Since the early nineties, there has been intense and furious debate regarding the AIT or "Aryan Invasion Theory", which claims that a group of people speaking Indo-European ("Aryan") languages entered India sometime in the second millennium BCE and established their language, religion and culture all over North India. Throughout its history, the debate was based on three academic disciplines: Linguistics, Archaeology and Textual/ Inscriptional Data. However, the weight of the evidence in these three fields now increasingly confirms the rival theory, the OIT or "Out-of-India Theory" which sees India as the Original Homeland of these languages. So the proponents of the AIT have recently abandoned these three fields and have started falling back on a totally new field of study: Genetics.
The spokesperson for the AIT since the last few years is one Tony Joseph, through his articles in The Hindu. Tony Joseph has now written a full-fledged volume titled "Early Indians" (262 pp), published by Juggernaut books, New Delhi, 2018. Since the book is the subject of a full-fledged systematic and intense media campaign, this present work analyses the whole "genetic" case for the AIT as per this book by Tony Joseph, and demonstrates how Genetics is irrelevant to the problem of the ancient history of the Indo-European languages.
The writer, Shrikant G. Talageri, is the foremost proponent of the OIT or "Out-of-India Theory" through his many articles and blogs on the subject, and primarily his three published books on the subject: The Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism (1993), The Rigveda - A Historical Analysis (2000), and The Rigveda and the Avesta - The Final Evidence (2008).
The unique place of Shrikant Talageri's contribution to the Indo-European Homeland debate
The Indo-European language family: In human history, the realization of kinship between languages was rather slow in coming. In antiquity, a few people remarked on the similarities between Greek or Latin, which were far more systematic than those between Latin and Etruscan or between Greek and Phoenician. It was a correct intuition, but was not pursued to the point of creating the discipline of Comparative and Historical Linguistics. Of course, people were aware of the kinship between the different daughters of Latin: the Romance languages. And as soon as Arabic became known in Europe, Jews and a few Churchmen saw its kinship with Biblical Hebrew.
The first real scholarly discovery in this field came in the 17th century, when the kinship between the Finnish and Ugric (starring Hungarian) languages was established. Whereas the kinship between, say, Finnish and Estonian was trivial, as they had visibly come about as dialects of the same language, Finnish and Hungarian were not mutually understandable. Yet, in a matter of decades, they and a dozen other languages of Northeastern Europe were given a place in the reconstructed genealogy of the newly defined Uralic language family. Since "racism" is one of the slurs with which Indo-European linguistics is still being demonized, let us emphasize that all the peoples concerned, as well as their non-Uralic neighbours, were of the same white race, so racism was not an issue here.
The Indo-European (IE) language family formally became an object of research in 1786 with the famous "philologer" speech by British judge William Jones before the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata. On that occasion, he acknowledged the role of Sanskrit in the discovery and praised India's classical language as superior to Latin and Greek. This may be contrasted with India's main Anglicizer half a century later: TB Macaulay, who derided the whole of Sanskrit literature as inferior to a British library bookshelf, and spent his leisure in Kolkata reading the Greek rather than the Sanskrit classics. Contrary to the mature period of colonialism, when Indian culture would come to be held in low esteem, the decades around 1800 witnessed a veritable Indomania in educated circles in Europe, which helps explain the welcome given to the novel idea of IE kinship.
William Jones was not the discoverer of IE though: its outline had been mapped in preceding decades by French Jesuits working in India, principally Gaston-Laurent Coeurdoux. The French after their defeat in the Seven Years' War against Britain in 1763 had lost their colonial ambitions in India and settled for a handful of peripheral trading-posts. But still, if not a colonial, then at least a missionary motive could be attributed to these pioneers of IE (just as the 19th-century pioneers of Dravidian philology were also missionaries). And that indeed is how numerous Hindu chauvinists deal with the fact of IE kinship: they dismiss it as but a flimsy construct planted for ulterior motives, viz. to delegitimize India as a self-governing country (colonization) or belittle Hinduism as less than a valid alternative to Christianity (conversion). Few of them ever feel the need to investigate the matter, so that they have remained ignorant of the IE data. They are satisfied at having identified a motive and assume that that settles the matter: anything said by anyone with suspect motives must ipso facto be wrong.
But that is not how scholarship works. That Jesuits in India had missionary motives is not controversial, nor is Jones's functioning within the colonial establishment. But whatever their motives, they had applied the scientific method as then understood, and their concept of an IE language family has withstood all subsequent storms and all ideological changes within the IE research community. After colonial administrator William Jones, the torch of IE research was taken over by scholars from Germany and Austria, countries that had no colonial interests in South Asia. Later still, decolonization took place and the colonial angle became irrelevant. Yet all these developments, all these changes in the researchers' possible motives, made no difference to the scholarly consensus.
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