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LINGUISTIC AND GENETIC CORRESPONDENCES BETWEEN SLAVS AND INDIANS (INDO-ARYANS) PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THEIR PRE-HISTORY
Joseph Skulj, Jagdish C. Sharda, Snejina Sonina, Petr Jandacek
Hindu Institute of Learning (Toronto, Canada)
(Paper presented at the international conference “Ancient settlers in Europe”, 29-30 May 2003, in Kobarid, Slovenia.)
Genetic information on Slavs and Indo-Aryans from published literature was compared to linguistic data to determine the degree of this correlativity. Based on published genetic information, particularly the data from Y chromosome investigations, it is evident that the Slavs and Indo-Aryans share at a high frequency the haplogroup associated with the putative Indo-Aryan invasion. This is proportionate to the caste rank; the higher the caste, the greater is the similarity with east Europeans. This haplogroup is either absent or at a low frequency in western Europeans. The divergence between Slavs and Indo-Aryans is estimated to have occurred ~6,500 BC. Despite this early historical separation, Slavs and Indo-Aryans also show many linguistic similarities; Slovenes in particular retain many lexical and grammatical resemblances with Sanskrit, particularly Vedic Sanskrit, no longer present in most Slavic and Indo-Aryan languages.
In India as well as in Europe, there are ongoing debates between scholars regarding the original settlers in the respective lands. What ethnic group is indigenous to a particular country and who arrived later and when did the historical event occur; this is being re-examined in the light of new discoveries. Scholars have formulated many theories, based on archaeological finds, historical records and linguistic hypotheses in an attempt to explain the presence of various languages and ethnic groups in particular countries.
On the Indian sub-continent, there is a question whether the Aryans (Indo-European speakers) are autochthonous (Rajaram & Frawley 1997, Ghosh 1951), or whether they arrived after the Dravidian speakers, just 3,500 years ago (Chatterji 1951) or much earlier, possibly 6,500 to 10,000 years ago (Kazanas 2002, Kivisild 1999). There are reasonable arguments to support the debate (Ghosh 1988).
Similarly, in Slovenia, there is an ongoing debate whether the Slovenes are indigenous to the country or, whether, they arrived 1,500 years ago (Šavli et al. 1996).
Rajaram&Frawley (1997) have noted that there is evidence in the Indian epic literature pointing to connections between Vedic and Puranic records on the one hand, and the languages and mythologies of prehistoric Europe on the other. This suggests linkages between Vedic India and prehistoric Europe that have long been suspected, but insufficiently explored.
It is for this reason that an attempt was to be made to explore the linguistic and the genetic linkages between Slavs in Europe and the Aryans (Indo-European speakers) on the Indian sub-continent in an attempt to determine when in history the separation between Slavs and Aryans occurred. Until now, in such debates the scholars did not consider the close linguistic relationship between Sanskrit, the language of the Aryans and the Slavic languages of Europe and also of the present day genetic relationship of Aryans on the Indian sub-continent and the Slavs of Europe. This applies particularly to the Slovenian, which is relatively little known, but along with Czech, the most westerly Slavic language.
Relationship between Sanskrit and various Slavic languages such as Russian is well known and confirmed. Georgiev (1958) has compiled these comparisons in his book Issledovaniya po sravnitel’no istoricheskomu yazikoznaniyu. The linguistic comparisons in this paper just confirm this similarity to other Slavic and Indo-Aryan languages. The comparison should be of interest to scholars interested in linguistics, since it is not so well known how much closer to Sanskrit is Slovenian, than are other Slavic languages. It is generally not known that present-day Slovenian still preserves many grammatical and lexical similarities with Sanskrit that are no longer present in some other Slavic languages or in the Indian languages such as Hindi and Punjabi.
Languages have a great evolutionary significance, because linguistic affinities are also clues to population history. A common language frequently reflects a common origin, and a related language indicates a common origin too, but further back in time (Barbujani 1997). Now, in addition to archaeology, history and linguistics, scientists are also applying another scientific tool -genetics - which is currently used to help the researchers in their quests for knowledge about the historical past.
The main feature of Indian society is caste and scholars speculate that something very like castes were in India even before the Aryan speakers entered India (Majumder 2001). Now, geneticists have discovered that on the basis of Y-chromosome comparisons, the upper castes are more similar to Europeans, particularly East Europeans, whereas lower castes are more similar to Asians. The higher the caste, the closer they are to East Europeans (Bamshad et al 2001).
In this paper, we will demonstrate the linguistic and genetic relationship between Aryans of the Indian sub-continent and Slavs of Europe.
Origin of the Aryans
S. Srikanta Sastri has noted that a number of scholars have advocated a theory that the Aryans are indigenous to the Indian sub-continent and that the expansion or migration of the Aryans started from the Indian sub-continent. Some of the arguments to support this theory are as follows:
- There is no evidence to show that the Vedic Aryans were foreigners or that they migrated into India within traditional memory. There are literary materials available to indicate that they regarded Sapta-Sindhu as their original home. The Vedic Aryans, if at all they came from outside, must have lived in Sapta-Sindhu so many centuries before the Vedic period that they had lost all memory of the original home.
- The linguistic affinities are not positive proofs of Aryan immigration. Other Aryan languages may have come into existence as a result of the contact between migrating Aryans and non-Aryans outside India and Persia.
- Aryans migrated from India, but they were superfluous population of roving tribes and did not leave literary records (Ghosh 1951).
- Rajaram& Frawley (1997) cite Shrikant Talagari who proposed that the presence of Indo-European speakers from India to Ireland going back to prehistoric times may be ascribed to a combination of political and ecological disturbances in the Rigvedic heartland that seem to have taken place in the fifth millennium B.C.
- Kazanas (2002) cites classical sources such as Arrian, Pliny and Solinus that all give dates of 6000+ for Indian royal genealogies: so this aspect of the tradition is at the very latest of the 4th century B.C.
- The Roma (Gypsies) are an example of the out of India immigration. Linguistic evidence suggests that they are of diverse Indian origin. They became one of the peoples of Europe, when they arrived in the Byzantine Empire 900-1 100 years ago (Gresham et al. 2001).
Ghosh (1951), on the other hand, presents arguments, which indicate that India was not the original home of the Aryans:
- The fact that the whole of South India and some parts of North India too are to this day non-Aryan in speech is the strongest single argument against the Indian-home hypothesis, especially as the existence of a Dravidian speech-pocket in Baluchistan suggests, that the whole or at least a considerable part of India was non-Aryan in speech. It may reasonably be argued, that had India been the original home of the Aryans, they would have certainly tried to Aryanize the whole of the sub-continent, before crossing the frontier barriers in quest of adventure.
