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Ancient Indian History
Discovery of a century

The discovery of a stone celt (hand-held axe) bearing signs of the Indus Valley civilisation near Mayiladuthurai (May 1) is indeed significant. It is amazing that the celt as old as 1500 BC contains the word Murukan, a name still popular in Tamil! It is difficult to cite another language that has as hoary a tradition as Tamil. One hopes further research will establish the linguistic and cultural traditions of the Tamil people since the ancient times.

K. Natarajan,

* * *

It is the discovery of a century as Iravatham Mahadevan put it. The celt could signify the missing link in the history of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the people of peninsular India. It was theorised that Brahui was a Dravidian language, based on which the theory was in currency that the people of the Indus Valley were Dravidians. The new find could have travelled from Harappan sites as Harappans were good seafarers (Harappan seals were found as far as Sumeria) and Mayiladuthurai is close to a seacoast. The seals are indigenous, which means there was a peninsular migration of Harappans or the Harappan culture was extended to this part of peninsular India.

Vijay Veerla,
Nottingham, U.K.

* * *

The discovery reaffirms that the people of Harappa migrated to south India. The neolithic generation of Harappa spoke a language that was Dravidian and the migration of culture took place approximately three millennium ago. The discovery of the celt should be properly recorded and protected as a monument to defeat any rumour that it was smuggled out of Harappa.

A.P. Jeyaraj,

* * *
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The discovery of a stone axe with signs found on the Indus Valley seals is certainly significant, but we need to exercise caution and not jump to hasty conclusions. To begin with, similar signs have been found in caves in Kodumalai in Tamil Nadu and in Anakodai in Jaffna (Sri Lanka).

Mr. Mahadevan's claim that the language of the Indus Valley was Dravidian because he reads a Tamil sounding word (Murukan) in these four signs is far-fetched. It is an opinion that is not supported by any methodology. One can similarly claim that Ashoka's Brahmi inscriptions are in Tamil because early Tamil used a version of Brahmi. All we can say at this time is that the Indus Valley people had connections with the south, just as they did with West Asia, where too examples of Indus writing have been found.

N.S. Rajaram,
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+May 2 2006, 10:06 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ May 2 2006, 10:06 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is there a good history of Afgahnistan? I am interested in the pre Islamic period. Also would like to know when and how did Afghanistan become a 'rentier' state? I figure this must be the time of Subugtign around 1000AD.
Ramana, Check The Hindú Kings of Kábul
Ideology and Race in India's Early History
Ideology and Race in India's Early History1
Padma Manian
San Jose City College

Probably without realizing it, World History textbooks often take sides in an ideologically charged controversy over the role of race in India's early history. Their account of the so-called Aryan invasions may reflect nineteenth-century Eurocentric scholarship that privileged lighter skinned peoples over darker skinned ones. Alternatively, it may show a na¥ve endorsement of recent books by Indians and Westerners that owe as much to ideology as to evidence. Certainly the facts don't speak as clearly as most textbooks confidently represent them.
I have taught World History at colleges in the United States for many years. When it came to the early history of India, I once taught that "Aryans" invaded India in 1500 B.C.E., conquered the "Dravidians" and then became predominant. This is what I had learned in elementary school, high school and college courses in India. This is still what is taught in most textbooks. About ten years ago, I became aware of challenges to the idea of the Aryan invasion and decided to look more critically at what World History textbooks were saying about this topic. My study was published in the History Teacher.2 More than half of the textbooks I examined stated that the ancient Harappan civilization was "burned, destroyed and left in rubble by invading Aryan-speaking tribes." These Aryans were "virile people, fond of war, drinking, chariot racing and gambling" and were also "tall, blue-eyed and fair-skinned." The defeated natives were "short, black, nose-less." The victorious Aryans had a "strong sense of racial superiority" and "strove to prevent mixture with their despised subjects". Accordingly they evolved the caste system with the lighter skinned Aryans at the top.
In fact, archaeologists have been aware for several decades that Aryan invasions had nothing to do with the demise of the Harappan civilization.3 In contrast, most of the textbooks relied on out-dated sources and presented erroneous material.
Although there is consensus among well-informed students of Indian history that Aryan invasions had nothing to do with the demise of the Harappan civilization, there is a contentious debate underway both in India as well as in the rest of the world regarding whether there was an invasion of Aryans into India around 1500 B.C.E (that is, after the end of the Harappan civilization). The Indians who favor the invasion theory are largely of a progressive or leftist political persuasion. They believe that the iniquities of the caste system are a result of the Aryan invasion. For such Indians, questioning the invasion theory would undermine the work of redressing the injustices of the caste system. It would be akin to Holocaust denial. On the other hand, many Indians who doubt the invasion theory view it as a matter of national pride that their civilization is rooted in the ancient past on Indian soil and is not a result of barbarian invaders a mere 3500 years ago. Each side believes that ideological commitment blinds the other side from seeing the true facts. Western supporters of the invasion theory are accused of intellectual inertia. They are also diagnosed as suffering from "the Liberal White Man's Burden" — the guilt that some Western scholars and journalists feel for the sins of their fathers in perpetrating racism and imperialism in modern times. This predisposes them to believe in the idea that their Aryan ancestors committed similar crimes 3500 years ago. It is argued that the desire of Western liberals to atone for these sins inclines them to support uncritically Indian leftist views on the Aryan invasion. As for Western scholars who question the Aryan invasion theory, they are accused of being sympathetic to the Indian right wing and, if they have no affiliation with academic institutions, of lacking the credentials to justify commenting on history. This debate can be followed on the Internet and is interesting in its own right. 4
Recent advances in molecular genetics have opened a promising approach to settle these questions, although the evidence at this stage remains inconclusive. Bamshad et al. studied the DNA of people from the Andhra region of Southern India and compared them to Africans, Europeans and East Asians.4 The mitochondrial DNA (transmitted matrilineally) of all castes was more similar to that of East Asians than of Africans or Europeans. The DNA of the Y-chromosome (transmitted patrilineally) of all castes was however more similar to that of Europeans than of East Asians or Africans. Moreover the higher castes were more similar to Europeans than were the lower castes. The authors conclude that "Indians are of proto-Asian origin with West Eurasian admixture" due to the Aryan invasion. The majority of the Aryan invaders were men who transmitted their European Y-chromosome to their sons born from the native women and placed themselves at the top of the caste hierarchy. But the maternal lineage remains largely "proto-Asian." The analogy, not explicitly stated in the paper, corresponds to Latin American countries where the conquistadors mated with native women to produce a largely mestizo population, with those at the high end of the social scale having the highest proportion of European ancestry. However, there are inconsistencies in the data. In Table 3,5 the lower castes are closer to Asians than to Europeans and the higher castes are closer to the Europeans than to Asians but not very much so. But in Table 46 all castes are much closer to Europeans than to Asians. Then in Table 5,7 the lower castes are again closer to Asians. In Table 4, the upper castes have a "genetic distance" of 0.265 from West Europeans and 0.073 from East Europeans. This would imply that East Europeans are closer to upper caste Indians than they are to West Europeans! The one set of data that does not use a calculation of "genetic distance" and which is therefore more reliable is Table 2.8 This table shows that the upper castes have 61% Asian maternal lineages, 23.7% West Eurasian lineages and 15.3% other. However, the 23.7% West Eurasian number includes 16.9% from the U2i lineage that the paper itself says is India-specific, and moreover is 50,000 years old.9 Therefore in calculating the fraction of West Eurasian lineages that Aryan women brought into India with the 1500 B.C.E. invasion, the U2i component should be subtracted. Only 6.8% of maternal lineages of the upper castes could have come with the invasion. The invasion looks very conquistador-like indeed! 5
Another recent paper has looked at the genetics of the Indian population: Kivisild et al.10 The authors state that "Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene."11 They looked at some markers on the Y-chromosome that are widespread among Greeks and other Europeans and found that of the 325 Indian chromosomes of diverse caste and geographical background, none had these markers. From statistical considerations, this implied that the European contribution to male lineages in India is less than 3%. Kivisild et al. also suggest "early southern Asian Pleistocene coastal settlers from Africa would have provided the inocula for the subsequent differentiation of the distinctive eastern and western Eurasian gene pools." Other researchers, such as Macaulay et al., take this suggestion further.12 They claim to have found evidence that there was only a single dispersal of modern humans from Africa and that this dispersal was through India. According to this account, several generations of the ancestors of all non-African people would have lived in India. The ancestors of Western Eurasians (including Europeans) would have spent several thousand years in India until the climate improved to allow them to migrate North and West out of India about 45000 years ago.
Let us go back now to how the commonly accepted date of 1500 B.C.E. for the Aryan Invasion of India was proposed. It is not based on any archaeological evidence, but instead was based on Friedrich Max Mueller's linguistic work in the nineteenth century explaining the similarity of the Indo-European languages. In his view, the speakers of the Indo-European languages are descended from Japheth, one of the sons of Noah, the speakers of Hebrew from Shem and Africans and Indian Dravidians from Ham, the least favored of Noah's sons (Ham and his line were accursed because of Ham's disrespect of Noah). Since the Flood can be dated from the genealogies of the Bible to be around 2500 B.C.E. and the Vedas were ancient scripture at the time of the Buddha (around 500 B.C.E.), the Aryans (said Max Mueller) likely invaded India and defeated the Dravidian descendants of Ham around 1500 B.C.E. Around the same time, the Israeli descendants of Shem were defeating another of Ham's descendants, the Canaanites. Max Mueller dated the composition of the earliest of the Vedas to around 1200 B.C.E., allowing the Aryans a few centuries to get settled in India.
Those who challenge the Aryan invasion theory, however, believe the Vedas to be much older than 1200 B.C.E. A key piece of evidence is that the Sarasvati is the most important river in the Rig Veda but is at present a small stream that gets lost in the desert. Proponents for an ancient date for the composition of the Vedas argue that since the river dried up in about 1900 B.C.E., the Vedas must have been composed before then.
I expect that the question of whether there was an Aryan invasion and whether it occurred around 1500 B.C. E. will be resolved soon by a combination of genetic studies and by geologists dating the ancient courses of dried-up rivers in the Indian desert. In the meantime, teachers of history and textbooks would do well to present both sides of the debate instead of ignoring the existence of the debate.
Biographical Note: Padma Manian received her B.A. from Madras University, India and her Ph.D. in History from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She taught World History for five years at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She now teaches U.S. History and Women's History at San Jose City College, California.
<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+May 4 2006, 10:40 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ May 4 2006, 10:40 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-ramana+May 2 2006, 10:06 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(ramana @ May 2 2006, 10:06 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is there a good history of Afgahnistan? I am interested in the pre Islamic period. Also would like to know when and how did Afghanistan become a 'rentier' state? I figure this must be the time of Subugtign around 1000AD.
Ramana, Check The Hindú Kings of Kábul

