Sunday, June 30, 2013


With the Rig Veda in one hand and a spade in the other

by Vijaya Rajiva on 27 Jun 2013 With selected Comments


“With the Rig Veda in one hand and a spade in the other” is how eminent historian and archaeologist Shivaji Singh summarises some of his insights and work on the need to study archaeology conjointly with the Rig Veda.

-        Along the banks of the Sarasvati and the adjoining river basins, collectively designated as Sapta Sindhava (Rgveda 8.24.27), lived our enlightened ancestors who developed a unique world view blending materialism with spirituality that helped survive Bharatiya culture against all odds during its long existence over several millennia. But so far we do not know exactly on which sites of the area our Rgvedic ancestors lived...

-        The reappearance of the river Sarasvati has provided us a great opportunity and proper historical perspective...

-        With Rgveda in one hand and spade in the other, it is possible to locate at least some of these valuable sites.

(Where lived the RgVedic Rishis, Rulers, and Artisans, the Founders of Bharatiya Sanskriti? Vedic Sarasvati and Hindu Civilisation, 2008, p.119).

Prof Singh points out that just as Heinrich Schliemann discovered the lost glories of Troy on the basis of the Homeric poems, Indic scholars could use the RgVeda and archaeology to discover the habitations of the Vedic peoples. Other sciences such as the earth sciences of glaciology, geology and the space sciences can also be utilised.

That combination produces (and will continue to produce, he argues) a highlighting of the rediscovery of the Sarasvati river (mentioned some 75 times in the Rig Veda) and the attendant focus on the value system enunciated by the Rishis and as well as the more specific discoveries linking the Vedic and Harappan peoples of the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilisation (formerly called the Indus Valley Civilisation).

The rediscovery of the Sarasvati has had a profound impact on Indic Studies in the last three decades. As a result, colonial and Marxist views of Indian history have been disturbed. Prof Singh coins the term – the Sarasvati Paradigm – to describe this new phenomenon. In this paradigm, three major issues have come to the fore:

1] The Aryas (as distinct from the Aryans of the Hitlerite and colonial-Marxist paradigms) are native sons of the soil.

2] Vedic and Harappan culture represent a single cultural tradition.

3] Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation is a phase (marked by the rise, intensification and collapse of an urban process) within the much earlier, more extensive and more durable Vedic civilisation that still continues.

After a lengthy account of the scholarly work done by Indic scholars regarding the above, and a brief criticism of those who would try to hijack the Sarasvati and place it in Afghanistan, he moves to the subject matter of the paper and raises and answers three questions about where these people lived.

His methodology involves comparing and juxtaposing two separate maps showing ethno-geographic configurations: one provided in the Rig Veda and the other based on Early-to-Mature Harappan archaeological data. Valuable hints emerge about the location of the Vedic settlements in the form of one-to-one correspondence between the two maps. The conclusions can be verified by concentrating on individual settlements and enlisting the help of other relevant data, textual, archaeological, geographical etc.

Rig Vedic Ethno-Geographical configurations:

According to Prof Singh, the pancha-jana (five peoples) are the most frequently mentioned social group in the Rig Veda. Their names are not explicitly stated but modern scholars agree that they are the Anu, Druhyu, Puru, Yadu and Turva. They are clearly mentioned in one verse (RV 1.108.8) and lived on the banks of the Sarasvati (RV 6.61.12) though later on in the Rig Vedic period itself several of them moved to other areas.

The Bharatas have received the maximum notice in the Rig Veda though they are not included among the five peoples but are a branch of the Purus. They lived in the Kurukshetra area i.e., between the Sarasvati and the Yamuna. Viswamitra, the former priest of the chief Sudas, and later Vasishta and Drishadvat belonged to the Bharatas. Besides the above five peoples and Bharatas, some 30 other ethnic communities are mentioned in the Rig Veda.

The settlements and movements of some of these ethnic units can be ascertained on the basis of the Rig Veda and subsequent Vedic literature. Hence, it is known that the extreme northwest of the Rig Vedic geographical horizon, which extended at least up to the river Kabul (Kubh) in Afghanistan, was occupied by the Gandharis and others.

After their defeat in the Battle of the Ten Kings, the Druhyus also moved towards the northwest from the Sarasvati valley; later tradition attests to their presence in the Gandhara region. The Puru leader Trasadasyu had acquired a new territory on the banks of the river Swat (Suvastu) and is described as ruling over there (RV 8.19.37). This appears to be in addition to his original domain in the Sarasvati valley for he says that he has possession over two territories (mama dvit rashtram kshatriyasya, RV 4.42.1). In the Sindh and Punjab were located the settlements of three other ethnic groups mentioned among the 30 communities in the Rig Veda.

The Purus and the Bharatas continued to occupy respectively the western and eastern parts of the Sarasvati valley down to the end of the Rig Vedic period. During the Rig Vedic period, the Yadus seem to have migrated from the Sarasvati region towards the south and southwest, finally reaching the Gujarat and Kathiawar area where, according to Puranic tradition, many of their lineages flourished. In their journey towards Gujarat, they had to cross through large waterlogged tracts in which Indra is said to have helped them (RV 6.20.12). That they became large cattle owners and wealthy, is also attested to by the text (RV 8.1.31; 6.46). The Rig Veda contains many more references to the settlement of some of the 30 groups.

Most of the hymns contained in the sixth and seventh books of the Rig Veda were composed in the Sarasvati valley; the majority of hymns in the latter half of the first and fourth books in the lower Indus region, known today as Sindh.

The Early Harappan to Mature Harappan Ethno-Geographical Configurations

Prof Singh points out that, “While the various RgVedic communities are known by their names mentioned in the text and we have no difficulty in distinguishing them, the social groups in relevant archaeological cultures have to be identified by a critical study of inter-assemblage variability. This is because none of the Early-to-Mature Harappan and the immediately preceding and contemporary cultures related to a single ethnic unit or community. Formations of each one of them involves several social groups. Archaeologists now agree that the Harappan archaeological assemblages in various areas are not alike and despite certain uniformities in the urban phase, they have signified regional variations...”

