Thoughts on economics and liberty

Entering into a debate with a Vedic scholar re: OIT theory of Sanskrit/ Rig Veda #4

Now for the next round (previous). Here is Kalicharan Tuvij's response (bolding, underline, colouring are mine):

SS ji,

Namaste.

You said,

"I can readily imagine the RV ideas originated in India 5000 years ago and floated around the world for 1500 years before being formalised and converted into the RV in India. That could plausibly explain the fragments found across the West. But that would mean admitting that RV was created in 1200-1500bc."

This is exactly what I am saying happened. Except that I would put the minimum date for the documentation of RV at 2000 B.C. and not 1500 B.C.; or, rather desist altogether from putting any number at all to these "events".

This is the "version" of OIT sane people believe in, and this is a framework which must be allowed to compete freely with the other ideas in the "market"; however, that has not happened, and to understand the reasons for it one has to study the Indologists more than their Indology.

In your latest post you say,

"But also note that I’m NOT advocating AIT. All I’m saying is that OIT is incorrect, particularly its “strong” form which says that RV was formed in 5000bc and then spread the ideas that are found in some scattered forms across the middle east and central Asia. That OIT (in the form it is promoted by Hindutva fanatics) is false doesn’t make AIT true. Please keep that in mind."

I fully concur, and must congratulate you since you are the first in the public space (I know of) to have stated this balanced, and to my mind very bold and rational, opinion.

I said I am not here to debate; that is because with intelligent people it is called exchange of ideas. (This is probably the concluding part from my side, so pardon me for being long winded, a bit casual, and frighteningly candid, in this write up. You are free to keep it personal and not publish).

Yes, I agree that zero, once learnt, is very easy to make use of — even 3 year olds can do it. Let us replace "zero" with "iPhone", and see.

iPhone is also very easy to use, and the kids are in fact master users of it. This doesn't mean that iPhone is a simple invention. It is perhaps the most complex invention of humankind till date.

Logic works on the surface: but below the surface, emotions and creativity are involved. And all true geniuses operate from even below that, from the AdhyAtmic depths. For that to happen, cultural depth is required; IQ only measures the surface width, that is Logic, but in the end we find that only those nations become the most innovative that possess depth commensurate with the width.

The laws of Science are universal, do not change from one country to another, or from one university to the other university. Yet, we find that successful products in the same category differ greatly among the brands of the different producer countries. The modern equivalence of "Horse" are the Fighter Aircrafts: and we indeed observe a great variety from brand to brand.

So, this is the core competency of the RV: it's got the DEPTH.

That is why any sincere researcher of RV, if he is half certain that zero had origins in India and he knows the significance of the idea of identity, will start by looking if RV has got it somewhere in the depths. (it has)

Nations that are producing brands are good not only at plain logic but also the arts. Take the examples of the newcomers, Japan, S.Korea, etc; one can even predict the next kid on the block.

"What good simple praising of devatas can do?"

"What kind of competency is in THAT?"

Well, devatas are not the same as in the notion of Abrahamic God, though the problem is today it is extremely difficult to avoid that perspective because of its overwhelming dominance.

Devatas are an "Agent based understanding" of Reality surrounding us.

Studying the Western scholarship on Indic traditions, I found that there are two types of Indologies:

1) Worked by their Humanities departments, expounding AIT in one form or the other (and peer pressure is such this continues on). This may be negative, but ultimately has some hidden strategic advantages too: controlling people and managing their expectations all around the globe. For example, what good it will possibly do to the Pakistanis by telling them about their glorious past? It will only make them even more restless, and worse. As the (negative) saying goes, "people deserve what they get".

2) Worked by their Science & Tech guys. The NASA paper on "Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence" is well known, but what is not so well known is that since then a lot of acceptance was gained into the Agent based worldview of the world, which is now mainstream. This is "real Indology".

All this while our own people are bereft of food, education and basic dignity. But there have been one-off, the beggars, who were real bhaktas and attained deepest realisations into their chosen ishTa devatas, and attained the very same highest bliss that true geniuses achieve anywhere else.

Our universities were destroyed (we'll never know what they were teaching there, but without coming to the competency level we will not succeed either in creating neo Nalandas with mere brick and walls).

But Dharma survived by becoming thinly distributed all over the common peoples of Bharata. PurANa-s are the democratic records, the masterpieces, of such "beggar-bhakta-s". We kept Dharma safe and Dharma kept us safe.

But this all will be meaningless if we fail to become producers again. The biggest obstruction are the very people who claim to represent Hinduism spiritually or politically.

