5. Some new arguments
5.1. A REMARKABLE BOOK
of the mutual deafness of the pro- and anti-invasionist schools, the increasing
awareness of a challenge has led prominent scholars groomed in the invasionist
view to collect, for the first time in their careers, actual arguments
in favour of the Aryan Invasion Theory. As yet this
is never in the form of a pointwise rebuttal of an existing anti-invasionist
argumentation, a head-on approach so far exclusively adopted by one or
two non-invasionists.1 Nonetheless, some recent
contributions to the archaeological and physical-anthropological aspects
of the controversy pose a fresh challenge to the (by now often over-confident)
extremely important new synthesis of various types of data is provided
by Dr. Bernard Sergent in his book Genesis of India, as yet only
available in French.2 The book comes as a sequel
to his equally important book, Les Indo-Européens (1995).
Sergent is a Ph.D. in Archaeology with additional degrees in Physical Anthropology
and in History, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific
Research, and chairman of the French Society for Mythology.
Sergent’s objectives is to counter the rising tide of skepticism against
the AIT with archaeological and other proofs. In particular, he proposes
a precise identification of a particular Harappan-age but non-Harappan
culture with the Indo-Aryans poised to invade India: the Bactrian Bronze
Age culture of ca. 2000 BC. At the same time, he is quite scornful
of AIT critics and neglects to take their arguments apart, which means
that he effectively leaves them standing.
is very skeptical of the Aryan non-invasion theory, and dismisses it in
one sentence plus footnote as simply unbelievable and as the effect of
nationalistic blindness for the shattering evidence provided by linguistics.3
Nonetheless, it is important to note that, unlike Indian Marxists, he does
not show any contempt for Hinduism or for the idea of India. Most
people who analyze Indian culture into different contributions by peoples
with divergent origins do so with the implicit or explicit message that
“there is no such thing as Indian or Hindu culture, there is only a composite
of divergent cultures, each of which should break free and destroy the
dominant Brahminical system which propagates the false notion of a single
all-Indian culture”. Sergent, by contrast, admits that the ethnically
different contributions have merged into an admirable synthesis, e.g.: “One
of the paradoxes of India is its astonishing linguistic diversity (they
speak about five hundred languages there) compared with its cultural unity.”4
Rather than denying the idea of India, he strongly sympathizes with it:
though a construct of history, India is a cultural reality. This
French invasionist is more an Indian patriot than most Indian invasionists.
full justice to Sergent’s work, I must refer to the original, and I hope
it will soon be translated in English or Hindi. Here, we will only
discuss some of the most original or controversial points.
Talageri: Aryan Invasion Theory, a Reappraisal, passim; and K.D.
Sethna: The Problem of Aryan Origins, Aditya Prakashan, Delhi 1992
(1980), which includes a lengthy appendix dissecting Asko Parpola’s archaeological
Sergent: Genèse de l’Inde, Payot, Paris 1997.
Sergent: Genèse de l’Inde, p.370 and p.477 n-485.
Sergent: Genèse de l’Inde, p.9.
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