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Sarasvati Civilization

Vedic Saravati channel at Bhor-Sayidan, Haryana (Breath-taking pictures of the great river, thanks to Rajesh Purohit, Curator, Krishna Museum, Kurukshetra)


Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Revival of River Sarasvati in Harayana

Space image: Sarasvati sarovar (Adbadri) and Soma Sarovar (Kapala Mochan)

Revival of River Sarasvati in Haryana PRESS NOTE 6 Feb. 2008

Talk on Indus script today

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: A lecture on ‘Is the Indus script indeed not a writing system?’ will be delivered by Indus script expert Asko Parpola at Roja Muthiah Research Library, Taramani, at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday.

Mr. Parpola is professor emeritus of Indology Institute for Asian and African Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland.

He has studied the Indus script for over four decades. Mr. Asko Parpola is also the chief editor of ‘Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions’, a multi-volume work comprising photographs of collections in India, Pakistan and other parts of the world.

The Indus Research Centre of the library, functioning on the Central Polytechnic campus in Taramani, was set up in 2006.

It has been operating under the guidance of honorary consultant Iravatham Mahadevan and has been organising several lectures.

For more details, contact the library over the phone at 22542551/52.

X-Posted from AIT thread as follow-up to above post...
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Mar 3 2008, 10:11 PM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Mar 3 2008, 10:11 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://www.hindu.com/2008/03/04/stories/...850900.htm

‘I do not believe in a full decipherment’ of the Indus script

S. Theodore Baskaran

Eminent Finnish Indologist Asko Parpola on the status of research on the undeciphered script, the new Dholavira finds, whether the Indus script was a system of writing, the Dravidian-Aryan question, the present state of Sanskrit and Vedic studies in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and the Tirukkural.

— Photo: Shaju John

Asko Parpola: “I am convinced that some two dozen specific signs have already been deciphered, because in these cases there appears to be sufficient confirmation — it all makes good sense together.”

Asko Parpola’s field of specialisation is Sanskrit, especially Vedic Sanskrit, and the Indus Valley Civilisation, particularly its script, on which he is one of the world’s leading authorities. This renowned Indologist from Finland has done significant research on the Sama Veda, having studied it under the guidance of a Namboothiri scholar of eminence from Panjal, Kerala. Dr. Parpola is Professor Emeritus of Indology and South Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki. About 4,000 seals have survived from the Indus Valley Civilisation, which flourished around 2600-1900 BC. The two volumes he co-edited, Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions (Helsinki, 1987 & 1991), are considered the standard work in the field. His study concludes that the Indus script encodes a Dravidian language. The Indus script is perhaps the most important among ancient systems of writing that are undeciphered. Excerpts from an interview with Dr. Parpola, who was in Chennai recently to deliver a lecture at the Indus Research Centre at the Roja Muthiah Research Library:
I learn that you have come to Chennai straight from Dholavira in Gujarat. Have the new finds in Dholavira, like the signboard, made any difference to our understanding of Indus script?

Yes... the Dholavira signboard is the first example of what we could call monumental inscriptions. Each sign is about 30 cm high. The usual sign on a seal is less than one cm, as you know. The board itself is three metres long. We have also got some new seals and artifacts. However, though these are important finds, they do not bring about any fundamental change in our understanding of the Indus script.
What is the present status of research on the Indus script?

We shall soon have all the material relating to the script in an easily accessible form, in good photographs, or as good as we can get, and also all sorts of indexes and concordances. Thus, good manuals will soon be at hand. As far as decipherment is concerned, we can run various computer programmes that can help in classifying the Indus signs into groups of functionally similar signs. But the real decipherment can only come from making detailed informed guesses and then testing them, seeing if they have enough support from different kinds of evidence. The main thing is that the hypotheses follow strict rules and agree with generally accepted knowledge: the history of writing, proven methods of decipherment, and linguistic and historical evidence.
You have stated in your book Deciphering the Indus Script (London, 1994) that the script cannot be fully deciphered in the present state of our knowledge. Are you hopeful of an eventual full decipherment of the Indus script?

I do not believe in a full decipherment. But I am convinced that some two dozen specific signs have already been deciphered, because in these cases there appears to be sufficient confirmation — it all makes good sense together. In principle, we have a real chance of decipherment only with those signs that we can clearly identify pictorially.
There is a recent controversy that the Indus script is not a system of writing at all. What are your comments on this?

In December 2004, Steve Farmer and his two colleagues published an article where they mention several reasons why the Indus script cannot be writing. In the paper I presented here in Chennai, I examined each one of their nine arguments, concluding that none holds water. For instance, they claim that there is no repetition of signs within a single Indus seal, emphasising this as the most important indicator. But I can quote many examples where such repetition is found.

Another claim was that no longer texts in other writing media like palm leaves have been found at Indus sites. We know from Greek sources that cotton cloth was used as writing material in 325 BC in the Indus Valley. But preserved Indian texts written on cotton cloth date from more than a thousand years later. We know for certain that the Indus people had cotton, but only microscopically small remains of cotton have been preserved in association with metal objects.

Farmer and his colleagues do not discuss the evidence supplied by the Indus sign sequences, which make it virtually certain that the Indus script is writing. How else can we explain that in hundreds of sequences, the signs are always written in the same definite order? If they were just non-linguistic symbols, why did they follow such rules, and did the Indus people keep long registers of sign orders in all the many dozens of sites?
How did you reach the conclusion that the Indus script is Dravidian?

We started with the premise that from the point of view of linguistic history, Dravidian is the most probable alternative. There are several language families in South Asia, the biggest being Indo-European and Dravidian. About a hundred years ago, some 25 per cent of people in South Asia spoke a Dravidian language. Numerically Dravidian is the most important among the non-Indo-European languages of the subcontinent. Brahui, a North Dravidian language, is still spoken in the Indus region. The Munda languages are mainly spoken in eastern India by rather few people and their linguistic relatives are in South-East Asia. The only non-Indo-European language family of South Asia from which there are widely accepted loan words in the Rig Veda is Dravidian. And when applied to the Indus script, Dravidian puns make sense.
Is there scope for further collaboration between Indian and western scholars in studying the Indus script?

I have discussed the possibilities of collaboration. Personally I would be very happy with such a development. Iravatham Mahadevan has been preparing the ground for further Indian research work in this field. India is one of the leading countries in information technology. You have a wealth of young IT experts, and some of them are eager to work on the Indus script. I cannot do this work myself, and would have to hire experts to update our concordances. But no formal decision of collaboration has yet been made. (The Indus Research Centre at Roja Muthiah Research Library Chennai has an ongoing collaborative project with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai. A team of experts had a discussion with Dr. Parpola on this subject – Theodore Baskaran.)
You are a Sanskritist by training. What attracted you to study the Indus Civilisation?

I went to the university to study the classical languages of Europe, Latin and Greek. In those days we had to choose three subjects and Sanskrit sounded an interesting choice. It became my main field. The Indus Script attracted me when a friend offered to help with computers in any problem relating to my field. At that time, in the early 1960s, the Greek ‘Linear B’ script had recently been deciphered. It was a great sensation in those days. [Linear B is a script used for writing Mycenaen, an early form of Greek.] And India had its Indus script to be studied.
Do the archaeological data help in understanding the seals?

Definitely. Information like where and with what other material a particular seal was discovered can provide us some leads. Let’s say a seal comes from a room where other artifacts point to the practice of a particular craft, for instance bead-making. Then “bead-maker” might be mentioned in the seal. This is just one example of how we may get clues to proceed further.
You have learned the Sama Veda from a traditional guru in Kerala. What is your assessment of the present level of Vedic and Sanskrit studies in Tamil Nadu and Kerala?

I have studied Jaiminiya Sama Veda, which is one of the rare Vedic schools, surviving only in South India. In Kerala there are just a handful of scholars who can chant Jaiminiya Sama Veda and they are old, so the future of this particular tradition is rather bleak there.

In Tamil Nadu the prospect is much better, as there is a vigorous Jaiminiya Sama Veda pathasala near Tiruchi with a number of students and a dedicated teacher. In the case of other Vedic schools, the situation is less critical and there are some very good centres of Sanskrit studies in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Some Indian scholars claim that the Aryans never came from outside India and that the Indus Civilisation was Vedic. What is your stand on the Aryan-Dravidian debate?

The urban civilisation of the Indus Valley differs greatly from the predominantly nomadic culture described in the early Vedic texts. For one thing, the domestic horse, which occupies an important position in Vedic religion and culture, is not represented among the many animals depicted on Indus seals, nor is there any unambiguous bone evidence for the presence of the horse in South Asian before 2000 BC. The horse is not native to South Asia, and was introduced by outsiders in post-Harappan times.

I have always found it most unfortunate that the past is politicised and used for other than scholarly purposes. As far as the Aryan-Dravidian dichotomy is concerned, it must be remembered that ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’ are linguistic and not racial terms. There is no pure race, and Aryan and Dravidian speakers have been in contact with each other in South Asia from the start of their encounter. Ever since the Aryan speakers came to India from Central Asia, this militarily powerful minority group <span style='color:red'><i>(No Evidence exists for this myth of military powerful group)</i> would have mixed with the local population. Centuries of gradually increasing bilingualism eventually led to a large-scale language shift, making almost the whole population of North India Indo-Aryan speakers. Linguistic and religious fanatics inflame a wrong sort of nationalism, which has led to great ills both in South Asia and elsewhere. Ancient traditions of language must not be used to divide people.</span>
You had said that lexicography is well advanced in Tamil and Malayalam. What are the reasons?

