We often hear people attack Hinduism as being ‘impure’ from an Indo-European perspective – purportedly hopelessly “compromised” via incorporations of all manner of non-IE customs and cults. I disagree most strongly with much of that, of course – and have repeatedly demonstrated how what often looks non-IE to a certain sort of observer … is in fact fundamentally IE right the way back through to the Vedas and even Before.
Yet at the same time, I have noticed that the sorts of people who are decrying post-Vedic or even for that matter Vedic religion as being ‘less IE’ or otherwise ‘impaired’ in such a manner .. will often be quite overtly keen on the Hittites.
And you know, I don’t think I have heard such “oh, non-IE incorporations, syncretism, impurities abound!” from them in that direction.
Why is this, I wonder.
Perhaps it is because it is so incredibly blatantly direct in the case of the Hittites that that is what has occurred, that it is almost going without saying; although I am not sure that that is the case – after all, it’s not blatant nor direct nor even really occurrent in the Hindu religion, and yet we keep hearing people talking about it as if it very much were anyway.
Perhaps it is because the Hittites are so very much further away – in gulfs of time as well as space – and are not a ‘living religion’ as we are; and so therefore are easier to metaphorically ‘mythologize’ and ‘sand down the edges’ of to be more in accordance with the beholder’s preferred schema of things.
Perhaps it is quite literally racism – because we so often hear people drawing from some 19th/early 20th century books to talk about “race-mixing” prohibitions in ancient legal codes that then ‘fail’ producing the purported “decline” of India past that point (Which is fairly blatantly untrue, historically speaking, but another matter for another time); although I am not sure that that sort of ‘morality play’ approach can be really at the root of it either – as the Hittites quite famously mixed and integrated with various non-Hittite and not even Indo-European groups, and built a great empire in the process of it. Indeed, it was literally central to their approach!
No, I suspect rather strongly, that it is insecurity – the feeling that as we have the Last Living Indo-European Religion (of any significant size – I am aware that the Kalash are also a still-surviving one, etc.); this must be attacked, accused against, consciously derided and aspersed to make out that it is not in fact ‘really’ Indo-European what has been preserved in the Hindusphere.
Or maybe it is just ignorance.
Whatever it is – the Hittites are definitely pretty cool ; but, then, so are the Hindus (I may be biased in this latter regard). And what we should always be about is looking at the facts, the evidence, and working together to rebuild the heritage elsewhere, preserve the heritage that is already one’s own. Not entirely artificially endeavouring to besmirch either for some sort of puerile point-scoring or “I don’t want to believe in X because it doesn’t suit my personal headcanon specifically”-ism.