- The cerebral sounds of Sanskrit which sharply distinguish it from all other Indo-European speech-families including Iranian, are best explained as the result of Austric and Dravidian influences on the language of the incoming Aryans.
- Some scholars have assumed that blond hair was chief characteristic of the Indo-Europeans. Blond hair was also known in India. The grammarian Patanjali declared blond hair to be one of the essential qualities in a Brahmana. True Brahmanas, therefore, should have been blondes in the pre-Christian era.
Within the known historical times, the riches of India have been like a magnet that attracted numerous armies to the sub-continent to plunder the wealth, beginning with the Persians. Herodotus wrote almost 2 500 years ago that the Indians are more numerous than any other nation and they paid to the Persian king Darius a tribute exceeding that of every other people (Herodotus). The Persians were followed by the invasion of the Alexander the Great with his Macedonian and Greek army, then by Mongols and last by the British. This underlines the fact, that India was the goal of many and shows the usual paths taken by the plundering armies.
Caste and Indian Society
The main feature of Indian society, seen at its strongest in the rural areas, is caste. A caste is a collection of people who share similar cultural and religious values and practices. India represents one of the most ethnically and genetically diverse regions. Socially, the vast majority of the Indian population belong to the Hindu religious fold and are organized into ~2,000 caste groups, each of which belongs to a socially ranked (upper, middle, lower) caste cluster. The social rank is dependent on occupation, certain beliefs of purity and pollution, and continued settlement in a particular geographic location. The tribal populations of India are organized into clan groups; there are ~400 tribes in India. Additionally, there are several religious communities, such as Sikh, Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc. Marriages between different religious groups are extremely infrequent. The caste structure is also fairly rigid, and each caste remains an endogamous unit, although the levels of endogamy can vary substantially. The extent of admixture among caste groups of the same social rank is higher than among those belonging to different social ranks. Members within a caste generally marry among themselves; inter-caste marriages are a cultural taboo.
Boundaries of the middle caste groups have been the most fluid; these groups have admixed with both upper and lower caste groups. Despite the admixture between caste groups, the genetic implication of the approved social rule of hypergamy, by which a man can marry a woman belonging to a caste of lower social rank and continue to retain his caste affiliation (the woman is absorbed into her husband’s caste subsequent to marriage), is that crossings of Y chromosomes across ranked caste-cluster boundaries have been negligible in historical times. Union of a woman marrying a man of lower social status and retaining her caste affiliation (hypogamy) has been discouraged, historically. In this extremely infrequent type of marriage, the woman moves to her husband’s caste, which is of lower social rank. Often such marriages result in social ostracization and excommunication, forcing the spouses to move other geographical areas; thereafter, they become absorbed by a local group, generally of low social rank (Bhattacharyya 1999, Majumder 2001).
Contemporary India is a land of enormous human genetic, cultural and linguistic diversity. The social structure of the Indian population is dominated by the Hindu caste system. Most of the population is hierarchically arranged into four main caste classes: Brahmin (priestly class), Kshatriya (warrior class), Vaisya (business class) and Sudra (menial labour class). Indian culture and society are also known to have been affected by multiple waves of migration that took place in historic and prehistoric times. ... The contemporary tribal populations are largely Dravidian or Austro-Asiatic speakers. ... In view of the persistent survival of Dravidian languages in the pockets of Iran, Baluchistan and Afghanistan, some linguists believe that Dravidian speakers came from outside. Others, however, believe that since Dravidian speakers are largely restricted to India, these languages may have developed within India (Roychoudhury et al. 2000).
Apte (1951) describes the development of the caste system as a gradual progression; the transition from the casteless, though classified, society of the bulk of the Rig-Veda to the elaborate caste system of the Yajur-Veda is to be traced to the complication of life resulting from the further migration of the Vedic Aryans from the Punjab towards the east. The ceaseless fights with, and the conquest of, aboriginals called for an organized structure and monarchy evolved. The monarchy needed a standing armed force to meet all eventualities and this standing army was drawn from the ranks of nobility. This is the genesis of the warrior class, Kshatriya.
At the same time, the people of the Aryan masses, secure in the protection afforded by the warrior class, ceased to take interest in military matters and settled down to a peaceful life devoted to agriculture, pastoral pursuits, trade, and industry. They constituted the third class, the Vis, later called ‘Vaisyas’.
Side by side also grew a distinct community of priests, Brahman. In the earlier period, not only the householder but even a petty prince could offer sacrifice to gods for himself and his people, the ritual being very simple. As the kingdom grew, the ritual tended to be more complicated and elaborate, the need was felt for a hieratic order, composed of the more intellectual elements, who could dedicate themselves, undisturbed by the distractions of war or peace, to the faithful and exact performance of the highly developed ritual, and to the preservation (by word of mouth) of the traditional formulae and sacred hymnology of the Aryans. The power of the priest, ‘Purohita’ over the king in the Rig-Veda was derived from the fact that the correct performance of the sacrifice demanded the services of a hereditary priest.
The development of the caste system in a rigid form, with strictly hereditary and mutually exclusive caste-groups did not take place till the time when the Vedic Aryans had settled down in the Middle Country and were already Brahmanized enough to look upon the inhabitants of the North-West—the home of the Rig-Veda—as uncivilized Vratyas because they did not follow the strict caste system (Apte 1951).
Thus the Aryan world initially comprised of three classes (varnas): priests, nobles and commoners. Aryans placed their three classes on the indigenous Indian society. The varna organization is hierarchical. Initially, the system had names for two ranks, Brahma and Kshatra, Brahmin being socially higher rank than Kshatriya. The third rank was made of Vis, that is, all the subjects. To this society, a fourth rank was added: Sudra, who had no right to Aryan ritual. In southern India, the menial workers, the so-called “untouchables” were placed in a new varna, Panchama (fifth) (Majumder 2001).
The fourth class, the Sudra is mentioned for the first and only time in the “Purusha-sukta”, but ‘dasyu’ and ‘dasa’ are already known in Rig-Veda, both as aborigines independent of Aryan control and as conquered slaves. The name was applied, not only to the inhabitants of the villages, but also to the wild hill tribes which lived by hunting and fishing and acknowledged the over-lordship of their Aryan neighbors (Apte 1951).
