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Glimpses of India (Some 5000 Years Ago): A Story of Rich Culture

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About the Book This book is about the history and culture of India 5000 years ago. It aims at reaching out to the common man, from young students to grown-ups, who are not aware of the various discoveries brought forth through excavations since Independence. To illustrate the point, students from 1950s onwards have not been taught about the discoveries in the field of archaeology and associated sciences, which have disproved the theory of Aryan Invasion. Therefore, they still say that...
About the Book

This book is about the history and culture of India 5000 years ago. It aims at reaching out to the common man, from young students to grown-ups, who are not aware of the various discoveries brought forth through excavations since Independence.

To illustrate the point, students from 1950s onwards have not been taught about the discoveries in the field of archaeology and associated sciences, which have disproved the theory of Aryan Invasion. Therefore, they still say that the Aryans invaded India. As a corollary, they are learning that the Aryans threw out the Dravidians who, according to the Britishers, inhabited the Indus valley till the Aryans came. They still talk about it being the 'Indus Valley Civilization' despite the fact the 'centre of gravity' of this civilization was the Sarasvati valley.

The fault lies in our teaching system; reluctance to update the school books and books at university level which continue to 'parrot' the thinking of 1950s. The authorities that be need to accept the mass of professional papers, books and evidences of archaeology, anthropology, geology, archaeo-botany, etc. to set right our history which has been much maligned by the colonial rulers and their protégés that have ruled the Indian teaching systems.

Section I of the book deals extensively with the richness of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization: its origin, growth and maturity, its town-planning, trade and commerce, artistic creations, etc.

Section II exposes the mind-set of the colonial rulers and their agenda to demean Indian civilization. Each one of their theories has been struck down, not in the least by Indian archaeologists but also by professionals all over the world. This Section demonstrates in clear terms that the Vedic people were neither 'invaders' nor 'immigrants' but indigenous and they themselves were the authors of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization.

 

About the Author

Air Vice Marshal Rajesh Lal (Retd.), born 1948, was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1968 as a fighter pilot. He fought actively in the 1971 war with Pakistan and headed an operational base during the Kargil war. A qualified Flying Instructor, Production Test Pilot and a graduate of National Defence College, India, he commanded a front-line fighter squadron and two fighter bases. He held staff appointments at Command level, Air Headquarters level and at the Ministry of Defense.

After retirement in 2006, he completed his Commercial Pilot's Licence and was the Chief Pilot at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademi. He retired from active flying at the age of 65 with about 8000 hours of flying experience.

His interest in archaeology developed when he started assisting his father, Professor B.B. Lal, Padma Bhushan and former Director General of Archaeological Survey of India, in proof-reading his books. With this new love, he hopes to publish a couple of more books on the richness of Indian culture.

 

Preface

My father, Professor B. B. Lal, retired as the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India in 1972. He had sought premature retirement after serving four years in that position; his age then was 51 years. The assignment that he held did not permit him to pursue his passion of research and excavation. Having been a part of excavations at Harappa, and having conducted excavations at sites connected with the Mahabharata, he had pursued excavations at Kalibangan in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan to unravel the Indus-Sarasvati Civilizations on the Indian side of the subcontinent. After retiring, he took up excavations at sites connected with the Ramayana. He wrote extensively to espouse his three passions: that there was no Aryan Invasion or immigration, secondly that the Aryans were actually the Vedic people, and thirdly there is an element of historicity in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Of all the books that he has written and the theories that he has expounded, there has been a fair acceptance of his arguments and no rebuttals have been forthcoming.

It is his belief that although the books were meant for scholars, their contents would very much appeal to any average reader who would be interested in knowing our heritage. He wanted a publication which you and I could understand easily, and get to know of our ancient culture which is as old as any other in the world. What is more important is that our culture has withstood the test of times and there exists a continuity of our civilization, which is not so in either the Egyptian or the Mesopotamian context. He, therefore, was keen that our ancient civilization, stupendous in its form and rich in content, be presented in the form of a book in such a manner that general public, including school and college going students, get to know about it. It was also necessary to highlight the aspect of continuity of culture that survived the five millennia of our civilization. He asked me to work on this, and I must state that it is a singular privilege that he trusted me to do this.

This book is based on his and associated writings and it has his blessings!