Tamil has a long literary tradition, especially after the discovery of the Sangam texts. S. Vaiyapuri Pillai did great work in compiling the Tamil Lexicon and after him Murray Rajam initiated further important lexicographic work. The Malayalam Lexicon of the University of Kerala is following this lead. I hope Tamil scholars will extend their work to the study of cognate languages, in particular small tribal languages with no native linguists, and thus enlarge the understanding of the common prehistoric background of all Dravidian languages. The study of the Indus script suffers greatly from inadequate knowledge of ancient compound words, which have not survived in Tamil or Malayalam, but [have] possibly [survived] elsewhere.
You recommended creation of linguistic archives. Could you elaborate this?

Not only linguistic but also folklore material should be collected and published. This is necessary for traditions that do not have a written tradition. Instead, tribal languages do have oral traditions of songs, legends, and stories. In Udupi, Professor U.P. Upadhyaya and his wife Susheela, along with their colleagues, have done exemplary work in collecting a rich database of folklore material and using this as the basis of a six-volume Tulu Lexicon. We badly need similar work on the remaining Dravidian languages, which are all the time losing their ancient vocabulary with the increasing influence of Indo-Aryan and English.
<img src='http://www.hindu.com/2008/03/04/images/2008030454850901.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
I learn you are translating Tirukkural into Finnish. How is the progress? What is your experience?

Fifteen years ago, I could recite by heart the first hundred stanzas of Tirukkural. I gave lectures at Helsinki University on this Tamil classic that I greatly admire, and translated into Finnish prose almost one half of the text. Unfortunately I have since then not found time and opportunity to finish the job, but I hope this will be possible in the future.
<b>What lies beneath</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Archaeology is as much about the thrill of discoveries as it is about the exploits of discoverers. Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey who made our ancestors older by several million years, the geologist, Arun Sonakia, who uncovered a hominid skull cap in the Narmada valley, the archaeologist John Marshall who unearthed the splendour of Taxila — these names evoke the harvest of riches to be had  in pursuing  a study of the past. Such explorers and excavators certainly deserve the credit that is accorded to them. But their claim to fame is frequently anchored by people who remain unknown to most of us.

One such story revolves around India’s successful recovery of her Indus past in the first five years of independence. Inevitably, it is a story that reminds us of Amalananda Ghosh. An officer of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who went on to become its director-general, <b>it was Ghosh who in 1950 began a systematic exploration of Bikaner, along the dried up bed of the ancient Sarasvati. </b> Within two months, he found 70 sites, 15 of these yielded the same types of antiquities found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro.

But how did Ghosh’s survey take place? How did the ASI — an organisation hardly known for speedy implementation — have the foresight in this instance to so swiftly undertake this work? And this, at a time when it was  grappling with the problems of partition — when all kinds of material, from precious antiquities to mundane stock and issue registers about admission tickets, had to be transferred; when the changing options of officers and staff from Pakistan to India and India to Pakistan was still being decided; when the organisation was even being prevented from undertaking the conservation of protected monuments that housed thousands of refugees. In truth, along with Ghosh’s contribution, there is another claim to be staked, to the uncovering of the Indus civilisation in Rajasthan. That claim belongs not to an archaeologist but to a scholar administrator: Sardar K.M. Panikkar.

Kavalam Madhava Panikkar can hardly be described as a backroom hero. Born in Kerala in 1894, his remarkable career is well known, mainly as a resident of north India — from the time when he became a professor of history at Aligarh in 1919 to the years when he served many princely states like Bhopal and Patiala in different capacities. A prolific historian, Panikkar also wrote Malayalam plays and poems. At the time of Partition, Panikkar was the Dewan of Bikaner, and soon after, he became India’s ambassador to China, a role that was to earn him some notoriety in the years ahead.

That Panikkar is being remembered on the editorial page of the Hindustan Times is only fitting because he was its founder editor. This was in 1924. The first issue of HT was released by Mahatma Gandhi, and contained articles by Motilal Nehru, Maulana Muhammad Ali and Jawaharlal Nehru. It was in 1924 again when the discovery of the Indus civilisation was announced to the world. Panikkar’s autobiography does not tell us whether this made any impression on him. What we do know is that many decades later he would be instrumental in pushing for the discovery of Indus sites in the desert states of Rajasthan.

In his autobiography, Panikkar describes his life and work in Bikaner in vivid detail. For instance, he expresses as much pride in his role in expanding the number of schools and colleges there, as in the fact that, like him, the Dewans of all the major Rajput States were South Indians. But, curiously enough, he did not consider his proactive interest in pushing Indus research as worth mentioning. What we know about it comes from a few forgotten letters and notes in government files.

<b>It was in March 1948, less than a month before he took over as ambassador to China, that Panikkar wrote to Prime Minister Nehru about the necessity of a survey in the desert area of Bikaner and Jaisalmer. Panikkar had just finished serving Bikaner, as its Prime Minister.</b> Incidentally, it is strange that he had no knowledge about the archaeological exploits of the late Lugi Pio Tessitori there. He had, however, met the famous archaeological explorer, Aurel Stein, who himself had undertaken field work in Rajasthan. <b>Stein had mentioned to Panikkar that if his work was carried forward, it would show that the Indus civilisation originated in that tract</b>. This was something that Panikkar himself wanted to undertake but owing to various difficulties had not found it possible to do so. <b>He was, therefore, writing to Nehru to try and take this scheme forward.</b>

Panikkar urged India’s Pm to direct the ASI to explore the possibilities of such research. As he put it, “With the separation of the Pakistan Provinces, the main sites of what was known as the Indus Valley Civilisation has gone to Pakistan. It is clearly of the utmost importance that archaeological work in connection with this early period of Indian history must be continued in India. A preliminary examination has shown that the centre of the early civilisation was not Sind or the Indus Valley but the desert  area in Bikaner and Jaisalmer through which the ancient river Saraswati flowed into the gulf of Kutch at one time”.

Nehru, as we shall see, was enthusiastic about the proposal. Quite apart from his own sense of history, Panikkar’s suggestions were usually taken seriously by the PM. In 1947, it was he who had urged Nehru to consider the proclamation of Indian Independence at a midnight session of the Constituent Assembly. In a hilarious aside, Panikkar tells us that when Nehru read his note, he  said that while he liked his suggestion, the problem was that two of his cabinet colleagues went to bed promptly at 9 pm. Nehru was referring to Patel and Azad. Panikkar promptly answered in the same vein: “I will take care of that and provide two beds for them at Parliament House.” The suggestion got cabinet approval within a day, Panikkar was, in fact, invited to the Cabinet committee to finalise the details.

Now, in March 1948, Nehru acted with the same promptness on Panikkar’s Indus note. The next day, a letter from his principal private secretary, H.V.R. Iengar, enclosed  a copy of the note to the Ministry of Education. The letter strongly underlined that “the PM entirely agrees with the suggestion contained in the note and hopes that the Archaeological Department will undertake the explorations suggested, in Jaisalmer and Bikaner.”

The proposal was sent to the ASI which suggested that roughly Rs 10,000 be allocated for it. However, the Finance Ministry, as it so often still does, decided to play spoiler, raising questions about why a central department should spend in a ‘native’ state, especially when there was a general directive from the PM which had urged that avoidable expenditure should be postponed till normalcy returned. It required many missives to make the reluctant mandarins eventually loosen their purse strings. This would have been unlikely if this had not been Panikkar’s proposal, supported by Nehru himself.

Finding forgotten Indus sites in India is seen as one of the major achievements of Indian archaeology since 1947, a quest that continues.

It is an accomplishment, though, that owes as much to scholars and statesmen who had the vision to push for such research, as it does to the discerning archaeologists who made the actual discoveries.

<i>Nayanjot Lahiri is the author of Finding Forgotten Cities: How the Indus Civilization was discovered (Permanent Black)</i>

© Copyright 2007 Hindustan Times
<b>Haryana govt takes ONGC help to carry out explorations to locate the river bed of Vedic river Saraswati</b>

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Chandigarh : In another attempt to unravel the mystery of vedic river Saraswati, the Haryana government has decided to carry out explorations for locating aquifers of the river inside its territory.

Several experts have in the past dubbed Saraswati as the ‘lost river’ of the Harappan civilisation. Past excavations have, however, proved inconclusive regarding the existence of the river.

However, it is the myths associated with several areas of Haryana where the Saraswati presumably once flowed which have inspired the government to carry out fresh excavations, according to the state irrigation minister, Ajay Singh Yadav.

“We want to explore the area to locate the river for religious sentiments involved with it,” the minister said here after chairing a meeting of experts from ONGC and ISRO.

According to Hindu belief, the Saraswati, dubbed as a Rig Vedic river, flowed in a subterranean channel joining the Ganges and Yamuna at the holy Triveni in Allahabad. The Mahabharata mentions that the river dried up in a desert.

The ONGC is set to start the exploration to locate the river bed in the Kalayat area in Kaithal district.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This is a personal request to you to participate in the Seminar and to make the seminar a success with your contributions of research papers. If you would like any of your earlier papers to be referenced/reproduced, please do send the digital copies.

Please forward this announcement for wide circulation. Thanks and regards, x

Announcement of an International Seminar on 'Sarasvati River and Hindu civilization'

<b>Website</b>: http://sarasvatiseminar.blogspot.com/2008/...-river-and.html


<b>Venue and date</b>: India International Centre, New Delhi between Oct. 24 (11 AM) to Oct. 26 (4 PM) (Friday-Sunday), 2008 [Venue details: http://www.iicdelhi.nic.in/ India International Centre (Homepage)]


The Seminar is being jointly organized by Sarasvati Research Centre, AIM for Seva and Forum for Religious Freedom. www.aimforseva.org/


The Seminar is intended to provide a multi-disciplinary forum for researchers, to present and to review the results of their researches related to Vedic River Sarasvati and Hindu civilization to get the true story of ancient India. It may help us build harmony among all connected civilizations. Seminar deliberations will be published; seminar participants are requested to submit their papers (preferably in word doc. format) well in advance (on or before 30 June 2008) to enable the release of the Publication of Seminar papers on the first day of the inauguration of the Seminar, that is, 24 October 2008.


