Rückspiegel  --  PRATIBIMBA -- Rear View Mirror

N.Kazanas, Athens, is the director of Omilos Meleton and otherwise known only for some papers and a non-Indological book, according to the Libr. of Congress:

Kazanas, N.  Prodomenos Marx.   Ath¯ena : Homilos Melet¯on, c1991.
Description:   195 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.  LC Call No.:   HX73.K4 1991
Notes: Includes biblographical references (p. 185-186) and index.
Subjects:    Communism.

He has just  published (7/3/2001) an expanded version of his thoughts about the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory. It was  first broadcast in the vociferous Indian Civilization list on the internet, as announced on April 27, 2001 and found in their file section.  My brief reply in Ind. Civ. on 4/27/2001.

The new version is readily accessible also on the Indian 'patriotic' website called Voice of India: http://www.voi.org/general_inbox/Kazanas/ejvs7_3.pdf

All of this was rashly announced by the internet personage Vishal Agarwal on various email lists (e.g., Ind. Civ., no. 7009)  as follows:

From: VAgarwalV@cs.com
Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2001 17:57:56 -0000
Subject: [IndianCivilization] Comment on EJVS 7.3

Dr. Kazanas has written a comment titled 'AIT and Scholarship' on EJVS 7.3 (by Dr. Michael Witzel) which is now available in PDF format at

[Actually, in the Ind.Civ. files section, under:  EJVS 7_3.pdf ;  -- MW]

In fact, only about half of Kazanas' paper deals with EJVS  7-3. Below, please find my criticism of K's rambling account, followed by Kazanas' brief non-answer. As in my original email messages to Ind.Civ. etc. (messages nos. 7068, 7070, resent 7073 on  7/5/2001), my reply is divided into two parts, a short summary  (A) and a longer, detailed criticism (B).


(A)   SHORT reply (7/5/2001):  (first sent to Indian Civilization etc )

Remarks on:

N. Kazanas, Athens,    'The AIT and Scholarship'

V. Agrawal, in his continuing crusade against anything I write or say has announced, on various email lists,  another web paper by N. Kazanas, "The AIT and scholarship",  however Agarwal did so under the misleading titles such as 'Comment on EJVS 7.3" or "Dr. Kazanas has written a comment titled 'AIT and Scholarship' on EJVS 7.3 (by Dr. Michael Witzel)...." This is a clear  misrepresentation. Kazanas' comments make out only about on half of the 31 pp. paper; the rest is about anything BUT  about EJVS 7-3. Instead it is  about all sort of things, briefly described below. In addition some of the announcements  Agarwal sent to various groups have the wrong  pd name.  Speaking of eagerness...

This  silliness apart,  Kazanas' web paper is a 31 pp. update of a earlier version published on the  net earlier this spring.    I won't spend all of this holiday in going into all minute details. The main points are clear enough. Also, because Kazanas' points are often answered by EJVS 7-3, which he does not seem to have  read  carefully or only in certain small sections, it seems (examples  below).  I was not impressed then with his first paper, (as expressed on the web at the time), and I am certainly not impressed now:

And, for many reasons:

This a very hasty further update, exemplified by  many inconsequential typos, some of which are more symptomatic:  the name Gamkrelidze appears as   Gamkrelidge p.9, Gamkreligze p.14,  and:  as G. and V.  Iranov (for Ivanov) p.9;  Kocchar also as Cocchar (p.1);  kaputt as kaput (p. 11);  RV 3.33 as repeatedly as  III ,3  (p.2), and so on and so forth.

Or, what about  little  facts like calling  J. Shaffer repeatedly  an "Anthropologist" (p.20, etc.). Has K. read any paper by this serious  ground digging (and interpreting)  ARCHAEOLOGIST? Not mentioned in the bibliography.

More serious is the constant use of  Saptasindhu, which simply is not a Rgvedic nor even a Vedic word: read Sapta SindhavaH. -- Saptasindhu seems to be a neologism. This casts some doubt on  K's data and knowledge of Vedic , to begin with. Much more to come.

Again more importantly,  this  paper  is a discussion of anything but the Aryan Immigration Theory (AIT), as announced in the title. We find endless musings on  topics such as:   Plato's Academy and its medieval and modern offshoots § 9;   the state of general modern  scholarship §10; further general musings on politics, Krishnamurty and Plato, p. 14-15;  on some personal experiences (read: disappointments) of K., p. 15, repeated on p. 18 and in note 5;  further on  Economics § 14;  on a  strange form of revisionist archaeology in § 15; on Slavic mythology and australopithecins which are called "very relevant to the AIT controversy"(!?);  further on:  Classical Studies and Greek § 16; on the so-called supramundane state (of the mind)  § 17;  more irrelevant items could be added from  the notes, such as  note 6 on Greek and meditation...

All of it is framed by my Sarasvati notes (p. 1) and 'Professor Witzel again' (p. 20)... as if the famous Indian framework device (Witzel 1987) would lend consistency to these musings. As little as it does to the Mahabharata, to which this paper may be aptly compared, in its stray observations and off the track insertions of whole chapters.

Since much of this  can hardly be termed, with Agarwal,  a discussion of  EJVS 7-3, I will not discuss these extraneous, personal musings and convictions. They have little or no bearing on the topic, EJVS 7-3, or even on "AIT".  I will also not discuss  in detail K's  various forms of gratuitous advice to me, such as  on my  "ill-informed mode of attack"  (p. 20) , on revisionists and communism (N.4) or on 'cottage industry' (N. 7) where he seems to be unaware of the Indian context.

I will also not comment much on his final, truly silly proposal to admit the AIT debate to a "court" of non-specialists, set up in order to let them judge about the "truth" of the matter.  Nobody in the fields concerned is going to be convinced by such a "court" of lay persons. Anyhow, we do precisely so in any *scholarly* conference where people from diverse specialties are/can be present.  We certainly do discuss with non-specialists (as daily on this and other lists), and we actually do so intentionally in our yearly Harvard Round Tables, in an open and  challenging (as people present will tell you) but ultimately non-belligerent  way, --- which is  quite different from anything we read on this and similar  lists, where Indologists  have been called anything from communists to fascists.  Silly, too, but worth repeating.

