Resolving the Aryan Question: A Comprehensive Presentation of Out of India Case – I

Resolving the Aryan Question: A Comprehensive Presentation of Out of India Case – I

Author’s Note: This article series is an expanded version of a paper presented at the ICHR conference in New Delhi, 2018, under the title ‘The Rigveda and the Aryan Theory: A Rational Perspective’.

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 incontestable. 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 have established that these languages together belong to a “language family” that 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.

The 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 the artifacts found in these sites have not yet been deciphered but were interpreted to mean that this was a different and linguistically unidentified “pre-Aryan” culture that 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 north-western 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 Sapta-Sindhava 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 Sapta-Sindhava 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, and let alone any hint that such individuals or entities are natives of the area while the composers of the hymns are not.

4. Even during that 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 are totally unsupported by the post-Rigvedic texts and traditional Sanskrit historical traditions, or by the traditions of any community in India speaking a non-Indo-European language.

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 this shows that there were other (than “Vedic Aryan”) people living in the rest of northern India during the Rigvedic period. It also ignores 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 the following:

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 north-western India from further north-west 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 “Sapta-Sindhava” 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 the land and established their language, religion and culture over the whole of northern India. Their language (Vedic Sanskrit) 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 north-west, 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 north-west (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 it concentrates only on the history of the descendants of two sons of Vaivasvata: Ikṣvāku and Iḷa. The tribes that descended from Ikṣvāku are said to belong to the Solar Race, and the tribes that 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 (that 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” constituted 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 tribes speaking an Indo-European language.

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 that 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 Evidence:

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 that 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 the enemies of the composers of the hymn. The Anu are mentioned in four hymns: in the two hymns more specific among 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 (Bhṛgus also figure as enemies in VII.18).

4. In contrast to 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) based 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 that talks about “Bharata’s Agni” conquering the (other) Pūru, and in VII.18.3 that 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.

e) Significantly:

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 of 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 such as 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 such as 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. Also, the Rigveda I.59.2 clearly indicates that ārya is a synonym for Pūru (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 occurrence of the word ārya within the Family Books is by the Gṛtsamada (note that the Gṛtsamada had descended from an Angiras rishi).

Only three 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 Kaṇva, who (along with 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) Nine (IV.30, VI.22,33,60, VII.83, X.38,69,83,102)  of the above 34 hymns refer to ārya as enemies (eight 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, seven more hymns (I.100,111, IV.4, VI.19,25,44, X.69) refer to jāmi (kinsmen) and ajāmi (non-kinsmen) enemies, all seven being composed by the Bharata and Angiras.

iii) And, one more hymn (X.133) by a Bharata composer refers to sanābhi (kinsmen) and niṣṭya (non-kinsmen) enemies. In addition, one more hymn (VI.75) by an Angiras, likewise refers to sva araṇa (hostile kinsmen) and niṣṭya (non-kinsmen) enemies.

This has no logical explanation in the 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 three out of 34 hymns in the Rigveda that use the word ārya, two out of nine hymns in the Rigveda that refer to “both ārya and dāsa enemies”, one out of seven hymns in the Rigveda that 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 among them, are the “Vedic Aryans”, composers of the Rigveda and speakers of the Vedic dialect (the “Indo-Aryan” of the linguists). 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).

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Shrikant Talageri

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".