Here is a link on Post mauryan kings.

History link:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->FW: Tribute to Indian Culture.- S. Talageri

"Indian culture is the greatest and richest in the world. India (i.e.
the Indian subcontinent) is the only place in the world which is rich in
all the fields of culture: natural (topography, climate, flora and
fauna), ethnic (races and languages), and civilizational (music, dance
and drama; lore and literature; art, sculpture and handicrafts;
architecture; costumes, ornaments and beauty culture; cuisine; games and
physical systems; religion; philosophy; social and material sciences,
etc.). Its greatness lies in both factors: the richness of its range and
variety, as well as its contributions to the world, in every single
field of culture.

To give just a glimpse: in climate, we have the hottest place in the
world, Jacobabad (in present-day Pakistan), but also, as per the
Encyclopaedia Britannica, we have, outside the Polar regions, “the
largest area under permanent ice and snow”. We have dry arid regions in
the west, which receive no rainfall at all, and at the same time the
area, around Cherapunji in the east, with the highest rainfall in the
world. And we have, in different parts of the land, a wide range of
shades of climatic conditions between these extremes. The topography of
India, from the most intriguing and diverse mountain system in the
world, the Himalayas, in the north, through the plains, plateaus,
mountains and valleys of the peninsula down to the Andaman-Nicobar and
Lakshadweep island clusters in the south, also seems to leave no
topographical feature unrepresented.  India’s forests and vegetation
also cover every range and variety from the coniferous and deciduous
types to the monsoon and tropical types to the desert and scrubland
types. And India has been one of the primary contributors to the world
in every kind of plant and forest product. To name only some of the most
prominent ones: rice, a variety of beans, a wide range of vegetables
including eggplants and a number of different types of gourds, fruits
like bananas, mangoes and a range of citrus fruits, oilseeds like
sesame, important woods including teak, ebony and sandalwood, spices
like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric, dyes like
madder and indigo, important materials like cotton, jute, shellac and
India-rubber, a wide range of medicinal herbs, etc., etc. Moreover,
being strategically situated between, and sharing in, three different
ecological areas, India shares countless other important plants and
products with northern and western Asia on the one hand and Southeast
Asia on the other. And, as a detailed study will show, it has indigenous
equivalents, or potential equivalents, for a wide range of other
non-Indian plants and products.           

India’s fauna is the richest in the world. Robert Wolff, in the
introduction to his book Animals of Asia, tells us that “India has more
animal species than any other region of equal area in the world”. But
the richness is not only in comparison with regions of equal area. For
example, India is the only area in the world which has all seven
families of carnivora native to it. The whole of Africa has five (no
bears or procyonids), the whole of North and South America together have
five (no hyaenas or viverrids), the whole of Europe has five (no hyaenas
or procyonids), and, in Asia, the areas to the east and north have six
(no hyaenas) and the areas to the west have six (no procyonids). Within
the carnivora family of cats, India is the only area to have all six
genera. The whole of Africa has four (no uncia or neofelis), North and
South America together, and Europe, have four (no acinonyx, uncia or
neofelis), and, in Asia, the areas to the east and north have five (no
acinonyx) and the areas to the west have four (no uncia or neofelis).

In respect of snakes, India is the only area in the world to have all
twelve of the recognized families, while the whole of Africa has eight,
and both North and South America together have nine. Extra significant
is that one of the twelve families (Uropeltidae or shield-tailed snakes)
is found only in South India and Sri Lanka, so that India alone has
twelve families, while the whole rest of the world put together has
eleven. Of the three families of crocodilians, two (crocodiles and
gavials) are found in India, one of them (gavials) exclusively in India.
India is the richest area in the world in the variety of bovine species,
second only to Africa in variety of antelope species, and second only to
China in variety of deer species. The list is a long one. And India is
not only a primary wildlife destination, it is also one of the important
centres of domestication of animals. The most important of these being
the domestic buffalo, the domesticated elephant, one of the two races of
domestic cattle and the commercially most important bird in the world,
the domestic fowl. The most ornamental bird in the world, the peacock,
is also Indian.

There are three recognized races in the world (Caucasoid, Mongoloid and
Negroid), and India is the only area in the world which has all three
native to it: the Andaman islanders are the only true Negroids outside
Africa. Sometimes, a fourth race, Australoid, is postulated (otherwise
included among Caucasoids), and we have it among the Veddas of Sri
Lanka. As to languages, six of the nineteen language families in the
world are found in India, three of them only in India: Dravidian,
Andamanese and Burushaski. The numerically and politically most
important family of languages in the world, Indo-European, originated
(as I have argued in my books) in India.