Nevertheless, six Harappan domains have been established and understanding them is crucial to understanding where the Rig Vedic personalities were located, viz.,

(1)   Eastern or Haryana (Kalibangan ) Domain

(2) Northern or Punjab (Harappa) Domain

(3)  Central or Bahawalpur (Ganweriwala) Domain

(4) Southern or Sindh (Mohenjo-Daro) Domain

(5)  Western or Gedrosia (Kulli/Harappan) Domain

(6) South Eastern or Gujarat (Lothal) Domain

Several ethnic units lived in each domain. Singh explores briefly their culture in the Sarasvati Valley, the lower Indus Valley and outside the Sarasvati and lower Indus Valleys, and then asks three leading questions:

1] Where lived Sudas, the hero of the Battle of the Ten Kings?

2] Where are the ancient settlements of the Purus?

3] Where initially dwelt the pancha-jana before moving on to different locations?

Where lived Sudas?

Sudas of the Bharata family was the victor of the Battle of Ten Kings where he defeated the Purus. The Rig Veda provides valuable evidence to locate the Bharatas geographically. They are depicted as performing yajna on the banks of the river Sarasvati and the Drishadvati (RV 3.23.4), meaning the region watered by these rivers. Drishadvati (identified with Chautang) joined the Sarasvati near the archaeological site Kalibangan.

Kalibangan is in the Eastern Harappan domain, i.e., the Haryana domain of Harappan culture. Kalibangan can be taken to be the capital of the Bharatas who were the greatest performers of Vedic sacrifices. They are noted for their devotion to Agni and the sacrificial rituals.

In Kalibangan excavations have brought to light elaborate arrangements for performing public as well as household sacrifices. Many houses in the Lower Town at Kalibangan have separate rooms reserved for sacrificial ritual. In the citadel area, atop a platform, as many as seven fire-altars are found arranged in a row touching a wall, oriented northsouth, so that persons performing yajna could so only facing the east. Nearby was a well meant in all probability for ritual bathing. In another area to the northeast of the Lower Town (KLB-3) a group of fire altars have been discovered within a mud-brick enclosure. Although fire altars have been found at a few other sites of the period in and outside the Sarasvati Valley there has been nothing comparable to what has been met with at Kalibangan.

Where are the ancient settlements of the Purus? The Rig Veda (RV 7.76.2) says that the Purus dwelt on both banks of the Sarasvati, unlike the Bharatas who lived on the left bank in what was later called Kurukshetra. Hence the domain of the Purus was the Central Harappan domain where sites are almost equally distributed on both the banks of the river.

Where did the pancha-jana dwell before moving on to different locations?

By all accounts, they initially lived in the Sarasvati Valley. The common designation for the five would indicate their close connection. By a process of gradual segmentation they became five. There is a concentration of Harappan sites in Mausa taluk of district Bhatinda in Punjab, along the Sirhind rivulet, a tributary of the Sarasvati.

These sites exceed an area of 100 hectares and are located along with 20 others in a very small area measuring 1250 sq. km. only. Prof Singh concludes that, “This is an unusual case of inter-space relationship since normally such large sites are found far separated from each other. It indicates that at a time five powerful elite groups were located close to each other in this part of the Sarasvati Valley making it very likely that they were the settlement of the pancha- jana.

The Sarasvati Paradigm

Singh’s vision of a Sarasvati Paradigm is not only confined to theoretical problems concerning the outdated Aryan Invasion theory, the deciphering of the Indus script and the continuity of the Vedic Sarasvati civilisation, but also its core value, Aryattva. In some ways this aspect of his work is even more compelling than his historical/theoretical studies.

In his article ‘Vedic Culture and its Continuity’ (Jan. 2010) he explains that Aryattva is the ideal of Vedic culture and its continuity: “The essence of Vedic culture lies in its perception of Aryattva, a virtue the achievement of which is considered to be necessary for civilised living. The slogan ‘Krinvanto viswam aryam’ (Rigveda 9.63.5) is an appeal to the divine almighty power to help achieve this ideal. Unfortunately, however, many historians have misunderstood this Aryattva.”

Indeed, scholars have often confused the Vedic Aryans with the Indo-Aryans, forgetting that these are two different concepts. ‘Arya’ is the self-designation of the Vedic people, Vedic Aryans is a latter-day historical category. As against this, the term ‘Indo Aryan’ is a linguistic construct denoting the speakers of a subgroup of languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family, and being a construct, its validity is subject to verification.

Although language and culture are intimately related, Arya does not denote a speaker of a particular language. In the Vedic view, a person speaking a Dravidian (or any) language is Arya if he possesses the virtue of Aryattva.

Aryattva depends on a world view resting on concepts like Rta, Satya, Tapas, Yajna, Brahma, and so on, a blending of virtues that lead to the highest material and spiritual achievement.

Singh is clear that scientific and theoretical investigations into the historical realities of the Indian subcontinent must continue. The Sarasvati Paradigm is a blend of this type of investigation and recognition of the core value of Aryattva. His work is an exemplar in that endeavour.

The writer is a political philosopher who taught at a Canadian university

User Comments Post a Comment
The Aryas (as distinct from the Aryans of the Hitlerite and colonial-Marxist paradigms) are native sons of the soil - well said. A wonderful article
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
Time for us Hindus to keep spreading these facts about our ancestors. Compliments to you for serving this cause. Compliments also to Mr Shivaji Singh for having undertaken this task.
We should also keep reminding ourselves [ and our critics] that Europeans ,Americans and others did hold the view that Troy was a myth propagated by Homer, till they found the evidence. Since we [ Hindus] have the evidence now, world must be persuaded to change its views on our history.
Hindus also do not know what our own ASI has achieved since 1947 wrt our history. They appear busy protecting monuments from Islamic and British period. Most of the ancient sites are poorly protected and even vandalized.
The "spade work" recommended by you will have to be undertaken by Hindus themselves. Late Dr Wakankar did it for locating Saraswati.
Jitendra Desai
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
The Sarasvati Paradigm doesn't seem to take into account the maritime nature of the Rigvedic civilization, looking only at the land based movement. It is also wrong to see the Yadus as migrating from the Vedic heartland to the west coast.
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
Shivaji Singh has done very good work, however, the Vedic people probably covered a larger ground and before the Harappan period, which he might also acknowledge.