Rebirth of River Sarasvati is ongoing and will reach Gujarat soon. Recent research perspectives from a number of disciplines have pointed to the importance of River Sarasvati as the fountain-head of Hindu civilization. The fact that the Vedas thrived on the banks of the River Saraswati is proved by the words of the Vedas, according to many Vedic scholars. It looks that many abiding Hindu traditions evolved from the Vedic foundations -- including svastika.

<b>Reception Committee</b>

Chairperson: Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Founder, AIM for Seva

Secretary: Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, Director, Sarasvati Research Centre

Members: Prof. Shivaji Singh, President, Akhila Barateeyaa Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, Former Head of Department, Ancient History and Archaeology, Gorakhpur University

Dr. Sharad Hebalkar, Secretary, Akhila Bharateeya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana.


<b>Administrative arrangements</b>

Boarding and lodging will be provided by the Seminar organizers. Travel costs will be borne by the seminar participants.


All scholars and researchers from all parts of the globe are invited to participate in the Seminar.
More ground-breaking genius from S Kalyanaraman:
via satyameva-jayate
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->“…Ever since I got a letter from Dr. BV Subbarayappa (the great man who wrote on History of Science and Technology in Ancient India– who sent me a monograph stating that Indus script is a womb of numbers and asked for my comments since I had done some fonts for all scripts of the world on the early PC’s) and got from my American ADB colleague, 3 replicas of Mohenjodaro seals presented as paper-weight mementos mounted on turquoise and wood by Pakistan Intl. Airlines to its First Class passengers travelling from Karachi to Islamabad, understanding the writing system of our ancestors has become my life’s mission. The paperweights have been lying on my desk for 30 years now. And I have just cried many-a-time looking at them as my pitr-tarpanam to our pitr-s.

When Vatsyayana mentions mlecchita vikalpa (cryptography) together with akshara mushthika kathanam and des’a bhaashaa jnaanam and when mleccha is cognate with meluhha, the enigma unravels. Hemacandra notes milakkhu ‘copper’ (Pali) as in milakkhurajanam ‘colour of copper’. As in Manu, mleccha is simply indistinct ’speech’, it does connote the vernacular; mlecchavaacas (lingua franca) as distinct from aryavaacas (grammatically correct literary composition).

It was just breathtaking when I re-read jaatugriha parvan of Mahabharata and learnt that Yudhishthira and Vidura/Khanaka — according to Krishna Dvaipaayana or Veda Vyaasa — spoke in mleccha ! (crypt <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->– Mleccha is the lingua franca and mlecchita vikalpa the writing system two of the 64 arts to be learnt by the young as vidyaasamuddes’a, according to Vatsyayana.

The journey into the mists of our ancestors’ world goes on. It is a journey into dharma…”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->That explains so much.
<b>Return of Saraswati </b>(Pioneer Book Review)
<b>Sandhya Jain</b>
Dilip Chakrabarti derides the tendency to reduce historical debates to slogans of 'secularism versus communalism', writes Sandhya Jain</i>

The Battle for Ancient India: An Essay in the Sociopolitics of Indian Archaeology
Author: Dilip K Chakrabarti
Publisher: Aryan Books
As water-starved Haryana urges the Oil and Natural Gas Commission for drilling machines to rediscover the paleo channels in which the once-mighty Saraswati may be flowing silently, it may solve one of the most vexatious issues of Indian history. Plagued with water disputes with Punjab and Rajasthan, the State, where Sri Krishna gave the famous command to do one's duty, may soon unravel the truth of a river once hailed as "best of mothers" and more lately mocked as "mythical".

Colonial Indology and its modern avatars may soon face a reality check. Dilip Chakrabarti takes this negative legacy head on in his latest work, deriding especially the tendency to reduce debates to slogans of 'secularism versus communalism'. On the Aryan invasion theory (now Aryan migration theory), he argues that the history of ancient India must be judged in its own terms and no claims of externally inspired diffusion of its cultural development be made unless there is strong supportive evidence and the hypothesis can be justified in clear geographical terms.

Chakrabarti notes that when Dayaram Sahni went to excavate Harappa in 1920, the abundance of pre-historic Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic remains, including Neolithic settlements in the south, and the 'Copper Age' was known. Any perceptive archaeologist would realise India had a pre-historic civilisation before its documented history, especially in view of the occurrence of seals with unknown writings and art-style at Harappa. India had a long history of trade and commerce with different countries, including Egypt, in the second millennium BC. <b>Unfortunately, the theory about Indian 'races' and languages and the myths of Aryan and Dravidian invasions were invented before the Bronze Age Indus civilisation was discovered; hence, the finds at Harappa and Mohenjodaro had to fit into an entrenched paradigm.</b>

In 1924, John Marshall reported that in the third millennium BC or even earlier, the peoples of Punjab and Sind lived in well-built cities with a mature culture, developed arts, crafts and pictographic writing. He was clear this civilisation developed in the Indus Valley itself. He noted its possible religious ambience, <b>mentioning RD Banerji's finding of a tank at Mohenjodaro which he felt was a charanamritakunda, "receptacle for the holy water used for the washing of the sacred image". </b>At Harappa, archaeologists found a small mound suggestive of an image shrine, though it is difficult to say if image worship existed then. Chakrabarti says this is a hint to seek reflection of the Indus religion in prevailing rituals of Hinduism.

RP Chanda created the confusion about the builders of Harappa and Mohenjodaro and the Rig Vedic Aryans. He believed the Indus civilisation was both pre- and non-Vedic. Yet, Chanda also tried to view the Indus civilisation within the framework of Indian tradition by identifying its yogic tradition as the root of one of India's most important spiritual dimensions; he also realised indebtedness of the Buddhist and Jaina traditions to the Indus civilisation. Mortimer Wheeler formalised the Aryan invasion to explain the demise of the Indus civilisation in 1947; the idea acquired hegemonic status in academia, though it was convincingly disputed by BB Lal (1953) and GF Dales (1964).

PV Kane examined the relationship between the Harappan civilisation and Vedic Aryans in his Presidential Address to the Indian History Congress in 1953. He argued that as Mohenjodaro and Harappa were major cities, "the remains of dead bodies would have been found on an enormous scale" in the event of an Aryan attack, and not limited to 26 skeletons at Mohenjodaro! The cities could have been deserted because the rivers on whose banks they stood shifted. Kane compared the internal evidence of the Rig Veda and excavated evidence of Indus settlements and found reverence for water and the Pipul tree in both. Regarding the occurrence of bulls on Indus seals, he noted that the Rig Veda referred to Indra and other gods as Vrishabha (bull). Astronomical references in the Rig Veda and Brahmanical literature suggested that the Rig Vedic people were earlier than the Indus Valley people, but as the evidence was meagre it was best not to dogmatise.

Tackling the festering dispute over the horse, <b>Chakrabarti says horse bones have been identified in and before Harappan contexts by competent professionals like B Nath of the Zoological Survey of India. </b>Moreover, Harappans could have imported horses from Central Asia as Shortughai was on the border.

The Cholistan archaeological survey showed the course of the Ghaggar-Hakra denoted the core area of origin of the Indus civilisation, prompting SP Gupta to coin the term Indus-Saraswati civilisation, as Ghaggar-Hakra denoted the Saraswati riverbed. Scholars challenge the view that the Rig Veda describes only an agricultural-cum-pastoral society. Bhagwan Singh has listed various crafts and professions, navigation, overland trade and commerce, housing and urban centres; while <b>RS Bisht has shown that Dholavira was divided into three distinct parts: Upper, middle and lower, corresponding to the Rig Vedic parama, madhyama and avama.</b>

Chakrabarti argues that as the spread of this civilisation was not limited to the Indus valley, there is no justification to call it the Indus valley civilisation; Marshall called it the Indus civilisation. While Indus-Saraswati civilisation does better justice to its sheer extent and the role of the Saraswati in its genesis, it does not cover the whole territory; hence, he favours Harappan civilisation. Moreover, in the current political context, Indus valley civilisation gives it a Pakistan twist.

Chakrabarti concludes that the archaeological sequence of all areas covered by Indus civilisation sites shows no break in any relevant area, or any evidence of new cultural inroads which cannot be explained geographically with reference to the Oxus-Indus-Pamir-eastern Iran political and economic interaction sphere. He feels the Harappan tradition, tempered with unidentified regional elements, laid the roots of the entire cultural development of the upper Ganga plain, given that the antennae swords of the Gangetic valley copper hoards have been verified as belonging to the Harappan tradition.

<b>All people of the subcontinent are heirs of the Indus civilisation. It links the deep south through the find of a polished celt with incised Harappan script signs near Cuddalore, and several sites with antennae copper swords of the upper Gangetic valley copper hoard type as far as Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu and a tea estate in Kerala. </b>Above all, it is not easy to note any non-Indian tradition in the figure of the sramana from Mohenjodaro or any other sculptural relic of this civilisation.
Sarasvati Civilization continuum and decoding Indus script


Two presentations were made in Jammu University, History Department on 15 May 2008 by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman; Dr. Amitabh Mattoo, Vice-Chancellor was the Chief Guest and Prof. Nirmal Singh, Head of the Department of History, Jammu University presided:

1. Powerpoint presentation on Hindu-Sarasvati Civilization continuum http://www.scribd.com/doc/2988838/revisitingsarasvati

2. Mlecchita Vikalpa: Indus script encodes mleccha speech


Both pdf documents can be viewed or downloaded as e-monographs; more details are available on 13 e-books available for browsing/download at http://sarasvati97.blogspot.com



(Full text in 16 patges pdf)

Making Vedic Sarasvati flow again…

A series of articles by Andrew Lawler are in the Special issue of Science 6 June 2008. The title of the series is: Unmasking the Indus.