18.5. Cultural nationalism: intellectual

As a civilization, India is the oldest continuous civilization still in
existence. As A.L. Basham puts it in his The Wonder That Was India: “The
ancient civilization of India differs from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia
and Greece, in that its traditions have been preserved without a break
down to the present day. Until the advent of the archaeologist, the
peasant of Egypt or Iraq had no knowledge of the culture of his
forefathers, and it is doubtful whether his Greek counterpart had any
but the vaguest ideas about the glory of Periclean Athens. In each case
there had been an almost complete break with the past. On the other
hand… to this day legends known to the humblest Indian recall the names
of shadowy chieftains who lived nearly a thousand years before Christ,
and the orthodox Brahman in his daily worship repeats hymns composed
even earlier. India and China have, in fact, the oldest continuous
cultural traditions in the world.”

India has been one of the most important centres of civilization in the
world in practically every age. We need not refer here to Indian
traditions of fabled kingdoms going back into the extremely remote past.
Even in the perception of the world in general, and scholarly perception
at present, India was always a fabled wonderland. In (at least) the
third and second millenniums B.C., the Indus-Sarasvati sites represented
a relatively egalitarian and peaceful, highly organized, standardized
and developed civilization, with many features unparalleled elsewhere.
It covered a far larger area and remained constant and relatively
unchanging for a far longer period (nearly a millennium) than any other
civilization. In the first millennium B.C., the Arthashastra depicts an
extremely organized civilization which appears almost modern in many
respects, and India was idealized and mythicized by writers from China
to Greece. In the first millennium A.D., we had the golden period of
Indian civilization during the reign of the Guptas, at which point of
time, according to A.L. Basham, “India was perhaps the happiest and most
civilized region of the world”. And in the second millennium A.D., India
was the desired land of dreams, in the quest for which half the world
had the misfortune of being “discovered” by Europe.

And this civilization has made primary contributions to the world in
every single field of culture. To begin with, religion: India is one of
the two centres of origin of the major world religions, the other being
West Asia. Buddhism was at one time the dominant religion not only in
East and Southeast Asia, but also in Central Asia and parts of West
Asia. It is increasingly being accepted as having been one of the major
influences on the initial formative stages of Christianity. With
Hinduism, it was the source of many religious trends (asceticism,
monasticism etc.) in the past, and even today, Hindu-Buddhist
philosophies are acquiring an ever-increasing following among thinkers
and intellectuals all over the world. Hindu religio-philosophical
concepts and terms (guru, nirvana, karma, etc.) have become basic
components of the international spiritual lexicon.

Science and the scientific temperament are among the defining points of
a civilized society, and India’s contributions to the development of
science in the world have been more fundamental than that of any other
civilization then or since. India, to begin with, invented the
zero-based decimal system, without which no significant scientific
development and advancement beyond certain rudimentary levels would ever
have been possible in human society. This contribution is so very
important, and so well illustrates the level of scientific
thought-processes in India, that it needs to be elaborated in some
detail here.

To begin with, the first logical stage in the development of a numeral
system in any primitive society would be the very concept of numbers
(one, two, three, etc.). The second logical stage would be the
representation of these numbers in pictorial form, e.g. three pictures
or symbolic figures of cows and two of sheep would represent three cows
and two sheep. The third logical stage would be the shifting of the
concept of numbers from concrete objects to abstract ideas, e.g. by the
use of a simple symbol, usually a vertical line, to represent the number
one. Seven vertical lines followed by the picture or symbol of a cow
would represent seven cows. As the need for using bigger and bigger
numbers arose, attempts would be made to create groups, as in the common
method of keeping the score by drawing up to four vertical lines to
represent numbers up to four, and then a fifth line vertically across
the four to represent a full hand. The fourth logical stage would be the
development of a base number, usually ten, on the basis of the number of
fingers on the two hands used for counting.

Egyptian civilization was at this stage of development in its numeral
system, which invented specific symbols for one, ten, hundred, thousand,
ten thousand, etc. So, instead of representing the number 542 with 542
vertical lines, the Egyptians represented it with five repetitions of
the symbol for hundred, four of the symbol for ten, and two of the
symbol for one. This still had the drawback of requiring symbols to be
repeated as many as nine times; and the Greeks, who borrowed the
Egyptian system, went off at a tangent, off the logical track, in their
attempt to remedy this. They invented halfway symbols: additional
symbols for five, fifty, five hundred, etc. The Romans, who borrowed the
Greek system, went even further off the logical track: they tried to
avoid even four repetitions by employing a minus principle. Thus, four,
nine, forty and ninety were not IIII, VIIII, XXXX and LXXXX, but IV, IX,
XL and XC. Going off at another tangent, the Ionian Greeks, the Arabs,
the Hebrews, and others, assigned numerical values to the letters of
their alphabet. The numbers one to nine were represented by the first
nine alphabets, the numbers ten to ninety by the next nine, and so on,
creating a more concise but highly illogical numeral system of limited

The fifth logical stage would be the avoidance of repetition of the base
symbols by means of specific symbols to represent each number of
repetitions. Chinese civilization was at this stage of development in
its numeral system, which had base symbols for one, ten, hundred,
thousand and ten thousand, as well as symbols for the numbers from two
to nine. Thus, the Chinese represented 542 with the symbols for five,
hundred, four, ten, and two, in that order. The sixth and last logical
stage would be a numeral system with a rigid place system and a symbol
for zero. Indian civilization reached this last and highest logical
stage in its numeral system, with symbols for the numbers from one to
nine and a symbol for zero, and a rigid place system, which made it
possible to represent any and every number with only ten symbols.
Incidentally, the Mesopotamians and the Mayas of Central America had
also hit upon their own versions of zero. But, as they had gone off the
logical track in the earlier stages, their systems remained grossly
unwieldy and illogical. The Mesopotamian system had an unwieldy base of
sixty, but symbols only for one, ten and zero; and even a symbol to
incorporate a minus principle, as in the Roman system. And the Maya
system had a base of twenty, but symbols only for one, five and zero;
and, to accommodate the calendar, the second base was 360 instead of
400. India’s contribution of the zero-based decimal system (and,
incidentally, also of most of the basic principles in the different
branches of Mathematics) represents a fundamental revolutionary landmark
in the history of world science on a par with the invention of fire or
the invention of the wheel. But this invention was no accident. The
scientific temperament in India was so developed that it such a
fundamental development should inevitably have taken place only in
India. As Alain Daniélou puts it in his Introduction to the Study of
Musical Scales (p.99): “The Hindu theory is not like other systems,
limited to experimental data: it does not consider arbitrarily as
natural certain modes or certain chords, but it takes as its starting
point the general laws common to all the aspects of the world’s
creation...” Curt Sachs, on the same subject (in his monumental work The
Rise of Music in the Ancient World * East and West, p.171), refers to
the “naïve belief of historically untrained minds that patterns usual in
the person’s own time and country are ‘natural’…”, and contrasts it with
classification in India which “starts from actual facts, but is thorough
in its accomplishment regardless of practice”.

It was this scientific temperament which led the ancient Indians to go
deep into the study of any and every subject, and to produce detailed
texts on everything, whether on religious laws, rituals and customs (the
vast Vedic literature: Samhitas, Brahmanas, Kalpasutras, Dharmasutras,
etc.), philosophy (the Upanishads, and the sutras, commentaries, and
other texts of the six Darshanas and the Buddhist, Jain and heterodox
philosophies, etc.), linguistics (Panini, Yaska, and numerous Vedic and
post-Vedic texts on Grammar, Phonetics, Etymology, etc.), medicine (the
Samhitas of Charaka, Sushruta, Vagbhata, etc.), administration and
statecraft (Kautilya’s Arthashastra, etc.), the performing arts
(Bharata’s Natyashastra, etc.), and every other possible art, craft,
technology and science, right down to the art of making love
(Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra). No subject was beyond the detailed
investigations of the ancient Indians. And basic texts, on any subject,
themselves the culminations of long and rich traditions, were followed
by detailed commentaries, and by commentaries on the commentaries. And
there were well-established and regulated systems and forums all over
the country for objective debates on controversial points or subjects.
With all this, it is not surprising that Indian civilization  should
have been the source of origin of so many things.

