Shrikant Talageri

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Shrikant G. Talageri, born in 1958, was educated in Bombay where he lives and works. He has been interested in Wildlife, Comparative Music, Religion and Philosophy, History and Culture and Linguistics. He has made a special study of the Konkani language, his mother tongue. He has devoted several years, and much study, to the theory of an Aryan invasion of India, and interpreted the Vedas with the help of the internal chronology of Rig vedic Rishes within Rig Veda with the help of genealogical records Anukramanis.

Censorship and bias[edit]

Talageri's work was met with censorship and bias.

  • The defeat of the AIT on all three fronts, though still successfully stonewalled by Western Academia (and the International, including Indian, Academia that they control) to this day, has led to some swift and radical damage control measures, represented by weird about-turns by western scholars on crucial points like the identity of the Rigvedic Sarasvati with the Ghaggar-Hakra river complex. But nothing weirder than the Stalin-era like Confession and visibly reluctant Apology by a major western linguist, Johanna Nichols, whose linguistic study on the locus of the Indo-European language spread, which she locates in Bactria-Margiana in Central Asia east of the Caspian, is mentioned above. Read the full quote of Nichols' conclusions in her 1997 paper, given in the body of this blog above. She has posted the above paper (and another one from 1998) on academia.edu, but she prefaces the paper with the following "retraction" (see [1])
    Incredible but true. The scholar who had presented such detailed data and conclusions in 1997 and 1998 ("The locus of the IE spread was therefore somewhere in the vicinity of ancient Bactria-Sogdiana." NICHOLS 1997:137), is now (after her conclusions were profusely quoted by opponents of the AIT) forced by academic and "peer" pressure to state (without detailed explanation in the form of data, logic or logistics which would negate the original thesis) that "the east Caspian locus is post-PIE. The PIE homeland was on the western steppe", even as she still insists that the "rest" of what she had written "still stands"! She fails to point out the details of the "archaeological or etymological facts" which now overturn the "beautiful theory that accounts elegantly for a great deal of the dynamic and linguistic geography of the IE spread", or to point out which part of this theory "still stands" as opposed to the part which does not, and why she is now compelled to create this new division of her original thesis into one part which "still stands" and another part which does not. Can there be testimony more eloquent than this to the defeat of the AIT and the stranglehold of Stalinistic scholarship in Western Academia?
  • Note the hypocrisy and fake scholarship of western linguists and Indologists. Mallory and Adams tell us that the criterion for determining a word to be definitely Proto-Indo-European is "if there are cognates between Anatolian and any [even one] other Indo-European language", to which they righteously add: "This rule will not please everyone, but it will be applied here" (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:109-110). But when confronted with cognate words for elephant/ivory in Anatolian (Hittite) and six other branches, they try to explain away the damning (to their theory) facts in different untenable ways!
    • See comment at [3]

Wikipedia[edit]

His wikipedia page was deleted (and he was deleted from other pages as well). The pages that mention Talageri are extremely biased (see the wikipedia article page history).

Summary of conclusions[edit]

Talageri has summarized many of his conclusions in this article and in this article, and here [4].

Talageri writes: In fact, an analysis of the data in the Rigveda (which the Indologists claim was composed after 1500 BCE), in comparison with the data in the Iranian Avesta and the data in scientifically dated West Asian manuscripts and inscriptions pertaining to the Mitanni people (a group of Indo-Aryan speakers who established the Mitanni kingdom in Iraq and Syria around 1500 BCE, but are known to have been present in West Asia well before 1750 BCE), shows:

  • i) The common data is found in 425 of the 686 New Hymns and 3692 of the 7311 verses in the New Books of the Rigveda (5,1,8,9,10) as well as in all later (post-Rigvedic) texts, but is not found in a single one of the 280 Old Hymns and 2351 verses in the Old Books of the Rigveda (6,3,7,4,2).
  • ii) This shows that the Mitanni Indo-Aryans in West Asia, the Avestan Iranians in Afghanistan, and the Vedic Indo-Aryans in India separated from each other during the period of composition of the New Books of the Rigveda, and after the period of composition of the Old Books.
  • iii) The geographical area of the New Books of the Rigveda extends from southern and eastern Afghanistan in the west to westernmost Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the east. This, therefore, is the area from which the Mitanni Indo-Aryans migrated to West Asia: the fact that they entered West Asia from outside, and from the east, is not disputed by anyone.
  • iv) The fact that the linguistic ancestors of the Mitanni Indo-Aryans are already found in West Asia by 1750 BCE shows that they must have left the geographical area of the New Books of the Rigveda at the very least, and by a very conservative estimate, by 2000 BCE.
  • v) The development of this common culture of the New Books of the Rigveda, which the Mitanni Indo-Aryans took with them to West Asia around 2000 BCE, must therefore be much older, at least by a few hundred years: i.e. this culture must be at least datable to 2400 BCE.
  • vi) The totally distinct culture of the Old Books of the Rigveda must precede 2400 BCE by another few hundred years at least: i.e. it must go well into the early parts of the first half of the third millennium BCE.
  • vii) During this period, i.e. during the early parts of the first half of the third millennium BCE, the geography of the Old Books of the Rigveda is originally restricted to the eastern parts of the geography of the Rigveda as a whole: to Haryana and westernmost Uttar Pradesh. These Old Books show that the Vedic Indo-Aryans were residents of Haryana and westernmost Uttar Pradesh and were not familiar with the areas, rivers, mountains, lakes and animals further west, most of which appear only in the New Books. They also give in great detail the concrete historical events which led to the expansion of the Vedic Indo-Aryans westwards from Haryana, across the rivers of the Punjab to the borders of southern and eastern Afghanistan.
  • viii) Further, during this period, i.e. even as early as during the early parts of the first half of the third millennium BCE, as the Vedic Indo-Aryans expanded from east to west across the Punjab, the whole area is a purely Indo-European area, with not a single reference to any linguistically non-Indo-European person, tribe or entity, with even the local rivers having purely Indo-European names. [This last is to be contrasted with Europe, where the river names, even after over 3000 years of exclusive Indo-European presence, still bear evidence of their non-Indo-European and pre-Indo-European origins].
  • viii) In short, as per the linguistic consensus, the Indo-Europeans in 3000 BCE were still in and around their Original Homeland, and as per the Textual Analysis of the Rigveda, the Vedic Indo-Aryans around 3000 BCE were long-established residents of a purely Indo-European area in northern India: i.e. the Original Homeland was in northern India. [5]

Relative chronology of Rigveda[edit]

In sum, we get four categories:
A. Early family books 6,3,7
B. Middle family books 4,2
C. Late family book 5
D. Late non-family books 1,8,9,10.

It will be seen that every analysis of the data reinforces this classification:

  1. An analysis of the (ancestor-descendant) relationships between the composers of the hymns establishes the chronological order 6,3,7,4,2,5,8,9,10 (1 alongside 4-10) (TALAGERI 2000:37-50).
  2. An analysis of the references within the hymns to earlier or contemporaneous composers (TALAGERI 2000:53-58) and to the kings and (non-composer) ṛṣis mentioned within the hymns (TALAGERI 2000:59-65) confirms the above chronological order.
  3. An analysis of the (adherence to “purity” of the) family identity of the composers of the individual books (TALAGERI 2000:50-52) confirms the exactitude of the above chronological order, with a steady progression in dilution of the family identity of the composers from book 6 (in which every single hymn and verse is composed by composers belonging to one branch of one family) to book 10 (where every single family has hymns, and a large number of hymns are by composers who are either unaffiliated to any family or whose family is unidentifiable).
  4. An analysis of the system of ascriptions of hymns to composers (TALAGERI 2000:52-53) shows a quantum change from the Early and Middle books (6,3,7,4,2), where hymns are composed by descendant ṛṣis in the name of their ancestor ṛṣis, to the Late Books (5,1,8,9,10), where hymns are composed by ṛṣis in their own names.
  5. An analysis of a large category of personal name types shared in common by the Rigveda with the Avesta and the Mitanni (TALAGERI 2008:20-43) shows a fundamental distinction between the Early and Middle books on the one hand and the Late books on the other, with these name-types being found in 386 hymns in the Late books (and in all other post-Rigvedic texts), but found in the Early and Middle books in only 8 hymns which have been classified by the western academic scholars as Late or interpolated hymns within these books.
  6. An analysis of another category of personal names shared by the Rigveda with the Avesta (TALAGERI 2008:16-20, 47-48) shows a fundamental distinction between the Early books on the one hand and the Middle and Late books on the other, with these names being found in 60 hymns in the Middle books and in 63 hymns in the Late books (and in all other post-Rigvedic texts), but completely missing in the Early books.
  7. An analysis of the geographical names and terms in the Rigveda (TALAGERI 2000:94-136, TALAGERI 2008:81-129) shows a progression from east to west, with the eastern names found distributed throughout the Rigveda and the western names appearing in the books in chronological progression. And again, these names (found in all other post-Rigvedic texts) reinforce the above chronological order: the Indus and rivers to its west are found named in the Middle and Late books, but are missing in the Early books. The names of western animals, places, mountains and lakes are found in the Late non-family books, but are missing in the family books (Early, Middle and Late).
  8. An analysis of other important and historically significant words (TALAGERI 2008: 48-49, 189-200) again reinforces the above chronological order: for example, spoked wheels, or spokes, invented in the late third millennium BCE, and camels and donkeys, domesticated in Central Asia around the same time, are found in the Late books, but missing in the Early and Middle books.
  9. An analysis of the meters used in the composition of the hymns of the Rigveda (TALAGERI 2008:54-80) again reinforces the above chronological order. The dimetric meters used in the Rigveda clearly developed from each other in the following order: gāyatrī (8+8+8), anuṣṭubh (8+8+8+8), pankti (8+8+8+8+8), mahāpankti (8+8+8+8+8+8) and dimeter śakvarī (8+8+8+8+8+8+8). Gāyatrī and anuṣṭubh are found throughout the Rigveda; pankti is found in the Late (family and non-family) books, but missing in the Early and Middle books; mahāpankti and dimeter śakvarī are found in the Late non-family books, and are missing in the family books (Early, Middle and Late).
  10. An analysis of the sacred numerical formulae in the Rigveda (HOPKINS 1896b) shows that the use of certain numbers, in sacred numerical formulae used as phrases in the hymns, is commonly found in the Late books, but missing in the Early and Middle books.
  11. A detailed and path-breaking analysis (HOPKINS 1896a) shows large categories of words found in the Late books (1,8,9,10, and often 5), but missing in the Early (6,3,7) and Middle books (4,2) except in a few stray hymns classified by the western academic scholars as Late or interpolated hymns within these books. These include such categories as words pertaining to ploughing or to other paraphernalia of agriculture, words associated with certain occupations and technologies (and even with what could be interpreted as the earliest references to the castes), words where the r is replaced by l (playoga and pulu for prayoga and puru), a very large number of personal names (not having to do with the name types, common to the Rigveda, Avesta and Mitanni records, analyzed by me), various suffixes and prefixes used in the formation of compound words, certain mythical or socio-religious concepts (Sūrya as an Āditya, Indra identified with the Sun, the discus as a weapon of Indra and the three-edged or three-pointed form of this weapon, etc), various grammatical forms (cases of the resolution of the vowel in the genitive plural of ā stems, some transition forms common in later literature, the Epic weakening of the perfect stem, the adverb adas, etc.), particular categories of words (Soma epithets like madacyuta, madintara/madintama, the names of the most prominent meters used in the Rigveda, etc.), certain stylistic peculiarities (the use of reduplicated compounds like mahāmaha, calācala, the use of alliteration, the excessive use of comparatives and superlatives, etc.), and many, many more. Also, Hopkins notes many words which are used in one sense in the earlier books, and in a different sense in the later books: words like muni, tīrtha, vaiśvānara, hita, etc., or which are only used as adjectives in the earlier books, but figure as names in the later books (he cites śaviṣṭha, svarṇara, durgaha, prajāpatin, adhrigu as examples) [note also words like atri, kutsa and auśija (TALAGERI 2000:79-88), which have a different sense in the earlier books as against the later books, and even the word trita, which is a name in the later books but occurs once with the meaning “third” in book 6].

Talageri-Witzel controversy[edit]

Talageri's first book (1993) was strongly criticized by the linguist Michael Witzel and by Erdosy in 1995, as being "devoid of scholarly value", and it was characterized as belonging to a "lunatic fringe".[1] On the basis of Witzel's mis-citation of Talageri's book's title as one (and the consistent misspelling of Talageri's name) in his bibliography and elsewhere, Talageri asserts that Witzel criticized the book in a 1995 paper without having read or seen it.[2]. Talageri noted that "this strong condemnation of a book, unread and unseen by them, is both unacademic and unethical" [3]

