Book Review: Which of us are Aryans?

Title: Which of us are Aryans?
Author: Various
Publisher: Aleph Book Compnay
Pages: 224
ISBN: 978-9388292382
Source: Publisher


Which of us are Aryans? deals with the much debated question of our origins. This book offers several insights on the Aryan issue and examines the different theories that have been propounded. From the Vedic times to the very recent findings coming from the field of genetics, the book views the issue from several perspectives and thereby seeks to clear the mist surrounding the issue.

There are 5 chapters each dealing with the issue from a different aspect. Edited by Romila Thapar, the book opens with a foreword and ends with an afterword by her. The purpose of this book, as Romila Thapar writes in the foreword, is not to provide any “one-bite answer … but rather to lay out the field as it were, explain where we are at and indicate by implication the directions in which the analyses could proceed.”

The issue is dealt with by analysis of the historical and linguistic findings, archaeological data, genetic research and of course the Vedas. While each perspective offers different insights, what I found even more interesting was the contradictory results that did not support the earlier findings. Thapar also talks about the different meanings that the word Aryan has held in the past, which further complicates the whole matter.

The book certainly tests and challenges the various hypotheses, myths, facts and theories that are currently in vogue. The study presented here is quite rich and insightful, not only probing deep into the issues of the past but also expanding the very horizons of the problem by bringing in latest findings (some of which are yet to be published).

I must mention, however, that the book demands a lot of attention and is certainly not meant for beginners. I read certain parts three or four times to make sense of and follow what was being said. Despite that I could hardly make anything out of the very first chapter by Michael Witzel. There is so much of terminology that the layman is not aware of. Had the whole book been written by him, I wouldn’t have proceeded.

Besides that the book made for an interesting read. I would recommend this to only those who are genuinely interested in the topic and are also acquainted with the prose of Thapar.

My Rating: **** (3.5/5)

What do you think about this book? Are you fascinated by the question that this book deals with? Do share your thoughts. Thanks.

*I was kindly sent a book by the publisher, in exchange for a review. Views expressed are entirely personal and unbiased.*

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