18.6. Cultural nationalism: health, beauty, pleasure

As an illustration of India’s role on the world stage, consider the
performing arts, i.e. music, dance and drama. A.C. Scott writes (The
Theatre in Asia, p.1): “It will be seen that stage practice in Asia owes
a great deal to India as an ancestral source. Indian influence on dance
and theatre which are one and the same in Asia was like some great
subterranean river following a spreading course and forming new streams
on the way”. Curt Sachs tells us (The Rise of Music in the Ancient
World, p.192) that Indian music “had a decisive part in forming the
musical style of the East, of China, Korea and Japan, and… what today is
called Indochina and the Malay Archipelago. There was a westward
exportation, too… Indian influence on Islamic music… the system of
melodic and rhythmic patterns, characteristic of the Persian, Turkish,
and Arabian world, had existed in India as the ragas and talas more than
a thousand years before it appeared in the sources of the Mohammedan
Orient.” Elsewhere, he goes into more specific details about this
fundamental Indian influence on the music and dance of China and Japan
(pp.139, 145), Bali (p.139), Siam (p.152), Burma (p.153), and Indonesia
(pp. 130-132).

Alain Daniélou tells us (Introduction to the Study of Musical Scales,
p.99) that the Indian “theory of musical modes… seems to have been the
source from which all systems of modal music originated”. He goes so far
as to suggest that “Greek music, like Egyptian music, most probably had
its roots in Hindu music” (pp.159-160). India first recognized the
division of the octave into seven notes, twelve semi-tones, and
twenty-two microtones (the world has still to progress towards, and
Indian music as it is practiced today has even regressed from, the
microtones). India was the land of origin of a wide range of musical
concepts and musical instruments, not only in respect of the musical
systems of Asia, but even beyond. According to the Guinness Book of
Facts and Feats, bagpipes (so characteristic of Scottish music), and
hourglass drums (the talking drums or message drums of Africa),
originated in India. The present classification of musical instruments
into four classes (idiophonic, membranophonic, aerophonic and
chordophonic) originated in India.

It was not only in respect of music, or of religion and sciences, that
Indian influence on Asia, and thereby on the rest of the world, was
“like some great subterranean river following a spreading course and
forming new streams on the way”. This was the case in practically every
field of culture. Indian sculpture and architecture spread eastwards and
influenced the development of classical sculpture and architecture in
the East and Southeast: the biggest temple complex in the world, the
Hindu temple complex of Angkor Vat in Cambodia, is the most eloquent

Indian lore and literature spread eastwards and westwards, leading to
the development of new genres of literature. The traditional lore and
literature of Southeast Asia are suffused with the spirit, themes and
vocabulary of Sanskrit epic literature, while (apart from the scientific
and technical literature on every subject). Indian literary techniques
and themes, like animal fables and the tale-within-a-tale technique,
among others, spread out westwards, and inspired the writing of classics
like The Arabian Nights and the Greek Aesop’s Fables. Indian board
games, like chess and ludo (pachisi), among others, likewise, spread out
east and west. The former became the national game of Asia (with local
varieties, all of them with local names derived from the Sanskrit
chaturang, in every country from Arabia to Korea and Vietnam), before
acquiring its present international status.

Physical culture of every kind, from systems of physical exercises and
martial arts, to comprehensive systems of health like Ayurveda
(including, apart from its varieties of oral medicines, also the
panchakarma techniques, theories of dietetics, etc.) and Hathayoga
(including, besides asanas, a range of breathing techniques,
concentration and meditation techniques, a wide range of internal and
external cleansing techniques, etc.), also spread east and west, giving
rise to similar techniques elsewhere. Greek medicine is acknowledged by
many scholars to owe much to Indian medicine, and the renowned martial
arts of the East acknowledge their Indian origin. Indian cuisine is
generally acknowledged to be one of the great cuisines of the world, and
the greatest when it comes to vegetarian cuisine, and is gaining
popularity worldwide. Food culture all over the world would have been
poor indeed without India’s material contributions to the four tastes:
sweet (sugar), sour (lemons, tamarinds, kokam and amchur), pungent
(black pepper and ginger), and bitter (bitter gourds), as well as a wide
variety of other spices and flavourings.

In respect of clothes and ornaments, again, India’s contributions are of
primary importance: cotton, the most important fabric in the world,
originated in India, along with numerous important techniques, of
weaving, dyeing and printing, basic to the textile industry. The use of
diamonds originated in India: till the eighteenth century, India was the
only source of diamonds, and the ornament and jewellery industry in
India was a world pioneer in many ways. Beauty culture, the art of
shringara, as described in great detail in the ancient texts, had
developed very highly in ancient India, and India was the source of a
great many kinds of clothing, ornaments, herbal cosmetics and
applications, aromatic oils and beauty techniques. 

Our claim that Indian culture can be considered the greatest and richest
culture in the world, is not made only on the basis of past glories,--
although, as a civilization with the only continuous tradition, the past
is not a dead past but is an intrinsic part of our present identity. Nor
only on the basis of past contributions to the world,-- considerable,
and even unmatchable, as they are. Indian culture is the greatest and
richest culture in the world on the strength of its glorious present as

18.7. Cultural nationalism: the widest range

India is a complete cultural world in itself. Firstly, it represents
every stage of development in culture from the most sophisticated, right
from ancient times, to the most primitive, even in modern times or as
late as the twentieth century. Secondly, the richness and variety of its
cultural wealth, in every respect, is so great that it need never look
beyond its own cultural frontiers for inspiration, innovation and
development in any field of culture.

To illustrate the first point, of the widest range between extremes,
consider the mathematical systems. Ancient India conceived and analyzed
the mathematical concepts of zero and infinity, achieved a fundamental
revolution by devising a numeral system which can represent any
conceivable number with only ten symbols, and coined names for numbers
of incredibly high denominations. (A Buddhist work, Lalitavistara, gives
the names for base-numbers up to 10 raised to the 421th power, i.e. one
followed by 421 zeroes.) And, at the same time, we have the Andamanese
languages, which have not developed the concept of numbers beyond two.
They have names only for “one” and “two”, which is in effect “one” and
“more than one”, which is no numeral system at all, and represents the
absolutely most primitive stage in any language in the world.

Likewise, in music, our Indian classical music has, since thousands of
years, developed a detailed theory of music, and used the richest range
of notes (twenty-two microtones as compared to the twelve notes of
western classical music), scales (every possible combination of the
basic notes), modes  and rhythms  (the most unimaginably wide range of
melodies and rhythms, from the simplest to the most complicated and
intricate, with e.g. rhythms having 11, 13, 17, 19 etc. beats per cycle,
unimaginable outside India), and musical instruments (with the most
intricate playing techniques in the world). And, at the same time, the
absolutely most primitive form of singing in the world is found among
the Veddas of Sri Lanka. Along with certain remote Patagonian tribes,
they are the only people in the world who “not only do not possess any
musical instrument, but do not even clap their hands or stamp the
ground” (Curt Sachs: The History of Musical Instruments, p.26).

