This book on the developing arguments concerning the Aryan Invasion Theory consists of adapted versions of papers I have read: the first at the World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference on the Indus-Saraswati civilization in Atlanta 1996, the third at the 1996 Annual South Asia conference in Madison, Wisconsin and in a lecture at the Linguistics Department in Madison; the fifth contains material used in my paper read at the second WAVES conference in Los Angeles 1998; the second and fourth were read at lectures for the Belgo-Indian Association, Brussels, and at the Etnografisch Museum, Antwerp.  Overlaps have been kept to a minimum.  Here and there, sections of my book Indigenous Indians (Voice of India 1993, outdated as far as the fast-moving Aryan invasion debate is concerned) have been reused in adapted form.

My thanks are due to the late Dr. Lèon Poliakov and to Dr. Bernard Sergent for our correspondence; to Prof. B.B. Lal, Prof. A.K. Narain, Prof. Andrew Sihler, Prof. Lambert Isebaert, Dr. Herman Seldeslachts, Drs. Erik Seldeslachts, Dr. Edwin Bryant, Dr. Beatrice Reusch, Mr. Jose Calazans, Mr. Bhagwan Singh and Mr. Shrikant Talageri for the enlightening discussions; and to Mrs. Yamini Liu, Mrs. Manju Jhaver, Mr. Krishna Bhatnagar (and friends), Dr. Manohar Shinde and Mr. Shrichand Chawla for their material help.  I also thank the publishers for their patience: it so happens that the writing and editing process has been bedeviled by technical and other hurdles.

The greatest hurdle has been my own anxiety in treading unsure ground, where every hypothesis which is now carrying the day may be blown away by a new discovery tomorrow.  Even now, it hurts to release a book in mid-debate, knowing that much of it will be dated by the time a new consensus will have evolved.  But then, I am confident that this painful awareness of uncertainty has been the right attitude and the best starting-point for uprooting the false certainties of some and for clearing the bewilderment of others.  While too many debaters are still at base one, unfamiliar with the newest arguments and insufficiently alert to the strong and weak points of the several types of evidence in the balance, I hope this books helps the debate in moving on and reaching its conclusion.

Koenraad Elst 

Brecht (Belgium) 
20 May 1999

Back to Contents Page  Back to VOI Books  Back to Home