The Sarasvati Civilisation: A Paradigm Shift in Ancient Indian History [1 ed.]

Who Were The Harappans? How Are They Related To Present-day Indians? Was There Never An “Aryan Invasion”? The Sarasvati

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The Sarasvati Civilisation: A Paradigm Shift in Ancient Indian History [1 ed.]

Table of contents :
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen

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“The book titled “The Sarasvati Civilization: A Paradigm Shift in Ancient Indian History” by Major General G.D. Bakshi is based on pure scientific research indicating truly a landmark shift in the history of the country. The river Sarasvati has played an important role in the origin and development of the Civilisation of this country. The present book, through its scientific and multi- disciplinary approach, has put to rest many issues regarding location of the river, the identity of the culture that flourished along its bank and the Aryan problem. The book is useful as it contains holistic understanding of the river, which has given true cultural identity to this great country.” Prof. Vasant Shinde Vice Chancellor, Deccan College-deemed University, Pune “The book adopts an interdisciplinary approach in understanding our ancient past. Archaeology, itself is a subject having multi- disciplinary dimensions and the need of the time is to study it along with a blend of tradition, literature and science in order to find the truth and understand the issues in a holistic manner which one may find in the book.” Dr B.R.Mani DG, National Museum & Vice Chancellor, National Museum Institute “Gen Bakshi has made an important and much needed contribution to our understanding of the Sarasvati—the Devi, her manifestation as a mighty river and an amazing civilisation built around it. In fact it goes much further and adopts a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to the problems of India’s ancient history.” Rajiv Malhotra President, Infinity Foundation

First published in India 2019 Copyright © 2019 Major-General (Dr.) Gagan Deep Bakshi

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organisation acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Garuda Prakashan or the author. The content of this book is the sole expression and opinion of its author, and not of the publisher. The publisher in no manner is liable for any opinion or views expressed by the author. While best efforts have been made in preparing this book, the publisher makes no representations or warranties of any kind and assumes no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness of use for a particular purpose. The publisher believes that the content of this book does not violate any existing copyright/intellectual property of others in any manner whatsoever. However, in case any source has not been duly attributed, the publisher may be notified in writing for necessary action. ISBN: 978-1-942426-14-1 Cover Design: Nisheeth Sharan, Mahiraj Singh Garuda Prakashan Private Limited Gurugram, Bharat Printed in India

Dedicated to


तमे, नदीतमे, दे मतमे सर सती। अ शसतता िइ सममस शमसि ब नस्कृ ध ।।”

“The greatest of all mothers, the greatest of all rivers, the greatest of all Devis. O’Mother we are ignorant. Grant us your knowledge and wisdom.” (RV 2.41.16)

The Nadi Sukta “O Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Shutudri (Satluj), Parushni (Ravi), Asikini (Chenab) and Marudvridha (Marhu River) Vitasta (Jhelum), Sushomna (Sohan) and Ajitaya (Beas) rivers. Listen O Rivers to these our hymns and accept them joyfully.” (RV 10.75.5)


The river Saraswati is a historical river of India mentioned frequently in the early Vedic text. The basin of river Saraswati, which gave India its true cultural identity, is considered to be cradle of civilization. Once a mighty river attracted the earliest Civilization of South Asia, the settlements of which are found densely scattered along its banks and the tributaries. The river disappeared suddenly around 2000 BCE and the earliest mighty Harappan Civilization of the country began to decline, which impacted the settlement pattern of the early cultures in the region. There is absolutely no clue for the disappearance event of the Saraswati river, but the analysis of the recent archaeological data is indicating that the river became insignificant around 2000 BCE. There are settlements of the Early Harappan (5500 BCE-2600 BCE) and the Mature Harappan (2600-2000 BCE) along the banks of the river, whereas the Late Harappan settlements (after 1900 BCE) have moved away from the main river course. This signifies that the river most probably disappeared around 2000 BCE and hence the Harappan people began to move away from its banks, into the tributary zone. Right from the beginning of 18th century researchers are trying to verify the location of the Vedic Saraswati and understand causes and consequences of its disappearance. Multidisciplinary approaches adopted by scholars and involvement of agencies like over a period of last decade have resulted into confirmation of the location of the river, which is today named as Ghaggar-Hakra in the northwest India. It is now confirmed scientifically that the river originated in the lower Siwalik ranges, running through Punjab, Haryana, Western Rajasthan into the Bahawalpur district in Pakistan, which runs down straight into the Kuch part of Gujarat before meeting the sea. Considering the density of the Harappan sites in the basin, one can safely identify them as the Vedic people mentioned in the Vedic text. It is therefore suggested a strong bond between the river Saraswati and the Rg Vedic people.

Though this is the most important river system in the country and large a number of Harappan sites have been discovered and excavated in the basin, there is still lack of systematic and scientific multi-disciplinary approach to the basic issues. Scholars have published in bits and plieces on the ancient river system and the archaeological data retrieved from this region in a scattered way. The present book by Maj. Gen. Bakshi therefore assumes greater significance as it has not only collated data at one place but also incorporates most recent discoveries and scientific data available till date. Through this book G.D. Bakshi it trying to resolve some of the vexing issues related to the ancient river Saraswati system. I would like to highlight the following issues and resolutions aptly raised by the author and add my comments: “The quest for an ancient river that was irrevocably lost some 3,900 years ago, is quintessentially a quest for a lost sense of self in the Indian civilization. It is in essence, a quest for unravelling its true identity. It is about – Who are we as Indians? Who were the Indo- Aryans who have laid the foundation for our present day Hindu culture in India? Were they aliens or were they indigenous? If they were aliens, where did they come from? Where is the mythical Aryan homeland? Is it in Turkey- Anatolia? Or is it in the Steppes of Central Asia? Where do Indians have to go in quest for their roots? Which is the proto Indo-European language that diffused all over Europe and Asia from this mythical Aryan homeland? Did the Aryans invade India in the Bronze Age? Was the Aryan war god Indra guilty of horrific genocide? Did he and his cohorts destroy a 100 fort cities of the so called Indus valley civilization? Where then is the evidence of that large scale slaughter and destruction? The Indus valley civilization did not have a hundred fort cities. An accurate count shows only 10 Cities (a city would have a land area of a 100 hectares or more-on that yardstick even some of these 10 cities would qualify as just towns). The AIT suffers from a host of infirmities and it is about time that we questioned the received wisdom of the colonial era”. The genetic as well as archaeological data available so far needs to be properly synthesized for holistic understanding of the issues raised so far. The migrations theory without strong evidence propounded by some scholars is a deliberate attempt to mislead the people. The archaeological as well as genetic data available so far needs careful assessment. It is now becoming increasing clear that is no mass migration of the people into the

Indian subcontinent for last 10000 years. The evidence from Mehrgarh in Pakistan and Bhirrana and Girawad sites in the Saraswati basin in India clearly demonstrates indigenous development. There is an evidence of the origins of the local cultural traditions around 7000 BCE, which  gradually matured and evolved into a full-fledged indigenous urban society in the middle of the third millennium BCE. This early culture formed the foundation of the Indian culture and tradition. Of course there is admixture of the population from different regions because of the trade links. This is reflected in both the cultural as well genetic data. The research has clearly demonstrated that the so called Aryan Invasion Theory is a hoax and has no substance. In last 10,000 years there is no mass migration into the South Asia. The new information generated through scientific research on Rg Vedic Saraswati and Aryan issues need to find a place into text books so that the people are aware about the true history of the country. I must congratulate Maj. Gen. Bakshi for taking initiative and writing this important comprehensive books highlighting important issues related to the history and culture of the Saraswati basin. This book will be immensely useful to scholars as well as layman also. Prof. Vasant Shinde Vice-Chancellor Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute Deemed to be University Pune - 411 006

CONTENTS Foreword Prologue Chapter One 1. Introduction: A Lost River, A Lost History Chapter Two 2. Satellite Imagery Evidence: Rediscovery of a Lost River Chapter Three 3. Geological Evidence Chapter Four 4. Archeological Evidence: Quest for the Cradle River of the Indian Civilisation Chapter Five 5. Cultural Continuities: Establishing the true Identity of the Harrapan Civilisation Chapter Six 6.  The Clue of Soma: The Divine Mushroom? Chapter Seven 7. Scriptural Evidence: Sarasvati in the Vedas, Brahmans and Epics Chapter Eight 8. Linguistic Evidence Chapter Nine 9. Carbon Dating and other Empirical Evidence: The War Chariot of Bhaghpat

Chapter Ten 10. DNA Mapping of Migrations: The Quest for an Original Aryan Homeland Chapter Eleven 11.Transition from Neolithic to Chalcolithic Societies in India: Indigenous Origins of Agriculture Chapter Twelve 12. Need for Multidisciplinary Approach to Problems of Indology Chapter Thirteen 13. Revival of the Sarasvati Culture: Reclaiming Indian Identity and the Quest for a Grand Narrative 14. Bibliography


This is a book about a lost river that once sustained a civilisation spread over a vast area of some two million square kilometres. It was a mighty river, mightier perhaps than the Brahmaputra. It ran for 4,600 kms from the Himalayas to the Sea. It was in its prime some 5–6,000 years ago. Then around 1,900 B.C.E., it simply vanished due to a combination of tectonic plate shifts and a monotonic weakening of the monsoons. What is amazing is the way the memory of this once mighty river was preserved for four thousand years in India’s oral traditions and in its scriptures. Most colonial historians deemed it a myth, but the memory of a sacred stream that had vanished was preserved in the racial memory of South Asia with a tenacity that was astonishing. In the middle ages Akbar’s cavalry used the dried-out bed of this river for rapid north south movements to Gujrat. Colonial era cartographers and geologists like CF Oldham speculated that the Ghaggar-Hakra paleochannels were the Vedic Sarasvati. However till date, most Colonial and leftist historians refuse to recognize the existence of a river called Sarasvati. In the 1970s however the US sent up its Landsat satellite that beamed back pictures of the dried- out course of a once mighty river in North Western India. The river was not a myth anymore. It was now an empirical fact. Scores of satellites launched by ISRO have since confirmed the course of a once mighty river that dominated the civilisational landscape in the Indian subcontinent. It was the cradle river of the Indian civilisation. More than 60% of the sites of the so-called Indus Valley civilisation were located along the dried-out course of the Sarasvati and not the Indus. It was an amazing civilisation spread over a vast landmass of some 2 million sq. kms. What has been remarkable is the degree of homogeneity of this vast civilisation. Even more surprising is the astonishing degree of cultural continuity that it exhibits with the present-day Hindu civilisation in Northern and Western India.

Though the Indus Valley script has still not been deciphered, there were a whole host of terracotta figurines recovered from the Indus- Sarasvati valley sites, that depicted Yoga postures, meditating priests, a Proto Shiva Linga and yoni symbolisms; and the vermilion in the median parting of hair, bindis and bangles and other accoutrements worn by Hindu women even today. Since the Indus- Sarasvati valley civilisation occupied precisely the same geographical area described in the Rig Vedas and other Hindu scriptures, it was natural to ask whether the Harappan civilisation and the Rig Vedic Aryan civilisation were indeed one and the same. This narrative has been hotly contested. For this, flew in the face of the trenchant narratives propagated by the colonial historians of British India. Max Mueller and Sir Mortimer Wheeler had decreed that the Indo-Aryans who composed the Rig Veda and laid the foundation of present-day Hindu religion, were foreigners. They had come from an Aryan homeland in the Steppes of Central Asia in the Bronze Age (around 1,500 B.C.) and destroyed the indigenous Indus valley civilisation with their war chariots and horsed cavalry, which gave them an overwhelming military advantage over the “dark skinned and snub nosed Dravidians” of the Indus Valley tradition. Indra, the Aryan war god, had destroyed a hundred fort cities and committed large scale genocide that drove the poor Dravidians South of the Vindhyas. The Aryans and Dravidians were viewed as racial categories by the colonial historians. This was the celebrated Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). The fact however is that not a shred of evidence was ever found to substantiate such a large-scale slaughter and genocide of the Indus Valley civilisation. Just 38 skeletons were found at one site and 11 at another. Even these did not bear any mark of swords and spear cuts. It was a genocide sans corpses. The AIT was therefore given a quiet burial and deftly replaced by the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory (IAMT). The Aryans had not actually invaded, it was now said. They had just streamed in wave after wave of migrations. A whole new set of evidence from multiple sources now clearly indicates that even this theory was untenable. Let us examine some of the reasons: ● Max Mueller dated the Indo-Aryan advent to 1,500 B.C. He averred that the Aryans came into India and composed the Rig Veda here.

● ●

The Rig Veda clearly describes the Sarasvati as a mighty river in full and torrential flow. By 1,900 B.C, Geologists tell us that the Sarasvati had dried out entirely. It had been reduced to a string of pools in the North; and South of Jaisalmer it had gone underground. The desiccation of this mighty river had led to the total desertification of Rajasthan and the lower portions of Haryana and Punjab. Why would migrants come to an area that was facing an ecocatastrophe of such a magnitude- given that a once mighty river which sustained a great civilisation had dried out completely? Deprived of water, the inhabitants of the Sarasvati civilisation had no option but to migrate— outwards. How does that square with a wave of migrations that swept in from Central Asia inwards, precisely at that point in time? There are huge inconsistencies in the basic logic here. Migrations do not take place into an area of acute water stress, where the principal river itself has dried out. Lack of water will force the people of that region to migrate outwards in search of fresh sources of water so essential to life. In-migrations into such a region at a time of acute water stress is illogical. What is unfortunate is a blatant & deliberate attempt by leftist historians today to foist this AIT narrative down the academic throats of all Indians. Colonial historiography suffered from massive inbuilt racial biases. It was trying to justify foreign rule to a native population. It was hell bent on proving that Aryans were equally foreigners—even as the British were. So they had no right to carp about foreigners from Great Britain coming in to rule India. Above all they wanted to create and sustain a trenchant Aryan-Dravidian fault line in India to keep the people divided. Colonial historiography tried its best to destroy the very Idea of India as a nation or civilisational state. Today the empire has shifted to the other side of the Atlantic. In line with Samuel Huntington’s construct of a clash of civilisations, American postmodernist liberal scholars have undertaken a campaign to decree Indian Scriptural texts like Ramayana and Mahabharata as toxic in terms of seeking to perpetuate Brahmanical or Aryan

supremacy over the subaltern castes, tribals and women. There is a disconcerting attempt to vilify Hinduism as a religion and downplay any meaningful contribution to human thought and civilisation. ● The Eurocentric orientation of Colonial historians had led them to decree that Mesopotamia was the cradle of human civilisation. Agriculture had been invented there and spread to the cavemen in India, Iran, Central Asia and Europe. ● We know that West Asia was the cradle of all three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions. What was disconcerting were the levels of certitude—we are right and the rest of world is wrong attitudes— that emanated from there. People from this cradle of global civilisation subsequently embarked upon crusades and jihads to kill/convert all non- believers—not the most civilized behaviour. ● There was an unwritten law in the colonial era as it were- nothing could predate this Mesopotamian cradle in terms of antiquity. Hence Max Mueller had designated 1,500 B.C. as the age of advent of the Indo-Aryans. It was a rather arbitrary and whimsical fixation. ● Today, there is a dire need for a multidisciplinary approach to settle the central questions of Indology. ● Were the Indo-Aryans aliens or indigenous? ● Where was the mythical Aryan homeland located? ● Which was the proto Indo-European language that had diffused all over North India, Iran, Central Asia and Europe? ● What empirical evidence do we have to support the thesis of mass scale human migrations into India in the Bronze Age, when the desiccation of the Sarasvati should rightly have triggered a major exodus? Today, there is an enormous amount of data and evidence that has piled up in multiple fields of enquiry. Satellite imagery, Geological studies of the paleochannels and Archaeological evidences are piling up to reveal an amazing degree of cultural continuity since the Harappan civilisation to the modern-day Hindu society in the North Western quadrant of India. Besides, there are tropes of evidences in the Vedas, Brahmans, epics and other Indian scriptures. Linguistic studies have thrown up the uncanny similarities in the Sanskrit language and the dialects of Iran, Central Asia and Europe—which

point to a proto Indo-European language from which these dialects originated. Cultural Continuity Over Space and Time. The Indian civilisation is characterized by its great antiquity and even more, by the remarkable levels of its cultural continuity and sheer persistence over space and time. Its contemporary civilisations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran and the Mayas of Guatemala have vanished without a trace. In any case, their current forms are unrecognizable. They bear not the remotest resemblance to their ancient past of that lost glory. There are just the stark, silent reminders of that magnificent past—the Sphinxes, the Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, etc. These mighty mausoleums are all that are left of those once great civilisations. Those civilisations themselves, their ideology, culture and way of life have disappeared beyond any trace. The present-day societies in Egypt, Iraq, Iran or for that matter even in Greece and Rome are so very divorced from that remote era of their heyday. The discontinuities between the past and present are indeed so glaring and marked. This then is the most distinguishing characteristic of the Indic civilisation—its remarkable levels of cultural continuity and sheer persistence of its social and cultural memes over space and time.  Despite the vicissitudes of countless invasions, military defeats and destruction, this civilisation has survived in a more or less an extant form over the millenniums. All great civilisations are linked to mighty rivers. The Egyptian civilisation was based upon the Nile. The Mesopotamian civilisation was based upon the Tigris and the Euphrates. The current Indic civilisation is focused upon the vast floodplains of the Ganga- Yamuna river system. It is the most densely populated area of the world and core of the current Indic civilisation. The Sanatan (Eternal) Dharma, as present-day Hinduism characterizes itself, is focused upon the Ganga as the deathless stream of Indian civilisation and consciousness. Every 12 years a mighty and unprecedented concourse of humanity takes place here. This is called the Kumbh Mela. Teeming millions of Indians gather upon the banks of the sacred Ganga. The Indian civilisation treats its rivers as divinities. It worships them as Goddesses that nourish and nurture this civilisation as anthropomorphic deities. The Indic civilisation is synonymous today with the Ganga River, its most sacred stream of consciousness, its most historic river. Yet buried in

the collective racial unconscious of the Indic civilisation are the memories of an even greater river than the Ganga. Like a lodestar deeply buried in our collective consciousness are the memories of an even more sacred stream, an even mightier river than the Ganga or Brahmaputra. The memory of this stream has been preserved in the Indian oral tradition for almost 4000 years after it had dried out completely and vanished from the face of this earth. When pilgrims go today to the sacred confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers at Prayagraj, they are told by the boatmen of a third river— the sacred Sarasvati that also joins this Triveni—the confluence of three sacred rivers. The Sarasvati, they say, vanished below the surface of the earth. The Rig Veda, the oldest religious text of mankind has 74 verses in praise of the mighty Sarasvati. It eulogizes her as the greatest of all rivers, roaring torrent, the mother of floods and worships it as the Goddess of Speech, Learning, Wisdom and Intuition. References to the Sarasvati are scattered all over India’s sacred literature—the later Vedas, the Brahmans and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Most Western historians, however, were inclined to treat it as a myth. Yet the memory of this sacred river refused to die out. Akbar’s cavalry knew of its dried-out course, which facilitated rapid North-South movements of huge cavalry contingents across Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat in the 16th century. The colonial era Geologists like CF Oldham and cartographers had identified the Ghaggar-Hakra channel as the Vedic Sarasvati. The colonialera historians however questioned these conjectures. They doubted the historicity of the Sarasvati. Empirical and concrete clinching evidence only came with the American Landsat satellite imagery of the dried-out course of this river between 1972–77. It was confirmed by multiple satellites subsequently launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that accurately mapped the entire course of this river—from the Himalayas to the Sea. In the 1920s, the so-called Indus Valley Civilisation was discovered by colonial archaeologists. Archaeological surveys, diggings and excavations gradually revealed a very ancient and highly sophisticated civilisation that was spread over a huge area of some 2 million square kilometres. The colonial archaeologists were amazed to find that this civilisation was the contemporary of the most ancient civilisations of Egypt and Mesopotamia —which were then deemed the earliest cradle of human civilisation. The

discovery of this lost civilisation completely dislocated the established colonial paradigms about ancient Indian history. Continued archaeological explorations have successfully revealed more astonishing data about this ancient civilisation. Empirical carbon dating has pushed its origins back to 9,500 years Before Present (BP). That makes it even more ancient than the acknowledged cradle of human civilisation— Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was a civilisation characterized by an amazing degree of uniformity over its 2 million square kms of expanse in space. What has been even more astonishing however are the recent insights that point to an amazing degree of civilisational and cultural continuity of the Harappan civilisation and its sheer persistence over time. In fact its essential social and cultural memes seem to have continued in an unbroken stream till today. This Harappan civilisation dwarfed the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations in sheer size and scale of its spread. It predated them by a thousand years. What is more remarkable is its amazing persistence over time, its sheer cultural continuity. Where those ancient civilisations have since vanished from the face of this earth, the Indus Civilisation continues more or less unbroken in essential shape and form right down to the current era in India. The Indus Valley script has not so far been deciphered but a plethora of terracotta and copper figurines and steatite seals, the plastic arts of that era, provide us a visual language of sorts that has accurately recorded that ancient era. It today provides us amazing insights into that ancient civilisation. Archaeologists have recovered terracotta figurines in classical Yoga postures. We have priest kings and proto Shivas in deep meditation. The women of that ancient era wore vermillion in the median parting of their hair and red dots (bindis) on their foreheads, much like Hindu women do today. They wore bangles, very similar to what women wear in Rajasthan and Gujarat today. The designs of their pots and pans, their houses and bullock carts and even their River and sea-going boats and crafts are so strikingly similar to what we see in India today. It was an egalitarian civilisation. There were no armies of slave labour used to build massive Pyramids and Sphinxes, palaces, tombs or mausoleums for dead despots and kings. The emphasis was primarily on providing well-planned towns and civic amenities to the ordinary citizens. There were no massive or opulent temples in the Harappan civilisation. Is it because all they needed were fire alters to communicate with their gods in the Rig Vedic Tradition?

What is striking is the new fact that more than 60% of the settlements of this ancient civilisation have not been located on the banks of the Indus but on the dried-out course of the Sarasvati River. In fact, 80% of the urban settlements of the mature era were found along the course of the Sarasvati River. The Sarasvati then was the true cradle of this Harappan civilisation. The Sarasvati was also the most important stream mentioned in the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda defined a sacred geography of the Land of Seven Rivers. The principal river amongst these was the Sarasvati. It was called Sindhu Mata —the mother of the Indus. It had spawned a deeply meditative culture that practiced Yogic postures. That much is clear from the terracotta figurines. The geographical area of the Indus valley civilisation is precisely the one described in the sacred geography of the Rig Veda. The astonishing degree of similarity between the Indus valley tradition and the meditative, Yogic culture that characterizes the current Indic (Hindu) civilisation, leads to a very logical speculation. Were these two entities one and the same civilisation? That is the raging battleground of India’s Ancient History today. Were these two civilisations distinct and separated in time by almost 2000 years? Was Harappa a Dravidian or Aryan civilisation? Were the Rig Vedic Aryans aliens or indigenous? The debate therefore ultimately centres around the core issue— was the Sarasvati-Indus civilisational area the core of the Rig Vedic civilisation with its deeply mystical, meditative culture and a key civilisational feature— Yoga—so distinctively visible in its terracotta figurines.? That points out to a truly astonishing degree of cultural continuity and persistence over space and time. This civilisation may not have given us the Pyramids, the Sphinxes, grand tombs or mausoleums, but it has certainly given the world the grand metaphysical heights of the mystical philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads and the meditative culture of Yoga—the key characteristic of the Indic civilisation that have continued in an unbroken tradition from that ancient era to the present day. The crux of this argument rests on the historicity of the Sarasvati river per se. The Rig Veda Eulogises the Sarasvati as the cradle river of its civilisation. The sacred geography of the Rig- Veda is constructed around the Sarasvati and the seven sacred rivers. This is the very same area encompassed by the Harappan civilisation. That is why a core argument of all colonial-era and Leftist historians today is to deny the very existence of

the Sarasvati river. Romila Thapar disdainfully calls it the Ghaggar-Hakra river and Tony Joseph in his latest attempt to justify the AIT refuses to recognize the very existence of the Sarasvati river. It is also dismissed as the Ghaggar- Hakra paleo channel, a part of the Indus river system. There is no Sarasvati per se. The crux of the debate therefore centres around the a priori existence of the Vedic Sarasvati river. With the existence of the Sarasvati established the entire construct of the geographically contiguous Harappan and Rig Vedic civilisations falls neatly into place This book has therefore adopted a multidisciplinary approach to address the seminal questions of Ancient Indian History. In this book I have examined the imposed narratives of the colonial historiography to point out the blatant bias and prejudice. The so called Left Wing Liberal Academicians and American postmodernist scholars are trying to desacralise our ancient scriptures and attempting to impose new meanings to demonise the Indian civilisation and accuse of it of Brahmanical and male hegemony,  suppression of the shudras and subaltern castes and tribes , misogyny and worse, their Left-wing students are now trying to outdo their former colonial masters in their zeal to sustain and perpetuate the colonialera myths and spin doctored narratives. All of these had underlying motives and agendas—the primary being to justify foreign rule on a subject population. The new imperial order has just shifted to the other side of the Atlantic and American Scholars like Sheldon Pollack and Wendy Donniger are trying to dominate the narratives about our ancient history and its interpretation. American universities are trying to reinterpret DNA based genetic data to justify the AIT. The most significant new finding today stems from the rediscovery of the lost Sarasvati River. I have marshalled the remote sensing data provided by satellite imagery to empirically confirm the existence of a once mighty river that flowed from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea and was the source river and cradle of the Indian civilisation per se. I have next examined the voluminous evidence provided by the discipline of geology to record the vicissitudes in the life and flow of this mighty river and establish the chronology of events that led to its desiccation and demise. I have then superimposed this geological chronology about the death of the Sarasvati River on to the historical chronology of events in ancient India. This exercise provides us new insights.

The most significant of all findings however, come from the discipline of archaeology. I have examined the archaeological studies in considerable detail to understand the true nature and identity of the Indus-Sarasvati Valley civilisation. Even though the Indus Valley script has not so far been deciphered, the vast assortment of terracotta figurines, dolls and pictures on tablets and seals provide a graphic visual language so to speak, which provides deep insights into that ancient civilisation. What stands out is the sheer level of cultural continuity between the ancient past and present-day Hindu society. The evidence of cultural continuity is so overwhelming that it is astonishing to see how deliberately it has been sidelined so far by the Leftist academia. Then there are the tropes of scriptural and linguistic evidences. I have tried to cover each of these aspects in fair detail to adopt a truly multidisciplinary approach to answering the seminal questions and debates in Indology. There is also the exciting new field of DNA mapping studies that is casting a new light on those ancient conundrums. It is my earnest hope that this effort will help to crystallize the historical truth. The mounting weight of evidence in multiple fields is crying out today for a paradigm shift in Indology. What we need urgently is a Copenhagen style convention (that was held to settle the debates in Quantum Physics) now on the subject of Indology. We need to examine in detail the new evidence that has emanated from multiple fields of enquiry. It will have to be a multidisciplinary and collaborative effort. It will have to integrate and converge knowledge inputs from diverse disciplines and fields of enquiry. It will have to be a collaborative and convergent effort. Responding to this urgent call for a Copenhagen style convention in view of the overwhelming body of new evidence, Delhi University will be organizing a multidisciplinary seminar on this subject in August 2019. I do hope its findings will be widely discussed and debated in academic circles all over the world. I do hope they will help to settle some of the outstanding issues and questions of ancient Indian history. This book is primarily intended to set the stage for that discussion. Anil Suri has rightly said—“Education and academics must deal in knowledge, not narratives.” What we need to jettison is dogmatism and obscurantism. Ancient Indian History must remain open now to interpretations that stem from fresh research in multiple fields. A

multidisciplinary approach is a sine qua non in addressing such complex questions that deal with identity per se.


INTRODUCTION: A LOST RIVER, A LOST HISTORY “The first and foremost thing to learn about India—that there is not and never was an India” —Sir John Strachey “India is a geographical term, it is no more a united nation than the equator” —Sir Winston Churchill Assault on the Indian Identity

Few countries in the world have had their sense of self so comprehensively attacked and destroyed by a foreign occupying power than India. For 600 years it was ruled by invaders who came overland—the Persians, the

Greeks, Sakas, Huns, Scythians, Pathans, the Mongols, the Central Asian Mughals and then Nadir Shah. These land invasions saw the invaders who had initially come to just plunder and loot the wealth of a flourishing and fabulously rich civilisation, stay on to rule. In the bargain they largely Indianised themselves and adopted the cultural mores of the native population in a bid to mitigate the foreignness of their rule and thus make themselves more acceptable to their vast subject populations. In fact, Akbar went out of the way to cultivate marital alliances with Hindu princes and was secular and tolerant in his outlook. He gave high positions to Hindu nobles and economic experts in his court. This secular liberal consensus however, broke down in the times of Aurangzeb. His relentless persecution of the Hindus led to widespread revolts by the Sikhs, Marathas and the Ahoms. In just one hundred years, these revolts had destroyed the Mughal Empire and reduced it to a mere fiefdom in Delhi. This unfortunately paved the way for another set of invaders who now came from the sea flank—the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch and the British. They all came by the sea in search of the fabulous and fabled wealth of India. Unlike the overland invaders, however, the British refused to settle down or Indianise themselves in any manner. The colonial Raj was structured upon the loot and suction of Indian resources. Some US$ 45 Trillion worth of wealth was sucked out of India to finance the industrialization of Great Britain. A once prosperous land was reduced to abject poverty and recurrent famines. The British Rule had strong overtones of racial arrogance and superiority. They just refused to go native. They justified the foreignness of their rule by the concept of Imperial Justice. India, they claimed, was never a nation state. According to them it was just a polyglot mixture of squabbling castes, creeds, religions and languages— forever so much at war with itself—that it needed foreign rule to enforce Justice and order. This was the concept of Imperial Justice that was used to legitimise the imposition of foreign rule over India. The First War of Independence (or The Great Sepoy Mutiny, as the British called it) was sparked off by British racial arrogance and exploitative rule. It came as a great shock to the British that diverse races, castes and creeds of India had come together for such a widespread revolt against the foreign rule. The British were able to suppress this rebellion largely by playing the races of India against one another. They largely used the Sikhs, Punjabi Muslims and hill tribes against the Purabiya sipahis of

the East India Company. They suppressed the revolt with extreme brutality, but it had left them badly shaken. At the end of it they resolved that they would never let the diverse races and creeds of India ever come together again. Faultline Analysis. Towards this end they identified every faultline in Indian society and went out of the way to exploit and widen these differences to perpetuate the policy of divide and rule. One of the primary faultlines identified was that of caste. Through the instruments of District Gazetteers and censuses they went on to deeply entrench and widen the faultlines of caste. In fact, Sir John Risely held the first caste-based census in India in 1872. He famously wrote—“as long as there is caste, there will be no India”. A major thrust of this caste based divide was to hive away the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) from the parent Hindu society. The tribals of the North East were largely converted to Christianity and those in Central India were thoroughly isolated from mainstream Indian society. A deliberate attempt was made to foster separate and distinct subidentities based on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes narratives. Later the British went on to exacerbate religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims to a point that it ended finally in the bloody partition of India. They did this by giving separate electorates to the Muslims, Sikhs and the Christians as also the SC and ST communities. The colonial attempt at fracturing the Indian society into squabbling and competing fragments went to surprising lengths and levels of exploitation. The attempt was to foster a plethora of sub-identities based on caste, creed and ethnicity and above all prevent the emergence of a pan Indian identity that went beyond these faultlines. The simple fact is that this balkanization project succeeded brilliantly, and the British were able to extend their rule for over two centuries by these tactics of divide and rule. Usurping History. The British however went much further in this insidious colonial project aimed at controlling emotions, opinions and attitudes and promoting an atmosphere of utter subjugation. To this end, they systematically destroyed the traditional Indian educational system based on Gurukuls and supplanted it with a Colonial system crafted by Macaulay. Funding for Sanskrit studies was curtailed and English and vernacular languages were emphasised. This was designed to produce loyal and committed English speaking clerks for the colonial dispensation. An across the board attempt was made to inject a congenital sense of inferiority

in the natives—to paint everything indigenous as inferior and low down. Over two centuries, this concerted cultural assault took its toll and inflicted a deep sense of inferiority amongst educated Indians. This narrative of inferiority was deeply internalized by the victims of this cultural and psychological assault that was remarkable for its sophistication and the lengths to which it was prepared to go to facilitate British rule in India. This colonial attempt to craft a civilisational narrative went to very great lengths and was hugely successful. Indian culture and its arts and crafts were derided. The very idea of India was ridiculed. One of the most insidious attempts, however, was to write the history of the colonial subjects in a manner that would mitigate the foreignness of British rule and justify this rule to the natives. Colonial historiography therefore had a deeply ingrained racial bias. It very deliberately crafted a series of narratives that would fortify the cardinal concept of British Imperial Justice. Historiography. In her monumental tome entitled, “Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300”, Romilla Thapar, the doyen of Colonial historiography in post-independence India, commences with a discussion on historiography per se. She starts by “asking how histories of India came to be written, who the historians were, why they were writing and what were the intellectual and ideological influences that shaped their histories. In short that is what is now called historiography. Historiography therefore becomes a prelude to understanding history as a form of knowledge. Interpretations frequently derive from prevalent intellectual modes. These constitute shifts in the way history is read. The starting point in the history of a society, therefore, has to be a familiarity with its historiography-the history of historical interpretation. This provides recognition of the intellectual content of history, instead of a preference for just a narration of events. Familiarity with the context encourages a more sensitive understanding of the past.” She informs us in magisterial tones that—“the more serious concern with history was its recognition as a discipline with a method including the search for readings that incorporated various alternative ways of explaining the past”. (Thapar 2002) She then herself proceeds to ignore this gratuitous advice in the rest of her book where she, in effect, tells us that the colonial historians were infallible—what they said must  constitute the gospel truth for the brown skinned people of India and we dare not deviate from the colonial narratives or challenge their

authenticity. These constitute, apparently, the handed down historical wisdom for the Republic of India from its erstwhile colonial overlords. What then were these colonial narratives? The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT): The core of the colonial historiography was the concept of the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). Propagated by the likes of Max Müller and Mortimer Wheeler (largely the latter) it tried to craft a narrative that the Aryan people of North India were invaders who had come from the Steppes of Central Asia and Anatolia. These invaders had crossed the Hindukush mountain range, and some had arrived even via the Himalayas with their horses and chariots. The British historians claimed that the Aryans had destroyed the urban civilisation of the Indus Valley—a sophisticated civilisation of the indigenous Dravidian people of India. The Aryans, they said, had committed large scale genocide and slaughtered and pushed the indigenous Dravidian people beyond the Vindhyas. The Aryans of North India, therefore, were themselves invaders and looters. They were equally foreigners and as such had nothing to whine about the British colonial conquest of India. Very cleverly this construct also promoted the idea of kinship between the ruler and ruled. All this was used to mitigate the stark foreignness of British rule in India. Unfortunately this Aryan invasion theory turned out to be a monumental piece of fiction. No trace of large-scale genocide or slaughter was ever found in the Indus Valley. There were a mere 38 skeletons at one site and less than a dozen at another, and even they did not bear the mark of swords or spears. It increasingly became evident that the Indus Valley Civilisation had not been massacred but had gradually declined and atrophied due to ecological degradation and desertification. Many causes were suggested including a monotonic weakening of the monsoons as also the alternative hypothesis of tectonic plate shifts that caused the rivers to alter their courses. The Indo-Aryan Migration Theory: The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was now deftly changed to the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory (IAMT). It concluded that there was no large-scale invasion and massacres and there was not a shred of evidence to support this hypothesis of the genocide of the indigenous people of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Much effort was expended to prove that this was a Dravidian civilisation. The Indus Valley Civilisation, they now said, had declined gradually and the Aryans had streamed in wave after wave of migration from the Steppes of

Central Asia. The Aryans were largely pastoral and came with their horses and chariots to subdue the indigenous people who lacked such horses and horsed cavalry and chariots and hence were defeated militarily. Inherent Contradictions. What was left unanswered was— why would the Aryans come into a land that was in such a state of ecological degradation and decline in that period (1500 B.C.E.)— such that a vast and flourishing urban civilisation had vanished altogether leaving behind a trail of desertification? Water-scarcity had driven out the people of this sophisticated civilisation from their homes and hearths. So why would foreigners want to stream into a land of such water scarcity? The central logic of this construct does not gel. There was a laboured attempt to prove somehow that the Indo-Aryans were foreigners—they were alien and had all come from outside the subcontinent. They were not indigenous, they were extrinsic to South Asia, even as the British were. That was the core construct of colonial Historiography that has now come to be treated as axiomatic and no amount of fresh evidence can ever suffice to question the wisdom and interpretation of our erstwhile colonial masters. As Thapar herself said it is vital to know— “who the historians were, why they were writing and what ideological influences shaped their histories”. The Colonial ideological slant was simple, blatant and obvious—it was to justify foreign rule and exploitation to a native audience by simply usurping their history per se. The colonial masters are long since dead and gone but they have left behind trenchant pockets of academic influence that still seem beholden to that Raj. These intellectual foot soldiers of the Empire are now waging a fierce rear-guard action to see that none of the colonial constructs are discarded and no new interpretations of Indian history can ever be permitted by these intellectual foot- soldiers of the empire. Amazingly they still talk of “search for readings that incorporated various alternative ways of explaining the past”. It would be pertinent to delve a little deeper into the ideological motivations of the Colonial historiographers themselves. Post Modern American Orientalism: The Rise of Sheldon Pollack. Today, the colonial Historians are dead and gone. Unfortunately the empire has simply shifted to the other side of the Atlantic. The ruling credo of the post war western society is now drawn from Samuel Huntington’s, “Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of the World Order” thesis. The West takes the threat from the rising new Sinic, Indian, Slav, Islamic and other civilisations rather seriously. For some strange reason, the animus

against the Indic civilisation is rather deep rooted and full of bile. Rajiv Malhotra in his very cogently argued thesis “Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines” had pointed out the attempts of European and American think tanks to break up India on the basis of caste and ethnicity. Sheldon Pollock, a Sanskrit scholar from Harvard had spearheaded this charge by his political reinterpretation of Sanskrit classics like the Ramayana. He found then toxic because as per him, they were political texts designed to justify and perpetuate Vedic, Brahmanical dominance and hegemony over the Scheduled Castes and tribes, the shudras, and the women. It was nothing short of an attempt to divest the Sanskrit language of all its philosophical and metaphysical speculations that had made it so unique—that had given the world its greatest treasure trove of philosophical speculation and mystic literature. (Vedas, Upnishdas, Brahmans, Aranyaks etc.). Under the garb of viewing them from a secular lens it had started an insidious program of vilification and denigration. What was dangerous was how Sheldon Pollack and western Academicians deliberately set out to recruit a whole range of Leftist, Marxist academics from India to further this process to deepen caste faultlines in Indian Society. The first of such Indian Marxist historians was DD Kosambi (whom Pollock praises effusively). They have done their best to denigrate the Indic civilisation as exploitative and caste based and hegemonic. They  derided ancient Sanskrit texts as political documents designed to  perpetuate the hegemony and oppression of the Vedic people, the Brahmins and suppress the Scheduled Castes and tribes and the women. This was virtually a CIA backed project to vilify and bad mouth a rising civilisation with enthusiastic support from a whole set of Marxist Indian academics and historians who have since then spread to every college and academic institute of note in India and acquired a tenacious hold in the Indian media. This Left infiltration of Indian academia and media is positively dangerous, far more dangerous and insidious than even the project of outright colonial control. The Raj is dead and gone. However the Left toehold in the Academia and media is far more dangerous and toxic. The simple fact is that at the very basis of these new Dalit and Dravidian narratives being propounded from the USA is the pernicious AIT theory first postulated by our erstwhile colonial masters. That remains the bedrock of all trenchant critiques of the Indic civilisation. All of Pollock’s attempts

at decreeing Sanskrit texts as toxic are in effect based on the primal premise of the AIT propounded by Max Müller and Mortimer Wheeler. Historical Patterns. In the colonial era, there was the subtle attempt to claim the distant kinship of Indo-Aryans to the European (British)Aryans. Tropes of linguistic evidence were marshaled to prove that Sanskrit had so much in common with Latin and Persian and other European languages. The a priori assumption was that the Aryans were foreigners—they were extrinsic to South Asia, were invaders or migrants and had come from outside and displaced the indigenous inhabitants. To an extent such an interpretation sounded plausible. All the subsequent invasions of India had indeed come from Greece, Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan and even the Middle East. So an even earlier Aryan invasion /migration seems to fit the overall pattern of large-scale movements from the arid heart of Asia and beyond into the fertile alluvial plains of South Asia which generated enormous surpluses and wealth to attract looters and marauders. The Aryan invasion/migration paradigm has thus been a dominant theme of colonial historiography that has become so deeply entrenched and ingrained. An Army of brown intellectual sepoys, a set of pathetic court historians have today taken up cudgels on behalf of the colonial historiographers and are fighting a trenchant rear guard action to preserve the dominant narratives and central themes of the Colonial History of India —a history contrived primarily to justify the foreignness of British Rule in India. Dr Mithi Mukherjee of the University of Colorado in USA has done pioneering work in this field of the Colonial history of India and her work highlights the intellectual and ideological underpinnings of much of colonial historiography. It was she who had highlighted the British concept of Imperial justice to justify the imposition of colonial rule upon India. the pity is that post-independence this concept was simply morphed into Social Justice and made one of the key planks of the Indian constitution. Central to this construct was the British notion—India had never been a nation and could not be a nation because it was such a cacophony of diverse races, castes and creeds. Impartial foreign rulers were needed to impose order and justice upon this squabbling mass of humanity. Unfortunately, Dr Mukerjee’s seminal work has not received the kind of attention it merits as a valuable and convincing search for new meanings and interpretations of the Indian past.