The problem in the  AIT debate, however, lies in use and misuse of facts, about which non-specialists can talk forever, but which they all too often cannot independently  judge and counter-question. Read every second letter to "Indian Civilization"!  And, a proposal such as K.'s  is not unlike the  decree of the Linguistic  Society of Paris in the 19th c. to stop all discussion of the origin of language which had some effect, but it certainly has not stopped the discussion. K's proposal is simply ...  silly.


One more important point before going into details:

Kazanas in his web paper, just like his comrade in arms, Agarwal, quote prolifically from various emails of various lists to make their points.  This further degrades the level of discussion. Email exchanges are by their very nature written down CONVERSATION. Using such off the cuff remarks, often distant from each other by years, would be like reporting any private / party  conversation or even hearsay as "facts" or "data" from articles or book written  by an author. Normally, we even ask an author's permission to quote from his/her conversation or letter, precisely as it *not* published data but (private) conversation.  Public or private conversation is carried out on the spur of the moment, and not always a  well reflected, considered   statement of *all* facts known or remembered.  It is... well, conversation, where one may forget overlook details that one  would  include in a paper written in the quietness of one's study...  All this quite apart from the fact that such quotes are often taken out of the immediate context of the  conversation on the web.

If this is followed up further by the likes of K. and A.,  conversation -- already very strained -- becomes virtually impossible. The web is full of this kind of exchanges. By their very nature,  that is conversation, one may and will change one's opinion due to such conversation.  The nature of conversation is after all:  exchange.  Of course, this is not really part of the Indian tradition or ethos:  change of opinion often is regarded as "defeat." We want to learn from such conversations.  There is a serious cultural difference here, usually not noted. But very important in our context.  As one Indian colleague told me, some 20 years ago, proudly:  "I never change my opinion".  Well, good for him!

I will not refer to such web chit-chat in my papers, nor even  here in this email response. If it was done universally, it would lower the level of scholarly discussion to party chatter.


To come to the core of this Mahaa-Kaajaana, then. My major complaints about this paper are the following:

* K. does not have a firm grasp on the complexity of the AIT discussion;  he confuses, like Elst, invasion (intentionally) with immigration, trickling in etc.;  this leaves all disturbing details by the wayside and simplifies his job enormously: always beating down the straw man, 'invasions', as in  his elaborate Norman example!  In fact, his summary (p. 22)  § 19 reads like a  farce... (for details, see further below).

* K.  is linguistically wrong on many occasions. He has no clear idea of IE data and reconstructions (e.g. his discussion of ratha, reit, reith). On reconstructions (p. 13) he declares that they are conjectural forms,  "proximity, not laws..." (detailed in note 3). This does not betray a good education in linguistics, after all one of his major bones of contention.  But, he is rather judgmental: linguistics is "arrogant", "cannot be a science", and (note 9)  even a "refinement  can add little".  Sounds very much like Rajaram to me. We had a  discussion on these points. just a few days ago. We will see who it is who is judging linguistics here.

Instead, we find major misunderstandings of the linguistic process, such as in K's  long footnote discussion of Greek monsa/ mousa (incidentally, I so not see no real  hist. ling. problems here, once K.would  read the relevant handbooks !), where he complains that the reverse process, from IE to Vedic,  would not yield a Vedic word, -- as if all theoretically possible IE words would and should be found in the restricted Vedic corpus!

* Still worse, he does not even seem to be able to *read* a linguistic paper such as Hock's (1999), where he simply takes out what he likes and  overlooks(?)  the main conclusion by Hock (the impossibility of an IE exodus from India) something  that goes against K's anti-immigration and pro-Out of India theory.  (Details below, THREE  times).

* If all of this was not enough, K.  makes major mistakes in  Vedic vocabulary and grammar (see below on bRhant, ratha-vaahana, etc.). Too many to list here. See the section on chariots, where many of them occur: even the main hymn in question is not read carefully.  Also, the methods of philology are not followed; only impressionistic data are presented. The same applies to his confusion of mythological data with real life situations.

* Counter-evidence from other sciences is gallantly neglected (e.g.,  Sarasvati case § 2, dismissal of comparisons of chariots for Egypt to China,  astronomy and archaeology, language § 6), and  the many points where  comparisons of various sciences lead to contradictions are not mentioned at all, they are simply passed over in silence. True monolateralism, -- repeatedly criticized in EJVS 7-3.

My conclusion about this hastily expanded paper then is the same as last time: a long-winded discussion  (with many extraneous musings!),  but without real insight into the intricacies of the so-called AIT, of linguistics, of Vedic philology, and even of grammar.

We can  put  this paper  ad actas like so many others of K's friends, and return to our actual work.   Pity, for  another lost (holi)day.

Cheers, MW

(B)  7/5/2001   (sent to Ind.Civ.  as message 7068, resent 7073)

Some detailed  remarks on:
N. Kazanas, Athens,    'The AIT and Scholarship'

I won't repeat all of K's propositions; they have to be read along with my commentary, starting with  K's page 1:

§ 2 , p.1-2: SARASVATI.

The discussion of the  very fact of the *confluence* of the Beas and Satlej is important as it indicated further pirating of water, away from  the smaller and smaller (after the loss of Yamuna) Sarasvati. RV 3.33 shows that  confluence.

On the confluence of the 2 rivers in RV 3.33:  two  are named consistently, and the confluence itself; where exactly the river was *crossed*  (as stressed by K.) is of secondary  importance. But, the poet mentions the confluence in the  context of *crossing* them in  this hymn, in vs. 2: samaaraNe  uurmibhiH, anyaa vaam anyaam api eti...   So what?

His next point, the late, reminiscence  hymn 5.53.9  about one river =  where "sindhu"  is mentioned. Is it THE  SINDHU or the Vipaaz/Zutudrii? Not thought of by K.

K. stresses the Sarasvati designation nadiitamaa "best of all streams",  and deduces that this mans that the Sarasvati must be the biggest river, etc. He has not understood well, it seems,  the nature of RV poetry where a poet  will call anything the best when he wants to praise someone/something . And of course,  in verse 3 of 3.33,   it is not the not the Sarasvati but of either the Vipaaz or the Zutudrii (or the united stream) that is called nadiitamaa!! Following K's logic:  by the time of RV 3, the new river Beas/Sutlej would be as highly regarded as the Sarasvati! Non licet.

