Indo-Aryan peoples

The Indo-Aryan peoples or the Indic peoples are a diverse Indo-European-speaking ethnolinguistic group of speakers of Indo-Aryan languages. There are over one billion native speakers of Indo-Aryan languages, most of them native to the Indian subcontinent and presently found all across South Asia, where they form the majority.[note 1]

Indo-Aryan peoples
Major Indo-Aryan languages
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, some non-religious atheist/agnostic and Christians


Some of the theories proposed in the 20th century for the dispersal of Indo-Aryan languages are described by linguist Colin Masica in the chapter, "The Historical Context and Development of Indo-Aryan" in his book, The Indo-Aryan Languages.[5]

A recent Indo-Aryan migration theory[note 2]—proposed by anthropologist David W. Anthony (in The Horse, The Wheel and Language) and by archaeologists Elena Efimovna Kuzmina and J. P. Mallory—claims that the introduction of the Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent was a result of a migration of people from the Sintashta culture[7][8] through the Bactria-Margiana Culture and into the northern Indian subcontinent (modern day India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan). 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. It was part of the diffusion of Indo-European languages from the Proto-Indo-European homeland at the Pontic steppe, which started in the 5th to 4th millennia BCE, and the Indo-European migrations out of the Eurasian steppes, which started approximately 2,000 BCE.

The theory posits that these Indo-Aryan speaking people may have been a genetically diverse group of people who 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 Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture (2100–1800 BCE),[9] and the Andronovo culture,[10] 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,[11] whereafter the Indo-Aryans migrated into the Levant and north-western India.[12]

This scenario is disputed by the scholars who argue that Indo-Aryan culture is result of the Indus Valley culture, forming the basis for the Indo-Aryan culture that developed later.[13] 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 is rejected by mainstream scholarship.[14][15][16][17]

List of Indo-Aryan peoples


Indo-Iranian origins
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 also


  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.[6] The term "invasion" does not reflect the contemporary scholarly understanding of the Indo-Aryan migrations,[6] 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. ^ Masica, Colin P. (9 September 1993). "The Historical Context and Development of Indo-Aryan". The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. pp. 32–60. ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2.
  6. ^ a b Witzel 2005, p. 348.
  7. ^ Anthony 2007, pp. 408–411.
  8. ^ Kuz'mina 2007, p. 222.
  9. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 390 (fig. 15.9), 405-411.
  10. ^ Anthony 2009, p. 49.
  11. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 408.
  12. ^ George Erdosy(1995) "The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity.", p.279
  13. ^ Olson, Carl (2016). Religious Ways of Experiencing Life: A Global and Narrative Approach. Routledge. p. 136.
  14. ^ Witzel 2001, p. 95.
  15. ^ Jamison 2006.
  16. ^ Guha 2007, p. 341.
  17. ^ Fosse 2005, p. 438.


External links

36 royal races

The 36 royal races (Chathis Rajkula) is a listing of Indian social groups purported to be the royal (ruling) clans of several states and Janapads spread over northern Indian subcontinent. Among the historical attempts at creating a comprehensive listing of the 36 are the Kumarapala Prabandha of Acharya Jinamandan Gani of 1435 AD, Prithviraj Raso of uncertain date, and Colonel James Tod, writing in 1829.

Assamese people

The Assamese people are a socio-ethnolinguistic identity that has been described at various times as nationalistic or micro-nationalistic. This group is often associated with the Assamese language, though the use of the term precedes the name of the language. It has also been used retrospectively to the people of Assam before the term "Assamese" came into use. They are a physically diverse group formed after centuries of assimilation of Austroasiatic, Tibeto-burman, Indo-Aryan and Tai populations. The total population of Assamese speakers in Assam is nearly 13 million which makes up 48.38% of the population of state according to the Language census of 2011.

According to a 2011 census, out of (13,257,272) Assamese people, a majority of 10,013,013 or 75.52% Assamese people are Hindus, the largest minority of 2,830,072 or 21.34% are Muslims, and 414,187 or 3.14% are Christians and Sikhs by religion.

