Out of india

The Out of India theory (OIT), also known as the Indian Urheimat Theory, is the proposition that the Indo-European language family originated in the Indian subcontinent and spread to the remainder of the Indo-European region through a series of migrations.

Originally proposed in the late 18th century in an attempt to explain connections between Sanskrit and European languages (notably by Friedrich Schlegel), it was rapidly marginalised within academic linguistics,[1][2][3] particularly those who tend to favour the Kurgan model instead.[4][5]

The Out-of-India view has virtually no academic credibility today,[6] but it was "revived" as a political topic in Hindu nationalism in the late 1990s. Such proponents insist on an indigenist position, dubbed known under the term "Indigenous Aryans". There have been attempts to revive an academic debate on this view in the 2000s.[7] The theory's recent revival in Hindu nationalist writing has made it the subject of a contentious debate in Indian politics.[3][8] These recent "OIT" scenarios posit that the Indus Valley Civilization was Indo-Aryan, contradicting the mainstream view that the Indus Valley Civilization spoke an as-yet uncatagorized language. The Voice of India publishing house has been established with the express purpose of boosting the popularity of these views, advanced by authors including Koenraad Elst and Shrikant Talageri.


Early proposals

When the finding of connections between languages from India to Europe led to the creation of Indo-European studies in the late 18th century some Indians and Europeans believed that the Proto-Indo-European language must be Sanskrit, or something very close to it. A few early Indo-Europeanists, such as Enlightenment pioneers Voltaire,[9] Immanuel Kant,[9] and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel[10] had a firm belief in this and essentially created the idea that India was the Urheimat of all Indo-European languages. In a 1775 letter, Voltaire expressed his belief in that the "dynasty of the Brahmins" taught the rest of the world: "I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges."[9] The idea intrigued Kant who "suggested that mankind together with all science must have originated on the roof of the world [the Himalayas ]."[9]

The development of historical linguistics, specifically the law of palatals and the discovery of the laryngeals in Hittite, affected Sanskrit's preeminent status as the most venerable elder in this reconstructed family.[11] This eroded support of India as the homeland of Indo-European languages. The ethnologist and philologist Robert Gordon Latham was the first to state that, according to the principles of natural science, a language family's most likely point of origin is in the area of its greatest diversity which, in the case of Indo-European, is roughly in Central-eastern Europe, where the Italic, Venetic, Illyrian, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Thracian, and Greek branches of the Indo-European language family are attested, as opposed to South Asia, where only the Indo-Aryan branch is.[12] Lachhmi Dhar Kalla responded by arguing that the greater linguistic diversity of Indo-European in Europe is the result of absorbing foreign linguistic elements, and that a language family's point of origin should be sought in the area of least linguistic change, since it has been least affected by substrate interference. Dhar's line of argument has a history in Western debates in the Indo-European homeland (e.g. Feist 1932 and Pissani 1974 as cited in Bryant 2001, pp. 142–143) where it has been used to locate the Indo-European homeland near the area where the Lithuanian and Anatolian branches of Indo-European are attested.

1999 "revival"

An Indian Urheimat has been promoted more recently by Elst (1999) and Talageri (2000), which led to an exchange of criticisms with Michael Witzel.[13]

In what its editor J. P. Mallory (2002) described as a "sense of fair play," the Journal of Indo-European Studies waived peer review to publish Kazanas' (2002, 2003) defence of the "Indigenous Indo-Aryan" viewpoint — which cited Elst (1999) and Talageri (2000). Mallory's reasoning for this exceptional omission of peer-review was as follows: Template:Cquote

The debate consisted of an article by Kazanas (2002), nine highly critical reviews by referees,[14] Kazanas' (2003) response to those criticisms, and a few further responses available online.[15][16]

Witzel (2003) warned: Template:Cquote


Neolithic and Bronze Age Indian history is periodised into the Pre-Harappan (ca. 7000 to 3300 BC), Early Harappan (3300 to 2600), Mature Harappan (2600 to 1900) and Late Harappan (1900 to 1300 BC) periods.