RV 6.52.6 sarasvatii pinvanmaana sindhubhiH  doesn't prove anything but that the river has many sources. as any look on the map of Haryana will show even now: there are numerous channels: Marakanda, Sarsuti, Chautang etc., etc. The VS still mentions them; also notice the  7 sisters (or  = Panjab rivers?) in 6.61.10.  These Haryana rivers are small Siwalik rivulets, and when it rains, indeed, with their help the Sarasvati will swell. No need to make a great river out of this kind of evidence, after the Yamuna and Satlej had left the Sarasvati...  The praise of 6.59 is typical RV  hyperbole, and verses 11- 12 clearly refer also to heaven, interspace and earth: no mundane Sarasvati here! - So much for RV poetry. In  short, where ever we look, we get interpretations different from K.'s

Finally, K. simply takes samudra as 'ocean' -- in spite of the warnings in EJVS 7-3.  That is naive. More study (or reading the relevant papers) is needed.

To conclude, then,  that RV 3.33, 3.53  is "unclear"  is just K.'s  *interpretation*, the text is clear enough: 2 rivers which join.

I had been through all of these details  in 1984 (see:  Sur le chemin du ciel) , where some materials and most of  the results are given.

In sum, this collection made by K.  is  just a one-sided collection with monolateral interpretation,  of RV mantras, which does not include the historical  development of the RV and its geographical details. A collection made  just to underline that "S. is a great river". Well, S. is indeed lauded, overpraised (among others, nadiitamaa!) but also  a "river" extending from the heavens to the samudra... (see Witzel 1984).    As always:  myth, history and contemporaneous, politically motivated praise overlap in the RV.


K.' s discussion of the transfer of river names suffers from a lack of  observation about what actually happens in India and Nepal, which I have described, not read by K, in   Witzel 1993, 1999.  Especially in 1993,  I have described in detail how Aryanization/Sanskritization  works, that is very  gradually,  including: translation (sadaaniiraa), adaptation of a local word (gangaa) or simple takeover of a local word (zutudrii).

As Witzel 1993 would tell K.,  rivers are not only renamed by "conquerors", but also by slow, peaceful settlement (e.g., Nepal with the continuing eastward move of Nepali/Gorkhali/Khas kura speakers...)

K's hometown example,  some  20th cent. Greek refugee movements out of Turkey, does not help here. But, his Turkish (originally pastoral) neighbors could have taught him something else:  they took their  river  names with them, all the way from Xinjiang to Anatolia, where we have virtually the same names for rivers (type: ak su, kara su, kizil irmak, among others),  -- often, but not always, supplanting local names;  others are adapted such as the Euphrates > Firat.

So why is "implausible" (K, in bold)  for people on the  move to take their river names with them? It happened in India  itself: Gomal (*gomatii ) in E. Afghanistan ---> Gomatii/Gumti in UP., etc.

In sum,  lack of circumspection and deeper reflection of the problems involved.  The whole section is armchair speculation, not based on real life examples.

(§ 3)  THE NORMANS etc.

Normans  are one example of many for elite dominance (Renfrew),  and one of  very real invasion, not of other  processes (acculturation, etc.) NB., an  elite dominance which did not work out in the  end: a very much changed Anglo-Saxon language re-asserted itself in the end.

So what, then? I have discussed all sorts  of scenarios already in 1995. The early RV period  may have seen many or all of these possibilities, in the various  areas of the NW:   Renfrew-like elite dominance (Norman style) , acculturation (Nepali style) etc., etc.  Focusing, like K. and Elst,  on "invasion" only obscures the evidence.

K's  (i.e. Hock's) counter-examples: migration of Gypsies and Parsis, won't work, as these are clearly defined and socially marked subgroups within a larger society that did not accept them or did not integrate them completely. The "Aryanization" of NW India is something completely different. Do we have Vedic Aryans now who are NOT  Hindus and go to the next Ganesa temple? Or cattle herders who move about the country with their herds using Vedic mantras only in their religious services?

K.  also misquotes : I did  NOT say that  "the Aryan immigrants had adopted the ìmaterial culture and lifestyleî of the Harappans (Allchins 1997: 223; also Witzel 1995: 113)"

K. concludes then:

"we discover that the substratum thinking is invasion and conquest"  or:

"But invasion is the substratum of all
such theories even if words like ëmigrationí are used."

"Indologists of all hues can use as much as they like the term ìmigrationî or its equivalents. There was none. You cannot have a migration with the results of an invasion. If there was an entry, it was an invasion"

This neglects all discussion, elaborately given in EJVS 7-3, of various forms of acculturation -- both ways from local people to intruders and vice versa, and is following the rather on the  simple-minded line of K. Elst's assertion (1999) that every type of Aryan move into the  subcontinent is an "invasion".  I guess,  in Elst's homeland, then, he also sees a present  "invasion" of Moroccans, Congolese, Hutus and Tutsis?  And K. should study the Albanian "invasions" in the middle ages which lead to Albanian speaking villages right in his neighborhood, in Attika! Again, arm chair sociology and history.

The details  of all the immigration processes in Vedic times still need to be sorted out, by a new investigation of all passages in the  RV.  No one has done so. All of the  above is therefore so much speculation. Clearly, there is no real  discussion going on in K's paper, no trying to find out what actually  happened in all detail, but a simple assertion of FAITH: There is no such thing as an Aryan (coming) to S. Asia,  called "Invasion".


Again, K's summary of earlier discussions is misleading. Meadow and Patel 1997 indeed say that no clear finds of horse  bones in the subcontinent exist before  c. 2000/1700 BCE, contradicting Bokonyi (then, just passed away but writing in the same volume). Meadow has repeated his views in 1998 (in my bibliography, not mentioned by  K.), and orally many times as well, since his office is across my street).

Note that even Bokonyi, who wants to find a horse at Harappan Sukordata,  insisted on import of  Equus caballus from central Asia (not mentioned by K !).  All other finds of "horses" until today have not been substantiated, whatever archaeologists or historians may say. If I want to identify a horse bone, I go to a paleontologist, not to someone who specializes in potsherds or inscriptions.  Whatever other equid bones (of the locally *indigenous* onager, mostly) have been found were not clear enough to identify them as horses.