Trasadasyu and related kings Mandhata and Purkutsa occur among the Ikshvakus and are not just styled Purus. Purukutsa is connected to the Narmada in the south. Trasadasyu is also connected via Vamadeva to the east as far as probably Videha. They also went as far as Gandhara to the northwest, notably Mandhata who defeated the Druhyus in the northwest. They are many generations before Rama. Raghu also was said to have conquered as far as Iran in the west, which is not to deny his presence in Kosala in the east.

Sudas included among his enemies not only Druhyus but Anus, Turvashas and even some Purus. He appears some time after Trasadasyu. Such Chakravartins ruled much of India.

Sarasvati/Drishadvati was the central region but the greater culture extended from Sindhu and Gandhara west to Sarayu and Videha east, and south to the ocean regions. Rigveda mentions the ocean more often than it does the Sarasvati. Some Vedic kings had influence beyond Gandhara to the north and west.

Bharatas came to dominate much of India and had a wide influence. Kurus from whom Kurukshetra was named were one of the three main branches of the Bharatas. Panchalas derive from another one of these.

The five Vedic peoples had many colonies and outposts, including probably some outside of India. The Puranas speak of some of their movements. While these five were the dominant Vedic groups, there were others.

Turvashas and Yadus were connected not just to the central Sarasvati-Drishadvati homeland, but also to the ocean. Even Sudas gained tribute from the samudra or sea. Maritime trade was always highly regarded.

Bhrigus, from whom Turvasha and Yadu originate via Devayani, were connected to the Gujarat region also (Bhrigu kaccha), and the Rishis like the Vedic kings and peoples had widespread influence. Dirghatamas had influence in Punjab and Anga/Banga. Anus in Puranas were divided into two groups east and west, one in Punjab and the other towards Bengal.

Vasistha is connected to the city of a thousand doors, probably Dwaraka-Kushasthali, and to the sea, along with his elder brother Agastya. Many Vedic peoples and Rishis had southern connections or origins, including Manu Vivasvan himself.

The northern Sarasvati civilization was a reflection of an older culture in coastal regions to the south. Even Sarasvati is lauded as a great ocean, and the Vedic land extended to her coastal regions.

Yadus were in the southwest, not in the upper Sarasvati region, but by the coast. There was a branch of northern Yadus connected to Puru-Bharatas in the Mathura region, but a northern outpost, not an original homeland.

Of course over the many thousands of years there were many movements of people and it is difficult to determine all of them. But the continuity of the Vedic Culture from the late Ice Age period to today remains.
PV Shastri
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
Why use the term 'Arya' at all. This is a comparitive and not an absolute term.

Promoted by the euro minded 'Arya Samaj'
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
Arya means noble, cultured; the British perverted it
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
As an humble student of ancient India, I greatly enjoyed reading this article.
I lack the scholarship to take sides in the debate over the various issues involved, but such articles are in the nature of Saraswati vandana--offerings to the Goddess of Learning.
I am grateful to Vijayaji for penning this article, as also to Prof. Shivaji Singh and learned commentators.
Virendra Parekh
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
@Phon Deepankar

Arya is the word the Rig Veda used and there is no reason why we should shy away from it, despite its perverted use by Western scholarship and especially Hitler.

As the article explains the word 'arya' is distinct from Aryan. The latter is a linguistic and ethnic construct.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
@PV Shastri

The questions you raise are answered in Dr. Singh's article itself:
'Where lived the Rishis, leaders and artisans?' (Vedic Sarasvati and Hindu Civilisation, 2008). It is a lengthy article and for want of space I could only summarise the essential facts. Both the breadth of Vedic civilisation and as well that it was before the Harappans is dealt with in the article.

Please check the original article.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
@Virendra Parekh

Thankyou ! It was intended as a Sarasvati Vandana.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
It is truly unfortunate that the profession and science of archaeology is so abjectly undervalued in India given the antiquity and sophistication of its ancient culture. If more insiders were drawn to this profession, the quality of research yielded would have a more convincing stamp of authenticity than for instance the current state of information on the Mayan or ancient Egyptian civilizations. Because insiders are more likely to know what they are looking at.

Given what little I've heard about the shallow and literal-minded translations of Sanskrit by (some) western Indologists, I've wondered how a Mayan or Egyptian time traveler might respond to present-day translations of their glyphs. Even contemporary interpreters of a living culture can completely miss or misrepresent metaphor, double-entendres, irony in a foreign language. My fellow passenger on a recent flight was a young Bihari student who shared his painful difficulties in processing "Americanisms" when he first arrived in the US.

Given the current and anticipated ravages of climate change, it is also imperative that we also raise national awareness of the importance of preserving what we have. People argue that this is an issue of insufficient resources that make it hard to preserve sites from vandalism and pay its custodians well so that they do not abet smugglers and thieves. But I see the pathetic state of our national treasures as resulting from as an abject failure of education.

