Myth of the Aryans and Their Language!
When we discuss on Proto-Indo-European (PIE) group of languages from which, as per linguists, modern Indo-European languages emerged, let us begin from the word “Arya” to prove falsity of the PIE group of languages. Though Aryan Invasion Theory is being widely denied, under the disguise of PIE theory, similar notion is being nurtured. According to PIE theory the people speaking the same language migrated in groups in different directions from their original habitat resulting the similarities in Indo-European group of the languages. However mere few similarities in the so-called group of IE languages cannot be a foundation to make a blatant claim that PIE had a single origin.
In Rig Veda the word Arya appears only 36 times in 34 rhymes. The word mostly has been used to address the clan of Sudasa with few Vedic Gods like Indra, Mitra etc. It seems that all those who didn’t belong to Sudasa clan or Vedic God’s were Das, Pani, Dasyu’s (labeled as “Anarya” i.e. Non-Aryans, but Anarya word is found to be used in very later texts) to the composers of Rig Veda. The word nowhere is used to refer any race. According to Dr. Shrikant Talegari “Arya” means “Noble person” and is used in that context only.
According to Max Muller Arya means “Those who "ploughs". His clarification is invading Aryans were superior over natives because they were better agriculturists as they knew art of plough the fields. The meaning derived by Max Muller is utterly wrong because Vedic people were mostly pastoral community. Most of the Rig Vedic prayers and rituals were conducted to have increased live stock from divine blessings.
Most surprisingly Vedic people had no cognate for “plough”. They borrowed “Nangal” for plough from Dravidian stock. Had it been an agriculturist society they would certainly have a word for plough, but this is not a case.
Similarly various scholars have attempted to find real meaning of the word Arya. Bopp states that Arya means “to move on…to go” To Them Arya means “to give…to allot or hospitable.” To Bailey meaning of Arya is “to beget…born or nurturing.” Laroche states that Arya means “to fit…assemble skillfully.” Etc.
“Ar” is root whereas “Ya” is an adjective. Still the confusion over the meaning is apparent.
Now if “Arya” is a word from Indic languages, it must be present in all so-called IE languages…and it is, but with different meanings attached to them since it has been used in known history. As the words related with root “Ar” are not only found in so called Indic languages it also exists in Non-Indic languages as well.
In Armenian languages we find a close word to Arya, “Ari”, which means brave and noble but in Sanskrit “Ari” means enemy. In Native American languages we find another word “Ayr” which means “Man”. In Latin we find “Ariyanas, Ariya and Ariyana, significantly close to Arya. But in Latin above words mean “a region beyond east part of Persia. As is in Avesta we find “airyanem vaejah” which approximately means expanse of Aryans, from which it is supposed that the country name “Iran” has developed. Iran is equivalent to Aryan but defines geographical identity. In Avesta the word has been used to define geographical identity. Prakrit languages “Are” is used as a vocative case.
The word “Aristocracy” that includes “Ari” mean high people. Iran has used the word with many different meanings, but mostly as ethenonym. “Ar” is a common root that needs not to be having emerged within certain stock of the people located at some place. If such is the case it doesn’t clarify change in the meaning connected to it and original meaning getting so obscure if the word belonged to the same people those traveled in waves across the Eurasia.
There is no sufficient ethnic or genetic proof to substantiate existence of the Aryan race and its migration theory! Rare use of the word Arya in Rig Veda suggests that there was no special ethnic identity to this word.
Except in Iran, there is no similar Veda- like composition or religious rituals and beliefs are found in so-called world of Indo-European group of the languages! The grammar and alphabets are so much so distinct that it becomes impossible to connect a language with other.
The root concept itself is problematic, which evolved in India in later course of the time. It was believed that every word has a root, but when many Sanskrit words were found those could not be said to have been originated from any root, the grammarians chose to use the closet root.
In Nirukta (A Sanskrit scripture that explains the origin of the words), Yaska has clearly stated that any word if cannot be found derived from the obvious root, either closest root should be taken into the consideration or it should be taken as it is with general meaning in practice. In Indo-European language group theory, “root” has got over prominence without taking into the consideration limitations of the root concept.
For Example, Yaska has explained about a word “Vadhu” (Bride). The root of Vadhu is “vadh” (To kill). Now when a bride is not meant to kill hence Yaska clarifies that instead of “Vadh”, the closest root is to be selected and that is “Vah” (Who is being moved). This can give an idea of the problems involved with root concept.
First the word emerges to which some meaning is attached later. It will be a mistake to consider the word appeared out of any root. Hence the root “Ar’ and the words derived from it should be treated as independent developments. There are few similarities than the dissimilarities in the so called group of IE languages.
Most of the Vedic consonants are missing in all other IE Languages Also no tribe that settled in Europe in Iron Age or later bear name that could be remotely associated its origin with Sanskrit. This also makes IE group of the languages theory entirely unreliable. Had the people originally belonged to one stock, they would have carried the some titles, originating from a single language, but this is not the case.
For example every so-called IE language is named after the name of region or title of the clan people. Latin emerged in Lituana region hence name Latin. This applies to every language of the world. But Sanskrit is a sole language that is not named after any region or group of the people. Prior to Panini, language had no name at all. It used to be called “Bhasha” and “Chanda’s”. Sanskrit means “Modified” . As rightly Michael Witzel has observed Vedic language is separated from spoken vernaculars. Since we find the close similarities in Avestan and Rig Vedic languages, it would not be impossible to conclude that the both the languages had geographical closeness.
We can find the linguistic similarities even in modern times in bordering regions of Afghanistan and North-west frontiers of India. There is general agreement among scholars that Avestan geography is region of Helmand River. The Vedic people must have settled in or around this region which explains the striking similarities between linguistic and religious forms of both the religions. No need of invasion or migration of certain stock of the people is required to explain similarities in the languages.
The similarities those are few in number in the so-called IE language group has to be attributed to the following reasons:
1. Independent developments in the regions those cannot be associated with the modern National geographies.
2. Borrowing in the course of time when coming into the contact, for trade, wars or travels.
If we look at the timeline, pre-history of Europe and India, we find tremendous cultural difference. Had Vedic people been original part of those cultures, even in the remote past, religious practices or cultural beliefs would too have been similar to some extent. But that is not the case. Hence invasion theories or migration theories have very loose ground to stand upon. Rather we find close contact of Greeks with Persian Empire from 600 BC. The exchange of words, ideas, myths etc. are quite natural in the course of the time.
Hence the fact is IE group of languages is a myth. Jumping on the conclusion to give birth to superiority theories has proven fatal in the recent past.
Every region develops their language in the course of the time independently to suit their social communication and religious needs. Though there is exchange of ideas, words, basic core of the language remains intact. And Sanskrit is an artificial language which only can have been developed from existing vernaculars. Existence of hundreds of Dravid, Munda, Kol and Sindhi words in Rig Veda makes it clear that it has been borrowing words from different locations.
Even today, though the world has come far closer, we find independent languages spoken in every region. There are similarities in bordering regions, but we can trace drastic changes as we enter the core area of the region. We also find smaller or bigger alterations in vocabulary or grammar with the change in local geography. The reality is origin of any language depends on the local geography and the ecological as well geological elements those are predominant in every region, affecting the vocabulary, expressions and even pronunciations.
Aryan Invasion Theory or Aryan Migration Theory and even Group of Indo-European languages are the farfetched ideas those may amuse us but there is hardly solid ground to make these theories stand!