The Indian Urheimat proposal put forward by Elst (1999), which he dubs the "emerging non-invasionist model," is as follows: During the 6th millennium BC, the Proto-Indo-Europeans were living in the Punjab region of northern India. As the result of demographic expansion, they spread into Bactria as the Kambojas. The Paradas moved further and inhabited the Caspian coast and much of central Asia while the Cinas moved northwards and inhabited the Tarim Basin in northwestern China, forming the Tocharians group of I-E speakers. These groups were Proto-Anatolian and inhabited that region by 2000 BC. These people took the oldest form of the Proto Indo-European (PIE) language with them and, while interacting with people of the Anatolian and Balkan region, transformed it into its own dialect. While inhabiting central Asia they discovered the uses of the horse, which they later sent back to Urheimat.[17] Later on during their history, they went on to take western Europe and thus spread the Indo-European languages to that region.[17] During the 4th millennium BC, civilisation in India was evolving to become the urban Indus Valley Civilization. During this time, the PIE languages evolved to Proto-Indo-Iranian[17] Some time during this period, the Indo-Iranians began to separate as the result of internal rivalry and conflict, with the Iranians expanding westwards towards Mesopotamia and Persia, these possibly were the Pahlavas. They also expanded into parts of central Asia. By the end of this migration, India was left with the Proto-Indo-Aryans. At the end of the Mature Harappan period, the Sarasvati river began drying up and the remainder of Indo-Aryans split into separate categories. Some travelled westwards and established themselves as rulers of the Hurrian Mitanni kingdom by around 1500 BC (see Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni). Others travelled eastwards and inhabited the Gangetic basin while others travelled southwards and interacted with the Dravidian people.[17]


See also linguistics or historical linguistics.

According to Bryant (2001:75), OIT proponents tend to be linguistic dilettantes who either ignore the linguistic evidence completely, dismiss it as highly speculative and inconclusive (e.g. Chakrabarti 1995 and Rajaram 1995, as cited in Bryant 2001:74, or attempt to tackle it with hopelessly inadequate qualifications; this attitude and neglect significantly minimises the value of most OIT publications.[18][19]

Talageri (2000) and Kazanas (2002) have adapted the language dispersal model proposed by Johanna Nichols (in Blench & Spriggs 1997) to support OIT by moving Nichols' proposed Indo-European point of origin from Bactria-Sogdiana to India. These ideas have not been accepted in mainstream linguistics.

Elst (1999) argues that it is altogether more likely that the Urheimat was in satem territory. The alternative from the angle of an Indian Urheimat theory (IUT) would be that India had originally had the centum form, that the dialects which first emigrated (Hittite, Italo-Celtic, Germanic, Tokharic) retained the centum form and took it to the geographical borderlands of the IE expanse (Europe, Anatolia, China), while the dialects which emigrated later (Baltic, Thracian, Phrygian) were at a halfway stage and the last-emigrated dialects (Slavic, Armenian, Iranian) plus the staybehind Indo-Aryan languages had adopted the satem form. This would satisfy the claim of the so-called Lateral Theory that the most conservative forms are to be found at the outskirts rather than in the metropolis.[20]

Comparative linguistics

There are twelve accepted branches of the Indo-European family. The two Indo-Iranian branches, Indic (Indo-Aryan) and Iranian, dominate the eastern cluster, historically spanning Scythia, Iran and northern India. While the exact sequence in which the different branches separated or migrated away from a homeland is disputed, linguists generally agree that Anatolian was the first branch to be separated from the remaining body of Indo-European.

Additionally, Graeco-Aryan isoglosses seem suggestive that Greek and Indo-Iranian may have shared a common homeland for a while after the splitting of the other IE branches. Such a homeland could be northwestern India (which is preferred by proponents of the OIT) or the Pontic steppes (as preferred by the mainstream supporters of the Kurgan hypothesis).

According to Hock, if evidence like linguistic isogloss patterns is ignored, then the hypothesis of an Out-of-India migration becomes "relatively easy to maintain".[21]

Substratum influences in Vedic Sanskrit

According to Bryant, evidence of a pre-Indo-European linguistic substratum in South Asia is a solid reason to exclude India as a potential Indo-European homeland.[22]

