About the Book
The question of the Homeland of the Indo-European (IE) or "Aryan" language family is, as riddles in the otherwise prosaic field of historical linguistics go, of unusual importance. It pits essentially two theories against one another. Either ancestral Proto-Indo-European (PIE)' mother of most Indian and European languages, was spoken in Northwestern India, some 6000 years ago. This was the dominant view for some forty years after the close kinship between these languages had been announced by William Jones in 1786. It was revived amid lots of commotion around 1990, and since 1996 it is known as the Out-of-India Theory (OIT). Alternatively, it was spoken outside India, in Homelands ranging from Bactria to Anatolia, but now most popularly accepted to have been Southwestern Russia. As these more westerly Homelands all imply that the Indian branch of this language family had entered India from abroad, probably some 3600 years ago, this alternative is called the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), or with a more recent weasel word, the Aryan Migration Theory (AMT). This theory has led to the grossest political abuse: by British colonialism, by German National-Socialism, and even now by Dravidianism, Ambedkarism and other "Breaking India" forces. Nevertheless, most scholars still swear by it because they assume that someone somewhere must have proven it, otherwise it wouldn't have become the official theory. But this assumption is in need of verification. Over the years, Dr. Koenraad Elst has devoted a number of scholarly papers and journalistic articles to this controversy. For easy future reference, they have been collected here.
About the Author
Koenraad Elst (Leuven 1959) distinguished himself early on as eager to learn and to dissent. In a youthful zest to find the truth, he took up qigong and yoga along with the study of the concomitant worldviews. He put his interest in Oriental wisdom traditions on a firmer footing by obtaining MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. During a research stay at Benares Hindu University he discovered India's communal controversy and subsequently did original fieldwork for a doctorate on Hindu Revivalism, which he obtained magna cum laude in 1998. As an independent scholar he earned laurels and ostracism with his findings on hot items like the genesis and differential essence of the word's religions; multiculturalism and the secular state; the roots of Indo-European; the Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute; and Mahatma Gandhi's legacy. He made a living with political journalism, as a foreign policy assistant in the Belgian Senate and as a Visiting Professor, but has always considered writing and research as his main vocation.
In hopeful anticipation of a real book delving into the linguistic aspects of the Indo-European Homeland controversy, I am herewith presenting a collection of my recent papers, articles and conference reports on various aspects of the "Aryan" question. The spelling of Sanskrit words is in some writings a ' journalistic approximation, in some fully scholarly, in some a hybrid, but each time consistent within the document, and essentially self-explanatory. After participating in the conference on Vedic-Harappan evidence organized by the Draupadi Trust in Delhi (26-28 March 2015), where strong material and textual evidence was presented for full civilizational continuity between the Harappan, Vedic and later Hindu societies, I am convinced that this controversy will soon be resolved.
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