Indo-Aryan Peoples
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Indo-Aryan Peoples

Indo-Aryan peoples refers to both the pastoralist Indo-European people migrating from Central Asia into South Asia in the second millennium BCE, introducing the Proto-Indo-Aryan language,[1][2] as well as to contemporary Indo-European ethnolinguistic groups speaking modern Indo-Aryan languages, a subgroup of the Indo-European language family.


Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard, OCP and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan migrations.

The introduction of the Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent was the result of a migration of Indo-Aryan people from Central Asia into the northern Indian subcontinent (modern-day India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). These migrations started approximately 1,800 BCE, after the invention of the war chariot, and also brought Indo-Aryan languages into the Levant and possibly Inner Asia.[3]

The Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture (2100-1800 BCE),[4][5] and the Andronovo culture,[3] which flourished ca. 1800-1400 BCE in the steppes around the Aral sea, present-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The proto-Indo-Aryan split off around 1800-1600 BCE from the Iranians,[6] moved south through the Bactria-Margiana Culture, south of the Andronovo culture, borrowing some of their distinctive religious beliefs and practices from the BMAC, and then migrated further south into the Levant and north-western India.[7][1] The migration of the Indo-Aryans was part of the larger diffusion of Indo-European languages from the Proto-Indo-European homeland at the Pontic steppe which started in the 4th millennia BCE.[1][8][9] The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard, OCP and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryans.

The Indo-Aryans were united by shared cultural norms and language, referred to as ary?, "noble." Diffusion of this culture and language took place by patron-client systems, which allowed for the absorption and acculturalisation of other groups into this culture, and explains the strong influence on other cultures with which it interacted.

While the Indo-Aryan linguistic group occupies mainly northern parts of India, genetically, all South Asians across the Indian subcontinent are descendants from a mix of South Asian hunter-gatherers, Iranian hunter-gatherers, and Central-Asian steppe pastoralists in varying proportion.[10][11] Additionally, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burmese speaking people contributed to the genetic make-up of South Asia.[12]

Indigenous Aryanism propagates the idea that the Indo-Aryans were indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, and that the Indo-European languages spread from there to central Asia and Europe. Contemporary support for this idea is ideologically driven, and has no basis in objective data and mainstream scholarship.[13][14][15][16][17]

List of historical Indo-Aryan peoples

Contemporary Indo-Aryan peoples

Contemporary Indo-Aryan speaking groups
Major Indo-Aryan languages.png
1978 map showing geographical distribution of the major Indo-Aryan languages. (Urdu is included under Hindi. Romani, Domari, and Lomavren are outside the scope of the map.) Dotted/striped areas indicate where multilingualism is common.
Total population
~1.5 billion[]
Regions with significant populations
 Indiaover 911 million[18]
 Pakistanover 233 million[19]
 Bangladeshover 160 million[20]
   Nepalover 26 million
 Sri Lankaover 14 million
 Myanmarover 1 million
 Mauritiusover 725,400
 Maldivesover 300,000[21]
 Bhutanover 240,000
Indo-Aryan languages
Indian religions (Mostly Hindu; with Buddhist, Sikh and Jain minorities) and Islam, Christians and some non-religious atheist/agnostic

See also



  1. ^ a b c Anthony 2007.
  2. ^ Erdosy 2012.
  3. ^ a b Anthony 2009, p. 49.
  4. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 390 (fig. 15.9), 405-411.
  5. ^ Kuz'mina 2007, p. 222.
  6. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 408.
  7. ^ George Erdosy (1995). "The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity", p. 279
  8. ^ Johannes Krause mit Thomas Trappe: Die Reise unserer Gene.Eine Geschichte über uns und unsere Vorfahren. Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2019, p. 148 ff.
  9. ^ "All Indo-European Languages May Have Originated From This One Place". IFLScience. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Reich et al. 2009.
  11. ^ Narasimhan et al. 2019.
  12. ^ Basu et al. 2016.
  13. ^ Witzel 2001, p. 95.
  14. ^ Jamison 2006.
  15. ^ Guha 2007, p. 341.
  16. ^ Fosse 2005, p. 438.
  17. ^ Olson 2016, p. 136.
  18. ^ "India". The World Factbook.
  19. ^ "Pakistan". The World Factbook.
  20. ^ "Bangladesh". The World Factbook.
  21. ^ "Population of Lhotshampas in Bhutan". UNHCR. 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 2016.


External links

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