By D.A. Ramachandra
It is necessary to refute the theory of Aryan Invasion/Aryan Migration (a more sophisticated yet highly dubious version now being propagated by people like Ms. Romila Thapar). It is just a mischief of missionaries/Leftists and other westernised people.
Since these theories have been proved to be incorrect by archeological and other evidences, they are now coming up with an idea of Aryan Migration sighting linguistic evidence. Thapar and others go to great extent saying that linguistic evidence is beyond doubt. She also says that it is an advanced discipline and lot of work has been carried out in this area and the other side lacks scholarship. Shri Rajaram refers to this branch as pseudo science. However there is also need to refute this evidence to give final burial to theories of invasion and migration. Unfortunately in our country this has not happened. It is time to start to dissect the linguistic evidence, since it is one main hiding point of these historians. The linguistic evidence goes as follows:
There are many similarities in Sanskrit and European languages. These languages are grouped as Indo-European (IE) family languages. The argument is that these languages belong to one family and as such must have evolved from a common language. So the people speaking these languages (referred to as Indo European by Ms. Romila Thapar) are the people migrated to Bharat and imposed Sanskrit on others.
This branch i.e. Indo European Language, is widely studied and hence the above hypothesis must be true. The linguistic evidence is very strong.
There are people like Shri S. Kak who have argued against it but it has been dismissed as not academic, being politically motivated, etc. by these historians. Due to this I had myself gone through many articles on IE family and linguistic evidence. As I see it the linguistic evidence is at the best a possible scenario with very low probability of occurrence. I have some questions with no satisfactory answers. The linguistic evidence fails on following counts.
All the studies accept basic assumption of similarity and work on that hypothesis. So most of the work merely explores similarity, rather than critically examine it. On other hand, there are very significant differences, which have not been touched into. These differences cast doubts on grouping of Sanskrit with other languages.
One can see that number of alphabets in Sanskrit and Prakrit varies from 48-52. On other hand in all other languages of IE family it is 24-26 or half of that. Further the sounds of alphabets differ from European languages significantly. If alphabets are considered as basis of any language, this itself raises doubt about grouping, since Sanskrit family is the only family in IE, which has these differences. It can be seen that the number of alphabets, do not differ significantly in other languages of the family.
A major reason for this difference is in Sanskrit family, ‘kh’, ‘ch’ and ‘th’ etc. are different alphabets. On the other hand in other European languages, it is a combination of two alphabets ‘k’ and ‘h’. In this respect, it can be seen that Sanskrit family is similar to Dravidian family. The languages have same set numbers and sounds of alphabets. In the same way ‘ke’ ,‘ka’ etc. (i.e. matras) are examples of differences and in this respect Sanskrit family is similar to Dravidian family. It is pertinent to note here that these deviations have been dismissed as merely borrowing from other languages by the Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) historians. However these differences raise doubts about grouping of Sanskrit family with other European language.
In case of similarity, it is being said that many words are similar and their common roots are worked out. However, on close examination, I found that a set of similar words in Sanskrit and other European languages is not very large. I could come across fewer than 100 such words from different sources. However I understand that there is one English Sanskrit dictionary compilation by an English author, where more words are listed. So it may be accepted here that the list I had is not yet complete. Even in that one it can be seen that very close words are quite few. I could not get more than couple of dozens words for mother, father, feet, teeth etc.. This means that there are large numbers of words which are not similar. If one work out numeric measure, I am afraid, it may come out that very small number of words in these languages are similar. This feature is taken to be point of common origin of these languages. The hypothesis is that these words are similar and can be derived form common root. The problem with this assumption is that, in Sanskrit (or its family), there are words which are used interchangeably with these words. These words are not remotely similar to European word. One can take the example of janani, which is used for mother. There is no similar or related word in English or European languages. It is also sighted that “Bhrata” and “Brother” are similar. However another word used in Sanskrit for “Brother” is “Anuj”. This is not similar to any European languages. This happens with almost all words listed as words with common roots.
So how can one say that they have common origin? At the best one can say that these words in Greek or Latin are borrowed from Sanskrit. Later on these words were borrowed in English. This is significant if one sees number of similar words in related languages like Hindi and Sanskrit or English and French. Further how does one explain the fact that all European languages share many more words with Hebrew. On other hands number of similar words in Sanskrit and Dravidian languages is also significantly high. This also strengthens the assumption that Sanskrit family developed independently on its own and European languages borrowed from Sanskrit, rather than they originating from the same language.
The script of Sanskrit and other European languages differ significantly whereas, the scripts of European languages are quite similar.
However there many words common (far more than European languages) between Sanskrit and Telugu or Malayalam. Similar is case with Kannada though common words may be smaller.
In Sanskrit, one does not find any European word, but it is other way round. Words resembling Sanskrit words can be found in European languages.
If one goes carefully, then one can see that it is wrong to classify Sanskrit as language of IE family. The concept of Indo European family is questionable. It is clear that based on few similarities Sanskrit family has been treated as part of IE family. This has been done purposely for creating linguistic evidence supporting Invasion/Migration theories. One can say that Sanskrit family evolved on its own and others like European languages borrowed from it.