Also, it does not matter if indeed one or two horses were found in an Indus settlement. A rich Indus trade may have imported one or two for curiosity or as status symbol. Camels, if  indeed found in an excavation of the  colosseum at Rome, do not make for an indigenous  camel population in Rome or Latium.

In sum, Bokonyi,  Meadow & Patel  demonstrated  that the horse (Equus caballus) is not an indigenous  inhabitant of S. Asia, and Meadow shows that none have been securely identified before 1700  in E. Baluchistan -- whatever archaeologists or historians may say. Let K's  "new"  bones (after 1994/1997) be processed by paleontologists, then we can talk...

In sum, K is ill-informed about the intricacies of the  palaeontological and archaeological  background.


The introduction to this section borders  on the unbelievable. We have  a few really existing chariots from Egypt.  Since they are close to what we find in sculptures and texts from the  Near East, India and China, why not to  compare the still preserved Egyptian chariots? Especially so since the wood (including birch bark) used in at least one of them (at Florence) has come from the Anatolia/Armenian areas?  That is, close to the Mitanni and other early chariot users.

The chariot suddenly  appears on the scene from the Urals to the  Near East in the first half of the 2nd mill. BCE and a little later in China, obviously by diffusion, so why not compare?

That Vedic chariots are made for local woods, not Armenian etc. ones, and of  the woods of the Panjab plains (not Kashmiri birch, for example), does not matter at all. You always take what is available. What is K's (and other people's, writing on the chat lists) problem?

K's ensuing  discussion of anas and  ratha suffers from philological and linguistic  problems. I have  no idea about K's training, but the mistakes are glaring. Note the following.

* RV 3.33.9 anasaa rathena has commonly been translated 'with wagon and chariot".  Since it is Vizvaamitra's whole Bharata clan/tribe which arrives here by trek (graama, vs. 11 ) it is obvious that the usual transl. applies. One does not transport one's goods, building materials for (bamboo) houses etc. on  chariots  but on oxen wagons (also, -- referred to by aghnyau  in the [NB additional!] final verse, 3.33. 13. (NB: wagons, not "carts").  The hymn has been discussed forever, no indication in K's bibliography.

K's own translation "a chariot which is a cart" is improbable in such a context. And, of course, "high priests" (no such thing in the RV! ) just like any other important person can drive on chariots,  -- for  example to brahmodyas, as seen in the [admittedly later] Brahmana texts, where there is more and clearer information of this.   That Indra and Usas  can also sit in a wagon should not surprise. You drive chariots when the terrain is flat, otherwise you have to walk, ride horses (like the Azvins) or sit on your wagon. That doesn't turn  a ratha into an anas and vice versa!  If K. wants to push this innovative interpretation, he has to do so for ALL occurrences of ratha and anas (not to forget zakaTI!)  in the RV at least. Slow, tedious, boring philology, but that's how the game is played. Anything else is just impressionistic.

RV 1.121. 7 of course refers precisely  to the above scenario: anarvize pazviSe turaaya 'for strong (lord) who is seeking cattle,  [with] his clan [driving] on wagons.'  Again, people on the move:  The whole clan riding  wagons, not chariots!  Did K., really read the stanza?  -- And, of course  RV 8.91.7 distinguishes 3(!)  types of [axle etc.] holes, of the ratha, anas and the yoke.

The discussion of rathavaahana is even stranger. The word has been translated as a vehicle used  for transporting a ratha. In the hymn in question, 6.75.8 (and  in later texts such as the Sutras) other things are transported as well, just as here: weapons, armor (aayudha, varman) ... and "the ratha" itself:  tatraa ratham upa zagmaM sadema. "on this (rathavaahana) we wish to put the useful/strong ratha."     So what is K's problem? How can K. say  (p. 5) that the hymn  does not refer "to the car itself" : ratha occurs  in stanza 8 (in a simile) and in stanza 6  (rathe tiSThan) referring to the occupant of a chariot (normally, ratheSTha). In sum,  which RV is he reading?  --

K.  translates differently:  ëvehicle/transport that is a chariotí, -- which is a pure assumption, fine. But, had he done the most basic philological checking of other words ending in -vaahana in the RV, he would have seen that they all mean "carrying, driving something":

= ratha-vaaahan, kravya-, havya-, deva-, madhu-, vasu-,   and nR-vaahaNa;

= "a vehicle which is "a chariot, flesh [of a dead body], offerings, a god(!!), honey, goods,  and  a man"   ???

Note that the accent also agrees; in all cases it is on vaa'hana. More certainly in Wackernagel-Debrunner (not with me at here home,  on a public holiday, more  later).

If this is basic lack of philology,  the translation of ratha iva bRhatii (6.61.13) as "big like a chariot" (said of the Sarasvati) goes against *anything* we teach even 1st year Sanskritists: in the Veda, bRhant- primarily means 'high', not 'big'. Check any dictionary. [As Aufrecht said in his RV introduction : Panini would have whipped his 1st year high school students! {Sextaner}].  Same meaning in the Iranian counterpart  berezant- (=b@r@zaNt), and further westward in Europe. (NB: the "High Sarasvati" as a river??)

Another basic blunder is a grammatical one:  nouns  in -ana, like vaa'h-ana, are nomina actionis, esp. those with accent on the root; they are NOT  nomina agentis (the few that exist have accent on the final syllable ). Thus "driving/pulling" not "drivers/pullers"   --   K.'s translations (and his criticism of Whitney's AV transl.) fail because of his neglect of these basic grammatical facts. -- (Also, he has not read J. Narten on prapharvii).

Other curiosities:

"As oxen were also yoked to cars for races (X 102) we need not dwell on this point."  This is of course the VERY SPECIAL case of  Mudgalani's race. Not your usual chariot race. Non licet.

K's whole discussion on 1,3,4,7-wheeled rathas is misguided. His examples for the  RV all refer to mythology,  where anything goes; further, pars pro toto 1.53.9, 6.54.3; the sun obviously has 1 wheel  (as in 7.63.2 and probably in 1.164.2); this is old, IE  symbolism (before any chariot, but using the just invented wagon wheel). K. better had done a study of RV expression and myth before writing this section. Of course, mythological chariots are not always or even rarely  like the real life (Near Eastern etc.) ones. How can one even conceive such a idea?