Origin of the Slavs
Alinei (2003) notes that three different theories for the origins of the Indo-European languages are at present competing in the international debate: the traditional one, originated in the 19th century, now severely weakened by growing criticism, and two other, radically new ones, both presented in the last few years. He presents the Theory of Continuity (CT) and concludes that only within the framework of the CT can the extraordinary rich linguistic record be interpreted in a way, which is coherent with archaeological and interdisciplinary findings.
Other scholars present different viewpoints. As an adherent of the traditional theory regarding the origin of the Slavs, Kazanas (2002) posits that: “Slavonic is comparatively recent (c. 450 AD) intruder into the area of Pontic steppes.” However, Kazanas also notes that there are problems associated with the spread of palatalization and the establishment of Urheimat based on palatalization as proposed by S. M. M. Winn who accepts the Pontic Steppe as the Urheimat taking as central languages naturally Baltic, Slavonic, Iranian and Indo-Aryan. Kazanas notes: “Here too we have the difficulty of the position of the Balto-Slavs, but, as was said, perhaps in the early period (in the 5th millennium BC?), they were close enough to the Indo-Iranians. Thus palatalization spread from Indo-Iranian ‘core regions’ to the adjacent Slavo-Balts but not to the extreme limits of the ‘periphery’ ...” He also cites Watkins, who claims that archaeologists have not in fact succeeded in locating the Indo-Europeans...[but] are generally agreed that the so called Kurgan peoples... spoke an Indo-European language...[and] some time around the middle of the fifth millennium ... expanded from the steppe zone north of the Black sea ... into the Balkans and adjacent areas (Kazanas 2002).
Slavic scholars have also been debating for centuries the question of the origin and the original homeland of Indo-Europeans, particularly the Slavs. Czechoslovak scholar J. Kollar saw the ancestors of Slavs as the original inhabitants of Europe. The settlement area of the Slavs was to have extended from the Urals to the Atlantic; thus Etruria, the Seven Hills of Rome and the cultures of Scythians and Sarmatians were Slavic. On the other hand, Niederle, placed the original homeland of the Slavs in the broad area that reached from the Elbe River in the west to the Dnieper in the east. He placed the ancient Slavic homeland in the Carpathian hinterland and stated that they settled in the region that they occupy now in the 2nd, 3rd, or even 1st century A.D. Polish historian Lehr-Spławinski advocated a view that Slavs existed between the Oder and the Vistula around 2000 B.C. But according to the Russian historian J.Marr, the Slavs were autochthonous people who had not come to Europe from anywhere (Šavli 1996).
Otte (2003), also concurs with the autochthonous theories regarding the Europeans. He asserts that no clear evidence has ever been produced supporting major changes in both population and culture in Europe. The spread of farming appears to have been more a process of acculturation on the Balkan Peninsula rather than a large movement of population. Apart from the Upper Paleolithic, one does not observe any movement of people coming from outside Europe.
In Slovenia, the debates regarding the origin of the Slovenes are a microcosm of the European and Indian debate. There are Slovenian scholars who are adherents of the old Migration Theory and they posit that Slovenes arrived in their homeland in the 6th century A.D. (Grafenauer 1979). Countering this theory are the advocates of the Theory of Continuity who show historical and linguistic evidence that the Slovenes are autochthonous in the lands that they now occupy. The Slovenian version of the CT is in Slovenia known as the Veneti Theory (VT). The proponents of the VT present evidence which indicates that Slovenes are descendants of the pre-Roman Veneti, who survived the 500 year Roman occupation (Šavli et al. 1996), just as Greeks retained their religion and language and place names despite 400 years of Ottoman rule (Kazanas 2002) and likewise, Slovaks did not lose their language and identity despite almost 1000 years of Magyar rule (Wandycz 1970).
The recognition of new Y-chromosome markers represents a major leap in the investigation of human genetic diversity (in male lineages, complementing the information from female lineages derived from mitochondrial DNA). The resulting phylogeny supports out-of-Africa origins of our species and opens the way to further insights into prehistoric demography and world prehistory (Renfrew 2000). Applying molecular genetics to questions of early human population history, and hence to major issues in prehistoric archaeology, is becoming so fruitful an enterprise that a new discipline - archaeogenetics - has recently come into being. That many of its applications have so far related to prehistoric Europe is due in part to the detailed archaeological attention devoted to Europe by a series of 19th and 20th century scholars. It is also due in part to the early application of a specific demographic model, the “wave of advance” to explain the chronological patterning that emerged as farming spread across Europe at the onset of the Neolithic period (Renfrew 2001).
Based on the genetic information compiled by Semino and 16 co-authors (2000), they suggest that the present European population arose from the merging of local Paleolithic groups and Neolithic farmers arriving from the Near East after the invention of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. Two lineages, those characterized by M170 and M173 appear to have been present in Europe since Paleolithic times.
M173 Lineage—Distribution and Age
(Note: Semino et al., Rosser et al., and Y Chromosome Consortium use different nomenclatures; Semino et al. use Eu, Rosser et al. use HG and Y Chromosome Consortium uses A to R)
Semino et al. (2000) propose that M173 is an ancient Eurasiatic marker that was brought by or arose in the group of Homo sapiens sapiens who entered Europe and it diffused from east to west 40,000 to 35,000 years ago spreading the Aurignac culture. M 173 lineage is shared by haplotypes Eu18 and Eu19, which characterize about 50% of the European Y chromosomes. Semino et al. (2000) also estimate the age of M173 to be ~30,000 years, which appears consistent with the hypothesis that M173 marks the Aurignac settlement in Europe or, at least, predates The Last Glacial Maximum.
The frequency of Eu18/HG1/P(xR1a) is at its highest in the Basques at 90%, 81% in the Irish and decreases from west to east. In Slovenian population it is present at 21%, in Czechs at 19% and in Russians at 7% (Rosser et al. 2000). On the Indian sub-continent it is present at 11% and 12% in Pathan and Sindhi ethnic groups speaking Indo-European languages (Semino et al. 2000, Qamar et al. 2002) and in Punjab at 8% (Kivisild et al. 2003).
