The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis


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About the Book
Shrikant Talageri is one of those scholars who have come forward in recent years to challenge the colonial-missionary model imposed on world history during the era of Western-Christian imperialism. In his earlier book, The AryanInvasion Theory: A Reappraisal, he had conclusively established that India was the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages. In the present volume, he has confirmed equally emphatically that India was also the original homeland not only of the lndo-Aryans but also of the Indo-Iranians and the Indo- Europeans. 
The Rigveda is the oldest and most important source of material for Indian, Indo-Aryan, and even Indo-European history. It is a text which has been part of a hoary and widespread living tradition thousands of years old. Naturally, a text which has remained alive, as part of a living tradition, for so long cannot and should not be  analysed without reference to what that tradition has to say about it.
But modern scholars have chosen to interpret the Rigveda in its historical context, solely on the basis of an extraneous linguistic theory, bolstered by stray sentences hunted out of the Rigveda and interpreted out of context, and totally without reference to certain indispensable and unassailable traditional information contained in certain basic texts. Tills is how the theory of an Aryan invasion of India in the early second millennium BC has been propounded and continues to be propped up, even though it finds no support whatsoever either in archaeology, or in literature, or in the racial-ethnical composition of India.
Shrikant TaJageri, on the other hand, has gone directly to the primary sources without any preconceived notions, and examined as well analysed the available information with the help of traditional tools of interpretation. In his earlier book he had examined the data presented by Vedic Sanskrit and Later Indo-Aryan primarily with the help of historical material preserved in the Puranas. In this present study, he had elaborated a historical analysis of the Rigveda on the basis of genealogies of composers of the hymns preserved in the Anukramanis or indices of the Rigveda.<p> 
The Rigveda consists of ten Mandalas, each representing a different era of history. The interrelationships among composers, the references to composers within the hymns, the references to Kings and Rsis, the family structure of the Mandalas, and system of ascription of hymns in the Mandalas, go to show that the serial order in which the Mandalas are arranged bears no relationship with their chronological order. As a first step, therefore, Talageri has established the internal chronology of the Rigveda by classifying the Mandalas as Early, Middle, and Late. Next, he presents the geographical picture which emerges from the chronologically arranged Mandalas, particularly the evidence of river-names, place- names, and animal-names. The combined evidence gives a single unanimous verdict - the Indo- Aryans were inhabitants of the interior of India, and their direction of expansion was from the east to the west and northwest. Finally, he supplements this evidence from the Rigveda with that which is found in the Avesta, and concludes that it was the Indo-Aryans who migrated to all lands covered by the speakers of Indo- Iranian and Indo-European languages before the rise of European colonialism.
About the Author


Shrikant G. Talageri  (b.1958) was educated in Mumbai where he lives and works. He had 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.



In our earlier book, we had taken up the subject of the Aryan invasion theory in all its aspects, and conclusively established that India was the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages.


However, this second book has become imperative for various reasons:


1. The literary evidence for our conclusion in our earlier book was based primarily on Puranic sources. According to many critics, the Puranas, whose extant versions are very much posterior to the extant Rigveda, are not valid sources for evidence pertaining to the Vedic period: the Rigveda is the only valid source for the period.


The above criticism is not wholly invalid. The Rigveda is certainly the source of last resort: i.e. information in other texts (like the Puranas, or even the other Vedic texts) can be rejected if it distinctly contradicts information in the Rigveda. As we shall see, some of the data (such as the names, relations, and even the chronological order within the dynasty, of kings or groups of kings) assumed by us in our earlier book on the basis of the Puranas, or on the basis of second-hand information (culled, for example, from P.L. Bhargava’s book) undergoes a thorough revision in this book when we examine in detail the actual data within the Rigveda. The vast canvas covered by the Puranas is of course to be replaced by the smaller one covered by the Rigveda.


But, far from contradicting or disproving the theory put forward by us in our earlier book, this detailed analysis of the Rigveda emphatically confirms our theory.


In fact, while confirming our theory that India was the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages, our analysis takes us even further ahead in respect of two basic points: the habitat of the Vedic Aryans, and their historical identity.


As per our theory, the Vedic Aryans had migrated from east to west. In our earlier book, we had assumed (based on second- hand information) that the Vedic Aryans, during the period of the Rigveda, were inhabitants of the Punjab area identified by scholars as the Saptasindhu. However, the actual data in the Rigveda shows that they were in fact inhabitants of the area to the east of the Punjab, traditionally known as Aryavarta. The Punjab was only the western peripheral area of their activity.


Again, as per our theory, the Vedic Aryans were the Porus of traditional history. While confirming this, the actual data in the Rigveda narrows down the identity of the particular Vedic Aryans of the Rigvedic period to a section from among the Porus-the Bharatas.


This book is, therefore, an answer to criticism: it shows that a detailed analysis of the Rigveda, far from weakening our theory, only makes it invincible.


2. The Rigveda is the oldest and most important source-material for Indian, Indo-Aryan, and even Indo-European history.


This source-material has, however, been totally and hopelessly misinterpreted by the scholars.


The Rigveda is not a text newly discovered lying on an uninhabited island. It is a text which has been part of a hoary and widespread living tradition thousands of years old. The entire text was kept alive over this long period, almost without a change of a tone or a syllable, in oral form recited and memorised from generation to generation. A