Cradle River of Indian Civilisation. The cradle river of the Indian civilisation was said to be the Indus River and not the Sarasvati. The Sarasvati, the Western historians felt, was a myth with no basis in reality. The reality however is, that today, satellite imagery has clearly highlighted the dried out bed of a once mighty river that flowed from the Himalayas to the sea. It was in full flow some 6,000 years ago. Around 1,900 B.C.E. it dried out almost entirely. The empirical fact is that over 60% of the Indus Valley sites have been found not along the Indus river tract but the dried-out course of the Sarasvati River. The Greeks, the Arabs and the European historians have successively got it wrong. They had reached India long after this great river had been desiccated and as such saw the Indus as the cradle of Indian civilisation. The re-discovery of this lost river Sarasvati also raises serious questions about the very basis of colonial chronology— especially the seminal dating of the Rigveda composition and all subsequent historic events in India that succeed this seminal civilisational event and provide the frame work of all dating in India’s civilisational history. Max Müller had rather arbitrarily fixed the date of the arrival of the Indo-Aryans and their composition of the Rig Veda in the land of the SaptaSindhva (the seven rivers) as 1500 BC. The basis of this fixation seemed premised upon the reigning historical paradigm of that era—the Middle East was the core of the global civilisations—all Abrahamic religions had emanated from here. It was thus the mother of all civilisations and nothing could ante-date the Middle-Eastern civilisation of Mesopotamia. The Rig Veda describes the Sarasvati as the greatest of rivers, loudly roaring, the mother of floods—a raging torrent in full flow— not a dried-out stream or a string of pools. Does that push the age of the Rig Veda to 6,000 years before present for that was the time (as per the geologists) when the Sarasvati was actually in full and regal flow.? Carbon dating of Rakhigiri and Bhirhana townships on the dried-out banks of the Sarasvati river—part of the so-called Indus Valley Civilisation—puts their age over 8,000 years and earlier. That is not hearsay—it is empirical scientific evidence that must now be taken into account. We will have to proceed beyond the hunches and oracular pronunciations of Max Müller. a) Recent Advances in Knowledge: The key problem in accepting the colonial narrative is that a whole set of new discoveries in diverse fields of knowledge are today producing a mounting and ever enlarging body of evidence that raises very serious question

marks on colonial historiography. The re-discovery of the lost Sarasvati river is the most profound change that has called into question the very basis of Colonial history of ancient India. The weight of evidence has been steadily piling up over the last 50–60 years. It has now reached critical mass. The absence of horses and chariots it was said was what made the Indus Valley Civilisation distinctly un-Aryan. b) Chariots. The remains of a Chariot have recently been discovered in Baghpat (U.P.) and carbon dated to 4000  years ago—much before the purported Aryan invasion/ migration (which was 1500 best). Several terracotta toy chariots have also been discovered in Harrapan sites c) Gene Mapping. We now have another powerful tool to map mass movements of human populations. Gene Haplo group mapping is a new area of great relevance. Empirical evidence does not support an Aryan-Dravidian binary in India. The Indian gene pool is mixed —north and south of the Vindhyas. d) Gene mapping certainly indicates a commonality in the R 1a 1a Gene ‘Y’ chromosome haplo group between Southern Europe, Central Asia and Northern India. So does a study of linguistics confirm this commonality of origin. e) The oldest genes of this R 1a 1a Haplogroup however has been found not in Southern Europe or Central Asia but in India. Since this haplogroup originates from a single common male ancestor, it suggests that this haplogroup  migrated from India outwards and not vice versa. There is therefore a dire need to take stock of the mounting body of empirical and increasingly irrefutable evidence that seriously questions the very central tenets of the colonial historiography. A New Copenhagen Convention? So overwhelming and compelling is this new body of evidence that it is indeed surprising that serious historians have not as yet got together to clinically examine this trope, to take stock and question the very axioms of colonial historiography. The weight of evidence is piling up by the day and becoming even more compelling and urgent. It calls for a Copenhagen style convention (that was convened to deal with the implications of Quantum Mechanics in 1932). There is a dire need to examine the whole new body of empirical evidence and question

our basal axioms about the history of ancient India. The entire interpretation of the ancient history of India, now needs a serious and clinical review. There is a compelling need for a seminal change and introspection that seriously takes into account the whole new body of empirical evidence. Need for a Shift of Paradigm. In short, 50 years of pile up of information and a mounting body of empirical evidence is now calling out for a long overdue shift of paradigm, as far as Indology is concerned. The sheer weight of empirical evidence is so overwhelming that it will bring about a Quantum Collapse of the deeply entrenched colonial narratives of Indian History. These narratives were not objective. They were motivated and cleverly slanted to provide justification of foreign rule over India. In current terms, they sought to spin doctor the narrative by imparting to it a rather ingenious and clever spin. 70 years after independence is high time for Indians to shed the baggage of empire and jettison the clever fiction churned out so compellingly by the colonial historians, to masquerade as our ancient history. Paradigm shift. It is now time for a paradigm shift in Indology, in the study of the ancient history of India per se. As David Frawley writes in his book “In Search of The Cradle of Civilisation” (co- authored with Georg Feuerstein and Subhash Kak)—“we believe that the anomalous evidence for ancient India has reached such a critical mass and that we are on the threshold of a new understanding of the early Indic Civilisation …we must be prepared to re-examine our theories when we encounter sufficient number of anomalous or ill-fitting facts.” In his widely acclaimed book “The Structure of scientific Revolutions” Thomas. S. Khun had described ways in which reigning scientific paradigms collapse and make room for new paradigms. A Paradigm shift, as Khun said, demands a shift of vision. This amounts to a cognitive revolution that radically alters one’s point of view. We must allow the evidence to speak for itself. Frawley says, in the instant case, we are not dealing merely with a single piece of evidence; rather the facts have been piling up to such an extent that the old theory about ancient India has simply collapsed. We are at the edge of a major paradigm shift in ancient Indian history. It is high time therefore, to review the basal outlook of the Colonial History of India, to question its very basic premises and assumptions and in fact to question the very intent behind deliberate distortions. A colonized people cannot remain psychological slaves of an empire that had ceased to

exist over 70 years ago. Its narratives can no longer remain unchallenged— especially when the weight of empirical evidence has now become so overwhelming and so very compelling. Basic Axioms of Colonial Historiography: At the very outset of this book therefore, it would be useful to once again summarise and set out some of the basic narratives of colonial historiography that today need to be seriously re-examined and challenged. These can be succinctly summarized asa) The Indo-Aryans were extrinsic to South Asia. They came from an Aryan Homeland in Southern Europe—Anatolia or Central Asia b) The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) of Mortimer Wheeler was modified to the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory (IAMT) of successive waves of Aryan migration around 1500 BC c) That in turn determined the Age of the Rig Veda to around 1500 B.C.E. and situates the entire subsequent chronological chain of Indian history d) The cradle river of the Indian civilisation was said to be the Indus River and not the Sarasvati. The Sarasvati, the western historians felt, was a myth with no basis in reality e) The reality however is, that today, satellite imagery has clearly highlighted the dried out bed of a once mighty river that flowed from the Himalayas to the sea. It was in full flow some 6,000 years ago. Around 1,900 B.C.E. it dried out almost entirely. f) The empirical fact is that over 60% of the Indus Valley sites have been found  not  along  the  Indus  river  tract but the dried-out course of the Sarasvati River.  The Greeks, the Arabs and the European have successively got it wrong. g) The cradle river of the Indian civilisation was not so much the Indus as it was the Sarasvati. The very name Indica (and hence the derivative India) however comes from the Indus. Hindu is a corruption of Sindhu. The Indian civilisation flourished majorly on the banks of the sacred Sarasvati. Indus as a cradle river of this civilisation, therefore, is only a partial truth or half-truth at best. h) The Rig Veda describes the Sarasvati as the greatest of rivers, loudly roaring, the mother of floods—a raging torrent in full flow —not a dried-out stream or a string of pools.

h) Does that push the age of the Rig Veda to 6,000 years before present for that was the time when the Sarasvati was actually in full and regal flow as per geological studies.? This would then negate the Max Müller thesis that the Indo- Aryans migrated to India in 1,500 B.C.E. and composed the Rig Veda in India. Should this dating be authentic, how do the Vedas describe the Sarasvati as a raging torrent, a mighty river and the mother of floods because by that date (1500BC) it had desiccated completely? i) Carbon dating of Rakhigiri and Bhirhana townships of the so-called Indus Valley Civilisation puts their age over 8,000 years and the earlier levels to even 9500 years. Does that not put to question the entire colonial chronology of the Ancient Indian History? j) Remains of a Chariot have recently been discovered in Baghpat (U.P.) and carbon dated to 4000 years ago—much before the purported Aryan invasion/migration (which was fixated at 1500 best). k) Gene Haplo group mapping is another area of great relevance. Empirical evidence does not support an Aryan- Dravidian binary in India. The Indian gene pool is mixed— north and south of the Vindhyas. l) Gene mapping certainly indicates a commonality in the R 1a 1a Gene ‘Y’ chromosome haplo group between Southern Europe, Central Asia and Northern India. So does a study of linguistics confirm this commonality of origin. m) The oldest gene of this R 1a 1a Haplogroup however has been found not in Southern Europe or Central Asia but in India. Since this haplogroup originates from a single common male ancestor, it suggests that this haplogroup  migrated from India outwards and not vice versa. n) This brings into question the very Basic Direction of the Gene Haplo-group migration. Was it from Europe/Central Asia into India or vice-versa? The Aryan Invasion Thesis and Indo-Aryan Migration Thesis today have both come into serious question and justified doubt as to their essential validity. o) Mesopotamia in West Asia was designated as the cradle of human civilisation. Agriculture was said to have originated here leading to the first sedentary human settlements that had graduated from the

nomadic style of the hunter- gatherer to fixed human settlements, villages and later towns. As per colonial historians, agricultural migrations (from Mesopotamia and Syria via Iran ) had first brought the knowledge of agriculture (domesticating plants and animals) to the Indus Valley Civilisation in India around 10,000– 12,000 years ago. This has now been thoroughly discredited. These are serious and basic issues about the very basis of the interpretation of the colonial history of Ancient India. There are  serious reservations today as to the very motivation and intention of the colonial historiographers. The ideological slant is far too blatant because it stems from a need to justify colonial rule in India—its very objectivity therefore comes into serious question. Today, there is a need therefore to question the very basic premises of the colonial paradigm about Ancient Indian History. Its basal assumptions and narratives have now been seriously challenged by the mounting body of current evidence that is piling up by the day. There is a need to take stock of this whole body of new evidence and subject it to an objective and dispassionate analysis. History must be freed from blatant ideological slants and biases—especially of all ideological slants meant to justify a colonial rule that is long since over and done with. The Empire is history and there is little need to hang on to the apron strings of colonial historiography whose very objectivity has encountered a series of question marks. Narratives and Weltanschauungs drawn from a colonial need to justify foreign rule, cannot be imposed on behalf of a set of colonial rulers and exploiters, long after they are dead and gone. Our pathetic psychological slavery to a set of colonial narratives cannot be allowed to perpetuate itself any more. These narratives deserve to be challenged and subjected to rigorous scrutiny. We very specifically need to be aware of the insidious new attempts to vilify and denigrate the Indic civilisation, mounted by Western Scholars like Sheldon Pollock who have gone out of the way to recruit a whole range of Marxist historians from India to spread the new narratives of vilification and slander. These seek to revive and strengthen caste and ethnicity based faultlines in Indian society in a manner that can lead to the breakup of the Indian nation state per se. That underlines the criticality and vital need for this study There is therefore a crying need today to hold multidisciplinary seminars that bring together knowledge and experts from the following

diverse fieldsa) Satellite imagery b) Geological Studies c) Archeological Evidence d) Linguistic and Scriptural Evidence e) Gene Haplo-group Mapping f )   Astronomical Evidence



Sarasvati was said to be the “Lost” river whose memories were preserved in the oral traditions of India. Any pilgrim visiting the Sangam (the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers) in Prayagraj (former Allahabad) is told about a third river that used to join at this sacred confluence. It was supposed to have disappeared and gone underground. The sheer strength and tenacity of this oral tradition has been amazing. It has successfully preserved the memory of a sacred river for over 6,000 years, from the time it was actually in full flow. This, by itself, is a remarkable feat of preserving collective racial memories over the millenniums. For the past several centuries, when a Hindu dies, his ashes are immersed in the Ganga at Haridwar, the most sacred stream of this country. The Pind Daan (propitiating the ancestors, the Pitras) is

however done at Kurukshetra. No river flows there today, but the fact is that once the mighty Sarasvati used to flow through the holy town of Kurukshetra. The sheer strength and tenacity of the oral tradition therefore is astonishing. However we do not need to rely on hearsay and vague or unsubstantiated oral traditions any more. Satellite imagery has today provided conclusive and empirical evidence that clearly proves the existence of this once mighty river and substantiates the truth of our oral tradition. The Nadi Sukta of the Rig Veda mentions the Sarasvati as a mighty river, the primary stream amongst the Sapta Sindhva, the Seven Great Rivers of North India. The Rig Veda calls it the greatest of all rivers, the greatest of all Mothers, the greatest of all goddesses. It describes it in awe as the Mother of Floods, a raging torrent—in short, a river in full and perennial flow. Till recently, most historians were inclined to treat the Sarasvati as nothing more than a myth. This, despite the fact, that the Ghaggar-Hakra stream still followed its alignment. Akbar’s cavalry knew of an ancient dried out river bed along which the cavalry could move at great speed for major North-South movements, from present day Punjab & Haryana to Gujarat. The amazing fact was that fresh drinking water for animals and men was easily available at shallow depths along this entire dried out river bed course. The British colonial cartographers had mapped out this dried-out river course variously called “Sarasvati” or “Sarisati”, which was very much extant in local folklore and tradition. As stated, it is described as the mother of floods, glorious, loudly roaring in the Rig Veda. These are descriptions of a major river in full prime and not one in serious decline and desiccation as it was by 1900 BCE. In fact by the assigned date of the advent of the IndoAryans, this river had vanished all together. How than does the Rig Veda describe it as a mighty stream in the here and now? The Rig Vedic description of the Sarasvati is most apt. The Vedic shlokas called it the greatest of rivers (Nadittama), glorious, loudly roaring and the mother of floods. These descriptions indeed refer to the mighty river in its prime — not a river in decline that has perhaps been reduced to a string of pools. The Sarasvati had been reduced to this state around the Time of the so called advent of the Indo-Aryans—around 1500 BC. It was in full flow some 6,000 years ago. So do we need to look again at the dating of the Rig Veda? US Landsat Images 1970-80: The first empirical evidence surfaced in the satellite imagery sent back by the American satellite Landsat in the

1970s. For the first time the satellite images clearly revealed the dried-out course of a once mighty river that flowed from the Himalayas to the sea, almost parallel to the course of Sindhu—it was clearly the greatest of all Indian rivers in terms of length and volume of flow. The remote sensing imagery from the satellite was now beaming back pictures of its entire dried out course of a once mighty stream—all the way from the Himalayas to the sea. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) imagery: Since then several Indian satellites launched by the ISRO have provided very extensive satellite imagery data of a once mighty river that used to flow from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. It was no seasonal river. It was a mighty perennial stream that flowed over 4600kms. The satellite pictures vividly reveal the dried out river bed of a once mighty river that was 6-8 kms in width. South of Patiala—where there was apparently a confluence with Yamuna and later the Satluj—it was almost 20 km in width. The ISRO prepared the first ever map of the desiccated surface channels of the Sarasvati from Adi Badri in Haryana to the Rann of Kutch. It flowed parallel to the Indus and virtually along the International Border (IB) between present day India and Pakistan. Quite obviously, what the satellite images were highlighting was a once mighty river, mightier than the Ganga itself. It clearly once was the most significant river of the Indian civilisation, mightier perhaps than the Brahmaputra itself. The Sarasvati glacier via the Tons River, along with the Yamuna and Satluj supplied it with ice melt water. It flowed through Haryana, Punjab and Bahawalpur in present Pakistan, thence via Sindh and finally to the Rann of Kutch where it met the sea. The overall length of this river was a staggering 4600kms Remote Sensing One of the most remarkable recent studies on the Sarasvati river has been done by an Expert Committee constituted by the Government of India to review available information on paleochannels. Titled “Paleochannels of North West India : Review and Assessment” (Expert Committee Report 2016), it was a remarkable multi- disciplinary group headed by Prof KS Valdiya, Professor of Geodynamics at the JNU Centre for Advanced Study and Research, in Bengaluru. I have cited very extensively from this meticulously researched and very authoritative report in this book. Satellite imagery experts from the ISRO were members of this authoritative study group.

Course of the Vedic Sarasvati from Mansarovar in Tibet to the sea. They have observed—“the construction of a number of new canals along the course of dried out palaeochannel and dried valleys has changed the natural landscape in North West India and made it extremely difficult to identify paleochannels from ground feature observations. This difficulty was however largely offset by the availability of satellite remote sensing imagery from the late 1970s onwards, especially as satellite sensors in different wavelength/ frequency bands are capable of capturing the signatures of high soil moisture content, variations of sand textures (coarse, fine etc.) and evaporites (surface layers of calcite, gypsum, etc.) and the relative density and health of vegetation along the shallow paleochannels. The capability of the sensors to “see” features in a much wider area than by conventional aerial photographs and the amenability of the images to digital processing with precise coordinates is most helpful. Remote sensing has therefore become a standard research tool for identifying and characterizing paleochannels.””

Pathbreaking Study The Expert Committee Report goes on to elaborate—“In a pathbreaking study of tremendous impact, Yaspal et al (1980) used Landsat satellite images taken during the period 1972-1977 and identified several traces of buried channels that run Southwest- Northeast in the Yamuna plains. Based upon visual interpretation they proposed three paleochannels of the Yamuna —namely Y1, Y2  and Y3 (see Fig below), which represent the course of an ancient river which flowed Southeast of the river Markanda. They made the following suggestions-—

Three palaeochannels of the Yamuna. Y-1 and Y-2 joined the Sarasvati. Y-3 finally changed course and joined the Ganga. a) Palaeochannel Y-1 of the Yamuna once joined the bed of the ancient river Ghaggar. b) Palaeochannel Y-2 flowed into the Chitang River (this was the ancient river Drishadvati which is mentioned in the Rig Veda and the Mahabharata). The Mahabharata battlefield was in fact located

between the Sarasvati River in the North and its tributary, the Drishadvati in the South. c) Palaeochannel Y-3 flowed in the present course of Yamuna down to Delhi and joined the River Ganga through the Chambal at Prayagraj (alias Allahabad). This landmark study indicated for the first time that the river Yamuna was once a tributary of Sarasvati. It was only later that it changed course in a major way and joined the Ganga, thus depriving the Sarasvati River of a major source of ice melt water from the glaciers. It is said that there was a major tectonic plate shift some 4700 years from today which created a shear fault in the Shivalik Hills and forced the Yamuna to change course from the west towards the east. It now changed course and joined the Ganga river (via Y-3) its old palaeochannels Y-2 and Y-1 which joined the Sarasvati however are still visible in satellite photographs.  

The satellite photograph given below clearly highlights this shear fault in the Shivaliks which caused the Yamuna to turn eastwards and

join the Ganga some 4600 years ago.

Ghaggar-Hakra-Nara Studies The Experts Group Report (2016) continues-“This landmark study inspired many investigators to embark upon a study of palaeochannels in India. In recent years the Jodhpur based Regional Remote Sensing Centre of the ISRO has carried out comprehensive and extensive integration of the palaeochannels including that of the Ghaggar- Hakra-Nara, studies in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. All these studies identified these palaeochannels with the river Sarasvati.”

It is worthwhile quoting chapter and verse from this seminal report —“With the advent of remote sensing technology, and the availability of high-resolution satellite imagery, it is now possible to trace the drainage course of even the buried palaeochannels. Recently the entire course of the large palaeochannel system recognized now as the River Sarasvati has been traced from satellite images (Bhadra et al, 2005, 2006 & 2009; Bhadra and Sharma, 2011; and Bhadra and Sharma, 2012 & 2013). With synoptic viewing capability in different spatial, spectral and multi-temporal resolutions, Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite images of different sensors viz. WiFS (188 m), AWiS (56 m), LiSS-III (23.5 m) and LiSS-IV (5.8 m) have been used for palaeochannels delineation and different image processing techniques are applied to satellite images. Using IRS P3 WiFS and IRS IC LiSS-III satellite data, Gupta et al. (2004, 2008 & 2011) have mapped the course of a large river they recognized as the Sarasvati—now buried under the sands of the Thar desert.” This testifies to the correctness of the oral tradition, which speaks of a river that had gone underground. Beyond Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, this spot was called Vinashna in the scriptures—the place where the Sarasvati

vanished and went underground. The Sarasvati river had gone underground in three subterranean channels situated at varying depths. Hundreds of Thousands of liters of sweet water is now available from tube wells sunk along this dried-out course of the Sarasvati river. The researchers also exploited collateral data like old age maps, archaeological sites, geomorphic anomalies, drilling data (lithology) of tube wells and age of ground water. They correlated this with the satellite imagery and validated the course of the Sarasvati River. In specific, the experts point out-“ lithology data from the tube wells of Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan showed potable water with high discharge from the sub-surface fluvial palaeochannels. Isotopic dating of this trapped water indicated that it was correlated with the age of the Harappan civilisation itself. Thus Gupta et al established the palaeochannels network of the Sarasvati River in Rajasthan and parts of Northern Gujarat across the expanse of the great Thar Desert using satellite imagery provided by the IRS P3 WiFS satellite”.

Studies have thus indicated the followinga) First Channel: A prominent but shallow palaeochannel occurs at a depth range of 26-38 m below ground level and has a thickness of about 14 m at the sites in Masana Jaltan and Shababpura. This is followed by thin clay deposits.

b) Second Channel: The second palaeochannel is at 48-64 m depth and has a thickness of 16 m. c) Third Channel: The third channel is located at a depth of 68-74 m depth and is 4 m thick. It is separated by thick clay deposit.  

The above sequence indicates that the river channels in past had shifted as indicated by the layered sequence of channel deposits (sand, gravels and flood plain deposits). The first (shallowest) channel became extinct in the historical past for it is now buried under a clay layer of around 24 m thickness. These scientific discoveries therefore clearly substantiate the oral tradition of a once mighty river that went underground. The Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre (RRSSC -under the aegis of the ISRO) at Jodhpur has presented the first ever detailed and comprehensive map of palaeochannels of Sarasvati from Adi Badri in Haryana to the Rann of Kutch after intensive analysis of satellite imagery for the last 7-8 years. Satellite imagery has today revealed the entire desiccated course of the mythical

Sarasvati river including its paleochannels that have gone underground in Rajasthan. In an impending era of severe water-stress in South Asia, this underground water could prove to be a great boon that could in fact transform the desert landscape and make it green. There is great scope for reviving the ancient Sarasvati river as part of the Linking of Rivers project. The mass of empirical evidence now provided by satellite imagery and remote sensing has established beyond any shadow of doubt the authenticity of the oral tradition of a once mighty river that had vanished forever. Why then should our historical narratives and reconstructions of our ancient past trenchantly refuse to accommodate this empirical and irrefutable evidence? The very attempt to studiously ignore this staggering body of new evidence smells of academic dogmatism and intellectual dishonesty of the worst kind. For with the re-discovery of a lost river new vistas and perspectives on the ancient Indian civilisation now come to view that are exciting and full of challenge. We need to embark on a new voyage of discovery. In the changing of the paleochannels of this great river are encoded the changes in our ancient history.



The report of the Experts Committee (2016) has recorded the evidence of Geologists and Geodynamic experts of great eminence. The study in fact, was headed by Dr Valdia—one of India’s most eminent experts on geodynamics. Satellite imagery has shown us the desiccated bed of the once mighty Sarasvati River. It is the discipline of Geology alone however that can tell us what really happened to this great river? How and why did it die out ?What really caused it to vanish from the face of this earth and be reduced to a string of lakes and pools in its upper course and go underground completely in its lower course through the desert. Geologists on the panel of this Study report have shed ample light on this seminal question of our ancient history. What really happened to the Sarasvati and when has been fairly well established by the discipline of Geology using empirical tools of study and verification.

Geologists tell us that the Indo-Gangetic plain is one of the largest alluvial plains in the world. It is divided into two drainage basins by the Northwest-Southeast running Aravali-Delhi Ridge. a) Western Part: consists of the Punjab-Haryana plains and is fed mainly by the Sindhu (Indus), Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum and Chenab. b) Eastern Part: consists of the interfluxes of Ganga- Brahmaputra drainage system. For the past 20 million years, this vast drainage basin has been receiving sediments from the Himalayas. However in the past (ancient period), the Sindhu (Indus) and the Sarasvati with their network of tributaries, were the two major river systems of North- Western India. Some of these major streams, however, have deviated from their original course and become extinct today. Thus, Sridhar et al (1999) have classified the rivers of the Indo-Gangetic basin into four main groups: a) Indus or the Sindhu: that traverses a distance of some 2,900 km from the Mansarovar in Tibetan Plateau to the Arabian Sea. Its tributaries are: i. Vitasta (Jhelum) ii. Askini (Chenab, also Chandrabhaga) iii. Shatadri (Satluj) and its tributaries iv. Vipasa (Beas) and v. Parasuni or Iravati (Ravi) b) Sarasvati and its tributaries: i.


ii. iii.

Ghaggar Patialewali



Upper course

Middle course

v. Lavanavati The Sindhu also flowed through its many channels in different time periods as testified by its multiple palaeochannels. It is felt that the Sindhu (Indus) has shifted its course westward upto 160 km— primarily as a consequence of the northward drifting Indian plate. Palaeochannels

The term palaeochannel has been used so often in this narrative. At this stage it would be useful to understand this term in some detail. A palaeochannel is defined as a channel that is no longer part of an active river system and has ceased to conduct water. Despite remaining cut off from active river flow (except during periods of flood inundation), these features remain part of the flow regime of the active river. However, depending upon the age of the palaeochannel in large alluvial landscapes, some ancient palaeochannels may be the products of different flow regimes of the past. Thus they may provide evidence for river transformation, following significant changes in flow regimes, implying river adjustments to developments outside their catchment. The scale on which these features form is highly variable, from small meander cut-offs to entire channels— channel belts extending over tens of hundreds of kilometers. The study and mapping of palaeochannels has to be pursued using inter-disciplinary approaches that draw upon landscape analysis, remote sensing, sedimentology, geo- hydrology, tectonics and geophysical explorations. Study of Palaeochannels in India The Study report points out-“in India palaeochannels have been widely studied, particularly in the context of tracing geological history of the ancient rivers and their hydrological significance. As far back as 1874, CF Oldham had identified a major palaeochannel along the dry bed of the Ghaggar River. RD Oldham also described a number of similar palaeochannels in the Punjab plains. Since then several studies on palaeochannels have been carried out in North West India using various techniques like: ● Aerial Photography ● Remote Sensing ● Geophysical Studies ● Isotope studies and ● Hydrological Studies (Experts group report p.3) Since the advent of 21st century, extensive studies have been carried out by Prof KS Valdiya (2002, 2013 and 2016) on the Palaeochannels of the Vedic Sarasvati. According to Dr Valdiya, the geological, geophysical, geomorphological and remote sensing evidence leads us to the postulation that the Sarasvati was a large glacier fed river. It was greatly influenced by the neo-tectonic activities as borne out by existence of several tectonic lineaments including faults and seismic zones.

During the 19th Century when a few canals were constructed in the plains of Punjab and North Rajasthan, early researchers were able to identify several wide and abandoned beds of major streams. As stated, LF Oldham had first identified in 1874 a major palaeochannel along the dry bed of the Ghaggar River roughly through Bhatner (now called Hanumangarh), Suratgarh and Anupgarh in Rajasthan and then traced it through the vicinity of Marot Mojgarh, Derwar Fort, Rajaswala, Kachelo and thence along the surviving course of the Raini River from near Kandahu to Pariaro along the Nara-Hakra River and then downstream to the Rann of Kutch. He identified this stream as the Sarasvati River. Oldham also identified a number of similar courses in the Punjab plains. Many of these courses were identified as the abandoned courses of the Satluj River. The river was called as Shatadri in Sanskrit (a stream whose courses were divided into hundreds of channels). As per Oldham it is the older course of Satluj that used to meet the Ghaggar at Wah or Sirhind Nadi. Oldham had suggested that the Yamuna, at some very remote period, may have taken a Westerly instead of an Easterly course and joined the Hakra. Geologists tell us that a study of the river generated detritus layers on the banks of the Sarasvati, is of great significance in determining her course. A study of the channels of the Tons River (that feeds the bulk of ice melt water to the Yamuna presently and was once the chief source of glacial waters to the Sarasvati) and those of the Markand River, they aver, are of immense importance in this regard. A study of the structure and composition of the accumulated alluvia in these streams indicates the followinga) The lowest layer is composed of quartzite and metamorphic rocks normally found in the higher Himalayas. The strontium ratios and neodymium ratios of the constituents of the Ghaggar sediments in the North Haryana and in the Sirsa-Kalibangan reach in the west, clearly demonstrate that the sediments of the hybrid channels were derived from the Great (higher) Himalayas as well as the Lesser Himalayas. b) The upper layer is composed of the Shivalik sandstone and other rocks. c) This clearly indicates that a mighty stream must have flown from the higher reaches of the Himalayas to this area. The rocks found in

the upper reaches of the Himalayas have been brought here by that current. This stream originated in the upper Himalayan glaciers (Western Garhwal Himalayas) and the catchment area of the Tons (Tamasa) River. These streams merged possibly at Naitwar (Plaksha Prasravan of the Vedas) and then flowed South-Eastward from Adi Badri via the channels of the Tons, Bata, Markanda, Soma and Sarasvati Nadi in the upper region. (d) Although the rivers Bata and Markanda are insignificant in size today, there is a massive accumulation of river generated alluvia in their basins. We can surmise from this massive accumulation of boulders and sediments that these river beds must have been created by a very large sized river in the ancient period. Cradle of the Harrapan Civilisation. From the foregoing evidence collated from the satellite imageries and geological studies, it is now clearly evident that the oral and scriptural evidence about the once mighty Sarasvati River stands corroborated without a shadow of doubt. The Sarasvati was not a mythical stream. This was a perennial river, fed by the ice melt waters of the Tons, the Yamuna and the Satluj, which once joined the Sarasvati to make it the formidable stream that it was. It flowed thus, from the Himalayas to the Rann of Kutch via the plains of Punjab and Haryana, on to Rajasthan and then Fort Abbas, Hakra-Bahawalpur area in Pakistan, thence via Sindh to the Rann of Kutch—a distance of over 4600kms. It was 6-8 km wide stream that was 20 kms in width South of Patiala, due to the confluence of the Yamuna and Satluj with this formidable stream. The historicity of this mighty stream stems from the fact that it was the cradle river of the Harrapan civilisation. This major river was the primary source of sustenance of the Harappa or the so-called Indus Valley Civilisation. This Indus connotation however is a misnomer as the bulk of over 60% of the settlement sites of this civilisation are located not on the Indus but along the dried out Sarasvati course This aspect will be taken up in far greater detail in the next chapter on Archaeological Evidence. Theories of how the Sarasvati Disappeared So the key question now is—what caused the sudden disappearance or desiccation of the mighty river that was once the cradle river of the Harappan civilisation? The civilisation was based on this river and so what happened to the river spelt the end of this vast and highly sophisticated civilisation that at its prime, was spread over a vast area of some 2 million

square kilometers. How did such a vast stream of the proportions of the Brahmaputra, simply vanish without a trace as it were? This is one of the greatest riddles of Indology and holds the key to the mysteries surrounding the ancient Indian civilisation. The Knowledge of what happened to this sacred stream and the people who dwelt on its banks will help us unravel the mystery of who we are as a people. There could be three plausible causes of the disappearance of the Sarasvati: a) Creation of blockages that stopped glacial or ice melt water supply to the Sarasvati from the Himalayas b) The separation of Sarasvati from her principal tributaries— Drishadvati (which was fed by the Yamuna then via the Y2 channel) and the Satluj (which was later captured by the Indus) c) A significant reduction in the monotonic discharge of the South West monsoon (weakening of the monsoon in the region of the foothills and Shivalik hill ranges). Accordingly, two theories have been put forth by scientists to explain the desiccation of the Sarasvati River. Geologists have speculated about the likely causes of the desiccation of the Sarasvati. Several reasons have been attributed to the migration of the Sarasvati channels. Let us take these two theories up, in some detail. These can be summed up as: a) The River Diversion or Tectonic Plate shift Theory b) The Climatic Theory or the Monotonic Weakening of the SouthWest Monsoons The Tectonic Theory of River Diversion It is now believed that the main cause of the desiccation of this mighty river, is the continuous Northward movement of the Tectonic plate of India even after its dash against the Eurasian plate. As a result of this northward movement, the North East and South West faults have become active in the western foothills of the Aravalis. Due to the impact of these faults, the surface of the desert went on developing a slant towards the west. Due to this westward geological slanting -the course of the Sarasvati River had been continuously migrating to the west, creating several palaeochannels. This is evident from Map below:  

Paleochannels of the Vedic Sarasvati. Wakankar has postulated a westward movement of the Sarasvati through a series of palaeochannels marked sequentially on the Map as Palaeochannels No. 1, 2 and 3. The westernmost channel numbered 4 is the final course of the Vedic Sarasvati—which ultimately dried out completely. Both CF Oldham and Valdiya (1998, 2002 & 2016) have theorised that a tectonically triggered deflection of the two branches in the upper reaches of the river caused its precipitate decline and then its complete desiccation.

Note the North–South orientation of the Aravali hill ranges and the number of East–West fault lines that emerged at right angles to the Aravalis and cut up the course of the Sarasvati river into isolated lakes and pools. The map above indicates the geo-morphological structure of RajasthanAravali region. The primary feature is the North-South Aravali ridge. The Luni-Sukadi rivers flow parallel to the Aravali ridgelines. Several faults developed including along the tracts of the Luni-Sukadi rivers. Resultantly, the general slope of the region gradually slanted westward and developed cracks in the local geo- plates. As a consequence, the Sarasvati River migrated westward via a series of palaeochannels 1-2-3 and 4 till it stabilized along the final course. The next notable geological feature is the development of a series of faults that developed at right angles to the LuniSukadi faultline (parallel to the Aravali). This series of faultlines at right angles to the longitudinal NW-SE faultlines, now broke up the course of Sarasvati and other local river systems and converted these into a series of lakes separated from one another. A mighty river was thus reduced to a string of disjointed pools and lakes that it had become by the time of the Mahabharata war.