For the rest, he better had studied  wagons/carts  versus  ratha. A cart (such as an Indus ox cart) is not  a sport/war ratha  and the  jury on the original place of invention of the chariot (Mesopotamia or steppes /Urals) still is out. The early Sintashta chariots really are pre-chariots, their narrow width indicates their (probable) local origin from wagons.

K's final sentence:   "the Near Eastern chariot canít tell us anything useful about the RV date" is plainly wrong: the chariot appears almost simultaneously from Egypt to the steppes and China. So why can the well depicted and still existing Near Eastern ones not tell us something about the RV ones and their probable date?

Ratha and cakra  (p.6)

K. claims ratha 'chariot'  also for "Germanic" reith/reita  and Baltic  ratai/reita 'car'.

However,  IE  *reidh 'to drive, to be in motion' is found in Celtic  (Middle Irish riiad), O. Norse riida to ride', Engl.. ride, O.Norse reid 'the riding, vehicle', Engl. road, O.High German reita 'vehicle, etc. All from Proto-Germanic *raidoo, IE < *roidhaa (Pokorny 861).

ALL of which has nothing to do with the word for 'wheel': IE  * rotHo- 'wheel'   (laryngeal H) etc.

In sum,  a  |dh|   ain't a   |tH|  (with laryngeal).  Two different roots.  At least after the Junggrammatiker, 130 years ago. Another return to a long overcome past, like SS Misra's return to the IE studies of the early 19th century....

IE *retH, rotH  'to roll' etc., is the root from which  Skt. ratha is derived. In most languages the corresponding noun  still means 'wheel' (Pokorny 866). Why not check there and in Mayrhofer under ratha? All details (not all quoted in EJVS  by me) are there,  including change of accent and change of meaning from 'wheel to  'unit of wheels' and hence 'chariot'.   Plus, compare the recent linguistic update by Raulwing which is on the extremely skeptical side of the field, but basically sound. (P. Raulwing, Horse, Chariots and Indo-Europeans. Foundations and Methods of Charioty Research from the Viewpoint of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics. Budapest : Archaeolingua [Series Minor 13]  2000)

Strange (p.7):

"Old Slavonic has  ... ëcarí or ëchariotí kol- which is also the ëwheelí kol-o.  ...  no other IE branch has this stem to designate ëcar, chariotí ...  If the chariot  had indeed spread from the Urals (and gone east with the Indo-Iranian branch, as Prof Witzel maintains), we would expect this stem kol- to denote ëcarí, and not only ëwheelí, in some (be it one!)  other of the IE branches. ""

As far as I have seen,  no one (not even Herodotos) puts the Proto-Slaves anywhere in the Urals (or even in the lower Ukraine).  The Ukraine was North-Iranian (Scythian ) speaking . So why should the Proto-SLAVIC word for 'vehicle' have spread with the  (proto-?)Indo-Iranians??

K's conclusion is amusing:  "this would not mean that the rigvedic ratha came from the Near East, since the Harappans already had the technology for its construction ? and, still less, from the Urals"

How does he know?  The Harappans could build wheels, yes, but where is their spoke wheel chariot?  And don't tell me: Sethna's wobbly "spoked-wheel" Indus signs...


Forgetting about the Sphinx and other irrelevant materials, the Pleiades materials have been discussed at length in an earlier number of  EJVS  by Achar, Plofker, and me. There is no need, according to Plofker, even to take the direction of the 'not moving'  Pleiades as a description of their spring time position.  Be that as it may.   K. simply forgets  my REPEATED point that a ZB which knows iron (now dated c. at 1000 BCE only), chariots,  and is close  to the Buddha's life time is simply  *impossible* at 2000, or 3000 BCE.   --   End of discussion.

A similar discussion applies to the Jyotisa text.  As done  in EJVS 7-3 (but not mentioned by K) .  If we accept (and Plofker etc. does not even accept that)   that the hypothetical observations of the Jyotisa were taken about 1400 or even 1800 BCE, a text such as the Jyotisa  one is not possible at that time:   its meter and language is that of the  past few centuries BCE.  All discussed in detail.  End of discussion.


Kennedy's papers and book (2000) speak about bones only  (Palaeontology). Among the few early ones that have been excavated at Harappa etc. he finds differences even between Harappan and  Mohenjo Daro. But no Aryan  bones. Nor do I.  This is  the wrong place, wrong time. And maybe, as I pointed out, the gene flow, if from Central Asia,  is minimal anyhow. See the example of the Hungarian *invaders*  quoted in EJVS 7-3.

MtDNA also has been discussed, but this usually is more 'static', points to the  first influx of Homo sapiens to S.Asia and to some major later influx. K. finds   ---as a Sanskritist-- faults with one of the leaders of the genetic studies, Cavalli-Sforza. Fine. We will wait for K's first genetic paper.

The male non-recombinant Y chromosome (not mentioned by K.) will tell us more. Too early to tell in detail at this moment. Several  historical  levels of influx can be seen even now, though.

I have quoted Kennedy 's position as state of the art: No influx.  But now see the conclusion K.  takes from there:

"there was no invasion and the IndoAryans are indeed indigenous."

This is, sorry to say, simple-minded and disregards all that I have discussed in EJVS 7-3.  First, "invasion" is not necessary. How many more times to tell that (of course, K calls me an invasionist, following Elst's "logic" that any incursion must be an invasion. I have protested this and my 'classification' many times, also in EJVS 7-3.   K. has not read it.)

Second, why a simple dichotomy between invasion : indigenous Indo-Aryans? As if there were not many other scenarios possible  (also discussed in EJVS 7-3.) Therefore, simple-minded indeed: If not A, then B.  Fine in logic, but not in complex historical and societal developments. (Others on the internet, in the Ind.Civ. list, have followed the same line. It is, I repeat, simple-minded).

§8  BMAC

The  BMAC has been updated in EJVS  (no longer just 1950-1700 only).

K. is fascinated by the trail leading back to the Urals. The whole matter is very complex, too. As I probably said (or even printed) there is mutual influence of the areas north and south of the steppes. Comparatively little evidence so far, but clear enough. See Hiebert et al. (1995 sqq.).

Further, late BMAC influence (even the 'Priest King") in the Indus  is becoming more and more obvious. Whether IA-s were involved in this is unclear, and not very likely.

