother of later languages”. That is like making a salad from carrots, tomatoes and cucumber and then claiming that the salad was the original entity that gave rise to carrots, cucumber and tomatoes later. However that is exactly what is being claimed now. Across the board, genetics researchers trying to search for human migrations are quoting “PIE” as a real language that was really spoken by some people – covering up the fact that the language is not real and was never spoken by anyone. It is a hypothetical “model language”. What is even more interesting is where “PIE” was placed. It is claimed that PIE was spoken in the steppe area of Russia many thousand years ago. This is an astounding claim because the language PIE is not a real human language as noted above. Even more surprising is the claim that people in the “steppe” actually spoke this nonexistent language. The convenient placement of PIE in steppe is possible only because no one knows what language was spoken in the steppe in that remote era. To top this sophistry one author (David 2007) has creatively added his own words to embellish translations of the Rig Veda to claim that steppe-type graves are described in the Rig Veda (see footnote)
The story of language movement to India has been built up on the “4 hoaxes” detailed here. There is good evidence of “Indo-European” language having been here well before the 1500 BC date made up by the 4 hoaxes. Dates available for Sanskrit in India go back to at least 5000 BC, and any theory that speaks of IE languages coming to India has to come up with dates earlier than 5000 BC. If there were migrations that carried the language to India, then those migrations should really be searched for prior to 5000 BC because an Indo-European language (Sanskrit) was present in India by then.
Footnote: In the book “Horse, Wheel and Language” (David 2007), a reference to a grave in the Rig Veda 10.18 is falsely compared to steppe graves by the addition of words like “chamber”, “roof” and “walls” that do not appear in any original translations of the corresponding sukta of the Rig Veda. Here are the details:
Rig Veda 10.18 – David Anthony “Horse, Wheel and Language”
One hymn (Rigveda 10.18) describes a covered burial chamber with posts
holding up the roof, walls shored up, and the chamber sealed with clay – a
precise description of Sintashta and Andronovo grave pits.
Rig Veda 10:18 – Griffith’s translation (Griffith 1896)
“I stay the earth from thee, while over thee I place this piece of earth.
May I be free from injury. Here let the Fathers keep this pillar firm
for thee, and there let Yama make thee an abiding-place.”
Rig Veda 10:18 – Kashyap’s translation (Kashyap 2007)
“For you I heap up this earth and heap it around you; In placing this clod
of earth may I not harm you; May the fathers sustain this monument for
you; May Yama make an abode for you here”
No translation of the Rig Veda supports David Anthony’s claim which has been used to connect Rig Veda with Andronovo/Sintashta.
An incurable patriot, Dr. Shivsankar Sastry is a surgeon by profession; and a historian, thinker, sociologist and military aviation enthusiast by choice
Other references (without online URLs)
- Ancient Textiles of the Indus Valley Region, Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, 2004, Ancient Textiles of the Indus Valley Region, in Tana Bana: The woven soul of Pakistan, edited by Noorjehan Bilgrami, pp. 18-31. Koel Publications, Karachi.
- Oak, Nilesh Nilkanth (2011), When did the Mahabharata War Happen: The Mystery of Arundhati , Danphe Incorporated,
- The living races of mankind : a popular illustrated account of the customs, habits, pursuits, feasts & ceremonies of the races of mankind throughout the world by Johnston, Harry Hamilton, Sir, 1858-1927; Hutchinson, H. N. (Henry Neville), 1856-1927 Publication date 1902
- Anthony David W., (2007), The Horse, The Wheel And Language How Bronze-age riders From the Eurasian steppes Shaped the Modern world , Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2007