This is the case in almost every field of culture. On the one hand,
India has the richest traditional cuisine in the world, one of the most
highly developed traditions of architecture in all its aspects, and an
incredibly wide range of costumes and ornaments, all of hoary antiquity.
On the other hand, we have tribes who are hunter-gatherers and subsist
only on wild berries, who live in caves, or who live almost in the nude.

As for the second point, of completeness, a glance at two representative
fields of civilizational culture, religion and music, will suffice to
make it clear. The range of Indian religion, both in respect of
philosophy and doctrines, as well as customs and rituals, is quite a
complete one. Every shade of thought and idea (theistic, atheistic and
agnostic), from the most materialistic to the most spiritual, from the
most rationalistic to the most irrational, from the most humane to the
most barbaric, and from the most puritanical or orthodox to the most
profane or heterodox, has been explored by the different schools of
philosophy, different sects and different individual writers. Every kind
and level of ritual and custom from the most primitive to the most
sophisticated, from the simplest to the most elaborate, and from the
most humane to the most ruthless, is found in one or the other part of

The only common thread is the complete absence of intolerant
imperialistic tendencies: if such ever arose in the history of Hinduism,
they died out just as quickly. Therefore, also, Hindu India, before the
rise of modern liberalism in the west, was the only safe haven in the
civilized world for the followers of religions and sects persecuted
elsewhere: Jews, Zoroastrians, Syrian Christians, and in modern times,
Armenian Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Bahais and Ahmadiyas. (That this
sometimes proved costly in the long run because of the failure to
distinguish between religions and imperialist ideologies, is a different

In music, between the extremes of complexity and simplicity, India has
also explored the scope for variety most thoroughly. Curt Sachs writes
(The Rise Of Music in the Ancient World, p.157): “The roots of music are
more exposed in India than anywhere else. The Vedda in Ceylon possess
the earliest stage of singing that we know, and the subsequent strata of
primitive music are represented by the numberless tribes that in valleys
and jungles took shelter from the raids of northern invaders. So far as
this primitive music is concerned, the records are complete or at least
could easily be completed if special attention were paid to the music of
the ‘tribes’… hundreds of tribal styles…”

Then there is the folk music, the range and variety of which is
mind-boggling. Every single part of India is rich in its own individual
range of styles of folk music. The folk music of even any one state of
India (say Maharashtra, Rajasthan or Karnataka, for example, or even
Sind, Baluchistan, Sri Lanka or Bhutan for that matter) would merit a
lifetime of study. And, right on top, we have the great tradition of
Indian classical music, which we have already referred to. Although the
oldest living form of classical music in the world, and although it has
evolved and developed over the centuries, losing and gaining in the
process, Curt Sachs points out (The Rise Of Music in the Ancient World,
p.157) that “there is no reason to believe that India’s ancient music
differed essentially from her modern music”. Many western musicologists
(Alain Daniélou, M.E. Cousins, Donald Lentz, etc.) have spoken about the
superiority of Indian classical music over western classical music, but
even without going that far, it is at least certain that Indian
Classical music is one of the two main classical traditions in the
world. And apart from classical music, we have the other great
tradition, of Vedic chanting and singing in its many varieties, best
preserved in South India, and different varieties of Sanskrit songs,
preserved in temples and abbeys all over India.

In all these varieties of music (classical, folk, popular and tribal),
we have the most unparalleled range of musical instruments in the world.
They are unique in their range from the most primitive and simple to the
most sophisticated and complicated in respect of techniques of making,
artistic appearance, techniques of playing, and qualities of sound, in
every type: idiophonic, membranophonic, aerophonic and chordophonic;
monophonic, pressurephonic, polyphonic and multiphonic.

All this music and all these musical instruments were preserved down the
ages by temple traditions, courts, courtesans, great masters and
professional castes, musical institutions, and tribal, caste and
community traditions. The twentieth century saw a consolidation of all
this rich musical wealth due, on the one hand, to the invention of
recording devices, and, on the other, to the enthusiasm natural in a
modern India in the atmosphere of an independence movement. New
generations of musicians and scholars, and government bodies like Films
Division, Akashwani and Doordarshan, did a herculean job in studying,
recording and popularizing all forms of Indian music. New trends in
classical music (eg. the Gharana system, new semi-classical forms,
including Marathi Natya Sangeet, etc.), new innovations (eg. the
“Vadyavrind” orchestration of Indian melodic music, etc.), and new
genres of popular music (e.g. new forms of devotional music, of popular
music like the Bhavgeet genre in Marathi music, and film music) added to
India’s incomparable musical wealth.

This was about music. The same is the case in respect of India’s
cultural wealth in every other field. The same sources: ancient texts,
temple traditions, courts, courtesans, great masters and professional
castes, institutions, and tribal, caste and community traditions, have
combined to preserve lore and literature, dance forms, arts and crafts,
architectural forms, cuisine, games and physical systems, etc. etc. A
detailed study will confirm that Indian culture is among the greatest
and richest in the world in any and every individual field of culture,
and the greatest and richest in the world in the sum total of culture. 

18.8. Cultural nationalism: Hindu civilization under siege

Today, this greatest and richest culture in the world, which survived
all kinds of challenges in the past, is being slowly and systematically
wiped out or turned into a caricature of itself. And, if systematic
steps are not taken on a war footing, it will soon be a faint and fading
memory of the past. And not only will that be the end of Hindu society
as we know it, but it will be a great tragedy for world culture as well.

By Shrikant Talageri from India's Only Communalist.. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Pottery with Tamil Brahmi inscription found in Thailand </b>
<img src='http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/16/images/2006071603952001.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<b>Ancient artefacts found in Agra village</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Agra, July 22: Artifacts suggesting that an ancient civilisation might have thrived in the area have been found in a village in Agra district.

<b>The artefacts that include a sculpture of a couple in an embrace and another showing footprints on a stone slab were stumbled upon when a mound was being dug in Arrua village near Achnera Townand the Archaeological Survey of India informed about the find</b>, officials said today.

They said ASI experts were examining the artefacts and the area where they were discovered<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Date of the Mah˜bh˜rata War based on Simulations using Planetarium Software</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The complexity and the totality of the events are such that nobody could have back calculated them and interpolated into the text at a later date, such as the 4th century CE. The date of 3067 BCE is proposed on the basis that the equinox occurred near jyeÿ÷ha; and there occurred a solar eclipse at jyeÿ÷ha in the middle of an eclipse season, the solar eclipse being bordered by two lunar eclipses. The earlier lunar eclipse occurred on k˜rtika full moon. The second lunar eclipse followed the solar eclipse in less than fourteen days. It is demonstrated that the simulations of the events described in the epic satisfy the stringent astronomical conditions surprisingly well. The simulations persuasively point to a date ~3000 BCE for the events and hence for the Mah˜bh˜rata war. The accuracy and the limitations of the simulations are also discussed.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The URL has been updated with the following article:

Vyasa-Dhritarashtra Samvada by BN Achar, Annals of BORI, LXXXIV, (2003), pp 13-22). This establishes 1) the concordance between Atharvaveda Paris'is.t.a and the Mahabharata in relation to the accounts related to comets and 2) internal consistency of astronomical observations recorded in Udyogaparvan and Bhishmaparvan.