 

Introduction

As late as the first quarter of the twentieth century, it was believed that the country's civilization was no older than the sixth century BCE and that it had no culture or history that could be dated prior to that century. But in 1921, excavations conducted by Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni at Harappa (see Fig. 1.1) under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India opened up pages of Indian culture and history to third millennium BCE. In the following year, 1922, R.D. Banerji opened up the same chapter of our civilization at another place called Mohenjo-daro. The initial discoveries were sufficient to place this civilization to an era comparable with Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. Further excavations of these sites reaffirmed the historicity of the civilization and made the world take recognition of the fact that India did have a civilization as old as the ones mentioned above. In fact, the area covered by our civilization exceeds the area covered by both the other civilizations combined.

Harappa and Mohenjo-daro formed the major sites of what came to be known as the Indus Valley Civilization in the prepartition days. With the partition in 1947, these sites went to Pakistan with practically no site of that era left on the Indian side.

What emerged in the years following the partition of India was the unfolding of the civilization contemporary with the Indus Valley Civilization in the then Sarasvati valley, the present day combine of Sarasvati and Ghaggar in Panjab and Rajasthan, and the same river going by the name of Hakra and Nara in Pakistan. Sixty-five years of exploration and excavation by Indian archaeologists along the then Sarasvati and also in Gujarat have produced a large number of sites dating back to similar era and of the same civilization. Most notable are Lothal which gave us a dockyard dating back to 2500 BCE, Kalibangan which gave us one and the only excavated ploughed agricultural field in the world and the one and only evidence of an earthquake, both of the same vintage, and Dholavira, the set-up of an ideal city. Text books should now be referring to this civilization as 'the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization and not merely the the Indus Civilization. There is no justification in using the latter term. This is because the Sarasvati valley is indeed the centre of gravity of the civilization containing so many sites associated with the Harappan Civilization, with its western limit being the Indus valley. To still call it The Indus Valley Civilization would be ignorance of post-independence findings through explorations and excavations.

These excavations have shown that our civilization is ancient, dating back to some five thousand years and our traditions and culture have continued to flourish despite the passage of time. All of it has been brought out so well in the two books by Prof. B.B. Lal, namely, The Sarasvati Flows On: The Continuity of Indian Culture (2002) and How Deep are the Roots of Indian Civilization? Archaeology Answers (2009).

The uniqueness of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization when compared with those of Egypt and Mesopotamia is that in our civilization, the rich and poor stayed in singular type of city. There was no differentiation except in the location of their quarters. Indian Civilization did not have the pyramids of Egypt or the Royal tombs excavated in the Sumerian city of Ur in Mesopotamia. Indus-Sarasvati settlements that have places designated as citadels did not consist of palaces; however, they had large houses to accommodate the rulers, who appeared to be 'the first among the equals'; the priests, with places of worship, had specific places of residences, and there were residences for the commoners and workers.

The pyramids and tombs do not reflect continuity of their civilization. But there is something from the same age that reflects continuity in the Indian context. You will see that as we go through a journey of our heritage.

And can there be a more glorious continuity than that the Rigveda, which was passed on by word of mouth from the fifth millennium BCE, and was put into text form when we had learnt to write, is still recited by the priesthood! That reflects the continuity of spirituality, a heritage not only of material but of mind, of God.

It will be my effort to bring out this 'continuity' of culture and 'simplicity that is still prevalent across the large swathes of India in this book.

You must have also realized that despite being ruled by foreign dynasties and colonizers, how we have withstood the onslaughts of body and mind for nearly a thousand years and two centuries respectively of their rule and at the end of it all, came out with our culture and religion intact.

In Section 2 of the book, I have discussed debates related to issues allied to the subject. I have dealt at length on the theories the Britishers espoused when they colonized India. These relate to concept of Indo-Europeans, hijacking of Sanskrit from India to be push-fitted as an Indo-European language, the issues pertaining to the original habitants of this civilization, the Aryan invasion, and their approach to Aryan and Dravidian' race which ended up creating an internal divide in the country, and which still exists.

The reason I felt compelled to do this is: I asked a few 60-year old, a few 50-year old, a few 40-year old and a few 30-year old, such people who were not involved in academics but nonetheless professionals in their respective fields if they believed that the Aryans invaded India? The answer in each case was, "Yes, why do you ask this? Weren't you also taught the same in school?" I felt that I needed to add my bit by telling them through this book that there is another opinion and before our text books are re-oriented, they may like to know the changes taking place in the academic world and make them aware as to how there had been a deliberate attempt to distort the history of India.