I wonder how many young people truly grasp how unparalleled and precious our ancient architecture is. Are they even conscious of how miraculous it is that even what we now have of our legacy has survived the depredations of the invader and the wanton neglect of the insider? When I look at websites like ESamskriti, founded by the incredible Sanjeev Nayyar, I realize that were it not for the Internet, I would never have known about some of the monuments, temples, forts, fortifications he features on it . IF that knowledge is promoted among adults and youth alike, then the nation would awaken to a more urgent need to invest in preservation and study of its legacy.
I still hope India's educational priorities can be creatively re-imagined beyond management, medicine and engineering.
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
Sarasvati river has been mentioned in mahabharat. It is narrated that pandavas have crossed the sarasvati river. It existed 5000 yrs ago. Also lot of details are given regarding sarasvati river while narrating the piligrimage taken by Balaram while the war was being fought between pandavas and kauravas.
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
Funny thing is that most of the areas mentioned in the article are now in Pakistan.
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
No tragedy is that the British brainwashed Muslims to breakaway from such a great civilizational legacy.
In other parts of the Muslim world, like Syria and Iraq, great pride was taken in the fact of being descended from a great civilization. But then, Pakistanis are a fake people, an artificial construct of the MI5 and still under its thumb
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
@Trinetra & Observer

In Syria and Iraq the Islamic conquest took place at a much earlier time, whereas apart from the barbarian hordes, the Islamic population is basically composed of converts from Hinduism.

In Syria and Iraq there is no living trace of the ancient civilisation, whereas the Vedic Civilisation is an ongoing one even today. It has lasted several millenia and will continue to do so.

You are right that Pakistan was an artificial creation.

Observer, not all the sites are in present day Pakistan. The core centres are in Bharat. The detailed article of Dr. Singh makes that clear.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse
I am grateful to Dr. Vijaya Rajiva for brilliantly summarizing my paper (Where lived the Rigvedic Rishis … …) and succinctly bringing out the main messages conveyed therein.
I am greatly benefiting from the comments and thank all who have kindly spared time to comment.
In response to Rajaram’s and PV Shastri’s comments I would like to submit that my purpose (as already noted by Vijaya Rajiva) was just to emphasize the following facts:
1. The Rigvedic designation ‘Aarya’ is a reality. It doesn’t need any proof. The term 'Aryan' is a modern linguistic-ethnic construct, and being a construct its validity is subject to verification. It is wrong to equate the two totally different concepts.
2. Rigvedic rishis, rulers and artisans are the founders (at least, the main architects) of Bharatiya culture and civilization.
3. The sites where they lived need to be discovered and developed as Saanskritik Teerthas (places of cultural pilgrimage) to enhance historical conscious so necessary for a living vibrant society.
4. This could be done by proceeding with the Rigveda in one hand and a spade in the other.
The rest is a preliminary exercise mainly in methodology. It is suggested that a comparative study of two ethno-geographic configurations (one gleaned from the Rigveda and the other reconstructed from corresponding archaeological assemblages) might provide important hints in locating these sites.
No finality is claimed in locating the Yadus or any other Rigvedic jana. Many more years of sustained, cooperative and multi-disciplinary research work is needed for that. The suggestion that Kalibanga could be the capital of Bharatas appears to be the most probable in the light of the data presently at hand.

Shivaji Singh
June 27, 2013 Report Abuse

June 28, 2013 Report Abuse
@Trinetra & Observer,

Trinetra our friend Observer is living in a myth that he has constructed. I read somewhere that his mentor Zakir Nayak actually claimed that the Rig Veda is Islamic. The same could be said of some Christian crackpots who say that Jesus is in the Rig Veda !

At any rate, Pakistan was the creation of that so called 'secular' leader called Jinnah, along with his British friends who wanted a foothold against the then Soviet Union and who ofcourse has never forgiven Indian for reclaiming its land.

And, since none of the ancient civilisations survived the Islamic onslaught, all except Bharat, they are still hoping to establish a Caliphate here, as the Taliban has proclaimed publicly.

And so it is very easy for Iraq and Syria etc to be proud of their ancient past, since nothing , neither the civilisation nor the population is left.

Bharat is a different story altogether. . . .
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse

June 28, 2013 Report Abuse

Perhaps I do ! Why else would I take you seriously ? Most commentators are fed up with you. They are either harsh in their language against you or they just simply ignore you. Some have written to me personally and said that it is outrageous that you should continue on this site. But our editor is a liberal and has given you free rein.

I have from the beginning wondered why an Indian Muslim would regularly visit this site and then express such outlandish views. Do the neighbhours whom you share festival sweets (in one of your early accounts) know that you hold such strong Caliphate views ?

My theory is that since you are a convert ( whereas some of the Pakistanis claim to be descended from the barbarian hordes, Genghiz Khan, Turks, Arabs etc) you have a dual approach in your psyche.

You cannot resist the ancient Hindu voice calling you even when you stoutly try to promote the Caliphate.

Why not accept the inevitable and give up this struggle against an ancient civilisation which has lasted several millenia and will continue for several more ?

But, as usual since we are wandering from the topic of my article where some fine scholars in the field have commented I shall close on this conversation.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse
@ Observer ,

You claim that most of the ancient Vedic sites are in Pakistan. Fine. Why don't you come back to your ancient way of life then ? Will you stop cow slaughter in Pakistan? Real legacies and inheritance can be claimed only by those who have carried on in the same way of life. Pakistanis have converted themselves to an alien faith and [ now] have nothing to do with Hindus or Hindu way of life.Your "advice" to Dr Vijaya to consult a psychologist was in bad taste.Pl do improve your attitude.