Burrow compiled a list of approximately 500 foreign words in the Ṛgveda that he considered to be loans predominantly from Dravidian. Kuiper identified 383 Ṛgvedic words as non-Indo-Aryan—roughly 4% of its liturgical vocabulary—borrowed from Old Dravidian, Old Munda, and several other languages. Thieme has questioned Dravidian etymologies proposed for Vedic words, for most of which he gives Indoaryan or Sanskrit etymologies, and condemned what he characterises as a misplaced “zeal for hunting up Dravidian loans in Sanskrit”. Das contends that there is “not a single case in which a communis opinio has been found confirming the foreign origin of a Rigvedic (and probably Vedic in general) word". Burrow in turn has criticised the "resort to tortuous reconstructions in order to find, by hook or by crook, Indo-European explanations for Sanskrit words". Kuiper reasons that given the abundance of Indo-European comparative material—and the scarcity of Dravidian or Munda—the inability to clearly confirm whether the etymology of a Vedic word is Indo-European implies that it is not. Witzel (1999) argues that the earliest level of the Rigveda shows signs of para-Munda influence and only later levels of Dravidian, suggesting—against the older widespread two-century-old belief—that the original inhabitants of Punjab were speakers of para-Munda rather than speakers of Dravidian, whom the Indo-Aryans encountered only in middle Rigvedic times.[23]

Dravidian and other South Asian languages share with Indo-Aryan a number of syntactical and morphological features that are alien to other Indo-European languages. Phonologically, there is the introduction of retroflexes, which alternate with dentals in Indo-Aryan; morphologically there are the gerunds; and syntactically there is the use of a quotative marker ("iti"). Several linguists, all of whom accept the external origin of the Aryan languages on other grounds, are quite open to considering that various syntactical developments in Indo-Aryan could have been internal developments (Hamp 1996 and Jamison 1989, as cited in Bryant 2001:81–82 rather than the result of substrate influences, or have been the result of adstratum (Hock 1975/1984/1996 and Tikkanen 1987, as cited in Bryant 2001:80–82.[24] About retroflexion Tikkanen (1999) states that "in view of the strictly areal implications of retroflexion and the occurrence of retroflexes in many early loanwords, it is hardly likely that Indo-Aryan retroflexion arose in a region that did not have a substratum with retroflexes."

Another concern raised is that there is large time gap between the comparative materials, which can be seen as a serious methodological drawback.[25] The latter is however not a cogent argument, if one compares, for example modern Lithuanian (laukas patis) with early Vedic Sanskrit (loka-pati), which too are divided by a time span of c. 3200 years.

Elst (1999) proposes that any Dravidian in Sanskrit can still be explained via the OIT. He suggests through David McAlpin's Proto-Elamo-Dravidian theory, that the ancient homeland for Proto-Elamo-Dravidian was in the Mesopotamia region, from where the languages spread across the coast towards Sindh and eventually to South India where they still remain.[26] According to Elst, this theory would support the idea that Early Harappan culture was possibly bi- or multi-lingual. Elst (1999) claims that the presence of the Brahui language, similarities between Elamite and Harappan script as well as similarities between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian indicate that these languages may have interacted prior to the spread of Indo-Aryans southwards and the resultant intermixing of races and languages.

Elfenbein (as cited in Witzel 2000) argues that the presence of Brahui in Baluchistan is explained by a late immigration that took place within the last thousand years.

Elst believes that there is evidence suggesting that Dravidian influences in Maharashtra and Gujarat were largely lost over the years. He traces this to linguistic evidence. Some occurrences in Sangam Tamil, or ancient forms of Tamil, indicate small similarities with Sanskrit or Prakrit. As the oldest recognisable form of Tamil have influences of Indo-Aryan, it is possible that they had Sanskrit influence through a migration through the coastal regions of western India.[27]

Writing specifically about language contact phenomena, Thomason & Kaufman (1988) state that there is strong evidence that Dravidian influenced Indic through "shift", that is, native Dravidian speakers learning and adopting Indic languages. Even though the innovative traits in Indic could be explained by multiple internal explanations, early Dravidian influence is the only explanation that can account for all of the innovations at once – it becomes a question of explanatory parsimony; moreover, early Dravidian influence accounts for the several of the innovative traits in Indic better than any internal explanation that has been proposed.[28]

Erdosy (1995:18) states that the most plausible explanation for the presence of Dravidian structural features in Old Indo-Aryan is that the majority of early Old Indo-Aryan speakers had a Dravidian mother tongue which they gradually abandoned.