In contrast, haplotype Eu19/HG3/R1a1, which is also derived from M173 and is distinguished by M17 mutation, is virtually absent from Western Europe. In Basques and Sardinians it is absent (0%). Its frequency increases eastward and is present in Bavarians at 15%, Slovenes at 37%, Czechs at 38%, in Slovaks at 47%; it is highest in Sorbs at 63%, in Poles at 56%, in Belarusian population at 45%, in Russians at 47% and Ukrainians at 42 % (Rosser et al. 2000, Semino et al. 2000, Passarino et al. 2001, Behar et al. 2003). The highest concentration of this haplotype in Europe appears to be present in the extant populations occupying the area, which is according to Šavli et al. (1996 p.461) the area of the Lusatian culture, 1300 B.C. This haplotype is also found on the Indian sub-continent at 45% and 49% in the Pathan and Sindhi language groups (Qamar et al. 2002). Kivisild et al. (2003) find it in Punjab at 47% and they note that it has been associated with the putative Indo-Aryan invasion. On the other hand, Quintana-Murci et al. (2001) find it in Pakistan at 32%, northern India at 26% and Sri Lanka at 15%. They note its presence throughout most of the Indian subcontinent showing that this lineage spread over a vast area.
When the ages of the populations, who now carry the Indo-Aryan Eu19/HG3/R1a1 genetic clusters, are considered, there is a considerable range in the estimates of their ages. Semino et al. (2000) interpret the differentiation and the distribution of haplotype Eu18/HG1/R1a, as a signature of expansion of isolated populations from Iberia and Eu19/HG3/R1a1, as a signature of expansion of isolated populations from the present Ukraine. This expansion is to have taken place, from their refugia, following the Last Glacial Maximum. Since during this glacial period 20,000 to 13,000 years ago, human groups were forced to vacate Central Europe, with the exception of a refugium in the northern Balkans.
It is thus possible that the Indo-Aryans entered Indian sub-continent as they retreated from the cold climate prior to the ice age and again as a result of the dispersion after the Last Glacial Maximum. Both events would have taken place so long ago that they would have been long forgotten. It is a fact, that the Indo-Aryans in India have lost any memory of migration and they consider themselves indigenous. On the basis of the genetic studies Kivisild et al. (1999) question a commonly held hypothesis that there was a massive Indo-Aryan invasion into India 4,000 years ago. They have found an extensive deep late Pleistocene genetic link between contemporary Europeans and Indians. They estimate the divergence to have taken place ~7,300 BC +/- 3,000 years. Some geneticists interpret this as marking the movement of the Kurgan people, from north of the Caspian Sea, dated to ~7,000 years ago (Rosser et al. 2000). Another scholar, Kazanas (2002), argues that based on latest archaeological finds and data from archaeoastronomy, anthropology and paleontology, Indo-Aryans are indigenous from at least 4,500 BC and possibly 7,000 BC.
With this in mind, it would be safe to say that the Slavic and the Indo-Aryan populations are at least 6,500 years old. During this long time, people carrying the Indo-Aryan Eu19/HG3/R1a1 genetic groups would have had enough time to spread over a wide area, stretching from Europe to India.
Genetic research and studies of the peoples of India show that when the whole Indian sub-continent is considered, Indians show considerably more genetic similarities with the Caucasoids than with the Negroids (Majumder 1998). To be more precise, a number of researchers have found that Indians share many genetic similarities with the Europeans. Underhill et al. (2000) have noted that haplogroups derived from M170 and M173 lineages are found mostly in Europe and the Indus Valley. Semino et al. (2000) observe that haplogroup Eu19/HG3/R1a1, which appears at the highest concentration in Eastern Europe at between 29%-60%, is also present at substantial frequency in northern India and Pakistan; calculated at 32% (from information provided in Table 1 of Underhill et al. 2000).
M170 Lineage—Distribution and Age
Semino et al. (2000) propose that M170 originated in Europe in descendants of men that arrived from the Middle East 20,000 to 25,000 years ago, who have been associated with the Gravettian culture. It has been suggested that Gravettian and Aurignac coexisted for a few thousand years. When human groups were forced during the Last Glacial Maximum to vacate Central Europe, with the exception of a refuge in the northern Balkans, Western Europe was isolated from Central Europe. However, an Epi-Gravettian culture persisted in the area of present-day Austria, the Czech Republic and the northern Balkans. After climatic improvement, this culture spread north and east.
Semino et al. (2000) propose that the polymorphism M170 from which haplotype Eu7/HG2/I* is derived, represents another putative Paleolithic mutation whose age has been estimated to be ~22,000 years. The mutation is most frequent in Central Eastern Europe, at 45 % in Croats and 49% in Yugoslavs (Rosser et al. 2000) and also occurs at much lower level in Basques that have accumulated a subsequent mutation (M26) that distinguishes Eu8 (Semino et al. 2000). In Slovenes Eu7/HG2/I* is detected at 27%, in Czechs at 19% and in Russians at 17%. It is also present on the Indian sub-continent; Pathan and Sindhi in Pakistan show a frequency of 16% and 9% (Qamar et al. 2002). However, Kivisild et al. (2003) who consider these genetic clusters as European specific, have not detected them in their population samples in India.
Putting this into perspective, Passarino et al. (2001) consider haplogroups Eu7/HG2/I* and Eu18/HG1/P(xR1a) on the Y-chromosome in extant populations as being indicative of the descent from Paleolithic populations. This population was to have spread all over Europe 13,000 and 9,000 years ago. In this category of descendents from Paleolithic populations, there are 48% of Slovenes, 38% of Czechs, 24% of Russians. On the Indian sub-continent, 27% of Pathans, 21% of Sindhi and 8% of Punjabis fall into this category.
Indo-Aryan and Slavic Genetic Affinity
Indian culture and society are known to have been affected by multiple waves of migration that took place in historic and prehistoric times. A section of Aryan speakers are believed to have migrated first to Iran and from there to north-west of India where they encountered the indigenous people who spoke non-Aryan languages (Roychoudhury et al. 2000).
It is conceivable that the Aryan speakers had greater contact, including genetic admixture, with the Brahmins, who were professionally the torchbearers and promoters of Aryan rituals. The Aryan contact should have been progressively less as one descended the ‘varna’ ladder. The genetic expectation, therefore, is that the proportion of those genes (or genomic features, such as haplotypes or haplogroups), that “characterized” the Aryan speakers should progressively decline from the highest varna to the lowest and a reverse trend should be observed with respect to those genes that “characterized” the indigenous Indians (Majumder 2001).