To this end, there are five chapters in the section just mentioned. These are Decline of Harappan Civilization and Invalidity of "Aryan Invasion" Theory, Who were the Inhabitants of the Harappan Civilization, Genesis of the Aryan Invasion Theory: A Piece of "Jigsaw" Push-Fitted into the Mosaic of British Rule in India, Aryan Invasion Theory and Out of India Theory, and 'In Conclusion where I have posed some questions to the proponents of the Aryan Invasion theory.

Nearly all quotes mentioned in these chapters are by foreign scholars lest one thinks that views of a particular section of Indian society and the way of thinking are being buttressed.

All views and the arguments that I put forward are the result of my own conclusions. I would welcome any sort of feedback to correct myself and enhance my knowledge.

I write as an amateur and am proud of our culture and heritage. I do hope that I have been able to put this across in a simple manner so that public at large will be able to appreciate our history.

 

Contents
  Preface vii
  Acknowledgements xiii
  List OF Illustrations xv
  Section 1  
  Our Cultural Heritage  
1 Introduction 3
2 Archaeology: A Tool to Know Our Past 8
3 Ages' Used in Archaeology 11
  Three-Age System 11
  The Stone Age 11
  Palaeolithic Stage 11
  Mesolithic Stage 12
  Neolithic Stage 12
  Bronze Age 12
  Iron Age 13
4 Explanatory Notes on Some Terms 14
5 The Harappan Civilisation 17
  Early Harappan Period 19
  Mature Harappan Period 20
  Late Harappan Period 21
6 The Evolution of the Harappan Civilisation along the Sarasvati River 22
7 Salient Features of the Harappan Civilisation 32
  Town Planning 32
  Agriculture 34
  Animal Husbandry 36
  Transport 37
  Use of Metals 38
  Use of Stone 41
  Use of Clay 43
  Potteries 46
  Seals 49
  Ivory, Shells and Beads 51
  Trade 53
  Weights and Measures 57
  Religion 59
  The Indus Script 61
  Burial Practices 63
8 Famous Towns of the Period 67
  Town: Harappa 67
  Town: Mohenjo-daro 72
  Town: Kalibangan 77
  Town: Banawali 82
  Town: Rakhigarhi 85
  Town: Lothal 89
  Town: Dholavira 94
9 Cultural and Other Continuities 98
  Agriculture: Fields and Cropes 98
  Agriculture: Plough 100
  Agriculture: Wells/Reservoirs 101
  Tradition: Sindura 102
  Tradition: Yoga 102
  Tradition: Svastika 104
  Tradition: Namaste 104
  Ladies' Make-up: Bangles 106
  Ladies' Make-up: Conical Ornament on the Head 106
  Ladies' Make-up: Ivory Comb 108
  Ladies' Make-up: Three-in -one 108
  Ladies' Make-up: Beads 109
  Ladies' Make-up: Necklaces 111
  Religion: Siva- Linga-cum-Yoni 112
  Religion: Animal Sacrifice 112
  Religion: Kamandalu 113
  At Home: Tandurs/Chulha/Chakla/Belan 113
  At Home: Feeding Cups 116
  At Home: Takhti 116
  Games: Chess 118
  Games: Dice 118
  Games: Pittu 119
  Pets: Collared Dog 121
  Pets: Bird in a Cage 121
  Fables: Thirsty crow 122
  Fables: Cunning Fox 123
  Section 2  
  Allied Debates and Discussions  
10 The Decline of Harappan Civilisation and Invalidity of 'Aryan Invasion' Theory 127
11 Who Were the Inhabitants of the Harappan Civilisation? 133
  What the Text Books Told Us 133
  The Rigveda Describes Its People 134
  Time Lines 136
  Spread of the Rigvedic People 138
12 Genesis of the Aryan Invasion Theory: A Piece of 'Jigsaw' Push Fitted into the Mosaic of British Rule in India 141
  How India was Perceived in the 17th-19th Centuries 141
  World Perception after the British had Colonised India 143
13 Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) versus Out of India (OIT) Theory 149
14 In Conclusion 154
  Notes 157
  Further Reading 159
  Index 161

 

Sample Pages








Item Code: NAO677 Author: Rajesh Lal Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2017 Publisher: Aryan Books International ISBN: 9788173055669 Language: English Size: 10.0 inch X 7.0 inch Pages: 162 (Through out color and B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 576 gms
Price: $35.00
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