Re: The Horse

Linking AIT with Horse is another assumption that needs justification. Since you have already acknowledged the serious OIT candidate, and we agreed, I have not much to discuss here, so let me complete some of what we discussed in these threads.

The proof that Parsus were indeed very close to us in the competencies, and thus were more than mere consumers, it will help if it can be shown that — since they were very much like our own locals — they also contributed in the competencies in some way at least.

The answer is, yes they contributed in an original way, and every Hindu acknowledges that even today. What is that?

Parsu-RAma, the sixth avatAra of Śri VishNu, is "that original contribution" and there is no higher acknowledgment that Hindus can give than this. (Though, if I were to go to Iran today, and tell them, "hey, yo, I worship one of your ancestors as God", I would be caned for sure:-)).

This isnt my original research though (I don't deal in history aspect); if I remember correctly, S. Talegari (yeah the Bank Manager) was the first to mention this, though I am not aware of his grounds or research.

I have other reasons to believe this, but I suppose in ST's case it could be the name:

Parsu stands for pArsu tribe, and RAma ultimately means "male" (it could then mean "alpha male", "ideal male" etc).

ParsuRama's weapon of choice, the battle axe, is known as फरसा pharsA (~ "the weapon of phArsis/ pArasis/ Persians"). http://goo.gl/xbipR9

The battle axe is, from an engineer's pov, the best weapon to operate from the mount of a horse.

The horse has the advantage of agility and speed, but that primarily means, it allows you to reach the battle spot very fast. But once there, one still needs to be able to fight successfully; does horse help in that?

It helps, but largely as in the first impact, or intermittent ones: just like the today's fighter aircrafts. The weapons used by the cavalry in such case could be anything from spears to swords. But the impact is not crucial, or the decider: this is attested from the recorded history.

From the physics of it, basically it is like a speeding car crashing into a standing vehicle: both get damaged, the speeding car even the more.

To successfully use the momentum of the horse to advantage, in close up battles, the rider needs to generate some good momentum in the transverse direction, too.

To use a rather not so good analogy (if you watch cricket), to make the bowling more lethal, the bowler needs to generate some "swing" on the ball (which is movement perpendicular or transverse to the main movement).

So, the rider needs to generate a purposeful "swing", to complement the horse momentum, in order to be really effective in close battle.

And for an efficient swing, from design pov, we need more mass at the tip of the weapon. Very much like the गदा club of Sri Hanuman and Sri Bheema.

The battle axe is the best design solution to the problem: it has not only more mass at the tip but also sharp blades at the same coordinates. I would imagine a battle axe like this (http://goo.gl/Ndi1D8) for Sri ParsuRama.

No wonder a whole class of battle axes is known as "horseman's axe".

ParsuRama is known to have punished Kshatriyas for their arrogance by killing their 21 or so generations of adult males. This is the model of "Arya Invasion" within our OIT.

But there was no invasion as such, as seen by the mainland bhAratiyas, since it was seen as an AvatAra – someone our very own – delivering Justice within Dharmic paradigms – and in the meantime redefining the same as never before.

So I do muse over this "Arya Invasion" (not "Aryan", notice) from time to time: BhagvAna ParsuRama was not alone: he came rushing (for to do it 21 times, you need to be real quick) assisted by his ferocious army of cavalry.

And He was a BrAhmaNa by varNa — people don't understand varNa today, so if I said that Army – the institution – was BrAhmaNic, as constituted within the Vedic framework, I am sure eyeballs are going to be raised.

Kshatriyas were never meant to be the Army class, rather, they were "trained" to be able administrators (like the IAS) and patrons of arts and culture.

On the other hand, I will ask a question here:

If we consider citizens as the "products" of a civilisation, then which class of citizens is the "best" product?

The king? the Scientist? Or the Artist? Or?

Actually, the Soldier.

If I were an alien, and visited Earth for the first time, I would insist on examining a soldier – from tip to toe, each and every apparel, gadget wise and so on – of the most advanced nation – say the US – of the Earth.

I talked earlier about the presence of more "products" farther from Indian Vedic than finding the "competencies". And, as I said, a soldier is the best "man product" of a civilisation, so this is why we find more of martial Arya traces farther from India, and more of softer forms (competencies) nearer to BhArata.

In ParsuRama we have a rare combination of a super soldier (product) and superlative competency (insider understanding), and that was possible because parsus were neither very far nor very close to us.