Bhojpuri people

The Bhojpuri people or Bhojpuris (Bhojpuri/Hindi: भोजपुरिया) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group from the Indian subcontinent who speak Bhojpuri and inhabit the Bhojpuri-Purvanchal region. This area is now divided between the western part of the Indian state of Bihar, the eastern part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and the northeastern part of the Indian state of Jharkhand, along with some neighbouring districts in the Madhesh of Nepal. Bihar's districts with significant Bhojpuri speaking population are Bhojpur (named after Bhojpuri itself), Buxar, Kaimur, Sasaram, Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, Muzzaparpur and Champaran districts. A significant diaspora population of Bhojpuris can be found in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, South Africa, and Mauritius.

Dardic people

The Dards are a group of Indo-Aryan peoples found predominantly in northern Pakistan, north India, and eastern Afghanistan. They speak Dardic languages, which belong to the Indo-Aryan family. The largest populations of Dards are in Gilgit–Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan and in the Kashmir Valley and Chenab Valley in India. There are smaller populations in Ladakh in India and in eastern Afghanistan. The Kashmiri people are the largest Dardic group, with a population of over 5.5 million. According to ancient Kashmiri epics the Dards are a separate group of people from the Kashmiris. However, Kashmiri language is Dardic. Nevertheless, Kashmiris and Dards are Aryan cousins.

Dom people

The Dom (also called "Domi"; Arabic: دومي‎ / ALA-LC: Dūmī , دومري / Dūmrī , Ḍom / ضوم or دوم, or sometimes also called "Doms") are a people with origins in the Indian subcontinent which through ancient migrations are found scattered across the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus, Central Asia and still parts of the Indian subcontinent. The traditional language of the Dom is Domari, an endangered Indo-Aryan language, thereby making the Dom an Indo-Aryan ethnic group. They have been associated with another traditionally itinerant ethnic group of Indo-Aryans variously called the Rom/Roma/Romani people (also known in English as Gypsies): the two groups have been said to have separated from each other or, at least, to share a similar history. Specifically, the ancestors of both the Dom and the Rom/Roma/Romani left the Northern Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 11th century.

Gujarati Malaysian

Gujrati Malaysian are people of full or partial Gujarati descent who were born in or immigrated to Malaysia. The community arrived to Malaya during 14 century to trade spices with Sultanate of Malacca. But, only during the 19th century this community settled in Malaysia. Most of this community work as traders. The Gujaratis were mainly from the ports of Cambay, Kutch and Surat in India and settled in urban part of Malaya like Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.


Hindkowans (Pashto/Punjabi: هندکوان; "Hindko-speakers") are an linguistic-cultural group native to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pothohar Plateau and Azad Kashmir regions of Pakistan. Hindkowans have mixed origins and almost all speak various Hindko dialects. They were originally settled in the northern regions of Pakistan primarily concentrated near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. At present, Hindkowans mainly inhabit Peshawar, Nowshera, Swabi, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur and Attock. Those who live in Afghanistan are known as Hindkis. Most of the Tribes residing in Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa such as; Tareen, Tanoli, Jadoon, Tahirkheli, Dilazak, Mashwani, Swatis and Utmanzais, speak Hindko and constitute an integral part of Hindkowans. Those who resides in urban centers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan such as: Peshawar, Kohat, Nowshera and Swabi are alternatively termed as "Kharian/Kharay" or city-dweller. Some Hindkowans have left the region and now live in other parts of South Asia, such as; Indian-controlled Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistani-controlled Azad Kashmir.


Indo-Aryan refers to:

Indo-Aryan languages

Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan

Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages

Kalita (caste)

Kalita is an ethnic group or a caste of Hindus belonging to the state of Assam in North East India. They commonly claim to belong to the Kshatriya caste. There is evidence of Kalita kingdom in very early times as well as during the 15th-16th century. According to historians like S.L.Barua, Kalitas started migrating from North and East India to Assam during the 11th century rule of Dharmapal.

