Did the Sanskrit-speaking Aryans enter India from Iran or Central Asia, or were they indigenous to India and authors of the Indus Civilization? This question is central to the debate that has informed Indian history writing, and has been strongly contested in public discussion for over a decade. This volume brings together a selection of significant writings since the eighteenth century to illustrate the historical development of the Aryan debate.
In a lucid introduction, Trautmann examines three groundbreaking discoveries that led to the debate: the discovery of the Indo-European language family, the discovery of the Dravidian language family, and the discovery of the Indus Civilization. He has also classified the readings included in this volume along two basic issues - the relation of the Aryans or Indo-Europeans to the Dravidians, and the relation of the Veda to the Indus Civilization.
This selection includes writings by William Jones, who was among the first to articulate the idea of the Indo-European language family, and by well-known archaeologists, historians, and modern interrogators such as Romila Thapar, Shereen Ratnagar, M.B. Emeneau, M.A. Mehendale, and Trautmann himself.
Trautmann describes the opposing interpretations in their political context, demonstrating clearly why the Aryan debate is so highly charged and contentious. The collection highlights the successful conjunction of archaeology, historiography, and philology in what forms one of the most controversial issues in the Indian public domain.
This book is important for teachers and students of ancient Indian history, archaeology, linguistics, and sociology. Due to the prominence of this debate in the public sphere, the volume will also interest journalists, anthropologists, and the informed general audience.
About the Author :
Thomas R. Trautmann is Marshall D. Sahlins Collegiate Professor of History and Anthropology, University of Michigan, USA.
STARTING POINTS: THE THREE DISCOVERIES
ARYANS AND DRAVIDIANS
THE VEDA AND THE INDUS CIVILIZATION
The Indus Script
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