That is why these several palaeochannels of the Sarasvati are not homogenous or continual flows. They seem to be broken in between. Most of these channels have further developed into salty lakes or deserts (e.g. Lunkaransar & Didwana lakes; Panchabhadra, Pokharan and Jaisalmer). This is because several Northwest and Northeast parallel faults have occurred at right angles to the longitudinal faults. These right angular faults blocked the course of the Sarasvati at many places and reduced the river to a string of lakes and pools in its northern segment. The faults and fractures that occurred at right angles to the direction of flow of this once mighty river served to cut her up into a string of lakes and pools. Passengers flying in commercial jet flights from Delhi to Pune or Mumbai that traverse over South Haryana and Rajasthan, can clearly see the longitudinal tiers of the Aravali ridgelines and the strings of large lakes in the former palaeochannels of the Sarasvati. These faults that occurred at right angles to the Aravali North–South hill range served to cut the Sarasvati river up into a string of disjointed lakes and pools. Death of a River. Simply stated the tectonic Plate theory speculates that successive tectonic activity caused major shifts in the course of the Sarasvati and its main tributaries. It is these shifts that caused its major icewater bearing tributaries—namely the Yamuna and the Satluj to drastically change course and get captured by the Ganga and Indus river systems respectively. The first bout of major tectonic activity occurred around 4700 BP. This is said to be the Kalibangan earthquake that destroyed the major Harappan cities. This caused the Yamuna tear in the Shivalik hills. The Yamuna (which used to receive the major ice melt waters of the Tons river) now shifted course dramatically. Instead of flowing in a westerly direction to join the Sarasvati, it dramatically altered course turned eastward and joined the Ganga river. This deprived the Sarasvati of virtually more than half of its share of ice-melt water from the Himalayas. The next episode of tectonic plate activity occurred around 2600 years BP. This caused a dramatic shift in the flow pattern of the Satluj river that originates from near mount Kailash in Tibet. This river turned westwards and instead of joining the Sarasvati shifted west and was captured by the Indus. This now deprived the once mighty Sarasvati of almost its entire share of ice-melt waters from the Himalayas. From a perennial ice melt fed river of Himalayan origins, it was reduced to a seasonal Monsoonal stream. With the monotonic

weakening of the Monsoons, even this seasonal stream dried out and was sadly reduced to a string of Lakes and pools by further tectonic plate activity that caused East–West oriented ridges to arise at right angles to the North–South ridge line of the Aravalis. This led to the death of a major river that once sustained a civilisation. The table below is illustrative. It lists some of the historic earthquakes that shaped the destinies and flow of the once mighty Sarasvati and caused this major river to die out completely. Damle cites Waldia and others and has created a fascinating table of a series of massive earthquakes in Northwest India and neo-tectonic evens linked with them. Major earthquakes in Northwest India and Neo-tectonic events related to them (by Valdia, 2002) Ser Events Period No Kalibangan Earthquake and 4,700 1) Devastation of Early Harappan Cities B.P.1 4,700 Rise of Yamuna Tear Faults B.P. to 2) followed by their activation 3,700 B.P.2 Eastward Turn of Yamuna from her 3,700 3) Westward Flow B.P.3 4,200 4) Earthquake in Dholavira B.P.4 3,600 5) Submergence of Dwarika (Gujarat) B.P.5 Westward Turn of Satluj from its 2,600 6) Southward flow B.P.6 Desiccation of Sarasvati and 2,500 7) Migration of Communities dwelling on B.P. her banks Thus, tabulated in this fascinating table is the life line and catastrophes that affected the River Sarasvati due to the series of Tectonic events listed

above. Let us examine them in greater detail: a) A mighty earthquake destroyed the Kalibangan settlement on the Sarasvati river in 4,700 B.P. This was caused by the tectonic plate shift that created the Yamuna tear fault in the Shivaliks and heralded a dramatic shift in the flow of the Yamuna. This catastrophe forced the Yamuna to alter course and flow west instead of the east. Thus the Yamuna which till then was a tributary of the Sarasvati, now was captured by the east Flowing Ganga. This denied the Sarasvati River the ice-melt waters of the TonsYamuna system. (Lal and Bhisht 2002) b) The Yamuna was captured by the Ganga and the Sarasvati deprived of virtually 50% of its perennial ice-melt waters. This happened around 3,700 B.P. (or in 1,700 B.C.E.). Puri-Varma places it between 4,700-3,700 B.P. The coastal city of Dwarka (in Gujarat) was submerged around the same period 3,000 B.P. (or 1,600 B.C). c) 2,600 years B.P. the Satluj turned westwards and was captured by the Indus, thus completing the decimation of the once mighty Sarasvati. Deprived of ice-melt water from the Himalayan glaciers, it no longer remained a perennial stream. It was reduced to a seasonal, monsoon stream. This happened around 2,600 years B.P. d) By 2,600 B.P. therefore, the desiccation of the Sarasvati was complete and its people started migrating to the East and West. This sums up the tectonic plate shift theory about the demise/desiccation of the Sarasvati river The Weakening of the Monsoons The alternative theory about the demise of the Sarasvati river is the theory of the monotonic weakening of the Monsoons. It has been theorized that 5,000–3,500 years B.P., there was a marked weakening of the Southwest monsoons in the Himalayan foothills and the plains region of Northwest India. This monotonic weakening of the monsoons has been described as one of the main causative factors for the decline in the flow of the Sarasvati River. Giosan, et al, 2012 have theorized that a weakening of the Southwest monsoons caused the decline of the Sarasvati River and its eventual desiccation. This led to a mass migration of the thriving communities that were once flourishing on its banks. It is a known fact that there was a significant decline in the discharge of the Sarasvati in the later Holocene time. Thapar cites that there was a large-

scale upstream exodus of the Harappans around 3,750 B.P. This is borne out by the sudden appearance of    a large number of late Harappans (3,9003,300 B.P.)  settlements  in the upper reaches of the river in the belt south of the Shivalik Hills. As per RS Bisht, this exodus began much earlier around 4,000 B.P. In his book Early Indians: The story of our Ancestors and where we came from (Tony Joseph 2018) writes about the most exhaustive, multi-year geological study on the possible reasons for the decline of the Harappan civilisation was published in a 2012 paper entitled “Fluvial landscape of the Harappan civilisation.” This identified a clear cause: A prolonged drought that ultimately made Monsoonal rivers go dry, or become seasonal, thus affecting habitations along their course. Hydro-climatic stress increased the vulnerability of agricultural production, supporting Harappan urbanisation leading to settlement downsizing, diversification of crops, drastic decrease of settlements in the moister regions of the upper Punjab, Haryana and UP. This happened around 2200 B.C.E. In fact this has been recognised as a new age called Meghalyan which runs from 2200 B.C.E to the present. This began with a mega drought that destroyed the civilisations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. However, the major rivers of India are the ones that are fed from the ice-melt waters of the Himalayan glaciers. Monsoonal streams can never compare in scale and volume of flow with the rivers originating in the Himalayas. Thus I’m personally convinced that the diversion of the courses of the Yamuna and Satluj rivers must have dramatically reduced the flow of water in the Sarasvati River. It was only after this drastic curtailment that the Sarasvati River became a monsoonal stream. Even this monsoonal stream was sharply curtailed by a reduction of the monotonic monsoonal flows from the years 5,000-3,500 B.C.E. The new date can now be shifted to 2200 B.C.E. Howsoever strong may the monsoons be, I’m not convinced that seasonal rains alone could have generated a perennial river—the size of the Sarasvati that was in full flow throughout the year. That can only happen if it is fed by the glacial waters of the Himalayas. The primary cause of the desiccation of this mighty stream must have been the disruption of ice melt waters firstly from the Yamuna and then the Satluj. That reduced it to a

monsoon fed river. The monotonic weakening of the monsoons in this region finally spelt the death knell of this river. The tragic desiccation of the Sarasvati River therefore is not the result of a significant but singular catastrophic event but a series of tectonic events. The first one around 4,700-3,700 B.P. served to change the course of the Yamuna River and led to its capture by the eastward flowing Yamuna. This also led perhaps to the submergence of the city of Dwarka. This deprived the Sarasvati of its major source of ice-melt waters from the Himalayan glaciers. The second set of tectonic events occurred around 2,600 B.P. and caused the major diversion of the Satluj River which was captured by the Indus. This deprived the Sarasvati of its last source of perennial ice-melt Himalayan glacial waters. This sealed the fate of the mighty Sarasvati. It was reduced to a monsoonal stream that now began from the Shivaliks and the Aravalis. As the monsoons weakened, and as the right angular faults arose as a result of the tectonic activity— even this seasonal stream was cut into ribbons and vanished entirely. Summary of Findings There is today an overwhelming body of new empirical evidence in terms of satellite imagery and geological findings that confirm the followinga) A mighty river—the mythical Sarasvati of the Vedas—once actually flowed from the Himalayas to the Sea via Southern Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan into the Bahawalpur area of Pakistan, down to Sindh and finally merged with the sea at the Rann of Kutch. b) It was a formidable perennial river that was fed by the ice melt waters of the Himalayan glaciers by the rivers Yamuna and Satluj, which were its tributaries. c) This made it a mighty stream some 6-8 kms wide along its entire course. Some 25 kms South of Patiala, the Yamuna and Satluj joined it and this massive stream was 20 kms wide at this location. d) This Vedic Sarasvati was in full flow some 6,000 years ago. The Rig Veda describes this stream as a raging torrent, the mother of floods, the greatest of rivers. The Rig Veda employs the present tense as such it describes a mighty river in full flow—not a river in decline or desiccation. e) The rediscovery of the Sarasvati River therefore puts a serious question mark on the age of the Rig Veda.

f) Geologists Puri & Verma, 1998 tell us that 4,700-3,700 B.P. there was a major tectonic activity in the Northwest quadrant of India. This led to the generation of the Yamuna shear faults in the Shivaliks. The Yamuna River had a dramatic shift in its course. It turned eastward instead of joining the Drishadvati tributary of the Sarasvati. It veered and joined the Ganga River at Prayagraj (Allahabad) via Palaeochannel Y3. This deprived the Sarasvati River of its major source of ice-melt waters. g) Around 2,700 B.P. (Wilhemy, 1969) speculates that there was another major episode of tectonic activity that caused the Satluj River to dramatically alter course veer westward to join the Indus. This catastrophe deprived the Sarasvati from its remaining source of ice-melt waters from the Himalayan glaciers. h) In the Hakra reach of the Sarasvati (near Vinasana), the Sarasvati went underground (this is where Ganweriwala, the largest city of the Harappan civilisation was located). The buried palaeochannel yielded potable water dated 12,900 B.P. to 4,700 B.P. i) Similarly, underground palaeochannels in the Jaisalmer region have proved to be a major source of potable drinking water. There were two buried palaeochannels: i. The one at a depth of 30-50 m had water that was 1,800-5,000 years old. ii. The deeper underground channel had water that was 6,000-22,000 years old. j) The unequivocal surmise is that these palaeochannels of the Sarasvati and its former tributaries the Yamuna, Tons and Satluj were once the water course of a large river having an adequate discharge to meet the needs of the vibrant Harappan civilisation that flourished on its banks. Amazingly these people chose to cling to its banks for over 4,000 years. This despite the fact that we know that monsoonal rainfall in northwest had drastically declined since 4,800 B.P. A mighty river—the mythical Sarasvati of the Vedas— once actually flowed from the Himalayas to the Sea via Southern Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan into the Bahawalpur area of Pakistan, down to Sindh and finally merged with the sea at the Rann of Kutch.


The unequivocal surmise is that these palaeochannels of the Sarasvati and its former tributaries—the Yamuna, Tons and Satluj —were once the water course of a large river having an adequate discharge to meet the needs of the vibrant Harappan civilisation that flourished on its banks. Amazingly these people chose to cling to its banks for over 4,000 years. This despite the fact that we know that monsoonal rainfall in northwest had drastically declined since 4,800 B.P. and around 2200 B.C.E. (4200 B.P.) had faced a mega drought. Hence the Harappan people had only the river water or ground water left to rely upon. The clear implication is that there was a large-scale river flowing through its extraordinary wide channel in the time period 5,000– 3,000 B.P., which sustained the flourishing Harappan civilisation for close to four millenniums. Glaciation Episodes and the Vicissitudes of the Sarasvati Geology provides us some more interesting insights. Geologists record that the Himalayas attained their present form and height during the Pleistocene period that ranges from a million years ago to some 50,000 years before present (B.P.). On the margins of the Holocene period (12,500 to 10,500 B.P.), it is said that Eastern Europe had experienced two episodes of Glaciation. (a) Older Epoch (b) Prias Epoch These must have left their imprint on the Himalayan region and affected the glaciers from which the Sarasvati originated, namely the Rupin-Supin and the Samadar glaciers. Possibly due to heavy snowfall and increase in the size of the glaciers, all the rivers originating in the Himalayas must have frozen to death. These rivers of ice must have thawed and melted after the end of the glacial age (10,500 B.P.). The rejuvenation of these frozen rivers must have represented the resumption of life per se to the people who dwelt on their banks. Let us now pause and take a look at the mythology of the Rig Veda. There are curious myths in the Rig Veda (the oldest of the four Vedas) about “stolen rivers” that are apprehended and arrested in their free flow by the demons Ahi and Vritra. These were baffling verses and difficult to decipher in concrete terms. What actual events were these myths trying to allude to, if at all? They were thought to be allegorical. Surely myth is the basis of

reality. What were these curious Vedic verses trying to convey.? What did they imply by the Dragons in the waters stealing their rivers, and somehow arresting their free flow? What did they imply by the demons who stole the cows (or rays of living light) and hid them in the rocks of the mountains? Prof Damle has suggested that that these curious verses in the Rig Veda that speak of the demons Vritrasur and Ahi, who blocked or arrested the flow of the waters, are perhaps pointing out to the episodes that drastically reduced the water levels in the Sarasvati river. The once freely flowing torrents of life were suddenly arrested in their motion and free flow to the sea. The verses talk of the apprehension or capture of the life giving streams by demonic forces and powers—(the myth is expressed variously as the life giving cows that are stolen and imprisoned in the rocks of the mountains)— till they are freed by Indra and the Rig Vedic seers by their thunderbolts and incantations. Other verses speak of the rivers that are stolen—blocked in their free flow to the sea. These are pristine verses of childish awe perhaps at the sheer power of geological changes they were witnessing around them. As per the Rig Vedic myths, Indra uses his thunderbolt to slay these dragons that were blocking the free flow of these life-giving streams. These verses that speak of the sudden blockage or arrest of the flow of these mighty rivers and thence their deliverance and resumption of flow occur repeatedly in the Rig Veda. These are perhaps archaic descriptions of how mighty streams were suddenly frozen—immobilized and stopped in their impetuous flow to the sea. The ancient Rig Vedic seers postulated that perhaps some powerful demons who were slowing down and then freezing up these free-flowing torrents of life-giving streams. Damle suggests that these verses are alluding to the ancient Rishis interpretation of the glaciation era and then the resumption of flow of these life- giving streams. That is the only interpretation for these Rig Vedic verses of how Indra rescued the rivers and the Angira Rishis rescued the cows who were captured by the Vritra and Pani dragons of a mythological landscape that seems to somehow evoke these episodes of glaciation and thaw that must have frozen the life sustaining streams and then seen their dramatic release and revival with the onset of sunshine. As per Prof Damle, this evidence of witnessing such dramatic geological phenomenon, could stretch the age of the Rig Veda to over 10,500 years B.P. Previously such postulates used to draw derision from colonial historians and leftist scholars. The somewhat unsettling fact now is

that settlements on the Sarasvati like Birhana have now empirically been carbon dated to around 9500 years BP— not very far from the time when the frozen streams would have melted after the age of glaciation and flowed forth freely once again to the great relief and cheer of the Rig Vedic seers who then recorded these monumental events in mythological terms of river stealing dragons who are killed by Indra’s mighty thunderbolt and the arrested waters are made to flow freely once again.. However, this is just a hypothesis presently and remains to be substantiated. Still one is nevertheless struck by the primeval imagery of the Rig Vedic verses that speak of rivers whose full flow is blocked and rivers that are released again and given a fresh lease of life. What are these mythologies trying to convey about the vicissitudes in the life of a river that has seen so many changes of courses and catastrophes? We need to connect these awed mythological imageries to the Geological vicissitudes in the life and rhythms of an ancient river—the Sarasvati. Its flow has been blocked time and again by episodes of glaciation, and by tectonic plate shifts, by right angled faults that suddenly rise to block its flow to the sea and finally reduce it to a string of lakes and pools. The vicissitudes in the life and death of a river, almost sound like a mythological war between the forces of life and destruction, between the forces of darkness and light—the mythical Devasur sangram. In the light of the geological theories, the mythological renditions of reality could acquire a whole host of new meanings and interpretations. The life and death of a river is the subject of philosophical and mythological speculation in the Vedas. The imagery involved is far too graphic and one is forced to speculate about how we can explain these mythological renditions of cataclysmic events in the life of the mighty Sarasvati River. Quite obviously, the ancients must have been deeply affected by the ebbs and flows in the life of a river on which they were so dependent for their sustenance, crops and livelihood. Massive floods and later a dismal dwindling of its mighty torrential flows must have been catastrophic events in the life of this river and the people who dwelt on her banks. The Rig Vedic verses seem to be attempts to record these cataclysmic changes that inspired fear and awe.


ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE: Quest for the Cradle River of the Indian Civilisation


Experts Group Report has an impressive section devoted to archeological evidence about the settlements that have been discovered on the banks of the once mighty Sarasvati river. So far, the Indus River has invariably been designated as the cradle river of the ancient Indian civilisation. In fact the very name India is derived from the Greek Indica, which in turn was taken from the river Indus or Sindhu. The Arabs wrongly pronounced the name Sindhu as Hindu and that is how the majority of the indigenous Indian population has since been called Hindu or dwellers of the Sindhu ever since. The Arabs thus named India as Hindustan—the land of the Hindus, itself derived from the cradle Sindhu River. The simple fact is that by the time the Greeks and Arabs reached India, the Sarasvati River had long since disappeared. The invaders had no knowledge whatsoever of this once mighty river and they assumed that the Indus River was the cradle and

source of this ancient Indian civilisation. This was at best a half truth and an error of perception. In the 1920s the famous Indus Valley Civilisation was discovered in the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro. This greatly strengthened the idea of the Indus as the cradle river of the Indian civilisation. The world was in fact surprised by the size, scale and sophistication of this civilisation and its considerable accomplishments. Conventional, colonial historiography had till then designated the Middle East as the cradle of global civilisation. Christianity, Judaism and Islam—all monotheistic religions —had originated from there. It was then blasphemy to consider any other civilisation that was even contemporaneous with or older than the Mesopotamian. The discovery of the vast civilisational area of the Harappan or the Indus Valley civilisation has however, seriously challenged this Eurocentric notion. The Indus Valley Civilisation was accidentally discovered when the Lahore-Multan Railway was being constructed by the British. Loads of well moulded bricks were discovered in the area and used as ballast. It was thought these bricks were of fairly recent origin. Then the archaeologists discovered Mohenjo-Daro—the mound of the dead and unearthed a major city. The urban planning, the paved streets, the drainage system was remarkable. So was the standardization of the bricks (1:2:4 ratios) and also the weights and measures. A whole new civilisation was unearthed on the banks of the Indus and was then accordingly termed as the Indus Valley Civilisation. It was a copper age civilisation and worked with bronze. It was a trading civilisation and carried out long range trading activities both by land and by sea. Mehrgarh. In the ancient period, the stone age hunter gatherers who lived a nomadic lifestyle had begun to settle down in fixed settlements around 9,000-7,000 B.P. The earliest such settlement has been located at Mehrgarh in Balochistan and carbon dated to 8,000 B.P. Such early settlements arose in the present day Balochistan- Cholistan areas in the hills. They then steadily shifted down to the Indus-Sarasvati river plains in what is termed as Early Harappan  Settlements (5,500-4,500 B.P.). By 3,900 B.P. the mature Harappan phase of great urban sophistication had set in and a great urban civilisation was now spread over a vast civilisation areas to include Gujarat, Sindh, Hakra, Cholistan, Rajasthan, Southern Punjab, Haryana and

even beyond. By 3,200 B.P. (just 700 years later), the river had dried out and the Harappan civilisation had gone into  serious decline. It has now been established that over 60% of the so-called Indus Valley civilisational sites were located not along the banks of the Indus River but along the banks of the Sarasvati. When it came to the mature Harappan sites, almost 80% were not along the banks of the Indus but the Vedic Sarasvati. In fact, the densest concentration of the Harappan settlements was in the Cholistan desert area, along the banks of the Vedic Sarasvati or what is now known as the Hakra channel. A simple quantitative analysis of the distribution of the so- called Indus Valley settlements indicated that the bulk of them had flourished along the banks of the Vedic Sarasvati. The real cradle of the Indian civilisation therefore was really the mighty Sarasvati. The bulk of the civilisational settlements were located along the course of the Sarasvati. This then was the primary cradle of the Indian civilisation and constituted its core civilisational area.

Gap in Stone Age to Ancient Period? Prof Shinde writes— there was a gap between the Stone Age and early historical phase of the Indian subcontinent.” There seemed to be a gap in the history of India as it jumped

from the Stone Age to the Stupa period (early historic) while the settled way of life was introduced much later as compared to many other regions of the world. Many western scholars speculated that perhaps the Mesopotamian cultures had contributed greatly to the Harappan civilisation. Colonial historiography’s central axiom then was that the cradle of the world’s civilisation was in the Middle East and Mesopotamia was its core. Nothing elsewhere could pre-date this core civilisational area of the Bible and Judaism—the origination area of the world’s monotheistic, Abrahamic religions. The pity is Max Müller had died well before Mohenjo-Daro was discovered. The Knowledge of agriculture it was then felt had come from Mesopotamia into The Indus Valley Civilisational area in agriculture-related migrations some 10,000 to 12,000 years BP. The domestication of plants and animals leading to a sedentary lifestyle in fixed human settlements was all apparently the intellectual property of Mesopotamians and Syrians and had it not been for them the world would still have been living a nomadic existence of the hunter-gatherer. This “prophets of agriculture” was a some what preposterous thesis. Mehrgarh near the Bolan Pass has generated sufficient data about the native origin of the Harappan civilisation. In fact the early food producing cultures laid the foundation of the Harappan civilisation around 7,000 BCE (9,000 years BP). Similar discoveries have been made in India like in the Ghaggar (Sarasvati) basin, Bhirrana has been carbon dated to 9,500 years BP. A number of such sites have been found in India such as Bhirrana, Farmana, Girawad, Kunal etc., which clearly indicate that agriculture and the domestication of animals and plants evolved in an indigenous and autonomous fashion in India. The local people clearly progressed independently of any extraneous influence, from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic and then the Chalcolithic stages of human development. The colonial historians had outlandishly exaggerated the contribution of Mesopotamia and West Asia per se to the development of agriculture in all other human societies. The Harappan culture that emerged from these early settlements spans the period from 5,000 BCE to 1,500 BCE. This can be classified into three stages:

Early Harappan: The formative stage lasted from 6,000- 2,600 BCE (8,000-4,600 years BP).

● The Mature Harappan: This was the most advanced and prosperous stage and lasted for 700 years from 2,600 to 1,900 BCE (4,600 to 3,900 BP). ● Late Harappan: The deteriorating phase of this culture is called the Late Harappan and stretched from 1,900-1,500 BCE (3,900-3,500 BP). This vast civilisation declined from ecological causes in a period of just 400 years. Extent The Harappan civilisation was spread far and wide, from Afghanistan in the North, Maharashtra in the South, Makran Coast in the West and the Western part of Uttar Pradesh in the East. It covered an area of over some 2 million square kilometers. This included various types of sites like cities, regional centres, towns, villages, ports, industrial centres and temporary camps for exploiting local natural resources. Out of over 2,300 such settlements only some nine to ten can be called cities. These include Rakhigiri (530 hectares (ha)), MohenjoDaro (3,000 ha), Harappa (150 ha) and Ganeriwala (40 ha) as also Bhirrana, Banawali, Kalibangan, Lothal and Rakhigiri. Shinde et al feel that given their size only five could be classed as cities. Thus it would really be a misnomer to call it an urban civilisation. This was largely rural in nature.

The geographical extent of the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation. Civilisational Core Area The Rig Veda mentions the region of present-day Haryana and Southern Punjab as the land of the Bharatas—the tribe after which Bharatvarsha or India is named. King Sudas of this tribe had won the famed Das Rajan War (or the War of 10 Kings) and established his sway over the whole region. The key issue was—was this Rig Vedic civilisational area coterminous with the Harappan civilisation? Were they one and the same civilisation? Or were they separated in time and distinct from one another—as colonial

historiography led by Max Müller suggests. Max Müller had rather arbitrarily set 1,500 B.C.E. (3,500 B.P.) as the era in which the Indo-Aryans had reached India from the Central Asian steppes. Mortimer Wheeler had suggested that they came as invaders with their horses and chariots and destroyed the Indus Valley civilisation (which he decreed as Dravidian or indigenous civilisation). No trace of such large-scale warfare, massacre and genocide, however, has ever been found in the Harappan civilisational area. So this rather grand Aryan Invasion Theory failed to pass muster. The colonial historiographers however seemed determined to prove that the IndoAryan population was of foreign stock and not the natives of India. Perhaps this was designed to mitigate the foreignness and illegitimacy of the British colonial rule in India and establish a narrative that the Aryan population itself had come from outside and as such had little to complain about the alien aspects of British Rule in India. What lent credence to those foreign origin theories was the fact that linguistic studies had established a common origin for the Indo-Aryan-Iranian group of languages. Thus Sanskrit, Latin and Persian and most European languages had a great deal in common. There were so many similar sounding words with the same meaning that suggested a kind of common origin of the Sanskrit language with the Persian, Central Asian or the European dialects. This will be taken up in much greater detail subsequently. The AIT was deftly changed to the Indo Aryan Migration theory (IAMT) The second aspect was the pattern of recent invasions of India from the onset of the Current Era. These had all come from the Northwest via the Khyber and Bolan Passes. The invaders had been the Persians, Greeks, Huns, Sakas, Scythians, Mongols, Afghans and then the Mughals from Uzbekistan. All invaders had come from the harsher climes of Central Asia and beyond to the warm, lush, fertile and fabulously rich plains of India. There was little evidence, cause or reason for a reverse East to West movement of people from the warm and fertile Indian plains to the arid and mountainous regions of Central Asia and beyond—except one. Eco-catastrophe? An eco-catastrophe like the sudden drying up of a once mighty river that sustained a vast civilisation, could force the people living on its banks to migrate East and West. They probably moved first northwards to where the river was still a potent stream. Then the bulk of them moved into the Ganga-Yamuna floodplains. The forests here were

much more dense and the roots difficult to dig out with copper or bronze implements. This led to the onset of the Iron age (or age of Kali, Kaliyug) and the painted grey ware type ceramics, distinct from the glazed red coloured Harappan pottery. Other clans situated on the west banks of the Vedic Sarasvati may well have migrated to the Indus Valley and since that was already populated, moved out further on to the river valleys of Afghanistan, Iran, the Amu and Syr Daryas in Central Asia and thence on perhaps to Anatolia in Turkey, Southern Europe and even down to the Middle East. We indeed have a tablet in Mesopotamia that records a peace treaty between the Haiti and Metani tribes where the Vedic Gods Indra, Mitra, Varuna etc. were invoked as witnesses to the treaty. This will be taken up in far greater detail in the chapters on scriptural and linguistic evidence. At this point we need to focus more closely on the hard archaeological evidence that we now have to substantiate the thesis of an Indus-Sarasvati civilisation in the Northwest quadrant of India that flourished some 5,000-3,500 B.P. Quantitative Analysis of Geospatial Distribution of Sites Detailed and extensive studies by archaeologists relating to the pattern and density of distribution of these settlements have highlighted that there were a total of nearly 2,378 such Harappan style settlements spread all across Northwest India. These included large cities/towns such as Bhirrana, Banawali, Kalibangan, Ganeriwala, Dholavira and Rakhigiri. These are located along the banks of the uncommonly broad channels. These channels were once the water course of a very big river with enough discharge to meet the needs of a vast and extensive civilisation that was highly sophisticated and progressive. Amazingly, these people clung to these channels for almost 4,000 years—even after the Southwest monsoons had declined steeply. Thus it is clear that the water flowed through these channels throughout the year, otherwise the Harappans would not have continued to inhabit these river banks. We now know that rainfall in India had drastically diminished from around 4,800 B.P. These people could have survived only on river water or ground water. (Report of Expert committee p 63) Urban Settlement Density

The clear implication is that a very large river flowed through its extraordinarily wide channel in the time period 5,000-3,300 B.P. It was this abundant glacier melt flow that sustained the Harappan civilisation throughout the year. A crucial evidence for this river based sustainability is provided by the lack of any wells within major settlements like Kalibangan, Banawali, Bhirrana, Karanpurra to name a few, This clearly highlights that the inhabitants were directly dependent on river water for sustenance. This mighty river disappeared in the Holocene period and the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation died out due to this ecological catastrophe. The settlement of the sites dated around 1,900-1,300 B.C.E. clearly indicates the abandonment of several settlements along the central and lower

Ghaggar, including the large settlements like Kalibangan and Ganeriwala. The decrease in the number of settlements in Bahawalpur (Pakistan) and Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh (Rajasthan) can be clearly seen. It marks a sharp  contrast with the preceding mature Harappan phase (2,600-1,900 B.C.E.). There was then a dramatic increase in the settlements at the outskirts of Jind, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Hissar and Ambala districts along with Gurugram district. All the Harappan sites in Rajasthan were abandoned. Around this time the number of sites increased from 44 (Harappan) to 29 (late Harappan) in Haryana. There is a distinct migration, first up river and then into the mouth of the Ganga-Yamuna doab. Huge copper hoards and ochre coloured pottery were found in this region. These possibly belonged to another culture. With this overall backdrop, let us now take a detailed look at the three distinct phases of the Harappan or Indus-Sarasvati civilisation. Let us now take a detailed look at each of these phases of the Harrapan civilisation. The Early Harappan or Pre-Harappan Phase This was the formative stage of this civilisation just preceding the urban phase. These were chalcolithic cultures, slightly advanced when compared to the Hakra culture, in terms of sophistication of architecture. At some sites like Kalibangan and Harappa, we see a fortification wall surrounding the settlements. This early pre- Harappan phase is dated to 2,800-2,600 B.C.E. during this period several regional chalcolithic cultures flourished in the greater Sindhu valley. These early pre-Harappan cultures are based on material culture and geography. These are named variously as: (a) Amri-Nal (South Sindh, Makran etc.) (b) Kot Dijian (North Sindh, Cholistan & Pakistani Punjab) (c) Sothi-Siswal (Rajasthan, Haryana & Indian Punjab) (d) Ananta (North Gujarat) (e) Damb Sadat (Central Balochistan) In the Ghaggar-Hakra basin the Kot Dijian sites are found on the lower course. While Sothi-Siswal sites are found on the upper course including Ghaggar, Sarasvati and Drishadvati basins. The Kot Dijian culture got its name from the type site of Kot Diji in North Sindh. While the Sothi-Siswal takes its name from two sites namely, Sothi and Siswal, both on the River Drishadvati (found in the Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan and later in Hissar district of Haryana).

Sothi-Siswal Sites. An estimated 166 Sothi-Siswal sites have been discovered and out of this 19 are excavated. The average size of these settlements is 4.8 hectare with two sites more than 20 ha in size. Some important excavated sites are Kalibangan, Sothi, Naorhar and Rakhigiri (in Haryana). Kot Dijian Sites. Total number of Kot Dijian sites discovered is 111. They have an average settlement size of 6.31 ha. These sites are distributed largely on the central and lower parts of the Sarasvati basin, Bannu and Gomal valleys and as far North as Taxila valley. Harappa is the largest Kot Dijian site with an estimated size of around 40 ha. Both Sothi-Siswal and Kot Dijian cultures form an important phase during which advancements in trade, architecture, procurement of raw material and technology became evident. The excavation at Kalibangan on the Ghaggar and Banawali on the Sarasvati reveal separate fortified settlements with walls that enclose the townships. Evidence of ploughed fields from Kalibangan is an important finding of this period. Palaeo botanical investigation of Kalibangan remains indicate the presence of wheat, barley, chickpea and field pea. Wood remains include Acacia, Teak, Heartwood and Axel wood. The presence of Rhino horns in Kalibangan and Karampura is a very interesting finding and indicative of a very different eco- system than we find there today. It is an ecosystem more indicative of the Brahmaputra valley with a mighty flowing river and heavy monsoons. The Mature Harappan Phase Around the late part of the fourth and early part of third millennium B.C.E., we see an integration of the regional chalcolithic cultures in the Greater Sindh Valley. This integration could have been brought about by several causative factors likea) Emergence of a common ideology b) Expansion of trade networks for procuring exotic products, very often from distant lands c) Pooling of resources from one region to another and networking of settlement clusters d) External seaborne trade with Mesopotamia It was in this mature urban phase that several of the medium and large sized towns of the Kot Dijian and Sothi-Siswal cultures saw great prosperity and expanded into small and large cities.

a) Two of the five largest cities of over 100 ha size are noticed on the Sarasvati River. These are Ganeriwala (>100 ha), now in Cholistan, Pakistan and Rakhigiri (>150 ha) in Haryana, India b) Other medium to large cities of this period located along the Sarasvati were Kalibangan, Karampura and Baror (all in Rajasthan) and Banawali, Bhirrana, Farmana and Mitathal (all in Haryana) Thus, an estimated 1,500 sites of the Harappan phase have been identified so far (Kenoyer1999) which can be classified as small villages or hamlets (100 ha). This is between Khanpur and Bahawalpur in Pakistan around the present site of Derawar Fort. This seems to be the core of the Harappan civilisation. Kalibangan-Rakhigir Cluster. The second dense cluster of settlements is between the ancient Sarasvati and Drishadvati rivers— the core civilisational area of Kurukshetra (Southeast of Bhatinda and Northeast of Delhi). The largest city here is Rakhigiri (>150 ha). Compared to these dense settlement clusters on the course of the Sarasvati, the ones along the course of the Indus River look more like trading outposts and links to the raw material and mining areas. The core civilisational area between the Sarasvati and Drisahdvati is called the land of the Bhartas in the Rig Veda and is possibly the origin of the very idea of India or more accurately—Bharat Characteristic Features of Mature Harappan Settlements The Experts Study Group report (2016) lists the salient/characteristic features of these mature Harappan settlements as: a) Cities/towns surrounded by massive fortification walls b) Multiple divisions in settlements c) Standardization in brick size—1:2:4 ratio

d) A large number. of seals and sealings e) Standardization in weights and measures over a very large civilisational area f)Sophisticated   pyro-technology   in   terms   of characteristic pottery and terracotta toys g) Copper and bronze tools h) Evidence of long distance trade both by land and sea. Land trade was primarily to procure raw material and sea trade seemed to focus on exports Carbon dating has fixed the age of most of the mature Harappan sites between 2,600-1,900 B.C.E. (4,600-3,900 B.P.). This chronology is the overall timeline for the civilisation and individual sites will have different dates for their origin and abandonment. Thus, radiocarbon dating has demonstrated that Bhirrana is at least 8,000 years old. More recent studies in fact have pushed back this date to 9,500 years and possibly older. Many phases of civilisation are found in the same location. Thus, during the second half of the Third Millennium B.C.E., a large number of these settlements were supported entirely by the Ghaggar-Hakra river systems. This must have been a river with a continual year round flow of water—indicative of a glacier fed river. This river water dependence is borne out by the striking lack of wells within settlements like Kalibangan, Banawali, Bhirrana, Karampura and others. This clearly highlights that the inhabitants were still dependent upon water from the river directly. Late Harappan/Post Harappan Phase All evidence now points to a sudden abandonment and vanishing of the Harappan civilisation after this peak. Possehl, 1999 writes that “this civilisation arose quickly from whatever formative base might have been present and that it ended with equal rapidity.” He further states that a clear evidence for the presence of a late Harappan phase of the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation was always there but largely ignored by the archaeologists due to the distinctiveness of the mature Harappan material culture and lesser understanding of the transformations preserved in the habitation of different settlements. Kenoyer, 1998 observes that there was a gradual shift which marked the fading of the first urban civilisation into the background as many new cultures emerged in the Eastern, Northern and Southern edges of the Indus Valley.