Talageri wrote a critique of a number of scholars such as Griffith, Pargiter, Tilak and Aurobindo in his book on the Rig Veda[4]. In the same book (Chapter 9), he wrote a critique of Michael Witzel's (1995) interpretation of the Rig Veda. This chapter, in the words of Talageri[5] "shows Professor Witzel inventing evidence, suppressing inconvenient data, following an inconsistent methodology, retrofitting data into pre-conceived notions, contradicting himself again and again, and using misleading language". Witzel didn't write a rebuttal of this chapter in his review on Talageri's book, but only stated that it is "a long and confused ‘analysis’ in Talageri’s book of my same 1995 paper” and that the “angry assault on my 1995 paper…. can thankfully be passed over here”. Talageri later considered his criticism of other scholars as unnecessary, and he writes that other scholars like N.S. Rajaram "reprimanded" him for chapters 8 and 9, which Rajaram "felt were superfluous and unnecessary and detracted from the value of my [Talageri's] work." [6]

Talageri wrote a critique of a number of scholars such as Griffith, Pargiter, Tilak and Aurobindo in his book on the Rig Veda.[7] In Chapter 9, he singled out Michael Witzel's (1995) interpretation[8] of the structure and history of the Rig Veda. In this chapter, Talageri alleges [9] "Professor Witzel inventing evidence, suppressing inconvenient data, following an inconsistent methodology, retrofitting data into pre-conceived notions, contradicting himself again and again, and using misleading language". Witzel later wrote a review of Talageri's book.[10] He based it on Talageris' alleged ignorance of the long-established structure of the Rigveda (Oldenberg 1888, English 2003.[11] Talageri also uses the purportedly late Vedic Anukramani (a list of poets, deities and meters) in analyzing the text of the Rigveda that is, per current scholarly consensus, and challenged by Talageri, hundreds of years earlier. Both items combined render, in Witzel's view, the book entirely erroneous, and he therefore did not find it necessary to write a lengthy rebuttal of chapter 9, stating that it is "a long and confused ‘analysis’" and that, therefore, the "angry assault on my 1995 paper … can thankfully be passed over here". It should be noted that Talageri's central thesis is to recast the chronology of the Rg Vedic texts. His conclusions (revision of Aryan Invasion theory, etc.) follows from this alternative history. Talageri considers his evidence unaddressed by Witzel, and the debate seems to have taken on the aspect of two scholars talking past each other.

After the publication of his book on the Rig Veda (2000), Talageri was offered on 17 June 2000 the possibility to do advanced study or a Ph.D. with Witzel in Harvard, "provided he [Talageri] is open-minded and flexible in his views, and does not show himself to be intransigent or predisposed to certain ideas".[12] Talageri declined this offer "for purely personal reasons as much as in view of the blatantly fishy proviso".[13] [7]

Talageri later considered his criticism of other scholars as unnecessary (but then repeated it forcefully in his next book, 2008), and he wrote that other writers like N.S. Rajaram "reprimanded" him for chapters 8 and 9, which Rajaram "felt were superfluous and unnecessary and detracted from the value of my [Talageri's] work." [14]

The debate was reviewed by Koenraad Elst in his book "Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate" (1999; ISBN 81-86471-77-4), points out that the review added little new to the discourse, with Witzel mostly rehashing his original scholarship. Talageri's arguments have since been largely unaddressed, and it is difficult to find a direct scholarly affirmation or contradiction of his argument.[15]

Talageri writes: "My book was published in early 2000, and I sent a copy of it to Witzel (not in a nasty spirit, and certainly not in anticipation of bouquets, but only to facilitate a healthy dialogue, or, at the very least, as a matter of courtesy). Earlier, I had also sent a copy to another scholar at Harvard (with whom I had earlier established indirect and temporary contact). Within a month I received an e-mail letter from that scholar (addressed to a mutual acquaintance) dated 17 June 2000, relating that there had been a discussion between Witzel and himself “about the possibility of Talageri coming to study with him (Witzel) in Harvard to do advanced study or a Ph.D.” Witzel, the scholar wrote, “is the Vedic scholar par excellence, and Shrikant could get proper training and academic credentials if he were to be accepted”. I was asked to “contact Michael Witzel directly”. There was a proviso – as discreetly phrased as the rest of the letter – “provided he is open-minded and flexible in his views, and does not show himself to be intransigent or predisposed to certain ideas”. I wrote back politely putting off the offer, for purely personal reasons as much as in view of the blatantly fishy proviso."