The mainland bhArata was mostly always free of martial presence. The Kshatriyas were never equipped to substitute that role, to fit in those shoes, long after we lost the western branch. There is a massive misconception (not supportable by evidence) among everyone that Kshatriyas are the soldiers: after the loss of the western branch, BhArata was in effect defenceless ("the world was the family"- and so forth), and it was the other varNa, the Shudra-s who filled that vacuum. Only a few traces of BrAhmaNa Army classes are found in India today – for example, the Dutts on the western borders and the Bhumihars on the Eastern one.

In RV, it is already Sudas Paijavana, who is mentioned as the leader of all bhAratiya-s of the time, and is a Shudra, leads the defence, and against all odds still manages to secure a victory. The greatest Indian king in the recorded history, Chandragupta Maurya, was also of Shudra.

(Shudras were, "the Judiciary" varNa originally. The closest someone came to this conclusion was Dr. Ambedkar, who concluded (ref, "who were Shudra-s") that Shudras were equal in status, originally, to Kshatriya-s. I have written a bit on this on my blog, so that is accessible for read.)

Sincerely,

Kalicharan Tuvij.

And now for my response, below.

Well, this information (re: Parsuram, Sudras, etc.) is rather interesting and I'm sure will interest a lot of people. 

First of we have agreed that the 5000bc OIT theory is simply wrong. Talageri's RV commences from 3400 BC. That is plain wrong, as I've showed here. The onus is on OIT theorists to prove why RV always failed – repeatedly – to transmit in its comprehensive form beyond the Hindu Kush.

So KT has brought the possible date to around 2000bc but right hesitates to deal in dates.

If the strong form of the OIT is excluded, we are still left with a lot of contradictions with the softer form of the OIT. I said the softer form of OIT is plausible. I didn't say it is believable. I don't believe it, and I'll come to it in the light of KT's further arguments.

I also said (and continue to say) that the strong form of AIT is not proven (and is unlikely to have been the way things occurred). It is simply impossible to imagine that a group of people with a fuzzy and disorganised set of ideas could have invaded India in one go and imposed their "system" on India.

The way things actually happened is likely to have been a mix of ideas and (possibly – not necessarily) people from the West, along with the remnants of the highly advanced Indus Valley civilisation. The combination of resources from some (unknown) kings/ donors and availability of geniuses would have led to the creation of the RV as a combination of ideas that came in from the West and ideas that were found inside India. The precise date for RV must necessarily be before 2000bc since it is unlikely that a more primitive language (Iranian) could have created the Avesta AFTER the RV system was conceptualised. Avesta almost certainly came before RV, setting its date in around 1200-1500bc, or up to 1800bc at most.

I have no issues accepting that RV is deeper and more "competent", but that's the same as saying that modern physics is more robust than Newton's physics. Things improve over time. RV definitely came later and so was able to use older ideas PLUS invent new ones. 

There is another basic argument on which OIT theories fail: the idea of diffusion.[PPT that I created]

Diffusion of ideas/ languages doesn't take place only on ONE side/direction unless there are very strong barriers. It is quite easy to visualise proto-indo-aryan language and ideas originating somewhere in the middle of middle-east and moving in BOTH directions – towards Europe and India. But  it is very hard to visualise RV "exporting" proto-indo-aryan ONLY to the West of India and not to the south (even within India) and the East.

In fact, moving to the west (from India) has always been very hard (easier to get down the plateau into India through Hindu Kush than to climb upwards). 

Buddhism moved to the east, as it was much easier than moving to the West. The only remains of (relatively modern) Hinduism are found to the East of India, not to the West. 

India should be seen as the world's greatest melting pot, not as the originator of proto-indo-aryan, but the developer and innovator of these and many more ideas.

The only sensible solution is to have an In and Out Theory. Surely ideas came into India, and surely many went outside India. We are talking about a period of 2500 years (4000-1500 bc). Why would there only be ONE directional flow (from any side)?

Since KT is not an advocate of the extreme OIT theory, we can perhaps agree to disagree on minor details. Let the scientists and academics pursue the details.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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10 thoughts on “Entering into a debate with a Vedic scholar re: OIT theory of Sanskrit/ Rig Veda #4
  1. Guest

    “diffusion takes place from the centre”

    Linguistic, cultural and/or demographic diffusion need not have any specific ‘geometry’.

    Diffusion of the Mongols as well as Turkish languages took place from the “corner”.

    The expansion of Greeks following Alexander’s invasions was predominantly to the East.

    Diffusion of Germanic languages too is known to have taken place from the “corner”.

    The diffusion of Arabic, too, was from a “corner” – the Arab peninsula. Ditto with that of English.

    The diffusion of Gypsies/Roma from India in historical times took place from a “corner”.