Kamrupi people

The Kamrupi people are an linguistic group that speak one of the Kamrupi dialects and are found in the Kamrup region of India.

Kutchi people

The Kutchi people (Gujarati: કચ્છી) traditionally hail from the Kachchh/Kutch Region of the western Indian state of Gujarat.


The Lhotshampa or Lhotsampa (Nepali: ल्होत्साम्पा; Tibetan: ལྷོ་མཚམས་པ་, Wylie: lho-mtshams-pa) people are a heterogeneous Bhutanese people of Nepalese descent. The Lhotshampa people are native to southern Bhutan, and are thus colloquially referred to as Southerners. Starting in 2007, most of the Lhotshampas, or Bhutanese Refugees, were resettled to third countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. Today, the number of Lhotshampa in Nepal are significantly lower than that in the United States and other countries where they were resettled. The people of Nepalese origin started to settle in uninhabited areas of southern Bhutan in 19th century.

Magahi people

Magadhis are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group who reside in the Magadh region of Bihar and Jharkhand and speak the Magadhi language which is considered by some to be a dialect of Hindi. There is also a small population of Magadhis in Malda district of West Bengal.


Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which existed in many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age.

The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi. Robert Drews writes that the name 'maryannu' although plural takes the singular 'marya', which in Sanskrit means "young warrior", and attaches a Hurrian suffix. (Drews:p. 59)[1] He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Indo-Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

Nishadha Kingdom

Nishadha (IAST: Niṣādha) was an Indo-Aryan tribe of ancient India that lived in a country of the same name. It is not to be confused with the Nishadas, who were a non-Indo-Aryan tribe.


Panchala (Sanskrit: पञ्चाल, Pañcāla) was an ancient kingdom of northern India, located in the Ganges-Yamuna Doab of the upper Gangetic plain. During Late Vedic times (c. 900-500 BCE), it was one of the most powerful states of the Indian subcontinent, closely allied with the Kuru Kingdom. By the c. 5th century BCE, it had become an oligarchic confederacy, considered as one of the solasa (sixteen) mahajanapadas (major states) of the Indian subcontinent. After being absorbed into the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE), Panchala regained its independence until it was annexed by the Gupta Empire in the 4th century CE.

Pundra Kingdom

Pundra (also known as Paundraka, Paundraya) was an ancient kingdom during the Late Vedic period on the Indian Subcontinent, based in modern-day Bangladesh and West Bengal. Its capital was in "Pundranagara"; also referred as Pundravardhana or Mahasthangarh, situated in Bogra upon ancient karatoya river of Northern Bangladesh.

A Pundra king challenged Vasudeva Krishna by imitating his attributes. He called himself Paundraka Vasudeva. He was later killed by Vasudeva Krishna in a battle.


Not to be confused with the Sindi people.

Sindhis (Sindhi: سنڌي‎ (Perso-Arabic), सिन्धी (Devanagari), (Khudabadi)) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group who speak the Sindhi language and are native to the Sindh province of Pakistan, which was previously a part of pre-partition British India. After the partition of India in 1947, most Sindhi Hindus and Sindhi Sikhs migrated to India and other parts of the world. Today, Sindhis are both in India and Pakistan. Indian Sindhis are predominantly Hindu, while Pakistani Sindhis are predominantly Muslim.

Sindhi Muslim culture is highly influenced by Sufi doctrines and principles. Some of the popular cultural icons are Raja Dahir, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Jhulelal, Sachal Sarmast and Shambumal Tulsiani.


The Sylhetis or Sylheti people (Sylheti: ꠍꠤꠟꠐꠤ, Bengali: সিলেটি) are an Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic group which originated from or are native of the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, the Barak Valley and in the Hojai district of the Indian state of Assam, speak the Sylheti language. There are sizeable populations in the Indian states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur. Established diaspora communities exist in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Middle East, Italy and other parts of the world. Sylhetis maintain a distinct identity separate from or in addition to having a Bengali identity, due to cultural, linguistic, geographical and historical reasons.

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