Myths of Origin
Europe and the Aryan Homeland Quest
The Indigenous Aryan debate can only be understood in the context of the history of the greater Indo-European homeland quest in Europe. The purpose of this chapter is to outline the most prominent features of this history that are most directly connected with the problems of Indo-Aryan origins. Indigenous Aryanists are almost universally suspicious of the motives surrounding the manner in which evidence was interpreted and construed by British and European scholars in the colonial period. It is important to excavate clearly the various biases that influenced the epistemes of the time before attempting to consider the evidence itself, so this chapter addresses some of the more blatant ideological and religious attitudes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the West that co-opted Aryan discourse in some form or fashion. Since there have been a number of studies focused on the general history of Indo-European Studies, it focuses on the aspects of this history that are of particular relevance to the Indian side of the family.
Keywords: Aryan homeland, British scholars, colonial period, European scholars, ideological attitudes, India, Indigenous Aryanism, Indo-Aryan origins, Indo-European homeland, Indo-European Studies, religious attitudes, Western scholars
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