@ Dr Vijaya, Mr Shivaji Singh , Mr Rajaram,

We should have general agreement on the idea that ,after last ice age, entire SAPTA SINDHU turned in to an original garden of Eden. It beckoned people from ALL directions. And all those who arrived from all over sub continent ,Asia and Africa were hunter gatherers - They [ or our great grand mothers] domesticated the cow [ first white revolution] - invented agriculture - discovered cotton- For the first time in human history, settled down to village life - evolved Sanskrit - composed Vedas - discovered metals -evolved defense systems - dispersed to various parts of the subcontinent when Saraswati dried up - carried with them the values they had evolved in SAPTA SINDHU - Since they lived in houses made of mud and timber , it is likely that archeologists will not find the type of evidence sought by the seculars - we don't have to - Rigveda is the evidence - enough for us Hindus - Those who can't accept Ayodhya as birth place of Rama will accept little else as evidence on our ancestry or history.
Jitendra Desai
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse
Sri Shivaji Singh is one of the few outstanding professionals of our country who have unearthed a lot of convincing material about the ancient heritage of the people of Bharata varsha. Dr. Vijaya Rajiva has done an excellent summary in this VV article on Saraswati civilization. There is bound to be differences in conclusions regarding the new evidence still emerging and eventually settled opinion will develop. Instead of presenting material to counter the conclusions entered by SS and VR some persons have posted puerility and even abuse. Perhaps such postings must not be allowed to take space and demand attention.
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse
Dr Shivaji Singh himself and Shri Venkatanarayanan are satisfied that Dr Rajiva's aricle is a succinct , satisfactory account of Dr Singh's thesis. The following genuine conclusions have come about.1.The Rigvedic designation ‘Aarya’ is a reality. The term 'Aryan' is a modern linguistic-ethnic construct, and being a construct its validity is subject to verification. It is wrong to equate the two totally different concepts.2. Rigvedic rishis, rulers and artisans are the the main architects of Bharatiya culture and civilization. 3. The sites where they lived need to be discovered and developed as places of cultural pilgrimage to enhance our historical consciousness. 4. This could be done by proceeding with the Rigveda in one hand and a spade in the other.
These conclusions are fair and clear.
Partha Desikan
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse
(1) In its discussion of ancient India, Western scholarship posits a profound dilemma or puzzle: on the one hand there are Vedic 'Aryans' with a highly evolved language, literature, and a sacrificial system but without any archaeological evidence whatsoever to identify them with certainty; on the other hand, there is a highly developed civilization with a clear identity thanks to availability of sufficient archaeological data and artifacts. Unfortunately, it has not left any linguistic or literary evidence (because the pictographs on the seals have not yet been deciphered).

(2) Professor Shivaji Singh's work goes a long way in providing a reasonable solution to the dilemma: Consider the Vedic and Indus cultures as parts or phases of one composite [Sindhu-Sarasvati] civlization. Obviously, much more work is needed but I think he has provided a good beginning in that direction.

(3) The essay by Dr Rajiv provides a good, reader-friendly introduction to Prof Singh's thesis. Both the Veda and the spade need to be used in the work at hand.

(4) One quibble: Panchajana may well have reference to five groups of people (lokasamuha) living on the banks of Sarasvati or five different rivers in that area. There are references to panchajana in the Mahabharata and Arjuna's conch is called Panchajanya. But Siddheshvar Shastri Chitrav in his Marathi translation of the Rigveda provides a different interpretation of panchajana: According to Aitareya Brahmana (3:31) they are devata, manushya, gandharva, sarpa, pitrigana. According to Sayana they are: Brahmana. Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, and Nishada, and according to Yaska, they are: Gandharva, Pitar, Dev, Asura, and Rakshas.
Shrinivas Tilak
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse

@Jitendra Desai

You have nicely summed up the journey of our ancestors from the Garden of Eden to Vedic times. I have recommended to Dr. Kalynaraman et all that it is time for a second volume of Vedic Sarasvati and Hindu Civilisation (2008) which will incorporate all the work done by geologists, archaeologists, Sanskritists,historians etc since 2008.

Don't worry about our friend. Sooner or later he will be in the homecoming ceremony, since that is his natural habitat, not the barbarian hordes.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 28, 2013 Report Abuse
dream on..."Dr."
June 29, 2013 Report Abuse

[a] If you can't improve your attitude to fellow contributors, you can at least stop giving your valued opinions.
[b] We don't know if thousands are joining Islam but we do know that lakhs are being killed because they are Muslims. Pl do study the figures since Iraq-Iran war [ casualties 1 million] check figures in Lebanon, Palestine,Somalia,Yemen,Ethiopia,Sudan,Iraq,Lybia,Syria,Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thousands who are joining may have no idea that lakhs are dying because of the faith they have chosen to save themselves in this and after life.
[c] What is your take on Taliban agreeing to talk to Afghan government along with Americans and the same group attacking Presidential palace in Kabul while talks are on? Which other faith sanctions such acts? If thousands are joining in spite of such acts good luck to them.
Jitendra Desai
June 29, 2013 Report Abuse
@ Dr Vijaya Rajiva, Thanks for your response to my comments. We need to prepare small readable booklets covering all these findings, keeping high school and college students in mind. Such booklets can have references for further reading. We can also upload such materials on net for free.
As mentioned by me, we need not spend time and efforts to provide evidence to those who are opposed to Hindutva. No amount of evidence can convince them. It is better to reach out to those [ crores of young Hindus] who are not aware of their true history.
Jitendra Desai
June 29, 2013 Report Abuse
@Jitendra Desai

Your suggestion is excellent ! High school and college students are what we should aim to educate at this juncture.

Meanwhile, the suggestion that a second volume of Vedic Sarasvati and Hindu civilisation should be brought out has been mooted.

There is a Pakistani fellow, some sort of security officer who has written a ridiculous account of the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilisation. He claims that it is Pakistan that is the inheritor of what he calls by the old fashioned name the Indus Valley Civilisation.

We can now see where our friend gets his info from. But the question of why he continues to post here is intriguing since he is an Indian Muslim. My theory might be the correct one.

However, we should stop taking him too too seriously. Someone above suggested that posters like him should not be encouraged on this site.

Let's get on with our own work. BTW the publication in which the Pakistani fellow writes is called Eurasian Review. Someone kindly sent me reference.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
June 29, 2013 Report Abuse
Observer does not realise the problem he is courting by claiming Indus Valley civilisation as part of his cultural heritage. There is no doubt that large part of the area where the Vedic civilisation (part of which is IVC) flourished are now in Pakistan and Afghanistan. People of Pakistan can certainly lay claim to that great heritage.

