Selected Books on the Aryan Migration Theory (AMT) Debate
Note: This section does not discuss the political aspect of the AMT Debate. Although the political aspect is admittedly important, particularly regarding the politics of identity, it is, in the final analysis, a modern debate. The modern political use to which the AMT has been, and is being put, is ultimately a different topic than the investigation of the ancient origins of the Indo-Europeans. Indo-European and Indo-Aryan origins should be determined using only objective methodologies such as archaeology and linguistics and such research should be free from any modern political pressures.
most vocal defender of the AMT is Michael Witzel, Professor of Sanskrit at
Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts, EJVS 7-3, 2001. http://users.primushost.com/~india/ejvs/issues.html
This is one of the few internet resources in this section which focuses on books. It is included because of its importance. Internet resources are in the internet section (coming soon.)
Another valuable resource is the two issues in the Journal of Indo-European Studies devoted to this topic. Although it was originally announced that it would present the positions of both sides, it turned out to be almost entirely AMT-centered with only one OIT proponent and one (or perhaps two) in the middle.
best detailed introduction of the OIT and other indigenist positions is
actually written by someone in the middle of the debate: Edwin Bryant,
Associate Professor in Hinduism at
In Quest of the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Invasion Debate
has also recently edited, with Laurie Patton, Professor of Early Indian
The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History
Some of the leading proponents of the OIT side of the debate include the following authors. Unfortunately many of them do not have professional scholarly training in this area so, while their ideas may be thought-provoking at times, many of their proposals are out of date or uninformed about some of the important technical details critical to a scholarly discussion on the subject.
Talageri's books are among the most comprehensive in scope. He takes into account important evidence that many other indigenists do not: like linguistics and philology. Unfortunately, he is not a professionally-trained scholar so there are some lacunae in his presentation.
by Shrikant Talageri
Also of interest is the following response to Witzel from Talageri:
Sethna is another supporter of the indigenist position who takes into account some of the linguistic and historical evidence
By K.D. Sethna
by Koenraad Elst
Elst is a professionally-trained scholar who deals with many of the important technical issues from areas such as linguistics and archaeology.
Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization
by David Frawley
David Frawley is a Doctor of Ayurveda and widely published author on Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, and indigenist Indology.
These three authors clearly present some of the evidence in favor of the indigenist position.
by Feuerstein, Kak, and Frawley
by Michel Danino
A short summary of some of the major OIT positions.
A) Indology and Interdisciplinary
Two important anthologies by mainstream scholars who are, therefore, mostly pro-AMT
eds. Madhav Deshpande and Peter Hook
ed. George Erdosy
Three important books by mainstream scholars who, although not specifically concerned with the AMT-OIT debate, raise some important issues regarding the foundations of the AMT paradigm
by Ronald Inden
by Thomas Trautmann
by Leon Poliakov
by Dilip Chakrabarti
Chakrabarti is an
by Bhagavan Singh
Indigenist supporter Singh claims to locate references to Harappan culture in the Rig Veda
The question of whether the Harappan Civilization (c. 2500-1900 BCE) was Vedic (OIT position) or non-Vedic and significantly pre-Vedic (AMT position) has become an important issue in the debate because of the indigenist claims of remarkable continuity in the archaeological evidence of the Harappan and Vedic periods.
The following two books written by archaeologists are probably the best in-depth introductions to the Harappan Civilization. Although they do not generally address the AMT-OIT debate, they generally accept the mainstream AMT position.
by Gregory Possehl
This is the most recent in-depth book on the subject; nicely illustrated.
by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer
Beautifully illustrated and, although older than Possehl's book, it is still very valuable
eds. Jansen, Mulloy, Urban
This beautifully produced European publication is difficult to get but has valuable articles by various scholars.
The following two Indian archaeologists identify archaeological continuity between the Harappan and Vedic cultures.
1) S.P. Gupta
(Chairman of the Indian Archaeological Society)
2) B.B. Lal
(Lal is the Retired Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India. He originally supported the AMT and some of his early articles are still cited by AMT supporters. He has since changed his opinion as reflected in these books:)
Two good general overviews of Indian archaeology
by Bridget and Raymond Allchin
by Raymond Allchin
The AMT-OIT debate is a part of the larger debate over the homeland of the Indo-European language family
by J.P. Mallory
This excellent and readable overview of the Indo-European question supports the preferred mainstream homeland of the Pontic-Caspian region.
by Gamkrelidze and Ivanov
These two linguists
propose alternatively that the Indo-European languages originated in the
by Colin Renfrew
Renfrew proposes an Anatolian homeland for the Indo-Europeans and that the language spread at a much earlier date than most other theories along with the advance of agriculture.
The AMT originated in linguistics and understanding this field is still critical to the debate.
by Robert P. Beekes
A popular introduction to Indo-European linguistics -- it's shorter than most.
by Hans Henrich Hock
Possibly the best in-depth book on the subject
by Hans Henrich Hock & Brian D. Joseph
An valuable in-depth introduction to Comparative Linguistics that serves as a good stepping-stone to the more in-depth texts listed here.
Two important in-depth
books on the languages of
by Colin Masica
ed. George Cardona
by S.S. Misra
By the only major professional linguist on the indigenist side
by Thomas Burrow
by Gregory Possehl
Valuable overview of the
numerous attempts to decipher the
Various scholar's theories about the language of the
by Iravatham Mahadevan
by S.R. Rao
It's Indo-Aryan (Vedic-derived.)
by Asko Parpola
No, it's Dravidian.
E) More AMT vs. OIT, Indology and Interdisciplinary
by Rajesh Kocchar
This book argues that a major part of the Rigveda was
composed in south
ed. Frits Staal
In-depth coverage of the Vedic fire sacrifice and articles by other Vedic scholars
by F.B.J. Kuiper
Classic text often cited by AMT authors
by R.S. Sharma
by Wilhelm Rau
Rau's book is widely cited to support the idea that the Vedas do not know cities ('pur') and so cannot be Harappan
Series ed. Roger Blench
eds. Carpelan & Parpola
Three books by OIT writer N.S. Rajaram:
These authors claim the Harappan script is Vedic.
by Frederick E. Pargiter
Classic but dated text on the Indian historical, or quasi-historical, documents, the Puranas
F) More Archaeology/Anthropology
by Jane McIntosh
This is a beautifully produced book by an archaeologist with some interesting perspectives
Two authors who are often cited because of their evidence that there was no major population influx during the time postulated for the Aryan Migration
ed. by John Lukacs
by Kenneth A.R. Kennedy
by Robert Ehrich
overview of the ancient cultures of the
by Gregory Possehl
A massive book on the origins of the Harappan civilization.
by S.R. Rao
ed. George Erdosy
ed. Victor Mair
eds. Masson, Dani & Harmatta
by James Mallory and Victor Mair
by Marija Gimbutas
by Potts, Pittman, Kohl, and Lamberg-Karlovsky
by Timothy Potts
by Stuart Piggot
One of the points in the AMT debate is the Rig Vedic 'Chariot'. This books gives background on the larger issue of the development of wheeled vehicles.
The following books are older collections of articles on Harappan archaeology
ed. Gregory Possehl
ed. Gregory Possehl
ed. B.B. Lal
ed. G.C. Pande
These 3 books were written by the original excavators decades ago.
by John Marshall
by M.S. Vats
by E.J.H. Mackay
G) More Linguistics
by Raimo Antilla
by Oswald Szemerérenyi
ed. Winfred Lehmann
by Walter Fairservis
F) More Indo-European
ed. J.P. Mallory
by Robert Drews
The Greek side of the Indo-European expansion
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