So let us put the case in perspective before going on to the articles and comments by the spokespersons of the “scientists”.
The case presented by the “geneticists” is a purely fraudulent case so far as it concerns the alleged spread of Indo-European languages from the Steppes into India after 2000 BCE. To understand this, let us understand the issue through a series of basic questions:
1. Are the reports at least genuine in respect of the following genetic claims made in them?
a. That the Harappan people were a combination of what is called the First Indian ancestry and the ancient “Iranian” ancestry.
b. That the modern-day Indians by and large are a combination, in different proportions, of three major ancestries: the First Indian ancestry, the ancient “Iranian” ancestry and a Steppe ancestry.
Yes, they are, but not in their interpretation of these facts. The genetic evidence simply tells us that the Steppe ancestry must have entered India at some time between the end of the Harappan era and the beginning of the modern era.
2. Do these reports tell us that this Steppe DNA entered and spread (a) all over India, (b) or at least first all over North India, (c) or at least first all over northwestern India (the Harappan as well as Vedic geographical space), between 2000 BCE and 1000 BCE?
No, they do not:
The Rakhigarhi report (Shinde et al) of the specimen from the eastern heartland of the Harappan area in the Harappan period, dated, as per newspaper reports, between 2800-2300 BCE, simply confirms what the earlier version of the Narasimhan et al report had told us last year in 2018 (on the basis of DNA analysis of Indus Periphery specimens from the north and east of the Harappan area in the Harappan period): that the Harappans were of First Indians + “Iranians” ancestry.
The two reports together did give very important new evidence that the “Iranian” component of this joint ancestry was in the area since more than 10000 years, and that the development of agriculture in the area was fully indigenous.
The Swat specimens merely tell us that by 1200 BCE, the Steppe DNA had spread into northernmost Pakistan.
To confirm the extent of spread of this Steppe DNA into India between 2000-1000 BCE we require ancient specimens of that period from (a) the Harappan area, (b) the rest of North India, (c) the rest of India.
3. If we get ancient DNA specimens from 2000-1000 BCE and later periods from different parts of India, and these contain the Steppe DNA, will this prove the Steppe origin of Indo-European languages?
No, it will not: the analyses of those (at the moment purely hypothetical) future specimens of ancient DNA containing Steppe ancestry will only show the periods by which the Steppe-DNA-bearing immigrants spread into the different parts of India.
The most relevant of these hypothetical DNA specimens would be DNA specimens from the Harappan/Vedic areas between 2000-1000 BCE having Steppe DNA. But this would merely confirm the speculation in the two present reports about Steppe DNA having spread all over the Harappan/Vedic areas between 2000-1000 BCE. It will tell us nothing about the Indo-European languages.
4. Then what genetic evidence will tell us about the Indo-European languages?
None: DNA and genetic data can tell us nothing about the Indo-European languages. Only linguistic, archaeological and textual/inscriptional evidence can tell us about them. And very conclusive and irrefutable evidence is available.
5. What is that evidence?
There is plenty of linguistic, archaeological and textual/inscriptional evidence which shows that India is the Original Homeland of the Indo-European languages, and that the Indo-European languages found outside India were originally taken there by emigrants from India.
Here we will cite only the evidence showing that the Rigveda, which these geneticists claim was composed long after 2000 BCE by descendants of Steppe immigrants who entered India from the northwest only after 2000 BCE, actually dates to far beyond 2500 BCE and was composed deep inside the eastern Harappan areas.
“Genetic evidence” cannot disprove recorded textual/inscriptional evidence. For example, given the recorded textual/inscriptional evidence of the Ashoka pillars, and the Greek, Chinese and Persian accounts of ancient India, geneticists cannot allege that there is “genetic evidence” showing that the Indo-European languages spread into India only after 200 BCE.
Likewise, given the carbon-dated textual/inscriptional evidence of the Mitanni kingdom in ancient Syria-Iraq in West Asia from 1500 BCE onwards, and the recorded presence of the Mitanni in West Asia by at least 1700 BCE, geneticists cannot allege that there is “genetic evidence” showing that the Indo-European languages spread into India only after 2000 BCE.
6. How does the textual/inscriptional evidence of the Mitanni kingdom in West Asia tell us about the date of the Rigveda in India?
a. The Rigveda (consisting of 10 Books or Maṇḍalas) is classified by Indologists into two chronological divisions: an older section consisting of Books 2-4,6-7 which we will call the Old Rigveda, and a newer section consisting of Books 1,5,8-10 which we will call the New Rigveda.
b. The Mitanni kings were of Indo-Aryan origin, and their ancestral culture and language were identical to the Rigvedic language. Indologists try to explain this by claiming that the Indo-Aryans (even before they migrated into India) split into groups in Central Asia, one group migrating south-westwards into West Asia, and one group migrating south-eastwards into India.
c. If this were true, then the common Indo-Aryan elements surviving among the Mitanni would have to be found in the Old Rigveda rather than in the New Rigveda.