    Besides, in a hypothetical Indian-homeland hypothesis – the Indo-European languages *would be native only to a **PART** of India* – say Western UP, Haryana and Punjab/Kashmir. They certainly WOULD diffuse to the East and the South as well as North and West – so there is no “corner”.

     
  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    The problem is there is NO difficusion of RV anywhere but in India, that too well after the first millennium bc. It has NEVER “diffused” outside India. Even once. This is simply a further nail in the coffin of the OIT arguments. There are clear documented records of pre-vedic indo-aryan languages, culture and artefacts all the way into what is today middle Russia. 

     
  3. Prem Chand

    “Diffusion of the Mongols as well as Turkish languages took place from the “corner”.”

    This is wrong. The Mongols and Turks originated in Central Asia and spread out towards China in the East and Hungary in the West.

    “The expansion of Greeks following Alexander’s invasions was predominantly to the East.”

    There was a powerful empire in the west: the Persians whom Alexander sought to conquer. He also planned a western conquest which never came to fruition. Besides, Alexander’s short campaign cannot be compared to the diffusion of IE culture which took millennia.

    “Diffusion of Germanic languages too is known to have taken place from the “corner”.”

    It was facilitated by climate and other factors like the presence of powerful non-Germanic tribes like the Celts.

    “The diffusion of Arabic, too, was from a “corner” – the Arab peninsula. Ditto with that of English.”

    Wrong in both cases. Arabs conquered from Spain in the west to Sindh in the east. These territorial gains were later reversed. English is spoken in the western hemisphere (US/Canada) and eastern hemisphere (Australian/NZ).

    “Besides, in a hypothetical Indian-homeland hypothesis – the Indo-European languages *would be native only to a **PART** of India* – say Western UP, Haryana and Punjab/Kashmir. They certainly WOULD diffuse to the East and the South as well as North and West – so there is no “corner”.”

    The width of the Indo-Gangetic plain is not impressive compared to the geographical spread of IE languages. More importantly, Indo-Aryan languages like Sanskrit were NOT the ancestors of all IE languages. The IE languages in India are not diverse enough for India to be the IE homeland.

     
  4. Guest

    I’ll take your points very slowly , one by one – so that you can see where you’ve made a mistake :

    ““The diffusion of Arabic, too, was from a “corner” – the Arab peninsula. Ditto with that of English.”

    “Wrong in both cases. Arabs conquered from Spain in the west to Sindh in the east. These territorial gains were later reversed. English is spoken in the western hemisphere (US/Canada) and eastern hemisphere (Australian/NZ).”

    I. You are failing to distinguish several different issues.

    Can you distinguish

    1) DIFFUSION of Arabic as a language

    from

    2) CONQUESTS of Arab tribes !?

    Arabic *language* spread no further east than Iraq, but as far west as Morocco.

    Factually right, or wrong ?

    II. Did English spread to the North ? To Scotland ? Did it supplant Gaelic in most of Ireland ? In spite of conquest of most of France in the 12th-14th Century, did English spread into France ? Did it expand to it’s South-East – Denmark, Germany etc ?

     
  5. Guest

    “The problem is there is NO difficusion of RV anywhere but in India, that too well after the first millennium bc. It has NEVER “diffused” outside India. Even once. This is simply a further nail in the coffin of the OIT arguments.”

    I. First of, this argument applies even against the Aryan Migration Theory – no RV presence outside India suggests a lack of diffusion *into* India from, applying your logic that RV presence in more than one place is necessary to prove migration from one to the other.

    II. Presence of RV elements outside India is quite well-known. I thought you would be aware of these basic facts –

    Read :

    http://www.peiraeuspubliclibrary.com/names/asia/mitanni.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_superstrate_in_Mitanni

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassite_deities

    Šuriaš, Indaš, Maruttaš, Bugaš – sUrya, indra, marUta, bhAga.

     
  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I have never implied that RV was composed outside India, nor do I imply AIT. All I’m saying is that the ideas/gods in RV came from outside. Hinduism started life as an imported religion.

    The “elements” you cite are PRECISELY proof **against** RV/Sanskrit going from India. RV ONLY “travels” in a complete form. It is either there or not. These elements (which, btw, have a longer history, going into central Asia) are the underlying building blocks of the RV, not the other way around.

     
  7. Prem Chand

    @Guest

    You have only addressed my point about English and Arabic, and left out the rest. That’s ok.

    I never suggested that the proto IE people, whoever they were, conquered lands all the way from southern Ukraine to India and elsewhere. The English and the Arabs conquered parts of the world, and let their language and culture diffuse even further.