Thanks to Andrew Lawler for presenting a perspective from the Pakistan side. It will be instructive to take a fresh look at the civilization from the basin of Vedic River Sarasvati detailed in 13 volumes at http://sarasvati97.blogspot.com This will help achieve a cease-fire in what Andrew calls the trench-warfare. After all, borders did NOT exist ca. 3rd millennium BCE. The only waterways which linked the trade-savvy civilization were Sarasvati, Sindhu (Indus), Persian Gulf, Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Khambat and the principal artefacts which linked the literate civilization were lapidary crafts, metallurgy of alloying and a writing system using Sarasvati hieroglyphs of mleccha (meluhha).

This is to make Sarasvati flow again…Yes, the same Vedic Sarasvati referred to as sarasvati saptathi sindhumaataa… (Trans. Sarasvati, the seventh, the mother of rivers…)

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

Science 6 June 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5881, pp.1276 -1285
Boring No More, a Trade-Savvy Indus Emerges

Andrew Lawler

Long in the shadow of its sister civilizations to the west, the Indus is emerging as the powerhouse of commerce and technology in the 3rd millennium B.C.E. But political and economic troubles dog archaeologists' efforts to understand what made this vast society tick.


Science 6 June 2008:
Vol. 320. no. 5881, p. 1280
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5881.1280
Buddhist Stupa or Indus Temple?

Andrew Lawler

A Buddhist stupa in the center of the largest Indus city may actually be a monument from Indus times. If so, it will force Indus scholars to rethink the religious and political nature of the civilization, long thought to lack grand temples and palaces


Science 6 June 2008:
Vol. 320. no. 5881, pp. 1281 - 1283
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5881.1281
Indus Collapse: The End or the Beginning of an Asian Culture?

Andrew Lawler

The puzzling downfall of an ancient civilization more than 3 millennia ago sparks debate today in both scientific and political circles.


Science 6 June 2008:
Vol. 320. no. 5881, pp. 1282 - 1283
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5881.1282
Trench Warfare: Modern Borders Split the Indus

Andrew Lawler

The bitter partition of British India in 1947 created a fault line through the middle of what was once the Indus civilization that to this day prevents Indian and Pakistani researchers working on Indus sites from collaborating with one another or even visiting each other's excavations.


Science 6 June 2008:
Vol. 320. no. 5881, pp. 1284 - 1285
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5881.1284
Trying to Make Way for the Old

Andrew Lawler

Archaeologists battle looters and sometimes locals in both Pakistan and India as they seek to excavate before modern development swallows Indus cities.


Science 6 June 2008:
Vol. 320. no. 5881, p. 1285
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5881.1285
Pakistani Archaeology Faces Issues Old and New

Andrew Lawler

Finds in Pakistan are opening a new window on the Indus civilization, showing that this remote region was settled for thousands of years. But there are tight constraints on where archaeologists can operate.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Indus Riddle
India Today

A flurry of excavations has uncovered startling evidence that presents a radically picture of the Indus Valley civilisation -- and calls for a complete revision of ancient Indian history.

By Raj Chengappa

To school students, history classes on the Indus Valley civilisation have always been simplistic. Even dull. Most textbooks talk of how the civilisation appeared like a meteor on ancient India's skyscape, shone brilliantly for a while and then was snuffed out either by marauding Aryans or sudden floods.
Archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht describes the syllabus as "dead boring". He could be dead right. Egyptian mummies somehow seem to evoke more interest than the town-planning feats of the Indus engineers. Did you, for instance, raise your hands in class and ask just how stone-age farming communities almost overnight took a giant leap forward and transformed themselves into sophisticated urbanites living in cities so well designed that Indians have never been able to replicate the achievement even 5,000 years later? Did you actually believe that poppycock about an Aryan blitzkrieg that wiped out a glorious civilisation, plunging India into the dark ages for over a thousand years?

You probably did. Now if Bisht has his way, you will have to relearn ancient Indian history. For the past six years, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team headed by him has been systematically excavating an Indus site called Dholavira on the salty marshes of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. What they have been uncovering is turning accepted notions on the Indus on their heads. Says Bisht: "Exploring Dholavira is like opening a complete book on the Indus. We now have answers to some of the most enduring riddles about the civilisation." For starters, Indus town planners are not as "monotonous" and "regimented" as archaeologists had us believe. In Dholavira they display a surprising exuberance that expresses itself in elaborate stone gateways with rounded columns apart from giant reservoirs for water. Bisht also found a board inlaid with large Harappan script characters -- probably the world's first hoarding.

While experts regard Dholavira as the most exciting Indus find in recent times, archaeologists have excavated or are in the process of digging up 90 other sites both in India and Pakistan that are throwing up remarkable clues about this great prehistoric civilisation. Among them: That Indus Valley was a misnomer and that in size it was the largest prehistoric urban civilisation -- even bigger than Pharaonic Egypt. That the empire was ruled much like a democracy and the Indus people were the world's top exporters. And that instead of the Aryans it was possibly a Great Depression that did them in. In Lahore, M. Rafique Mughal, Pakistan's top-ranking archaeologist, says: "It is both a revelation and a revolution. Our history textbooks need to be rewritten."


Archaeologists have an exasperating tradition of labelling their discoveries after the name of the site on which it is first found. Since Harappa and Mohenjodaro were the first to be excavated in the 1920s, Sir John Marshall, who headed the team of explorers, called it the Indus civilisation because it flourished in the valley of that river. Marshall's announcement wowed the world and pushed India's known history back by about 2,000 years. At the time of Independence there was no real need to change the epithet as barely a dozen Indus sites had been explored.

With the prime sites, Mohenjodaro and Harappa, going to Pakistan, however, a feverish hunt began in India to locate and excavate Indus sites -- a race that its neighbour soon joined. In doing so, they began uncovering a civilisation so vast in its extent that at its peak it is estimated to have encompassed a staggering 1.5 million sq km -- an area larger than Western Europe. In size, it dwarfed contemporary civilisations in the Nile Valley in Egypt and in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys in Sumer (modern Iraq). Its geographical boundaries are now believed to extend up to the Iranian border on the west, Turkmenistan and Kashmir in the north, Delhi in the east and the Godavari Valley in the south (see map).

A recent count showed that as many as 1,400 Indus sites have been found, of which 917 are in India, 481 in Pakistan and one in Afghanistan. While Mohenjodaro and Harappa were rightly regarded as principal cities, there were at least several others such as Rakhigarhi in Haryana and Ganweriwala in Pakistan's Punjab province that match them both in size and importance. It is also apparent that the civilisation did not just centre on the Indus Valley. When the sites were plotted on a map of the subcontinent, archaeologists noticed a curious clustering of sites along the Ghaggar river which flows through Haryana and Rajasthan and runs almost parallel to the Indus. After entering Pakistan, where it is called Hakra, the river finally empties itself into the sea at the Rann. Over 175 sites were found along the alluvial plains of the Ghaggar as compared to 86 found in the Indus region.

What puzzled them was that the Ghaggar-Hakra river and most of its tributaries are dry and their courses have silted up. So why did so many cities come up on such a desiccated watersheet, especially at a time when rivers were the lifelines of civilisation? Unless, of course, at one time a mighty river flowed perennially. In their search for answers, Indus experts homed in on the Rigveda, which is believed to have been composed when the Indus Valley civilisation was on the decline. Many of its hymns mention a sacred river called Sarasvati, describing it as the foremost of rivers, big as the ocean, rising in the mountains and flowing between the Yamuna and Sutlej before entering the sea. But in later Vedic hymn it is no longer described as mighty.

In the '80s, Indian satellite images of the region showed that the ancient bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra river could be traced from the Sivaliks to the Rann of Kutch. Where it is not covered by sand, the bed of the river consists of a fertile loam and its width extends from three to 10 km on different parts of its course, making it a very large river. Putting together the evidence, V.N. Misra, director of the Department of Archaeology in the Deccan College, Pune, recently concluded that the Ghaggar-Hakra river was the Vedic Sarasvati and existed when the Indus civilisation flourished. Misra is now among the growing band of archaeologists demanding that the Indus be renamed the Sarasvati Valley civilisation. Mughal and Bisht disagree and say that recent findings indicate that Indus was indeed the nucleus of the civilisation's growth. Foreign scholars view the debate as a subcontinent turf battle. Says Gregory Possehl, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania in the US and an expert on the Indus civilisation: "With over 1,000 sites spread all over the subcontinent, why be so parochial?"


From the name game, the focus has now shifted to a more pertinent question: Just who were these people? Research in the past few decades is beginning to throw up a much clearer answer. In the '70s, when Braj Basi Lal, a former ASI director-general, began excavating Kalibangan, a site in the desert sands of Rajasthan, he was amazed to find evidence of a field of crossed furrows dated to around 2900 BC, preserved by a strange quirk of nature. Looking around he found that farmers in the region used a similar ploughing technique even after 5,000 years. The ancient houses had tandoors (earthen ovens) similar to ones found in kitchens in the villages in the area. As Lal says, "It was as if the present was the past and that despite the passage of time not much had changed."

