Proto-indo-iranian (pre-indo-european substratum)
The following notes on the possible substratum in proto-indo-iranian based on Lubotsky may also be relevant to substantiate the possible migrations out of the sapta-sindhu region towards, say, Altyn-depe.
Alexander Lubotsky argues for a pre-indo-european substratum.
(Early contacts between Uralic and Indo-European: Linguistic and archaeological considerations. Papers presented at an international symposium held at the Tvarminne Research Station of the University of Helsinki 8-10 January 1999 (Memoires de la Societe Finno-ougrienne 242.) Chr. Carpelan, A. Parpola, P. Koskikallio (eds.), Helsinki 2001, 301-317.) The full paper is a remarkable, insightful document and should be read in the context of BB Lal's observations.
“Study of loanwords can be a powerful tool for determining prehistoric cultural contacts and migrations, but this instrument is used very differently in various disciplines. For instance, loanword studies are fully accepted in Uralic linguistics, whereas Indo-Europeanists are often reluctant to acknowledge foreign origin for words attested in Indo-European languages. The reason is obvious: in Uralic, we know the source of borrowings (Indo-Iranian, Germanic, Baltic), but the source of possible Indo-European loans is usually unknown. And still, it is a matter of great importance to distinguish between inherited lexicon and borrowings, even if the donor language cannot be determined…In my paper, I shall apply this methodology to the Indo-Iranian lexicon in search of loanwords which have entered Proto-Indo-Iranian before its split into two branches. As a basis for my study I use the list, gleaned from Mayrhofer's EWAia, of all Sanskrit etyma which have Iranian correspondences, but lack clear cognates outside Indo-Iranian…I use the term “substratum” for any donor language, without implying sociological differences in its status, so that “substratum” may refer to an adstratum or even superstratum. It is possible that Proto-Indo-Iranian borrowed words from more than one language and had thusmore than one substratum…Proto-Indo-Iranian for a long time remained a dialectal unity, possibly even up to the moment when the Indo-Aryans crossed the Hindukush mountain range and lost contact with the Iranians…The phonological and morphological features of Indo-Iranian loanwords are strikingly similar to those which are characteristic of Sanskrit loanwords, i.e. words which are only attested in Sanskrit and which must have entered the language after the Indo-Aryans had crossed Hindukush. The structure of Sanskrit loanwords has been discussed by Kuiper 1991…The phonological and morphological similarity of loanwords in Proto-Indo-Iranian and in Sanskrit has important consequences. First of all, it indicates that, to put it carefully, a substratum of Indo-Iranian and a substratum of Indo-Aryan represent the same language, or, at any rate, two dialects of the same language. In order to account for this fact, we are bound to assume that the language of the original population of the towns of Central Asia, where Indo-Iranians must have arrived in the second millennium BCE, on the one hand, and the language spoken in Punjab, the homeland of the Indo-Aryans, on the other, were intimately related…Another consequence is that the Indo-Iranians must still have formed a kind of unity during their stay in Central Asia, albeit perhaps dialectally diversified. Judging by the later spread of the Indo-Aryans – to the south-west in the case of the Mitanni kingdom and to the south-east during their move to Punjab –, they were situated to the south of the Iranians, forming the vanguard, so to speak, of the Indo-Iranian movement. Accordingly, the Indo-Aryans were presumably the first who came in contact with foreign tribes and sometimes “passed on” loanwords to the Iranians…The urban civilization of Central Asia has enriched the Indo-Iranian lexicon with building and irrigation terminology, with terms for clothing and hair-do, and for some artifacts. It is tempting to suggest that the word *gadA- `club, mace' refers to the characteristic mace-heads of stone and bronze abundantly found in the towns of the so-called “Bactria-Margian Archaeological Complex”. Also *uAcI- `axe, pointed knife' may be identified with shaft-hole axes and axe-adzes of this culture.”
kalyanaraman 10 Dec. 2009
Did some vedic people emigrate westwards, out of India?
(Former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India) Nov. 21, 2009
It is likely that some of the readers may not have seen the previous postings on e-groups on this topic. Hence this introductory paragraph. Chapter Six of my book, How Deep are the Roots of Indian Civilization? Archaeology Answers (published by Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2009) deals with this topic. Dr. Francesco Brighenti posted on October 28, 2009 a critique of it on the Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com . My counter-reply to it was posted on http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/India Archaeology/message/9409. Now Dr. Brighenti has sent two letters, one to me and the other to Dr. Kalyanaraman. Whether these have also been posted on some web-site, I do not know. Hence I will quote from these letters, as necessary, in order to let the readers know his view-point and my reply thereto.
To recall, the basic question is: Did or did not a section of the Vedic people emigrate westwards, out of India? In case they did, how far west did they go? Since the main document which throws light on this issue is the Baudhāyana Śrautasūtra (18.44) it is absolutely necessary to quote the relevant part in the original so that the readers may have the primary data before them:
Pra-n.a-yauh. pravavra-ja tasyaite Kuru--Pan~cha-la-h. Ka-śi- -Videha- ity etad A-yavam pravrājam. Pratyan. Ama-vasus tasyaite Ga-ndha-rayas Parśvo Ara-t.t.a- ity etad A-ma-vasavam
Dealing with this particular passage in his paper, ‘R.gvedic history: poets, chieftains and polities’, published in 1995 in a book edited by Erdosy, Professor Witzel, wrote, as follows:
Taking a look at the data relating to the immigration of Indo-Aryans into South Asia, one is struck by the number of vague reminiscences of foreign localities and tribes in the R.gveda, in spite of repeated assertions to the contrary in the secondary literature. Then, there is the following direct statement contained in (the admittedly much later) BŚ [Baudha-yana S ́rauta-su-tra], 18.44: 397.9 sqq. which has once again been overlooked, not having been translated yet: “Ayu went eastwards. His (people) are the Kurū-Pan~ca-la and Ka-śi- -Videha. This is the A-yava (migration). (His other people) stayed at home in the west. His people are the Ga-ndha-ri-, Parśu and A-rat.t.a. This is the Ama-vasava (group)". (Emphasis mine.)
To return to the Sanskrit text itself. It has two parts. In the first part, i.e. in ‘prāṅayuh … pravrājam’ the verb used is ‘pravavrāja’, which means ‘migrated’. In the second part, i.e. in ‘pratyaṅamāvasuḥ …. amāvasam’ the verb is not repeated. However, according to the well known rules of grammar, it has got to be same as in the first part i.e. it has to be ‘pravavrāja’. As a result, the second part would mean that ‘Amāvasuh migrated westwards and his descendants are the Gāndhārī, Parśu and Araṭ̣ṭa.’ (Although it is not necessary, yet I will give an example of how the ‘missing’ verb has to be inserted. Take, for instance, the following sentence: “Yesterday, in a match between India and Australia, the former scored 275 runs, whereas the latter only 230.” In the first part the verb has clearly been mentioned as “scored”, but in the second part it is not so mentioned. Nevertheless, it has got to be the same as in the first part, viz. “scored”.
