Indo-Aryan peoples

The Indo-Aryan peoples (or Indic peoples) are a diverse collection of ethnolinguistic groups speaking Indo-Aryan languages, a subgroup of the Indo-European language family. Indo-Aryan peoples are native to the northern Indian subcontinent, and presently found all across South Asia, where they form the majority.[note 1]

Indo-Aryan peoples
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
~1.3 billion
Regions with significant populations
 Indiaover 911 million[1]
 Pakistanover 204 million[2]
 Bangladeshover 160 million[3]
   Nepalover 26 million
 Sri Lankaover 14 million
 Myanmarover 1 million
 Maldivesover 300,000
 Bhutanover 240,000[4]
Indo-Aryan languages
Indian religions (Mostly Hindu; with Buddhist, Sikh and Jain minorities) and Islam, Christians and some non-religious atheist/agnostic


The Indo-Aryan migration theory,[note 2] proposed among others by anthropologist David W. Anthony (in The Horse, The Wheel and Language) and by archaeologists Elena Efimovna Kuzmina and J. P. Mallory, shows that the introduction of the Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent was the result of a migration of people from the Sintashta culture[6][7] through the Bactria-Margiana Culture and into the northern Indian subcontinent (modern-day India, Nepal, 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 and western China. The Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture (2100–1800 BCE),[8] and the Andronovo culture,[9] which flourished ca. 1800–1400 BCE in the steppes around the Aral sea, present-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The proto-Indo-Iranians were influenced by the Bactria-Margiana Culture, south of the Andronovo culture, from which they borrowed their distinctive religious beliefs and practices. The Indo-Aryans split off around 1800–1600 BCE from the Iranians,[10] whereafter the Indo-Aryans migrated into the Levant and north-western India.[11] This migration was part of the diffusion of Indo-European languages from the Proto-Indo-European homeland at the Pontic steppe which started in the 4th millennia BCE.[12][13]

The Indo-Aryans were united by shared cultural norms and language, referred to as aryā, "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.

The alternate Indigenous Aryans theory places the Indo-Aryans languages as being entirely indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and later they spread outside the subcontinent; this theory has no support in mainstream scholarship.[14][15][16][17][18]

List of Indo-Aryan peoplesEdit


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 and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan migrations.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ According to Reich et. al (2009), while the Indo-Aryan linguistic group occupies mainly northern parts of India, genetically, all South Asians across the Indian subcontinent are a mix of two genetically divergent ancient populations namely Ancestral North Indian (ANI) population and Ancestral South Indian (ASI) population. ‘Ancestral North Indians’ (ANI) is genetically close to Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and Europeans, whereas the other, the ‘Ancestral South Indians’ (ASI) is not close to any large modern group outside the Indian subcontinent. The mixing occurred between substructured populations instead of homogeneous populations, and at multiple times and at multiple geographic locations within a span of over thousands of years to produce the current South Asian population. Indo-Aryan speakers and traditionally upper castes have higher ANI ancestry than Dravidian speakers and traditionally middle, lower castes.
  2. ^ The term "invasion" is only being used by opponents of the Indo-Aryan Migration theory.[5] The term "invasion" does not reflect the contemporary scholarly understanding of the Indo-Aryan migrations,[5] and is merely being used in a polemical and distractive way.


  1. ^ "India". The World Factbook.
  2. ^ "Pakistan". The World Factbook.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh". The World Factbook.
  4. ^ "Population of Lhotshampas in Bhutan". UNHCR. 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b Witzel 2005, p. 348.
  6. ^ Anthony 2007, pp. 408–411.
  7. ^ Kuz'mina 2007, p. 222.
  8. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 390 (fig. 15.9), 405–411.
  9. ^ Anthony 2009, p. 49.
  10. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 408.
  11. ^ George Erdosy(1995) "The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity.", p.279
  12. ^ Johannes Krause mit Thomas Trappe: Die Reise unserer Gene.Eine Geschichte über uns und unsere Vorfahren. Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2019, p. 148 ff.
  13. ^ "All Indo-European Languages May Have Originated From This One Place". IFLScience. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  14. ^ Witzel 2001, p. 95.
  15. ^ Jamison 2006.
  16. ^ Guha 2007, p. 341.
  17. ^ Fosse 2005, p. 438.
  18. ^ Olson 2016, p. 136.


External linksEdit