Lal's findings have been corroborated by other sites excavated in the past decade. Analysis of the skeletal remains, including the ones found recently at Dholavira, indicate that they are basically the same as present-day Indians. Harvard anthropologist Richard Meadows, who made an extensive study of skeletal remains in the region, showed that the people were in good health and, more importantly, there was a diverse mix of population just as at the present. So the question had to be modified to: Who were these peoples?

Given the vastness of the Indus empire, V.H. Sonawane, director, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History in the MS University of Baroda, points out: "The first casualty is the earlier notion of a Harappan homogeneity. It is clear that there was tremendous regional diversity just as we have in modern India." But was this assemblage of people originally from the subcontinent or did they come as migrant hordes from Central Asia? New evidence from several sites both in India and Pakistan show a remarkable continuity of culture over a period of 2,000 to 3,000 years before the Indus Valley peaked. Dholavira, for instance, shows the existence of small farming and pastoral villages on the same site before it was transformed into a bustling metropolis.

Mughal's studies in Pakistan have helped chalk out an approximate chronology of the changes. The beginnings of village farming communities and pastoral camps were reported as early as 7000 to 5000 BC. But developed farming communities, which grew wheat and barley, emerged around 4300 BC. In a site called Mehrgarh near the Bolan river in Baluchistan province, there are signs of agricultural surplus with the establishment of community storage silos. The conclusion: Sorry to use the cliché, but we had unity in diversity even then.


How did the Harappans take the great leap from self-contained agricultural societies to a trade-oriented, luxury-conscious, sophisticated, urban civilisation that gave the world the concept of town planning? Analysing the evidence from various sites, Possehl found that between 2600 BC and 2500 BC, the Harappans experienced a century of cathartic changes. Before this he finds no breadboard models of the expansion to come, be it the invention of writing or the awesome town-planning techniques. A tremendous jump in human ability is evident. So what or who caused it?

In the past, the reputed British archaeologist, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, argued that ideas have wings and that the Harappans were influenced by their trade contacts with the Sumerians. But the diffusion theory of civilisation, as it is called, is slowly being given the heave-ho. Cambridge historian Raymond Allchin, an authority on the subject, says: "We are now beginning to see the foundation being laid in the preceding 100 to 200 years in smaller sites. There appears to be a completely organic process of growth that threw up the Harappan culture as we know it."

Yet, the evidence of that process continues to be scanty. In Kunal in Haryana, archaeologists recently found what are known as proto Indus seals. On pottery on many of the smaller sites in both India and Pakistan, graffiti similar to some figures on the script begin to appear. And at Dholavira and at Banawali in Haryana, the distinction between the citadel and the lower city is beginning to evolve. There is, however, a huge jump in scale in such activity in those critical 100 years. For, in Harappa as in most Indus sites, the distinct gridiron pattern for streets appear, a scientific system of drainage that linked up to even the smallest house in the lower city is established, precise weights and measures begin to circulate, and the writing system evolves. So were the Harappans copycats?

Archaeologists say the Indus people couldn't have copied their town-planning from Egypt and Mesopotamia because in those civilisations the roads meandered like village streets. Nor was the writing similar to Sumer's cuneiform or the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Harappans had their own distinctive style. Lal explains the dramatic change as a result of centuries of growth reaching a critical mass that caused an unparalleled urban explosion. Trade, he believes, was the driving force of the revolution. Even a sceptic like Possehl maintains that "these are indeed an expression of the Indian genius".


The Indus people appeared to have shunned personality cults. It is almost a faceless culture with no glorification of individual rulers and no royal tombs. The religious monumentality that characterised the contemporary Egyptian civilisation with its pyramids, or the Sumerians with their ziggurats, has so far not been found. If there was any attempt to organise vast amounts of labour it was for such mundane civic tasks as building reservoirs, fortress walls or even the great bath at Mohenjodaro. A silver crown found in Kunal did get archaeologists excited recently as it indicated a royalty in early Harappan settlements. But it is not enough to establish that monarchs ruled. There is evidence of fire worship, the emergence of a proto Shiva and the possibility of a priestly class.The Indus people were deeply religious and ritual played a big part in their lives, points out D.P. Sharma, head of the Indus collection, National Museum, Delhi. While Wheeler called a white idol found in Mohenjodaro a "priest king", there is little evidence to show that the Indus people were ruled by them.

Yet there was remarkable uniformity in the vast empire that spoke of some sort of central political authority. There were clearly skilled engineers who planned the big cities with awesome precision. Most of the cities were parallelograms in shape and the bricks had a uniformity in size with a clear ratio of 4:2:1. Weights were standardised and the same script was used by the entire empire. There was also a homogeneity of crafts. The notion that Harappa and Mohenjodaro were twin capitals is losing ground. Rather, Mughal sees control being exercised by half a dozen principal cities that functioned as regional capitals.

That there was social stratification is evident from the way the towns were planned. The citadel was a good 20 ft higher than the lower or middle cities. It led Wisconsin archaeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyer to envisage several competing classes of elite who maintained different levels of control. Instead of one social group with absolute control, he speculates that the rulers included merchants, ritual specialists and individuals who controlled resources such as land, livestock and raw materials. Maybe -- just maybe -- we are seeing an ancient democracy at work.


A Nobel prize possibly awaits the person who can decipher what the Indus people wrote. Along with the Etruscan of Italy, it is the last script of the Bronze Age that is yet to be deciphered. The Egyptian hieroglyphics were cracked by the chance discovery of a rosetta stone found by Napoleon's men who invaded Egypt in 1798. It had on it an inscription in three languages -- hieroglyphic, demotic (another script popular in ancient Egypt) and Greek, which helped decipher it. Sumer's cuneiform script was deciphered by Henry Rawlinson, a British officer in Iran, after he found the Behistun inscription on a high rock that provided clues to it. So far no such bilingual artefact has been found that could help break the Indus writing code.

Yet, there is no dearth of claimants: since the sites were discovered, over a 100 theories have been put forward and even high speed computers employed. But in the absence of an independent test, none of them could be corroborated. What they did throw up were some patterns that hold a clue to what the Indus people wanted to communicate. The inscriptions are usually short, made up of 26 characters written usually in one line. The script, largely glyptic in content, has around 419 signs, which is far short of the 50,000 the Chinese script has.

The writing system is believed to be based on syllables. The Indus people also wrote from right to left as is manifest by the strokes, but it does follow at times a rebus style similar to that of a farmer ploughing a field. The dominant animal to be featured is the unicorn, the mythical beast, followed by the short-horned bull. Among lettering, a jar-shaped alphabet is the most common. I. Mahadevan, an Indian archaeologist, has a fetching theory about the conical standard that appears on most seals. He believes it is the legendary soma urn used to make alcohol. Apparently there was no ban on advertising it.

Asko Parpola, a Finnish scholar who has spent several decades banging his head against the script, homes in on the Dravidian script and points to the fact that one of its languages, Brahui, has been spoken in Baluchistan for at least a thousand years. He rejects an Indo-Aryan genesis to the script. Parpola's thesis has been contradicted by Shikarpur Ranganath Rao, a distinguished archaeologist responsible for the excavation of Lothal. Rao claims to know what exactly the seals mean and says the script has a close link to Vedic Sanskrit and Semitic symbols. But many archaeologists disagree with his approach, and remain despondent about ever cracking the code.

The bottomline: While some progress has been made, the Indus seals are still a lot of gibberish to us.


If Rao found himself on shaky ground where the Indus script was concerned, he made waves with his excavation of Lothal, an Indus port town located off the Gujarat coast. It shattered notions that the Indus was a landlocked civilisation, conservative and isolated, and as a result sank without a trace. Rao uncovered a dock 700 ft long -- even bigger than the one currently at Visakhapatnam. It took an estimated million bricks to build it. Next to the dockyard were massive granaries and specialised factories for bead-making. Hundreds of seals were found, some showing Persian Gulf origin, indicating that Lothal was a major port of exit and entry.

Meanwhile, independent evidence started flowing in when Indus seals were found both in Iraq, where the ancient Sumer civilisation flourished, and in the Persian Gulf. The Sumers apparently called India "Meluha", and their inscriptions talk of how they purchased beads of various kinds, timber, copper, gold and ivory crafts from India. It was evident that the goods were upmarket and purchased by the Sumer royalty. Indus sailors appear to have discovered the trade winds long before Hippolus, and their maritime interests were vast. "Harappan traders were among the most enterprising," says Jagat Pati Joshi, another former ASI director-general, who discovered Dholavira. Gold, for instance, was carted from distant Karnataka, and then hammered into delightful chains to be exported to Sumer. A lapis lazuli bead factory recently discovered in distant Shortugai in Afghanistan is believed to have been a major supplier to Harappan traders.

Like modern-day Indian businessmen, the Harappans had a huge domestic market to cater to. The climate around that time was conducive for growing a variety of crops in the region. Harappans are credited with being the earliest growers of rice and cotton. The agricultural surpluses ensured craft specialisation. And at its peak, the Indus was dotted with over 300 cities of varying sizes, supported by hundreds of towns and villages which supported a cottage industry. Quality standards seems to have been strictly observed, resulting in uniformity of arts and craft. And the flourishing trade was an energiser that powered Indus' phenomenal growth in the middle of the third millennium BC. It brought prosperity that saw the cities provide their citizens with the finest of drainage systems and reservoirs to supply water. And helped them evolve into one of the greatest civilisations ever.


Archaeologists are known to stumble, but the kind of knocking Wheeler has taken over his Aryan invasion theory has few parallels. When the British archaeologist discovered a dozen skeletons in Mohenjodaro, he propounded a theory about the final massacre by marauding invaders that put an end to the Indus civilisation. When an Indian scholar told him of Hariyuppa being mentioned in the Rigveda, he took it to mean Harappa. And since a fort was known as pur, and Indira, the Aryan god, was known as Purandhara or destroyer of forts, it all fitted neatly. After all, weren't the Indus cities among the most fortified?