Kenoyer, 1988 speculated that it took nearly a thousand years for a shift in the cultural and political centre from the Indus Valley to the Middle Ganga Region. This transformation marked the end of the urban phase of the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilisation which was sustained for nearly 700 years. The beginnings of this transformation have been documented at sites like Harappa and Dholavira during the concluding phase of the mature Harappan phase itself. These transformed late Harappan/post urban cultures are known in different parts of the Greater Sindhu valley such as: a) Cemetery H culture (Pakistani Punjab & Cholistan) b) Late Harappan/ Bara (Haryana, Punjab & Western Uttar Pradesh) c) Jhukar and Jhankar (Sindh) The settlement pattern of sites datable from 1,900-1,300 B.C.E. (3,9003,300 B.P.) clearly indicates abandonment of several settlements along the central and lower Ghaggar including the large settlements like Kalibangan and Ganeriwala. We see a gradual northward shift of the settlements in the 1,900-1,300 B.C.E. period and finally their migration into the mouth of the Ganga-Yamuna Doab. There is a distinctive decrease in the number of settlements in Bahawalpur (Pakistan) and Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh (Rajasthan) when seen in comparison to the preceding mature Harappan phase (2,600-1,900 B.C.E.) along with a sharp increase in the number of settlements in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In Haryana itself, a dramatic increase in the number of settlements is noticed in the districts of Jind, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Hissar and Ambala districts. The number of sites increased from 44 (Harappan) to 297 (late Harappan) in Haryana. In this period all the Harappan sites in Rajasthan were abandoned. The desertification of Rajasthan and the Thar Desert had commenced. The eco- catastrophe that caused the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation to vanish had set in. The possible reasons for this eco-catastrophe have been discussed in detail in the earlier chapter on geological evidence. The most likely cause was a shift in the course of the Yamuna River around 4,700 B.P. followed by an even more disastrous shift of the Satluj River in 2,700 B.P. Both these were caused by tectonic plate shifts. A gradual weakening of the Southwest Monsoons has also been proposed as a causative factor by many writers. This had commenced around 4,800 B.P., but it is noteworthy that the ice-melt streams from the Himalayas

fed the Sarasvati during this entire time period and sustained the IndusSarasvati civilisation till 1,900 B.C.E. (3,900 B.P.).The causes for the desiccation of this mighty river lie more in the realm of tectonic plate shifts that caused its major ice melt water bearing tributaries to dramatically shift their courses. Ochre Coloured Pottery Culture and Copper Hordes A distinct ceramic tradition represented by a pottery known as Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) marks the transformation and cultural assimilation of the late Harappan civilisation into the Ganga-Yamuna Doab. This occurred in the Second Millennium B.C.E. This ceramic was first identified from stratified contexts at Hastinapur by B. B. Lal, 1955 and later from many sites in the GangaYamuna Doab. This ceramic tradition is also found in association with enigmatic copper hoards from excavations at Saipai and Madarpur. These included a variety of tools and weapons. The chronological time bracket of this culture has been placed around 2,000-1,200 B.C.E. Painted Grey Ware Culture After a gap of nearly 700 years we find that the central course of the Ghaggar-Hakra Basin is re-occupied by a new culture distinguished by a distinct ceramic known as Painted Grey Ware (PGW). This culture also marks the beginning of Iron usage in the Indian subcontinent. This ceramic is grey in colour, fired in reducing conditions to achieve a uniform grey colour. The PGW culture is characterized by a rural economy with an agricultural-cum-pastoral way of living. Three distinct regions based on settlement pattern can be delineated: a) Western Zone (Cholistan, Pakistan) and Sri Ganganagar in India are on the central course of the river Ghaggar-Hakra b) Upper course of Drishadvati, Sarasvati and Ghaggar in Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh. There is complete absence of PGW sites beyond Sri Ganganagar upto Hissar district. This indicates a re-occupation of the Ghaggar- Hakra basin, which could have resulted from better availability of water from monsoonal sources flowing from the seasonal streams in the Shivaliks. Early Historic Period: Rangmahal Pottery This leads us to the early historic period in Northern India which extends to a few centuries of the current era as well. This saw the emergence of numerous kingdoms and empires in Northern India. In the Ghaggar-Hakra

basin, the emergence of a culture marked by a distinct pottery known from the type site of Rangmahal is noticed. This culture is contemporaneous with the Kushan dynasties which ruled the Northwestern parts of India from the 2nd Century B.C.E. to 3rd Century B.C.E. The ceramics of Rang Mahal is distinguished by red coloured pottery with beautiful black coloured decorative motifs. A number of sites belonging to this culture can be noticed along the central course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River. The presence of sites along this river system is an indication of renewed water availability which supports human occupation, while the entire middle and lower middle portions were completely depopulated. Having seen the cultural progression of the rise and decline of the vast Harappan civilisation and its various phases, let us now take a detailed look at its Sociological aspects and its arts, crafts and technological innovations. Social and Technological Outlook and Arts and Crafts “This Harappan culture”, writes Dr Shinde in his authoritative monograph—Ancient Indian knowledge System: Archeological Perspective, “was enriched with varied crafts, specialized production centres and rudimentary technologies. These crafts can be studied under two different categories based on whether the process of manufacture involved the use of fire or not. a) Pyrotechnology: These were the crafts that are created using fire. The included ceramic, bricks, terracotta, faience and metallurgy (copper, gold and silver). b) Non-pyrotechnology: crafts that are created without using the fire process. These include agriculture, architecture, hydraulics, lapidary, flint, knapping, shell industry, wood work, stone working, ivory, bone and antler processing. The striking feature of this civilisation is the homogeneity of the material culture over such a large civilisational area. This could be because of an empire that may have emerged in this period by conquering and integrating vast swathes of territory in the mature Harappan period. This makes it perhaps the earliest empires in recorded history anywhere in the world. Remarkably there is evidence to suggest that the formation of the empire was largely by peaceful means. Prof Shinde avers that the Harappan civilisation was the contemporary of two other great civilisations of similar antiquity. These were the civilisations of:


Mesopotamia in Iraq: This was situated between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. b) The Egyptian Civilisation: which flourished along the Nile River in Egypt Prof Shinde speculates that these two Middle Eastern civilisations had a strongly autocratic monarchial system of governance. It is only with the use of vast amounts of slave labour that such grand monuments like the Sphinx, Pyramids, vast palaces, life size images, temples and royal tombs could be built. The royal tombs in both these civilisations contained enormous wealth of burial goods. The salient feature of the Harappan civilisation is a complete absence of such opulent and magnificent structures like the Pyramids or Sphinx and other public architectures. Nor did they bury great wealth in their burial sites. Some burial sites with Chariots and weapons have however, been recently unearthed In Bhagpat district of UP. The material culture of the Harappans was however, highly sophisticated. They were technically advanced and quite capable of creating such structures. There are examples of public utility structures built by the Harappans. These included: a) City walls b) Drainage systems c) Water harvesting and management systems in cities d) Ports and Wharfs This indicates a highly skilled and technologically advanced  knowledge of the Harappans in the field of Civil Engineering. Prof Shinde speculates that despite this civil engineering capability, the absence of grand monumental architecture, life size images, palaces and royal tombs in the Harappan sites is clearly suggestive of the non-existence of a monarchial system in the Harappan socio-political organization. At the very least this could have been a more egalitarian and benevolent monarchial system or one that was fairly democratic in outlook. The emphasis was on the welfare of citizens. Prof Shinde speculates that this social system was democratic like the modern day village. Panchayats may well have been the first democratic dispensation of the world and perhaps its first welfare state. Trading State The Harappan civilisation state was a trading state that thrived on long distance trade relations with Mesopotamia and Egypt. Trade was both overland and overseas. They had a flourishing maritime tradition as is

indicated by the port cities like Lothal and the seals depicting large oar and sail boats. Numerous Harappan artefacts such as ornaments made of carnelian, agate, copper, shells, steatite and Lapis lazuli were very popular in the Middle East and in great demand in the civilisational states of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Such massive trade volumes must have generated huge amounts of surplus wealth. However this was not stored in palaces or royal burial tombs. They did not create opulent palaces and monumental architecture. Instead the wealth was used to provide public amenities and cater for the welfare of the citizens via civic amenities like baths, drainage and water harvesting systems. They created very meticulously planned clean and hygienic cities with excellent civic amenities That would be the envy of even the current civilisation in India.  

Wooden Plank and reed boats in current use Gujarat—Note similarity with Indus Boat seals. It was therefore an egalitarian state that used its trade surplus for the welfare of its citizens rather than aggrandizement of its kings and royal families and wasteful burials of vast treasures in Royal tombs. Monarchial or democratic—the state was egalitarian in nature and oriented towards the welfare of its citizens. Its socio-economic profile is a marked contrast to what we see in its contemporary civilisations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, where thousands upon thousands of people were used as slave labour to create Great Monuments to the monarchy —the oriental despots of that era. Thus there are no grand Pyramids or Sphinxes in the Harrapan civilisation.


Indus Valley seals depicting wooden plank and reed boats. Note astonishing similarity with Boats in current use in Gujarat. The segregation of cities into segments or parts (Citadel, Middle and Lower towns) is possibly indicative of a loosely hierarchical caste system of sorts that could have been based on trade and craft guilds. The towns are well organised with defending walls and impressive gates, well organized drainage system, standardized baked bricks (with laid down ratios), vast amounts of pottery, a script that is yet to be deciphered, varied basic crafts, production techniques, seals, weights and standardized measures. The standards of uniformity achieved in weights and measures is astonishing. The Harappans thus were pioneers in the field of civil engineering. Trade Strategy. The Harappan civilisation had apparently generated huge wealth through hinterland and international trade. It is the accumulation of this surplus wealth that had enabled the Harappan culture to transform itself into a flourishing urban civilisation. Most of the raw material came from outside the Harappan civilisational area. As such the Harappans had developed trade relations with the outlying chalcolithic cultures. The Harappans ensured adequate supplies of raw material through this hinterland trade. The Harappans had developed pyro and non-pyro techniques for the production of a variety of finished goods including pottery, beads of semiprecious stones, stone tools, seals, terracotta objects and stone objects. They ensured uninterrupted supplies of raw materials. They had established well organized commercial networks for hinterland and international trade. Bulk external trade was via river and sea craft. These boats were made of wooden planks and reeds and are astonishingly similar in design to the local boats currently in use in Gujarat. Lothal Dockyard Around 2,500 BCE, the Harappans built the largest hydraulic structure, measuring some 15 m in length, 37 m in breadth and a depth of 3 m at Lothal in Gujarat. This dockyard was connected via a canal and a nala to the Bhogavo River. Boats entered this dockyard at high tide through an inlet in the northern and eastern walls measuring some 12 m and 7 m respectively. For the exit of extra water at high tide, there was a spill channel in the eastern wall with a sluice gate. The sloping pattern of bricks formed the wharf. Lothal was the Port Town of the Harappan civilisation and indicated that it was a sophisticated trading state.  

Structure identified as dockyard in Lothal (Courtesy ASI). Silk Production Prof Shinde has cited evidence of silk production in the Harappan civilisation. The Indus Valley civilisation used at least two separate types of silk in the third millennium BCE. Thus silk was being used in South Asia for more than 2,000 years before the introduction of domesticated silk from China. City Layouts Cities were commonly divided into four parts with the main streets running in cardinal directions with a provision of smaller streets, lanes and by lanes. The plan of a Harappan city represented a grid pattern or a chess board. Streets were cut at right angles. Sometimes cities were built over platforms to save them from floods. Such platforms are seen at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Lothal. The Harappan fortifications had gateways, entrances and posterns for security. Prof Shinde tells us that the Harappans had introduced a scientific construction method popularly known as English Bond. For this they made rectangular bricks in the standard ratio of 4:2:1. The principle of the English Bond construction method is simple—one line of bricks is placed horizontally and the next vertically. This method was actually pioneered by the Harappans around 3,000 BCE. The primary advantage of such a

construction methodology was that it prevented vertical cracks in the structure and provided great strength to it.

The City of Mohenjo-Daro aerial view—note chess board type layout. Civic Amenities The most outstanding feature of Harappan town planning, Dr Shinde points out, is the creation of elaborate civic amenities. Well planned streets and side lanes equipped with drains are the most typical features of Harappan cities. The Harappan cities were clean and sanitized since they had devised scientific means to dispose of dirty water and solid waste out of city walls. These cities had a network of closed as well as open drainage systems. All these were connected to the main drainage line. These drains were made of baked bricks and connected with the bathing platforms and latrines of private houses. The open drains flowed into large sewers in the main street that was covered with bricks or dressed stone blocks. The corbelled arches allowed the large drains to cut beneath streets or buildings until they finally emerged under the city walls to disgorge sewage and drain water

into the outlying plains. These excellent civic amenities in fact could be a model for most South Asian cities to emulate today.

Each household constructed its own bathing platform and latrines out of burnt bricks. Bathing platforms had a raised periphery and often were paved with decorative tiles. These bathroom tiles were made of fine clay and perfectly baked. They were decorated with floral motifs and small concentric circles. This tradition seemingly was introduced around 2,500 BCE and continues till today. The latrines usually had a terracotta commode. The commode therefore is not a Western but an Eastern Innovation. Basic Mathematics Such sophisticated construction entailed a deep knowledge of mathematics. Prof Shinde informs us that they had developed a scale based on the decimal system. For larger areas, they possibly used ropes. Specimens of scales have indeed been located in Mohenjo- Daro, Harappa, Lothal and Kalibangan. These were made of various materials to include shell, bronze, ivory and terracotta scales. Ten divisions of the Mohenjo-Daro scales add upto 2.64 inches, which appears to be the linear unit used by Harappans. The Harappans knew how to use the compass and could produce angles. They maintained verticality of structures and angles in drains. They created unique hydraulic structures. A group of Harappan houses was invariably served with one or more private wells. These were usually circular wells. Some 700 of these were found in the core areas of Mohenjo-Daro. Terracotta pulleys for drawing water have been discovered at Kalibangan. Water Harvesting and Management Some of the Harappan sites were located in the arid regions of the Rann of Kutch. Near the city of Dholavira, the Harappans had three check dams.

The flash floodwaters that flowed down the Manhar and Mansar rivers in this area in the monsoons was diverted to a 4-6 meters underground reservoir in the city. Another check dam was built on the Mansar stream that irrigated a vast amount of area (some 150,000 sq kms) for agricultural purposes. Some of the water reservoirs were built of stone blocks and others cut into the rocks. Different water reservoirs built in three parts of the cities were interconnected by underground channels built of stone slabs or burnt bricks. It was an elaborate system of water management and harvesting and one of the earliest in the world of this form of engineering. Agricultural Strategy As per Shinde, 2008, the Harappan civilisational area encompassed two major agricultural zones. These were: ● The Arid Black Cotton soil zone in Gujarat and Rajasthan ● The Alluvial zone in the Indus-Hakra Region The spanning of two very different agricultural zones lent a great deal of resilience to this civilisation and possibly explains its longevity. As this civilisation flourished, there was a dramatic rise in its population and that greatly enhanced the need for food grain  requirements. For this the Harappan introduced a double cropping system in South Asia and invented sophisticated agricultural implements. The amazing thing is the sheer degree of continuity in South Asia. The double cropping system and agricultural methods developed by the Harappans are still relevant and widely practiced in India. This is an element of basic continuity in the Indian civilisational context. Lal (1979) pointed out that the excavation at Kalibangan show advanced ploughing methods for agriculture. The ploughed fields reportedly belonged to the Early Harappan period dated around 2960 BCE. These are East-West and North-South running furrows. The East-West furrows are relatively closer to one another and could have been used for growing the main crops like Wheat and Barley. The North-South furrows are slightly apart and could have been used for cultivating secondary crops like Mustard, or Horse grain concurrently. This method of ploughing and crop pattern still continues to be employed in the North-Western quadrant of South Asia.  

Harrapan ploughed fields.Modern ploughed fields (courtesy ASI).

At the Harappan sites of Mohenjo-Daro and Banawali terracotta, replicas of agriculture tools have been recovered. The terracotta replica of a plough found at Banawali has an angled cutting edge. Similar shaped ploughs are still in use in North India. It’s just that these are now fashioned from iron whilst the Harappan era ones were made of Copper or Bronze. Food habits also seem to have remained the same over the millennia. The shapes of cooking pots have remained largely the same (only the medium has changed from earthenware to metal  now). Tandoors (ovens) are still used to roast chicken in North India. Such Tandoors have been recovered at Farmana in the Harappan civilisational area. The design of the bullock-cart remains largely unchanged in India as that of the boats made up of planks and reeds that were used to trade with the Gulf regions in that ancient era. There are seals that have an image of these wood and reed boats of considerable size. Terracotta and Pottery Harappan pottery was one of the finest made in India. It was a fast wheel made of extremely fine, well-levitated clay, free of impurities. It went uniformly through the fire and the surface was treated with red slip, over which intricate designs were executed in black. The painted patterns included intersecting circles, fish scales, Pipal leaves, animal or human figures and simple and complex geometric patterns. Considerable bulk of the pottery however was plain. Typical Harappan shapes included the S-shaped jars, dish on stands, global pots and perforated cylindrical jars.

Exquisite red slip, fast wheel and well baked Harappan pottery.  

       However, one of the most insightful relics of that ancient civilisation are beautifully decorated human and animal figurines made in terracotta. Pottery is still a widely practiced form of livelihood in Western and North-Western India. The terracotta human figurines are most revealing and tell a tale of amazing cultural continuity in India that stretches from over 5,000 years to the present. There are dancing girl figurines wearing a set of spiraled bangles on the upper left arm. Amazingly these types of bangles were found in the

Early Harappan levels at Kunal (Haryana), dating to around 3,000 BCE. Such ornaments still continue to be worn by the women folk in Rajasthan and Gujarat (Shinde p 87) Rao (p.503) suggested that the Harappan adults used to play an intelligent game like chess, with their Pieces curiously shaped like mushrooms or phallic symbols. The game of chess had therefore  originated in the Harappan civilisation. The children played with rattles, whistles, tops, hopscotch atrics and enjoyed wearing masks. There are also figurines of domesticated animals like dogs (with collars), birds in a cage and terracotta models of feeding bottles that were found at Kalibangan.

Terracotta model of feeding Bottle Kalibangan. The most spectacular example of cultural continuity can be gleamed from the terracotta figurines of Harappan women. The application of red to the medial parting line of the hair clearly represents vermillion (Sindoor). Hindu married women still follow the tradition today. Tradition dies hard and this one had survived for 5,000 years plus. It is further reinforced by terracotta female figurines with red circular dots or Bindis at the centre of their foreheads—a tradition very much extant and in vogue since five millenniums down the line. These are amazing examples of cultural continuity that have defied the ravages of time and repeated invasions. The use of yellow colour on the ornaments painted on the figurines clearly suggests that the Harappans made gold jewelry— still a huge craze with the women in South Asia.

Terra cotta Figurines

The Harappans also made statuettes in Bronze and mostly in Copper. Some 177 Copper artefacts have been analysed. Only 30% entailed use of tin, arsenic, nickle or lead alloys. Tin was the most common. The best bronze object is a dancing female statuette recovered from Mohenjo-Daro. This is now world famous and has the girl wearing spiraled bangles on her upper left forearm. The amazing continuity of this cultural context in western India has already been outlined earlier. A large number of copper bangles have also been discovered. They also used shell objects. A bronze saw was used to cut them. Nageshwar, Bagasra and Kuntari were identified as important shell working centres. Stones of many different types were used. There were lithic tools made of chert and chalcedony; seals carved of steatite and ornaments like beads, bangles and pendants made of faience and carnelian etc. Harappan Carnelian beads have been found in the Royal Cemetery of Ur. Many sculptures have also been recovered from the excavated sites. One of the best known is the bust of a bearded man with drooping eyes (meditative?) with a decorated band on his forehead. He has very often been identified as a Priest King. The other even more remarkable is the torso of a fine grained sandstone found at Harappa. This is so wellproportioned. What strikes the observer is the realism of the statuette and the sheer accuracy of observation and anatomical detail that one saw much later in the Greek or Roman Art. The attention to anatomical detail is simply amazing and this must have been sculpted from a live model posing for this masterpiece of sculpture. The head and hands were made separately and attached into the sockets provided in the torso. The perfection of proportion is amazing and this could well be considered one the masterpieces of the Harappan Art on par with later Greek or Roman Statues

Male torso in terracotta found at Harappa. Note the Perfect realism of this statue. There are other beautifully decorated terracotta female figurines that are more akin to present day tribal art. The power of observation is acute. But most of the other terracotta figurines are largely representative and childlike in capturing the human anatomy much like children would do today with plastic clay. The terracotta animal figurines are much better proportioned, and realism predominates. Yoga and Meditation One of the outstanding features of the Harappan civilisation is its emphasis on Yoga and Meditation—truly characteristic features of the

ancient Indian civilisation. The first was a seal depicting a proto- Shiva— Pashupatinath—the lord of animals surrounded by wild beasts and domesticated animals sitting in the classical asana or meditative posture with an elaborate and enormous headdress characteristic of the Shamans of yore. Was this perhaps the first indication of “Dhi mahi” or the meditative culture in the Harappan civilisation? Western Indologists and their lackey Indian legions of historians have of course expressed skepticism

Priest King in meditative posture?Mohenjodaro

These should have been reasonably put to rest by the discovery of several terracotta figurines from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in different classical Yogic postures or asanas. This is the most amazing piece of evidence about the essential nature of the Harappan civilisation. It is indeed mystifying as to why this is not widely known or articulated even in the academic circles. One can easily spot a Vajrasan (Namaz posture), a Pavanmuktasan and a classical meditative posture (Siddhasan) amongst this set of eight Hatha Yoga posture figurines. There are also figurines in the classical Indian prayer posture with folded hands or what is called the famous Anjali mudra or Namaste or Namaskar posture. This defines the Indian civilisation. It is its testament. It stretches the age of Yoga back to 5,000 years ago and makes it coterminous with the Harappan culture. Yoga is so characteristically Indian. It is the essence perhaps of the Indian civilisation and it is in full and unmistakable display in the terra cotta figurines that have been recovered from Harrapan sites. To my mind this is the most singular piece of evidence that identifies the Indus Valley civilisation as indigenous and logically Indo-Aryan. It provides the most self-evident cultural linkage between that ancient past and the current Indian civilisation.

The most conclusive evidence. Yoga posture terracotta figurines. Harappa. and Mohenjo- Daro (Lal 2002) To amplify this yoga posture aspect Outline sketches of these yoga figurines have also been added below because the Yoga aspect of the Harrapan culture is most significant and needs to be underlined and highlighted.  

Terracotta Figurines in Yogic asanas1-4 from Harappa and 5-6 from Mohenjo-Daro  

This evidence brings us back to the serious questions about the real identity of the Harappan people. Were they indigenous people, or aliens? Were they Dravidians as the British Indologists would have us believe or the Aryans themselves? If so, had these Aryans come from the Central Asian Steppes or were they local? These are the key questions that we have to grapple with today. These questions have been put off and obfuscated for seven decades after Indian

independence. It is now time to take them head on and engage in an informed and clinical debate with the colonial coolie historians and Marxists who have held aloft the banner of Colonial historiography for so long. It is as I said, a time for a paradigm shift in the understanding of Indology. The cumulative weight of evidence is now unmistakable. Especially the clues about yoga and as later chapters will highlight, Rig Vedic Soma clearly establishes the Rig Vedic Aryan Nature of this ancient culture. This has to be seen in relation to several other aspects that underline a seamless thread of cultural continuity between this ancient Indus Valley tradition and present-day Indian culture in north and western India. Great Baths Ceremonial bathing seems to have been a popular ritual in the Harappan civilisation. This is another glaring aspect of cultural continuity between the ancient and modern contexts of India. Thus a great bath has been discovered at Mohenjo-Daro that consists of a large waterproof tank with a number of small rooms along its periphery. This bath was 11.7 meters long, 6.9 meters wide and 2.4 meters deep. The northern and southern sides had staircases leading to the floor of the tank which had a brick edge paving with gypsum mortar. The innermost walls had a damp proof coating of bitumen. A courtyard surrounded the tank with a pillared corridor having a series of rooms. There were eight bathrooms and Marshall (1931:26) had even recorded evidence of a hypocaust system of heating that corroborates the view that the building alongside the bath was a Hamam—a Turkish bath. The great bath was located in the citadel part of the city and was possibly meant primarily for the use of the elite. Close by was a well from which water was drawn into the tanks and possibly charged periodically. The structure closely represents present day swimming pools in concept and design.  



The so called Indus Valley tradition has one clear hall mark—it is located right in the precise geographical area described in the Vedas. To that extent it has fuelled logical speculations that the Indus-Sarasvati valley civilisation was identical with the Rig Vedic civilisation. Our ingrained colonial bias has so far led us to treat these two civilisations as distinct and separate. They were said to be distinctly separated in time because Max muller had decreed that the Indo-Aryans came to India only in the Bronze age (1500 BC). This postulation is wholly arbitrary but has strangely become the core construct of the colonial history of India. Recent carbon datings of Indus Valley sites have challenged the antiquity estimates of the Indus Valley tradition itself. Max mullers dating of the alleged time horizon of the advent of the IndoAryans flies in the face of the Rig Vedic verses that talk of the Sarasvati as a

mighty river in full flow. By 1500 B.C.E. it had virtually disappeared and could not be the primal river of the Indo-Aryans and their geographical construct of the Sapta-Sindhva, the land of the seven rivers and five major tribes. Let us therefore systematically analyse the new data that has come to light so far and proceed logically and with abundant caution in our search for a new and objective reinterpretation of ancient Indian histor. In this book so far, with the aid of satellite imagery, geological evidence and archeological data, we have established the following key aspects: ● The Sarasvati River was not just a myth. It was an actual river of mighty proportions that rivalled the Brahmaputra in sheer size and length. It was 4600 kms long and 6-8 kms in width. It flowed from the Himalayas to the sea. ● Major tectonic plate shifts, some 4,700 and 2,600 years before present, caused its ice melt water bearing tributaries— the Yamuna and the Satluj respectively—to change courses and be captured by the Ganga and Indus rivers. ● These tectonic events caused this mighty river to dry out entirely. Its northern portions were reduced to a disconnected string of lakes and pools and its southern portions around Jaisalmer, Rajasthan went underground—where well borings today have shown the potential of bringing up millions of litres of sweet water to the surface. ● The most significant finding however comes from the discipline of Archeology. Over 60% of the so-called Indus Valley sites (especially 80% of the mature urban phase) have been found not on the course of Indus, but along the dried out course of a once mighty Sarasvati. ● The Cradle or Mother River of the Indian civilisation therefore is not the Indus but the Sarasvati River. The Greeks, Arabs and the British who came post the desiccation/ demise of the Sarasvati River created a civilisational construct based on the Indus Valley as the cradle and primary seat of the Indian civilisation. It is factually incorrect. The Indus had only the outlying settlements of this civilisational area (less Mohenjo-Daro). So, what then is the true identity of the people who dwelt on the banks of the Sarasvati-Indus civilisational area? It was a vast area spread over some 2 million square kms. It dwarfed the civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Iran in sheer size and scale.

● What then was the ethnic identity of these early Indians? Were they Dravidians as the colonial historiography would have us believe? Were they alien or indigenous? Did Indra, the Aryan war god commit horrific genocide and slaughter and drive out the hapless Dravidians past the Vindhyas to create a convenient North-South faultline for the colonizers to exploit? ● However, when even in Max Müller’s and Mortimer Wheeler’s time this AIT theory failed to get substantiated, it was deftly replaced by the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory (IAMT). The Aryans now supposedly came in wave upon wave of migrations from Central Asia into a land that had just been desiccated by the drying up of the mighty Sarasvati River. Large portions of it had been smothered by desertification. Why would the Aryans stream into such an area of eco-disaster? It is far more likely that the people who dwelt along the banks of the Sarasvatiwould be forced to migrate outward. The rediscovery of the lost Sarasvati river is most significant and epochal event whose impact will perforce have to be felt in any attempt to reinterpret ancient Indian history ● Archeological Evidence: In the previous chapter I have painstakingly marshalled an array of recent Archeological data and findings. I have primarily relied upon the excellent research efforts of Dr BB Lal and Dr Shinde, very highly respected and credible Indian historians. The entire mass of archeological evidence highlights an astonishing degree of cultural continuity that we can see from the ancient era to the present day India. The continuity of lifestyles, cultural constructs, modes of transport, culinary habits and even the designs of pots, pans and ovens, techniques of agriculture, layouts of houses, the basic design of bullock carts etc. are so startling that it defies imagination as to why these have not been noted much earlier than they were? What is most significant however is the discovery of terracotta figurines in the traditional postures of Yoga. Yoga is the most quintessentially Indian concept and discipline. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are perhaps the most noble aspects of the Indian Rig Vedic and Upanishadic civilisation which has given rise to the present day Indian culture and civilisation. The cardinal and qualifying aspects of the Indian civilisation are not caste and misogyny as the postmodern American historians insist, but Yoga, and a deeply mystical and meditative culture that

sees consciousness as the primal stuff of the cosmos and a great unity behind the bewildering multiplicity of things we see around us. The Aphorism Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman) sums it all up so succinctly—the Jiva (individual soul) is identical with the infinitude of Brahman, the cosmic entity. All essential Indian striving is to seek that Union of Jiva and Brahman through yoga and dhyana (meditation or dhi). That is the quintessence of the Indian philosophical outlook. It is such a pleasant surprise to discover that it dates back to the Indus Valley tradition and perhaps provides us with the strongest possible argument that establishes these so called separate and distinct traditions as wholly identical. The Rig Vedic civilisation and the Indus Valley tradition are one and the same culture. The evidence is simply too compelling and overwhelming. Let us examine it in detail once more. Cultural Continuities: Harappan and Present Day Hindu Civilisation Some of the glaring facts of cultural and civilisational continuity between the Harappan civilisation and present day Hindu Society are so remarkable that they should cause us to reflect deeply. I will summarise some basic ones here to highlight this aspect: ● Terracotta Insights: The Indus-Sarasvativalley script has till now not been deciphered. That has been a major obstacle to gaining deeper insights into the civilisational context. Surprisingly, it is the plastic arts, the terracotta dolls, figurines and sculptures of that era which have given us a wealth of information and insight. These terracotta dolls, toys and figurines provide us the visual language of art to read about that ancient period. The terracotta sculptors and doll/toy makers were after all recording what they saw around them with a surprising degree of detail and accuracy. These plastic arts have been able to capture snapshots of that long bygone era and provide us flashes of insight that are remarkable for their clarity and precision. We may not have deciphered the Indus script and symbols but the language of that plastic art is so vivid and simple. It is an effort to capture the reality of that era in plastic figures and representations. In the terracotta toys and pictorial seals, we have a language and visual script that we can read directly. It is self-evident and its evidentiary value is very high.

There are terracotta female figurines with the application of red (vermilion) to the median parting line of the hair (Sindoor). They have red circular dots or prominent Bindis on the centre of their foreheads. The continuity with the current cultural context is so obvious and apparent. ● Bangles of copper and other materials are prominently visible on the figurines of Harappan women. There are female figurines of dancing girls with spiraled bangles on the upper left arm. Similar bangles are still being worn by women today in Rajasthan and Gujarat. ● There is the sculpture of a bearded man with half-closed eyes; apparently a Priest King in meditative state. ● The Indian traditional gesture of greeting with folded hands (Namaste) is frozen in small terracotta dolls. This is the classical Anjali mudra still being used in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and large parts of South East Asia to include Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali as a gesture of greeting and prayer.

An Indus Valley seal depicts the archetypal Yogi, a proto Shiva surrounded by animals—the classical Pashupatinath— the Lord of Animals seated in a meditation posture (Siddhasan/Padmasan). See the seal above of the proto Shiva who was called Rudra in Vedic mythology.

● Most amazing of all are terracotta figurines that depict various Yoga Asanas—most prominent being Vajrasan (Namaz position) and Pavanmuktasan. The Namaste gesture of greeting and salutation is also frozen in those Yoga figurines—a greeting gesture preserved for posterity across the eons. This is the most graphic bit of evidence in support of the thesis that the Indus Valley tradition and the Rig Vedic culture are one and the same . they are wholly identical and provide a remarkable proof of cultural continuity in the Indian civilisation ● A series of fire altars or altars for ritual sacrifice (Yagna) have also been discovered in the Harappan city site near the great bath. Remnants of Vedic fire-altars for Yagna have been found at various sites in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan, Banavali, Lothal and Surakotda etc. Western historians have tried to dismiss them as hearths for cooking food. The Vedic tradition has ciricular hearths for cooking Food( grihapatyaagni) and rectangular ones( Ahvaniya) for the ritual Fire sacrifice. Both have been discovered in the Harappan civilisation. ● A terracotta figurine clearly depicts the Shiva linga—Yoni symbol of the phallus and vagina. This is from Harappa.

● The Bullock Cart toys depict a cart that is so remarkably similar to the bullock carts now in use in present day rural India. The basic design and proportions are exactly similar.  

The designs of houses with a central courtyard are another facet of continuity. Such houses are still common in Northern and Western India. ● The presence of large baths points out to the significance of ritual bathing practices that continue to the present day. ● The agricultural techniques and practices bear marked similarity with those prevalent in this day and age in North and Western India

Trident like design with Peepul leaf decorations ● A most remarkable feature is the representations of the Peepul tree and Leaves on Harappan seals and pottery. The Peepul tree is still one of the most sacred trees of India and is still revered all over the country. The threads of Botanical and cultural continuity are remarkable. Some see in this image a similarity with the trident of Shiva The key question that then arises—is the Harappan civilisation and the one mentioned in the Rig Veda, (from which the present day Hinduism has emerged), one and the same? These are the basic Questions of Indian Historiography today. Who were the indigenous inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent? How and why do we categorize some people as indigenous and others as alien? Who were the Indo-Aryans? Were they original inhabitants or foreign invaders? Or were they just migrants who wandered in wave after wave to a land where a great river had just been desiccated and dried out completely and large swathes had just recently been converted to desert in Thar and Rajasthan? The present Hindu culture is entirely derived from the earlier Rig Vedic context. On that issue there is not an iota of dispute or divergence. The proto-language of the terra cotta seals and figurines now tells us clearly of the overwhelming levels of cultural similarity between the Indus Valley tradition and the present day Hindu culture in India which we know to be fully derived from the Rig Vedic civilisation of the Indo-Aryans. This is seminal and irrefutable evidence of cultural continuity and it would be highly unprofessional to turn a Nelsons eye to this vast amount of visual evidence preserved for posterity in the form

of these terracotta figurines which speak in a visual language that is crystal clear and emphatic. The visual language needs no interpretation and is stand alone evidence of very great credibility and reliability. Even by itself it should suffice to settle the Indo-Aryan question with a great degree of certitude. The evidence however is not just confined to the field of archeology per se but encompasses the diverse disciplines of Geology, Satellite imagery and scriptural and linguistic evidence . These provide a convergent picture that is now crafting an entirely new paradigm of Indology. We have recorded a remarkable degree of cultural continuity between the Harappan civilisation and current day Hinduism. We know this present day culture sprang from the Vedas. So do we now have the dots that connect the Harrapan civilisation to the Vedic? These terracotta figurines have been available to scholars for many decades. How could we overlook the astonishing similarity and degree of cultural continuity between our present Hindu culture and the Harrapan era for so long? These are indicative of deep set mental blocks and the basal approach of colonial historiographers who had very evident agendas to pursue. How can their rather jaundiced interpretations be cast in stone? That unfortunately is precisely what our Leftist historians have done. The pity is the levels of sheer dogmatism and a blasé denial of new evidence and data. They talk blithely of seeking new interpretations but in actual fact hold on to antiquated colonial era narratives as central dogma and gospel truth which just cannot be questioned or given a fresh look sans any bias and historiographic baggage. Terra cotta Figurines

This remarkable degree of civilisational and cultural continuity overtime suggests the most obvious conclusion—these are the same people. The Rig Vedic Aryan civilisation was coterminous with the Indus-Sarasvati valley civilisation and thus its age and antiquity have to be pushed back by another two thousand years or more. To summarize briefly, historians have recently suggested that these two civilisations were one and the same and the Rig Vedic Aryans were the indigenous original inhabitants of the Indus-Sarasvati area. This is a radically new redefinition of the original home of the Aryans. The Indus-Sarasvati area becomes the original home of the Aryans who spread from there to Central Asia, Europe and the Middle East and Sanskrit becomes the Proto-Indo-European language. This aspect will be taken up in very great detail in the succeeding Chapters. The deeply entrenched colonial construct of Aryans coming in waves from Anatolia and Central Asia stands seriously challenged with the sheer quantum of mounting evidence to the contrary. It is said that the Aryans of Central Asia were a pastoral civilisation based entirely on agriculture and animal husbandry. The Indus-Sarasvati civilisation was said to be urban. A quantitative analysis of the typology of settlements—the number of cities, towns, villages and temporary settlements indicates that over 60% of the Indus- Sarasvati sites comprised of villages and small settlements. Iyenger, 1999 had pointed out that 1,500 of the total 2,500 sites discovered were

small villages. The rest were small towns. There were only 10 major cities/towns (of over 100 hectares) in size over 2 million sq km of civilisational area. That does not make it an entirely/ exclusively urban civilisation. Besides as we dig deeper and go to the earlier layers of this civilisation, we find a landscape that is entirely rural and sylvan—the original setting of the Rig Veda. The Aryan civilisation was said to be patriarchal, stratified, pastoral, mobile and warring. This was largely, in fact, a rural civilisation in which some 10 great cities emerged later and flourished as a result of surplus wealth generated by wide ranging trade activity. So, are the civilisations described in the Rig Veda and the IndusSarasvati civilisation one and the same? An overwhelming mass of evidence has built up over the years, which makes that conclusion look rather logical and apparent. To establish this self-evident truth, however, today we need to adopt a multidisciplinary approach. This is precisely what has been attempted in this book. Seafaring People: The Continental, Central Asian heartland stereotyped image of horse-borne nomads was an idyllic and fanciful image created by the colonial historians. It tried to paint the picture of a heartland continental culture of the Aryans (like that of the Mongol horsemen) that was as far removed from the sea as could ever be imagined. Even a superficial reading of the Vedas however (especially the Rig Veda) highlights numerous references to the sea and its Lord Varuna—to ships and pirates and long sea-borne journeys for trade, to boats and ships with a hundred oars. The entire deliberately constructed edifice of a Eurasian heartland, continental culture of the vast steppes in the heart of Asia crumbles as we read of increasing such references to the sea and river-borne commerce and even long sea voyages by the ancient Aryans. According to the popular scholarly stereotype however, the Vedic Aryans were cattle and sheep breeding, semi-nomadic pastoralists. The Aryan civilisation was said to be patriarchal, stratified, pastoral, mobile and war oriented. A reading of the Veda however suggests that while the rural population may have conformed to this rather romantic pastoral stereotype— the Vedic Aryans were much more than wandering horse herders. They were also city dwellers and enthusiastic seafarers and merchants whose long range businesses took them down the whole length of the Sarasvati and Indus rivers and out into the open seas to trade with the Middle East and perhaps

even Africa. Even a cursory reading of the Rig Veda and other Vedas throw up innumerable references to the sea and to ships and long voyages. There are references to attacks by pirates and how the Ashwin twin gods saved stranded shipwrecked individuals. This could hardly be true of the steppes of Central Asia. There are simply no ports and outlets to the sea there, the Indus Valley tradition has great and wide rivers which facilitate ship borne commerce and a long coastline in Gujarat with numerous ports that facilitate overseas trade with the Middle East and possibly even with Africa. The Rig Veda does not describe a heartland or continental geography. It  describes a land of the seven rivers and ports and talks of sea voyages. The heartland Mongol-horsemen type imagery is rather romantic but misleading and inaccurate. Besides had such a mass migration taken place, the Rig Veda would surely have some record of such collective memories of a great migration from the heartland of Asia. There would have been references to the geography they traversed. There are however references to a reverse outmigration of Amavasu and his clans who went on to Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey etc. The only major shift this civilisation had carried out was from the IndusSarasvati river system deeper into the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plain formed by the Ganga-Yamuna river system. So we see a phase of urbanization followed by another plunge into the primeval forests as the people who dwelt along the banks of Sarasvati River were forced to enter the densely forested Ganga-Yamuna floodplains and with Agni as an ally, burn down vast areas of forest lands to create open space for settled agriculture. It is possible that while the Eastward shift represented the major transfer in the civilisational area, smaller numbers of the Sarasvati civilisation population could well have migrated to Afghanistan, Iran and on to the Middle East—as far outwards as Mount Ararat (Turkey) and Anatolea—possibly even Eastern Europe. Migration certainly did take place, but the grand strategic direction of this civilisational area shift has totally been misinterpreted by colonial historiographers. The Eurocentric view still predominates and Colonial era Leftist holdouts are just not prepared to countenance India as the core civilisational area of the Aryans per se. This challenges the Eurocentric outlook of the colonial era and apparently former slaves and subjects must be kept in line by the historical minders of the empire’s ideology. Politically it is speculated that the early Indic civilisation was probably carved into a number of tribally aligned kingdoms—some of which were

apparently quite large. The Rig Veda speaks of five tribes or peoples and internecine tribal warfare between these kingdoms—the most historic of them being the Das Rajan War (The War of 10 Kings). The celebrated Vedic King Sudas fought both Aryans and Dasas. Colonial historians have caricatured Dasas into derogatory racial archetypes—to “snub nosed and dark skinned” Dravidian people of the original Colonial myth. This is not borne out by deeper analysis. The Dasas were perhaps people who stood for a set of values directly opposed to those of the Aryans—but they were essentially an Aryan tribe. The Iranian language uses the term Daha as equivalent of Dasa—and represents the common Aryan people of Iran. Was the primal axis of conflict and warfare between the Indo-Aryans of the Sarasvati tract and the Aryan (Dahas) of Iran? Does the destruction of a hundred fort cities (Puras) by Indra refer to wars between the Indic and Iranian Aryans? The polarity of gods and demons is reversed in the Rig Veda and the Zend Avesta of Iran. Could this ideological schism be a source of prolonged military conflict? Were the hundred fort cities protected by wooden stockades whose remains have perished? Were they located in Iran or the BMCA? The deep genetic kinship of the Indians and Iranians is clearly established and so is their Ideological dispute which could have led to wars between the Aryans and Dasas or Dahas of Iran. We need to do far greater research to establish these hypotheses. However what stands increasingly demolished is the Aryan Invasion Hypothesis and its later variant—the Indo-Aryan Migration Thesis. The Sankalpa Shloka—the Idea of India. Sudas fought the Das Rajan War against a powerful coalition of ten kings, who united to attack him. It was a huge war—a la the Mahabharata War. Verses speak of large scale casualties—speculated between 60,000 to 100,000. Vashistha, the priest of Sudas, enabled his armies to cross the river in flood and prevail upon his foes, the coalition of misguided Aryans and Dasas. So where are the corpses? Warfare in India was regulated by rules of chivalry. Civilian populations were never attacked. Armies met in designated battle plains in sheer attrition based, force on force engagements. There was no fighting after sunset. Corpses were perhaps cremated collectively leaving little skeletal remains of the type inflicted by foreign armies in India which slaughtered civilians and non-combatants on a horrendous scale in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Vedas also speak of Panis as enemies of the Aryans and portray them as cattle-thieves. Some historians identify them as

Phonecians. The main conflict was not between “invading” Aryans and aboriginal tribes but between the Aryan clans themselves primarily between the Aryans and Dasas( Iranians)Through this tribal warfare emerged the land of the Bharatas. This is the region roughly of the present day Punjab and Haryana. The Bharata clans based here established their suzerainty over large tracts of Northern and Western India and laid the cultural and political foundations of an entity called Bharatvarsha—the land of the Bharatas. There lies perhaps, the origin of the idea of India. This is reaffirmed at the start of every family ritual in India, even today. The performer of every ritual situates himself in this cultural geography and each such affirmation underlines the idea of India that has come down from the millenniums. This is spelt out in the Sankalp (Resolve) Shloka (The Affirmation Verse), which states that:

ी ेत वाराहक े - भूलोके - ज ू ीपे - भारतवष - भरतख े - आयावत - क लयुगे - क ल थम चरणे - गतैकदेशे … It situates or orients the performer of the ritual in terms of भूलोके —the planet earth; ज ू ीपे—the landmass of Asia; भारतवष—in the land of Bharatvarsha; भरतख -े आयावत— the part where the Aryans dwell. This locational affirmation that situates the performer of the ritual in his geocultural context, serves to define the country now called India and named as Bharatvarsha in the sacred texts. This is the root of the Idea of India that has withstood the march of the millenniums.