The problem is: having claimed it as your (Pakistan's) own heritage, what can you do with it as an Islamic country? If Pakistan wants to claim Vedic heritage, it must do everything to preserve, protect and promote the Vedic i.e. Hindu civilisation. But as an Islamic country, it is expected to do exactly the opposite. Under Islamic tradition, everything that preceded Islam is Jahiliya or the Age of Darkness and Depravity. It is the minimum duty of the Momins to turn their backs firmly on their pre-Islamic past. They would be better Momins if they actively destroy it, which is what jihad really means.

This is a dilemma that only Pakistanis can and have to resolve for themselves, if they are interested in discovering their real identity. The discovery may cause them lot of discomfort. If they wish to claim Vedic heritage, they have to accept Hindu civilisation emanating from it as their own. Instead of taunting and running down Hindus, they will have accept Hindus as their blood brothers (which they in fact are). Where will that leave Pakistan as an Islamic country? Will their Saudi Wahabi mentors and American benefactors allow them to return to their roots?

Most Pakistanis would like to remain in the comfort of Islam. Islam provides a simple theological framework based on Us and Them, Momins and Kaffirs. No more questions to be asked. All answers are readymade and easily available. Any doubt, suspicion or scepticism about the fundamnetals (Mohammed Saheb's Prophethood and its finality, for example) is strictly forbidden, made punishable with death.

If observer wants to leave this cool comfort of Islam by claiming Hindu heritage (which is what IVC and Vedas are all about), I as a proud Hindu would welcome that overture as the return of the prodigal. But I doubt if he is serious.

Virendra Parekh
June 29, 2013 Report Abuse
@Virendra Parekh &Jitendra Desai

You are right in saying that there is a problem with the Pakistani thesis. That entire region was Hindu. Dr. Singh has pointed out in his article that Sudas, the ruler of the Kurukshetra region was also the ruler of the Swat Valley. A Vedic Rishi supervised the yajnas of the Gomal Valley kings.

Pakistani archaeologist-scholar M.Rafique Mughal has highlighted the importance of the Sarasvati in the Bahawalput region.

The additional difficulty for the Pakistanis is that while in all other parts of the Near East the native populations were destroyed and left no trace, there is an ongoing Hindu civilisation that was not destroyed in the subcontinent.

And the majority of the Pakistani population are also those who left India after the Partition.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
Yesterday Report Abuse
To all the commentators above with a very skewed vision of sub continent's (hi)STORY i would say again that IVC was "NOT" Hindu. They buried their dead, wrote a non-Sanskirt pictographic language, ate beef, did not know the horse, were not vegetarian, wrote right to left, did not know the horse (No Arjun), and did not worship any of the Hindu pantheon (Arjun, Agni, Mithra, Nag).
The IVC map shows the Indus Valley Civilization which traded with the Muslim Moses in Mesopotamia. Pakistan is the latest Muslim incarnation of the IVC. The Indus people banded together to live together as they had lived together for thousands of years. This was the contract once the Britain left. Bharat never existed as a united country–So, What Partition? Bharat never existed as a united country–Pakistan did for thousands of years. The original IVC thrived only on the banks of the Indus when Bharat was jungle.
I hear from every Bharati that we share common ancestors, Pakistani people are 80% Caucasoid while about 50% Bharati are Australoid and 20% Caucasoid, The only closest ethnic group to Pakistani would be Punjabi but they make up 2% population of entire Bharat and they are working to liberate themselves from Brahman tyranny.Even DNA has rejected any relation btw Pakistanis and Bharatis, Pakistani people mostly have Haplogroup R1a while in Bharat it is only present in high caste Brahmin who are the minority of 2%.
Many bigoted Indians claim Pakistan was a Hindu country and it was converted by Muslim invaders to Islam. Pakistan became a Buddhist country before Alexander’s invasion and remained monotheistic Buddhist until Muslims arrived. When Muslims came to Pakistan region the majority of its people were Buddhists (as testified in Chachnama), so much so that the word for idol became “budh”. The fact is there is barely any trace of Hindu past in Pakistan region yet there? are plentiful of Buddhist and other non-Hindu archeological remains in Pakistan region. The very few Hindu temples found in Pakistan region cannot be dated past the 9th century AD. Now on top all Indian which has exterminated hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the past 60 years has the audacity to call Pakistani their long lost kins.

Yesterday Report Abuse

Your history is inaccurate. The Atharva Veda mentions 4 different kinds of funerals : 1.burying the dead in earth 2. Burying in water,3.cremation, 4. decomposition through exposure to the elements. All 4 were practised in the Vedic period.

Modern humans migrated out of Africa some 60 thousand years ago and went in several directions. Those that came to the Indian subcontinent stayed there till the end of the Pleistocene era. Some went further into Australia and the far east. Some went into the Arabian peninsula and onto Europe etc.

In India by the end of the Pleistocene, there was movement from paleolothic to neolothic and thence to settled populations with agriculture. The Vedic peoples were a combination both of the north (Gauda) and the south (dravida, in Sanskrit that word is not specifically ethnic). The Rishis self consciously created the Sanskrit language, considered by most people today as a perfect language.

This is why the Rishis were concerned that it be transmitted faithfully and indeed it was over several millenia.

The Indus Valley people were connected to the various ethnic groups that composed the Vedic peoples. The horse was known to them. Non Indian Sanskritists like Nicos Kazanas have shown from their analysis of the language structure that the Vedas predated the IVC. In addition, the fire altars, and the knowledge of the brick formula was gained by them from the Sanskritic Shulba Sutras.

The Hindus of India are therefore autochtonous. At a certain stage some moved into the northwest. Even your Pakistani author admits that the people in these regions practised Hinduism, Buddhism etc. until they "embraced" (to use his word) Islam, which ofcourse was a late player in history.