Though Professor Witzel has since condescended to accept, though half-heartedly, that my translation of the text may be correct, he would still prefer to stick to own translation, viz. that ‘Amāvasu stayed at home in the west’. In its support he states that the word ‘Amāvasu’ means ‘dwelling-at-home’. And Dr. Brighenti is also inclined to lean that way. Let these learned scholars be reminded of the fact that the preceding part of the same Baudhāyana text clearly says that Purūrava and Urvaśī gave birth to two sons whom they named Ayu and Amāvasu. These are clearly ‘proper’ names, just as are Michael and Francesco, and cannot be played with, please.
In this context, it may not be out of place to recall that Professor Witzel had showered on me the following ‘compliments’: “It is surprising how an established archaeologist can be so naïve, in his old age..” and Dr. Brighenti had added his own quota to it, saying: “Indeed, this new chapter in Lal’s conversion to Hindutva-oriented historical revision betrays, at minimum, a very naïve approach …”. I am sure these learned scholars have seen the translation of this very passage by Professor Cardona of the University of Pennsylvania, which tallies with mine. Would they like to pass on the same remarks of being naïve, old and Hindutva-oriented to their American colleague as well?
Any way, from what has been stated in the preceding paragraphs, it is abundantly clear that Professor Witzel had mistranslated the Sanskrit text in order to tell the unwary reader that while one lot migrated eastwards, the other ‘stayed at home’. In reality it is a case of two-way migration, viz. eastwards and westwards, from a central point. The area of parting is likely to have been somewhere between the Gandhā-ra region on the west and the Kurū region on the east. Since the Gandhāra region is placed in eastern Afghanistan and the Kurū region (modern Kurukshetra) is in Haryana in India, the region from where these eastward and westward migrations took place is most likely to have been (pre-Partition) Punjab.
All told, therefore, there can be no denying the fact that a section of the Vedic people did migrate to the west. The text also very clearly mentions the names of the areas to which this migration took place. These are, seriatim: Gandhāra, Paraśu and Araṭṭa.
As regards the identification of these areas, Dr. Brighenti concludes as follows in his latest counter-reply to me: “The outcome of my argument is that the Gāndhāris, Paraśus and Araṭṭ̣as listed in the Baudhāyana Śrautasūtra 18.44 were settled in an area roughly overlapping with the present geographic distribution of the Pashto language (see map at http://tinyurl.com/ykf2doy). That later Vedic passage can in no way be taken as evidence of an ancient westward migration of Vedic Indians to W. Iran and E. Turkey as you, against all logic, claim in you latest book.”
In the letter sent to Dr. Kalyanaraman, Dr. Brighenti repeats the same, adding: “Moreover, have you asked yourself why the sutra passage under discussion should describe an eastward migration covering only the relatively short distance from the Saptasindhu to Kuru-Panchala and Kashi-videha vis-à-vis a westward migration covering a huge distance (for those times) from Saptasindhu to W. Iran and E. Turkey?” What a logic? Would Dr. Brighenti like to ask the Harappans, if he were to meet them: “Why did some of you travel only a short distance eastwards, viz. only up to Haryana, while some others amongst you dared to travel thousands of kilometers westwards -- all the way up to Mesopotamia?”
Any way, all these arguments apart, I give below my own analysis of the available evidence on these identifications.
Gandhāra.- All available evidence shows that the Gandhāra region lay in eastern Afghanistan and included an adjacent bit of the strip of present-day Pakistan, to the west of the Indus.
Parásu.- This terms occurs not only in the Baudhāyana Śrautasūtra but also in a completely independent document thousands of kilometers west of India. Assignable to 835 BCE, it mentions that Assyrian king Shalmaneser received tributes from 27 kings of Parsuwas. The region concerned is evidently Parśu i.e. Persia, which has only recently (1935) been re-named as Iran.
Araṭṭa.- It is here that the shoe pinches Dr. Brighenti the most. In the letter sent to me, he lashes out: “Only certain nationalist ‘scholars’ [he has put this word within inverted commas to express his despise of them], in an overt attempt to construct a more glorious past for their own country, have proposed that these two toponyms [viz. Araṭṭa and Arārāṭ] are identical. The name Aratta became an epithet of abundance and glory in ancient Mesopotamia so much so that an adjective arattu, lit. ‘in the manner of Aratta’, was introduced with a meaning ‘excellent, noble’. The ‘noble’ Arattians would be, in the opinion of the said Armenian nationalist writers, the ancestors of Armenians!”
What a debating technique?
Failing to find a satisfactory identification, many scholars tend to deny that there ever was an area named Araṭṭa. Dr. Brighenti, in his letter sent to me says: “Let us. However, tentatively follow the line of thought of those scholars who continue to consider Aratta a really existing place. The first thing that stares you in the face in this case is that *all* of them place Aratta somewhere in Iran, and many of them currently consider Seistan to be the best candidate.” Then he himself immediately adds: “But no ‘Ararat’ in sight around here really!” Please note that the mark of exclamation is his.
In Chapter Six of my book referred to at the beginning I had made a mention of a 3rd-millennium-BCE epic which states that a king of Uruk, named Enmerkar, sent a messenger to Ensuhgiranna, the ruler of Araṭṭa, putting forward certain demands. In reply, the ruler of Araṭṭa told the messenger “…The queen of heaven and earth, the goddess of numerous me, holy Inana, has brought to Araṭ̣ṭa, the mountain of shining me, I whom she has let bar the entrance of the mountains as if with a great door ..”. This would imply that Araṭṭa was located close to an opening (pass) in the mountains which the ruler of Araṭṭa could easily seal. Such a description enhances the claim of the Arārāṭ̣ region as having been Araṭṭa of the epic.
The Bogazkoy Inscribed Tablets.- These tablets, as is well known, record a treaty between a Mitanni king named Matiwaza and a Hittite king, Suppiluliuma, ascribable to circa 1380 BCE. As witnesses to this treaty some gods were invoked which included the following: Indara (=Vedic Indra), Mitras(il) (=Vedic Mitra), Nasatia(nna) (= Vedic Na-satya) and Uruvanass(il) (=Vedic Varun.a).
