For several decades it has been orchestrated that there was an Aryan Invasion' of India which destroyed the Harappan Civilization. However, as shown in this book (pp. 10 ff,), there is no evidence whatsoever of any invasion or of the presence of an alien culture at any of the hundreds of Harappan sites. While one is glad to note that the 'Invasion' theory is dead, it is a pity that it is being resurrected in a new avatar, namely that of 'Immigration' of people from the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex of Central Asia, who, the Proponents think, were nomadic Aryans. This book advances cogent arguments to demonstrate that this new theory too is totally wrong (pp. 19ff)
For all this mess, the dating of the Rigveda to 1200 BCE by Max Muller is squarely responsible. The combined evidence of hydrology, archaeology and C-14 method of dating shows that the Rigveda is assignable to the 3rd-4th millennium on the west to the upper reaches of the Ganga-Yamuna on the east. Archaeologically, during the aforesaid period and within the above – notes territory, there existed one and only one and only one civilization, namely the Harappan. Hence, the Harappan Civilization and the Vedas are but two faces of the same coin (pp. 122-23). Dyergwe, further, the evidence from Kunal and Bhirrana (pp. 54.55) establishes that the roots of this civilization go back to the 6th – 5th millennia BCE, indicating thereby that the Harappans were the sons of the soil' and not aliens. Thus, the vedic people, who were themselves the Invaders' nor immigrants'.
A world – renowned archaeologist, Prof, B.B. Lal was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1968 to 1972. In the latter year he took voluntary retirement to Pursue his research programmes independently. First he joined Jiwaji University, Gwalior, as a Professor and later the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, shimla, of which he was also the director.
Professor Lal's excavations cover a very wide range – from Palaeolithic time to early historical. At Kalibanga, Rajasthan, he unearthed a Prosperous city of the Harappan Civilization. The excavations at Hastinapura, Indraprastha, etc. Have established that there was a kernel of truth in the Mahabharata, even though the epic is full of interpolations. Likewise, his excavations at Ayodhya, Sringaverapura, etc. Have indicated that the Ramayana too has a basis in Egypt also, which threw welcome light on Egyptian prehistory.
His publications include over 150 seminal research papers, published in scientific journals, both in India and abroad: USA, UK, France, Italy, Russia, Egypt, Afighanistan, Japan, etc. Amongst his latest books are: The Sarasvati Flows on: The Continuity of Indian Cullture (2002); The Homeland of the Archaeology (2005); Ram: his Historicity, Mandir and Setu (2008); How Deep are the Roots of Indian Civilization: Archaeology Answers (2009); Piecing Together: Memoirs of an Archaeologist (2011); Historicity of the Mahabharata: Evidence of Literature, Art and Archaeology (2013).
In 1994, Prof. Lal was awarded D. Litt. (Honoris causa) by Institute of Archeology, St. Petersburg, Russia. The same year he presided over World Archaeological Congress. He has been Chairman and member of several committees of UNESCO. In 1982, Mithila Visvavidyalaya honoured him with the title of Mahamahopadhyaya. In 1991 two distinctions were conferred on him, respectively by the Indian science Congress and Asiatic Society, Bombay. In recognition of his contribution to archaeology, the President of India honoured him in 2000 with the award of Padma Bhusana.
Isn't it an occasion to congratulate the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) a Government of India organization which is entrusted with the task of preparing textbooks for school – going children, to have finally come out of its shell and admit that the theory of Aryan Invasion' of India is untenable (textbook in History for Class XII, Themes in Indian History, Part I, New Delhi, January 2010. P. 18)?
But the engrained mindset for resisting the whole truth persists, as reflected by the following statement on p. 28 of the same book: "There were several developments in different parts of the subcontinent during the long span of 1500 years following the end of the Harappan Civilization. This was also the time during which the Rigveda was composed by people living along the Indus and its tributaries.
The Rigveda refers to the River Sarasvati a number of times, which means that it was an active river during that period. Combined evidence of archaeology, radiocarbon method of dating, hydrology and other allied sciences has established that the Sarasvati dried up around 2000 BCE (see p. 122). Thus, the Rigveda has got to be earlier than 2000 BCE. How much earlier? It is anybody's guess. However, at least a 3rd – millennium BCE horizon is Indicated.
I had presented the above – mentioned view long ago (Lal 2005a: 74), but it is a pity that NCERT has consciously ignored it. May it be hoped that it makes amends even now?
There is yet another aspect which needs to be highlighted. The Rigveda also gives a very good idea of the territory occupied by the Rigvedic People. Verses 5 and 6 of Sukta 75 of Mandala X refer to the entire area lying between the Ganga-Yumna on the east and the Indus and its western tributaries on the west. It was this very area that Harappans are none other than the Vedic people themselves.