At any rate, we have trails leading from the Urals to Bactria and from Bactria into the Indus. Much has been written on this, all not even mentioned by  K (see my data in EJVS  and in 1999/2000!)

Sarianidi is a special case. He denies steppe influence even when he stands on it, on steppe pot sherds in the BMAC  area (I have seen the photo). No further comment necessary.           Another  monolateralist.

Further details: We  do not have Misra's new work (Date of the RV,  1999?). I don't expect  it to be of relevance after what he has written so far.   J. Nichols' papers of 1997sqq. with an proposed IE homeland in the "vicinity of the Bactria-Sogdiana area"  falls flat due to the strong non-IE substrate layer in the BMAC area (Witzel 1999), a layer also clearly  found in local BMAC non-IE mythology (Francfort).

Leaving aside fantasies, such as those of G. Owens, about still another cradle of mankind (p.9),  if it still could get worse, K. quotes HH Hock as propounding  "the seminal fact that Hock finds no linguistic difficulties in the proposition  that the IE branches moved out of India (Hock 1999: 16)."

K. must have done some very  quick reading, indeed.

For, Hock continues on the same page (16 sq.)  "...it has consequences which, to put it mildly, border on the improbable and certainly would violate basic principles of simplicity. ....  The "PIE- in-India" hypothesis thus runs into severe difficulties as regards plausibility and simplicity... speakers of Indo-Aryan must have migrated out of an Eurasian homeland and INTO INDIA" (last 2 words in bold).

Why this "oversight" by K? He  actually misrepresents  Hock's position! (repeated 2 more  times in this paper! see p.14, and end p.24). K's vociferous friend Agarwal would call it at least a lie, and Kalyanaraman would come with his favorite "suppressio veri"

Happily, the rest is  musings...

On p.12, we find some serious and, I now venture to say, unjust characterizations:

K. deplores my 'intolerance':

"intolerance is displayed clearly in Prof Witzelís wholesale attack on non-invasionists in Frontline Oct. 13, 2000" and on Leach: "Leach who, as an anthropologist ìof another generation... could not judge much of the relevant evidence independently: his is another non-specialistís opinion"
"The only specialists competent to judge the AIT are, then, Sanskritists like Prof Witzel. "

Yes, but only when it comes to language and texts. I do and did not claim to independently judge archaeology or genetics. To say differently is slander.

"its absurdity is shown by the fact that even S S Misra, a bona fide Sanskritist and comparativist, Professor at Benares, was included in that Frontline list! No, Prof Witzel seems to say, that only invasionist sanskritists are competent to judge"

I have already explained (in EJVS 7-3 at great length, and so has Hock in 1999) why SS Misra cannot be taken seriously:  all bona fide does not  help here :  he is "back to the 19th century".   --   And THAT is why he has been included in the Frontline list.  He may not have been a chauvinist (as some people tell me), but  his misguided writings read like it and are grist one their mills, and are now frequently quoted by them. Hence...

K.'s conclusion:   "Prof Witzel seems to say, that only invasionist sanskritists are competent to judge"  is preposterous and PURE RHETORICS . I judge Misra's wrong linguistics ( EJVS 7-3), and I judge other items which fall within my range. Not the METHODS, say of genetics etc.

There is no need to bring in, as K does,  non-specialists like Ventris, Schliemann etc. They tried hard at least, using all evidence available then. Not, long disproved fantasies like SS Misra's or now those like Rajaram's. This has *nothing* to do with "mainstream", --  just with evidence and proof.

K's preceding paragraphs (p.12)  are strange at best and slanderous at worst. No further comment.

§ 13.

has an inconsequential rambling discussion of what proof for an Aryan entry should be.

Well, we have  non-Indian languages to begin with. See EJVS  1999 and 2001. And we have some tangible items that *may* have come first with the speakers of IE (or similar pastoralists), that is:  domesticated horse and horse furnishings and the elusive chariots (in the hymns) .

That "Aryan" archaeological evidence hasn't yet shown up is due to the places that have been dug, as mentioned in EJVS. We should look in the E. Afghanistan hills / stream lands and pastures, not in the volatile central Panjab where the  alluvium of the frequently wandering rivers  is meters thick and will have covered all ephemeral pastoral resting places (armaka).

And, as has been said in  EJVS, the area between Khorasan and Peshawar is terra incognita for precisely the period that this of interest, the 2nd millennium.

So? Archaeology still may tell the tale. Start digging.


K, again, is not too well informed. He complains that reconstructed forms have been used as if they were real. "The ProtoIndoEuropean and other Proto-reconstructions also are presented as facts, whereas, of course, they are conjectures."

Such reification is not unjustified.  Precisely in EJVS 7-3 (has he read it at all?) there are examples: Mycenean Greek and Hittite forms, long predicated, have been found after decipherment.

"a rock-inscription with genuine PIE" may no have been found and probably will not (unless the SE European inscriptions would be in PIE), but that doesn't change the fact that IE scholars got their *predictions* right. They may not know all details of PIE, but they know enough so that IE is not just "conjecture."

Also, no linguist will care if K (or similar border line people like Rajaram, Manansala etc.), "distrusts" reconstructions (asterisk) words. That is his personal belief and such beliefs do not  affect the field. There also are people who still believe in the  flat or hollow earth...

According to K "comparative reconstructions" are "pure conjectures'  and "regular sound changes" are nor regular at all. After all we have already seen so far, I do not think, that K. is the person to judge IE linguistics.  In addition, it has long been known that sound changes (physical, after all) are generally regular and where they are not, we mostly can find out why not. As I said: Latin bos, bovis come from countryside traders, and the word is  irregular in Latin.

By now,  we  have seen that his repeated assertion (§ 8, p. 14, and again p. 24 in his summary!)  that "according to Hock there are no substantial linguistic arguments against the proposition that IE branches moved out of India." (in bold)  is plainly misrepresenting Hock's position.  One has to re-read Hock's position oneself;  from K. one gets exactly the opposite impression of what Hock says (see above).

Thankfully, the next sections again are full of K's general musings which can be skipped here. He briefly returns to IE myth on p. 17 with some unqualified generalization. I let it pass. Then,

§ 17 "prof Witzel again"

quotes my 'mode of attacking those who dissent from [my] view' and my "ill-informed mode of attack." He should have noticed that I reserve my attack to completely fantastic, chauvinistic and similar writings. Note this exactly in this critical but not abusive review of his  2nd attempts. At least, K. tries to push his case, albeit in vain as seen above.