From the historically prevalent social structure of Indian populations, it may be predicted that there has been very little male gene flow across ethnic boundaries. The analysis of DNA samples indicates that there has been virtually no male gene flow among ethnic groups, whereas there is considerably more female gene flow. The upper castes, while sharing haplotypes with the middle and lower castes, do not share any haplotypes with the tribes (Bhattacharyya et al. 1999).
Other researchers also confirm the close affinity, based on Y chromosome, between Hindi speaking (Aryan) Indians and Europeans (Quintana-Murci et al. 1999) and also rank the degree of this similarity. For instance, Kivisild et al. (2003) show that eastern Europeans tested (Poles, Czechs and Ukrainians) are genetically closer to Punjabis, Western Bengalis and Konkonastha Brahmins than they are to southern or western Europeans. Surprisingly, Punjabis, in turn, are also closer to eastern Europeans than they are to Gujaratis. Also, Punjabis, Western Bengalis and Konkonastha Brahmins are closer to eastern Europeans than they are to Pakistanis and Indian Lambadis, Chenchus and Koyas.
On the basis of paternal lineages, the Y-chromosome genetic distance estimates showed that the chromosomes of Indian caste populations were more closely related to Europeans than to eastern Asians, whereas the non-caste populations were closer to Asians. The tendency of higher caste status to associate with increasing affinities to European (specifically to eastern Europeans) hinted at male-dominated introduction of western Eurasian genes into the Indian gene pool. Quintana-Murci et al. (2001) calculate that 15% of Indians have HG3 haplogroup. In contrast to this, less than 10% of the maternal lineages of the caste populations had an ancestor outside India in the past 12,000 years (Kivisild et al. 2003).
Bamshad et al. (2001) have gone a step further and compared the affinities between the castes and also between the Europeans. They have found that the affinity to Europeans is proportionate to caste rank; the upper castes being most similar to Europeans, particularly east Europeans. These findings are consistent with greater west Eurasian male admixture with castes of higher rank. The lower castes, on the other hand, are more similar to Asians. For this comparison, Eastern European samples from Russia and Romania were used. It can be surmised that the stratification of the Indian society due to caste system preserved the original Y chromosomes and prevented the dilution from occurring and this is the reason for the close genetic similarities between the Indo-Aryans, particularly the higher castes, and the Slavs.
(The origin of the higher caste Aryans in India (predominantly foreign men and local women) appears analogous to the origin of the Metis population in Canada. While Champlain had encouraged his young men to live with the Indians, later governors did not. Nevertheless, an increasing number of French Canadians went west as fur traders; some returned to Quebec, others married Indian wives and remained in the western forests. Their descendants, known as Metis, became a distinct element in French expansion in North America (Whitelaw et al. 1971)).
Barbujani (1997) observes that humans do not tend to easily cross language boundaries when choosing a partner. This gives languages a great evolutionary significance, because linguistic affinities are also clues to population history. He quotes Sokal, who has noted that a common language frequently reflects a common origin, and a related language indicates a common origin too, but farther back in time. He was also one of the first to make an intriguing observation that the partial correlations with the language are stronger for the Y chromosome than for mtDNA and suggests that when women were incorporated into a group speaking a different language, they passed to the future generations, their husbands’ language.
The Indo-Aryans and the Slavs not only have a high degree of genetic similarities, but also have many linguistic affinities. Jespersen (1969) notes that it was the discovery of Sanskrit that was the real turning point in the history of linguistics. The French Jesuit missionary Coeurdoux as early as 1767 called attention to the similarity of many Sanskrit words with Latin, and even compared the flexion of the present indicative and subjunctive of Sanskrit asmi ‘I am’ with the corresponding forms of Latin grammar. Sir William Jones (British judge in India) is generally credited with the founding statement about Indo-European as a proto-language. In 1786 he made the memorable statement noting the strong affinity of Sanskrit with Greek and Latin and lesser ties with Gothic and Celtic and also Old Persian. However, Sir W. Jones did nothing to carry out in detail the comparison, and it was reserved for younger men to follow up the clue he had given.
The important announcement of Sir William Jones was made on the basis of Latin, Greek and Sanskrit, and it was only these three that he regarded as definitively having “sprung from some common source”. Other languages now known to be Indo-European are mentioned by Jones as likely candidates for inclusion, all of which have subsequently been brought firmly into the Indo-European family, but only as a result of later scholarship. After Sir William Jones’ pioneering statement came two centuries of lexical comparison, still ongoing, which have resulted in precise branching structure for the Indo-European family tree, innumerable etymologies, and etymological dictionaries and similar reference works. Nichols (1996) observes that the Baltic and Slavic languages, though their existence was well known to philologists - at least European philologists in the late 18th century - are not mentioned at all by Sir William Jones. In the second half of the 18th century, both Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765) the father of modern Russian science, and Josef Dobrovsky (1753-1829), the founder of Slavic philology, independently, were aware that Slavic was related to Greek, Latin, etc. Dobrovsky was already aware by 1792 that the degree of relatedness of language is determined not on the basis of some quantity of resembling words, but on the basis of identity of grammatical organism.
The 19th century witnessed an enormous growth and development of the science of language. More and more languages were described, studied and examined. A more comprehensive and more incisive classification of languages was obtained with the deeper understanding of their mutual relationships, and at the same time linguistic forms were not only described and analyzed, but also explained; their genesis being traced as far back as historical evidence allowed, if not sometimes further. This was in large part due to the efforts of scholars such as Friedrich von Schlegel, Rasmus Rask, Jacob Grimm, Franz Bopp, Wilhelm von Humboldt, August Schleicher and others (Jespersen 1969). The development of historical linguistics is closely associated with the study of Indo-European and the regularity of sound change. Grimm’s Law, Grassmann’s Law and Verner’s Law are major milestones in the history of Indo-European and thus also in historical linguistics. Grimm’s Law embodies systematic correspondences between Germanic and non-Germanic languages, the result of regular sound changes in Germanic. For example, the Germanic languages have the reflex -f-corresponding to -p- in Sanskrit, Greek and Latin. Another set of forms which earlier had seemed to be exceptions to Grimm’s Law is explained by Grassmann’s Law. Similarly, Verner’s Law explains another set of exceptions to Grimm’s Law (Campbell 1999).