Perhaps some of the greatest clues about the true nature and identity of the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation has come to us from  the terracotta figurines. These clay dolls provide us very deep insights into the nature of this civilisation per se. Terra cotta figurines and seals have informed us about the Proto Shiva as Pashupatinath—the lord of animals. Shiva is mentioned as the god Rudra in the Vedas. We have encountered Havan kundas or Sacrifical Alters for the Vedic Fire sacrifice. The most remarkable piece of evidence for Vedic origins, however, comes from a Harappan female figurine (3,300-1,300 BCE), now with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA. This ceramic fertility figurine stands some 8 inches tall. It is of terracotta, modeled face and hand modeled body. It depicts a wide hipped fertility Goddess with enormous earnings and strange dotted discs around her head. Dr R. Gordon Wasson and Dr Stephen

Francis Borhegyi had speculated that these discs were representations of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom that has been identified as the Vedic Soma.

The divine mushroom of Soma in the headdress of Harrapan terracotta figurines It is a bright Red Mushroom with white specks that had psychotropic properties. It was a hallucinogen that was widely used in Central Asia, Siberia, Iran, Afghanistan and Northern India. It was also extensively used in the Mayan or Aztec civilisation of South America (Guatemala). Gordon Wasson had speculated that this Brilliant Red Fly Agaric Mushroom is the mythical Soma of the Vedas. It was a psychotropic plant that induced ecstasy, longevity and clarity of mind.

It provided creative insights and made the subjects euphoric. They felt a complete absence of fear and pain, which is why the warriors prized this plant so highly. The Vikings it is said consumed this red Mushroom before going to battle. It filled them with a red hot rage as it were and made them oblivious of pain and fear. The value of such effects in combat can be easily imagined. No wonder it was so highly prized. No wonder the Vedic war-god Indra was so fond of Soma. He ingested it before every battle that he fought with the Dragons and vritras—the tearing ones of myth and fable and won all his battles—courtesy Soma. So what was this highly prized Soma? Soma is a very important construct of the Rig Vedic Indo-Aryan civilisation. In fact the entire 9th Mandala of the Rig Veda is devoted to Soma and contains some of the most lyrical and exquisite poetry ever composed by man. The Soma plant was crushed in mortar and pestle stones, strained in wool and collected in copper utensils. It was mixed with Ghee (clarified butter) or curds and offered to the Gods in elaborate Soma Yajnas or Soma sacrifices. It was ingested alike by the Brahmin priests and warriors. It induced mood elevation, euphoria and ecstasy. It induced great clarity of mind, wakefulness and creative insights for the Vedic Rishis. It also led to a complete absence of fear and pain; and hence greatly enhanced combat performance on the battlefield. Indra is said to have ingested Soma and attacked and killed Ahi and Pani—the dragons and the Vritras—the wolves and “tearing ones”. Soma had tremendous significance for the Rig Vedic civilisation. That had led to a search for the botanical identity of this plant called Soma. From an analysis of the Rig Vedic verses in praise of Soma, R. Gordon Wasson (The Divine Mushroom) had drawn up a botanical profile of the Soma plant and identified it as the Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric) Mushroom found in the mountains (near Pine trees). It is a brilliant red mushroom with white spots that looks so spectacular and beautiful. It is hallucinogenic/ psychotropic in nature. The Vikings, it is said consumed it before going to battle and it induced in them a red hot rage, which their foes just could not withstand on the battlefield. The Rig Vedic Aryans consumed the same for its mood elevation and clarity of thought, the euphoric states of heightened alertness and creativity in which, the Rig Vedic verses were ostensibly received. Other scholars claim that Soma was an Ephedra bush with Golden stalks. However the Gordon Wasson view of Soma as a brilliant red

Mushroom is more pervasive and spreads across many cultures as far afield as Siberia, China and even South America. Apparently Shamanism was a global phenomenon in the ancient times. The Polka dotted Mushroom symbolism can be clearly seen in all Hindu and Buddhist art. What was thought to be ceremonial umbrellas in Hindu and Buddhist sculpture and paintings are actively representations of these Red Mushrooms. Indian Gods and Goddesses hold these mushrooms in their hands. These divine mushrooms were encoded into the pictures—often “hidden in plain sight”, as metaphors of an induced ecstasy. Soma, the divine mushroom, finds surprisingly widespread representation in the Shamanic Art of Europe, Central Asia, India, China and even the Mayan and Aztecs of South America. The discovery of the Divine Mushroom motif in the terracotta figurines of the Harappan civilisation provides an astonishing clue into the true nature and identity of the Harappan civilisation per se. The Harrapans knew Soma, an archetypically Rig Vedic concept, and represented it in their art and symbolism. This notches up yet another striking similarity between the so-called Indus Valley tradition and the Rig Vedic culture. In the set of illustrations below, the Soma mushroom is arrayed as a crown around the head of a female goddess of fertility.  

The female fertility goddess. from Mohenjo-Daro with Soma mushrooms arrayed about her head. See the remarkably similar figurine from The Maya civilisation with the mushroom symbolism.

This very significant clue about Soma provides a clear indication that the Harappan civilisation was perhaps the same as the Rig Vedic Aryan civilisation. The Aryans thus were not invaders/migrants from Central Asia. The Indus-Sarasvati tracts were possibly their core area and original home of the Indo-Aryans. It was the eco-catastrophe of the desiccation of the Sarasvati that forced segments of these original Aryans to migrate out to Afghanistan, Central Asia, Southern Russia, Eastern Europe and even the Middle East. A striking clue has now come to us from the ‘Divine Mushrooms’ arrayed around the head of that terracotta figurine of a fertility goddess with generous hips and contours from the Harappan civilisation. It possibly constitutes a part of the widespread cult of Soma that was common to Shamanic cultures all over the globe— from Europe, Central Asia, China, Iran, India, Afghanistan and as far afield as South America. Robert Gordon Wasson writes, “What was this plant called Soma? No one knows. Apparently its identity was lost some 3,000 years ago, when its use was abandoned by the priests. The earliest liturgical composition of the Indo-Aryans called Brahmans, discuss surrogates to be used for Soma in the ritual, but fail to describe the original plant.” “I believe”, he writes, “that Soma was a Mushroom—Amanita Muscaria, the fly agaric, Der Fliegenpilz of the Germans—the Fausse Orange or the Monche or Garpandin of the French, the Mur Khomor of the Russians.”   This flaming red mushroom with white spots flecking its cap is familiar throughout Northern Europe and Siberia. It is often put down in   Mushroom Manuals as deadly poisonous, but this is false. Until lately it has been a central feature of the worship of several tribes in Northern Siberia, where it has been consumed in the course of their Shamanic sessions (Wasson Gordon R., Soma of the Aryans). The appearance of this divine mushroom in the regal headdress of a fertility goddess figure from Harappa is a significant pointer perhaps to the true identity of the Harappan people.

The imprint of the Rig Vedic Soma culture is now clearly visible in the tracts of the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation. The pity is that most of the sites discovered remain unexplored. We need a major program to dig these sites and recover more evidence urgently to establish the true nature and identity of this ancient civilisation. Far more than Mesopotamia and Iraq—this qualifies to be earliest cradle of human civilisation per se. The terracotta figurine with the divine mushroom plants of Soma arrayed around her head provides a significant clue to the identity of the Harrapan people who dwelt on the banks of the sacred Sarasvati. Another significant clue comes in the form of the rudimentary game of chess that we encounter in the Indus Valley civilisation. The chess pieces are shaped like mushrooms or mini phallic symbols— yet more clues to the familiarity of the Harappan Civilisation with the concept of the Soma mushroom of ecstasy.

Note the chess pieces shaped like mushrooms in the Harrapan Chess board.




Frawley writes, “Extensive excavations in Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt gave substance to many of the people, places and events chronicled in the Bible that until then had been dismissed as merely legendary. Werner Keller noted in his seminal work, Bible as History, that “the results of investigations correspond in detail with Biblical narratives.” Recent archeological excavations in the Indus Valley and Sarasvati tract have similarly substantiated several so called myths and narratives, mentioned in the Vedas. One of these primal narratives in the Rig Veda is about the mighty River called the Sarasvati which was the cradle of a remarkable civilisation. Perhaps the oldest religious texts of human kind are the four Vedas. They contain the names of rivers, geographical descriptions and precise astronomical information which could provide valuable clues

to historians seeking to reconstruct that ancient past. The British colonizers invested considerable effort into understanding the indigenous Indian worldview and so they encouraged the study of Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature. As Monier Williams, one of the pioneers of Indological research wrote: “To know the Hindus, to know their past and present condition, to reach their very heart and soul, we must study Sanskrit literature.” The Sanskrit word Veda means knowledge or wisdom. There are four ancient collections of hymns called the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva Vedas. Classically the Vedas were considered to be just three or Trayi Vidya (Rig, Sama and Yajur); the Atharva Veda is a later composition, often referred to as the Soma Veda. This is the largest body of sacred literature surviving from the ancient world. For literally thousands of years they were committed to memory and passed down orally from father to son in Brahmin families, especially charged with their memorization and preservation. It is a monumental feat of racial memory, quite unparalleled anywhere else in the world. The four Vedas comprise of some 20,358 verses amounting to approximately 2,000 printed pages. They served as the foundation for a vast body of derivative literature, which comprised of the: ● Brahmanas (The ritual texts) ● Aranyakas (Meditational texts for study in the forests) ● Upanishads (Esoteric or Philosophical texts—said to be a 108 in all) Thomas Berry stated unequivocally, “In quality, in quantity, in significance for man’s intellectual, cultural and spiritual life, this literature in its totality is unsurpassed among all other literary traditions of the world.” Like most ancient documents, the Vedas are a composite mix of symbol, allegory, myth, metaphors and story as also the sheer paradox and Zen Koan style riddles. The paradoxical logic and insights are unique. In the ancient Sanskrit of the Vedas, there are two literary artefacts that serve as encoding devices and provide several layers of meanings and interpretations. Maharshi Dayanand and Sri Aurobindo pointed to the significance of “Slesha” or synonyms—a word having several meanings at once. It was only the context and usage that defined the true meaning. Thus ‘fleet’ in English language means a collection of ships. It also means fleet of foot. Thus “गो” (go) in Sanskrit means cow. It also means a

Ray of living Light. That interpretation completely transforms the meaning of the stanza. An example from the Hindi language would illustrate. Jal (जल) means water. It also means burning (जल गया). The meaning is thus context driven and synonyms often serve as encoding devices, perhaps to hide the true meaning from those who are not the intended recipients of that knowledge. The other feature is Sandhi (सं ध) or how words are joined to form a composite word. These enable the same text to have multiple layers of meaning—each radically divorced from the other. The Vedic language therefore has to be interpreted correctly and can lend itself to several layers of meaning often depending upon the experiential context of the reader. Only people who have had particular experiences in meditation, reached that particular state of consciousness alluded to in the mantra, can grasp its essence or true meaning. All this makes it rather difficult to dredge the Vedas for secular meanings and geographical or physical knowledge. Yet there is a wealth of such knowledge in the Vedas, which can help us in interpreting Indian History. What we learn is that the Vedic people were not mere horse herders and pastoralists. They were equally sea farers, traders who traveled great distances and city dwellers. Geographical knowledge in the Vedas Let us therefore focus on the geographical knowledge enshrined in the Vedas—particularly as it refers to the ancient Sarasvati River. Rivers have been the source and fountainheads of all civilisations on this earth. The Egyptian civilisation thrived on the vast river Nile. The Mesopotamian civilisation flourished along the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The Chinese Civilisation flourished on the banks of Hwang Ho and Yangtze Kiang rivers. The Indian civilisation originated on the banks of Indus- Sarasvati river systems. That is the seat and cradle of the Indian civilisation as is now evident from the satellite imagery of the dried out course of the once mighty river and extensive archeological excavations on its banks. Sarasvati in the Rig Veda Rig Veda is the most ancient of the four Vedas. Apart from its Fourth Mandala, there are in all 75 mantras eulogizing the Sarasvati in the other Mandalas. These mantras in fact contain physical descriptions of a mighty

river in full flow—from the Himalayas to the Sea. They also refer to her as a divinity—Sarasvati as the Goddess of learning, speech and intuition. A Rig Vedic verse states—“The River Sarasvati alone among these abundant wealth giving streams, arises in the high mountains and flows to the sea. Verily it offered milk to the very thirsty King Nahusha” (RV7.95.2) Another verse in the 6th Mandala (61st Sukta) describes the Sarasvati. In fact it has 14 verses attributed to the Rishi Bhardwaj Brihaspati. It says “We serve the sacred Sarasvati so full of tumultuous waves. Praised through our hymns, she is the demolisher of our foes. She tears the edges of the mountains like an elephant uproots a lotus.” (RV 6.61.2) The Sarasvati could bring about devastating floods. One verse supplicated her fierce form “O mother Sarasvati—do not destroy our lives, Do not take away the umbrella of your shelter. Be pleased with us O Sarasvati for our friendly ways. Give us abundant wealth, let us re-enter our homes.” (RV 6.61.14) Another verse describes her as “lustrously brilliant river that surges ahead like a thundering chariot.” She is called loudly roaring, mother of floods, greatest of rivers. All these are images of a mighty, impetuous and torrential river in full flow. This is what the Sarasvati was some 6,000 years ago. By 1900 B.C.E. it had dried out around the time of the Mahabharata War. The Aryans, as per Max Müller, had arrived only in 1500 B.C.E. to North India. They had composed (received) the Vedas here. Geologically, by this time the Sarasvati had been totally desiccated. It had been reduced to a string of pools in the North and gone underground in the South. This desiccated river is not what the Rig Veda describes. Such a desiccated Sarasvati could hardly be the inspiration for the awed verses of the Veda which describe a mighty Stream in full flow. It talks of a mighty river, fast flowing and

tumultuous—the Sarasvati in its prime—not a dying or a dead river that it had become by 1500 B.C.E., when the Indo-Aryans are supposed to have arrived on the scene. It could give rise to devastating floods—hardly what a desiccated stream can do. Elsewhere the Rig Veda describes this river as the Sindhu Mata— the mother of the Indus (Sindhu) and as the Seventh River. Thus “we praise the most beloved River Sarasvati, eulogized by the Rishis as the sister of Seven Rivers.” (RV 6.61.10) This verse and the next, defines the geographical context of the Rig Vedic civilisation. It was the land of Seven rivers—the sapta sindhva. Another verse elaborates “with her Seven Sisters this Sarasvati flows through the three regions. She makes the five people (tribes) prosperous. She is praiseworthy in each battle." (RV 6.61.12) By 1500 B.C.E. when Max Müller said the Indo-Aryans had come to India, the Sarasvati had largely disappeared. South of Jaisalmer this river had gone underground. Northwards it had been cut up into isolated lakes and pools. Hardly the picture of a river that is exalted to the extent of being a divinity. This could hardly be the inspiration then for such verses of fulsome praise as we find in the Rig Veda. Let us sample some more. Nadi Sukta (The River Sukta/Stotra) From the geographical context the most important verse is the Nadi Sukta of the Rig Veda that lists the seven mighty streams of the Rig Vedic civilisational area. “O Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Shutudri (Satluj), Parushni (Ravi), Asikini (Chenab) and Marudvridha (Marhu River) Vitasta (Jhelum), Sushomna (Sohan) and Ajikiya (Beas) rivers. Listen O Rivers to these our hymns and accept them joyfully.” (RV 10.75.5) Another verse reiterates this theme of seven sacred streams. “This great Seventh River Sarasvati She is the mother of the Sindhu (Indus). She flows with great force and abundant waters Flowing together this river and her seven sisters Give us food and milk.”

(RV 7.36.6) Another verse identifies the three principal streams of that era thus . “May these mother deities, these divine streams The three rivers named Sarasvati, Sarayu and Sindhu Give us their incredibly sweet waters.” (RV 10.64.9) Translated below is a hymn of praise and adoration of the mighty Sarasvati. In fact, it calls it “The Greatest of all mothers, the greatest of all rivers, the greatest of all Devis (Goddesses). O’ Mother we are ignorant. Grant us your knowledge and wisdom.” This verse needs to be quoted in its actual Sanskrit form: . “अ तमे, नदीतमे, दे वतमे सर ती। अ श ा इव स श न ृ ध ।।” (RV 2.41.16) The mighty physical stream of the Sarasvati is now raised to the status of Divinity. She becomes the Goddess of all wisdom, learning and insight. She is the most sacred of the Seven Streams of the Rig Vedic civilisational area. This is hardly the description of a desiccated and dying stream. The evidence in Rig Veda is overwhelming. It describes a stream in full and regal flow, the most impressive of all the Seven Streams of Aryavarta—the land of the Indo-Aryans. By 1500 B.C.E. when Max Müller situates the Aryan advent into Northern India, this river had dried out and vanished without a trace. Hence the validation of the mythical Sarasvati—as a once mighty river, calls into question the very age and antiquity of the Rig Veda as determined by Max Müller and other colonial historians.  

River Sarasvati as the Goddess of wisdom and intuition Sarasvati as Mother Deity The Sarasvati is a mighty stream that arouses awe and adoration amongst the Rig Vedic Aryans. We see it being transformed from a River into a Goddess of learning. The Rishis had mostly dwelt on its banks, their grains were filled with its nectarine juices; its honey sweet sap nourished their bodies. The music of this stream inspired their mystical verses and they sang them to this stream. They thus charged these waters with the wisdom and songs of the Vedas. They had received their insights and intuitions on the banks of this sacred stream. They had heard the divine music of its tinkling stream. They called it the stream of wisdom and

knowledge, the stream of all learning, insight and intuition. They were fulsome in their praise of this stream of knowledge. Their songs of praise for a mighty river turned into songs of praise for the Goddess of Wisdom and Learning herself—the mother of insight and intuition. Like the later Ganga river she entered the pantheon of deities of the Indic civilisation. The difference however was that Sarasvati was not just a river personified—like the Greek Goddess Minerva she was the goddess of wisdom and learning herself. Geographically the Sarasvati is the cradle, the source river of the Indian civilisation. The Indo-Aryan pantheon has mostly male Gods—Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Soma, Ashwins, Rudra etc. However, it also has female deities like, Ila, Bharti and Mahi. A verse celebrates them: . “I invoke the benevolent deities—Ila, Sarasvati and Mahi. May they take their seats on this Kusha Grass throne of worship.” (RV 1.13.9) At other places Sarasvati is identified with Bharati—the deity of Bharat (mother India?)—that is the core idea of India. The Rig Vedic stanza states“May mother Bharati with her Bharatas, Ila Devi with her Devas and Mother Sarasvati with her Sarasvat people (learned men) Be pleased to take their seat on the Kusha throne with Agni” (RV 7.2.8) The original runs like this: . “आ भारती भारती भी: संजोषा इला दे

ैमनु ो मश े।

सर ती सार ते मरवाक त ादे वरबृहदेवं सद ु।।” (Vashistha Maitravaruni 7.2.8) Sarasvati in Yajur Veda There are 68 mantras in the Yajur Veda about the Sarasvati. In most, she is praised as the Goddess of speech on par with the Ashwin twins. “May the Goddess Sarasvati who through her truthful speech inspires us to speak the truth. May she who banishes evil thoughts and awakens our piety May she hold our Yajna.” (YV 20.85)

However one verse describes her physical form thus: “Five equally mighty rivers merge with the Sarasvati After surging ahead through the lands She branches off in five main streams.” (YV 34.11) From seven streams of the Rig Veda, we see the River system of North India now down to five. Udbhatt has speculated that the Five streams of Yajurveda period are: ● Drishadvati ● Shutudri (Satluj) ● Vipasa (Vyas/Beas) ● Iravati (Ravi) ● Chandrabhaga (Chenab) In the Rig Vedic period it has been contended that the Sarasvati had six tributaries—which included the Indus and Jhelum. By the Yajurvedic period the Indus and Jhelum seemed to have veered away. Sarasvati is no longer Sindhu Mata—the mother of the Indus. The Drishadvati however still flows into her (bringing her the ice melt waters of the Yamuna and Tons). Sarasvati in the Saam Veda There are only two verses about the Sarasvati in the Saam Veda. Does this point to a clear and palpable decline in the size and flow of this once mighty stream of the Rig Veda? Sarasvati in the Atharva Veda In the Atharva Veda, the Sarasvati is still a sacred stream. She is the giver of progeny and the curer of diseases. However we see a new significance attached to this sacred river. She satiates and liberates the souls of our ancestors. She is linked to our ancestors—the ancient ones. She is the source now of Tarpan (water offerings to our ancestors—the Pitras). This ritual is still done mostly on the Ganga River. In Vedic times, Sarasvati was our most sacred river and thus, Tarpan was offered to our Pitras (ancestors) at Pehowa (Pruthudaka) in Haryana (Kurukshetra). Even today, many Hindus visit Kurukshetra for Pinda Daan or ritual offerings to their ancestors. Tarpan is still performed there to this day. It is a fascinating feat of racial memory. The Vedic Sarasvati once flowed through Kurukshetra. The verse in the Atharva Veda that points to the Pitra placating power of the river waters goes thus:

“O Sarasvati, our ancestors who came from the South are pleased when they see thee. O Goddess take your seat in the Pitra Yagna Be pleased with us O Devi and give us abundant food.” (AV 18.1.42) From the Bronze and Copper age we see the advent of Iron. Iron is now mentioned in the Atharva Veda in the famous “Krishi” (Agriculture) Sutra. “Like the Iron plough share at the end of our plough, furrows the farmland well and lets the farmer move slowly behind the bullocks; O Gods of the Sun and the Wind, be pleased with these our offerings. Make these medicinal plants laden with fruits through the showers of your abundant waters upon this earth.” (AV 3.17.5) The life and times of the mighty Sarasvati river are thus reflected in the progression of the Vedas. The Sarasvati is still sacred by the time  of  Atharva  Veda,  but  clearly  in  the  interim,  the  river has declined markedly in its flow, volume and size. It is fast becoming a memory of the ancient ones—the ancestors. It is fast becoming a racial memory of a once very mighty stream. It is a stream that is most intimately linked to the ancestors of the Aryans. The original Aryans, the progenitors, were the Sarasvats—the people who lived on the banks of the Sarasvati. Sarasvati in the Brahmanas The Sarasvati is clearly in decline in the age of the Brahmanas. The stream has become meandering and serpentine. It has probably become a monsoonal stream having lost the ice melt glacial waters of the Yamuna and Satluj. It originates now from the Plaksha Prasaravan and at Vinashana (the point of destruction) it disappears altogether. One verse says— it takes 44 days on horseback now to cover the distance from its monsoonal origins in the Shivaliks and Aravalis to the point near Jaisalmer (Vinashana), where it simply disappears and goes underground. Sarasvati in the Mahabharata The Mahabharata is called the Fifth Veda. In fact, it was Sage Ved Vyas, who put down the Vedas in written form and then wrote the

monumental epic of the Mahabharata. It was so vast in scope and scale that he averred that “what is not here is nowhere”. The Mahabharat has detailed geographical descriptions of the land and rivers. It still considers the Sarasvati the most sacred stream. The Rig Vedic memory of this sacred stream is still overwhelming. In fact, it situates the Kurukshetra battlefield on South of the Sarasvati and North of the Drishadvati. Thus Vana Parva (81,175) says

द णेन सर ा उ रेण तीम। ये वस कु े े ते वस व पे।।१७५।।

“Kurukshetra is situated to the South of the Sarasvati and North of Drishadvati—a little ahead of Swarga Loka ( व


Vana Parva (81, 175) Balaram’s Pilgrimage along the Sarasvati. The Shalya Parva of the Mahabharata describes the course of the Sarasvati through a pilgrimage that Balram, the elder brother of Sri Krishna, is said to have undertaken in disgust as he was wholly against the Armageddon of the Mahabharata War and refused to participate in the same. The Shalya Parva gives details of his journey along the banks of a dying river—one clearly past its prime. Enroute he repeatedly encounters lands that have been experiencing a very prolonged draught.This is a significant clue for geologists are now talking of a new meghalayan area that began with a major draught around 2200 BCE that finished off all the major civilisations of that era. Even the civilisation spawned by Sarasvati seems to be dying— in a mighty and self-destructive war—the Armageddon of the Mahabharata. The Sarasvati, however, is still flowing into the sea. Balram starts his pilgrimage from Dwarka on the sea. The Sarasvati apparently merged with the sea at Prabhasa Teertha. He next goes to Udapan Teertha where the Sarasvati River has already gone underground. There were wells on the desiccated Sarasvati and its underwater course could be recognized from the wet soil and green vegetation that grew along its desiccated course. This was the site where Gautam Rishi had established his Ashrama near a great well.

Next Balram comes to the Vinashana Teertha, where the Sarasvati disappears completely. There are just some small Sarovars (pools) left on the surface at Chamdobedha, Nagobheda and Shivobheda. Balram then goes up to Subhumika Teertha where the Sarasvati is still flowing. It was the fabled lands of Apsaras (heavenly nymphs—an area famed for the beauty of its women?). From there his journey takes him to Garga Srota Teertha (the land of Garga Rishi). From there he goes to Shankha Teertha, where a massive tree grows (Bao Bab—Kalpataru Tree?). His journey takes him from Dwanta Stotra to Nagadhwana Teertha (a township of Naga people?). The Sarasvati had suddenly turned eastward here (to Naimisharanya?). He then reaches the Sapta Saarasvat Teertha, the place where seven streams meet. From here Balram went to the Sushanasa Teertha or Kapila Drochan Teertha. A mela (annual fair) is still held here on full moon day (Poornima) of Kartik month. He then comes upto Kurukshetra town where there is a Teertha called Pruthudaka (Pehowa). Here today, we have the Brahma Sarovar and Hindus still go for the ritual of pind daan (propitiating the spirits of their ancestors)here. Balram then goes via Brahma Yoni and other places finally to Yamuna Teertha and Soma Teertha. The Mahabharata states ’the land had then been under a severe draught for 12 years.’ The monsoons were already failing and weakening. Balram went upto the Himalayas finally to Plaksha Prasarvana Teertha, where the Sarasvati has its origins. A verse in the Mahabharata (Shalya Gada Parva 54.38.39) says, “Sarasvati is the most sacred of all streams. She flows always for the sole benefit of the people.” The Sarasvati of the Mahabharata has been well described. It is a dying stream. Near Vinashana it has already gone underground. There was a severe drought lasting for 12 years along its path. Interestingly in Early Indians, Tony Joseph (2018) writes the most exhaustive multi year, geological study on the possible reasons for the decline of the Harappan civilisation was published in 2012 in a paper entitled “Fluvial landscape of the Harappan civilisation,” which identified a clear cause: a prolonged drought that ultimately made Monsoonal rivers go dry, or become seasonal, thus affecting habitations along their course. Hydro-climatic stress increased the vulnerability of agricultural production, supporting harappan urbanism leading to settlement downsizing, diversification of crops and drastic decrease of settlements in the moister, monsoon regions of the upper

Punjab, Haryana and UP. He goes on to inform us that in July 2018 the International Commission on Straitigraphy (ICS) the official keeper of Geological time, introduced a new age called Meghalyan, which runs from 2200 B.C.E. to the present and which began with a mega drought that crushed a number of civilisations worldwide- in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. This mega draught was most likely triggred by shifts in ocean atmospheric circulation. The memory of the river is still sacred to the people who live along its banks. There is the weight of the Vedic tradition. But clearly and sadly, the mighty river is by then dying out. It is getting desiccated, a pale shadow of its former self. It is only the enormous strength of tradition that keeps the piety about it so alive and stirring that it has come down to us through the millenniums as the memory of a highly sacred stream—a lost river that has vanished forever. With it has gone the abundance and plentitude that marked its flow. The Sarasvat people who dwelt on its sacred banks sang its praises. Strangely the river is still a haunting memory, thousands of years after it became desiccated and dried out completely and large tracts of it were smothered by the desert. It is still a shining Lode Star in the collective cultural consciousness of India. It is the oral tradition which preserved the memory of this once mighty river— the most sacred stream that was the cradle river of the Indian civilisation. It was the most important and mighty of the seven sacred rivers that defined the land of the Indo-Aryans. The Balram pilgrimage, however, chronicles a very melancholy age of civilisational rivers dying and an impending Armageddon of frightening proportions. This is precisely the condition that would impel an exodus of people, not an influx. So a migration of the Indo-Aryans into India in such a period of eco-catastrophe and large-scale warfare makes little sense. Why would hordes of people rush into an area that is facing such a major ecocatastrophe that the population on its banks has just been forced to migrate? This is a logical absurdity and highlights the fallacy of the imposed colonial narrative. A tour up the Sarasvati by Balrama before the Mahabharata war reveals a civilisation in its dying throes, the ice melt waters have gone—the river is no more perennial. It has become a monsoonal stream but even here the monsoons are tragically failing. Droughts have lasted for 12 years. With the latest straitigraphical data— clearly establishing a new age (called the Meghalyan), which commenced from 2200 B.C.E. to the present, and which

began with a mega drought—we need to see the amazing correlation between the accounts in the Mahabharata with this massive and global drought. In fact, it could help establish the age of the Mahabharata was itself as 2200 B.C.E. The Mahabharata paints a most gloomy picture of Yuganta—the end of an era—the end of an age. The start of the Kaliyuga— the age of Iron and machines—but a state of civilisational decay and decline however in terms of morality and values. The Danu River Hypothesis. When people migrate to other lands, they carry with them the names of their rivers and streams and transplant them onto the rivers and streams they encounter in far off lands. The Rig Veda mentions a primordial Goddess called Danu. Her children were the Danvas who fought with the Devas, the Gods, and lost. This Rig Vedic tribe was banished into exile. The word Danu itself means fluid drop in Rig Vedic Sanskrit. The Avestan (old Iranian) word for river is Danu. So do the Scythians (Sakas) and Sarmatians call rivers—Danu. Now comes the surprise. Linguistically the names of many rivers in Europe and Russia can be traced back to the Sanskrit/ Avestan Danu. thusDanube Deniper Donets Don Dunajec Dvina Dysna Does this seem to indicate the gradual westward out-migration of the Rig Vedic Danava clans of the Indo-Aryans from the Indus- Sarasvati civilisational area into Russia and Europe? We can go further. As per Celtic mythology, the Irish Celtic people have descended from a mother goddess—a river goddess called Danu! The ancient mythological people of Ireland called themselves ‘Ticatha de Danann”—(the people of the Goddess Danu). Do these mythologies preserve the memories of a great out- migration of the Indian people into Central Asia and Europe? Was this out-migration caused by the great ecocatastrophe of a mighty river that dried out completely? Did a great civilisational Armegeddon—The Mahabharata war also force people to emigratefrom the Indus-Sarasvati plains into Central Asia and Europe?



The 18 and 19 centuries saw the first wave of globalization, ushered in th


first by huge sailing ships that made global voyages and enabled crosscultural trade and linkages. Then came the advent of the printing press and the diffusion of knowledge and information through books. Then came steam ships, telegraph and much later, wireless. This promoted cross-cultural osmosis and exchange of ideas and cultural memes across the globe. A prime requirement was the need to train people in foreign languages, to promote cross-cultural trade and communication and later support the ventures for colonizing large parts of Asia and Africa. British colonizers deputed their scholars to study the native languages and scriptures. It was then realized that the Aryans of India, Iran, Ireland (Aryan, Iran, Eire), Central Asia and Europe etc. had a surprising deal of commonalities in their languages. These seem to have emerged from a common proto IndoEuropean language as it were. This was first realized in 1786, when Sir

William Jones, a British judge in the High Court at Kolkata and one of the pioneer Sanskritists noted that there are striking similarities in the vocabulary and grammar of Sanskrit, Persian, Greek, Latin, Celtic and Gothic. Thus the following table taken from David Frawley’s The Search of the Cradle of Civilisation, p.47, shows the striking resemblance between keywords in these languages. Table 1: The first ten numbers in various languages of the IndoEuropean family

A particularly striking example of family resemblance between the various Indo-European languages is afforded by the word ‘MOTHER’, which has the following cognates:  









Mata, Mater

Language Danish & Norwegian Dutch & Flemish

Celtic Mere French (Irish) Mather Persian Madre Spanish Mutter German Mae Portugese Modir Icelandic Mati Russian Moder Swedish Similar congruencies in grammar can be seen where words like an, are and is etc closely resemble one another in Sanskrit and various European languages. Comparative Linguistics: Jones’ discovery led to the creation of a whole new scholarly discipline. This was a major departure from the orthodox Judeo-Christian heritage that regarded Hebrew as the matrix of all languages. Initially, the historical explanations offered for the similarities between various Indo-European languages were rather unsophisticated and highly speculative. By the middle of the 19th century however, the idea that all IndoEuropean languages derive from a much older Proto-Indo European language gained considerable momentum. Scholars now sought to reconstruct not only that ancient proto language but also the culture associated with it. What is even more important is the fact that this led them to a quest for identifying the original homeland of this Proto Aryan culture. In the late 19th century, David Frawley elaborates that these linguistic culture considerations were swiftly overtaken by strident racial overtones. Max Müller in fact was amongst the first scholars to equate linguistic communities with ethnic and racial groups. He started the Aryan- Dravidian racial binary in India with his deliberate misinterpretation of the Vedic term dasa. Later, horrified with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, he retracted and said that the Aryans and Semitics were linguistic and not ethnic labels. The simple fact is that the British Colonial Administration had an agenda. It was to mitigate the sheer foreignness of British Rule over the Mathair

Indians. The commonalities of the Indo-European group of language and the quest for an Aryan Homeland led them to postulate the racial construct of an Aryan invasion from Central Asia that destroyed the original Dravidian civilisation of racially different, “snub nosed, dark skinned” Dasas or original inhabitants. The construct of Indra, the Vedic war God, as the destroyer of hundred fort cities was grafted on to the AIT Theory. The colonial historiographers were clutching at unrelated cues. Their subtle intent was to prove that if the Indo-Aryans themselves were invaders, what right did they have to whine about British invasion and colonization of native lands? They were as much foreigners to India as the British colonizers were Also, very subtly, the construct established an Aryan kinship between the ruler and the ruled and served to mitigate the stark foreignness and illegitimacy of British rule in India. Clearly the usurpers had a need to justify themselves as rulers and make themselves acceptable to the vast Indian masses. For this the British constructed the logic of Imperial Justice. India was never a united country, they said. They stated—it was a perennially squabbling, fighting cauldron of castes, creeds, races and languages, forever at each other’s throats. To enforce justice and order, it needed an impartial foreign power to impose order on these splintered masses of castes and creeds called India. The amazing fact is that the post-colonial state in India tacitly accepted this Imperial Justice premise. In its Constitution it deftly replaced Imperial Justice with the enigmatic term—Social Justice; and the anglicized NehruGandhi dynasty became the new set of impartial arbiters after the colonial rulers left the scene. Being anglicized and modernist in outlook they were so much a cut above the squabbling masses of India, the native population of heathens. This was a deliberate attempt to destroy the very idea of India— perhaps bury it forever. Out of India Hypothesis. The facts however are simple and straightforward. There is a marked similarity between the Indo-European group of languages. What explains this similarity? What are its implications? What was the original nature of this proto Indo-European language? Were the Aryans foreign invaders or immigrants? Or were they indigenous? More recently historians have suggested a radical reversal of the logic for the deep similarities between the Indo-European group of languages. Is it possible that the Indo-Aryans were

native and indigenous people of the Indus-Sarasvati tract? Was it a case of out- migration rather than in-migration? Was the Harappan civilisation an indigenous civilisation? There is such an amazing degree of cultural continuity between the Harappan civilisation and the subsequent Indo-Aryan Hindu (Sanatan) civilisation in the North and Western India that we are forced to reflect deeply today upon the alternative hypothesis. The linguistic similarity between India, Iran, Central Asia and Europe can hypothetically equally lend itself to an alternative interpretation. Historiography is all about new interpretations that emerge from an analysis of subsequent data. Did the Aryans move into India from a mythical Aryan Homeland in Central Asia and Anatolia or did they migrate outwards from the desiccated and desertified Indus-Sarasvati floodplains in search of new sources of fresh drinking water for their very survival.? The radical new element is the now proven existence of a once mighty river that sustained a flourishing civilisation over a huge civilisational area. The fact also is that this river dried out and was desiccated over the millenniums. At the time of the horrific Mahabharata Armageddon this region had been suffering from a virtual eco-catastrophe. The ice melt water bearing tributaries of the Yamuna and Satluj had veered off to join the Ganga and the Indus. The strong monotonic weakening of the monsoons in this area added to the misery. There were extended droughts and creeping desertification in a once amazingly fertile area. When we read about the pilgrimage of Balram along the course of the dying Sarasvati River we can sense the creeping feeling of doom and destruction. A whole civilisation is slowly dying. Its mother river has been reduced to a string of pools in the North and beyond Rajasthan it has vanished beneath the surface of earth. The creeping desert sands have forced the people to move out— Northwards first and then both Eastwards into the Ganga-Yamuna floodplains and even Westwards towards the Helmand River in Afghanistan, to Iran, to Central Asia (to the Syr and Amu daryas), to Mesopotamia and beyond—possibly even to Eastern and Southern Europe. That would logically explain the commonality of Indo-European languages. The proto language would then be Sanskrit and the protocivilisational area of the Aryans could well be the Indus- Sarasvati tract. Pattern Analysis: The AIT and IAMT were logically premised upon a pattern of recent transhumance movements. All invasions of India around and before the start of the current era have come from the arid lands of

Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan towards the lush and fertile plains of the subcontinent. These were warm, sunlit lands, watered by major perennial rivers. Their alluvial soil sprouted rich golden crops. It would be logical therefore to extrapolate into the distant past and say that the pattern was likely to persist and must have replicated itself even earlier. The central logic is that Patterns tend to persist and repeat themselves cyclically over time. However an out-migration from India to Central Asia and beyond constituted a clear break in the recent in-migration pattern. The only reason why this should occur is because of a major eco- catastrophe in the IndusSarasvati area that forced the people to migrate outwards. We now know that precisely such an eco- catastrophe had overtaken this region around 22001900 B.C.E. and led to the desiccation of this once mighty river. That makes a major out-migration highly probable and logical. We can now locate the original Aryan Homeland in the Indus-Sarasvati area and propose Sanskrit as the proto Indo-European language that explains the striking commonality between these group of Languages and accounts for their diffusion in geographical space and time. That would make India the mother of all civilisations in Asia and Europe. To the Euro-centric sensibilities of the colonial era this was simply not acceptable. In fact it was sacrilege as it questioned the deeply entrenched notions of the colonial era that Mesopotamia and Middle East was the Cradle of all Civilisations and everything of value (including the knowledge of agriculture) had originated here and radiated outward to the less civilized areas. This pattern modeling of large scale transfer of populations from Central Asia and Anatolia was logical and has so far served to define the strategic direction of this large scale transhumance movement of populations between South Asia and the heartland of Asia. This model breaks down however around 2200- 1900 B.C.E. when the mighty river Sarasvati dies out. Its lush alluvial plains face desertification. The very source of sustenance of this ancient and thriving civilisation declines. The ice-melt streams change their course. There is a marked monotonic weakening of the monsoons. To cap it all there is a major civilisational war that causes horrific casualties and suffering. What would any people do in such circumstances? They would leave in droves. They would migrate to better pastures, to begin a new life somewhere else where water was available. They would

look for new rivers and streams and possibly bestow on them the names of the rivers of their original landscape. Can we substantiate this thesis? It marks such a radical departure from colonial historiography! The key to this conundrum is the historicity of the River Sarasvati. That holds the clue to the identity of that lost civilisation. Romila Thapar sneers disdainfully at the very mention of the Sarasvati River. On page 42 of her magnum opus, Early India from Origin to AD 1300, she writes, “Another river whose history was linked to the Indus plains was the Hakra. It was thought to have once been a significant river flowing almost parallel with present day course of the Sutlej and the lower Indus.” Thus she refuses to even acknowledge the name Sarasvati. She in fact says, “The identification of the Ghaggar with the Sarasvati mentioned in the Rig Veda is controversial. (It surely is, for it challenges the basic construct of the colonial historiography) She continues, “Furthermore the early reference to the Sarasvati could be the Heraxvati plain in Afghanistan…” She continues dismissively, “Once the river has been mythologized by invoking the memory    of the earlier river, its name Sarasvati could be applied to many rivers.” Was the Sarasvati the Herexavati of Afghanistan? This Afghan river does not flow into the sea. Innumerable Vedic descriptions testify to the fact that the Sarasvati ran from the Himalayas to the sea. This negates the Heraxavati as the Vedic Sarasvati notion. The doyen of the colonial historiographers in the post-colonial era is thus in complete denial as far as the very existence of the Sarasvati river is concerned. It would challenge the entire basis of colonial historiography per se. The simple fact is that the weight of evidence regarding the Sarasvati is now simply too overwhelming to be sneered at by colonial era holdouts. Remote sensing satellite imagery, geological sciences and the archeological excavations all point to a mighty river that was once the backbone of the Harappan civilisation. The entire debate about ancient Indian history—about the strategic direction of Aryan migration, about whether the Aryans were alien or indigenous now hinges on one critical issue— the historicity of the Sarasvati river. That is the critical factor upon which the entire reinterpretation of India’s ancient history depends. No wonder the leftist historians are in such a strong denial about the very existance of the Vedic Sarasvati for in one fell swoop it links the Harappan civilisation with the Vedic. The entire narrative about the ancient Indic civilisation falls into place

once the historicity of the Sarasvati is established. The geographical area of the Rig Veda and the Harappan civilisation is one and the same. What links their destinies is one river- the Sarasvati. The colonial historians tried strenuously to separate these two civilisations in the time dimension. Initially they said, the Aryans came in and destroyed the Indus valley civilisation. Then they manipulated to claim that the Aryans streamed in even as this Harappan civilisation was crumbling. The critical link is the Sarasvati river, its history and geography is the key. So we return to the seminal question—once it dried up, where did the people who dwelt on its banks go? Let us go back to the Indian scriptures for clues that could unravel the mystery. Let us also examine some interesting findings from Mesopotamia. The ancient kingdom of Mitanni, located in present-day Syria and Anatolia, had an Indo-Aryan, Sanskrit-speaking ruling class. Mitanni kings had Indo-Aryan names.  