Indo-Aryan languages are the oldest source of place and river names in northern India – which Shrikant G. Talageri sees as an argument in favour of seeing Indo-Aryan as the oldest documented population of that area.[29]

According to Witzel, river names are conservative, and "in northern India, rivers in general have early Sanskrit names from the Vedic period, and names derived from the daughter languages of Sanskrit later on."[30] Talageri cites this in support of the Out of India theory,[29] though Witzel himself would dispute jumping to that conclusion.[30] Rather, he points out that non-Sanskritic names are common in the "Sarasvati" (Ghaggar) area.

Kazanas argues that this indicates that the Harappan civilisation must have been dominated by Indo-Aryan speakers, supposing that the arrival of Indo-Aryan migrants in Late Harappan times to the remnants of an Indus Valley Civilization formerly stretching over vast area could not have resulted in the suppression of the entire native hydronymy.[31]

However, Witzel argues exactly that: "The failure to preserve old hydronomes even in the Indus Valley (with a few exceptions, noted above) indicates the extent of the social and political collapse experienced by the local population."[30]

Paralleling Witzel, Villar (2000) characterises place names as the deepest ethnic and linguistic layer, and states that the first network of river and place names in Spain was created by very ancient Indo-European populations, and was dense enough to resist successive language changes. According to Villar (2000), even in those areas which are historically Basque (i.e. non-Indo-European), the ancient names of places and people have a prevailing Indo-European character, with very few names of non-Indo-European Basque etymology documented in ancient sources. Alinei (2003) cites this in support of the Paleolithic Continuity Theory.

Position of Sanskrit

Vedic Sanskrit conserves many archaic aspects, in the words of T. Burrow: "Vedic is a language which in most respects is more archaic and less altered from original Indo-European than any other member of the family".[32]

Kazanas argues that linguistic stability corresponds to geographic stability, claiming that if "the Indo-Aryans were on the move over many thousands of miles (from the Russian steppe, Europe and/or Anatolia) over a very long period of centuries encountering many different other cultures", their "language should have suffered faster and greater changes".[33]

Bryant (2001:144) points out that this reasoning can be countered by arguing that Vedic retained the Indo-European accent because, as a sacerdotal language, it artificially preserved forms that would otherwise have evolved in a normal spoken language. Vedic Sanskrit is, like other sacred languages, an extinct language, having evolved into Classical Sanskrit by the 6th century BC, reaching stability long after northern India had been settled by Indo-Aryans.

By contrast, Lithuanian is a living, vernacular language that has preserved Indo-European archaisms to the present day, thousands of years longer than Vedic did.[34][35]


The determination of the age in which Vedic literature started and flourished has its consequences for the Indo-Aryan question. The oldest text, the Rigveda, is full of precise references to places and natural phenomena in what are now Punjab and Haryana, and was unmistakably recorded in that part of India. The date at which it was composed is a firm terminus ante quem for the presence of the Vedic Aryans in India. In the academic mainstream view it was composed in mid to late 2nd millennium BC (Late Harappan)[36] and OIT proponents propose a pre-Harappan date.

OIT proponents propose that bulk of Rigveda was composed prior to Indus Valley Civilization by linking archaeological evidence with data from Vedic text and archaeo-astronomical evidence.

Sarasvati River

Main article: Sarasvati river

Many hymns in all ten Books of the Rigveda (except the 4th) extol or mention a divine and very large river named the Sarasvati,[37] which flows mightily "from the mountains to the [Indian] Ocean".[33][38][39] Talageri states that "the references to the Sarasvati far outnumber the references to the Indus" and "The Sarasvati is so important in the whole of the Rigveda that it is worshipped as one of the Three Great Goddesses".[40][41]

According to palaeoenvironmental scientists the desiccation of Sarasvati came about as a result of the diversion of at least two rivers that fed it, the Satluj and the Yamuna. "The chain of tectonic events ... diverted the Satluj westward (into the Indus) and the Palaeo Yamuna eastward (into the Ganges) ... This explains the 'death' of such a mighty river (the Sarasvati) ... because its main feeders, the Satluj and Palaeo Yamuna were weaned away from it by the Indus and the Gangaa respectively".[42][43] This ended at c 1750, but it started much earlier, perhaps with the upheavals and the large flood of 1900, or more probably 2100.[44][45] P H Francfort, utilising images from the French satellite SPOT, finds[46] that the large river Sarasvati is pre-Harappan altogether and started drying up in the middle of the 4th millennium BC; during Harappan times only a complex irrigation-canal network was being used in the southern region of the Indus Valley. With this the date should be pushed back to c 3800 BC.