Yet the past 50 years, and more so the last decade, has shown just how wrong Wheeler was. The last massacre theory was his imagination running riot. Far from being snuffed out, there was a brilliant resurgence of Indus culture further south for a while. Possehl, who made a recent study, found that in 2000 BC in Pakistan's Sindh district the sites were down from 86 to 6 and in Cholistan, 174 to 41. But in India the sites in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan exploded from 218 to 853. Possehl asks: "How can this be construed as an eclipse? We are looking at a highly mobile people."

Allchin argues that there is clear indication that the rainfall pattern, which had initially brought fertility, had become adverse in the Sindh region. And theorises that, given the instability of the Himalayan region, there may have been a massive earthquake that possibly changed the course of rivers such as the Sarasvati and affected many Indus cities. The Indus people then migrated eastward. Lal talks of steep decline in trade because of problems in Sumer that resulted in a Great Depression and turned many urban centres into ghost cities.

Bisht concurs with Lal but goes a step further. He says that after the quake hit the heart of the civilisation, the Indus people migrated east which acted like a sort of bypass to their woes. And like a dying candle, it shone brilliantly again but briefly before being snuffed out. Dholavira, Banawali, Mehrgarh, Harappa -- in fact, all the major cities show that as the cities declined, encroachments on streets that were unseen at its peak began to occur with alarming regularity. There was a breakdown in sanitation and cities like their modern-day counterparts in India simply ran themselves aground. They were replaced by massive squatter colonies and an explosion of rural sites as people, disillusioned with cities, went back to farming communities. A giant step backward.

Yet it wasn't as if all came to nought as was earlier believed. Some of the writings survived in the pottery of the following ages. The weight and decimal system too lived on. And so did the bullock-cart technology that the Indus had perfected. Rather than a violent transition, there may have been an orderly interaction with oncoming Aryans. Lal in his most recent book even puts across the most audacious theory: Could the Bronze Age Harappans be Aryans themselves? He says this because of the presence of fire worship and the discovery of horse remains and idols in Indus sites. Meadows dismisses it as premature and points out that it was more likely that ass remains were mistaken for that of a horse's. And that the Vedas showed a great antipathy for urban centres.

Whatever the cause, it would take another 1,000 years for a semblance of civilisation to return to the subcontinent -- a dire warning to modern India of the catastrophe that can befall an errant populace.
Saraswati-Sindhu Civilization
01/11/2008 12:56:33

By M. P. Ajithkumar *

Right from early times India’s northwestern part had been the cradle of cultural florescence that gave birth to one of the ancient civilizations. Differently called as Harappan Culture or Sindhu Valley Civilization, this early civilization of India has been of much historical interest to archaeologists, geologists and even space researchers. However as archaeological research progressed, the very name Indus Civilization proved to be a misnomer since the remains of this civilization unearthed from various parts of India reveal that it was not confined exclusively to Indus Valley. Its cultural dissemination took place in an area of about 2.5 million sq. KM. of India. The northern most of Indus sites is Manda located on river Beas near Jammu. The southern most is Bhagatrav on river Tapti in Maharashtra. The eastern most sites are Alamgirpur on river Hindon near Delhi and Mandoli near Nandanagari in North Delhi. In the west it extended to Sutkagendor on the ancient shore of Arabian Sea near the eastern border of Iran. The main sites include Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Chanhudaro, Lothal, Rupar, Kalibengan, Banavali, Kunal, Kot-Diji, Dholavira, Surkothada, Mehrgarh, Rahmandheri, Ranagundai, Amri, Kil Gul Mohamad and a host of other major and minor ones.

However what is most astonishing is the concentration of these sites in the vast tract lying between Indus on the west and Ganges on the east, where the archaeologists and geologists alike have discovered the paleochannels of a lost river with more than 22 KM breadth at some places. This according to D N Wadia is the “old bed of Saraswati … at a time when it and the Sutlej flowed independently of the Indus to the sea, i.e. the Rann of Kutch”. (D N Wadia, Geology of India, Delhi, 1984, p. 368.First published in 1919) By 1886 itself R D Oldham, the then Deputy Superintend of the Geological Survey of India had pointed to the existence of this river during ancient times. Oldham was the first geologist who studied and gave as early as 1886, geological comments about river Saraswathi and the changes in the drainage pattern of the rivers of Punjab and western Rajasthan that reduced the once fertile region into a desert. He observed the paleochannels of a river that flowed in between the Yamuna and Sutlej and that this river had two channels one of which passed through Haryana (Khaggar-Saraswati channel). He also observed some shifts in the channels of this river, which according to geological findings had changed its course many times. Analyzing the fossils unearthed from the beds of these old rivers, he concluded that these were of the creatures, which floated in the same river, which proved that these channels were of the same river. (R D Oldham, ‘On Probable Changes in the Geography of the Punjab and its Rivers an Historico-Geographical Study’, Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1886, Vol.55, pp.322-343) C F Oldham also took notice of the paleochannels of this river. He traced an old riverbed, the Hakra or Sotra (Ghaggar) or Wahind, more than thousand Km. in length, the channel of a lost river, traceable from Ambala near the foot of the Himalayas through Bhatinda, Bikaner and Bahawalpur to Sind and thence onwards to the Rann of Kutch. Quoting from the Rig Veda, Mahabharatha and Manusmrithi, he concluded that this was the channel of the ancient river Saraswati around which had lay the highly civilized centers. He wrote:

The existence of this river at no very remote period and the truth of the legend which assert the ancient fertility of the lands through which it flowed, are attested by the ruins which everywhere overspread what is now an arid sandy waste.

Throughout this tract are scattered mounts, marking the sites of cities and towns. And there are strongholds still remaining, in a very decayed state, which were places of importance…

Amongst these ruins are found, not only the huge bricks used by the Hindus of the remote past, but others of much later make too.

Taking the once urban nature of these areas and the unerring geological findings about the long and wide riverbed of the lost river, he concluded that this was nothing other than the Vedic Saraswati referred to in the ancient Indian literature. (C F Oldahm, ‘The Saraswati and the Lost River of the Indian Desert’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1893, Vol.34, pp.49-76) Later the geologists engaged in the geomorphologic survey on the eve of launching the Fakra-Nangal project also came across the old bed of a long river, which flowed in the southwest direction and ended up in the desert. (B C Roy, ‘Geological Map of Rajasthan’, Geological Survey of India, Vol. 86; ‘Lost Course of Saraswati River in the Indian Desert’, Geographical Journal, Vol-145 (3), 1979)

The evidence from Manusmrithi about the existence of the rivers Saraswati and Drishadvathi, which flanked the area it calls Brahmavartha is further attested by the most modern geological findings and also imageries sent by the earth sensing satellites of both NASA and ISRO. They give information about the ancient geological structure of the northwest India based on the pictures of the paleochannels of the rivers that flowed and ended up in the Thar Desert. (Yas Pal, ‘Remote Sensing of the Saraswati River’, Frontiers of Harappan Civilization, (Ed. B B Lal and S P Gupta), New Delhi, 1984, pp. 491-498)

According to Geological and hydrological findings this area, though now appears arid, was in ancient times watered by a group of mighty rivers that flowed in between Sindhu in the west and Ganga on the east. River Saraswathi, according to the literary tradition was bigger than the Sindhu during its heydays and had coursed through the region between modern Yamuna and Sutlej. (A. V. Sankaran, “Saraswati – the ancient river lost in the desert”, Aseema, Mangalore, Vol. 5. No. 7, January 2005, pp. 7-14.) Though Saraswathi is lost its sister rivers outlived and have survived to this day. It is to be noted that most of the big rivers of North India in the time of the Vedas – Saraswathi, Shatadru (Sutlej) and Yamuna – derived their waters from the Himalayan glaciers during the Pleistocene times. The melting of these glaciers during the Holocene later led to the origin of many rivers that coursed down the Himalayan slopes. The Vedic bards symbolically present the thawing of these glaciers through the war between God Indra and demon Vritra. Indra is represented in the Vedic literature as the shaker of the forts or Purandara who shatters the saradiyapura or the snow fort, a story, which has been misinterpreted by Mortimer wheeler and others to buttress up their version of Arya-Dravida conflict. The long channel of the river sourcing off the foot of Sivalik ranges and coursing southwest was junctioned with many streams having considerable volume of water. The main Khaggar-Saraswati channel was enriched from the west by Sutlej arising from Mount Kailas while from the east the rivers like Drishadvati (the present Chautang), Yamuna and Markanda combined flowed into the Saraswati-Khaggar channel which took its mighty southwestern course till it emptied itself into the sea at Rann of Kutch. (K S Valdia, Saraswati – The River that Disappeared, Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 2002, pp. 23-36.). Consequently the areas between Saraswati and Drishadvati became resourceful for the all-round prosperity of those who peopled there. Interestingly, Saraswathi’s course in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan is highlighted in the LANDSAT imagery by the lush cover of vegetation thriving on the rich residual loamy soil along its course. That this region was once watery is further confirmed by the earth-science studies conducted here. Geophysical surveys by the Geological Survey of India to study the ground water potential in Bikaner, Ganganagar and Jaisalmer districts of western Rajasthan came across many zones of fresh and less saline water in the form of arcuate shaped aquifers similar to other palaeochannels found in different parts of the state. Studies on hydrogen, oxygen and carbon isotopes on shallow and deep ground water samples from these districts further confirm that these surface palaeochannels are of the ancient rivers. A report on an environmental isotope study conducted along an identified palaeochannel in western Rajasthan by a team of scientists of the Isotope Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay thus reads:

A number of palaeochannels have been identified in western Rajasthan using remote sensing techniques and field observations … One of these channels traced is in western Jaisalmer along Kishangar, Ghantiyali and Shahgarh. Inspite of the highly arid condition of the region, comparatively good quality ground water is available along the course below 30 m depth. A few dug wells in the study area do not dry up even in summer and the tube wells do not show reduction in water table, even after extensive utilization for human as well as livestock consumption. Ground water away from this course is saline. This course is seen to have link with the dry bed of Ghaggar river in the northeast, while in the southwest it is met with or even cut across the surviving courses of Hakra or Nara rivers in Pakistan. The above course is thought to belong to the legendry river Saraswathi of Himalayan origin, mentioned in many early literary works and known to have existed before 3000 BP. (A. R. Nair, S. V. Navada and S. M. Rao, “Isotope Study to Investigate the Origin and Age of Groundwater along Palaeochannels in Jaisalmer and Ganganagar Districts of Rajasthan”, (Ed. B. P. Radhakrishna and S. S. Merh) Vedic Sarasvati – Evolutionary History of a Lost River of Northwestern India, Memoir of the Geological Society of India, No. 42, 1999, pp. 315-319.)