Likewise, the Mitanni Indo-Aryans and Rigvedic Indo-Aryans together share common elements with the Iranians. So these common “Indo-Iranian” elements would likewise have to be found in the Old Rigveda rather than in the New Rigveda.
d. But these common elements (common to the Rigveda, the Mitanni records, and the Iranian Avesta) are found only in the New Rigveda and are completely missing in the Old Rigveda. This proves that the ancestors of the Mitanni and the Iranians separated from the Rigvedic people not in some pre–Rigvedic period but during the period of composition of the New Rigveda, and after the period of composition of the Old Rigveda.
7. What is this evidence of “common elements”, and how does it show the date of the Rigveda?
a. This evidence consists of names, name-types and words, and in the case of the Rigveda and the Avesta, also certain types of meters.
b. The common Rigvedic-Mitanni elements are found in the New Rigveda in the names of the composers of 108 hymns, and within the hymns they are found in 77 hymns, 126 verses, 129 references.
The common Rigvedic-Avestan elements (since the Avesta has much more extensive data than the Mitanni records) are found in the New Rigveda in the names of the composers of 309 hymns, 3389 verses, and within the hymns they are found in 225 hymns, 434 verses, 500 references. The common meters are found in the New Rigveda in 51 hymns, 255 verses.
All these names, name-types, words and meters (for details, see my books and blogs) are completely absent in the Old Rigveda, although they continue to be found in post–Rigvedic Vedic texts and Classical Sanskrit texts. This shows that the common era of development of all these elements was during the period of composition of the New Rigveda, and the ancestors of the Mitanni and the Avestan Iranians separated from the composers of the New Rigveda during this common era.
c. But the whole of the Rigveda (Old Rigveda + New Rigveda) was composed wholly within India. Therefore this means that the ancestors of the Mitanni and the Avestan Iranians migrated from India.
d. Since the ancestors of the Mitanni kings were already in West Asia by 1700 BCE at the least, they must have left India hundreds of years prior to that: these Indo-Aryan elements in the Mitanni records were already old, ancestral elements. Witzel classifies these Indo-Aryan elements in the Mitanni data as the “remnants” of IA in the Hurrite language of the Mitanni (WITZEL 2005:361), and Mallory tells us: “it should not be forgotten that the Indic elements seem to be little more than the residue of a dead language in Hurrian, and that the symbiosis that produced the Mitanni may have taken place centuries earlier” (MALLORY 1989:42).
So they must have left India long before 2000 BCE.
And that was during the period of composition of the New Rigveda.
And the period of composition of the Old Rigveda, also composed within India, and which represents a much older ethos, goes back long before the New Rigveda, long before 2500 BCE.
8. Can’t this somehow be fitted into the Central Asian theory?
That is impossible. Far from having the same geography as the New Rigveda, or a more northern or northwestern one, the Old Rigveda has a more eastern one. As I have shown in detail in my books (including the recent one):
1. The names of the eastern places, lake and animals are found abundantly in every single one of the ten books of the Rigveda (Old and New).
But the names of the western places, lake, mountains and animals (and the central place) are found only in the New Rigveda in the non-family books (1,8,9,10), and are completely missing in all the six older books: i.e. in the Old Rigveda (books 6,3,7,4,2) as well as in the New family book 5.
2. The rivers of the Rigveda appear in the text from east-to-west: the following is a graphic presentation of the order of appearance of the river names in the ten books of the Rigveda:
So the Old Rigveda, which goes back long before 2500 BCE at the least, was composed deep inside the Harappan area, in Haryana and westernmost Uttar Pradesh.
9. Can’t this somehow be fitted into the “genetic evidence” about the Steppe people entering India after 2000 BCE?
That is even more impossible. The geneticists date the Rigveda to 1400-1000 BCE. As we saw, it is impossible to reconcile this dating with what the geneticists say happened before the composition of the Rigveda: if the composers had “trickled-in” into India into the heart of the teeming Harappan civilization well after 2000 BCE, it is clearly impossible that the Rigveda as it is could have been composed so soon after that.
It is even more impossible to reconcile this dating with what actually happened after the composition of the Rigveda: the ancestors of the Mitanni migrated to West Asia. If the Rigveda was composed 1400-1000 BCE, they can only have left sometime after 1200 BCE, and they could have reached West Asia before 1700 BCE only if they travelled there in a time-machine or through a time-warp!