The Nadistuti hymn (RV 10.75) gives a list of names of rivers where Sarasvati is merely mentioned while Sindhu receives all the praise. This may well indicate that RV 10 could be dated to a period after the first drying up of Sarasvati when the river lost its preeminence.[33] It is agreed that the tenth Book of the Rigveda is later than the others.[47]

The 414 archaeological sites along the bed of Saraswati dwarf the number of sites so far recorded along the entire stretch of the Indus River, which number only about three dozen. About 80 percent of the sites are datable to the fourth or third millennium BCE, suggesting that the river was in its prime during this period.[48] If this date were used for the composition of the hymns about Sarasvati, then the Indo-Aryans would necessarily have been in India in the 4th millennium BC.

Items not in the Rigveda

Some items typical of later Sanskrit literature are absent from the Rigveda. This is usually taken as strong evidence that the Rigvedic hymns have a geographical background restricted to the extreme northwest of the Indian subcontinent, corresponding to the route of immigration. OIT proponents have taken the same evidence as indicating an extremely early date for the Rigveda, predating the Harappan civilisation.

  • The Rigveda does not mention silver, though it does mention ayas (metal or copper/bronze) and candra or hiran-ya (gold). Silver is denoted by rajatám híran-yam literally 'white gold' and appears in post-Rigvedic texts. There is a generally accepted demarcation line for the use of silver at around 4000 BC and this metal is archaeologically attested in the Harappan Civilization[33][49][50][51]
  • The Rigveda makes no reference to the Harappan culture. The characteristic features of the Harappan culture are urban life, large buildings, permanently erected fire altars and bricks. There is no word for brick in the Rigveda and iswttakaa (brick) appears only in post-Rigvedic texts. (Kazanas 2000:13)[33] The Rigvedic altar is a shallow bed dug in the ground and covered with grass (e.g. RV 5.11.2, 7.43.2–3; Parpola 1988: 225). Fixed brick-altars are very common in post-Rigvedic texts.[52]
  • The Rigveda mentions no rice or cotton. A compound term is used which later referred to rice cakes used for sacrificial purposes, but the word vrīhí, meaning 'rice', does not occur. Rice was found in at least three Harappan sites: Rangpur (2000 BCE – 1500 BCE), Lothal (c. 2000 BCE) and Mohenjodaro (c. 2500 BCE) as Piggott,[53] Grist[54] and others testify.[55] Yet, despite the importance of the rice in ritual in later times, the Rigveda makes no mention of it. The cultivation of cotton is well attested in the Harappan civilisation and is found at many sites thereafter.[33][56][57][58]
  • Nakshatra were developed in 2400 BCE, they are important in a religious context yet the Rigveda does not mention this, which suggests the Rigveda is before 2400 BCE. The youngest book only mentions constellations,[59] a concept known to all cultures, without specifying them as lunar mansions.[60]
  • On the other hand, it has been claimed that the Rigveda has no term for "sword", while Bronze swords were used aplenty in the Bactrian culture and in Pirak. Ralph Griffith uses "sword" twelve times in his translation, including in the old books 5 and 7, but in most cases a literal translation would be more generic "sharp implement" (e.g. vāśī), the transition from "dagger" to "sword" in the Bronze Age being a gradual process.

The fore-mentioned features are found in post Rigvedic texts – the Samhitas, the Brahmanas and fully in the Sutra literature. For instance, brick altars are mentioned in Satapatha Brahmanaṇa, or etc. Rice ( vrihi ) is found in AV 6.140.2; 7.1.20; etc. Cotton karpasa appears first in Gautama's (1.18) and in Bandhāyana's (14.13.10) Dharmasūtra. The fact of the convergence of the post-Rigvedic texts and the Harappan culture was noted long ago by archaeologists. Bridget and F. Raymond Allchin stated unequivocally that these features are of the kind "described in detail in the later Vedic literature" (1982: 203).[52]

Based on these set of statements, OIT proponents argue that the whole of the RV, except for some few passages which may be of later date, must have been composed prior to Indus Valley Civilization.[33][58]

Memories of an Urheimat

The fact that the Vedas[61] do not mention the Aryans' presence in India as being the result of a migration or mention any possible Urheimat, has been taken as an argument in favour of the OIT. The reasoning is that it is not uncommon for migrational accounts to be found in early mythological and religious texts, a classical example being the Book of Exodus in the Torah, describing the legendary migration of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan.