The question concerning the place of Slavic languages within the Indo-European family was the one for which scholars never found a unanimous answer. Since the very beginning of comparative linguistics in the 19th century, some linguists would affirm that the Slavic languages are closer to Germanic (K. Zeuss, J. Grimm, A. Schleicher, A. Fick, etc.), others would see somewhat closer relationship between Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages (Fr. Bopp, A. Pott, etc.). After the division of all Indo-European languages into two main groups ‑ centum and satem - by P. von Bradke, Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages were considered belonging to the satem group and Germanic languages to the centum group. On the other hand, numerous facts confirming some close relationship between the Germanic and the Slavic languages forced scholars to search for an explanation of these similarities. As a result of this, the discussion continued in the 20th century between A. Meillet, H. Hirt and H. Arntz, who considered Slavic languages as closer to Indo-Iranian branch, and E. Fraenkel, V. Georgiev and T. Lehr-Spławinski, who put Slavic, Baltic and Germanic languages into the same group, or language union.
In the light of recent scientific discoveries in the field of genetics, it is apropos to re-examine the linguistic relationships from the perspective of genetic affinities and to focus our attention to Slavs and Indo-Aryans. In the case of the Indo-Aryans and the Slavs, they not only have a high degree of genetic similarities, but also have many linguistic affinities. Scholars tell us that Sanskrit and Slovenian (and other Slavic languages) are related at the Indo-European level; that is, if you were to think of the Slavic languages as being “sister” languages, Sanskrit would be a “cousin” language to them. Thus, there are certain similarities that can be observed in the areas of phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon because of their historical connection. The phonological similarities are heightened by the fact that Slavic and Indic languages are both part of the “satem” group of Indo-European languages. Slavic is, very generally speaking, phonologically conservative in many ways, thus allowing us to recognize cognates with Sanskrit because of its own archaic nature (Ghosh 1951, Reindl 1999). This is in contrast to present day Indo-Aryan language such as Bengali. Bengali has lost gender distinction and sex is indicated by added words, such as male or female; Sanskrit declension is lost; it has no dual and the distinction between singular and plural is very weak (Bonfante 1971). Table 1 shows a number of cognates in Slavic languages and Sanskrit that are readily recognized, because they have not undergone as many phonetic changes as Germanic languages. For example, Sanskrit plu, plavati and Slovenian plavati meaning to float, still preserve, along with Russian and Czech, the original —p— that has changed to —f— in English.
The relationship between Sanskrit and Russian is well known and documented (Georgiev 1958). What is not evident from these comparisons is how much closer the present day Slovenian is to Sanskrit, than say, are other Slavic languages including Church Slavonic, despite the fact that Slovenes in the western part of Slovenia and the Slovenian speakers in the eastern part of Italy are Slavs who are geographically the farthest away from India.
Slovenian has preserved numerous ancient Sanskrit (Vedic) words and has kept the meanings closer to Sanskrit than in some cases have Hindi and Punjabi. One example is the Sanskrit verb da, dadati/datte/dati which has many meanings in a sense that it means to give, to place, to yield, to permit sexual intercourse, and also to communicate; similarly, in Slovenian the verb dati also means to give, to place, to yield, to permit sexual intercourse and dejati (djati) means to communicate. However, infinitive of the verb dena: in Hindi and Punjabi, although it has similar meanings to Sanskrit da, it does not convey the meaning of placing an object as does Slovenian and Sanskrit.
Slovenes along with Lusatian Sorbs or Wends have also preserved the dual, which is used in Sanskrit literature, but which is no longer used in other Slavic languages; nor is it used in Hindi or in Punjabi. In Slovenian the dual is used in everyday conversation as an integral grammatical form in the declension of nouns and in conjugation of verbs. One example of this grammatical paradigm can be seen in Table 1 in the conjugation of the verb ‘to be’ in the present tense singular, dual and plural. Also other verbal endings in the present tense, specially the dual, are strikingly similar between the Slovenian and Sanskrit: Skt. plavami, plavasi, plavati – Slo. plavam, plavaš, plava - Engl. I swim, you swim, he swims. In the dual: Skt. plavavah, plavatha, plavata - Slo. plavava, plavata, plavata - Engl. we(2) swim, you(2) swim, they(2) swim. For the plural: Skt. plavamah, plavatha, plavanti - Slo. plavamo, plavate, plavajo - Engl. we swim, you swim, they swim (Antoine 1999).
Table 1. Linguistic Comparisons
From the comparisons in Table 1, it can be seen that Slovenian has preserved more general vocabulary than other Slavic languages such as Czech and Russian that is common to Sanskrit. In some cases, Slovenian still preserves vocabulary and grammatical forms no longer used in Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi and Punjabi. The conjugation of the verb to be is a good example.
Slovenian has also kept the meanings of the words quite close to the Vedic Sanskrit, along with the sounds. The greatest similarity is with the Vedic Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas. That there is so much linguistic similarity between Sanskrit and Slovenian, both grammatical and lexical, is surprising considering the geographic separation and no known means of contact over the millennia. This should be and probably will be the subject of future research.
In addition to genetic, grammatical and linguistic affinities between the Indo-Aryans and Slavs, there is also some sharing of the names, especially amongst Slovenes and Indians. In Slovenia, one can find family names such as Šuklje (pronounced Shukle), Kumar, Kumer, Virk and others (TIS 1993). In India, one can find corresponding names such as S’ukla (pronounced Shukla) amongst Brahmins, Kumar amongst Kshatriyas and Virk amongst the Vaisyas. This correspondence can be seen in Table 2.
Table 2. Example of Hindu given names and Slovenian family names
Hindu Names Meaning in Sanskrit Slovenian Family Names
Api friend, ally, acquaintance Apih
Apara boundless, with no rival, unequalled Opara
Archana respected Arčan, Arčon (pron. Archan, Archon)
Archin shining, devout Arčin (pron. Archin)
Arha deserving; (n. for Shiva and Indra) Arh
Ariha killing enemies Arih
Arjana conqueror of the enemy Eržen (pron. Erzhen)
Arka ray, song, learned man (name for Indra) Arko
Ashmana stone, gem, thunderbolt (name for Aruna) Ažman (pron. Azhman)
Ashna eating a lot, voracious Ažnik (pron. Azhnik)
Bahula broad, ample, abundant Pahole, Pahulje (pron. Pahul’e)
Bahuli manifold; one who has many facets Pahulje ( pron. Pahul’e)
Bachil one who speaks much, orator Bačnik (pron Bachnik)
Bagula crane Bagulj ( pron. Bagul’)
*baida/vaida wise man, learned Bajda/Vajda (pron. Baida/Vaida)
Bahuvata strong armed Bahovec
Bala force, power, energy Balas
*balihara paying tribute, taxes Belihar
Bhanga to break, destroy, destroyer Banko
Bhanu light, glory, king, master Ban
Bhari lion, one who supports Barič (pron. Barich)
*bhasaya resembling a bird Basaj (pron. Basay)
*bhela timid Belej (pron. Beley)
*bhruna child, boy Brunšek (pron. Brunshek)
Bharanyu striving to fulfill, protector, master, friend Beranek
Note: The Hindu names and their meaning are taken from Maneka Gandhi’s book The Penguin Book of Hindu Names except for the ones marked with an asterisk where the meaning is found in the Sir Monier Monier-Williams’ A Sanskrit-English Dictionary.