A question has been raised about the consistency between the tradition of the start of the Kaliyuga in 3102 BCE and the date of the war -- 3067 BCE. There is no contradiction between the dates as clarified by BN Achar:

"Nowhere does Sri Vedavyasa say that the war happenned in Dwapara yuga. All that is said is "antare caiva sampra_pte kali dwaparayoH", during the interval between Kali and Dwapara. If he meant the fag end of Dwapara, he could have easily said "dwapara_nte" and there is no necessity of mentioning both kali and dwapara at the same time. The interval extends to 200 years on the dwapara side and 100 years on the kali side. So, even if the kali began in 3102 BCE, 3067 BCE would be within the interval and does not contradict Sri Vedavyasa. There is evidence that kali had already started when the war took place. Bhagavan Krishna's remarks to Sri Balarama after the gadayuddha, when Bhima hits Duryodhana below the navel, that this is the effect of Kali attest to that. Yudhisthira's declaring the death of Ashwatthama (the elephant) implying the death of Drona's son is another indication. Fixing the date on the basis of eclipse pair alone is fraught with difficulties, I have discussed these at length in my paper presented at Bangalore.In my paper, thr only planetary positions that have been used are (i) shani at Rohini, (ii) angaraka retrograde before jyeshtha and (iii) lunar eclipse in the month of Kartika. These alone limit the dates to 3067 BCE and 2183 BCE. In both of these years there is a solar eclipse at jyeshtha following the lunar eclipse. I have not specified the location, but only the occurrence of the lunar eclipse. There is an inherent uncertainty in the location, that cannot be made
more precise."

For accessing the paper presented at Bangalore, link is at:

In a paper by Gene D. Matlock, B.A., M.A., the author starts by the following:
------ In his History of the Jews, the Jewish scholar and theologian Flavius Josephus (37 - 100 A.D.), wrote that the Greek philosopher Aristotle had said: "...These Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calani." (Book I:22.)
"Megasthenes, who was sent to India by Seleucus Nicator, about three hundred years before Christ, and whose accounts from new inquiries are every day acquiring additional credit, says that the Jews 'were an Indian tribe or sect called Kalani...'" (Anacalypsis, by Godfrey Higgins, Vol. I; p. 400.) --------
And proved that Jews are culturally from India, thus Jews writings and mathematics are rooted in India, and not vice versa. The entire article is here:

What do you think of this theory?
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jul 18 2006, 11:15 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jul 18 2006, 11:15 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Pottery with Tamil Brahmi inscription found in Thailand </b>
<img src='http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/16/images/2006071603952001.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

From Wikipedia, I read “The Tomar, Tanwar,were a clan who populated northern India. The clan Tomar is found among the Jats and Rajputs. 95 % of all of them are Jats. A small percentage in Rajastan identify themsleves as Rajputs. They are found spread from Punjab, to Haryana, to Western Uttar Pradesh, to Eastern Rajastan to Northern Madhya Pradesh.
In the 8th century, the Jat Tomars established a state in present day Haryana, founding the city of Dhiliki (later Delhi) in 736.
Some Tomars left the Delhi area and settled in Panipat region in modern Haryana and also in modern Uttar Pradesh.
The Tomars were replaced by Chauhans in 1162 as the rulers of Delhi. The Chauhans were defeated by the Muhammad Ghori and the Sultans of Delhi at the end of the 12th century. There is some discrepancy here as a Tomar is described to be in power in Delhi in 1192 CE.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomara
However, a Tomar (and a large number of followers) is recorded in Madagascar history as “immigrating” around 1300 CE. The native language in Madagascar is an Austro-Polynesian language closely related to Javanese language (Java) and Manjaan (Kalimantan), suggesting that Tomar and his large followers may have come from Indonesia also.
Does anyone know of a large movement of Tomar around 1200-1300 CE towards Indonesia or Madagascar?
<b>Unique burial urn found in Kerala </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Kalady (Kerala), Aug 04:<b> A unique burial urn, 4.5 feet high with a radius of 2.75 feet, believed to be belonging to the Megalithic Age, has been excavated from a housing plot near the banks of the Periyar river here</b>.

Archaeologists here say this was the first time such a huge urn, which is conical in shape, has been found in Kerala.

Two other urns have also been found near the big urn, P K Gopi, documentation officer of the Archaeological Museum at Tripunithura Hill Palace, who visited the site, about 35 km from Kochi, told media persons.

The urns came to light when a team of researchers from the Sree Sanakra College, led by Dr B Ramesh, Director of the Research Centre at the College, undertook some excavations in the area.

Gopi said the urns had not been removed from the place due to heavy rains. "Only after some respite from the downpour, the priceless objects would be removed," he said.

"We are thinking of sending the samples to the Lucknow-based Birbla Sahini Institute of Paleo botany for carbon 14 dating which would give an accurate period to which the urns belong," he said.

Further excavations in the area have been stopped to prevent any damage to the objects, he said.

Tools of different sizes and shapes belonging to the Neolithic Age had also been found by the researchers some time ago, he said.
Bureau Report
<!--QuoteBegin-rkumar+Aug 5 2006, 07:23 PM-->QUOTE(rkumar @ Aug 5 2006, 07:23 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->May i know why the PM feature was supres? How can i get the answers to my qwestions?
How can i speak whit the administrator in this case ?
were i can write whitout direct conection whit any of this actual topics?i mean whitout a specific topic.
is trash can suitable for this? i dont want to create topics more then are now.
Use Misc Question thread or use General Section where Question thread is available.
If it is related to history use <b>this link</b>

<b>Link to thread</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Trials, tribulations & triumph of a cultural archeaologist</b>
V SUNDARAM, 16 and 17 August 2006, NewsToday

    Barbara Tuchman, the great American woman historian rightly
observes: Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books
history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and
speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of
civilisation would have been impossible. They are agents of change,
windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are
companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind.
Books are humanity in print.

    These instructive and inspiring words are wholly applicable to
Kalyanaraman and published by Asian Development Bank, Manila,
Philippines. In more senses than one this is a landmark book in the
world of languages, linguistics and culture. This book is a
Multilanguage historical and cultural dictionary of South Asia; it is
a lexicon; it is an encyclopaedia. To quote his own words: This is a
comparative dictionary covering all the languages of South Asia (which
may also be referred to, in a geographical/historical sense as the
Indian sub-continent ). This dictionary seeks to establish a semantic
concordance, across the languages of numeraire facile of the South
Asian sub-continent : from Brahui to Santali to Bengali, from Kashmiri
to Mundarica to Sinhalece, from Marathi to Hindi to Nepali, from
Sindhi or Panjabi or Urdu to Tamil. A semantic structure binds the
languages of South Asia, which may have diverged morphologically or
phonologically as evidenced in the oral tradition of Vedic texts, or
epigraphy, literary works or lexicons of the historical periods. This
dictionary, therefore goes beyond, the commonly held belief of an
Indo-European language and is anchored on proto-South Asian sememes.

Dr S Kalyanaraman              The great pioneering Indologist Sir William
Jones, founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1783, pronounced
with authority the underlying genetic relationship between the
classical languages, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit in his third Annual
Discourse to the Asiatic Society of Bengal on the History and Culture
of the Hindus in February 1786 when he made the following epoch-making
observation: The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a
wonderful structure : more perfect than the Greek, more copious than
the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to
both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in
the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by
accident, so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all
three, without believing them to have sprung from a common source,
which perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not
quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic,
though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with
the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family.

    Long before Sir William Jones in 1786, the 16th century
Italian scholar Sassetti apparently studied Sanskrit calling it 'a
pleasant musical language' and uniting Deo with Deva. In the 17th
century, the Dutch protestant missionary, Abraham Rogerius, published
in 1651 the translation of Bhartrihari in Europe for the first time.
So we find many Catholic missionaries of South India, French and
Belgian, studying a little Sanskrit, and mixing with Tamil, producing
the faked Ezour Vedam , the target of Voltaire's criticism; and
Anquitil du Perron, visiting India before Sir William Jones, provoked
the latter's sarcastic criticism of premature handling of Sanskrit
texts. As early as 1725 we find the German missionary (translator of
the Bible into Tamil) Benjamin Schultze emphasising the similarity
between the numerals of Sanskrit, German and Latin.

