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Indo-Aryan peoples

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Indo-Aryan peoples are a diverse collection of Indo-European peoples speaking Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent. Historically, Indo-Aryans were the Indo-European pastoralists who migrated from Central Asia into South Asia and introduced Proto-Indo-Aryan language.[1][2] The Indo-Aryan language speakers are found across South Asia.[3]


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 Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, 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.[4]

The Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture (2100–1800 BCE),[5][6] and the Andronovo culture,[4] which flourished ca. 1800–1400 BCE in the steppes around the Aral Sea, present-day Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Proto-Indo-Aryan split off around 1800–1600 BCE from the Iranians,[7] 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.[8][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–Caspian steppe which started in the 4th millennia BCE.[1][9][10] 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 aryā 'noble'. Over the last four millennia, the Indo-Aryan culture has evolved particularly inside India itself, but its origins are in the conflation of values and heritage of the Indo-Aryan and indigenous people groups of India.[11] Diffusion of this culture and language took place by patron-client systems, which allowed for the absorption and acculturation 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 of a mix of South Asian hunter-gatherers, Iranian hunter-gatherers, and Central Asian steppe pastoralists in varying proportion.[12][13] Additionally, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burmese speaking people contributed to the genetic make-up of South Asia.[14]

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.[15][16][17][18][19]

List of historical Indo-Aryan peoples[edit]

Contemporary Indo-Aryan people[edit]

Contemporary Indo-Aryan speaking groups
Indo-Aryan language map.svg
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[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 Indiaover 911 million[20]
 Pakistanover 233 million[21]
 Bangladeshover 160 million[22]
   Nepalover 26 million
 Sri Lankaover 14 million
 Myanmarover 1 million
 Mauritiusover 725,400
 Maldivesover 300,000[23]
 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[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Anthony 2007.
  2. ^ Erdosy 2012.
  3. ^ Danesh Jain, George Cardona (2007). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b Anthony 2009, p. 49.
  5. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 390 (fig. 15.9), 405–411.
  6. ^ Kuz'mina 2007, p. 222.
  7. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 408.
  8. ^ George Erdosy (1995). "The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity", p. 279
  9. ^ Johannes Krause mit Thomas Trappe: Die Reise unserer Gene. Eine Geschichte über uns und unsere Vorfahren. Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2019, p. 148 ff.
  10. ^ "All Indo-European Languages May Have Originated From This One Place". IFLScience. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  11. ^ Avari, Burjor (11 June 2007). India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Sub-Continent from c. 7000 BC to AD 1200. Routledge. pp. xvii. ISBN 978-1-134-25161-2.
  12. ^ Reich et al. 2009.
  13. ^ Narasimhan et al. 2019.
  14. ^ Basu et al. 2016.
  15. ^ Witzel 2001, p. 95.
  16. ^ Jamison 2006.
  17. ^ Guha 2007, p. 341.
  18. ^ Fosse 2005, p. 438.
  19. ^ Olson 2016, p. 136.
  20. ^ "India". The World Factbook. 16 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Pakistan". The World Factbook. 4 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Bangladesh". The World Factbook. 4 February 2022.
  23. ^ "Population of Lhotshampas in Bhutan". UNHCR. 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2016.


External links[edit]