Further, from this region and its neighborhood more than a hundred names have come to light which have a Sanskrit stamp on them: such as: Biridasva (=Vedic Vr.idha-śva); Urudi-ti, a Hurrian king (= Skt. Urudi-ti); Artasumara, another Mitanni king (= Vedic R.itasmara, in addition to Matiwaza = Mativāja, already mentioned), and so on. The context of some of these names goes back to the seventeenth century BCE. Reference may also be made to another remarkable document, which deals with the technique of horse-training. It mentions Sanskrit numerals like ekavartana , trivartana, etc. meaning thereby that the horse under training should be made to make one round, three rounds and so on of the race-course.
Commenting on the Bogazkoy evidence, the renowned Indologist T. Burrow observed (1955): “The Aryans appear in Mitanni from 1500 BC as the ruling dynasty, which means that they must have entered the country as conquerors.” ‘Conquerors from where’, may not one ask? At that point of time there was no other country in the entire world except India where the above-mentioned gods were worshipped. Giving a thorough analysis of the evidence of literature and various sciences like archaeology, geology, hydrology, Carbon-14 method of dating, etc. I have shown that the R.igveda decidedly belonged to a period prior to 2000 BCE. (Cf. my book under discussion for details, pp. 114-17.) Hence there is no chronological obstacle whatsoever in visualizing a scenario in which a section of the Vedic people may have entered Turkey some time in the second millennium BCE.
Dr. Brighenti has had his say and I too. It is best now to leave it to the readers to arrive at their own conclusions.
B.B. Lal, Nov. 21, 2009
Read on the full pdf text with proper diacritical markings at ... http://www.docstoc.com/docs/17410274/Replytobrighentinov21_2009
BS’S 18.44 about migrations of Vedic people
Pages 33 to 35 from the General Introduction by George Cardona in the book: Dhanesh Jain and George Cardona (eds.), 2003, The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge Language Family Series.
ITEM (1) -- Dr. Francesco Brighenti's post to the Indo-Eurasian_research List archived at
An extract of senior Indian archaeologist B.B. Lal's latest book is currently being posted everywhere on the Web:
"Did Some Vedic People Emigrate Westwards out of India?"
(Ch. 6 of B.B. Lal, _How Deep Are the Roots of Indian Civilization: Archaeology Aswers_, New Delhi, Aryan Books International, 2009)
A short review of this astonishing book chapter (I haven't read the entire book yet) is in order. This is because I subscribe verbatim to what Michael Witzel wrote about Lal's (post-retirement) scholarship in a message he posted to this List back in 2006:
"It is surprising how an established archaeologist can be so naïve,in his old age, about facts from outside his field (palaeontology, genetics, texts, linguistics) and still loudly proclaim his 'revolutionary' result (also in his latest book 'The Sarasvati flows on'.)"
Indeed, this new chapter in Lal's conversion to Hindutva-oriented historical revisionism betrays, at minimum, a very naïve approach to historical and linguistic facts outside the field of Indian archaeology, in particular when he has to venture into ANE studies.
Let us start from Lal's latest 'revolutionary' result: the identification of a Vedic Aryan presence in Hattusa. In this book chapter he writes [on p. 129]:
"Turkey has yielded incontrovertible inscriptional evidence about the presence of the Aryans in that region at least as far back as the 14th century BCE… Hugo Winckler discovered in his excavations at Bogazkoy certain inscribed clay tablets on which was recorded a treaty between a Mitanni king named Matiwaza and a Hittite king, Suppiluliuma, ascribable to circa 1380 BCE. As witnesses to this treaty the two rulers invoked the following Vedic gods: Indara (=Vedic Indra), Mitras(il) (=Vedic Mitra), Nasatia(nna) (Vedic Nâsatya) and Uruvanass(il) (=Vedic Varun.a)... The local population [of the Bogazkoy region] was different [i.e. non-Aryan] and the Aryans were only the rulers, coming from outside, as shown by Burrow."
Lal here seems to be suggesting that the above listed gods were worshipped by some supposed "Aryan rulers" of the Bogazkoy region; yet he surprisingly omits to mention in his discussion that Bogazkoy, the archaeological site in whose cuneiform archives the clay tablets recording the Hittite-Mitanni treaty at issue were found, is no other than Hattusa, the Hittite capital lying within the Black Sea region of Turkey bordering on Central Anatolia -- see a location map of Bogazkale (modern name of Bogazkoy) [on p. 134 of Lal's book] at
Of course, Hittites are not known to have ever worshipped any gods named Indara, Mitraššil, Našatianna or Uruwanaššel, anywhere; it is, thus, obvious, as is amply recognized by the scholars, that those gods are invoked as witnesses in the treaty concluded between Šuppiluliuma and Šattiwaza [for which latter name Lal uses the obsolete and wrong transliteration "Matiwaza" -- FB] because they were among the gods worshipped by the Mitanni king and elites. Hattusa, located at the geographical core of the Hittite Empire, always lay at a great distance from the boundary of the Kingdom of Mitanni, in whose capital, Waššukanni (still unidentified archaeologically, but almost certainly situated in northern Syria or in some adjoining district of Turkey), the (Indo-)Aryan deities mentioned in the 1380 BCE treaty are likely to have been worshipped by the Mitanni king. Compare the various maps of the Hittite Empire vis-à-vis the Kingdom of Mitanni at
This long premise is aimed at showing that Lal's claim that "Aryans" were present in the Bogazkoy region of Turkey as far back as the 14th century BCE either rests on his misreading of the archaeological evidence (i.e. the clay tablets recording the 1380 BCE treaty) and its politico-historical context, or is an artful lie he devised in order to move the furthest west he could the limit reached by his fancied westward migration of Vedic people out of India. Yet, unfortunately for him, no Vedic people ever lived in Hattusa or the region surrounding it.
What one is left with once Lal's novel Vedic-Aryans-in-West-Asia theory is returned to its author with reproaches, is the well-known fact that some gods whose names are nearly identical in shape to those of the Vedic gods Indra, Varun.a, Mitra, and the As'vins (Nâsatya), were worshipped by the rulers and elites of the Kingdom of Mitanni. No big news here. Yet, in this chapter of his new book Lal completely omits to discuss or even merely cite the various linguistic assessments of the Bogazkoy inscription made by scholars in the course of a century (to cite only some: Thieme's, Dumont's, Mayrhofer's, and Witzel's) to the effect that those were gods worshipped by a group of pre-Vedic Indo-Aryan speakers who migrated to Kurdistan from southern Central Asia *before* the majority section or the same people moved to the Greater Panjab region. Instead, he very reticently limits himself to asserting that "certain scholars" in the past would have held that the Mitanni rulers and elites who worshipped the aforesaid gods were Indo-Aryan speakers "on their way to India":
"[The] Bogazkoy evidence was given a different twist by certain scholars in the past. While admitting that the gods mentioned in the treaty were Indo-Aryan, they argued that these people were on their way to India. They took this stand because in those days, as per Max Müller's fatwa [sic], the Vedas were considered to have been only as old as 1200 BCE whereas the Bogazkoy inscription was dated to the 14th century BCE. Now that we know full well that the Vedas are in no case posterior to 2000 BCE, that kind of argument is no longer valid [p. 130 in Lal's book]."