The SaraswathiValley as well as the growth of civilization there are thus facts confirmed both by geology and archaeology. According to Manu this was the most auspicious place and hence suitable for all kinds of spiritual activities and he calls it Brahmavartha, the god-created land:

saraswatidrushadvathyor devanadyor yadanantharam

tham devanirmithamdesam brahmavartham prachakshathe (Manu. 2. 17)

This opinion of Geology has not changed till date and it continued only to be buttressed up by similar findings of archaeology and space research later. Interestingly, most of the sites of what was so far called the Indus Valley Civilization have been excavated from the areas this lost river with its many feeder sources had flowed and changed its course different times. Indeed most of the archaeological finds regarding what we call the Harappan civilization have been unearthed from the Cholistan desert area where the Pakistani team of archaeologists headed by M Rafique Mughal concentrated its surveys along 300 miles of the dry bed of the HakraRiver. The Cholistan discoveries, Mughal says, have given a “new perspective and orientation for planning future research on Indus Valley Civilization”, because “sites of various periods, and their concentration or distribution, provides a reliable basis for reconstructing various changes in the course of the Hakra River, often identified with the Saraswati of the Vedic period” (M. Rafique Mughal, ‘Recent Archaeological Research in the Cholistan Desert’, Harappan Civilization, (Ed. Gregory L. Possehl) New Delhi, Oxford & IBH, 1993, pp. 85-94) Further excavations in Cholistan and other sites which dot all across the regions where this lost river had flowed have brought to light that what has been thus far described as the Indus Valley Civilization had only a few sites on the Indus. Most sites of this civilization including the maritime and other navigational centers were concentrated on the strands of the once mighty River Saraswati or were connected to it.

One may wonder as to whether this lost river was so big that its sand beds and valleys had helped flower so great a civilization and fostered it for a long time till it ceased to have its mighty flow and ended up in the desert. According to geologists the two thousand year period, between 6000 and 4000 B.C., witnessed the full splendour of Saraswati when as a great river it watered the plains of Punjab, Rajastan, Gujarat and Haryana. Definitely this mighty river became an object of much praise and veneration and was deified and eulogized by the seers who authored the Vedic hymns. She is described in the Rig Veda as:

ekacetat Saraswati nadinam suciryati giribhya a samudrat (Rk Veda. 7:95:2)

“She is flowing from the mountains to the ocean”. So great was she to the Vedic people that they praised her as the best of mothers, best of rivers and best of Goddesses and invoked her blessings:

ambitame naditame devitame Saraswati

aprasasta iva smasi prasastimamba naskridhi (Rk Veda. 2:41:16)

“Best of mothers, best of rivers, Best of Goddesses, Saraswati we are ignorant and untrained, give us wisdom and knowledge”

She is described as the river whose unlimited and uninterrupted flow with its swift movement and speedy rush gushes forth with tempestuous roar:

yasya ananto ahnuta stvesa scarisnurarnava amascarati roruvat (Rk Veda. 6:61:8)

Her mighty current is described to have broken the boulders on either side with as much ease as breaking the lotus stems. (Rk Veda.6: 61:2) Similarly Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda, Brahmanas, Manu Smriti, Mahabharatha and the Puranas wax eloquent in praise about River Saraswati, which was the lifeline of the versatile progress of ancient northwest India.

But all the available sources say that the river gradually dried up and lost its course in later time and the civilization that flowered on its banks turned lackluster with its industrious population migrating to elsewhere. It is natural that the one time industrious group who peopled the valley of Saraswati quit this place and migrated to the Sindhu valley when they saw Saraswati drying up. According to archaeologists around 1900 BC, signs of gradual decline emerged. People started to leave the cities. Those who remained were poorly nourished. Even fishes died out in Saraswati. The crucial factor may have been the disappearance of substantial portions of the Ghaggar-Hakra river system. Geology has it that a tectonic event had diverted the system's sources toward the Ganges plane, though there is a little uncertainity about the date of this event. (Still the Gauda Saraswath Brahmins of South India and the Saraswath Brahmins or Pundits of Kashmir have their tradition according to which the both were the migrants from the SaraswathiValley who left its valley at the time of the river’s disappearance owing to natural calamities.) The plate tectonics had done away with the existing earth structure resulting in the hydro changes of the area leading to aridity. A comparative study of the paleochannels of the Sutlej and Yamuna as found in the imageries sent by the satellites and the geological graphs, with their present courses would reveal that some catastrophes like an earthquake resultant of plate-tectonics caused Sutlej to take a westerly course to join the Sindhu, and Yamuna an easterly one to flow into the Ganga. Consequently the main channels now sparse of water, with no feeder channels, dried up in the dreary desert sands. This is supported by the Mahabharata, which mentions that the Sarasvati river ends in a desert (modern day Rajasthan area) (Vanaparvan, LXXXII, CXXX, etc.) . What remained were only the Ghaggar, Chautang and some insignificant channels, which could not help Saraswati and Drushadvati flow with as much waters as in the time fed by Sutlej and Yamuna. Literary sources like Panchavimsa Brahmana, Latyayana Srauta Sutra, Baudhayana Dharmasutra, etc., state that Saraswati of later times had very little water. It may again be noticed that though the earlier hymns of Rg Veda praise Sarasvati, the later hymns mention the river to be meandering and sluggish, and praise the Sindhu river instead. Saraswati dried up with its fishes dieing and the occupants of its valley leaving the cities and migrating to other places in search of safe settlements. Manu Smriti says that Saraswati lost its flow and went underground at the place called Vinasana which the scholars identify as somewhere at Kalibengan, one of the major sites of Saraswati-Sindhu civilization.

vinasyati anthardadhati saraswati atreti vinasanam . (Manu Smruti, II, 21)

The oral tradition that Saraswati is vilupta or completely hidden at Prayag is thus testified right by archaeological, geological, literary and other sources. According to S. P. Gupta:

“It may also be noted that from Adi Badri in the Sivaliks supposed to be the source of Saraswati, to the site of Bahar, running past Kapalmochana, Bhagawanpura, Thanesar-Kurukshetra and Pehoa, the river is still seasonably alive. At Bahar it meets the river Ghaggar. Its old course, which is now seen running parallel to that of the Ghaggar, is still visible on the ground in the form of a long and wide depression, some four to five km. At the widest, called SottarValley … This old channel runs through the districts of Jind, Hissar, and Srisa in Haryana until it meets the modern Ghaggar near the Rajastan border. The old channel of Saraswati is popularly known as Rangoi, Nai, Nadi, Hakra, Ban, Sarsuti, etc”. (S. P. Gupta, The Indus-Saraswati Civilization, pp. 13-14)

The geostructural changes that led to the disappearence of Sarasvati was a part of the major tectonic change that took place on the northwestern cost of India. This, as already noted, is referred to in the Mahabharata and the literary evidence is amply shored up by geology of the area. According to Mahabharata thirtysix years after the Kuru-Pandava war the people of Indraprastha-Hasthinapur region saw the great river running in opposite direction and the birds overhead wheeling in circles. Similarly they saw anomalous animal behaviour along the cost during the same time. The Musala Parva thus says: “streets swarmed with rats and mice which came out of their holes looked dazed, earthern pots showed cracks and were broken from no apparent cause, birds chirped ceaselessly, cattle and goats cried themselves hoarse, and horses bolted away from their carriages”. The city of Dwaraka was shortly engulfed by marshes due to ground subsidence. Understanding the possibility of a natural calamity Sri Krishna sent all his people to safer places including Prabhas. Soon after the departure of the people, Mahabharata says, “the sea, the abode of the monsters, engulfed the gem-filled Dwaraka”. The city thus sank into the sea “presumably due to a tectonic movement accompanied by an earthquake”. (K. S. Valdiya, Saraswati – The River that Disappeared, op. cit, p. 80) Thus in the light of literary, archaeological and geological evidences it could be construed that by around 1800 BC, most of the cities were abandoned, leaving them to desolation and decrepitude, allowing the regional cultures showing the influence of Indus civilization to emerge like the ‘Cemetery H culture’ of Harappa and the ‘Ochre Coloured Pottery culture’.

