The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate

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Western scholars have argued that Indian civilization was the joint product of an invading Indo-European people--the "Indo-Aryans"--and indigenous non-Indo European peoples. Although Indian scholars reject this European reconstruction of their country's history, Western scholarship gives little heed to their argument. In this book, Edwin Bryant explores the nature and origins of this fascinating debate.

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Edwin Bryant is at Harvard University.

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"A balanced description and evaluation of the two century old debate dealing with the origins of the Indo-Aryan speaking peoples of South Asia. [Bryant] presents both sides of the issue, that is the traditional western, linguistic, and philological consensus of immigration from Central Asia, and the more recent Indian position that denies any immigration and that asserts an indigenous South Asian origin. He probes for loopholes on both sides of the argument and presents the multi-faceted evidence from linguistics, archaeology, texts, etc. in an even-handed manner. As such, the book not only is an important and very welcome introduction into recent Indian historical thought but also a valuable heuristic tool in re-evaluating many of the unspoken or un-reflected presuppositions on both sides."--Michael Witzel, Harvard University


"The problem of Indo-Aryan origins has vexed scholars in both India and the West for well over a century and has touched every nerve of both academic and political discourse, so much so that many in the West have automatically dismissed any arguments to come 'out of India'[this book] investigates how these two worlds of scholarship came into being and systematically exposes the logical weaknesses of most of the arguments that support the consensus f either side. This is not only an important work in the field of Indo-Aryan studies but a long overdue challenge for scholarly fair play."--J.P. Mallory, Queen's University of Belfast


". . . [A] groundbreaking book. . . . [Bryant] does an extraordinary job of showing the ambiguity and uncertainty of both linguistic and archeological evidence for either a migration of indigenous presence of 'Aryans' in India (little has been convincingly proved or disproved). . . . A must get for libraries and must read for interested scholars."--Religious Studies Review


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