Proponents of the OIT, such as Koenraad Elst, argue that it would have been expectable that migrations, and possibly an Urheimat were mentioned in the Rigveda if the Aryans had only arrived in India some centuries before the composition of the earliest Rigvedic hymns. They argue that other migration stories of other Indo-European people have been documented historically or archaeologically, and that the same would be expectable if the Indo-Aryans had migrated into India.[58][62]

From the mainstream academic viewpoint, the concern is the degree of historical accuracy that can be expected from the Rigveda, which is a collection of hymns, not an account of tribal history, and those hymns assumed to reach back to within a few centuries of the period of Indo-Aryan arrival in Gandhara make for just a small portion of the text.[63]

Regarding migration of Indo-Aryans and imposing language on Harappans, Kazanas notes that "The intruders would have been able to rename the rivers only if they were conquerors with the power to impose this. And, of course, the same is true of their Vedic language: since no people would bother of their own free will to learn a difficult, inflected foreign language, unless they had much to gain by this, and since the Aryan immigrants had adopted the “material culture and lifestyle” of the Harappans[64] and consequently had little or nothing to offer to the natives, the latter would have adopted the new language only under pressure. Thus here again we discover that the substratum thinking is invasion and conquest." "But invasion is the substratum of all such theories even if words like ‘migration’ are used. There could not have been an Aryan immigration because (apart from the fact that there is no archaeological evidence for this) the results would have been quite different. Immigrants do not impose their own demands or desires on the natives of the new country: they are grateful for being accepted, for having the use of lands and rivers for farming or pasturing and for any help they receive from the natives; in time it is they who adopt the language (and perhaps the religion) of the natives. You cannot have a migration with the results of an invasion."[65]

Material archaeology

The opinion of the majority of professional archaeologists interviewed seems to be that there is no archaeological evidence to support external Indo-Aryan origins.[66] Thus while the linguistic community stands firm with the Kurgan hypothesis archaeological community tends to be more agnostic.

According to one archaeologist, J.M. Kenoyer (1991):

"Although the overall socioeconomic organization changed, continuities in technology, subsistence practices, settlement organization, and some regional symbols show that the indigenous population was not displaced by invading hordes of Indo-Aryan speaking people. For many years, the 'invasions' or 'migrations' of these Indo-Aryan-speaking Vedic/Aryan tribes explained the decline of the Indus civilization and the sudden rise of urbanization in the Ganga-Yamuna valley. This was based on simplistic models of culture change and an uncritical reading of Vedic texts..."[67]

The examination of 300 skeletons from the Indus Valley Civilization and comparison of those skeletons with modern-day Indians by Kenneth Kennedy has also been a supporting argument for the OIT. Kennedy claims that the Harappan inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization are no different from the inhabitants of India in the following millennia.[68] However, this does not rule out one version of the Aryan Migration Hypothesis which suggests that the only "migration" was one of languages as opposed to a complete displacement of the indigenous population.

Häusler (as cited in Bryant 2001:141) also found that archaeological evidence in central Europe showed continuous linear development, with no marked external influences.

Bryant (2001:236) grants that "there is at least a series of archaeological cultures that can be traced approaching the Indian subcontinent, even if discontinuous, which does not seem to be the case for any hypothetical east-to-west emigration."

Genetic anthropology

Unlike the Indo-European migration hypothesis, there is no clear genetic evidence for a prehistoric migration out of India. There is no evidence of widespread genetic displacement in Europe after the Paleolithic.[69][70] And Hemphill (1998) finds "no support for any model that calls for the ultimate origins of north Bactrian oasis Oxus Civilization populations to be inhabitants of the Indus Valley."