Unfortunately, K calls DK Sethna, SS Misra, S Kak and K Elst 'level headed' and 'within acceptable academic standard' (p.21). EJVS 7-3 has given many examples of their rather heady  speculations and simple mistakes. With a sentence like the one just quoted K disqualifies himself (just as Klostermaier does by his endorsements) and as a K. does with his RV in  3000 BCE (note 5 p. 27)

Forgetting this and the "anthropologist" J  Shaffer (again!), and  K's characterizations of the various religions of the  people we  (S. Farmer and I ) have listed in Frontline (10/13/2000), do not matter: their writings are important not their religion or professional occupation.  These writings were duly characterized. Nothing to be changed.


Apparently K. has not understood why I reconstruct the older name of the  River Sarasvati (see Witzel 1999, EJVS § 25).

In sum, my "arrogance" is derived from having to read completely uninformed, preposterous statements in all these books and papers quoted.  I call a quack a quack.

§19. K's summing up.

It reads like  a farce of the AIT/OIT discussions..

Even if archaeology --so far!-- has not found major disruptions in the  local developments of the cultures (normally, anywhere, all cultures are local and continuous!), to conclude that there was no immigration, trickling in etc.,  is not "the inescapable and overruling fact. All other data should be examined under this light and arranged accordingly."

K. forgets the point, stated by me  many times, that IA culture also includes the spiritual one (poetry, poetics, religion, myth, etc.) and also some aspects of the material culture (chariots, horses) that were new in South Asia.

K. continues "Linguist-invasionists have other notions. They abandon the term "invasion" and adopt "migration" but since archaeologists will not have this either, they evolve a  theory of "more gradual and complex phenomena". "

Indeed, as often explained.  And, we are not "invasionists." How many times have I repeated that by now? See the last sections of EJVS ...

Talking to the deaf,  writing for the(selectively)  blind   (see K's reading of Hock, above).

K. also has not understood that these more complex models do not contradict the evidence of place names (he still has not seen my 1999 paper and quotes, like Talageri,  only the quick summary of 1995).  Not aware of the evidence, he then constructs a silly circular argument that I would have followed (p.22)

If he would know a little  more of the evidence and of linguistics, he would see:


That N. India, even NW India, has  a number of place names that are non-IA(Non-IE) in structure, form, actual pronunciation and in etymology, either all together or at least one of these items.

The rest is too facetious to merit detailed discussion.


This section also is skewed: "that the RV, being the first literary document of the invaders, should reflect the material culture of the Harappans, but it doesnít; this is done by post-rigvedic texts, mainly the Braahmanas and the Suutra-texts."

First, I have not put it that way at all. K's selective reading again. There is clear local influence the RV. As I often said: it is already an Indian text.  Other "Harappan" items occur later on, when we learn more of the every day life of the Vedic Indian as (in AV, Br.)...

K's "preservation principle" also does not hold as apodictically  as stated:

"It is well known in History and Historical Linguistics (Hock 1991: 467-9) that, other things being equal, the culture and language of a people on the move suffer changes and/or lose elements faster and more  than those of a people at rest (if nothing else, because with the latter the older generations have time to teach the new ones more fully)."

He should again study his  Turkish neighbors and what they have preserved from central Asian culture ... (that is, where they were not too heavily influenced by other, Hellenistic etc. cultures such as in Anatolia, like the IA in the Panjab by the Indus civilization). Anyhow, whatever Burrow et al. said about the archaisms of Skt., or K. about Vedic mythology, this is subjective judgment. No statistics have ever been presented. We have both retentions *and* innovation even in Vedic (see again EJVS 7-3!). And who says that the "Avesta is not so rich in retentions"?  Even with Zoroaster's reform behind it, the Avesta is full of old items that are not found in Vedic (some in EJVS). K's statements here are purely impressionistic.

Finally,  retention of a memory of migration. I have dealt with that in EJVS  as well.  He has not understood that many people construct(ed)  fanciful pedigrees and migrations. Not all IEs "remember" their "migrations."  Tacitus says exactly the opposite for the Germanic tribes. The Roman immigration is clear fiction (from Troy), or the Gypsies'  from Egypt and Ur... All discussed  in EJVS. To insist on this, and on trying to see what memories may be retained in the RV and Avesta is not "dishonest" 'quibbling' as K says. If the Greeks are allowed to remember the Pelasgians, why not the Vedic Indians their old Parna and Dasa etc. foes? (Or later one, the Naaga, Pizaaca,  etc. previous inhabitants, such as in Kashmir and many other areas?)

Amusingly,  the incursion of IA speakers into S. Asia is treated by K. as hypothetical, but not so the one of IE speakers into Europe. If this is not partiality, I  do not know what it is.

Then, Hock is MISUSED again (see above, twice) as having  "proved" that "emigration out of Saptasindhuu" existed. Like Hock, I have also  mentioned that as *theoretical* possibility, but we both have excluded it for a large number of reasons.

Even K's summary of the  Indus Civilization and the Vedas is not correct. I refer to the so-called "paradox" that Frawley (not mentioned by K.) has invented:

" startling  paradox: we have an archaeologically attested culture of many centuries if not millennia with undoubted literacy but without any traces of religious texts, legal codes, scientific works and even  simple secular fables (except most laconic legends on indecipherable seals), and, in quick  succession, even as the older culture declines, an intrusive illiterate people with no archaeological attestation at all who yet produce within a few centuries (according to the AIT) all the literature that was missing from the previous culture. This is a unique situation that makes little sense"

Isn't the  situation just like that his homeland, Greece; we  have a Minoan cult, etc., a Helladic civilization -- but no literary texts and we then, have in an "incredible" short time, the flowering of Homeric and Classical Greek texts, religion, philosophy etc., etc.. ...  All similar in time frame and scope to those of India. Kazanas, of all people, should have noticed. Or are the Greek trees to close to him that he cannot see the Minoan and Greek forests?

In addition, the "facts" in K's  last paragraph are wrong:

* the Indus civilization does not have "undoubted literacy" --we do not have any texts, they are only INFERRED -- we just have some writing on seals etc., which nobody can read. Maybe these are just names of people, or anything similarly unconnected to literature.

