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Indo-Aryan peoples refers to both the pastoralist Indo-European people migrating from Central Asia into South Asia in the second millennium BCE, introducing the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, as well as to contemporary Indo-European ethnolinguistic groups speaking modern Indo-Aryan languages, a subgroup of the Indo-European language family.
The introduction of the Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent was the result of a migration of Indo-Aryan people from Central Asia into the northern Indian subcontinent (modern-day India, Nepal, Bhutan, 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.
The Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture (2100–1800 BCE), and the Andronovo culture, which flourished ca. 1800–1400 BCE in the steppes around the Aral sea, present-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The proto-Indo-Aryan split off around 1800–1600 BCE from the Iranians, moved south through the Bactria-Margiana Culture, south of the Andronovo culture, borrowing some of their distinctive religious beliefs and practices from the BMAC, and then migrated further south into the Levant and north-western India. The migration of the Indo-Aryans was part of the larger diffusion of Indo-European languages from the Proto-Indo-European homeland at the Pontic steppe which started in the 4th millennia BCE. The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard, OCP and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryans.
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.
While the Indo-Aryan linguistic group occupies mainly northern parts of India, genetically, all South Asians across the Indian subcontinent are descendants from a mix of South Asian hunter-gatherers, Iranian hunter-gatherers, and Central-Asian steppe pastoralists in varying proportion. Additionally, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burmese speaking people contributed to the genetic make-up of South Asia.
Indigenous Aryanism propagates the idea that the Indo-Aryans were indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, and that the Indo-European languages spread from there to central Asia and Europe. Contemporary support for this idea is ideologically driven, and has no basis in objective data and mainstream scholarship.
See also: List of Rigvedic tribes
|~1.5 billion|
|Regions with significant populations|
|India||over 911 million|
|Pakistan||over 233 million|
|Bangladesh||over 160 million|
|Nepal||over 26 million|
|Sri Lanka||over 14 million|
|Myanmar||over 1 million|
|Indian religions (Mostly Hindu; with Buddhist, Sikh and Jain minorities) and Islam, Christians and some non-religious atheist/agnostic|