Further C – 14 dates for Bhirrana, a site in the upper Sarasvati valley, show that the roots of the Harappan Civilization go back to 6th – 5th millennia BCE, which implies that the Harappans/ Vedic people were deeply rooted in the Indian soil. To call them aliens is a sheer travesty of truth.
How long shall we continue to blindfold ourselves?
There are quite a few sub – topics related to the main topic of the main topic of this book and I would like the reader to know my views on the same. Hence, I have added at the end a few Appendices, drawing them from my previously published books.
Thus, Appendix I relates to the question whether or not some Vedic people, besides being indigenous, emigrated to Western Asia in the 2nd millennium BCE.
The late Professor Possehl, in a recent paper, criticized my identification of certain features at Kalibandan as fire- altars'. He calls them cooking hearths', which to my mind is basically wrong. Appendix II deals with this issue.
Much hue and cry is made that there are fundamental differences between the Harappan Civilization and the culture depicted in the Vedas. This stand is incorrect and is the subject-matter of Appendix III. Finally, the late Sir Mortimer wheeler had declared (1947) that there was an ultimate extinction of the Harappan Civilization. The fact of the matter is that while the urban characteristics of this civilization began to disappear (for various reasons) around 2000 BCE, the Basic elements of the culture continued and are discernable even today in the life of rural India which accounts for more than ninety percent of the Population. This is the subject- matter of Appendix IV.
The Sanscrit [sic] language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious thank Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in 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 some common source, which perhaps, no longer exists: there is a similar reason though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothick and the Celtick though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanscrit and the old Persian might be added to the same family, if this were the place for discussing any question concerning the antiquities of Persia."
That was Sir William Jones, a Calcutta High Court judge, delivering the third Anniversary Discourse to the Bengal Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, pronouncement in the field of linguistics had far – reaching implications for the history of the people of Asia and Europe.
The revelation that there were close similarities in languages from India on the east to Europe on the west at once led to the concept of an Indo-European family of languages. Further, looking for the origins, as we are always prone to do, there came up the idea of a Proto Indo European Language from which all these languages must have gradually emerged. it was thereafter argued that since languages cannot spread without their carriers, namely the people, there must have been a Proto-Indo-Europeans. The Rigvedic people, who are classified under this schema as 'Indo – Aryans' were thought to have come to India from their original home', located elsewhere. And here is a little bit of the history of the search for this Urheitmat.
For the very simple reason that the earliest known text amongst these Indo-European languages was the Rigveda, it was, as a natural corollary, thought by many Indian as well as foreign scholars that India must have been the original home of the Indo-European people. And here I quote two very eminent Indian intellectuals of the 20th century who argued that there was no basis for holding that the Vedic people came from outside, namely Shri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekanand. Observed the former. The indications in the Veda on which this theory of a recent Aryan invasion is built are very scanty in quantity and uncertain in significance. There is actually no mention and uncertain in significance. There is actually no mention of any such invasion. Likewise, Swami Vivekanand, with some anguish, stated (1970-73: Vol. 5, 534-35): "And what your European pundits say about the Aryans swooping down from some foreign land, snatching away the lands of the aborigines and settling in India by exterminating them, is pure nonsense, foolish talk! In what Veda, in what Sukta do you find that the Aryans came to India from a foreign country? Where do you get the idea that they slaughtered the wild aborigines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense? Strange that our Indian scholars, too, say amen to them and all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys! But for various reasons, which may also have had some political overtones, the Indian- homeland hypothesis was soon abandoned and European pride came to the fore.
The European rat race was so profound that almost every part thereof – Scandinavia, south – west Russia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, etc. – advanced its own claims for the Urheitmat. However, in the end the Europeans themselves became so much disenchanted that a renowned scholar, Jean-Paul Demoule (1980: 120), was led to make a very sarcastic remark: We have seen that one primarily places the IE's [Indo – Europeans] in the north, if one is German in the east if one is Russian, and in the Middle if being Italian or Spanish, one has no chance of competing for the privilege.
In the course of time many non-European claims were made, the more noteworthy amongst which are those relating to: the Anatolian region in western Asia; the Black Sea-Caspian Sea belt; the steppes of southern Russian, and in the north, if one is German.... in the east if one is Russian, and in the middle if, being Italian or Spanish, one has no chance of competing for the privilege"
In the course of time many non-European claims were made, the more noteworthy amongst which are those relating to: the Anatolian region in western Asia; the Black Sea-Caspian Sea belt; the steppes of southern Russia; and, the most recent one, Sogdiana in south – central Asia. Although it is not possible in this book to offer detailed comments on each one of the foregoing claims, it nevertheless seems necessary to show, howsoever briefly, their intrinsic flaws.
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