*  The seals of course do have an elaborate mythology (not "laconic".)  Whatever else they may had of "religious texts, legal codes, scientific works and even  simple secular fable," we simply  do not  know. No evidence pro or contra.

* The intrusive (IA) culture is not illiterate; only, it doesn't  have writing but quite elaborate poetics and a lot of poems  (like IE formulas and Iranian texts)

* it also does not "produce within a few centuries... all the literature that was missing from the previous culture",

On the contrary, it produces, as in Greece,  NEW literature at a quick pace. Is that so difficult to see? It has happened elsewhere too (in Japan, for example:  Jomon : Yayoi/Kofun cultures).


K's ultimate summary, quoted from Leach,  therefore is ill-informed :"Indo-European scholars should have scrapped all their historical reconstructions and started again from scratch."

On the contrary, the burden is on the shoulders of the revisionists, Kazanas here included.  The IE/IA model explains, step by step, how things have and/or could have evolved.  The "new"  theories do not, see EJVS 7-3 about the multiple contradictions of the autochthonous theories --- a fact not even mentioned *once* by K.

Speak of selective reading!

K. also says that the indigenist position must be discussed at length and in sportive fashion. But that 'invasionsists' do not do so, and that it still must be done.

Well, I have discussed the various proposals of the indigenists at torturous and boring length and detail in precisely the  issue of EJVS that he discusses. I more and more wonder whether he has read the EJVS paper or just the Sarasvati, chariot chapters.

The rest is passed over here:  His proposed "court" is not the court of scholarly discourse but of public opinion. So far a public majority has not decided on facts such as that the earth moves around the sun. It came from scholars, not vice versa.

O, si tacuisses...




N. Kazanas' non-reply  to above criticism, quoted below  in full.

If our time is wasted by criticisms such as that of Kazanas,  critics such as K. should at least have the courtesy to answer instead of taking to flight and seeking solace in "Adi-$aNkara" and Vivaldi.  To do so is a clear sign of the inability to answer the multifarious critiques made above of his paper.

Fri, 06 Jul 2001 14:05:14 -0000
[IndianCivilization] Dr. Kazanas' response
From: N. Kazanas
To: V. Agarwal
Date: July 6, 2001

Dear Shri Agarwal,

Thank you for Prof Witzel's comments on my 'AIT & Scholarship' (and your replies).

Please, don't continue this fruitless effort. I have read some random comments but I shall keep my word not to follow our Professor  hereafter. For his part, it is natural that he should reply to and try to refute  my contentions. But you must understand, my young friend, that truth is  not the sole objective of invasionists: it is the preservation of their  very profession and of the investment of their lifetime, as E Leach said in other words. So you must make allowances and not believe that they are interested in data and arguments. After all, I have questioned the usefulness of the very existence of their brand of academic study; sooner or later goverments will wonder whether the games with  asterisks and the like should be financed by the taxpayers' money when there are so many other pressing needs.

The few comments I read reveal two additional things. Oh, I forgot, selective reading and all that claptrap! There is an old saying that  you don't have to eat all the soup in the saucepan to know its taste. So from a few spoonfulls, I see clearly two qualities: (a) He does not  make actual contact with what he reads, as in the case of the title and the opening sentence of my essay; it is obvious he has the same difficulty with the rest (especially re Hock) - perhaps due to imperfections in  my English. (b) Being a very learned and generous person, he feels he  must scatter on all and sundry squalls of gifts from his learning, even if  it is not required. Still, we should be grateful - except that this has  the curious effect of the action of a squid (or cuttle-fish) when it feels threatened: as you approach it underwater, even if without inimical intent, it dashes off squirting clouds of ink that darken the water thoroughly and you no longer see it.

At least he has not used insults like "lunatic fringe', and I note he has (as my wife does when we argue) adopted some of my phrases like "armchair theories". If only he adopted also some method of simple meditation to bring some stillness and detachment to his very active mind...

My young friend, one continues to argue with opponents who disagree, only when they do so dipassionately (should I say rationally, that is without emotional involvement in these sadly insignificant matters)  and do not think they know everything from the First Cause down to a grain of sand. So, don't waste your precious time further. You have many  other interesting things to do. There is nothing like VedAnta (Adi$aNkara's bhAshya on the Upanishads: even better than Platonism). But even this, when pursued only as bookish theory is "vanity and vexation of  spirit". And if you have some free time, listen to some Mozart or Vivaldi.

My best wishes to your family,
N Kazanas

PS. You may circulate and post this.

ENJOYED THIS?  --  Much MORE  to read on the  lists!   I cannot refrain, however, to quote the following delightful message from a  Vaidika (?):

From: tik@ma.ultranet.com
Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2001 15:57:12 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: sarasvati@listbot.com
Subject: Re: 2nd try: Detailed remarks on Kazanas [LONG MSG!]

bRhat - vishakatam pRthu bRhadvishaalam pRthulam mahat
rundroru vipulam = vast or big (Amarakosha 3.1.61)

Fortunately, we in Veda paatashaalas don't teach as W
teaches. PaaNini indeed would wip these Indology lunatics
whose primitive knowledge of Samskr`tam and Yoga is solely
based on 18th century primitive European nonsense. For
example, W would not even pass my first grade for his
horrible accents and apasvaras. It is common knowledge among
any Vaidika expert in India that this brand of European
"expertise" has absolutely no expertise nor authority on the
Vedas. All bookworms, really, not a cent of practice.

In any field, more so in Vedas, no practice means no
expertise. Wordy hyperboles are just that. In the English
world, anything sells - like the one-eyed king for the
blind. And this pitiable W reminds me of a fable king who
desired to wear the best see-through dress and go on a
procession on the main street. A 4-year old shouted, "Our
king is walking naked"!

March on, O King! Almost 6 billion humans don't know what
the heck you are laboring on. Almost 1 billion still go with
Shankara and SaayaNa. If you really want to understand,
spend a few years in Sr`ngeri or Kaanchi gurukulam, strictly
living by the daily codes therein. May be in next life....

And this Aufrecht or that is a nobody among majority of
students of PaaNini. Case of hyperbole closed.

iti  parisamaaptam!