In sum, since Lal has established "full well", on other grounds (probably -- although I couldn't read his new book in its entirety -- on the basis of the "Vedic Sarasvatî" argument, which he habitually pushes to the utmost), that "the Vedas are in no case posterior to 2000 BCE," the so-called Mitanni Indo-Aryans can be but a group of Vedic Aryans having migrated to Kurdistan from their supposed ancestral homeland in N.W. South Asia.
Three more "pearls" from Lal's book chapter, all confectioned on the basis of one well-known passage from the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra, a late Vedic text which is perhaps not later than the sixth century BCE), are the following:
1) The Arât.t.as, listed in Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44 as a western people of Vedic Aryan stock, are identified by Lal as the inhabitants of the mysterious land of Aratta referred to in Mesopotamian literary works, which is, in turn, identified by him with the region of Mount Ararat in ancient Armenia! According to Lal, this would have been the starting point for the subsequent immigration, discussed above, of Vedic Aryans into the Hattusa region of Turkey. Now, in our days a case for Aratta = the Biblical Ararat (Urartu in Akkadian sources) is only being made by certain Armenian nationalist scholars (followed in this by the controversial author David Rohl). The identification is, in fact, based on a superficial sound-likeness only. Nowadays scholars who don't think that Aratta was a mythical place -- and there are still many who think it actually was -- place Aratta somewhere in Iran; a consensus is slowly emerging on the tentative location of the land of Aratta in Seistan (viz., in the area of Shahr-i Soktha). Lal has, therefore, espoused an odd belief in order to find some support for his Vedic-Aryans-in-West-Asia theory.
2) Lal identifies the Pars'u [tribe] mentioned in Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44 with the Persians (who, as he himself notes, entered the historical record as a people settled in *western* [Iran]), although in the same passage they are said to be the neighbors of the Gândhâris. He says that these Pars'us migrated to Persia from Eastern Iran in the mid-second millennium BCE, and that before that migration they were a section of the Vedic Aryans who, after leaving India, had "sojourned for some time in Afghanistan", where they, presumably together with other Iranian-speaking tribes, had developed the typical features of Iranian languages and had participated in the religious changes that led to the rise of the Avestan religion.
3) Always on the basis of Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44, Lal identifies the Gândhâris -- according to him, another supposed early offshoot, and the most easterly located, of the Vedic Aryans migrating westwards -- with the people of the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. This is another untenable notion. As a matter of fact, there is no historical or geographical reason for considering Kandahar in Arachosia to have been ever included in the classical Gandhâra kingdom on the upper Indus and Kabul Rivers. Therefore, if the name of Kandahar is to be derived from Gandhâra, that is not because it was a city in Gandhâra. Early Muslim historians use Kandahar as the name of Gandhâra and in particular of Wayhind, the capital city of the Hindu S'âhi kings of Kabul and Gandhâra. It seems probable that the name was transferred to Kandahar in Arachosia by some migration of Buddhist Gandharans. Indeed, al-Masudi writes that "it was from this Kandahar [in Gandhâra] that the name was carried to the settlement of the Gandharans on the banks of the Arghastan [in Arachosia]". The Indian Kandahar, according to al-Baladhuri, was taken by Hisham ibn 'Amr al-Taghlibi, the governor of Sind under the Abbasid al-Mansur. It was perhaps on that occasion that part of the Buddhist populace of the Indian Kandahar fled to Arachosia; the by then already age-old city of Kandahar may have got its 'final' name after these fugitives. It seems that an earlier immigration of Gandhâra people westwards (into Arachosia?) occurred when the Hephthalites captured the capital of the kingdom in the late fifth century (source: Sung-Yun's travel account). It is a fact that the earliest clear reference to the name of Kandahar in Arachosia is recorded from the late ninth century, and the name is again found in Islamic sources only from the thirteenth century onwards. Other etymologies for the name of Kandahar have been proposed, but this seems to me the most plausible; theories deriving it from Iskander, the Asian name for Alexander, are now generally discarded. The logical consequence of all this is that the Gândhâris of Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44 cannot be, as Lal would make it, the people of the region of Kandahar -- a name that was given to this town only in the wake of Islamic invasions!
ITEM (2) -- Dr. Braj Basi Lal's private reply to the former message:
ON THE EMIGRATION OF A SECTION OF THE VEDIC PEOPLE FROM NORTH-WEST INDIA TO WESTERN ASIA
My attention has been drawn to a review of Chapter 6 of my book, How Deep are the Roots of Indian Civilization? Archaeology Answers, by Dr. Francesco, posted on the Web-site “Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com”, dated October 28, 2009. Dr. Francesco opens the review by quoting from his mentor, Professor Michael Witzel, wherein the latter says: "It is surprising how an established archaeologist [referring to me] can be so naïve, in his old age, about facts from outside his field (palaeontology, genetics, texts, linguistics) and still loudly proclaim his 'revolutionary' result (also in his latest book 'The Sarasvati Flows On'." To this Dr. Francesco adds his own flavor: "Indeed, this new chapter in Lal’s conversion to Hindutva-oriented historical revisionism betrays, at minimum, a very naïve approach to historical an linguistic facts …".
Professor Witzel is well known for making such unsavory personal remarks. For example, at a seminar organized by UMASS, Dartmouth, in June 2006, when I drew the attention of the audience to the learned professor’s wrong translation of the a very crucial passage from the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra, which is the main subject of the discussion by Dr. Francesco, Professor Witzel shot at me by saying that I did not know the difference between Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. He had to be told that I had the privilege of obtaining in 1943 my Master’ Degree in Sanskrit, which course included a study of the Vedas, and that I had obtained a First Class First from a first class university of India, namely that of Allahabad. I have already referred to this incident in my Inaugural Address delivered at 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology, held at the University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy, July 2-6, 2007, which is duly published.
I do not propose stooping down to the low level of these learned scholars. At the same time it must be said that this particular type of debating technique is adopted by these scholars with a view to intimidating the opponent on the one hand and, on the other, impressing upon the reader that the if the author concerned is 'naïve' and 'old' how can his conclusions be correct? However, it is a great satisfaction that by now the reader all over the world has become fully aware of their game-plan.