The Mitanni kingdom, located in present-day Syria and Anatolia. The oldest recorded (Vedic) Sanskrit words are found in a horse training manual by a Mitanni horse master named Kikkuli. Although the

text is written in the Hittite language, it appears that Kikkuli was not familiar enough with that language to use technical terms, which made it necessary for him to use the terminology of his own language (Vedic Sanskrit) instead.

Horse master Kikkuli’s horse training manual, notable for its Vedic Sanskrit terminology. Inscribed clay tablets discovered in Boğazkale, Anatolia (Turkey), record a royal treaty and invoke the Vedic gods Indra, Mitra, Nasatya and Varuna as witnesses. The Boğazkale clay tablets are dated to c. 1380 BCE. This is around the same time as Kikkuli’s horse training manual.

Hittite capital city Hattusa, near Boğazkale, where the clay tablets were found. Note the remarkable similarity to the aerial view of Mohenjo- Daro

Mitanni king Tushratta (Sanskrit: Dasharatha)’s letter to Pharaoh Amenhotep III of Egypt. The Hittite and the Mittanis people fought a major war. A tablet has been discovered which records the treaty between the two people. It calls upon

Indra-Mitra-Varuna-Nasatya, the Vedic Gods, to bear witness to their treaty. This should be concrete evidence of a westward movement of the Vedic people induced by the eco- catastrophe that had overtaken the Sarasvati. We also have a tablet on which the Mittani King Tushrata (Dashrath?) inscribed a letter to Pharaoh Amenhotep III of Egypt. Let us consider more direct evidence from the Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra, a Vedic text. Sutra 18:44 records: “Ämavasu migrated westwards. His people are Gandhari, Parsu and Aratta.” This verse refers to a Vedic King called Amavasu. His people are the Gandharis (of modern day Kandahar, Afghanistan) and the Parsu (Persians of modern day Iran). Aratta was tentatively identified as those living in the vicinity of Mount Ararat, which is located in Eastern Anatolea in Turkey and Armenia. Are these further pointers to the westward migration of the people who once dwelt on the banks of the sacred Sarasvati? Gandhar (Kandahar, Afghanistan) has been historically part of the Indian civilisation. Gandhari was the Queen of Dhritarashtra, sire of the Kauravas. Shakuni, the famous gambler of the Mahabharata fame was her brother. The Hindu Shahi kings ruled Afghanistan till almost the 11th Century. For three hundred years they had beaten back and held off the Arab Muslim invaders from Iraq. Persia comes from the ancient Parshva people (an ancient clan). This word Persia is derived from the Sanskrit-Avestan Parshu, which means Battle Axe (Parshuram). The traditional Armenian name for Mt. Ararat is Masis. It is named after the legendary Armenian King Amasya. Now the name Amasya is linguistically related to the name Amavasu, the Indian King spoken about in the Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra. As was described he had migrated westwards. The German Indologists M. Witzel and Marxist Historian Romila Thapar have misinterpreted this passage to mean “Amavasu migrated eastwards.” Romila Thapar has no knowledge of Sanskrit and therefore her rather deliberate misinterpretation of west and east has generated a great deal of controversy. The controversy therefore is truly about the strategic direction of migration of the Indo-Aryan clans. Colonial historians have trenchantly held on to the AIT and then its derivative, the IAMT. The sum and substance of their original argument was that the Aryan homeland was in Anatolia and

Central Asia whence they had migrated to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia as also to Europe. That, as pattern explained the linguistic similarities of the Indo- European languages. Present-day historians who have examined the mounting body of recent evidence from varied sources have offered a radically different interpretation. The Sarasvati-Indus area as per them was the original Home of the Indo-Aryans. Sanskrit therefore was the Proto-Indo-European language from which Indian, Iranian and European dialects have emerged. Due to the major eco-catastrophe which led to the desiccation of the mighty river Sarasvati—people on its western banks, perhaps were forced to migrate further westward to Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East, Armenia, Central Asia and thence even further afield to Southern and Eastern Europe. A study of the Indian scriptures evidently seems to substantiate this Grand Westward movement of the Indo-Aryans around 2200- 1900 BCE— the time an eco-catastrophe overtook the Sarasvati civilisation and caused a gradual but complete desiccation of this once mighty river. The travels of Balram recorded a once mighty river in serious decline. It was this decline that prompted easterly and westerly transhumance movement of Aryan clans into the Ganga-Yamuna floodplains and Westwards into distant lands as far afield as Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. The IndoAryans thus were great wanderers with a lust for adventure. The time of the Mahabharata War was a time of serious decline of the Indian civilisation. The cradle river of this civilisation was dying. Desertification was choking the lush fields with dry sands. Droughts that lasted 12 years were forcing people to move out of their ancestral lands. The Indian scriptural narrative now seems far more plausible. Evidence from Straitigraphy now confirms a mega drought around 2200 B.C.E. We will now examine the substantial evidence that has been collated by the empirical new field of Carbon dating and other scientific dating methodologies to establish the real age and antiquity of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation. The chariots and war horses are another clue to the very nature of this civilisation. The colonial historians had claimed a complete absence of horses and Chariots in the Indus Valley tradition to claim it was not Aryan.



Scriptural evidence and narrative texts may at best be treated as anecdotal evidence. The scriptures are a mix of historical and geographical facts, myths, stories and fables. They can at best provide pointers to what could have happened. In our quest for the truth, we will need corroborative evidence from fields that are more precise and empirical. Anecdotal evidence will perforce have to be related to what Archaeological evidence tells us. One of the most precise measurements of age and antiquity is now provided by radio carbon dating. The Radio Carbon Dating process starts with measuring Carbon-14, a weakly radioactive isotope of Carbon, followed by calibration of radiocarbon age results to calendar years. Since then various other methods of dating have also been invented, namely: ● Archeomagnetic Dating

● Fluoride Dating ● Luminescence Dating ● Obsidian Hydration Dating (OHD) Radio Carbon dating however has been around for over 50 years and has revolutionized archaeology. Certainly Carbon dating remains a powerful, dependable and widely applicable technique that is invaluable not just to archeologists but also to other branches of science. Bhirrana: Luminescence Dating In what could revolutionise our understanding of ancient Indian history, scientists from IIT Kharagpur and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have uncovered evidence that the Harappan civilisation is not just 5,500 years old as thought earlier, but at least 8,000 year to 9,500 years BP. This means it is far older than the Egyptian (7,000 B.P. to 3,000 B.P.) and Mesopotamian civilisation (6,500 B.P. to 3,100 B.P.). In an interview, Anindya Sarkar, Head of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at IIT Kharagpur stated that they had recovered perhaps the oldest pottery shards from the Harappan civilisation at a site called Bhirrana (on the dried out course of the Sarasvati River). Using a technique called Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) they dated these pottery shards to nearly 6,000 years ago and the cultural levels of pre-Harappan-Hakra phase to as far back as 8,000 years. This discovery was published in the prestigious Nature Journal on May 25, 2016 (Sarkar Anindya, Deshpande-Mukherjee arati, et al., Oxygen Isotope in Archeological bioapatites from India. Implications to climate change and decline of Bronze Age Harappan civilisation, Scientific Reports 6, 2655; doi: 10.1038/step2655 (2016)), and could force a global rethink on the timelines of the so-called cradles of civilisation. This team also discovered animal remains like bones, teeth, horn cores of cows, goats, deer and antelope. Arati Deshpande- Mukherjee of Deccan College reported that these remains were carbon dated at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) Ahmedabad. Sarkar stated at the excavation sites they saw the preservation of all the cultural levels right from ● The Pre-Harappan Civilisation Phase (9000-8000 BP.) ● The Early Harappan Civilisational Phase (8000-7000 B.P.) and ● Down to the Mature Harappan Phase

While the early phases were represented by pastoral and early village farming communities, the mature Harappan settlements were urbanized with organized cities with a highly developed material craft and culture. They also had regular trade with Arabia and Mesopotamia. The late Harappan phase witnessed large scale de- urbanization, drop in population, abandonment of established settlements due to lack of basic amenities and even the disappearance of the Harappan script.  

Birhana has been carbon Dated to 9500 BP Deshpande-Mukherjee stated, “We analysed the oxygen isotope composition in the bone and tooth phosphates of the animal remains to unravel the climate pattern.” The oxygen isotope in the mammal bones and teeth preserve the signature of ancient meteoric water and in turn the intensity of the monsoon rainfall. Our study showed the PreHarappan humans started inhabiting the area along the Ghaggar-Hakra rivers in a climate that was favourable for human settlement and agriculture. The monsoon was much stronger some 9000-7000 years

from now and probably fed these rivers making them mightier with vast floodplains. So it is a combination of ice melt streams and strong monsoons which had created a perennial river system that sustained a huge civilisational area of over 2 million sq kms. The Indus-Sarasvati valley people, the study says, were very resolute and adaptable. They continued to evolve and grow even in the face of declining monsoons. The ice melt streams of the Yamuna and Satluj provided the Sarasvati with a perennial source of water. The people shifted the crop patterns from large-grained cereals like Wheat and Barley in the early phase of intensified monsoons to drought resistant species in the later part. As the yield diminished, the organized large storage system of the Mature Harappan period gave way to more individual household based crop processing and storage system that acted as a catalyst for gradual deurbanization of the civilisation rather than an abrupt  collapse. This corroborates the slow death picture painted in Balram’s pilgrimage along the banks of the dying Sarasvati. The image of a 12-years long drought graphically captures the truth about the failing and weakening of monsoons. This has now been corroborated by exhaustive, multi-year geological study that has been ratified by the international commission on Straitigraphy (ICS) in July 2008. This has introduced a new geographical age—The Meghalyam which runs from 2200 B.C.E. to the present, and had commenced with a very severe MegaDrought that had wiped out ancient civilisations—not just in India but also in China, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. What must be noted is that scientific techniques worthy of reportage in a prestigious journal like Nature have pushed back the age of the Indian civilisation to almost 9000-10,000 years Before Present (B.P.). This stretches it back to Drias Epoch of Glaciation that occurred in the Holocene Geological period (12,500 to 10,500 years B.P.), when Europe had experienced two epochs of glaciation. These must have affected the glaciers in the Himalayas too and could well have led to a sudden freezing of the Sarasvati and its ice melt water bearing tributaries in their upper reaches. This would have greatly diminished the waters downstream in these rivers. Could this explain the Rig Vedic mythology of mythical dragons—the Ahis, Vritras and Panis arresting the waters of the life giving streams? The Vedic God Indra is invoked. With his thunderbolt he kills these dragons that

had arrested the flow of life giving streams. The receding of the age of glaciation would have seen the sun melt the ice in the upper reaches and release the frozen rivers back to their torrential forms. Is that what the Rig Vedic seers were celebrating? Were they preserving racial memory encoded in these inspired verses of the Vedas? When the tectonic plate shifts that  occurred around 4700 and 2600 years ago caused the Yamuna and Sutlej to change course, these epochal events would once again have drastically curtailed the flow of water in the Sarasvati. The same  water-stealing dragons, Ahi and Vritras and Panis, would perhaps have been invoked by the Vedic seers as mythological explanations for the great weakening of these life-giving and nourishing streams? This is where the age of the Rig Veda comes into play. These mythological interventions by Indra to slay these water-stealing dragons appear only in the earliest Veda—the Rig Veda. The tectonic plate shifts much later did irreversible damage—unlike in the age of Glaciation. Successively, the Vedas do record the decline in the majestic flow of the Sarasvati. The Mahabharata completes the picture of desiccation and decline of a mighty river that had once sustained a civilisation. These however are speculations. The age of the pottery shards and animal remains in the Birrhana archeological site of the Harappan civilisation however are scientific and empirical facts. The earlier we come to terms with these facts the better would it be for historical objectivity and interpretation of what happened in India’s ancient history. These empirical facts about age however do help us to understand the secret of the Vedic myths about Stolen rivers. The Baghpat Chariot The more recent myth perpetuated by colonial historiography is of the Central Asian Aryan hordes bursting upon the Indus and Sarasvati valley floodplains with their war chariots, huge horses and iron weapons. The Bronze weapon armed indigenous people of the Indus Valley just could not stand up to these alien hordes. They had to flee south of the Vindhyas even as the invaders destroyed a hundred fort cities and committed genocide on a civilisational scale. It was a fascinating tale—except for the rather inconvenient fact that the genocide left no trail of corpses. Just 38 skeletons at one place and a dozen at another do not qualify for any large scale massacre and genocide. There are other troubling questions. How did these rickety wooden chariots cross the high Himalayan passes and the Hindukush defiles of the Khyber and Bolan? It would have taken a major road building

effort to get them across these passes in the Himalayas and Hindukush. India still hasn’t completed construction of such roads to its high Himalayan passes despite the debacle of 1962. No one has quite explained the logistical absurdity of this hypothetical Aryan invasion exercise before the onset of the Vedic period. The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was therefore given a quiet burial even as it was deftly replaced with the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory (IAMT). How did the migrating Aryans get their chariots across the Himalayas? That of course remains unexplained. Enough toy chariots however have been recovered from the Harappan excavation sites to establish that the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation extensively used such carts and chariots and logically should not have been over-awed by the chariots of the invaders from Anatolia or Central Asia. However, so far no real chariots had been discovered in the Harappan civilisational area. This led the colonial historians to tom tom the fact that the Indus Valley tradition had no knowledge of Horses and chariots. Hence, ipso facto it was not Aryan but Dravidian in origin. The key test was the presence/absence of horses and war chariots. In 2005, the ASI had discovered 116 graves belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation at Sadiqpur in Sonali village at Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.).Bhagaprastha or Bhagpat incidentally, is one of the five villages that the Pandavas had asked for in the Mahabharta epic.The story of the Lakshya griha (the palace of Lac) where the Kauravs had tried to burn them to death is also said to have been located here. These had been dated to 2200 to 1800 years B.C.E. In 2018 however, the ASI made a startling discovery just 120 meters away. Some 60 kms from Delhi in the district of Baghpat in U.P. state an archaeologist stumbled upon the remains of a war chariot that dated back to 2000-1800 years B.C.E. That would make this chariot around 4,000 years old. This predates the Aryan Invasion/ Migration date of Max Müller and Mortimer Wheeler by almost five centuries. SK Manjul, Director, Institute of archeology and Arun Manjul, his Deputy said, “The new finding will shed light on India’s place in the ancient world history. Previously, chariots were found in the Mesopotamian, Georgian and Greek civilisational areas. The Sinauli Chariot clearly highlights the Harappan civilisation had these war chariots too. In the past burial pits were excavated at Rakhigiri, Kalibangan and at Lothal. This is the first time chariots have been discovered alongside

burial pits. This is also the first time in the Indian subcontinent that we have got royal burial pits. It is confirmed that this was a war chariot. The Baghpat Chariot

These were certainly warriors. Archeologists have recovered swords with copper covered hilts and a medial ridge that made it strong enough for war fighting. Shields, torches and daggers have also been discovered. Manjul elaborated that three burial pits have highly decorative coffin covers bearing floral designs and anthropological figures like horned and Peepal leafed crown. Remember there are no Peepul leaves or trees in Central Asia or Turkey. Some of the graves contained full skeletal remains while others have a few human bones along with pits (secondary burials). In yet other graves only pots were found (symbolic burials that suggests that the person died elsewhere but was symbolically buried here). Was this chariot drawn by bulls or horses? This was difficult to ascertain; however the chariot is a look alike of similar chariots found in Mesopotamia which were horse-drawn. Bhagpat Excavations

There were four copper antenna swords, two daggers, seven channel-like objects, shields, combs, mirrors, torches, hundreds of small cylindrical paste beads, steatite beads; triangular and rectangular inlays, semi-precious and gold beads etc. There are mirrors with copper that show that it was a sophisticated and aesthetic culture of warriors of the pre-Iron Age. Toy Chariot

So the simple fact is that a war chariot has at long last been recovered in the extremities of the Indus-Sarasvati civilisational area. Toy Chariots in bronze and terra cotta had been discovered much earlier but this is the first time a full blown war chariot has been discovered along with swords and daggers. The problem is that in the Indian tropical climate it would be very difficult to preserve wooden chariots for very long. Nevertheless one of the Holy grails of colonial historiography has been located at long last. We have also established with scientific dating methodologies that the Indus- Sarasvati civilisational area predates the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilisational areas by almost a thousand years. This overturns one of the central paradigms of Colonial era history as per which the Middle East was the cradle of human civilisation and nothing elsewhere could ever precede this or antedate this primal cradle of human civilisation. That cradle now is clearly emerging in the Indus-Sarasvati area. The Question of the Horse A study entitled “Population Genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia” that was published in Nature in June 2015 states “From the beginning of 2000 B.C.E., a new class of master artisans known as Sintashta culture emerged in the Urals, building chariots, breeding and training horses and producing sophisticated new weapons Their innovations quickly spread across Europe,

into Asia where they appeared to give rise to the Fedorovo culture.” How does this square with the discovery of the Bhagpat chariot in India also going back to 2000 B.C.E.? It calls into question the intellectual property debate of the ancient era. Agriculture first appeared in Mesopotamia and West Asia and from there was spread to the rest of the world. We now know that it autonomously and independently started in various parts of the world, in India, China, West Asia almost at the same time. Cant the same be said of the designs and construction of war chariots? The problem area is that the Horse is rarely found in the Harappan civilisation—neither as skeletal remains nor as images on seals and artefacts. It is however, prominent in the Rig Veda. India has been poorly served in terms of the presence of the Horse. Even in later ages these had to be imported from Arabia and Central Asia. There are very few local breeds and horses have always been imported in bulk into India. So why could that not have happened in the era of trading states of the Harappan civilisation? There has so far been just one internationally verified finding of the Horse bones at the Harappan site of Surkotada in Gujarat dating back to between 2100 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. In fact there have been no wild Horses in India in post-pleistocene times (i.e. after 9700 BCE). When the Harappan civilisation was importing raw materials from many lands, what could have prevented them from importing horses from West Asia or Central Asia? The Arabs, Mongols,Turks Mughals and Afghans had invaded India with horse based cavalry armies. By 1590 there were some 350,000 horses in military service in India. This number had gone upto 500,000 a century later. This called for 30,000- 40,000 replacements each year. All these had to be imported from Arabia and Central Asia and were a highly expensive commodity. In fact the Mughal and Vijayanagar empires as also the Muslim sultanates in India had been importing thousands of horses annualy in the middle ages. So culturally their import in the earlier Vedic/ Harrapan era cannot be ruled out. There were no export controls in existance then.



The key question of Indian historiography has now crystallised around who were the original inhabitants, the indigenous people of India? The time has come to define who were the aliens and who were the original inhabitants of the subcontinent. It boils down to the primal issue of identity—who are we as Indians? The Indian scriptures and narrative texts have provided some vital clues. This evidence however is, at best, anecdotal. The scriptures contain facts mixed up with myths, fables, stories and philosophical speculations. To establish facts we will have to fall back upon evidence that is more scientific and concrete. When we have to settle issues of identity about exactly who we are we have to also take a look at our DNA per se, since that establishes our biological identities. We have to look deeper into

our DNA to unravel the secrets coded in our genes in our quest for answers and clarity. Tony Joseph writes—the thorniest and most fought over question in Indian history is slowly but surely getting answered. Did IndoEuropean language speakers, who called themselves Aryans stream into India around 2000–1500 B.C. when the Indus valley civilisation came to an end; bringing with them Sanskrit and a distinctive set of cultural practices that included Yagna (fire sacrifice), Yoga, Meditation, etc. Genetic Research based on an avalanche of new DNA evidence, he says, could now provide major clues. There has been an explosion of genomewide studies of human history based on modern and ancient DNA. This has been enabled by the technology of genomics and the technology of ancient DNA (David Reich, Geneticist & Professor, Harvard Medical School). There has been explosion of work in the fields of: ● Population Genetics ● Comparative Genetics ● Archaeo Genetics ● Genotyping These have made it possible to gain insights into the nature of human genetic diversity. In fact DNA Mapping studies to trace the migration histories of human populations are fast becoming the Holy Grail of all issues pertaining to identity. David Reich of the Harvard Medical School is currently the driving force of the DNA Genome Mapping Projects designed to establish the identity and origins of the Indo-Aryan people. He runs a laboratory in Harvard that has no equals in terms of ability to sequence and analyse DNA at unprecedented scale and speed. As such, Harvard is becoming the new Mecca for arbitrating on issues of identity and history in India. Harvard will decide who the Indo-Aryans were. Were they aliens or were they indigenous? Harvard arbitrates our primal issues of identity and we in India now have no option but to let Harvard legislate not only on the key conundrums of our ancient history and even such basic issues of our identity that deal with just who we are and how we came here. What had happened in respect to the custodianship and interpretation of Indian History and Indology per- se has now repeated itself in the field of Genomic studies. Tony Joseph, an Indian journalist, has recently taken it upon himself to disseminate the latest wisdom and research findings from Harvard, which

legislate on issues of our ancient origins, our history and our basic identity. He has done very painstaking work to popularize the new narratives about our past as reinterpreted by the brand new discipline of DNA mapping. Initially he wrote a series of articles in the left wing papers and journals. Now even as the latest study reports are coming out, he has set down the new narrative of the Indian civilisation (as pontificated by Harvard) in a highly readable new book entitled ”Early Indians: The Story of our Ancestors and Where we came from”. He is the prophet, the populariser of the new wisdom and science, the New Holy Grail of civilisational studies and issues of identity. He speaks with authority. Harvard has spoken—and that has to be the last word. The entire learned discourse in his book has that stamp of finality and certitude that brooks no contra opinions/ alternative interpretations. It is that air of triumphant finality that is a bit disconcerting and uncomfortable. Especially when the new science of Population Genetics has a number of inherent constraints and limitations that must be understood before we use it to make oracular pronouncements. The Tony Joseph narrative, however, is remarkable. It starts with the very origins of mankind, the human species itself. It puts together an impressive body of facts from the fields of Population Genome studies, Archaeology, Archaeobiology and Archaeobotany to tell us that the Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory was dead right and all Indian scholars who oppose this are sadly mistaken. It is once again the levels of certitude that are disconcerting. So is his attempt to invest the DNA Population Mapping studies with an air of finality, as the sole answer to all issues of ancient Indian history and identity. Nevertheless he has put together a very impressive range of data from diverse fields and his book is a must read to settle these debates. Tony tells us that over the last seven million years, a number of archaic human ( or Hominoid )species had emerged on planet earth. They all perished without a trace. Only the Homo sapiens have survived and thrive to this day. The genome we carry today is exclusively of the Homo Sapiens family and none from the more archaic human species. It would be useful to summarize the chronology of the emergence of these archaic human species that appeared on our planet. These are tabulated as under: Chronology Archaic Human Species   Archaic Human Species Age

Sahelanthropus tchadensis 7 million years Before (Africa) Present (B.P.) Ardipithecus ramidus 4 million years B.P. (Africa) Kenyanthropus platyops 3.5 million years B.P. (Africa) Homo habilis (Africa) 2.4 million years B.P. Homo Erectus (Africa) 2 million years B.P. Homo heidelbergensis (Africa) 700,000 to 200,000 years Homo neanderthalensis( B.P. Europe) Homo Sapiens (Africa) 300,000 years B.P. Tabulated from Early Indians (Joseph2018) The point that Tony makes is that almost all these archaic human species originated in Africa and spread to Asia and other  parts of the world. Unfortunately, these archaic human species have all died out today and all that we have are the odd skeletal remains and fossils. The Africa fixation is a bit puzzling. Surely archaic humans could have arisen in other continents too concurrently with whatever was happening in Africa. The Chinese, in fact contest this wholly out of Africa thesis and insist that human genetic strains had sprung up locally and I find considerable merit in this localised origin thesis. What was so special about Africa that virtually all species of humans had to arise exclusively there and then radiate outwards to populate the rest of the world. We have more than ample evidence of archaic human species presence in Asia. However current genetic wisdom is that all homo sapiens at least ,radiated out of Africa Archaic Humans in India Tony tells us that Palaeolithic tools indicative of archaic human  species have been found at many places in India and dated to 1.5 million years B.P. Indirect evidence of archaic human presence in terms of old and middle Palaeolithic tools have been found at Athirampakkam in Tamil Nadu (just 69 kms from Chennai). These, in fact, have been dated as early as 385,000 years B.P. (Shanti Pappu just announced these findings in 2018). This is indirect evidence.

Remains of archaic humans (possibly Homo heidolbergensis or Homo Erectus, or even Homo Sapiens—that has not been accurately determined) were found in 1982 in India in the Narmada valley at a place called Hathnora. This fossil was a partially complete cranium and was dated to 250,000 years BP. The pity is that none of these archaic human species survived and hence could not be technically counted as our ancestors. These archaic ancestors just failed to survive and hence none of us today has any traces of their DNA. These archaic humans and even the early Homo Sapiens however were all great wanderers. They travelled ceaselessly across the globe. They were hunter gatherers. They followed the herbivores as they migrated. As the availability of game declined and the wild fruits/berries were all eaten up, they simply moved on. The distances they travelled are astonishing and mind boggling. They moved from one continent to the other as Ocean and sea levels were much lower in those ancient times and there were many straits and land-bridges linking the continental land masses. Homo Sapiens Migration Talking specifically, our genetic identity can be traced back to the Homo Sapiens. The earliest Homo Sapiens remains have been dated back to 300,000 years ago and originated in Africa. These migrated into Asia and elsewhere. Tony Joseph lists out an interesting chronology of these Homo Sapiens migrations/movements. There is evidence of such Homo Sapiens movements into Asia dated some 180,000 years ago (into North Israel) but none of these early Homo Sapiens migrants survived for there is no trace of their DNA too in current populations. Tony tells us that the first successful out of Africa migration (OoA) of Homo Sapiens that have survived occurred only around 70-80,000 years B.P. These successful human migrants crossed over from Egypt into the Levant (Northern Route) and from Eritrea into Yemen and Saudi Arabia (Southern Route) to radiate outwards. The key point to note is that where the archaic humans and early Homo Sapiens who had migrated even earlier had all perished and have left no genetic progeny who survived; these Homo sapiens who migrated out of Africa around 70,000 years ago have survived. We still carry their genes in our cells. Hence they are our primal ancestors. All modern humans outside Africa today are all descendants of a single population that moved Out of Africa (OoA) into Asia and beyond, around 70,000 years B.P. When we talk of ancestors with whom we share a direct

genetic linkage, these OoA migrants who moved from Africa to Asia some 70,000 years from today can be correctly classified as our genetic ancestors. Tony Joseph starts his book with a chronology of these modern human (Homo Sapiens) migrations out of Africa and it would be useful to recapitulate this chronology of migration of our early ancestors: Out of Africa Homo Sapiens Migration   Approximate Event Dating Skull recovered in Jebel Irhoud – 50 kms 300,000 from Safi in Morocco (June 2017) years B.P. 195,000 Omo Kibish in Ethiopia (two skull caps) years B.P. Misilya, North Israel (human upper jaw 180,000 tooth found in January 2018) years B.P. Finger fossil found near Al Wusa lake in 88,000 years North East Saudi Arabia( none of the above B.P. survived) 80-70,000 Migration into Asia years B.P. Migration into India Migration into Australia Migration into Europe Earliest human fossil found in South Asia in Sri Lanka at the Fa Hien Cave in the Kalutara district Fossils at Bhimbetka caves (India) and Batadombalina caves (Sri Lanka) Migrations into the Americas via Bearing Straits in Alaska

65,000 years B.P. 60,000 years B.P. 45,000 years B.P. 35,000 years B.P. 28,000 years B.P. 16,000 years B.P.

Source: Early Indians. Tony Joseph 2018, pp xi to xv

Evidence of Stone Tools. Archaic human species had also started using large and heavy Palaeolithic Stones (choppers, cleavers, axes etc.) made by chipping large stones. Later the style of stone  tools changed to having relatively smaller cores from these bigger stones. These Middle Palaeolithic Stones were relatively smaller in size than the earlier large Palaeolithic stones. A revolution of sorts however came when Homo Sapiens graduated to the use of Microlithic Stones in terms of much smaller and lighter arrowheads, spearheads and blades. This gave them a decisive edge for survival, game hunting and in battles with the other archaic human species. That is why these archaic human species have today died out without a trace. They could not compete with the microlithics. So as per genetic evidence, modern human remains dating around 300,000 years ago have been found in Africa. After unsuccessful initial forays around 180,000 years ago into the Levant, the first successful human migration into Asia started 80-70,000 years B.P. Around 65,000 years B.P. these had reached India and moved onto South East Asia and Australia as also towards Central Asia. These early Indians were our ancestors. Genetically they have been called Ancestral South Indians (ASIs) who spread over South and Central India and the Andaman islands (the Ongee tribes). Those who moved northwards, mixed with the people of Persia (Iran) and the Steppes and formed the component called Ancient North India (ANI) some 40,000 years ago. It is quite apparent that everyone in India today, is a mix of different proportions of ancestry related to these two groups—ANI and ASI. With this we graduated in India from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic era. After millenniums of a highly mobile lifestyle as hunter-gatherers, mankind was on the brink of settling down by domesticating animals and plant cereals and settling down in fixed human habitations and adopting a sedentary lifestyle. After thousands of years of romping across continents human civilisation was to experience a major transformation. The Agricultural Revolution. Around 10,000 years B.P., mankind was about to trigger the Agricultural Revolution. There are quaint colonial era notions about how exactly this Agricultural Revolution panned out. Colonial historians were inclined to treat the Biblical land of Levant and Mesopotamia as the cradle of the human civilisation per se. All value had apparently originated from here. The techniques of domesticating animals and plants and adopting a sedentary lifestyle was apparently the sole

intellectual property (IPR) of the people of Levant and Mesopotamia. They had pioneered and initiated the agricultural revolution and then went on a crusade to spread it to the civilisationally backward regions of Iran, India, Central Asia, and even Europe. It was part, apparently, of a West Asian civilizing mission for mankind. An early form, so to speak, of the White man’s burden. So colonial historians and modern Geneticists talk of a large- scale migration of Iranian agriculturalists to emancipate the savage huntergatherers of India around 7,000 B.C.E. The migration may well have occurred but to claim that it was only because of this that agriculture was introduced in India is farfetched and does not fit the facts archaeologists have uncovered. This thesis fall flat in the face of concrete archaeological evidence that establishes that agriculture had arisen autonomously in India in Mehrgarh (Baluchistan), where large sedentary settlements had come up and goats and cattle along with wheat and barley cereals had been domesticated. Despite the evidence of Mehrgarh and domestication of rice in the Ganga valley, Tony insists that genetic evidence points out to agriculture related migrations into India from 7,000 B.C.E. to 4,000 B.C.E. onwards. The alternative thesis is that the Iranians did not come to teach agriculture but to fight. This will be taken up in detail subsequently in this chapter. Tony then goes on to validate the colonial era Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). This latter attempt goes into inordinate lengths to prove a large scale migration of Aryans happened in the Bronze Age into India from the steppes. Some of it sounds bizarre. It was an all-male invasion. The Steppe pastoralists had left their wives and children behind. They came into an area facing acute water stress with the dying out of the Sarasvati and the drastic decline of the Harappan civilisation due to prolonged draught and a failing Monsoon. Mass human migrations are motivated by greed (lure of abundant new resources) or fear (acute water stress & ecological disasters). Mass migration in 1,500 B.C. into an area facing acute water stress therefore makes no sense. It defies logic. In fact in such a scenario, the exact opposite should have occurred. Yet DNA experts in the USA claim to have apparently produced clinching evidence from population genetic studies to show large scale agriculture related migration took place around 7,000 B.C.E. to export the techniques of agriculture and yet again from Central Asia in 1,500 B.C.E. The last all-male Aryan Invasion changed the genetic map and make up of India. Over 50–

60% Indians today have a predominantly Steppes-based DNA profile and almost 75% speak Indo- European group of languages. What was behind this fast and furious breeding explosion that changed the very genetic profile of the Indian population? Geneticists and linguists have pointed out the vast spread of R1a gene haplogroup (so called Aryan Haplogroup) that is spread over Eurasia and India. Today its members cover almost 60–70% of India’s territory. The claim is that there was a gender-biased, male-centric Indo- Aryan Migration (IAM) in the bronze age. The steppe based Aryans had left their wives and children behind. There was no large-scale war/genocide/slaughter, yet the Central Asian migrants gained such dominance that they drastically changed the genetic makeup of the entire Indian population by mating furiously with the local women in a manner that noticeably edged out the indigenous males. In the absence of large scale military conquest and the abject defeat of the locals, this sounds a bit stretched. It would perhaps be far more logical to presume that the Indo-Aryan spread and dominance in India is better explained perhaps by the premise that they were perhaps native to this region. The problem is not so much the science but the interpretation of findings and incomplete data skewing the results of the findings per se. We need to take a closer look at this issue of DNA tagging of human migrations. Charting Human Migrations How does DNA Mapping help us chart human migrations? There are basically two methods: ● Uniparental DNA Analysis: This entails tracking the Matrilineal (Mt.) DNA or Patrilineal (Pt.) DNA of individuals or populations. Mt. DNA and Pt. DNA studies were very useful in early stages of population genetics and helped in understanding the migration history of the individual or the group. The basis is that the mutations that accumulate overtime, carry the track record of all that happened in the exclusively paternal or maternal lineage of that person. ● Whole Genome Sequencing of Present Day Population: Since Uniparental chromosomes Mt. DNA and Y-chromosomes capture only a small part of the entire genome of an individual, a far more comprehensive observation is provided by the Whole Genome Analysis. So this is considered superior to Uniparental DNA analysis.