The genetic evidence may show that people from the Steppes entered India after 2000 BCE. But any Steppe people who entered South Asia from present-day Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan after 2000 BCE, and then spread out all over India in the course of the next four thousand years, intermixing to different degrees with all the existing inhabitants of the land and contributing their genomes and DNA to the Indian gene pool – whatever else they may have brought with them into India – did not bring the Indo-European languages and Vedic culture: these were already there from long before 2000 BCE. The fact that all their migrations and intermixing within India did not create even a ripple in the archaeological record, or leave any kind of memories among any section of the different groups concerned, shows that they in fact got integrated into the local populace everywhere, accepting the local languages and the general culture and traditions, like most other later ancient people in the historical record (the Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Huns, etc.).
The two genetic reports are fraudulent in more ways than one:
1. Firstly, of course, the way in which they analyze genes, DNA and haplogroups, and draw totally unwarranted and extraneous linguistic conclusions from them, as already discussed.
2. Secondly, the blatant way in which they derive unwarranted racist and casteist conclusions from the data. The Narasimhan et al report is full of casteist formulations, e.g. “Steppe ancestry in modern South Asians is primarily from males and disproportionately high in Brahmin and Bhumihar groups […] Groups that view themselves as being of traditionally priestly status, including Brahmins who are custodians of liturgical texts in the early Indo-European language Sanskrit, tend (with exceptions) to have more Steppe ancestry than expected“: this and similar points are repeated ad nauseam throughout the paper.
But this is a known feature of “genetic studies” conducted by the main mover behind the two studies (though Indian geneticists have been used as fronts in the naming of the papers), David Reich. There have been many indictments of his genetic studies by western academicians on this score, e.g. here is what a group of 67 genuine scientists, in an article “How not to Talk about Race and Genetics“, have to say about the type of racial “genetic studies” indulged in by David Reich and other scientists associated with him, and about the racially potent conclusions drawn by them in reports “peer-reviewed” by others of the same genre:
3. Thirdly, the very way in which the caste-wise data has been collected and presented shows a really shoddy and extremely premeditated agenda. As Vishal Agarwal has pointed out in a private article:
“For all the bombastic claims of the paper, the fact remains that it lists 6 castes as having the highest central Steppe genetic content as follows: 1. UP Bhumihar, 2. Bihar Bhumihar, 3. Jat Sikh, 4. Tiwari Brahmin, 5. Nepal Brahmin, 6. Brahmin UP. Can anyone tell my why 1 and 2 are counted separately; and whether the label ‘Bhumihar’ even has any relevance in precolonial times? (It does not). Can anyone tell me why Tiwari Brahmin (~ Trivedis/Tripathis) is classified separately from UP Brahmin? Most Tiwaris are from UP, and in fact many with this surname are even found in Nepal. And in Nepal itself, we have the Bahun (Khas) as well as Terai Brahmans who overlap with Bhumihars and Tiwaris. So essentially, one continuum of a population is arbitrarily split into 5. […] What if I make separate categories of Haryana Jats, Rajasthan Jats, UP Jats and then argue that many Shudra clans have the highest MLBA ancestry? […] If you scroll further, you will likewise find many ‘populations’ split unnecessarily (e.g., there are separate categories for ‘Agarwal’, ‘Bania’, ‘Banias’). Why is it that the Jat Sikhs, considered Shudras along with other Jats (Hindus in Haryana, W Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan; Muslim Jutts in W Punjab) have the third or fourth highest central Steppe MLBA related ancestry? And it is not just this study which says so. Another study by Pathak et al actually notes that the Haryana (Hindu) Jats have even a greater European/MLBA genetic portion than Brahmins. So how does that fit the Aryan Migration as illustrated in the paper which says that higher the MLBA content, the higher in caste heirarchy (look also at the high MLBA of Chamars, Pasis)? In short, other explanations must be searched for than the simple ‘higher Central Steppe MLBA means higher in Varna ladder’ type of explanations, and then force fit them into the AMT paradigms. The data is shoddily coded and the resultant analysis apparently not uninodal or linear due to which the blanket judgments of the paper do not have much real explanatory value“.
The only way to counter the storm of AIT propaganda following the Rakhigarhi report is to take a united, firm and uncompromising stand:
1. Demand, before anything else, a discussion and debate on the chronological and geographical evidence of the Rigveda.
2. Refuse to indulge in endless quibbling on the question of “genetics“, because none of it has anything at all whatsoever to do with the question of language.
3. Refuse to let the fraudulent scholars on the opposite side set the terms and terminology of the debate.
Featured Image: The Telegraph
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Shrikant Talageri is a scholar and acclaimed author of The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, the seminal work on the Aryan Invasion debate. His latest work is “Rigveda And Avesta The Final Evidence.”