The Slovenian family names are taken from Telefonski Imenik Slovenije 1993 (TIS 1993). The meanings of the Slovenian names in the above table are largely forgotten. This can be taken as an indication of the antiquity of the names. It would require a good deal of research to determine whether the Slovenian names are a legacy of the age when the Indo-Aryans and the Slavs were still living together before the split or whether they are a more recent innovation. However, the genetic and linguistic evidence show that it is possible that the names have survived through the millennia (Skulj & Sharda 2001).
DATING THE SEPARATION OF THE SLAVS AND INDIANS
Barbujani & Bertorelle (2001) propose that in the Upper Paleolithic, around 40,000 years ago, Neanderthal people were replaced by anatomically modern humans, who moved in from Levant, and settled in many areas of the continent. At the latest Glacial Maximum, some 18,000 years ago, Northern and Central Europe were largely covered with glaciers. Human presence then seems restricted to the warmest regions or refugia, and only later reappears more to the North, accompanying the retreat of the ice sheet.
Perdih (2002) cites Bailey (1999) who gives evidence that during the Last Glacial Maximum, it was possible for humans to survive in Eastern Europe along the shore of the Black Sea, along the Danube and in the present Balkan countries of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia. These countries experienced an un-interrupted settlement and development during the last 45,000 years. However, during the Last Glacial Maximum, the glaciers on the mountains interrupted the trade patterns. Glaciers prevented the trade with Greece to the south and also to Bosnia to the west. People could only travel and trade to the east. We can conclude that this un-interrupted contact between people in the Balkans and those along the Black Sea may explain the widespread presence of Slavic languages and the potential for further spread when the climate became more favorable for habitation.
Adams and Otte (1999) propose that the climatic instability led to the language spread. They postulate that any one population group that acquired both the general cultural traits that caused it to spread rapidly out of a refugium and the technology to enable it to do so, would have experienced a rapid population growth. There is a possibility that the population increase causing the spread of Indo-European languages occurred at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum about 14,500 years ago. However, another event that might have affected the spread was the widespread cold, dry event that occurred 8,200 years ago.
Roychoudhury et al. (2001) have determined, that on the basis of the analyses of mtDNA of the ethnic populations of India, there is a higher Caucasoid admixture in the northern Indian populations and there is evidence that western Eurasian specific haplogroups and sub-clusters were introduced into India with the entry of Aryan speakers from western and central Asia.
Based on genetic data Kivisild et al. (1999) disagree with a commonly held hypothesis, which suggests a massive Indo-Aryan invasion into India some 4,000 years ago. Based on the investigations of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA, they estimate that the divergence between Europeans and Indians took place some of 9,300 +/ - 3,000 years ago. However, the investigation is not able to distinguish whether there were one or many migration waves, or whether there was a continuous long lasting gradual admixture. The results, nevertheless, do not support a recent massive Aryan invasion into India, nor do the results support Indian penetration into western Eurasia. Quintana-Murci et al. (2001), as a result of coalescence analysis on the Y chromosome of the male populations, date the mutations defining Eu19/HG3/R1a1 to ~7,500 years ago and provide an upper-limit estimate for the time when the population carrying this mutation started to expand in India. The upper-limit is 6,700 years, if 20 years is considered as one generation and 10,100 is the upper-limit, if 30 years are used as a span of one generation in the calculations. Based on the high frequency and haplotypic diversity, they conclude that the number of individuals entering from the west was large. This view is supported by the presence of HG3 throughout most of the Indian subcontinent averaging at 15%.
Richards et al. (2000) estimate that based on mtDNA results over 90% of the present European populations were in their present locations prior to the Bronze Age. Only 7% of the population came to the Alps and 8% to Southeastern Europe since the Bronze Age. Most of the populations were present in their present locations in Europe since the Lower Upper Paleolithic ~14,000 years ago. About 10% of the lineages date to the first colonization of Europe by anatomically modern humans during the Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP). About 20% of the lineages arrived during the Neolithic. Most of the other lineages seem most likely to have arrived during the Middle Upper Paleolithic (MUP) and to have re-expanded during the Lower Upper Paleolithic (LUP).
Present day Slovenian and Sanskrit share recognizable terminology for cattle and cattle grazing. Pasture in Sanskrit is pas’avyam; and paša in Slovenian. Cattle is gavah vs goved. Furthermore, consisting of cattle is gavya vs govedo, whereas coming from cattle is gavyaya or gavaya vs goveja. On the other hand, thickened milk is kshira vs sir, whereas beef (meat) is gomansa vs goveje meso. In addition, lord of the cowherds, leader, chief is gopati vs gospod. In Hindi pasture is pashuchar, cattle is pashu, and beef is gomans. The archaeological sites indicate that livestock has been domesticated up to 10,500 years ago. On the Indian sub-continent a site has been dated at 7,000 BC (Luikart 2001). The livestock terminology and archaeological evidence give us some indication of the date of migration or separation of the Indo-Aryans from the ancestors of Slavs. Based on beef evidence, in all likelihood this occurred after 8,500 BC.
Kazanas (2002) has examined the Indian epic Mahabharata and in the light of astronomical references contained there, he concluded that 3067 BC was the year of the great war described in the epic. This means that the Indo-Aryans were present on the Indian sub-continent well before that time. Archaeological evidence also shows that there was a break in the skeletal record circa 4500 BC. He thus posits a putative entry of Indo-Aryans at 4500 BC.
Despite numerous similarities between Sanskrit and Slovenian, there is no common recognizable terminology for metals. This could also be taken as a weak indicator that the Slavic and Aryan languages separated before metallurgy was discovered, particularly since the discovery and dating of the “Ice Man” in the South Tyrol with his copper axe, indicates that metals were already known 5,200 years ago. There is evidence that the various metals were discovered after 6,500 BC (Durman 2003). Therefore, this could be taken as an indication that the Slavs and Indo-Aryans separated before 6,500 BC.