I now proceed to answer the various points raised by Dr. Francesco.
Since the passage from the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra (18.44) forms the central piece in the debate, it is necessary to discuss it in some detail. The relevant Sanskrit text reads as follows:
prân âyuH pravavrâja tasyaite kurupan~châlâh kâśividehâ ity etad âyavam pravrâjam pratyan amâvasus tasyaite gândhârayas pars'avo 'râ-t.t.â ity etad âmâvasavam
[N.B. This is the transliteration of this passage as provided in W. Caland, _The Baudhâyana S'rauta Sûtra belonging to the Taittitîya Samhitâ_, Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1904-13: 397.8-12; it has been substituted by me for Dr. Lal's one because diacritics did not show properly in his email -- FB]
Dealing with this particular passage in his paper, "R.gvedic History: Poets, Chieftains and Polities", published in 1995 in a book edited by Erdosy, Professor Witzel, wrote, as follows:
"Taking a look at the data relating to the immigration of Indo-Aryans into South Asia, one is struck by the number of vague reminiscences of foreign localities and tribes in the R.gveda, in spite of repeated assertions to the contrary in the secondary literature. Then, there is the following direct statement contained in (the admittedly much later) BŚS [Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra], 18.44: 397.9 sqq. which has once again been overlooked, not having been translated yet: 'Ayu went eastwards. His (people) are the Kuru-Pan~câla and the Kâśî-Videha. This is the Âyava (migration). (His other people) stayed at home in the west. His people are the Gândhârî, Pars'u and Arat.t.a. This is the Amâvasava (group)'." (Emphasis mine.)
To return to the Sanskrit text itself. It has two parts. In the first part, i.e. in 'prânayuh… pravrâjam' the verb used is 'pravavrâja', which means 'migrated'. In the second part, i.e. in 'pratyanamâvasuh… amâvasam' the verb is not repeated. However, according to the well known rules of grammar, it has got to be same as in the first part i.e. it has to be 'pravavrâja'. As a result, the second part would mean that 'Amâvasuh migrated westwards and his descendants are the Gândhârî, Pars'u and Arat.t.a'. (Although it is not necessary, yet I will give an example of how the 'missing' verb has to be inserted. Take, for instance, the following sentence: "Yesterday, in a match between India and Australia, the former scored 275 runs, whereas the latter only 230." In the first part the verb has clearly been mentioned as "scored", but in the second part it is not so mentioned. Nevertheless, it has got to be the same as in the first part, viz. "scored".)
All this clearly shows that the learned professor had deliberately mistranslated the Sanskrit text in order to tell the unwary reader that while one lot migrated eastwards, the other 'stayed at home'. In reality it is a case of two-way migration, viz. eastwards and westwards, from one central point. The area of parting is likely to have been somewhere between the Gândhâra region on the west and the Kuru region on the east. Since the Gândhâra region is placed in eastern Afghanistan and the Kuru region (modern Kurukshetra) is in Haryana in India, the region from where these eastward and westward migrations took place is most likely to have been the (pre-Partition) Punjab.
There can, therefore, be no denying the fact that a section of the Vedic people did migrate to the west. The text also very clearly mentions the names of the destinations of this migration. These are, seratum: Gandhâra, Pars'u and Arat.t.a.
Although Dr. Francesco has raised certain objections in respect of the identification of these areas, these objections are meaningless. The term Gandhâra occurs in ancient literature and was doubtless a part of Afghanistan -- whether northern or southern it is of little consequence in the present context. Pars'u, which is also referred to by the same name in an 835-BCE inscription of Shalmaneser of Assyria, is again very clearly Persia.(The name was changed to 'Iran' only in 1935.) As regards Aratta, most scholars hold it to be Ararata in the Armenian region, but Dr. Francesco, allergic to that identification, would like to take it all the way to Seistan. Says he: "Nowadays scholars… place Aratta somewhere in Iran; a consensus is slowly emerging on the tentative location of the land of Aratta in Seistan." What is this 'somewhere'? Evidently, because Dr. Francesco does not know 'where'. Again, what indeed is the value of a phrase like "a consensus is slowly emerging on the tentative location…". Surely, this is yet another technique to avoid facing the reality. Truth is sometimes too bitter to swallow!
Now to the evidence of the inscribed clay tablets discovered at Bogazkoy in Turkey. Ascribable to circa 1380 BCE, these tablets recorded a treaty between a Mtanni king named Matiwaza and a Hittite king, Suppiluliuma in which the following gods were invoked as witnesses: Indara (=Vedic Indra), Mitras(il) (=Vedic Mitra), Nasatia(nna) (= Vedic Nâsatya) and Uruvanass(il) (=Vedic Varun.a). Scholars agree that this treaty establishes the presence of the Vedic people in a part of Turkey. In fact, Dr. Francesco himself admits this reality when he says: "The (Indo-)Aryan deities mentioned in the 1380 treaty are likely to have been worshipped by the Mitanni king." The only debating point left now is whether these Indo-Aryans were on their way to India or had come there from India. The reason for some scholars to have held the former view was that at the time of the discovery of these tablets, viz. at the beginning of the 20th century, the date of the Vedas, as per the fatwa of Max Müller in the 19th century, was taken to be 1200 BCE. (In this context it must not be forgotten that Max Müller had himself back-tracked by saying: "Whether the Vedic hymns were composed [in] 1000 or 1500 or 2000 or 3000 BC, no power on earth will ever determine.") In Chapter IV, Section H, of my book under discussion I have given detailed evidence from archaeology, geology, hydrology, C-14 dating and literature, which clearly establishes that the Ṛ̣igveda is older than 2000 BCE. How much earlier is anybody's guess. However, other scholars like Kazanas and Nahar Achar place the Rigveda in the fourth millennium BCE. The former uses the linguistic evidence, whereas the latter bases his dating on the astronomical data. This new evidence thus shows that the mention of the names of the Vedic gods on the Bogazkoy tablets in Turkey is the finale of the movement of the Vedic people from north-west India to that region. In this context one might as well pose a question: "Was there any country, other than India, in the entire world in the 14th century BCE, i.e. at the time of the Bogazkoy treaty, where the gods Indra, Varun.a, etc. were worshipped?" The answer is an emphatic "NO". Then why shy away from facing the reality? In fact, at one stage in his own review, Dr. Francesco admits: "the so-called Mitanni Indo-Aryans can be but a group of Vedic Aryans having migrated to Kurdistan from their supposed ancestral homeland in N.W. South Asia." [N.B. The last citation refers to a thesis I had actually attributed to Dr. Lal, not to myself, in my post to the Indo-Eurasian_research List -- FB.]