Works[edit]

Quotes[edit]

  • A true scholarship would examine, and then either accept or reject, with good reason, any new theory which challenges a generally accepted theory admitted to be full of sharp anomalies. However, this has not been the attitude of world scholarship towards our earlier book. The general attitude has been as follows: there is a school of crank scholarship in India which is out to prove, by hook or by crook, that India was the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages; and the writers of this school deserve to be firmly put in their place. And the best method of doing this is by tarring all scholars who support, or even appear to support, an Indian homeland theory, with one brush; and then pointing out particularly untenable propositions made by one or the other of the scholars so branded together, to prove that all the scholars so named belong to one single school of irrational scholarship.
    • Shrikant Talageri, The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, 2000.
  • This is on the basis of the Aryan invasion theory according to which 'Aryans' invaded India in the early second millennium BC, and conquered it from the 'natives'. This theory is based purely on an eighteenth century linguistic proposition, and has no basis either in archaeology, or in literature, or in the racial-ethnic composition of India. What concerns us more, so far as this present volume is concerned, is the attempt to brand Hindu religious texts, on the basis of this theory, as 'invader' texts: a UNESCO publication characterises the Rigveda as 'the epic of the destruction of one of the great cultures of the ancient world.'
    • Shrikant Talageri, The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, 2000.
  • Therefore, Shrikant Talageri calls on his fellow Hindus to change their outlook: “On the Indian front, [the Hindutva movement] should spearhead the revival, rejuvenation and resurgence of Hinduism, which includes not only religious, spiritual and cultural practices springing from Vedic or Sanskritic sources, but from all other Indian sources independently of these: the practices of the Andaman islanders and the (pre-Christian) Nagas are as Hindu in the territorial sense, and Sanâtana in the spiritual sense, as classical Sanskritic Hinduism. (…) A true Hindutvavâdî should feel a pang of pain, and a desire to take positive action, not only when he hears that the percentage of Hindus in the Indian population is falling (…), or that Hindus are being discriminated against in almost every respect, but also when he hears that the Andamanese races and languages are becoming extinct; that vast tracts of forests, millions of years old, are being wiped out forever (…); that innumerable forms of arts and handicrafts, architectural styles, plant and animal species, musical forms and musical instruments etc. are becoming extinct.”
    • 113:S. Talageri in S.R. Goel (ed.): Time for Stock-Taking, p.227-228. cited in elst 2002, ch9
  • On the Indian front, [the Hindutva movement] should spearhead the revival, rejuvenation and resurgence of Hinduism, which includes not only religious, spiritual and cultural practices springing from Vedic or Sanskritic sources, but from all other Indian sources independently of these: the practices of the Andaman islanders and the (pre-Christian) Nagas are as Hindu in the territorial sense, and Sanâtana in the spiritual sense, as classical Sanskritic Hinduism. (…) A true Hindutvavâdî should feel a pang of pain, and a desire to take positive action, not only when he hears that the percentage of Hindus in the Indian population is falling (…), or that Hindus are being discriminated against in almost every respect, but also when he hears that the Andamanese races and languages are becoming extinct; that vast tracts of forests, millions of years old, are being wiped out forever (…); that innumerable forms of arts and handicrafts, architectural styles, plant and animal species, musical forms and musical instruments etc. are becoming extinct.”
    • Talageri in S.R. Goel (ed.): Time for Stock-Taking, p.227-228.

Notes[edit]

  1. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity edited by George Erdosy, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin-New York, 1995. Page x. Cf. also pp. xviii, 111, 116, 123. Talageri's book was also "firmly categorised together with the books by Paramesh Choudhury".
  2. (see Talageri 2000: chapter 9)
  3. Talageri 2000. Talageri writes that Witzel and Erdosy constantly cite the work incorrectly, using the wrong book data that was earlier used in a review of the Times of India. (see Elst 1999, Talageri 2000)
  4. (2000: Chapter 8)
  5. (2001: Chapter 2)
  6. (Talageri 2001: Chapter 1)
  7. (2000: Chapter 8)
  8. in two articles in G. Erdosy (ed.) The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia. Berlin/New York 1995
  9. (2001: Chapter 2)
  10. EJVS 7 (2001), Issue 2, ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF VEDIC STUDIES, ejvs.laurasianacademy.com
  11. Hermann Oldenberg, Prolegomena on Metre and Textual History of the Rgveda, New Delhi: Motilal 2005. Talageri has responded by persisting with his alternative, and still controversial, rendering of Rg Veda's structure in his next book, The Rigveda and the Avesta, Delhi 2008
  12. (Talageri 2001: Chapter 1)
  13. (Talageri 2001: Chapter 1)
  14. (Talageri 2001: Chapter 1)
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Westward
  16. there are two editions: the one published by Aditya Prakashan was entitled The Aryan Invasion Theory: A Reappraisal, and the one published by Voice of India was entitled Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism.

External links[edit]