    Another remarkable Englishman, Horne Tooke, in his 'Diversions
of Purley ' in 1786 anticipated Bopp and other pioneers of Comparative
Grammar. The German traveller, Pallas, worked out the project of the
mathematician-philopher Leibniz (1646 - 1716) and published
'Comparative Vocabularies of all the Languages of the World' in 1787.
This uncritical work was soon superseded by the German
grammarian-philosopher Adelung's Mithridates or General Science of
Languages, published in four volumes between 1806 and 1817.

    Dr S Kalyanaraman legitimately belongs to this great tradition
of philologists and lexicographers, dictionary-compilers,
etymologists, scholars and savants. He has compiled this unique,
multilingual dictionary of the Dravidian, Arian and Mundarica language
families which he took 18 years to complete. It has been published in
three volumes, running to over 2000 pages with nearly 5 lakh words
from over 25 ancient languages. This work covers over 8000 semantic
clusters which span and bind the South Asian Languages. The basic
finding is that thousands of terms of the Vedas, the Munda languages
(eg.Santali, Mundarica, Sora), the so-called Dravidian languages and
the so-called Indo-Aryan languages have common roots. This dictionary
called Indian Lexicon has also been made available on the internet. He
declares with humility: The author assumes full responsibility for the
semantic and etymological judgements made and the errors that might
have crept in with thousands of database iterations in organizing the
semantic clusters found in the word lists (the lexicon includes over
half-a-million Indian words). The author hopes that with the
impossibility of 'dating' the origin of a word, all its inherent
limitations, the omissions, intentional or otherwise and errors that
will in due course be pointed out by scholars specialized in their
fields, the Indian Lexicon will be a tentative, but bold start of a
skeleton dictionary of the Indian linguistic area ca. 3000 B.C. and
will be expanded further to include modern words.

    Dr S Kalyanaraman was born on 20 October 1939. His mother
tongue is Tamil. But all his school and under graduate education was
in Telugu and Sanskrit in Andhra Pradesh. He is conversant with Tamil,
Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Sanskrit languages. He graduated from
Annamalai University in Economics and Statistics. He has a Doctorate
in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and
his thesis Public Administration in Asia, a comparative study of
development administration in six Asian countries: India, Bangladesh,
Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. He joined the Asian
Development bank in 1978. Earlier he was a Member of the Indian
Railway Accounts Service from 1962.

    During the last 11 years, starting from 1995, he has been
working on Sarasvati River Research Project through his Sarasvati
Sindhu Research Centre in Chennai. Ever since his return to India in
1995 and his presentation of a paper in the 10th World Sanskrit
Conference on his research findings, he has devoted himself to
promoting projects for the revival of the Sarasvati River.

    Apart from the massive multilingual dictionary of South Asian
languages, Dr Kalyanaraman has also authored several volumes on
Sarasvati Culture and Civilisation. His other notable work is Indian
Alchemy: Soma in the Veda. He has also contributed to Professor
Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya's multi-volume work on History of Science
and Technology in Ancient India

    To return to Dr Kalyanaraman's Multilingual Etymological
Dictionary of South Asian languages once again. The history of
civilization is more than a tally of our dynasties, governments, wars,
class struggles and cultural movements. Dr Kalyanaraman proves through
this book that it is also the story of how human beings in the South
Asian Region have learned to develop and operate systems of reference
and information retrieval that are external to the brain. According to
current estimates, Homo has been in existence for about 2 million
years, although it may not have become Sapiens till around 100,000
years ago. If this estimate is reliable, then for 99.75% of the
existence of the species Homo and for some 95% of the time that it has
been Sapiens, there were no external systems at all. The brain with
its erratic memory was the only apparatus available for knowing,
referring and recording and that was the natural state of things. The
bulk of our ancestors would have found anything else unimaginable, and
for some aboriginal peoples today, in remote areas, this statement
still holds true.

    This Etymological Dictionary clearly brings out the fact that
language in the region which Dr Kalyanaraman has covered has been the
master tool which man, in his endless adventure after knowledge and
power, has shaped for himself, and which, in its turn, has shaped the
human mind as we see it and know it. It has continuously extended and
conserved the store of knowledge upon which mankind has drawn. It has
furnished the starting point of all our science. In this context the
great words of L.S.Amery come to my mind: 'Language has been the
instrument of social cohesion and of moral law, and through it human
society has developed and found itself. Language, indeed, has been the
soul of mankind'.

    We learn from Dr.Kayanaraman's Himalayan effort that language
is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and
anonymous works of unconscious generations. Language exists to
communicate whatever it can communicate. Language is itself the
collective art of expression, a summary of thousands upon thousands of
individual intuitions. George Steiner in his great work Language and
Silence observed: 'Languages code immemorial reflexes and twists of
feeling, remembrances of action that transcend individual recall,
contours of communal experience as subtly decisive as the contours of
sky and land in which a civilization ripens. Any outsider can master a
language as a rider masters his mount; he rarely becomes as one with
its undefined, subterranean motion'. Eros and Language mesh at every
point. Intercourse and discourse, copula and copulation, are
sub-classes of the dominant fact of communication'.

    As a learned and dedicated etymologist, Dr Kalyanaraman finds
the deadest word in the South Asian Region to have been once a
brilliant picture. We are delighted to learn at his feet that every
language is indeed fossil poetry.

'One goes to the potter for pots, but not to the grammarian for words.
Language is already there among the people'

-Patanjali in Mahabhashya

ASIAN LANGUAGES', published by Asian Development Bank, Manila,
Philippines, Dr S Kalyanaraman states: 'In philology, as in
archaeology, the search for 'truth' is an extension of a researcher's
imagination. Imagination is not an act of faith, but a statement of
hypothesis based on relational entities in linguistic structures
identified through painstaking lexical work. Two such entities in
linguistic structures are: morpheme and sememe which bind an
etymological group. Sememe may be defined as a phoneme imbued with
'meaning'. Morpheme is defined as a 'meaningful' linguistic unit.
Sememe constitutes the semantic substratum of a morpheme or simply,
'meaning'. What is 'meaning'? It is a concept closely linked to a
social compact for inter-personal communication. The 'private
language' of a speaker's brain (with 'personal' experiences embedded
in neutral networks) is revealed through sounds uttered by the
speaker. Language is formed if these uttered sounds echo the 'private
language' of a listener. Such an echo constitutes meaning or the
semantic sub-structure of a language. Sememes are the basic semantic
structural units of a language which combine to yield morphemes or
words. A sememe can, for example, be distinguished from a phoneme or a
gesture which does not communicate a message in a social compact. Only
those uttered sounds which are heard and accepted in a social compact
can constitute the repertoire of a language. Sememes (or, dhatupada' )
are given a variety of phonemic and morphological forms in the lingua
franca to constitute semantic expressions, or the vocabulary of an
evolving and growing civilization'.

    Ramana Maharishi asked the question: 'Who am I?' Likewise Dr S
Kalyanaraman asks the introspective question: 'What is the
justification for this comparative etymological dictionary of South
Asian languages currently spoken by over a billion people of the
world?' He says that an answer can be given at a number of levels:

    1) The paramount need to bring people closer to ancient
heritage of South Asian language family of which the extant South
Asian languages (Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Munda language streams )
are but dialectical forms.
    2) There is an imperative international public need to
generate further studies in the disciplines of a) South Asian
archaeology, b) general semantics and comparative linguistics , c)
design of fifth-generation computer systems
    3) There is a need to provide a basis for further studies in
grammatical philosophy and neurosciences on the formation of semantic
patterns or structures in the human brain?? neurosciences related to
the study of linguistic competence which seems to set apart the humans
from other living beings.