Re: genetics. There is no DNA in the Indian population from the Turkish and Central Asian groups. Extensive studies have been done on this question in the last two to three decades. Names such as Kisivild can be mentioned . He is a Cambridge geneticist. The Indian geneticists are numerous to be mentioned here.

My point is this : you are unneccessarily being misled by some of your co relgionists.

At any rate, you are an Indian Muslim, and I believe not part of the Punjabi elite in Pakistan who look down on Indian Muslims.

That Punjabi elite trace their ancestry to the barbarian hordes from Central Asia and Turkey.

You are a convert from Hinduism and therefore your genetic structure (which you seem to be obsessed by) is Hindu, which means to say that the haplogrouping is autochtonous, not central asian or turkish.

Best to leave those questions aside unless you are prepared to make a serious study of them.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
Yesterday Report Abuse
Just because they didn’t teach you this in “Indian” (his)story books, in 8th grade, doesn’t mean that the world see it as such…and it does…see references from encyclopedias.
The simple fact that is very hard for some to digest is—Pakistan as a political unit existed 5000 years ago on the banks of the Indus.
Conquerors came through the Kyber pass–but the people on the Indus kept on surviving. DNA tests in the Punjab, Sindh and Baluchsitan confirm that the DNA has survivied for 5000 years in the geographic location.
The Indus people wrote a languge that was ditinct from the rest of the Subcontinent, ate meat, buried thri dead and did not workship any of the Hindu Gods.
Pakistan existed 5000 years ago just like China or Egypt or Iraq did….there are many books on this subject. Read “The Indus Saga” among others.
Get used to it, Harrapa, Mehargarh, Melullah, Mekan and Moenjadaro are Pakistani and NOT “Indian”.
About your comments on Pakistan/Punjabis kindly see the 89 insurgencies in Bharat where more than 40% of the land mass is in the hands of the Naxalites and the 7 sisters are ablaze in rebellion and not to forget Kashmiris and Khalistanis!

Yesterday Report Abuse

Again, you are missing my point. Yes, there were peoples who lived in the region long before the barbarian hordes came from Turkey and Central Asia. But they were not 'Pakistanis'. Pakistan as a political entity came into existence only in 1947.

Culturally the Punjabi elite are in a minority there and live in gated communities, pay no taxes, exploit the mujahairs whom they look down upon.

You need to do a lot of study into Harappan history and population genetics. Both Harappans and the rest of the population of the Indian subcontinent are autochtonous, not from Turkey or Central Asia.

Re: Maoists, it is well known that they are being subsidised from outside India and their aim is quite straightforward : the capture of state power. Kashmir is a different cup of tea . . . .

At any rate, despite Omar Abdullah's bombast it will remain an integral part of the Indian Union.

But to get back to the IVC, as you call it, do undertake a proper study.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
Yesterday Report Abuse
If you had really read my comments –i already make the same point–almost verbatim.
It is very hard for temple indoctrinated people to comprehend some very basic points.
However it is pedagogical to note the the boundaries of the IVC are the same as that of Pakistan today.
The Chinese Civilization is called Chinese–who knows what it was called then. The Egyptian Civilization is called Egyptian–we know for sure that this was not the name of the civilization then!!
The people who thrived on the Euphrates are known as Iraqis.
The people of the Indus are known as Pakistanis today–hence the moniker Pakistani Civilization.
Yesterday Report Abuse

Interesting moniker ! However, the problem with that is that it came very late in the day!

Long before 1947 the Indus was called the Sindhu, several millenia ago ! The Rig Veda mentions the Sindhu and so on.

Unfortunately for the Muslim world Islam came several millenia behind Hinduism.

Pakistan as a political entity may not lost long enough to take on the mantle of Civilisation. Its culture is inherited from the Hindus of the past millenia and unlike the Islamic conquests in the Middle East, the pesky Hindus and their civilisation is an ongoing project.

The peoples are still there in full force, the culture is there in full force and so on.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
Yesterday Report Abuse
You still did not provide any historical information other than religious dogma. Kindly do not repeat 8th grade story books.Rig Veda hyms came in much later than the prime of the IVC…the are not the oldest in the world…the IVC pictographs are older. The IVC did not contian any Rig Veda poems, or Yagur Veda hyms in any form.As the jungle was cut…the IVC people moved Eastwards.. eventually to the Ganges Plains where “Hinduism” developed much much much later.
This was a discussion on archeology and history not religion.
And "pesky Hindus" is very appropriate terminology to say the least.
Yesterday Report Abuse
"I have no idea what director Kathryn Bigelow and her team had in mind when they put Arabic in the mouths of men who should actually have been speaking Hindko, but I fear this film may well turn out to be prophetic: that one day, we will totally succumb to Arab imperialism and actually make their language the official language of Pakistan. THAT we will then be seen running around with bed sheets for clothes with our heads bound with fan belts."

Then Salman Rashid continues in

The new one, very likely paid for by the Saudis as they pay for most seminaries in this sorry land, is now in Urdu lettering. The red band on top is marked ‘Al-Bakistan’. Mind, it is not ‘Al-Pakistan’ but BAKISTAN. At the bottom, another red band reads ‘Al-Bunjab’. In between are the alphabets and numerals of the registration number in Urdu. By the way, that was how Ibn Battuta pronounced the name of this province.
While ‘Bakistan’ and ‘Bunjab’ have been sold, for some curious reason, alphabets like ‘p’ or the palatal ‘d’ continue to be written in Urdu as they should be. That is, they retain their sounds. I suspect the sluggish Arab mind behind this sneaky move to colonise us in terms of language did not realise this snag. But, sooner than we know, this will be changed with ‘p’ on the registration plate replaced with ‘b’. And if that throws everything out of kilter at the registration office, so be it.