Research is an ongoing process, not something static. With new evidence pouring in every day, paradigms have to be changed and one should not feel belittled if one's earlier views have to be modified in the light of the new data. Let not an ostrich-like attitude blind us to the upcoming truth!
B. B. Lal, Former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India
ITEM (3) -- Dr. Francesco Brighenti's private counter-reply to Dr. Braj Basi Lal:
Dear Dr. Lal,
This is my detailed counter-reply to your message which Dr. Kalyanaraman kindly forwarded to me via email, and which he also posted to the India Archaeology discussion forum -- it's archived at
First, a few further comments on your "Vedic-Aryans-in-Hattusa" thesis. The following are the two Cuneiform Akkadian versions of the treaty between the Hittite king Šuppiluliuma and the Mitanni king Šattiwaza:
http://tinyurl.com/ykb58kj (CTH 51)
http://tinyurl.com/ykb58kj (CTH 52)
It is clear to anybody that the gods Mitraššil, Uruwanaššel, Indar, and Našatianna, whose names are appended to a long list of deities guaranteeing the treaty, are included in the section dedicated to the gods of the land of Mitanni. These four deities were not counted among the gods of the land of Hatti -- that is, they were not worshipped in Hattusa/Bogazkoy! Yet, on the map at p. 134 of your new book, showing your alleged migration of Vedic Aryans westwards, the arrow indicating the direction of the migration ends at Bogazkoy in central Anatolia. Moreover, at pp. 130-131 you state that "the Aryans", coming from outside, were the rulers of the Bogazkoy (= Hattusa) region. It is therefore apparent that, based solely on the attestation of the aforesaid Mitanni Indo-Aryan theonyms in clay tablets found at Bogazkoy, you, Dr. Lal, have turned your ubiquitous Vedic Aryans into the rulers of the core area of the Hittite empire, which is simply false! This is the most amazing mistake (or, worse, suggestion of the false) you have made in that chapter of your book.
As your intent is basically to attribute a Vedic Aryan (i.e. Indian) ancestry to the worshippers of the Mitanni gods Mitraššil, Uruwanaššel, Indar, and Našatianna mentioned in the Bogazkoy tablets, please see to modify your map in the next edition of your book so as to have the route of your claimed out-of-India migration terminated in the area of N. Syria/ S.E. Turkey, where the kingdom of Mitanni (which those deities belonged to) lay. (Not that I believe there ever were any Vedic Aryans/Indians in that region, for the so-called Mitanni Indo-Aryans were neither "Vedic" nor "Indians", but this precaution at least would not expose you to public ridicule for having confused the kingdom of the Hittites for that of Mitanni.)
Let me now provide a fuller assessment of the ethnics Gândhâri, Pars'u, and Arât.t.a mentioned together in Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44. My discussion will not enter into the polemics surrounding M. Witzel's translation and interpretation of that passage, to which you, Dr. Lal, devote most of your response to my post; it will, on the contrary, focus on the problem of the location of the three aforesaid tribes in the late Vedic period, which your latest book proposes to solve in an unacceptable way.
In your book you write: "Gândhâra is straightaway identifiable. It is the Kandahar province of Afghanistan" (pp. 133-134). After reading my disproval of that identification, you now write: "Gandhâra… in ancient literature… was doubtless a part of Afghanistan -- whether northern or southern it is of little consequence in the present context."
The fact is, that the Vedic Gandhâris (or Gandhâras) are clearly located in East Afghanistan *and* North Pakistan. They were not exclusively settled in Afghanistan as you seem to believe. According to Zimmer they were settled in Vedic times on the south bank of the River Kubhâ (mod. Kabul) up to its junction with the Indus and for some distance down the east side of the Indus itself (the Kabul river, of course, flows partly in Afghanistan and partly in Pakistan). From the earliest period the settlement area of the Gandhâris was, thus, the region from Kabul to Rawalpindi/Islamabad, representing the core area of the later Gandhâra country as known from historical sources. D.C. Sircar writes that the S'atapatha and Aitareya Brâhman.as, which certainly predate the reference to the Gândhâris (scil. Gandhâris) found in the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra, mention one Nagnajit the Gândhâra, i.e. king of the Gandhâras, who is in turn mentioned in the Pali literature (which is later than the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra) as the king of Kas'mîra-Gandhâra with his capital at Taks.as'ilâ. These literary references certainly don't support your statement that in the late Vedic period the Gandhâri tribe was exclusively settled in modern Afghanistan, and not also in parts of modern Pakistan. Your claim about a migration of the Gandhâri tribe out of India is, therefore, unsupported at best.
In the case of the Sanskrit ethnic Pars'u, it must first be noticed that it probably derives, like the Old Persian name Pârsa (= Persian), from a proto-form *parc'u-. The term *parc'u- was perhaps used by the early Iranians to describe different politically and economically organized units (or 'polities') tracing their origin to an area or ethnos bearing that Iranian name (whose etymology is still debated) rather than to describe a series of biologically related ethno-linguistic entities (or 'tribes'). This interpretation of *parc'u- would account for the mention, in Assyrian sources, of *two distinct* countries (not peoples) in the eastern borderlands of Mesopotamia -- the one situated in the central Zagros Mountains, the other in Persis (the historical settlement area of the Pârsa tribe, or Persians) -- designated by the name of Parsua (var. Parsuaš, Parsumaš, Parsamaš), a non-Semitic toponym representing Iranian *pârsva-/*pârsua- (< *pârc'ua-, a vr.ddhi from *parc'u-). The etymon *parc'u- would also account for the name of the Parsii of the classical authors, a people situated somewhere between Lake Urmia and the Caspian Sea by Strabo, or in the mountains of Afghanistan by Ptolemy (who also mentions another tribal community bearing a similar name, Parsyetae, in the same region); for the Old Persian name of the Parthians of northeastern Iran, Parthava (< *parc'aua-); and finally, for the probable continuation of the original Iranian word in the language-name Paš.tô (derived from *parc'aua- via a regular development of -*rc'- > -*rs- > -š.t- by, among others, G. Morgenstierne and P.O. Skjærvø), originally designating an Iranian people settled in the present Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and the land they inhabited. Indo-European ethnic/country names often spread over wide areas and were used by widely scattered different peoples, and the Iranian word *parc'u- seems to be a case in point in this regard.