A possible natural reason of Saraswathi civilization’s decline is connected with the climate change. In 2600 BC, the Saraswathi-SindhuValley was verdant, forested, and teeming with wildlife. It was wetter, too; floods were a problem and appear, on more than one occasion, to have overwhelmed certain settlements. As a result, Indus people supplemented their diet with hunting. By 1800 BC, the climate is known to have changed. It became significantly cooler and drier. Besides, there was the problem of the recurring floods, and as evident from the archaeological remains this compelled the inhabitants to erect mudwalls and fortifications around their cities which some western historians in their early stages of research have mistaken as the walls of defence against the invading Aryans. In fact the recurring floods that submerged the layers of construction forced the people to build new cities over the ruins of the old which required the felling of the trees in abundance both for construction wood as well as firewood for baking bricks. This certainly must have resulted in the deforestation of the area, turning it arid and dry. Naturally the place slowly turned sparse in vegitation and human habitation, and the Saraswati civilization began to find new pastures on the bed of the River Indus to continue as a living civilization in times to come.

Thus on the basis of all these findings what may be assumed is that the earliest cradle of civilization of the northwest India was the Saraswati Valley which accommodated most of sites of what the historians have been calling the Indus Valley Civilization. Indus, as famous as Saraswati in the time when Vedas were composed, compiled and classified, was no less than any other river in caressing the cultural growth of ancient India. Nonetheless it was Saraswati that top-ranked. It was the Vedic civilization that flourished on her valley, and it is from the Saraswati valley region that archaeologists unearthed the relics of the civilization whose chronology goes back, in some cases, to periods prior to 10,000 BC. Archaeological discoveries from the Fatehbad district in Haryana gave valuable information about the pre-Harappan civilization. The artifacts unearthed from Kunal on the Sraswati bed are inordinately antique. These discoveries “have striking similarities with the finds excavated so far in Pakistan and dated to the pre-Harappan period” claimed the team of archaeologists including Dasarath Sing Malik, the then Deputy Director of Haryana State Archaeology Department. The Carbon dating exercise carried out by the University of Pennsylvania dates some of these artifacts to 3100 BC or before. Some of them belonged to the period prior to 3500 BC. (Mukesh Bharadwaj, ‘A New Page From History’,The Indian Express, Thiruvananthapuram, 3 March, 2002) Ceramic Neolithic cultures flourished in these areas during 6000-5000 BC. There were the Nagwad and Lotheswar cultures, which may be dated back to 5000 BC or much earlier. There are also many more sites, which are dated back to periods earlier than these.It is thus archaeologically proved that the north India comprising the 2.5 million sq. Km. had more than 7000 years of cultural heritage. Indeed it is in the light of these findings and developments that many historians and archaeologists like B. B. Lal have concluded that it was the people of Indus-SaraswatiValley who authored the Vedas. And this is again supported by many facts and also similarities between what have been so far written off as entirely different civilizations in race, nature, religion and many other ways of life – Indus and Vedic cultures.

* Author is Senior Lecturer in History, SanatanaDharmaCollege, Alappuzha & Vice-President (Kerala Unit), Akhila Bharatiya Rashtriya Saikshik Mahasangh.

I hard a new variation of the AIT but with respect to Uighers and Han Chinese. Apparently DNA studies (by Italian scientists and U Penn China studies scholars) and portraits of mummies in Uigher lands show that the people mumified had a Haplo group from somewhere near the Urals and thus were ancient. So both Han and Uighers are upset at these Westerner studying and coming up with bunkum studies. The Han are upset that the studies show some Western groups had settled the land whereas they claim it was theirs all along. The Uighers are upset for this displaces their claim that they were the original settlers and the Han took their land.

All I can say is Western science is on a rampage creating problems where it can.


Victor Mair is the name of the prof
A blog writer answers the question How come we cant decipher Indus script?

Parpola on Indus Script
<b>There she is, Sarasvati</b>
23/12/2008 07:41:59 Eenadu report in Telugu, 21 Dec. 2008

In our puranas and itihaasa, reports on "saptasindhu", "triveni sangamam", Sarasvati river occur countless number of times. There is now no scope for some people accustomed to screaming that these are 'mythical stories'. Archaeological Survey of India, Indian Space Research Organisation, ONGC – all have accepted the reality, the ground truth of Sarasvati. Not only that. They are also helping the Government to make us listen to the gurgling sounds of the river's waters.


If we see the images gathered by Indian Remote Sensing Satellites, we see Sarasvati born in the Himalayan glaciers traversing through Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat states and joining the Arabian Sea beyond Rann of Kutch. Total length is 1600 kms. In many segments, ONGC has found groundwater resources and aquifers. In the desert region of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, when 13 bore wells were construction, at a depth of 35 to 40 metres, groundwater reservoirs were discovered. They have noted by carbon dating, that this water is dated to circa 4000 years before present. The desiccation of River Sarasvati mentioned in the Puranas relates to this period. ONGC has taken this up as a part of its social responsibility and has made available drinking water from 4 such bore wells to the local villages. This ONGC project is also called Sarasvati. It can be said that this discovery has provided the impetus for a series of steps in the project for reborn Sarasvati. .


Starting as a canal

Since 1986, efforts were started by some voluntary organizations for the rejuvenation of River Sarasvati. The initiatives started by Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan in Haryana have inspired the Government to move ahead with the project. In 2002 when NDA Government was in power, 40 ft. wide, 12 feet deep, 50 km. long Sarasvati Mahanadi Roopanahar (canal) was constructed. Starting from Mohangarh in Rajasthan, work is ongoing to extend the nahar by an additional 100 kms. to reach the waters to Gujarat region. Receiving its share of Narmada waters, one project is for Rajasthan to make available Sutlej waters through this nahar right upto Rann of Kutch. This rebirth of Sarasvati is also a part of the Gujarat Government 2010 Swarnajayanti project. On the upstream stretches, Haryana Government has demarcated the entire ancient channel of River Sarasvati almost across the entire state. They have noted that this Sarasvati Nadi which flows only during monsoon season was once a segment of the Vedic River Sarasvati. Combining with this, Haryana Government has allocated funds for the reborn Sarasvati for a stretch of 250 kms. Project work has started since February (2008). The project is proceeding apace to attain the objective of improved availability of drinking water and water for irrigation and promotion of tourism along the river bank. Archaeology Survey of India has discovered about 1000 ancient archaeological settlements on the Sarasvati River basin. Some of these are sacred pilgrimage sites dating back to the Vedic period. If Sarasvati reemerges as a perennial river (jivanadi), that is in its original state, the benefits of the project will not be restricted to the above-said three states alone. Experts opine that Reborn Sarasvati will act as an impetus for Interlinking of Rivers all over the nation. It is not an easy task to bring a millennia-old river back to life again. Together with clarity of project objectives, support of the people is also required. From the satellite images, it is seen that the width of Sarasvati ranged between 3 to 8 kms. On this river basin, evolved many peoples' settlements of villages. It is a great challenge to re-settle, in some cases, the people whose settlements are superimposed on archaeological sites. For this purpose, Government and non-government organizations are working together to make progress. For the Reborn Sarasvati, many Water Shed Management Projects, Projects for diversions of tributaries into the main stream are in progress. Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat Governments are very enthusiastic about the importance of this project. In ten years' time, we can see River Sarasvati, said Kalyanaraman, Director of the Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp.

When Sarasvati appears again as a perennial river, what we have been referring to as 'Sindhu Civilization' should get recognized as Sindhu-Sarasvati Civilization.


Eenadu Telugu Newspaper, 21 December 2008 (Translated from Telugu)

Myth to reality: Sarasvati is set to flow again

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->That myth may now be laid to rest forever as plans are afoot to revive a part of the course taken by this ancient river. The Haryana government has acquired almost 20 acres of land and work is under way on a 50 km-long channel in Kurukshetra, through which the river will flow again.

    “The revival of the Sarasvati will benefit countless people in the region as it will augment ground water resources,” says Darshan Lal Jain of the Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, which is working with the government on this project. The plan is not to line with the river’s course with bricks so that water can permeate the ground. With ground water levels dipping to as low as 150 feet, the river’s revival may be a boon for parched Haryana.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Incidentally, the debate about the existence of the Sarasvati has been continuing for a long time although lately, most historians have begun to concede that the river perhaps did exist. However, they still continue to debate the name by which the river was known, the route that it took and the reasons for its disappearance. “There is no doubt that the Sarasvati river existed. However, opinion is divided on whether it was known as the Sarasvati or the Ghaggar,” says S Kalyanraman of the Sarasvati Research and Education Trust (SRET).

    The idea that the ancient Sarasvati might be the modern-day seasonal river, Ghaggar, is not a new one. It was first put forward over 100 years ago by CF Oldham, an English engineer who observed that the dry bed of the Ghaggar appeared too broad for a seasonal river. Oldham believed that the Ghaggar was, in fact, flowing on the bed of a bigger river that existed before. Archaeological excavations of the Indus Valley sites have also revealed numerous settlements along the Ghaggar, lending further credence to this theory. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Science and technology has debunked the hollow claims of linguists/philologist from Harvard.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->> Dear Mr.Kalyanraman,
>                                    My friend and a historian
Mr.Daniel Salas is deciphering the Indus Script to Sanskrit
Devanagiri script.<

How can that be? How can he decipher a script that has already been
deciphered? To limit ourselves to Sanskrit readings, it has been
deciphered by some Rao, another Rao (SR), Natwar Jha, NS Rajaram, the
addressee Dr. K., and by the Germans Ushanas Richter and Hasenpflug,
separately. And all of them disagree, yet none of them ever argues it
out with any of the others. Steve Farmer with his non-script reading
and Asko Parpola with his Dravidian reading at least take the trouble
of rebutting each other's theories.

Kind regards,

Koenraad Elst<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Saraswati reconstructions.
The real Indus script decipherment you find only here and for free download: www.indus-civilization.info
Everyone may judge for himself!
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Easier this:
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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