Now, as this assault on language continues (and grows, as all evil must), we will soon have some idiot wanting to banish the hard and aspirated sounds that make Punjabi (and Urdu) the languages that they are. True, Lahoris from the inner city who simply cannot pronounce the palatal ‘r’, and with some difficulty, the palatal ‘d’, and for this handicap are made fun of by the rest of us, will be delighted. They may even claim that having embraced the one and only true religion, they knew the way the language would ultimately change and had adjusted their language accordingly centuries ago.
But why Bakistan? If ‘Falisteen’ (as it is pronounced in Arabic) can become Palestine in European languages, why can Pakistan not be ‘Fakistan’?
Every time I see a car with the ‘Al-Bakistan’ and ‘Al-Bunjab’ plates, I want to stop the louts to ask them why they should corrupt the name of their land. But the ugly, thuggish characters driving these cars make me desist. Because as things stand in ‘Fakistan’, it is impossible to attempt to talk sense to anyone, least of all to a yahoo.
In Karachi, they shoot you before you have delivered the first admonishing word. In ‘Bunjab’, they first abuse you and then ask if you are the mama (maternal uncle) of ‘Bakistan’. Since everyone except you is known either to some politician with a bogus degree or some thug of a police thanedar, you decide discretion and cowardice really are the best part of valour and withdraw.
‘Bakistan’ zindabad.
dilkhush singh
19 Hours ago Report Abuse
M Danino presents. Please wait it may start in Tamil, but his presentation is in English.,

The book by " The Lost river of Saraswathi " by MDanino is must read. It has recd excellent reviews all over the world
19 Hours ago Report Abuse

Kindly do not repeat the dogmas you have imbibed from the colonial/marxist and now Pakistani sources.

Nicos Kazanas is a Greek scholar not a Hindu. He is also a Sanskritist. His writings on the Rig Veda demonstrate that the Rig Veda is prior to the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilisation.

Indus is an Anglicisation of the word 'Sindhu'. The Persians could not pronounce the h in the word and they said 'hindu'. Hence Hindustan. The British preferred to use the Greek version Indus.All the recent work done on the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilisation by archaeologists show that the majority of the SSC sites were on the Sarasvati.

Hence the attempt now by revisionists (read colonial,marxist,Pakistani) to try to show that even the Sarasvati did not flow in India !

Please update your reading.

There is no need to claim the SSC for Pakistan if you are so sure of your identity. I am not now talking about you since you are an Indian Muslim and therefore a convert from Hinduism.

I am talking about the misguided descendants from the barbarian hordes who are desperate about their identity. Pakistan is an artificial state carved out of India to satisfy the ambitions of a frustrated fellow Mahommed Ali Jinnah. He was not even an orthodox Muslim. He ate pork, drank wine, and was thoroughly westernised.

Hence, forget the Pakistanis. Like it or not you are an Indian citizen descended from Hindu ancestors. If you are unsure about your new found faith then you can always return to the original faith. A shuddhi ceremony is actually a homecoming.

Your posts here are not taken seriously by any of the Hindus who post here and they seemed to be in the majority. Every now and then you find an exception. These posters appear suddenly and leave as suddenly. They are not regulars who one can judge from their comments are Hindu.

I take your comments with a grain of salt but I do read them because they illustrate the mind set of an Indian Muslim who advocates Pakistan but continues to live in India. If you are genuine in your attachment to Pakistan then the obvious solution is to migrate there. But no one in India will take you seriously with your present views.

BTW do read the work of the Pakistani archaeologist R. Mughal.
This is serious work, not partisan propaganda and it is presented by a professional archaeologist.
Until you genuinely read up on these topics our conversation will be going round in circles.

I want to conclude by saying that your Muslim identity does not depend on affirming older outdated theories. Just as you share sweets with your Hindu neighbours on festival days you can study the new theories and still continue to practise your Muslim faith.
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
18 Hours ago Report Abuse
Of course the Ganges people know nothing about the Indus people.
Your temple “education” shows your ignorance about the history of the IVC. Please see the map of the Indus Valley and then look at the map of Pakistan.
Does a liht bulb go up? of course not, there is a permanent disconnet upstairs.
BTW Read Ahtizaz Ahsan’s “Indus Saga”.
Let me reiterate,Pakistan was never part of “India”. When the British arrived, there were 570 states. When they left, there were 570 states and two dominions. Neither the Company Raj, nor the British Raj controlled all of South Asia–only about 40% of, WHAT partition?
dilkhush singh (assuming that you are a Sikh) why do you have such a hate for Arabs and Muslims in particular,tell me why Guru Nanak went for pilgrimage to Mecca,did he go there to see his mama (maternal uncle) ?
Also if we take out the kalams of Muslim soofis from your Guru Granth sahib a whole of pages would left blank,so think before you open your mouth!
13 Hours ago Report Abuse

Ahtizaz Ahsan's book The Indus Saga bases itself on Marxist historian Kosambi's work. Information wise it is poor on scholarly details.

But as a personal and private thesis it is interesting if only because it shows clearly that the Pakistani intellectual is confused about his identity.

He cannot like the Iraqi claim any historic descent. Where he is not descended from the barbarian hordes (Turks and Central Asians) he is geographically part of the Indian subcontient which was partititoned. And except for such a minority they are converts from Hinduism.

This is also your predicament. You are an Indian Muslim and a convert from Hinduism.

Finally, you keep changing your goal posts. First you talk about DNA and then when it is shown that genetic studies demonstrate that there is no Central Asian or Turkish DNA in the Indian population you move to something else.

Your education in India has been influenced by colonial/marxist revisionist history. Your reading has not gone beyond that.

Khan A. Sufyan's essay in Eurasian Review (Dec. 25,2012) is a brief rehash of Ahsan's work.

The Indus man that Ahsan talks about is an a historical person and not grounded in actual history.

You have not answered my questions : why should an Indian Muslim feel the urge to endorse a spurious identity invoked by a small Pakistani elite ? In what way does it promote your own faith ?
Dr.Vijaya Rajiva
12 Hours ago

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