There is a significant correlation between linguistics and genetics in the Slavs and the Aryans on the Indian sub-continent. This is salient when the genetic comparison is made on the basis of paternally inherited DNA haplogroups on the Y chromosome. The genetic profiles of the Slavic speakers resemble rather closely those of the Aryan speakers. There is also a notable linguistic similarity between the Slavic languages and the Aryan languages such as Hindi and Punjabi, despite the fact that Aryan languages have been profoundly influenced by Dravidian neighbors and the invaders that have come to India over the millennia.
Slavic languages preserve many grammatical and lexical similarities that they share with Sanskrit, that are no longer found in modern Indian languages such as Hindi and Punjabi. Slovenian in particular appears to be very archaic, because it still preserves a number of grammatical and lexical forms that are no longer present in most other Slavic languages, or in the Aryan languages.
Slovenian and Sanskrit have more grammatical and lexical similarities than, say, Slovenian and Germanic languages despite their geographic proximity. Approximately 20% of Slovenian vocabulary corresponds to the ancient Vedic Sanskrit in sound and meaning and 10% to Classical Sanskrit, but considerably less in Hindi and Punjabi. This indicates that the older the Indo-Aryan language, the greater is the similarity between it and the present-day Slovenian. This is surprising, since there has been little linguistic interaction between the Slavs and the Indo-Aryans since the time of their genetic divergence, which took place 9,300+/-3,000 years ago and since the time the Vedas were composed.
Populations with genetic similarities as defined by haplotypes Eu7/HG2/I* and Eu19/Hg3/R1a1 also show a greater linguistic similarity, even when geographically separated, than the neighbors with lesser genetic affinity. This is demonstrated in the case of Slavs and Indo-Aryans, where, despite the geographic separation, there is a pronounced genetic and linguistic similarity between the two groups of people.
In their analysis of 40 autosomal markers, Bamshad et al. (2001) found that the upper castes have higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians. The high affinity of caste Y chromosomes with those of Europeans suggests that the majority of immigrating West Eurasians may have been males. As might be expected if West Eurasian males appropriated the highest positions in the caste system, the upper caste group exhibits a lower genetic distance to Europeans than the middle or lower castes. This is underscored by the observation that the Kshatriya (an upper caste), whose members served as warriors are closer to Europeans than any other caste.
By combining the multidisciplinary information, it is possible to approximate that the divergence between the ancestors of the present day Slavs and Indo-Aryans took place ~6,500-10,000 years ago.
- Archaeological and astronomical evidence presented by Kazanas (2002) points to the entry of Indo-Aryans into India ~4,500 BC.
- Genetic data presented by Kivisild et al. (1999), based on mtDNA, indicates that the divergence could have taken place ~7,300 BC+/- 3,000 years.
- Genetic data by Quintana-Murci et al. (2001), based on Y-chromosome calculations, establishes that 8,100 BC is an upper-limit for the time when the population carrying Eu19/HG3/R1a1 started to expand in size in India.
- The estimates of Gray and Atkinson (2003) based on linguistic data denote that the divergence between Indo-Aryans and other Indo-Europeans took place around 4900 BC.
- The data about major climatic events presented by Adams&Otte (1999), namely the occurrence of 'Older Dryas' around 11,000 BC, of 'Younger Dryas' around 10,800 BC, and a sudden cooling event around 6200 BC provide possible causes for migration.
- The observation of Skulj&Sharda (2001) that there is no common recognizable terminology for metals between Sanskrit and Slovenian and the fact that the discoveries of the metals began after 6500 BC (Durman 2003) can also used as an indication as to when the contact between the ancestors of Slovenes Indo-Aryans ended.
- The similarities in the terminology for cattle rearing and beef along with archaeological would indicate that the separation took place after 8,500 BC.
From the above, we can conclude that the separation between Indo-Aryans and ancestors of the present-day Slavs took place most probably around or before 6000 BC. This is in agreement with the findings of Jacobi, a Sanskrit scholars, who concluded that the separation between Iranians and Indians took place before 4,500 BC and has also calculated on the astronomical grounds, that the oldest Vedic hymns date as far back as 6000 BC and that these hymns were already composed in India (Macdonell 1917).
Genetic results do not support any massive population changes during the last 3,000 years (Richards et al. 2000). On the basis of genetic results, the bulk of the population both in Europe and on the Indian sub-continent can be considered to be indigenous to the lands they now occupy, in agreement with the Continuity Theory, despite some language replacements in some areas.
The genetic and linguistic affinities between the Slavs and Indo-Aryans have been demonstrated. The relationship between the Slavs and Indo-Aryans is much closer than it is between the Indo-Aryans and the speakers of Germanic, Greek or Romance languages. This Slavic and Indo-Aryan patrimonial relationship appears to be the strongest of the Indo-European family and this in turn is the evidence of the close ties in the distant past. Nonetheless, it is still puzzling that the present-day Slovenian language retains so many archaic lexical and grammatical similarities to Sanskrit, specially to Vedic Sanskrit, not present in other Slavic and even Indo-Aryan languages, despite Slovenian language being geographically at the periphery of the Slavic language family and as such the farthest from India. It would be interesting to conduct further research in this area.
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Jezikovne in genetske sorodnosti med Slovani in Indijci kažejo na njihovo predzgodovino.
Genetske podatke o Slovanih in Indo-Arijcih primerjamo z jezikoslovnimi podatki. Objavljeni genetski podatki, predvsem tisti o raziskavah kromosoma Y, kažejo, da imajo Slovani in Indo-Arijci veliko pogostost haplogrup povezanih z domnevnim Indo-Arijskim vdorom. Ta pogostost je sorazmerna položaju kast. Čim višja je kasta, tem večja je podobnost z vzhodnimi Evropejci. Ocenjujemo, da so se Slovani in Indo-Arijci ločili okoli 6.500 pr. Kr. Kljub zgodnji ločitvi kažejo Slovani in Indo-Arijci mnoge jezikovne podobnosti. Zlasti Slovenci so obdržali v slovnici in besedišču številne podobnosti s sanskrtom, posebno z jezikom Ved, ki jih ne najdemo več v drugih sedanjih slovanskih in indo-arijskih jezikih.