The initial attempts in India were focused on Uniparental DNA Analysis of the present Indian population. It would be useful to understand this methodology. Almost all the genetic information that humans need is packed into 23 pairs of chromosomes that lie within the nuclei of our cells. The only exception is the Mitochondrial DNA or Mt. DNA which stays outside the cell nucleus. Within the cell the Mt. DNA performs a critical function. It contains the code which converts the chemical energy from food into a form that the cell can use. Mt. DNA therefore is the powerhouse of the cell. No person can do without the Mt. DNA, however, every woman can function without the Y-chromosome! (Joseph 2018) All human beings inherit their Mt. DNA from their mothers. Fathers also carry Mt. DNA exclusively from their mothers but do not pass this on to their offspring. They transmit the Y-chromosomes that come exclusively from their father. Thus the sex pair of chromosomes can be XX (female) or XY (male). The migration history of individuals and populations is tracked by the mutations that accumulate over time and thus carry a track record of all that happened to the patrilineal/matrilineal lineage of that person. Mt. DNA Results The initial results that came from an analysis of the Mt. DNA in India were rather emphatic: ● India has a predominantly Mt. DNA Haplogroup M-2. Some 70– 90% of the Mt. DNA Haplogroup in India can be traced back to the first people who came to India some 65,000 years ago. ● Hence only 10–30% of the Mt. DNA lineage in India is the result of later migrations. ● No major gene inflows took place from outside India in the last 12,500 years as the Mt. DNA shows no sign of it. ● However, Marina Silva in her paper submitted in 2017 had identified Mt. DNA Haplogroups K265, D1a3a, H13a2a and R6a2 as Neolithic period migrations from West Asia, the so-called farming led migrations. This has been contested These results shook the western establishment in Harvard. A lot of colonial era narratives had been negated in one fell swoop. There was an immediate and expected backlash. This took the form of American DNA experts insisting that Mt. DNA results should not be treated as conclusive and we need to take a look at the Pt. DNA also.

Pt DNA Results: Geneticists in Harvard now focused on the Pt. DNA and came up with results that were diametrically opposite: ● Only 10–40% of the Y-chromosome Haplogroup in the various Indian population segments are descendants of the first Indian lineage that came here 65,000 years ago. ● The R1a Haplogroup: This is a Y-chromosomal haplogroup. The R1a Patrilineal Haplogroup (also identified as R1a M417) is the world’s most successfully extended family. It split into two around 3,800 B.C.E. R1a Z 282 is only found in Europe and R1a Z93 is seen in Central Asia and South Asia. ● It is spread across Eurasia with high concentrations in Russia, Poland and Ukraine as well as the Indian subcontinent. Today, it has over a billion members. ● R1a is identified as the haplogroup that represents the Indo- Aryans. It records an uninterrupted lineage of males that have all descended from one common ancestor. ● David Reich asserted that in the Bronze Age there was a large scale migration of Indo-Aryan male groups into India. ● Though there was no war and fighting, yet this Haplogroup was able to spread over two third of India and change its genetic profile in a profound but inexplicable manner. The mechanics of this transformation have not been adequately explained. ● When the Harappan civilisation had declined, Tony Joseph concedes that its people moved eastwards to the Ganga- Yamuna floodplains and southwards to peninsular India. ● He does not explain the reasons that have led him to emphatically exclude any westward movement of the Harappan people in the face of such acute water stress and scarcity. Ruling out any westward movement shows ingrained bias and circularity. ● Such a large-scale immigration into a region that had suffered acute water stress, desertification of a once fertile land and the desiccation of a major cradle river that sustained a civilisation, is on the face of it, illogical. ● Nevertheless David Reich and others insist on one immigration from Iran (the Agricultural import migration in 7000 B.C.E.) and the other major one in 1,500 B.C.E. from the Steppes.

This Bronze Age Migration of Male-exclusive groups from the Steppes (heavily sex-biased dispersals), it is claimed, transformed the genetic landscape in India. The preponderance of male ancestors coming from the Steppes implied that the male descendants of the Indo-Aryans (due to political or social power) were far more successful at competing for local mates than local groups. ● Since war and conquest of the Indus Valley civilisation has been ruled out by archaeological evidence, this dominance of the Steppes-based genetic influx that was said to be strongly male driven is not understood. ● 75% of Indians today speak Indo-European languages. 50–60% of them carry the R1a gene haplogroup. So how could one migration have such an overwhelming impact in altering the basic genetic profile of South Asia? What could be the numbers involved? It makes far better sense to conclude that this Haplogroup was already there in India. The Mt. DNA and Pt. DNA approaches led to very contradictory findings. There was a clamour therefore to settle the issue by now going in for a Whole Genome Analysis. Whole Genome Analysis There are two studies published in 2009 and 2013 that carried out extensive sampling of present-day Indian population groups and used whole genome sequencing. Both papers had on board Dr. David Reich from the Harvard Medical School, Lalji Singh and C. Thangaraj from the Indian Centre for Cellular Biology based at Hyderabad; and Nick Paterson from the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT. (Joseph 2018) The first paper was entitled “Reconstructing Indian Population’s History” and the second “Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India”. There was a considerable debate and dissent in the formulation of these papers. In the light of Indian sensitivities and objections, the terms Ancient North Indians (ANI) and Ancient South Indians (ASI) were used to describe the First Indian population and those in the north who had mixed with Iranian agriculturalists and Central Asians. The Indian scientists rightly pointed out to the spread of the R1a gene haplogroup across Eurasia and South Asia and insisted that it could equally have happened the other way— Indo- Aryans could well have gone out of India—the genetic tagging could not define the direction of this migration. The papers claimed it was west to east—but it could equally be in the reverse direction—east to west.

Ancient DNA It was evident that this dispute could only be settled by a study of the ancient DNA of the people of this region. Tony Joseph who seems rather set on proving the AIT/IAMT theories right, has now cited a New Ancient DNA based study entitled “The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia” that is yet to be published, but its advance copies were been placed on the pre-print series for Biology in March 2018. This study, he tells us, has been co-authored by 92 scientists from diverse disciplines (including Archaeology, Anthropology and Genetics etc.). It has been co-authored by Dr. David Reich too. Tony informs us that this study is based on the ancient DNA of 612 individuals from Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as also the Swat Valley of Pakistan. This ancient DNA data was compared and coanalysed with genome wide data from present day individuals 1789 of them from ethnographically distinct groups in South Asia. This study, Tony claims stridently, had contributed significantly to determining the ancestry of the Indus periphery population from 4,700–3,000 B.C.E. Somehow Tony seems bent upon establishing the IPR of West Asia for all agricultural developments .That the border provinces of the Indus Valley should share a gene pool with Iran, which is geographically contiguous is so very obvious and does not need rocket science. Where civilisations meet they do tend to mate/ intermingle and form a mix of sorts in the peripheral border areas. However, we are not focusing exclusively on the border areas of the Harappan civilisation but on its core areas and civilisational heartland in the Ghaggar-Hakra and Kurukshetra regions of the Indus-Sarasvati plains. We are concerned about the identity of the Harappan civilisation per se and not so much its outlier districts or peripheral areas. Anyhow, Tony concludes that DNAs of 69 ancient individuals from the BMAC sites had the following DNA profile: ● Early Iranian Agriculturist ancestry: 60% ● Anatolian Agriculturist ancestry: 21% ● West Siberian Agriculturist ancestry: 13% The 31 individuals of Harappa however had large amounts of the first Indian ancestry. This study showed that from 2,200 B.C.E. to 100 C.E., there was extensive admixture amongst different Indian populations. This mixing came to an end around 100 C.E. as endogamous caste-based rules were rather strictly enforced since  then.

The key finding of this Ancient DNA study is that 50–65% of the whole genome ancestry of the Indian population comes from the descendant lineages of the first Indian population that migrated from Africa (ASI). There is no population group in India that does not carry First Indian ancestry (irrespective of language spoken). So behind all this apparent diversity is a strong basis for genetic unity. Problem Areas When we talk of Ancient DNA, the major problem area is the availability of the same in the wet monsoonal and tropical climate of India. Such human remains tend to decay and deteriorate rapidly. That is why very little Ancient DNA has been found in India per se. There are huge gaps. The first DNA evidence of OoA migrants that were said to have arrived in India 65,000 years ago – is only available from 35,000 years ago that too Sri Lanka .The first Indian sample is dated around 28,000 years ago. Yet that does not imply that no influx had taken place into India before that date. These huge gaps in evidence can lead to leaps of faith that could turn out to be highly subjective. By contrast, the dry, desertic climate of West Asia and Africa and even Central Asia is ideal for such preservation of ancient DNA samples and the record available there is far more extensive. This availability of ancient DNA or the lack of it, in itself skews the entire sampling. We build our constructs not on what was, but on what is available now. This could lead to serious errors in sampling size and analysis. The set of findings from the Mt. DNA, Pt. DNA and the Whole Genome Analysis in India are not clear cut and a lot of the findings are mutually contradictory. Also the findings of genetics cannot wholly contradict other available evidence. On page 92 of his magnum opus (Joseph 2018), Tony clearly admits this grave lacuna. He says, “Criticism from several archaeologists and historians that the genetic conclusions about ancient human migrations are based on too few DNA samples and are dependent upon simply where the ancient remains are chanced upon. As per them this is like looking for a watch you lost on the street, but only on those stretches where there is lamplight! Ancient DNA samples are extremely sparse and the very inbuilt limitation of sample availability, size and locations do not justify the oracular and authoritative pronouncements emanating from Harvard and being championed so stridently by leftist camp followers in India.

DNA Studies Limitations. Usha Ramanathan writing in the India Today magazine(10 sep 2018 issue) points out DNA is probabilistic not definitive. It is not only the science but the human intervention that adds to the complexity: collection of DNA, chain of custody and contamination are acknowledged problems producing wrong matches. Experts warn of erroneous matches due to false cold hits, cross-contamination of samples, misinterpretation/ misrepresentation of test results, errors in entering registers and even intentional planting of DNA! So we need to be duly cautious of proclamations of infallibility that come from Harvard or anywhere else. By itself the science of DNA is too probabilistic to be the singular piece of clinching evidence. It has to be part of a multidisciplinary approach and the effort must be to synthesise and converge data from various disciplines rather than set any one Field as the sole touch stone of realty that will determine true or false. Gender-biased Dispersals DNA Population studies of Reich et al have posed some problems in basic logic. Almost 70-75% of Indians today speak Indo-Aryan languages. The R1a haplogroup is spread over almost two third of India. It comprises 50–60% of our genome today. Yet we are informed that this influx occurred from Anatolia and Central Asia as late as in 1500 B.C. when North India was facing severe water stress and fertile lands were turning into deserts. The most curious aspect is the gender-biased nature of these dispersals. The Indo- Aryans who apparently came into a heavily water stressed area had all left their families and children behind. This generally happens when the intention is to launch extended military raids for loot, rape and arson and then return with the booty and the female slaves. The Indo-Aryans who are said to have come in the Bronze Age settled down here and apparently changed the entire genetic profile of India by intense and furious sexual activity. As per western scholars It turns out to be a frenetic mating expedition designed to alter India’s basic genetic profile! Let me quote Tony Joseph himself on page 75 of his thesis: Genetics cannot answer what manner of force was used to ensure that local Indian males left few children behind in comparison to Indo-Aryan males. Were they killed, driven away or just marginalized? Genetics can only show what the result was— substantial elimination of the local males from the genetic pool.

Archaeology shows no sign of large scale warfare and violence in the decline of the Indus Valley civilisation. So these conclusions sound rather bizarre and illogical. We are simply trying to force fit facts to somehow prove the pre-existing AIT/IAMT theories. It smacks of circularity, and a pre-assumption of which males were “local.” Measuring Invasion Impacts India has suffered massive invasions, conquests, military defeats, largescale loot, plunder and rape on unprecedented scale in the current era. Tony Joseph very helpfully lists them out. On page 201 of his magnum opus he states, “Both in India and Europe, the Indo- European language speakers were the last migrants significant enough to change the demography. India has seen multiple incursions since then: ● Alexander’s Army in 326 B.C.E. ● Sakas or Scythians in 150 B.C.E. ● Huns around 450 C.E. ● Arabs in 710 C.E. ● Mughals in 1526 C.E. (He misses out the Afghans ,Mongols and later the Iranians of Nadir Shah) ● Portuguese, French, Dutch and the British in the last two centuries. All these were invasions by all male armies—most of them intent upon loot, arson and rape. Tony asserts, “None of them left more than a delicate and small impression on our demography although their impact on our culture has often been bigger. No migration or invasion is likely to change our demography in the future either.” So we need to understand what was so unique and special about the socalled Aryan Invasion or Indo-Aryan Migration in the Bronze age that in the absence of any military conquest or large-scale slaughter, it still left behind such a monumental impact on our genetic profile? What were the numbers that came in the Bronze Age? Population sizes were not very large then. What differentiates this immigration into an area of water stress from the six invasions outlined here, which despite their scale, ferocity and violence have left very little demographic impact on the Indian population. This despite the fact that the current era invasions were much larger in scope and scale. Indian population studies Dynamics In 2009, David Reich along with Lalji Singh (former Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad) wrote a seminal paper entitled “Reconstructing Indian Population History” that was published in the

prestigious journal, Nature. This seminal paper concluded that initial settlement of humans took place in South Asia some 65,000 years from now. These humans settled initially in South India and the Andaman Islands and became the group called Ancestral South Indians (ASI) Some 40,000 years ago the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) population emerged. The ANI and ASI were mixed population groups per se. Both these groups mixed to form the Indian population. As such there was nothing to really mark out the people of North and South India as genetically distinct and separate. The gene pool was shared and common. The mythical divide North and South of the Vindhyas was just that—a myth. Some of the basic issues that were settled in this paper and the subsequent one by Reich and Lalji Singh in 2013 (paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, 2013) established the following: a) No major gene inflows took place from outside India in the last 12,500 years or so because the Mt DNA shows no sign of it. b) Thus Sengupta et al (“Polarity and Temporality of High Resolution Chromosome Distribution in India Identifying both Indigenous and Exogenous expansion and reveal minor Genetic influence of Central Asian Pastoralists”, American journal of Genetics2006.78 202211). This highlighted that there was complete absence of any significant outside genetic influence in India for the past 10,000– 15,000 years. c) Underhill et al in their paper dated 2010 rule out any significant patrilineal gene inflow from East Europe to Asia including India at least till mid Holocene period (7000– 5000 years ago) This suggests that RIa movement if any had taken place around 7000–5000 years ago and not thereafter. d) Tamany J and Thangaraj in their paper (“Genomic View of the Peopling of India”, 2009), reject the possibility of Aryan invasion/ migration and conclude that Indian populations are genetically unique and harbour the second highest genetic diversity after Africa. e) There have also been migrations of Austro-Asiatic speakers such as the Munda. The time horizon of this migration is indeterminate. f) Finally there is the migration   of   Tibeto-Burman speakers like the Garos who migrated  from  East  Asia. The  age  of their  arrival  is  again  indeterminate  but  it  is said  they brought in the knowledge of rice cultivation  in India.

Let us now take a closer look at the R1a gene haplogroup that is supposed to be the Indo- Aryan haplogroup spread over Eurasia and India and is the bone of contention today. The R1a Haplogroup ● In genetic terminology a haplogroup is a group of individuals that share a common ancestor with a particular genetic mutation. ● A haplogroup pertains to a single line of descent which typically dates back several thousands of years. ● A haplogroup therefore is a large extended family or clan, all of whose members have a shared ancestry. As stated earlier, there are two types of haplogroups: ● Chromosomal (Patrilineal) Haplogroups ● Mt DNA (Matrilineal) Haplogroups ● These haplogroups are identified by letters of alphabets (A, B, C etc.) and subgroups are denoted by letters and numbers (A1, A1a etc.). ● The Y-Chromosomal (Patrilineal) haplogroup R1a1a (also known as R-M17) is the world’s most successful extended family. ● Its members number in hundreds of millions, possibly over a billion. It is widespread across Eurasia, with high concentrations in Russia, Poland and Ukraine as well as the Indian subcontinent and the Tuva region in Asiatic Russia (Siberia). ● R1a1a is identified as the haplogroup that represents the Indo-Aryan people. It records an uninterrupted lineage of males from father to son, all of whom have descended from one common male ancestor. ● These early research papers claimed that the R1a1a haplogroup found in Eurasia, had originated in India. There is a seminal study by Swarkar Sharma, Ekta Raj, and Mamta Jena entitled “The Indian origin of Paternal Haplogroup R1a* Substantiates Autochthonous Origin of Brahmins and Caste System.”’ (Journal of Human Genetics 54(I) 47-55 Feb 2009). So far, this study has not been refuted or countered. It had a very impressive data base of 621 Y chromosome groups of Brahmins and 2128 samples of tribals and Scheduled caste populations in India. It found highest frequency of Y haplogroup Ria* (72.22%) in Brahmins. It also found R1a in Indian tribal populations.

Another study published in 2015 by Lucette G ( The Major Y Chromosome haplogroup Type XI Haplogroup R1a in Eurasia, Heredity Gennet 4:150 dir ;10.4172/2161) substantiates the findings of Sharma et al and claims that the oldest samples of the haplogroup R1a are found in the Indian subcontinent and are approximately 15,450 years old.

Distribution of haplogroup R1a1a (purple) in Eurasia.

● Thus it was stated that the R1a1a haplogroup originated in India. ● The Indo-Aryan people have lived in India for at least 15,450 years. This invalidates the theory that Indo-Aryans invaded India some 3,500 years ago. ● The possibility is that over a billion members of the R1a1a family living across the world today, a very large fraction of humanity, have all descended from one single male ancestor who lived in India at least 15,450 years ago. As per one study in 2015, the oldest gene of this R 1a 1a Haplogroup has been found not in Southern Europe or Central Asia but in India. Since this haplogroup originates from a single common male ancestor, it suggests that this haplogroup  migrated from India outwards and not vice versa.

Thus genetic mapping studies seemed to validate the linguistic studies conclusion about an Indo-Aryan community speaking a common IndoEuropean proto language that had spread all over Europe, Central Asia, Iran and India. The key aspect to determine was which way the diffusion had taken place. If it is established that the oldest gene of this Haplogroup has been found in India, that could become the most critical aspect. The ancient DNA analysis now being trumpeted in Harvard however seems to be hell bent on validating the AIT. The Indo-Iran Connection. The Indian DNA studies are suggesting a strong congruence of the Indian and Iranian populations in terms of genetics. That is borne out by history and scriptures. There is a great deal of commonality between The Vedas and the Zend Avesta. However the polarity of Gods and demons has been interchanged. This probably led to large scale conflict between the Indians and Iranians populations in the ancient era. H Oldenberg showed that in spite of closeness of religious beliefs, the Vedas and Avesta differ crucially and in the Avesta many of the heroes play opposite roles to their counterparts of the Vedas. Thus Indra is glorified by the Vedas and demonised by the Avesta. The king Rajashva who fought the Varasagira battle is glorified in the Rig Veda but demonised in the Avesta. Srikant Telagiri talks of large scale war and conflict between the Indians and Iranians in the ancient era. The Iranians did not come to teach Indo- Aryans agriculture but to wage battles. They were like warring cousins. Thus David Frawley talks of The Dasas mentioned in Rig Veda as the Dahas or name for common people in Iran. Politically it is speculated that the early  Indic civilisation was probably carved into a number of tribally aligned kingdoms – some of which were apparently quite large. The Rig Veda speaks of five tribes or peoples and internecine tribal warfare between these kingdoms – the most historic of them being the Das Rajan War (The War of 10 Kings). The celebrated Vedic King Sudas fought both Aryans and Dasas .Colonial historians have caricatured Dasas into derogatory racial archetypes—to “snub nosed and dark skinned” Dravidian people of the original Colonial myth. This is not borne out by deeper analysis. The Dasas were perhaps Aryan people who stood for a set of values directly opposed to those of the Indo-Aryans. The Iranian language uses the term Daha as equivalent of Dasa and represents the common Aryan people of Iran. Was the primal axis of conflict and warfare between the Indo-Aryans of the Sarasvati tract and the Aryans

(Dahas) of Iran? Does the destruction of a hundred fort cities (Puras) by Indra refer to wars between the Indic and Iranian Aryans? No wonder the Avesta treats Indra not as a God but as a villain. We need to do far greater research to establish these hypotheses. However what stands increasingly demolished is the Aryan Invasion Hypothesis and its later variant—the IndoAryan Migration Thesis. Most of ancient India’s wars were not between the Aryans and aboriginal tribes but between the Aryan clans themselves. The Aryas and Dasas appear to be the close cousins who were the main warring clans in ancient India. Indra did destroy a hundred fort cities but most probably in Iran or the BMAC area. Thus North India and Iran was the Aryan cradle. The hypothesis is that they spread Eastwards from here into Central Asia and beyond. Dr Neeraj Rai is about to publish his seminal paper on this subject. Critiques of Harvard Michael Danino has published the best critique of this rather motivated afterthought to somehow re-establish the validity of the AIT. Is India and not Central Asia the point of origin of the R1a haplogroup? In his paper entitled The Problematics of Genetics and the Aryan Issue, he has highlighted the blatant distortion and prejudices in these rather motivated denunciations and apparent  attempts from Harvard to reassert the Max Mueller thesis that the Indo-Aryans came to India in the Bronze Age some 4,000–4,500 years from today. Danino points out that the contra studies by David Reich and Silva et al., seem rather motivated and suffer from circularity. They start with the baseline assumption that the AIT was correct and then proceed to reprove it. Genetic Studies, he said, comes to us in a scientific garb. In actual fact they are scientific only in part and there is still much room for human prejudice and error. Thus the Marina Silva et al. Study (Genetic Chronology for India, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17(1) · December 2017) sequenced very few new genomes of South Asian population. Rather, he revisited old samples with new techniques. Their samples included 1,500 of the Mt DNA study and 850 for Genome wide study. The problem was the limited data set. Thousands of Indian communities were left out of this study. The bias was therefore inbuilt in the sampling itself. The study had no samples from the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh; nor from Bengal and Bihar to name just a few. The first three were supposed to be the core of

the Indo-Aryan homeland and the locus of Bharat itself. These would be vital and essential to understand gene modifications in North India and in the core of the Indus Valley civilisational area. This was the original land of the Bharatas. How could samples from here be excluded? How accurate would such a study be? Models in Population Genetics are oversimplifications. True ancestral populations of India were not homogenous but formed by clusters of related groups that mixed at different times. It is vital to reiterate that education and academics must deal in knowledge, not narratives. The energetic attempts by genetic scientist from Harvard look quite desperate in their valiant attempt to prove the Aryan invasion theory right somehow, anyhow. Since 2016, there has been an orchestrated and motivated backlash to disprove the Indus-Sarasvati civilisational area as the suggested Indo-Aryan homeland and the cradle therefore of a global civilisation that is the world’s oldest (as per empirical carbon dating) and has displayed an incredible level of cultural continuity and persistence. Since this seems to threaten established identities and Weltanschauung of the West, there is a concerted attempt to resurrect the AIT of the Bronze Age and force fit the data sets to serve outdated colonial constructs. The Eurocentric world view must be preserved at all costs and loyal newspapers like The Hindu in India are spearheading the counterattack of AIT in India by citing Martin B Richards, Peter Underhill and sidekicks like Priya Noorjani of Harvard Medical School. It is a sad example of how research scholars are arm-twisted perhaps to churn out research findings designed to resurrect an outmoded AIT whose use-by date has long since elapsed. It has been replaced by huge volumes of new data and findings. What is pathetic is the effort to obfuscate and misuse organizational brand names to overawe the opposition. The Eurocentric approach to human history must prevail, whatever the costs in terms of objectivity and historical truth. As pointed out earlier, what really gives the whole game away is the preamble to this latest bout of genetic research designed to re-establish the AIT. It talks of agriculture-related migrations from West Asia to the Indus valley some 9000–10,000 years ago to spread the knowledge of agriculture. This theory that asserts Mesopotamia’s Intellectual Property rights to all agriculture techniques in the world, has since been thoroughly discredited and will be taken up in detail in the next chapter. Sheldon Pollock and postmodern American Orientalism.

As Rajiv Malhotra tells us the Empire has shifted to the other side of the Atlantic. As Great Britain lost its empire and slipped into decline the mantle of western civilisational leadership was taken over by the USA. Samuel Huntington has spelt out this thesis in his magnum opus “The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of the World Order.” The clash of civilisations thesis is taken rather seriously in the West. All attempts are made to denigrate and do down other civilisations that are rising and could pose a challenge to the Western civilisation in the decades and years ahead. The Indic civilisation, especially its oldest culture—Hinduism, is a prime target of vilification in Western academia. The threat now is not so much the Old Colonial historians who are dead and gone but the new postmodern set of Orientalists in the USA who have donned the intellectual mantle of the Empire. The prime amongst them is Sheldon Pollock a doyen of Sanskrit studies at Harvard. A great scholar of the Sanskrit language he has done his best to divest the study of Sanskrit from its philosophical moorings and metaphysics. He has undertaken a new philological interpretation of the Sanskrit texts to claim that they are infused with toxic elements supporting Vedic, Brahminic and royal hegemony and that encodes oppressive views of shudras, women, Muslims and all those who can be construed as ‘others’. They see the Ramayana and other epics as politically motivated literature designed to perpetuate Brahmanical hegemony and the suppression of women. Earlier Thomas Macaulay had argued for defunding Sanskrit studies in India and shifting them entirely to Oxford (This was the best method of shutting the Indians off from their ancient past and heritage). Macaulay had then funded instead the study of English and vernacular languages in India to foster feelings of diversity and separateness. Pollock now wants to set up Harvard and Columbia as centres for studies of Indian classics, with him in control. The problem is the ecosystem of Indian leftist oriented academics whom he is trying his best to sponsor. His ideal is D D Kosambi, a Marxist historian and a patriarch of the Marxist School of Indian historiography. Far more dangerous than the colonial Historians and their Indian hangers on is this new breed of Marxist historians and interpreters of India who are schooled to interpret all Indian epic literature as toxic and oppressive of lower caste categories and women etc. Sanskrit language and literature must be divested of all its magnificent philosophy and reduced to just caste oppression studies and political literature for justifying hegemonies. Harvard’s genetic offensive to resuscitate the AIT/ IAMT is of a piece with

this civilisational war narrative. Tony Joseph’s new book Early Indians is duly endorsed by Sheldon Pollock and Michael Witzel.



Two centuries of colonial conditioning have bequeathed to us a set of self-proclaimed leftist liberal elite whose sole claim to fame are strident denunciations of the very idea of India. These hangers on of the Raj era are psychologically primed to despise their own country and culture, harp upon its infirmities, inferiorities and drawbacks and claim that all value came to us from outside South Asia. In itself they decry the lack of any intrinsic worth in an entire civilisation. Karl Marx rubbed in the fact that the Indians have been defeated by each and every set of invaders that chose to attack India. This narrative has acquired an amazing stranglehold upon the Indian academia. One of their primary thrust area was to entirely downplay the ancient phase of Indian History because it was Hindu

in essence. Post-independence the empire has moved across the Atlantic. The USA is now the key state in the Christian Western civilisation. Samuel Huntington’s clash of Civilisations metaphor is very much alive and active. The battleground extends to the academia and university campuses. As Rajiv Malhotra points out, American universities play a very important role in the way India studies itself. There is a whole ecosystem of Foundations that provide research grants, organize conferences and publish books and research journals. There is an intellectual system by which Knowledge is produced and certified there. In their eagerness to conform and belong and be accepted by this American academia, a number of Indian academics slavishly try to conform and curry favour with the establishment and parrot the establishment view on every Subject that deals with India. It is that Colonial hangover of the heathen or the coolie seeking acceptance by the Colonial dispensation. The West therefore defines the categories by which we are studied and judgements pronounced. The colonization of the mind continues, and a large number of Indian academics seek desperately to belong and be identified with the ruling dominant order. Instead of objectively trying to establish the truth, they seek to conform and curry favour with ‘the establishment’ and its viewpoints on all significant Issues. These establishment oriented academics who go for studies in the USA are the new foot-soldiers and thought-coolies of the former empire. That is how we saw strenuous attempts being made in Harvard to reestablish the AIT theory long after it was clearly discredited. DNA research done a decade earlier that threw AIT out of court were questioned and debunked in 2016. How could the colonial masters be wrong and the natives be right? There is a rather marked Hindu-phobia and a concerted attack on the Hindu culture and way of life. Studies of Hinduism must be confined to studies of caste and misogyny and crimes against women including rape. The effort to balkanise and splinter India continues and the number of Indian academics who will sell their souls and academic autonomy and credibility just to conform to the dominant Western discourse and get visas and invites to seminars, is now simply legion. These are the new intellectual sepoys of the old colonial order. They now look for inspiration and guidance from across the Atlantic. The paradigms are now all enunciated in the West and

Indian thought-coolies must simply conform. There is simply no challenging the dominant Western narrative in Indology or any other field. Some of these attempts to prove the colonial historians right can go to inordinate lengths. The number of Indians who seek to conform in such motivated research efforts is also legion. This colonial narrative of inferiority of the indigenous Indian culture is sometimes pushed to inordinate lengths. In his preface to the recent genetic studies trying to justify the AIT, Tony Joseph goes on to cite that agriculture had been introduced in the Indus- Sarasvati civilisation from Mesopotamia. Apparently, the Middle East gave the world not just the certitude and fanaticism of the Abrahamic religions but millenniums before that, it had discovered agriculture, began to domesticate animals and plants, and had pioneered the transition in human lifestyle from nomadism to settled agriculture. It was a miraculous discovery, the sole monopoly and Intellectual Property (IP) of the Mesopotamian civilisation and had been exported to backward regions like India, where the natives were too dumb to think of agriculture and a settled lifestyle on their own. Even at the risk of over-stating the case, that was the sum and substance of Tony Josephs preface to the study of patriarchal DNA to prove that the Aryans indeed were aliens in India. Curiously for all the talk of misogyny, studies of matrilineal DNA were debunked as being grossly inadequate. Pt DNA held the key. So, if the Harappans had a flourishing agriculture which sustained a civilisation for four millenniums—this knowledge and wisdom had to come from outside. It simply could not be native. So as per the colonial historians, the Indians learnt about the cultivation of cereals like wheat and barley from Mesopotamia. Rice was brought to this worthless land by migrants from East Asia. Thus Tony Joseph talks of the multiple migrations that served to civilize South Asia and imported all knowledge and values into a worthless land. Tony speaks of thea) Original out of Africa migration that occurred around 65,000-55,000 years ago. We have no quarrels with this. b) Then came the farming related migration from West Asia. This, he contends, occurred in multiple waves around 10,000 years ago. The Mesopotamians discovered the miracle of agriculture and then spread this knowledge to the dumb Indians and other retarded people. When the colonial historiographers chanced upon Mohenjo-

Daro—this was their first instinct. How can this sophisticated civilisation be indigenous and Indian? It had to be imported from the Biblical Cradle of the global civilisation. c) The next migration was that of the Austro-Asiatic speakers such as the Munda who came from East Asia. Their date of advent is yet to be precisely determined. d) Next are the Tibeto-Burman speakers such as the Garos. They came from East Asia and introduced rice to the people of India. All value is thus extrinsic and came from outside. This introductory note is solemnly prefaced to the genetic studies designed to somehow re-establish the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) as central and irrefutable dogma. How could the colonial masters be wrong? Western scholars had originally assumed that sedentism and agriculture had come to India from the Fertile Crescent. Tony Joseph either ignores or is completely unaware of the recent archaeological findings that prove beyond a shadow of doubt that sedentism, agriculture and urbanisation in India were indigenous and autochthonous developments. In his book early Indians (Joseph 2018) Tony does speak of Mehrgarh in detail. However, rather dogmatically he cites DNA mapping data to assert that Iranian agriculturists had come into India around 7000 B.C.E. and helped the Mehrgarh population to “discover or improve upon agricultural techniques”. Agruculture still remains the IP of the Middle East. Hence the needs for an integrated, convergent and multidisciplinary approach to these questions, Inputs from one discipline cannot be considered overriding. Anil Kumar Suri may be forgiven when he laments that in Indian academia “One is rational and progressive only if one dogmatically holds that everything of value must have come from outside (India).” It is part of the colonial culture of instilled inferiority. Everything desi or indigenous is inferior, low down and worthy of denigration. It must be despised. Anything of value must have come to this country from outside. It is a wounded and despicable civilisation apparently. The leftist liberal historians take great pains to dissociate themselves from all things Indian, (especially Hindu) as indigenous and therefore inferior. It is amazing that these self-depreciating attitudes of the colonial era still flourish under the garb of leftist  academia and liberal values. It is liberal to denigrate Hindu religion and philosophy as caste based, exploitative, resistant to change, wholly misogynist and anti-women in outlook. It is this colonial era mindset

and attitude that needs to be identified, exposed and challenged intellectually. Suri is right when he asserts that the archaeological and archaeoanthropological evidence has already established beyond doubt that the Indian civilisation is fundamentally and wholly indigenous, having organically evolved on the subcontinent with absolutely no credible evidence for origins outside India of any physical or cultural attributes. Neolithic to Chalcolithic Transitions in India The simple fact is that for a long time there was a significant historical gap from the stone age settlements to the times of Buddha in Indian archaeology. Thus between the Neolithic cave paintings of Bhimbetka and the rock cut Buddhist caves of Pitangalya Vihar and the stupas of Sanchi, there seemed to be a huge blank period in Indian History. Prof Shinde writes —“ there was a gap between the Stone Age and early historical phase of the Indian subcontinent.” There seemed to be a gap in the history of India as it jumped from the Stone Age to the Stupa period (early historic) while the settled way of life was introduced much later as compared to many other regions of the world. Many western scholars speculated that perhaps the Mesopotamian cultures had contributed greatly to the Harappan civilisation. Thus when the Indus-Sarasvati valley civilisation was unearthed, the colonial historiographers were puzzled. They initially speculated that the techniques of sophisticated agriculture and concomitant idea of permanent human settlements and urbanization must have been imported from the Middle East and Iran. In that era all value had to be extrinsic to the Indian civilisation. Since Mesopotamia was considered the cradle of the human civilisation per se, it was speculated that there had been out migration from Mesopotamia to spread the knowledge of agriculture to the nomadic and Neolithic populations of India, Central Asia and Europe. These highly altruistic expeditions to disseminate the knowledge of agriculture and concomitant habitations in fixed human settlements, were said to have occurred between 10-12,000 years B.P . Agriculture in this world view, was the sole and exclusive IP of the people of Mesopotamia. Subsequent archaeological discoveries, especially at Mehrgarh in Baluchistan have invalidated such fanciful notions about the discovery of agriculture. These were not confined to one single point of origin from where they had to radiate outwards. The picture that emerges is that of autonomous development of agricultural techniques in various parts of the

world and in many diverse cultures concurrently. So Mesopotamian prophets of agriculture ranging far and wide to disseminate the revolutionary knowledge they had obtained singularly, is a rather fanciful notion that stemmed from the outdated ideas of Eurocentrism. What was perhaps true of the industrial revolution, may not have been the case with the Agricultural Revolution. That appeared far more spontaneous, widespread and diffused. It developed autonomously over several divergent areas and cultures. The same could have been the case with war chariots.This needs to be understood and such quaint notions about the single point origin and spread of agricultural knowledge, merit being dispelled forcefully. Modern studies have provided ample evidence of this concurrent development in various regions of the world almost around the same time. Protohistoric Period in India The protohistoric period may be defined as the transition between the prehistoric and historic periods when humans gave up their nomadic lifestyles of the hunter gatherer and began leading a sedentary lifestyle in fixed settlements, villages and later, urbanized towns and cities. They domesticated plants and animals. This period marks the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age cultures of South Asia. Ever since the discovery of the Indus Valley civilisation (1924) from the excavations in Harappa (1921 onwards) and Mohenjo- Daro (1922 onwards), investigations at several locations in the Greater Sindhu Valley have led to a far better understanding of the development of cultures, starting from the Neolithic period onwards. Key to his understanding have been the sites of Mehrgarh, Naushera, Pinak and Sibri. These have provided ample evidence of the settling of humans from around the Eighth Millennium B.C.E., characterized by the domestication of plants and animals. These settlements passed through several technological innovations to include pyrotechnology, smelting of copper etc. to graduate into the Bronze Age. These Neolithic transition settlements were not just confined to the Bolan Hills of Balochistan and Rohri in Sindh overlooking the Indus-Sarasvati floodplains, but also in the river valleys themselves. Thus at Bhirrana deeper levels of digging indicate the first human settlements carbon dated to around 8,000 to 9,500 B.P.

Neolithic sites in Baluchistan and Kashmir Mehrgarh The Mehrgarh site is located at the foot of the Bolan pass in the region of Baluchistan. it covers an area of some 500 acres. Mehrgarh appears to be an assemblage of villages from different periods. In the 5th millennium B.C.E. it covered an area of approximately 168 acres. This is 5 times larger that of the Catal Huyuk area in Anatolia of similar antiquity. Catal Huyuk is estimated to have had a population of 5000 people. By contrast Mehrgarh is estimated to have had a population of 25,000 people. Anil Suri writes, “The findings of detailed excavations at the earliest known Neolithic settlements of the Indus Valley in Mehrgarh dates back to the Eighth Millennium B.C.E. These have shown the progression of people from hunting of native wild animals (Hunter-Gatherer stage) to limited domestication of goats, to domestication of native wild cereals including wheat and barley. Tellingly it was the native Indian Humped Bull (Bos Indicus) that was domesticated whereas outside the subcontinent it was always Bos Tarus. This clearly shows that the trajectory in India was independent of any foreign influence. An article in the Scientific American states-

“Mehrgarh offers proof of the existence of an early agricultural centre close to the Indus Valley and strongly supports the hypothesis that the Neolithic revolution was a complex event involving more than simply a single nuclear centre in Western Asia.” The French Archaeologist Jean Francois Jarrige, who led the excavation at Mehrgarh, was quite categorical. He said, “The assumption that farming economy was introduced full-fledged from the Near East (Middle East) to South Asia needs to be seriously questioned.” Rice Cultivation So domestication of wheat and barley and the humped bull, goats etc. are native innovations and were not imported from Mesopotamia. What about the magic cereal rice (that can sustain more people per hectare than any other cereal) and was the staple that permitted much greater population densities to be sustained in the Indo- Gangetic plains? It was said that the Tibeto-Burman speakers had brought this cereal with them as they migrated from East Asia. Scholars now accept that the Ganga plains as an independent centre for the domestication of rice, wild varieties of which are native to the region. Evidence has been found of rice cultivation in the mid Seventh Millennium B.C.E. at Lahurdewa in the Saryuparin plains in the present day Uttar Pradesh. Indeed micro-charcoal (suggestive of some form of slash and burn agriculture) and Cerealia pollen dating back to 10,000 years ago have been found here. Crucially this region has evidence of continued human occupation right from Paleolithic and the Neolithic settlements here are as old as those of the Indus Valley tradition. Curiously, small varieties of Barley and Wheat are also cultivated here. Both the Indus and Ganga regions obtained their copper from the Aravalis which seamlessly continued to be the source of all Copper into the Gangetic tradition—centuries after the end of the Harappan period. What was the need to reach back to this proto-historic period? Writers like Tony Joseph have prefaced their rather dogmatic Genetic Mapping studies trying to revalidate the Bronze Age Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), with references to “Farming related migration out of West Asia in multiple waves around 10,000 years ago.” Passing such nuggets of insight as established wisdom is what gives the game away. The whole unfortunate attempt has been to be circular. These studies start with the baseline assumption that AIT is true and then force fit facts to validate the theory that is treated as axiomatic. As Michael Danino points out—genetic studies

therefore come to us in a scientific garb. In actual fact they are scientific only in part—there is still much room for human prejudice and error. We seem to be revisiting the Aryan Race Theory of the early 20th Century all over again. Because issues of identity are involved, we encounter this emotive refusal to face facts and deal in outdated narratives that become an end in themselves. Issues of identity involve who we are. We find the colonial era Eurocentric world view trenchantly trying to assert its validity long past its use-by date. Even though overwhelmingly overtaken by evidence—we persist with old narratives. The refusal is to recognize that the Aryan homeland now possibly stands localised in the Indus-Sarasvati floodplains and Sanskrit is therefore the Proto-Indo-European language. For former colonial masters and their lackeys, this could be a fact very hard to digest.



