Syncretism and Acculturation in Ancient India: A New Nine Phase Acculturation Model Explaining the Process of Transfer of Power from the Harappans to the Indo-Aryans - Part Two
The IUP Journal of History and Culture, Vol. 4, Nos. 1 & 2, pp. 18-95, January & April 2010
Posted: 25 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 25, 2010
The concluding part of this paper extends the concepts presented in Part One and provides a century by century view of how the transformation of Harappan India to post-Harappan India took place with maps so that readers can evaluate for themselves how different aspects of Indian culture were formed. We revisit the age-old controversies about the relationship between Sanskrit and Prakrit after taking into account the views of some other scholars and examine how this can be explained from our model. Our assessment: Current theories explaining the origin of Indo-Aryan (IA) languages are gross over-simplifications and need rethinking. We, therefore, propose a completely new model as a replacement for the classical theory explaining the origin of IA languages. We propose that IA languages were derivatives of the languages spoken in the Indus and were only heavily transformed by Sanskrit. Thus, this issue is studied as an evolving interplay between two language groups: Sanskrit spread in a part of India, died out as a spoken language, and became a liturgical language, and popular as a lingua franca of the elite. The speakers of Indo-European (IE) languages then took on the languages of the descendants of the Indus for everyday speech because of the transfer of populations to the Ganga-Yamuna doab. Sanskrit then re-influenced the languages of the region, in a process that continues to this day even after it disappeared as a spoken language. Much more importantly, this paper argues that progress in Indology can come not from the decipherment of the Indus script, though small groups of scholars may still study this script if required, but from India-specific research strategies. This would be the cornerstone of all meaningful progress. This model shows how easy it is to derive and even partly reconstruct the languages spoken in the Indus from this model, thus opening a window to the long-forgotten world of the Harappans.
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