Indo-Aryan peoples

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Indo-Aryan peoples
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[1]
 Pakistanover 233 million[2]
 Bangladeshover 160 million[3]
   Nepalover 26 million
 Sri Lankaover 14 million
 Myanmarover 1 million
 Mauritiusover 725,400
 Maldivesover 300,000[4]
 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

Indo-Aryan peoples are a diverse collection of peoples speaking Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent. Historically, Aryans were the Indo-Iranian speaking pastoralists who migrated from Central Asia into South Asia and introduced the Proto-Indo-Aryan language.[5][6][7][8][9] The early Indo-Aryan peoples were known to be closely related and belonging to the same Indo-Iranian group that have resided north of the Indus River; an evident connection in cultural, linguistic, and historical ties. Today, Indo-Aryan speakers are found south of the Indus, across the modern-day regions of Bangladesh, Nepal, eastern-Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and northern-India.[10]



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.[citation needed] Another group of Indo-Aryans migrated further westward and founded the Mitanni kingdom in northern Syria;[11] (c. 1500–1300 BC) the other group was the Vedic people.[12] Christopher I. Beckwith suggests that the Wusun, an Indo-European Caucasoid people of Inner Asia in antiquity, were also of Indo-Aryan origin.[13]

The Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture (2100–1800 BCE),[14][15] and the Andronovo culture,[citation needed] 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,[16] 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.[17][5] 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 millennium BCE.[5][18][19] 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.[20] 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.

Genetically, most Indo-Aryan speaking populations are descendents of a mix of Central Asian steppe pastoralists and Iranian hunter-gatherers and to a lesser extent, South Asian hunter-gatherers. While Dravidians are descendants of a mix of South Asian hunter-gatherers and Iranian hunter-gatherers, and to a very lesser extent, Central Asian steppe pastoralists. South Indian Tribal Dravidians are mostly descendents of South Asian hunter-gatherers.[21][22] Additionally, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burmese speaking people contributed to the genetic make-up of South Asia.[23]

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.[24][25][26][27][28]

List of historical Indo-Aryan peoples[edit]

Contemporary Indo-Aryan people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "India". The World Factbook. 16 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Pakistan". The World Factbook. 4 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh". The World Factbook. 4 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Population of Lhotshampas in Bhutan". UNHCR. 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Anthony 2007.
  6. ^ Erdosy 2012.
  7. ^ "How ancient DNA may rewrite prehistory in India". bbc. 23 December 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  8. ^ "New reports clearly confirm 'Arya' migration into India". thehindu. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Aryans or Harappans—Who drove the creation of caste system? DNA holds a clue". theprint. 29 June 2021. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  10. ^ Danesh Jain, George Cardona (2007). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 2.
  11. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 454.
  12. ^ Beckwith 2009, p. 33 note 20.
  13. ^ Beckwith 2009, p. 376-7.
  14. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 390 (fig. 15.9), 405–411.
  15. ^ Kuz'mina 2007, p. 222.
  16. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 408.
  17. ^ George Erdosy (1995). "The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity", p. 279
  18. ^ Johannes Krause mit Thomas Trappe: Die Reise unserer Gene. Eine Geschichte über uns und unsere Vorfahren. Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2019, p. 148 ff.
  19. ^ "All Indo-European Languages May Have Originated From This One Place". IFLScience. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Reich et al. 2009.
  22. ^ Narasimhan et al. 2019.
  23. ^ Basu et al. 2016.
  24. ^ Witzel 2001, p. 95.
  25. ^ Jamison 2006.
  26. ^ Guha 2007, p. 341.
  27. ^ Fosse 2005, p. 438.
  28. ^ Olson 2016, p. 136.


External links[edit]