    Finally Dr Kalyanaraman declares with magisterial clarity:
'The urgent warrant for my etymological dictionary is the difficulty
faced by scholars in collating different lexicons and in obtaining
works such as CDIAL (A Comparative Dictionary of Indo-Aryan Languages)
even in eminent libraries. In tracing the etyma (literally meaning
truth in Greek) of the South Asian languages, it is adequate to
indicate the word forms which can be traced into the mists of

    Dr Kalyanaraman's Dictionary deals with more than 8000
semantic clusters relating to the South Asian Languages. Overarching
this vast region??in geographical, linguistic and cultural
terms??there is an areal 'South Asian Language Type'. Dr.Kalyanaraman
seeks to prove this fact by establishing a semantic concordance among
the so called Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Munda languages. This area
covers a geographical region bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south
and the mountain ranges which insulate it from other regions of the
Asian Continent on the north, east and west.

    The semantic clustering attempted by Dr.Kalyanaraman in this
Dictionary rests on the following hypothesis:

    1 It is possible to reconstruct a proto-South Asian idiom or
lingua franca of circa the centuries traversed by the Indus Valley
Civilization (C.2500 to 1700 BC)
    2 South Asia is a linguistic area nursed in the cradle of the
Indus Valley Civilization.

    Operating within this framework, Dr Kalyanaraman summarily
rejects the two long standing and earlier assertions:
    a) Sir William Jones's assertion in 1786 of an Indo-European
Linguistic Family
    b) F W Ellis's assertion in 1816 of a southern family of languages.

    This cleavage was mischievously created by the Colonial
British Rulers as a part of their strategy of Divide and Rule. Dr
Kalyanaraman also dismisses the exclusion of the so-called
Austro-Asiatic or Munda (or Kherwari) languages. His thesis is that
there was a proto-South Asian Linguistic area (C 2500 BC) which
included these three language groups. His underlying assumption is
that the so-called Dravidian, Munda and Aryan Languages can be traced
to an ancient South Asian Family by establishing the unifying elements
in semantic terms. This is in keeping with the views of G.U.Pope in
another context: ..that between the languages of Southern India and
those of the Aryan family there are many deeply seated and radical
affinities; that the differences between the Dravidian tongues and the
Aryan are not as great as that between the Celtic for instance and the
Sanskrit. It is in this spirit that Dr Kalyanaraman has dedicated this
great dictionary to Panini and Tolkappiyan.

    Reading this fascinating book, we understand that each
language is only in part an individual instrument. It is in the main,
a community instrument used for community purposes. As such each
language tends to launch out on a career of its own, to which
individuals contribute very much as the coral insect contributes to
the growth of a coral reef or island. The essence of language lies in
the intentional conveyance of ideas from one living being to another
through the instrumentality of arbitrary tokens or symbols agreed upon
and understood by both as being associated with the particular ideas
in question. In short language in this world is for keeping things
safe in their places. Martin Heidegger rightly says that language is
the house of being.

    Words are but the signs and counters of knowledge, and their
currency should be strictly regulated by the capital which they
represent. The finest words in the world are only vain sounds, if you
cannot comprehend. Words, when written, crystallize history; their
very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past. Francis
Bacon said; 'men suppose their reason has command over their words;
still it happens that words in return exercise authority on reason'.
Words may be either servants or masters. If they are servants, they
may safely guide us in the way of truth. If they become our masters,
they intoxicate the brain and lead into swamps of confused thoughts
where there is no solid footing.

    Language is the amber in which thousands of precious thoughts
have been safely embedded and preserved. It has arrested thousands of
lightening-flashes of genius, which, unless thus fixed and arrested,
might have been as bright, but would have also been as quickly passing
and perishing as the lightning. Samuel Taylor Coleridge rightly
observes: 'Language is the armoury of the human mind; and at once
contains the trophies of its past, and the weapons of its future

    We can infer the spirit of a nation in great measure from the
language, which is a sort of monument to which each forcible
individual in a course of many hundred years of social history has
contributed a stone. And, universally, a good example of this social
force is the veracity of language, which cannot be debauched. In this
context Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly sums up: 'In any controversy
concerning morals, an appeal may be made with safety to the sentiments
which the language of the people expresses. Proverbs, words and
grammar-inflections convey the public sense with more purity and
precision than the wisest individual'.

    Language contains so faithful a record of the good and of the
evil which in time past have been working in the minds and hearts of
men, we shall not err, if we regard it as a moral barometer indicating
and permanently marking the rise or fall of a nation's life. No wonder
Noah Webster in his Preface to the great AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE
ENGLIGH LANGUAGE wrote in 1828: 'Language is the expression of ideas;
and if the people of our country cannot preserve an identity of ideas,
they cannot retain an identity of language'.

    Viewed in this light language is the most valuable single
possession of the human race. Man does not live on bread alone: his
other indispensable necessity is communication. We shall never
approach a complete understanding of the nature of language, so long
as we confine our attention to its intellectual function as a means of
communicating thought. Language is a form of human reason, which has
its reasons which are unknown to man. The mastery over reality, both
technical and social, grows side by side with the knowledge of how to
use a language?more particularly words. A word is not a crystal,
transparent and unchanging. In all senses it is the skin of living

    I enjoyed reading this Dictionary by Dr Kalyanaraman. I would
pay my tribute to his work in the words of W H Auden: 'Though a work
of literature can be read in a number of ways, this number is finite
and can be arranged in a hierarchical order; some readings are
obviously 'truer' than others, some doubtful, some obviously false and
some absurd. That is why, for a desert island, one would choose a good
dictionary, rather than the greatest literary masterpiece imaginable,
for, in relation to its reader, a dictionary is absolutely passive and
may legitimately be read in an infinite number of ways.'

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ramana, Check The Hindú Kings of Kábul

Here are two more links:


Mostly Kashmiri history, but has chapters on Hindu rule in Afghanistan also:
<b>Indian American scientist restoring 700-year-old sacred Hindu text</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By Arun Kumar, Washington, Sep 21: An Indian American scientist is leading a project to digitally restore a 700-year-old palm leaf manuscript containing the essence of Hindu philosophy by using modern imaging technologies.

P.R. Mukund and Roger Easton, professors at Rochester Institute of Technology, are working on the project to digitally preserve the original Hindu writings, known as the Sarvamoola granthas attributed to scholar Shri Madvacharya (1238-1317).

The collection of 36 works contains commentaries written in Sanskrit on sacred Hindu scriptures and conveys the scholar's Dvaita philosophy of the meaning of life and the role of God.

The document is difficult to handle and to read, the result of centuries of inappropriate storage techniques, botched preservation efforts and degradation due to improper handling.

<b>Each leaf of the manuscript measures 26 inches long and two inches wide, and is bound together with braided cord threaded through two holes. Heavy wooden covers sandwich the 340 palm leaves, cracked and chipped at the edges. Time and a misguided application of oil have aged the palm leaves dark brown, obscuring the Sanskrit writings</b>.

"It is literally crumbling to dust," says Mukund, the Gleason Professor of Electrical Engineering at RIT................<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Googling for Susruta i found this link:-


It gives an account of Susruta, Porus & alexander. It also states:-<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Porus was a great warrior and inspired his men in a manner that befits a king. In the fierce battle Porus lost his son, Alexander his Bucephalus. Alexander had pinned his hopes on the outflanking maneuver by Seleucus, but now he saw no hope unless the elephants were controlled. He ordered his men to inflict wounds on the elephants and slice their trunks. This made the elephants go berserk and wreak havoc on Porus's army. <b>Porus lost the edge. This, together with Seleucus's maneuver, clinched the battle for Alexander. Porus surrendered</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Did Porus actually surrender? Are there any other accounts of what actually happened?Apologies if this subject has been discussed earlier.

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