The virtual absence of India-specific mtDNA haplogroups outside of India argues against a large scale population movement out of India.[71] Tracing a possible "out of India" migration has therefore until recently focused upon Y-chromosome haplogroups. Concerning Y DNA, haplogroup R2 is characterised by genetic marker M124, and is rarely found outside India, Pakistan, Iran, and southern central Asia. Outside of southern Eurasia, M124 was found at an unusually high frequency of 0.440 among the Kurmanji of Georgia, but at a much lower frequency of only 0.080 among the Kurmanji of Turkmenistan. Outside of these populations and the Romani people, M124 is not found in eastern Europe.[72][73][74]

Mass movements of people to or from India that might be associated with the spread of Indo-European languages have tended to revolve around Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a1, which is identified with the M17 mutation. On the one hand, this Y lineage is found in higher levels amongst northern Indians and amongst higher castes, and is also found in modern populations in central Asia and eastern Europe.[75][76] On the other hand, the pattern within India is not always so clear, with lower castes and southern populations also sometimes showing high levels, and in fact several studies have proposed that the deepest roots of this lineage may be in or near India.[72][77]

The latest research conducted by Watkins et al. (2008) questions the use of uniparental markers such as the Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA, neither of which is immune to the effects of natural selection; they also argue for the need to analyse autosomal polymorphisms in conjunction with Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA to generate a more comprehensive picture of population genetic structure. The authors of the study write: "The historical record documents an influx of Vedic Indo-European-speaking immigrants into northwest India starting at least 3500 years ago. These immigrants spread southward and eastward into an existing agrarian society dominated by Dravidian speakers. With time, a more highly-structured patriarchal caste system developed ... our data are consistent with a model in which nomadic populations from northwest and central Eurasia intercalated over millennia into an already complex, genetically diverse set of subcontinental populations. As these populations grew, mixed, and expanded, a system of social stratification likely developed in situ, spreading to the Indo-Gangetic plain, and then southward over the Deccan plateau."[78]

Reich et al. (2009) indicates that the modern Indian population is a result of admixture between Indo-European (ANI) and Dravidian (ASI) populations. The authors of the study write: "It is tempting to assume that the population ancestral to ANI and CEU spoke 'Proto-Indo-European', which has been reconstructed as ancestral to both Sanskrit and European languages, although we cannot be certain without a date for ANI–ASI mixture."[79]

In a 2011 genetic study "confirmed the existence of a general principal component cline stretching from Europe to south India." They concluded that "the Indian populations are characterized by two major ancestry components, one of which is spread at comparable frequency and haplotype diversity in populations of South and West Asia and the Caucasus. The second component is more restricted to South Asia and accounts for more than 50% of the ancestry in Indian populations. Haplotype diversity associated with these South Asian ancestry components is significantly higher than that of the components dominating the West Eurasian ancestry palette. Modeling of the observed haplotype diversities suggests that both Indian ancestry components are older than the purported Indo-Aryan invasion 3,500 YBP".[80]


  • The linguistic center of gravity principle states that a language family's most likely point of origin is in the area of its greatest diversity. Only one branch of Indo-European, Indo-Aryan, is found in India, whereas the Italic, Venetic, Illyrian, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Thracian, and Greek branches of Indo-European are all found in Central-eastern Europe. Because it requires a greater number of long migrations, an Indian Urheimat is far less likely than one closer to the center of Indo-European linguistic diversity.[12][81][82] However, the existence of the Tocharian language family in Western China would shift the center of gravity eastward. Some scholars argue that the various language families in Central and eastern Europe evolved fairly recently, which implies that there was less diversity in the western side of the Indo-European language family during the 2nd millennium BCE at a time contemporaneous with Vedic Sanskrit.[83]
  • The Indic languages show the influence of the Dravidian and Munda language families. No other branch of Indo-European does. If the Indo-European homeland had been located in India, then the Indo-European languages should have shown some influence from Dravidian and Munda.[84][85]
  • To postulate the migration of PIE speakers out of India necessitates an earlier dating of the Rigveda than is normally accepted by Vedic scholars to make a deep enough period of migration to allow for the longest migrations to be completed.(Mallory 1989)[page needed]

See also

Competing hypotheses


Bibliography and References

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  • Mallory, J. P. 1998. A European Perspective on Indo-Europeans in Asia. In: The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern and central Asia. Ed. Mair. Washingion DC: Institute for the Study of Man.
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External links

  • Rig-Veda is pre-Harappan by Nicholas Kazanas
  • The RV date — a postscript by Nicholas Kazanas
  • Koenraad Elst)
  • The RigVeda – A Historical Analysis by Shrikant Talageri
  • The RigVeda Index Ralph T.H. Griffith, Translator 1896
  • B.B. Lal
  • Book Review by C. J. S. Wallia
  • Horseplay at Harappa – People Fas Harvard – Harvard University
  • Frontline
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