Further, there is the Sanskrit name Pars'u. According to Pân.ini (5.3.117), Pars'u is the name of a warlike tribal association (âyudhajîvi sangha), probably in the north-west as is apparent from the names of the other warrior tribes mentioned in the same aphorism, all of whom inhabited the general region of the north-west. E.A. Grantovsky relates Pân.ini's Pars'us with the modern language-name Paš.tô. This would imply that, though they were Iranians (possibly in part Indianized), these Pars'us were not the Persians of Persis, contrary to a hypothesis that has been advanced by many a scholar in the past and that you, Dr. Lal, accept uncritically in your book. On the contrary, the fact that the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra, which is earlier than Pân.ini, mentions the Pars'us along with the Gândhâris (= Gandhâris) provides further evidence for a general location of the Pars'us on the north-western border of the Indian sub-continent.
In the R.gveda, Pars'u is attested twice as a personal
name (8.6.46: Pars'u Mânavî; in 10.86.23 the Iranian-looking name Tirindira is
associated with the name Pars'u, yet it is not certain that the two are one and
the same person). Among the early Vedic scholars, Ludwig and Weber thought that
the personal name Pars'u in the R.gveda would relate to the Persian ethnicity
of its holders; yet, Zimmer, Hillebrandt, Macdonnell and Keith opposed this
view (for discussion, see Macdonnell & Keith's Vedic Index, Vol. I, pp.
504-505). The only certain references to an ethnic group called the Pars'us in
ancient Indian literature are, therefore, those found in the later Vedic Baudhâyana
S'rautasûtra and the As.t.âdhyâyî of Pân.ini, which probably refer to an
Iranian-speaking tribal community ancestral to the modern Pashtuns (see above).
In your response to my post you, Dr. Lal, continue to defend your untenable Aratta = Ararat equation with writing: "As regards Aratta, most scholars hold it to be Ararata in the Armenian region." Such a statement is utterly false. Consequently, let me discuss this question in the most clear terms possible.
What the Bible (Genesis 8.4) terms as "the mountains of Ararat" is the mountainous plateau north of Assyria: Assyrian Urartu (spelt as KUR u-ra-ar-t.u in Akkadian cuneiform), Babylonian Uraštu (a later form spelt as KUR u-ra-aš-t.u in Akkadian cuneiform), Old Hebrew and Imperial Aramaic <'rrt.> (/'/ = Semitic alef, a silent glottal stop; /t./ = Semitic emphatic -t-). In one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a fuller (plene) writing of the Hebrew consonant sequence <r-r-t.> is spelt <w-r-r-t.>, and thus confirms the pronunciation *Urarat, which is nearly identical to Assyrian Urartu (the two words include the same consonants in the same order). In the 4th century C.E. the original Hebrew pronunciation was forgotten, and a simple -a- was inserted into the consonantal sequence, resulting in its mispronunciation as Ararat and in common use today. Therefore, the Hebrew spelling "Ararat" for the old Urartian region did not appear until the first millennium C.E.
This being the case, no specialist in Sumerian or Semitic languages has ever dreamed of identifying the toponym <'rrt.> 'Ararat' (of foreign origin in Old Hebrew) with the much older Sumerian toponym Aratta (segmented as a-rat-ta in Mesopotamian syllabaries). The name Aratta includes the consonants <r + double t>, which is quite different from the consonant sequence <r-r-t.>. Only certain Armenian nationalist "scholars", in an overt attempt to construct a more glorious past for their own country, have proposed that these two toponyms are identical. The name Aratta became an epithet of abundance and glory in ancient Mesopotamia, so much so that an adjective arattû, lit. 'in the manner of Aratta', was introduced with a meaning 'excellent, noble'. The 'noble' Arattians would be, in the opinion of said Armenian nationalist writers, the ancestors of the Armenians!
Sumerian stories locate the city and the land of Aratta beyond seven mountain ranges east of Susa and Anšan, which points to the general area of eastern Iran. In some early third-millennium B.C.E. Sumerian texts Aratta is reported to be rich in mineral resources (gold, silver, copper, tin, carnelian and, notably, "lumps of lapis lazuli"). However, several eminent scholars currently deny that this Aratta was a really existing place. P. Michalowski, for instance, has assembled arguments in favor of Aratta of Sumerian sources being a mythical 'El Dorado' of remote antiquity, a narrative invention. So far there are no certain references to Aratta in non-literary Mesopotamian texts; Aratta is, indeed, only described in narrative (not economic or historical) texts. Following Michalowski's, some equally negative assessments of the question of Aratta's historicity have been recently made by D.T. Potts and P. Steinkeller.
Let us, however, tentatively follow the line of thought of those scholars who continue to consider Aratta a really existing place. The first thing that stares you in the face in this case is that *all* of them place Aratta somewhere in Iran, and many among them currently consider Seistan to be the best candidate. But no "Ararat" in sight around here, really!
The Aratta= Seistan equation has been established by J.F. Hansman and has got the support of, among others, archaeologists and scholars like M. Tosi, G.L. Possehl, F. Vallat, and J. Harmatta.
Iranian/Afghan Seistan, whose main centre in the early Bronze Age was the town of Sahr-i Sokhta, has been identified with Aratta mainly on account of two reasons. The first one is the city's relative proximity to the major lapis source of antiquity, located in Badakhshan (N.E. Afghanistan). Thanks to its location at the confluence of two routes from the lapis mines in Badakhshan, the one down the Arghandab and the Helmand valleys, the other across southern Turkmenia, Shahr-i Sokhta is thought to have acted as a major centre for the working of lapis and its subsequent trade overland to Elam and Mesopotamia. The rough blocks of lapis unearthed at this site match very well the references to "lumps of lapis lazuli" being worked in the city of Aratta included in the Sumerian narrative poem 'Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta'. According to this view, in the third millennium B.C.E. Aratta/Shahr-i Sokhta was a nodal point that exerted a monopoly over the production of lapis lazuli and controlled the principal overland routes from the lapis mines in Badakhshan to Elam and Mesopotamia. The second important reason for the identification of Aratta with Seistan is provided by the legendary account of the 'Great Revolt against Naram-Sin', a late third-millennium B.C.E. text that, among the various polities allied against the Akkadian king, mentions Meluhha, Aratta, Marhaši and Elam, in this exact sequence. This has been taken as evidence of a geographical alignment of those four countries along an east-west axis (with Meluhha = Baluchistan, Aratta = Seistan, Marhaši = the Jiroft region, Elam = the Susa region). Such a location would also fit the literary descriptions of Aratta as a distant land lying beyond several mountain ranges east of Susa and Anšan. Finally, it is remarkable that Ptolemy (6.10.3) mentions a city named Aratha in South Turkmenia, whose name may be related to that of ancient Aratta in Seistan.