    “Arabic *language* spread no further east than Iraq, but as far west as Morocco.”

    If you read about the history of Arab Caliphates, you will find out that Arab conquests were reversed in later centuries, which resulted in the Arabic language not spreading beyond Iraq.

    “Did English spread to the North ? To Scotland ? Did it supplant Gaelic in most of Ireland ? In spite of conquest of most of France in the 12th-14th Century, did English spread into France ? Did it expand to it’s South-East – Denmark, Germany etc ?”

    You need to consider geographical factors. Britain and Ireland are islands situated close to each other and somewhat secluded from Continental Europe. This resulted in the English dominating both islands while keeping off from the continent. Next, you need to distinguish between the Medieval conquests of the English and their naval conquests during the modern era by which time France, Denmark had all begun strengthening their navy.

     
  8. guest

    Prem Chand,

    I’m not purporting to comment on everything you wrote, right now.

    I’ll just summarise my main point (will elaborate in detail later), which is actually not very different from the factors you are pointing out :

    “Linguistic, cultural and/or demographic diffusion need not have any specific ‘geometry’.” [It is constrained by a number of factors.]

    Do you agree with the above ?

    And,

    you said :-

    “The width of the Indo-Gangetic plain is not impressive compared to the geographical spread of IE languages.”
    &
    “You need to consider geographical factors [in case of English].”

    But that only underlines what I said ! My point was about the *directions* of spread of IE languages from a (hypothetical) NW Indian IE homeland, not about the *extent*. The *extent* of spread in each direction naturally depends on the geography of the land in each direction !

    It is actually very simple.

    The width of the indo-gangetic plains is limited by the Bay of Bengal. That’s simple geography. No language can diffuse into the ocean, and would be restricted from eastwards expansion by mountains and forests of the Indian NE and Myanmar.

    You see : a hypothetical Indian Homeland for IE languages in NW India would still see diffusion in *all* directions. Naturally, the *extent* of spread in each direction is a separate question. It would be delimited by geography – Himalayas to the North and East, the coasts of BoB and Arabian Sea to the South and South-East. The North-West and West would have the largest area of land for diffusion. Thus, a hypothetical Indian-Urheimat still sees centrifugal diffusion, through geography restricts the *extent* of spread in all directions. It is still at the *centre* of linguistic diffusion, though the distances to the periphery differ in each direction.

     
  9. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I’m observing this discussion with some interest, but I’m afraid guest has made assertions that are in opposition to basic facts, and therefore he should explain.

    Assertion 1: The width of the indo-gangetic plains is limited by the Bay of Bengal. That’s simple geography. No language can diffuse into the ocean, and would be restricted from eastwards expansion by mountains and forests of the Indian NE and Myanmar.

    Assertion 2:  the *extent* of spread in each direction is a separate question. It would be delimited by geography – Himalayas to the North and East, the coasts of BoB and Arabian Sea to the South and South-East. The North-West and West would have the largest area of land for diffusion. 

    Sorry, physical geography shows otherwise. It is identically “easy” to move to the West as to the East of India (both are hard, but there are numerous ways to cross). Crossing into China in the North is a bit harder, but the height of the mountains is rather modest from the Arunachal side. So, there is no reason to argue that RV could not have transmitted anywhere but the West.

    Just 1000 years later, Buddhist ideas transmitted comfortably all across. Buddhist documents had the benefit of being transferred to paper rather early, which meant their transmission was much easier, as well – not requiring the accompaniment of family and children (which is essential for orally transmitted RV, till it was put down on paper).

    RV finally did succeed in transmitting to the south and East of India, but that was a very slow and arguably incomplete process.

    Regardless of whatever else you have to suggest in relation to RV, can you please prove that Sanskrit is spoken (or understood) anywhere outside India. I’m talking about the transmission of RV and Sanskrit out of India, not of the “ideas” or a few random words. Even Avesta is Sanskrit-like, but is almost the entire opposite of RV in its gods and even customs. How do you explain Avesta?

    How did people forget RV so quickly when it is designed never to be forgotten?

     
  10. Prem Chand

    @Guest

    ““Linguistic, cultural and/or demographic diffusion need not have any specific ‘geometry’.” [It is constrained by a number of factors.]

    Do you agree with the above ?”

    I am afraid I don’t agree. The origin of a useful invention like horse-drawn chariot (and the closely associated IE languages) is more likely to be at the center of its geographical spread. If the horse-drawn chariot was invented in NW India, it is puzzling why the Rig Veda didn’t spread more quickly towards the South and the Far East by a circuitous route through the Tarim basin at least.

     

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