Social Scientist. v 27, no. 318-319 (Nov-Dec 1999) p. 89.


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BOOK REVIEW

Against Spurious History

Ram Sharan Sharma, Advent of the Aryans in India, pp. 130, price Rs. 195, 1999, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi

The Advent of the Aryans is an exciting time honoured problem, which continues to be a subject of everlasting debate. At present it is energised by an intellectual effervescence thanks to the ideologues of the Hindutva movement. There is a denial of any Aryan invasion, for the "Hindu Arya" has to be indigenous! The involvement of ethnic identity counters the logic that the Aryans are aliens.

Claim of biological descent from the people of early times is on the face of it absurd if not illogical. Hindutva perspective gives "Hindu Arya" an ancestry within Indian boundaries an area forming part of the nation-state of Bharat. The perspective attempts to make the Vedic corpus, the foundation of Indian civilisation, perhaps aims thereby to provide an unbroken lineal ancestry. In the present work, R.S. Sharma pleads for "testing aspects of Aryan Culture, and an analysis in a wider horizon not confined to Indian perspective", he adds, "more importantly we have to ask whether cultural traits known from textual lexical and linguistic data fit the archaeological reality". (p.10)

Many indologists have tackled the problem of the Original home of the Indo-Aryans. They relied on the following assumptions, which await proof (eg: G. Childe: The Aryans, Issac Taylor: Origins of the Aryans, P. Giles: Cambridge History of India, Vol.1, pp.66, etc.) a) There was originally a uniform Aryan race, the branches of which subsequently spread to various countries of Europe and Asia, the Indo-Aryans being one of them b) The original Aryan race was speaking a language, the various streams of which flowed along the migrating branches of the original stock c) The original home of the



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