The Sanskrit word Ârat.t.a (var. Arât.t.a) may be a reflex of Sumerian Aratta. This word, absent in early and middle Vedic literature, is first attested (twice) in the late Vedic Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra -- the first time (18.13, together with the Gândhâras in the north-west) as the name of an unorthodox tribe which a Brahmin should not visit, and the second one (18.44, once again along with the Gândhâris and, this time, also with the Pars'us), as one of the three members of the mysterious "Amâvasu" group of tribes. In later Sanskritic literature the name denotes parts of the Panjab: for instance, in the Mahâbhârata (8.44-45) Ârat.t.a is said to be the non-orthopraxic country in the north-west where the five rivers of the Panjab meet.
In sum, the Ârat.t.as of Sanskritic literature inhabited the general area of the Greater Panjab (which also included parts of eastern Afghanistan), next to the Pars'us and Gandhâris. If (and I say "if") the similarity between the two names, Sumerian Aratta and Sanskrit Ârat.t.a, is due to ancient borrowing of an 'Arattian-language' toponym into both Sumerian and Sanskrit, and if (and I repeat "if") the Aratta country really existed, and it was identical with Seistan (with its major centre at Shahr-i Sokhta), then the following scenario could be devised:
1) in the late Bronze Age Indo-Iranian immigrants from Central Asia (it cannot be stated whether they were Indo-Aryans or Iranians) settle in Seistan at a time when the latter region is still called Aratta in its (unknown) local language, and borrow that name as their tribal self-designation ('the Arattians');
2) by the later Vedic period they have moved to the mountain areas of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border via the Helmand and the Arghandab valleys (i.e. Arachosia), so that the Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra refers to them (twice) as the neighbors of the Gandhâris of the Kabul river valley;
3) these 'Arattians', now Indianized, further move into the Panjab plains, so that the Mahâbhârata (composed in the early historical period) describes the Ârat.t.as as the despised inhabitants of the country where the five rivers of the Panjab meet.
The outcome of my argument is that the Gândhâris, Pars'us, and Arât.t.as listed in Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44 were settled in an area roughly overlapping with the present geographic distribution of the Pashto language (see map at http://tinyurl.com/ykf2doy). That later Vedic passage can in no way be taken as evidence of an ancient westward migration of Vedic Indians to W. Iran and E. Turkey as you, against all logic, claim in your latest book.
Francesco Brighenti, Ph.D.
ITEM (4): Dr. Francesco Brighenti's private mail to Dr. Srinivas Kalyanaraman regarding the question of Prof. Michael Witzel's translation of Baudhâyana S'rautasûtra 18.44:
Dear Dr. Kalyanaraman,
Regarding Prof. Witzel's allegedly wrong translation [mentioned by Dr. Lal in his private mail to me -- FB], kindly take notice I am familiar with the whole story (viz., Prof. Cardona's criticism of it, Prof. Witzel's subsequent clarification, and Vishal Agarwal's anti-Witzel pamphlet centering on this matter), yet I thought it was unnecessary to enter into this question in order to debunk Dr. Lal's placement of the Gândhâris in Arachosia, of the Arât.t.as in Armenia, and of the Pars'us in Fârs. Debunking this novel thesis, never put forward by any other scholar before, was the exclusive goal of my two long notes.
However, if you want to know my opinion (since [in an earlier private mail to me -- FB] you write that my comment "seems to skirt the locus"), it is as follows:
1) Witzel has clarified long ago (see his notes n. 45 and 46 at p. 18 of his online paper at
that, though he continues to prefer his own translation ("Amâvasu [whose name means 'Dwelling-at-Home'] in the west", that is, a Brâhman.a-like pun "Amâvasu [stayed at home] in the west") to the translation "Amâvasu went westwards," he acknowledges that both translations are possible, for the passage is syntactically ambiguous.
2) Since I am persuaded that my identification of the general area of settlement of the three "Âmâvasyavah" tribes during the later Vedic period is correct (namely, that they were settled in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan), the possibilities are now two:
a) if the correct translation of this sutra passage is "Amâvasu (stayed at home) in the west," then the Gândhâris, Pars'us and Arât.t.as are there described as the old inhabitants of the border area between Aghanistan and Pakistan;
b) if the correct translation is " Amâvasu went westwards," then the three tribes are there said to have moved, at a certain time, from an area west of the Kuru land to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan -- yet, this seems at least strange, given that the name of their supposed progenitor, Amâvasu, means 'Dwelling-at-Home', i.e., one who doesn't move or migrate!
3) Finally, even in case the correct translation be " Amâvasu went westwards", Lal's speculations about a westward migration of Vedic Aryans to W. Iran and E. Turkey are totally unsubstantiated, as I have strived to demonstrate in my two notes. Moreover, gave you asked yourself why the sûtra passage under discussion should describe an eastward migration covering only the relatively short distance from the Saptasindhu to the Kuru-Pan~câla and the Kâśi-Videha vis-à-vis a westward migration covering the huge distance (for those times) from the Saptasindhu to W. Iran and E. Turkey?
Nov. 14, 2009
Dear Dr. Francesco,
I am forwarding your response to Prof. BB Lal whose email address is on the cc. If you have any further comments, please send them directly.
In my view, this exchange should be posted on the web, even if you have decided not to post on some egroups.
The point made by Prof. Lal is about the locus of the Baudhaayana which records past movements of people (contesting Prof. Witzel's erroneous translation) and your comment seems to skirt the locus..
Nov. 15, 2009-11-15 Dear Dr. Brighenti,
You wrote: >>I have no website where to post this exchange. I can prepare a Word document recording the whole exchange and then send it to you if you want to post it on some website of yours.>>
Sure, I can post it on my website. Include my comments too. Please do send me the doc. I have forwarded your note to Prof. BB Lal. I will cite a reference on egroups, to the website containing the exchange, so that issues can get flagged properly in discussions.
The eastward movement is a big deal, Franceso. It is a movement into one of the the largest river plains of the world, the Ganga basin. The evolutionary history of River Ganga and settlements is yet to be told. Rakesh Tiwari's work on iron smelters in Malhar, Raja-nal-ki-tila and Lohardiva is a revelation. Lohardiva: lit. loha dvipa of ca. 19th cent. BCE? We may have to rethink the bronze-iron age sequencing.
I am sure you have seen Prof. Cardona's preface in his book (2003) on the subject in the broader framework of the Indo-Aryan languages which is the title of the book. Link: http://tinyurl.com/ycdsryq
In my view, this is an important work, which, together with Marcantonio's edited work (2009, JIESMonograph Series, Monograph 55) and works on sprachbund by Kuiper, Emeneau and Masica, turns IE received wisdom on its head. More is yet to come on the invalid nature of Verner’s and Grimm’s "Laws" :)--