The rediscovery of a lost river is a milestone in the study and interpretation of ancient Indian History. The Sarasvati was a mighty stream that traversed 4,600 kilometers from the Himalayas to the Sea. Its average width was 6-8 kms. Below Patiala, where the ice-melt water bearing streams of the Yamuna and the Satluj joined it, it was almost 20 kms wide. It was a river greater perhaps than the mighty Brahmaputra. This river was in its prime some 5,000-6,000 years from today. We have learnt from the science of geology thatTectonic plate shifts some 4,600 years and 2,700 years ago caused the Yamuna and then the Satluj tributaries to shift courses and join the Ganga and Indus respectively. This led this perennial glacier fed stream to turn into a monsoonal river. As the monsoons declined steeply, this river died out altogether. This led to the desiccation of this mighty river. Its southern

course went underground beyond Jaisalmer and the Northern course was broken up into a string of isolated lakes and pools. In its prime the Sarasvati river had sustained the highly sophisticated Harappan civilisation that was spread over an astonishing two million sq. kms. It then was the largest civilisational area anywhere across the world. What was remarkable was the degree of uniformity over the vast Harappan civilisational area. What is perhaps even more remarkable is the amazing degree of cultural continuity between this ancient civilisation and the present day Indian culture in North India. We may not have deciphered the Indus language script. However its plastic arts, its terracotta figurines and steatite statues and seals, provide us a clear visual language. A host of terracotta figurines speak an eloquent story about the life and times of those ancient people. Its women wore vermillion in the median parting of their hair and red dots in the centre of their foreheads—much like Hindu women do today. They wore bangles and bracelets so similar to those in use even today in the northern and western India. There were figurines in the traditional postures of Yoga, the most eloquent being the one in the Namaskar pose of greeting (Anjali Mudra). There were the motifs of the sacred Peepal leaves and representation of a Proto Shiva—Pashupatinath or the Lord of Animals. There were statues in meditational postures, Linga Yoni symbolisms and even fire alters for yajnas. There were figurines of fertility goddesses with the Vedic Soma mushrooms arrayed around their heads. The Soma clues were indeed very significant. The Indus Valley script has so far not been deciphered. However this vast collection of terracotta figurines spoke a most eloquent visual language about the land and its people. The visual cues they provided give us significant insights into the nature of this ancient civilisation. The geographical area of this civilisation was exactly the same as described in the Rig Veda. The land of the Rig Veda was described as the land of the Seven Rivers in the famous Nadi Sukta. Was the Harappan civilisation the same as that which has been so eloquently described in the Vedas, Brahmans and epics? Today the conclusion seems so evident and obvious. The amazing aspect is that we were so blinded by colonial era mindsets that we failed to see the obvious for so long. The evidence was right there staring us in the face—hidden in plain sight as it were. What it

needed was a change of mindset, a shift of the basal paradigm for everything to fall in place. The primary obstacle to understanding was that it ran sharply counter to the narrative manufactured by colonial era historians with an agenda. The central credo of the colonial historiography was the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). The Indo-Aryans had invaded India in the Bronze Age and had destroyed the Indus Valley civilisation in circa 1,500 B.C.E. The Aryan War God Indra had destroyed a hundred fort cities and committed genocide on a horrific scale to push the indigenous, “snub nosed dark-skinned  Dravidians” deep down South, past the Vindhyas (AIT). It was a most compelling racial narrative except that there wasn’t a shred of empirical evidence to support it. The spin masters of the colonial era were clever, when no evidence whatsoever was found they deftly changed the narrative to the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory (IAMT). The Indus-Sarasvati civilisation had perished of ecological causes. The Sarasvati River had been desiccated and the desert had swept its southern lands. That raises a seminal question—why would foreign migrants come to a land that was turning into desert, to a river that was then dying and forcing its people to flee? Northern India was in the throes of eco-catastrophe of the types that induce an exodus and not an inward migration of more people into a waterless waste. Quite obviously Max Müller had got the dates so badly wrong. Max Müller stated that the Aryans had come in 1,500 B.C and wrote the Rig Veda in India, when geologists now clearly tell us that this river was in its death throes then. Another discordant observation. The Rig Veda describes the Sarasvati as a “majestic river in full flow—the mother of floods, loudly roaring, the greatest of all rivers.” This was hardly the Sarasvati in 1,500 B.C.E. By 1,900 B.C.E., it had dried out almost entirely, broken into a string of lagoons and beyond Jaisalmer gone underground. Why would the IndoAryans have streamed into an area of eco-catastrophe? Could this logical cul-de-sac be skirted by pushing back the advent of the Aryans by 2,000 years earlier? That still left the seminal question—which was the original Aryan homeland? Which was the Proto-Indo-European language that scholars of linguistics spoke of? What was the strategic direction of Aryan migration? Into India from Anatolia and Central Asia or out of India as an exodus to seek fresh waters when the Sarasvati dried out?

DNA Mapping tools of Population Genetics, Archaeogenetics, and Genotyping have all now been pressed in to determine the strategic direction of those human mass migrations. The initial findings were explosive. A study of the Matrilineal (Mt) DNA in 2009 clearly indicated that no major gene inflows had taken place into India in the last 12,500 years! The Sharma et al study of 2009 and the Lucotte study of 2015 both confirm this finding which has not been refuted by anyone so far.The Aryans therefore were indigenous—the Ancestral North Indians who were genetically almost same as the Ancestral South Indians. The impact was electrifying in the intellectual sphere. Harvard now came to the rescue of the former colonial historians. It applied new tools to the same data and came up with the new finding that even though Mt DNA had no trace of foreign genes, Patrilineal DNA did indicate that 4,000-4,500 years ago all male Aryan groups had come into India (sans their wives and children) as a conquering or looting force perhaps into the land of a dying river. And oh yes— some 17.5% of the Male DNA in India was from that stock. Today as per Pt DNA over 50 -65 % of Indian males have steppes genes. So what accounts for the extraordinary spread and dominance of the Rla haplogroup in India? The whole point of this exercise seemed to be focused on proving the colonial historians and their AIT right. Colonial historians however had suggested that the Aryans came in lock stock and barrel and not in under20% of the population ratios. When Mt DNA and Pt DNA studies came up with contradictory conclusions about migration history in India—the whole Genome approach was employed to settle the controversy. This seems to suggest that 50-65 of of the Indian population had descended directly from the OoA migrants who had come to India (from Africa) around 65,000 years ago. The problem with ancient DNA studies is the lack of adequate samples that have survived the tropical climate of India. What caused greater unease was the examination of the data sets on which this radical new interpretation was based. The samples excluded any Indians from the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This was the core area of the Indo-Aryans—the mythical land of the Bharatas. How accurate could this study be then? Clearly this has become an issue of identity politics. The West was most unwilling to concede the Indus-Sarasvati area as the Aryan homeland and decree it as the cradle of human civilisation per se. It stood all notions of a

euro-centric history upon its head. Sanskrit now became the Proto-IndoEuropean language from which all Indian, Iranian, Central Asian and European dialects have descended. The implications are enormous in terms of who exactly we are. The people of Europe and America now find the basic notions of their identity threatened by these new findings and interpretations. The colonial-era historians had decreed that the Middle East was the cradle of human civilisation. That the knowledge of agriculture had originated here and given to all cavemen in Central and South Asia as well as Europe. The Abrahamic religions of the book had also originated here with their deadly certitudes of who is right and who is wrong. The world has since been facing the jihads and crusades as this view of civilisation is sought to be imposed by military force. The Indian civilisation with its mysticism, Yoga and meditative culture was far more benign and had an open architecture. It was far more tolerant of differences in human nature and the need for varied paths to Godhead. Being mystic it underlined a basic unity of all consciousness everywhere. Frankly today it seems far more civilized than the dangerous certitudes that had emerged from West Asia and that felt so threatened by any other outlook or path The problem is that a whole host of evidence has piled up since then in multiple fields of study. Today the weight of this evidence is becoming simply overwhelming. We will have to come to terms with these objective facts and empirical body of evidence that does not fit the trenchant colonial narratives. Today there is a crying need for a shift of paradigm in the discipline of Indology. In the end we must be objective and true to ourselves. As Anil Suri says, “Education and academia must deal in knowledge, not narratives.” There is a dire need today for a Copenhagen style convention that was held in 1932 to come to terms with the overwhelming weight of evidence that had piled up in the field of Quantum Physics. Today we need a major multidisciplinary seminar—a Copenhagen style convention on Indology—to come to terms with some seminal questions. I would like to repeat them here at the end of this book: ● Which was the cradle river of the Indian civilisation—Indus or Sarasvati? ● Did this civilisational area of Harappa that corresponds fully to the geographical region described in the Rig Veda- constitute the Rig

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Vedic civilisation itself? Was this therefore the original Aryan homeland and was Sanskrit the Proto-Indo-European language? What was the strategic direction of Indo-Aryan Migration? Was it into India from Central Asia or was it outwards in the face of a massive eco-catastrophe of the Sarasvati River? Carbon dating puts the antiquity of the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation to beyond 9,500 years before present. Is it therefore the cradle of human civilisation—given its age, antiquity and amazing degree of persistence and sheer cultural continuity? In sum, are the Aryans indigenous or alien to India? Are the Sarasvats who dwelt along the banks of the ancient Sarasvati the original inhabitants of this land? Are the Indus-Sarasvati and Rig Vedic civilisations one and the same? Does that account for the amazing degree of cultural continuity with the present day Hinduism? The simple fact is that we missed the entire body of evidence in plain sight because of a deeply entrenched mindset that that these two civilisations were separated in time. There was a clear time division of almost 2000 years ostensibly between the civilisations of Harappa and the Rig Veda—that was the colonial mindset which prevented us from even trying to correlate the two civilisations and think of them as one and the same. As per colonial historiography, these distinct and separate civilisations had intersected only in the end when the Aryans had ostensibly invaded and destroyed this civilisation. Later when no evidence of largescale combat and destruction was forthcoming it was said the Aryans had streamed in even as the Sarasvati River was dying out and an indigenous Indus civilisation was in its last throes ecologically.



The quest for an ancient river that was irrevocably lost some 3,900 years ago, is quintessentially a quest for a lost sense of self in the Indian civilisation. It is in essence, a quest for unravelling its true identity. It is about—who are we as Indians? Who were the Indo-Aryans who have laid the foundation for our present day Hindu culture in India? Were they aliens or were they indigenous? If they were aliens, where did they come from? Where is the mythical Aryan homeland? Is it in Turkey-Anatolia? Or is it in the Steppes of Central Asia? Where do Indians have to go in quest for their roots? Which is the Proto-Indo-European language that diffused all over Europe and Asia from this mythical Aryan homeland? Did the Aryans

invade India in the Bronze Age? Was the Aryan war god Indra guilty of horrific genocide? Did he and his cohorts destroy a hundred fort cities of the so-called Indus Valley Civilisation? Where then is the evidence of that large scale slaughter and destruction? The Indus Valley civilisation did not have a hundred fort cities. An accurate count shows only ten Cities (a city would have a land area of a hundred hectares or more—on that yardstick even some of these ten cities would qualify as just towns). The AIT suffers from a host of infirmities and it is about time that we questioned the received wisdom of the colonial era. Colonial historiography had created the first binary in Indian society based on the racial concepts of Aryans and Dravidians. The Indus Valley people, they averred, were those who had been slaughtered and driven out South of the Vindhyas to create an everlasting North-South binary. They were the original—the indigenous Indians—and the Colonial historians described them in racial terms as “snub nosed and dark skinned Dasas” as opposed to the Aryans who were very fair and with sharp chiseled features. The Aryans had burst upon the Indian plains with their war chariots and horsed cavalry and routed the local inhabitants who had never seen horses. Recent genetic studies have shown this Aryan-Dravidian binary in India to be a myth. The Indian DNA is fairly mixed and common, north and south of the Vindhyas. However, perpetuating the concept of Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines is central to the project of Breaking India. The Gene Haplogroup R1a1a is special. It is spread over North India, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and Europe. A study dated 2015( Lucette G 2015) has established that the oldest examples of this haplogroup were found in India and not in Europe or Central Asia. ● The oldest samples of this haplogroup located in India date back to 15,450 years. This clearly helps to establish the strategic direction of the large scale population transfers. They are from East to West and not vice-versa. This suggests that the billion or so members of the R1a1a haplogroup  now spread over India, Iran, Central Asia and Europe all originated from a single male ancestor in India some 15,450 years ago. ● Studies have also established no major Gene inflows took place in India during the last 12,500 years. Mt DNA in fact shows no trace whatsoever of such inflows.

Recent attempts to establish a 17.5% inflow of Pt DNA (Patrilineal DNA) in the Bronze Age are debatable. There are serious question marks on the width of databases. How could DNA samples from the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh be excluded in this study? The starting premise of this study—of agriculture related immigration from West Asia into the Indus Valley some 10-12,000 years B.P.—gives the whole game away. This is a highly questionable premise and as discussed earlier, has been disproved by subsequent findings in Mehrgarh and elsewhere in India. ● Gene Mapping studies have not borne out the colonial era AryanDravidian binary. R1a1a DNA has been found both North and South of the Vindhyas and also in the tribal populations. Essentially the Gene pool in India is quite common and indicates a mixed population group. Deliberate Destruction of Identity. The problem we are dealing with is peculiar. The problem is a penchant to cling on to every colonial era narrative even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The problem is a set of colonial era axioms that have been so deeply internalized that they have become an end in themselves. Leftist historians have given them the status of dogma. Few other countries have had their sense of self and their national identity so comprehensively attacked and destroyed as India’s was during the colonial era. The British colonial administration had done a very thorough job of identifying every faultline in the Indian society to splinter it along a myriad of castes, creeds, religions and language faultlines. Especially, after the uprising of 1857, a concerted attempt was made to ensure that the natives never came together and rose again in revolt against colonial rule and exploitation. Few other nations have been subjected to such a concerted cultural assault to destroy all notions of a pan-Indian identity. This nation was actually partitioned on the basis of religion. The current attempt is to splinter it along the faultline of caste. The empire has just shifted to the other side of the Atlantic and a new breed of postmodern Orientalists in America have launched a virulent and insidious attack to vilify the Indic civilisation and paint all Sanskrit texts as toxic. The attempt is to create and exploit the Dravidian and Dalit faultlines to break up India. Marxist historians are serving as the fifth columnists of this assault upon the Indic civilisation.

To justify colonial rule upon a restive native population, the British had enunciated the concept of Imperial Justice. According to them India was such a squabbling mass of diverse races, castes and creeds—forever at each other’s’ throat that it needed a foreign and impartial power to enforce justice and order. India was not and had never been a nation state. Imperialists like Winston Churchill mocked the very idea of India. It was as mythical and imaginary as the idea of the Equator. How could the Equator be the basis for formation of a nation state? The Indians were hopeless—they were so fractious and quarrelsome that they could never unite to form a nation state. Nationhood had been gifted to them by the British. India, so it was said, had become a nation state only in 1947. This is still a deeply entrenched notion in the minds of millions of educated Indians. This mindset had resulted from 200 years of Operant Behavioural Conditioning. It saw a very well planned psychological assault on the very notion of a pan-Indian identity. Macaulay worked hard to destroy the existing Gurukul system of education and put in place an educational system designed to churn out loyal clerks brainwashed into being docile subjects of the empire. A nation of clerks was taught to despise and feel ashamed of their native culture and tradition as deeply degraded and inferior. Macaulay emphasized the learning of English and vernacular languages even as the study of Sanskrit was transferred to Oxford. The attempt was to smother Sanskrit. Later Ahimsa was deliberately extolled as a prime Indian virtue, which would ensure that the natives never staged another armed revolt. The colonial era press made Mahatma Gandhi an icon of non-violence to emulate. Under the guise of social reform movements—they were taught to loathe and despise their own civilisation and its values. In fact all values were considered extrinsic and had to come from outside. The British colonizers had brought Science and Technology, the Printing Press, newspapers and books, the Railway Grid (for which the Indians were badly overcharged) and modern communications (telegraph, wireless, radio) along with jurisprudence and education etc. There was no high art in India only a tradition of craft they said as they established three regional schools of art in India to spread European models and techniques in painting, sculpture and Victorian architecture in India. They ensured that India’s very history remained hostage to the narratives of the Raj era forever. Finally when the British left, the Congress Party simply continued the colonial legacy of divide and rule. Pandit Nehru

appointed Lord Louise Mountbatten as the first Governor General of independent India The Indian Constitution deftly replaced the concept of Imperial Justice with the notion of Social Justice. That now became the keystone of its new Constitution superseding concepts like liberty, equality and fraternity. This Constitution itself was a reprint of the British era Government of India Act, 1935. The faultlines of caste and creed were made the very basis of post-independence politics in India. In fact, the caste faultlines were deepened and sharpened as never before. This major resurgence of caste identities almost caused the Indian polity to regress to the stage of tribalism. Economic imperatives were added to these sub-identity projects by adding notions of positive discrimination or Affirmative action in terms of job reservations and reservations in admissions to academic institutions based on caste based identities. Indian elections till date are settled on the arithmetic of caste equations. Let us not forget what Sir John Risely had said about caste faultlines—“As long as there is caste, there will be no India.” The Resurrection of Caste. Instead of letting caste atrophy and die out as an irrelevant anachronism in an urban and industrial era setting, caste based sub-identities were reinforced and strengthened as never before in post-independence India. Caste based reservations have now been extended to over 50% of the Indian population. However, the miracle is, despite inheriting a ruling establishment of Anglophiles who remained loyal to the Raj, and also inheriting a Leftist academic establishment, intent upon perpetuating all the narratives of colonial history, a strange thing has happened in India in the postindependence period. The spread of knowledge and scientific education has created a new generation of Indians who are no longer as overawed by the white skin as their forefathers were. They have started questioning and thinking for themselves. They are asking the seminal questions about who we are as a people and where are we headed? They are now grappling with the primal issues of identity. The Quest for History This is where a quiet but irrevocable change has started happening in this ancient country. The primary requirement for a great state to emerge in India is a sense of history—historical memories of a past of grandeur and greatness without which no nation state can aspire to greatness in the here and now. The British themselves had written at length about the Mauryan

Empire as the first imperial dispensation to unify most of the land area we now know as present day India. They also knew about the golden period of the Guptas. So India did have a past of imperial glory in the ancient era. Then there was the Moghul Empire which had once again unified India. But two centuries of Colonial conditioning had done their best to wipe out memories of any glorious, civilisational past. This was replaced by a deeply ingrained sense of civilisational inferiority and inadequacy that persisted for the first 30 years of the post-independence era. Things began to change only in the decade of the 1970s. A quiet revolution has taken place in our awareness of our history as a people. As more of the truth seeps through the dragnet of the Leftist censors, Indians are becoming acutely conscious of their past. The Landsat satellite had beamed back images of the dried out Sarasvati river in the 1970s. Slowly as the pieces of the jigsaw were pieced together, the Indians began to uncover a past of a lost civilisational glory; of great antiquity, sophistication and above all an astonishing degree of cultural continuity and persistence over time and space. India has a heritage that comes unbroken from the remote past to the current era. India is beginning to discover its lost sense of self. 1970s: The Beginning of a Revival? It all really began in the 1970s. From the Nehruvian era of naivete and inordinate degree of emphasis on the cult of non-violence, India had emerged with a rude shock with the Chinese invasion of 1962. This mercifully led to the onset of realism in the Indian state. This was followed by the challenge of the 1965 war with Pakistan when the Indian armed forces were tested in a big way. Thereafter the USSR stepped in to help transform India into a major military power. In 1970 the Green revolution made India self-sufficient in agriculture. India introduced the Green Revolution of dwarf wheat and achieved food security—a far cry from a country that had faced so many famines in the colonial era. It was freed from the miseries of a ship to mouth existence. That was the first essential step in restoring national self-respect. We were no longer a nation of beggars. Indira Gandhi created a militarily strong nation state in India that for the first time showed long term strategic foresight, planning and synergy of a very high order. It displayed the managerial talent to fight and win a quasi-total war. In a magnificent 13-day tri-service and well-coordinated military campaign— India broke Pakistan into two and changed the map of South Asia with

military force. Over 93,000 prisoners of war (POWs) laid down their arms in Dacca on 16 Dec 1971. This was one of the biggest mass surrenders after the Second World War. It was a seminal event that helped to restore India’s lost self-respect born of a string of military defeats at the hands of all invaders. It was a great tonic to national morale and self-image. Nothing did more to redefine the lost idea of India than the magnificent military victory of the 1971 War. It restored India’s wounded armour de propre as a civilisation and made the world sit up and take note. In 1974 India exploded the atom bomb. Its Science and Technology had come of age. Indira Gandhi was assassinated soon thereafter but the nation per se had begun its rise from the dregs of colonization-induced poverty. Four conventional wars (three with Pakistan and one with China) had served to crystallise India’s sense of self in relation to a hostile non-self, an “other”. India’s economic revival began in 1990 when Nehruvian socialism was given a quiet burial and India liberalized and unshackled its economy from the “Nehruvian rate of growth.” In the 1980s India caught up with the Information Technology (IT) revolution. In fact it skipped a stage in the Stiglitz model of growth from an agricultural to an industrial and then an IT based economy. India skipped a stage as it jumped straight from agriculture to the IT era. Since then, India’s economic power and military potential are growing exponentially. Today India has a two trillion dollars economy and forex reserves of over 350 billion dollars. This has largely insulated the Indian economy from the successive oil shocks of 1973 and 1990 vintage which had completely derailed its economy. Today, India’s population is youthful, increasingly well-educated and intelligent. Educated Indians are in great demand in the Silicon Valley, in NASA and in the field of advanced medicine in USA. Indians are acknowledged globally as an intelligent race with an acknowledged expertise in Information Technology and high levels of mathematical skills. This has generated a new level of self-confidence and assurance. This is a far cry from the congenital sense of inferiority that had been instilled in the colonial era. The nuclear weapons tests in 1998 were another civilisational landmark. The 2014 elections were yet another landmark of sorts. For the first time, a Hindi-speaking elite took charge in the national capital. Most of them were uncomfortable with English but suffered no pangs of guilt or inferiority as a consequence thereof. They seemed supremely confident and self-assured.

India was fast becoming the third greatest economy of the world and a major military power of consequence. From a mere 12% at the time of independence, over 76% of its population is now literate. The average age expectancy had risen from 35 to 70 years. Above all, we have the advantage of India’s demographic dividend. Almost 50% of the Indian population today is below the age of 25. As such, where the nations like China, Japan,Russia and Europe have greying populations, India has the most youthful profile. India is a space power that regularly launches its own and the satellites of many other nations. It has anti-satellite weapons. Something has changed deep down in the depths of the Indian psyche. There is a new sense of abundant hope and selfconfidence and an increasing awareness of our place in the global economic and political order. What has been transformed is the very weltanschauung of India. There is an ever increasing awareness of our identity as Indians and of our rightful place in the comity of nations. The colonial era of self-loathing and a deeply internalized sense of congenital inferiority is now gone. True, Leftist Liberals persist in painting India as a mess, as a cesspool of caste and as the rape capital of the world; but they are fast becoming a small but irritating (though still a vocal) minority. The results of the 2019 elections should further marginalize this minority that represents so few in india per se. Increasingly Indians are beginning to think in terms of issues that are pan-Indian in scope and sweep and go beyond the confines of caste to issues of national security and economic development in their elections. A Lost River, A Lost History This is where a seminal series of events have led us to the rediscovery of our lost Indian identity. It began with a chance discovery of a Lost River— the mythical Sarasvati. The American Landsat satellite was lofted in 1970. From 1972-77 it beamed back a series of images of the dried out course of a once mighty river that ran parallel to the Indus and flowed from the Himalayas to the Sea. This rediscovery of the cradle river of the Indian civilisation was an exciting event. True Oldham had made maps of this river in the colonial era itself. But the historicity of the Sarasvati river had not been accepted by the colonial and leftist historians. Hence this Satellite imagery was far more visible and emphatic proof. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) then sent up a series of satellites that beamed back high resolution Remote Sensing Imagery and

mapped out the entire desiccated course of the River Sarasvati. In specific the IRS using LISS-III imagery and IRS-1D satellites sent back mosaics of satellite photographs that helped us to identify the dried out course of the Sarasvati river and its paleochannels. The Sarasvati was no more just a myth or fable. People marveled at the sheer strength of the oral tradition which had kept alive the memory of this lost river for 4,000 years. Archaeologists who had been investigating the socalled Indus Valley sites now discovered that well over 60% of the Indus sites were located not on the Indus but on the dried out course of the Sarasvati. In fact 80% of the matured Indus Valley sites of the sophisticated urban era were on the Sarasvati River. Satellites and archeologists had rediscovered for us the cradle river of the Indian civilisation with great clarity and precision. This opened up a series of seminal questions. So what happened to the sacred Sarasvati? What caused it to vanish so suddenly? This is where the Geologists stepped in and traced back the life and death of a lost river of Indian history. They identified the tectonic plate shifts that occurred approximately 4,700 and 2,600 years before  present, as the causative factors for the change of course of the major tributaries of the Sarasvati—the Yamuna and the Satluj. These were the rivers that had fed it with ice-melt Himalayan glacial waters and caused it to flow throughout the year. This perennial source of water had sustained the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation through four millenniums in which the Monsoons had weakened considerably. Geological developments therefore helped us to crystallize our historical timelines and correct the huge distortions in colonial chronology. Tectonic Plate shifts caused the Yamuna and Satluj to veer away from the Sarasvati stream. Bereft of ice-melt glacial waters, the Sarasvati had become a monsoonal/seasonal stream. The monotonic weakening of the monsoons sounded the death knell of this sacred river. More tectonic activities caused east-west oriented ridgelines to crease the Sarasvati plains. This caused the river to break up into a string of disconnected pools and lakes in its upper course through Punjab and Haryana. South of Jaisalmer this river simply went underground and disappeared. With the death of a river came the desiccation and desertification of the land. With the death of a river came the decline of a vibrant civilisation. India would never be the same sans the Sarasvati. With its disappearance came a marked decline in the vitality and vibrancy of the Indian civilisation. It was not just a river—it

was a stream of consciousness, it was the stream of Knowledge, the Indian Goddess of wisdom and learning. Its loss led to an atrophy and decline in the Indian civilisation which would never be the same again. This was the decline of the Rig Vedic civilisation and its seminal values. The core of the civilisation was now transferred to the Ganga- Yamuna floodplains. The Sanatan Hindu culture of the epic period emerged here. The Vedic core of the ancient Hindu civilisation, in its pristine form, was focused on the Sarasvati river. It had no grand temples. It relied just upon the rig vedic fire alters to commune with its gods. A vedic revival of sorts had take place in India in the 18th century with Rishi Dayananda Sarasvati in the colonial era. This was in response to the British onslaught upon our civilisation and culture. Dayanad tried to take India back to the prestine purity of Rig Vedic civilisation and did his best to downplay caste. The rediscovery of a lost river now has opened up a Pandora’s Box of related questions that have effectively dismantled the laboriously constructed colonial edifice of ancient Indian history. There were far too many ambiguities and serious inconsistencies in the colonial narrative. For one, Max Müller had said the Indo-Aryans had come in the Bronze Age (1,500 B.C.E.) conquered North India and wrote the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda has over 74 verses eulogizing the Sarasvati as a mighty river, the mother of floods, the greatest of all rivers. By 1,900 B.C.E., this river had dried out and vanished from sight. So if the Aryans had arrived in 1,500 B.C.E., how could have they described the Sarasvati in such glowing term? Geologically, by that time this river had completely dried out and disappeared. Empirical methods like carbon dating also suggested a much earlier age for the Vedas and the Rig Vedic civilisation. The second question is, if the Indus-Sarasvati plains were facing a major eco-catastrophe—a major ecological disaster leading to the drying out of a mighty river and the creeping desertification of once lush cultivated areas— why would the Aryans come to a land that could no longer sustain a large population because of an acute shortage of water? Water scarcity would drive out populations, not invite migrations from Central Asia into lands that were facing an acute ecological crisis. Geological evidence therefore seemed to push back the age of the Rig Veda itself to 5,000-6,000 years, to a time when the Sarasvati river was in full flow. In actual fact, archaeologists were astounded when carbon dating and other scientific methods pushed back the date of some Indus Valley sites

to 8,000 years B.P. and the deeper earlier levels to 9,500 B.P. This turned colonial history on its head. This was empirical and scientific evidence. Despite this mounting evidence Left historians are still clinging on tenaciously to the opinions and pronouncements of Western historians like Max Müller that date the Indo-Aryan advent and the subsequent composition of the Rig Veda to around 1500 BC in an arbitrary manner, without any real justification. The rediscovery of a lost civilisational river had truly opened a Pandora’s box as far as ancient Indian history is concerned. With Mehrgarh and other Neolithic sites being studied, it was evident that there was a clear trail of evolution from the paleolithic to the Neolithic to the chalcolithic civilisational eras within India itself. Agricultural techniques and the shift to sedentary settlements had not been imported from Mesopotamia. The Indian civilisation was a closed and self-sufficient eco-system. There was a clear progression from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic civilisations— all within India itself. The Indian civilisation did not need to import all knowledge and value from external and extrinsic sources as the colonial historiographers had tried to suggest. It had in fact exported its culture, language, ideology and values to lands far away. It did not need to import value from external and extrinsic sources. The Original Aryan Homeland? As the overlap between the Indus Valley tradition and the Rig Vedic culture became more and more apparent and obvious, it slowly began to dawn on the historians that in the IndusSarasvati river plains they were looking perhaps at the cradle of human civilisation per se. This Indus- Sarasvati area was perhaps the original Aryan homeland. Carbon dating methods had put the date of its earliest levels at 9500 BP. Sanskrit perhaps was the Proto-Indo-European language the Linguistic experts were searching for. We could now ascertain the strategic direction of its diffusion and spread from the Sarasvati plains outwards to Iran, Central Asia and Europe. An eco-catastrophe based on the drying out of the Sarasvati River would force populations dependent on this river’s waters into an exodus—an outmigration—not an in-migration. In fact, an Indo-Aryan migration from Central Asia at a time of severe ecological crisis and desertification of the Sarasvati civilisational area is a logical absurdity. Migrants come to lands that are prosperous—not lands undergoing prolonged draughts and the desiccation of the life sustaining streams. When a great river dies out, people on its banks emigrate. Outsiders would hardly

choose such a time and place to come in. They would encounter populations that were in fact fleeing in search of sources of fresh waters elsewhere and leave—even if they had chosen to come in the first place. The Indo-Aryans therefore were indigenous. They were natives and not alien invaders or migrants. They had evolved and matured into a highly sophisticated and democratic civilisation in the Indus- Sarasvati plains. There was no large scale slave labour employed to build magnificent Pyramids and Sphinx style monuments and mausoleums in the IndusSarasvati civilisation. It was an egalitarian civilisation with a very high level of civic development for its common citizens. What it lacked by way of gigantic Pyramids and monuments, it more than made up by its lofty achievements in terms of philosophical speculation and deep mystic insights into the nature of consciousness and reality. It gave to the world the wisdom of the Vedas and the Upanishads and the techniques of yoga and meditation. These really defined and set apart this civilisation. These great intellectual attianments were its greatest contributions to human civilisation. It was a civilisation that had evolved successively through the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic stages within India itself. The death of the Sarasvati River possibly left them with no choice but to migrate outwards in search of fresh water sources for their survival. These out migrating Aryan people are possibly the ones we encounter in the Hittite and Mitanni areas of Turkey and Syria. These people had possibly gone to Afghanistan (Gandhar) and Persia (Parsu) and as far afield as Mount Ararat in Anatolia. The Danav tribes (sons of Danu) went on to Europe. They named their rivers as Don, Dnieper, Donetz, Danube and Dneister etc. A study dated April 2016 suggests that most striking expansion in the Z-93 DNA strain found in Europe occurred in 4,000–4500 B.P.—the time of the eco-disaster in the Indus-Sarasvati plains. This suggests an out-migration not an in-migration. It suggests that the Out of India theory has considerable weight and merit. It makes far greater common sense and fits with the facts established by satellite imagery, Geology Archeolgy and explains what we learnt in linguistics and the scriptures.. This Aryan out-migration is what possibly accounts for the linguistic similarities between Sanskrit and the dialects in Iran, Central Asia and Europe. The strategic direction of diffusion was westwards from an IndoAryan homeland in the Indus-Sarasvati floodplains. They were compelled to migrate as their life giving river, the Sarasvati dried out altogether and then

vanished. The strategic direction of mass human migrations in the Bronze age was not Eastwards but Westwards. Amavasu had indeed moved eastwards and not westwards. His people are the Gandharas (of Afghanistan) and Parsus (Persians or the people of Iran)and perhaps the Arata— the Armenians and Turks who live near Mt Ararat? This was the evidence in the Brahmans. The rediscovery of a lost civilisational river therefore has embarked us on a voyage of self-discovery to find out who we are and where we came from. It turns out that the Indo-Aryans were not aliens. They were indigenous. They had evolved successfully from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic and then the Chalcolithic stages of civilisations; all within India itself. They had domesticated plants and animals autonomously (no Intellectual Property Right—IPR— was violated of West Asia or Mesopotamia). These agricultural developments in different regions were spontaneous, autonomous and largely independent of one another. Even chariots could have evolved across many cultures concurrently. A major eco-catastrophe in the form of the desiccation of the mighty Sarasvati River caused a sharp decline of this Indo-Aryan civilisation. Large groups were forced to migrate from this Indo- Aryan cradle homeland and diffuse across Iran, Central Asia and Europe. This caused the diffusion of the Proto-Indo-European language—Sanskrit. Even the Aryans of Europe, who later came to colonize and plunder this ancient civilisation, had their original roots here itself. These studies today are providing a radical new thrust to the old question of identity—who exactly are we? Who were the Aryans? It is this that has caused entrenched outlooks to become so rigid. We just want to stick to the comforting inherited narratives about who we think we are and not what new facts have now clearly established. Recent developments in many diverse fields clearly point out to the Indus-Sarasvati region as the original homeland of the Indo- Aryans and thus a primary cradle of the human civilisation. Mesopotamia and Egypt were also such ancient cradles. What marks out the Indian civilisation is the sheer cultural continuity in space and time and persistence of this culture from the remote past to the present era. The degree of continuity and the very antiquity is remarkable. What is also remarkable is the degree of uniformity over such a vast civilisational area. It is something all Indians can justifiably be proud of. The cultures of Iran, Central Asia and Europe therefore could

be deemed as derivatives of the culture of the original Aryan homeland in the vast Sarasvati plains. Today the Indian people have been able to trace their history through the vicissitudes of the sacred Sarasvati River. Geologists have helped them unravel what happened to the source river of an ancient civilisation that has such an amazing degree of continuity and persistence. No other ancient civilisation has lasted so long and with such little change in essential shape and form. Today there is a need to adopt multidisciplinary approaches to resolve the old conundrums and debates of our ancient history. We must factor in the new inputs and findings in diverse fields to carry out a holistic appraisal of our past. We need a multidisciplinary approach—a 360 degrees analysis. We need a convergent and integrated approach to our history that synthesizes inputs from multiple fields of enquiry. Our ancient past is something that Indians can definitely look back at with great pride and satisfaction. The outlook of the Indian civilisation turns out to be far more liberal, tolerant and aligned to modern science. The mystical insights of the ancient Vedic civilisation are remarkable and its ability to accommodate and harmonise different paths and points of view, is far more civilized than the absolute certainties of the Abrahamic religions of West Asia which led them to simply slaughter those who did not agree. Have we then stumbled upon the cradle of the global civilisation and found a past that astonishingly continues unbroken to the present? Was the mythical home of the Aryans located in the Indus- Sarasvati plains? Carbon dated at 9500 BP, is that the real cradle of the human civilisation that predates the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt by at least a thousand years? Rejuvenating the Sarasvati Civilisation Today South Asia is perhaps the most water stressed region in the world. The Indian population is now 1.3 billion and has overtaken the population of China. Huge demographic pressure is straining our natural resources. Global warming is causing our glaciers to melt and recede. This could drastically curtail the availability of fresh water in the lean seasons. The average per capita availability of water at the global level is 4,000 cubic meters (m3) per person per year. China and South Asia are the most water stressed regions. This level of fresh water stress will rise with global warming. Chinese per capita availability of water will fall down to just 1750 m3 per person per year.

If that sounds alarming, the real shock is that India’s per capita water availability will sink to a new low of just 1,350 m3 per person per year. We may soon be entering an era of water wars. Nations may well fight wars to control the fast depleting sources of fresh water. Climate change is making our Himalayan Glaciers recede and melt away at an alarming pace. India will suffer acute levels of water scarcity. In such a scenario every liter of fresh water will count. This is where the underground paleo channels of the Sarasvati will play a major role. Tube wells sunk along the former course of the Sarasvati have brought up thousands of liters of sweet fresh water. These could re-green the Thar Desert. The Expert group 2016 has suggested the following measures:● Delineation and Development of Aquifers: We need to understand the geological evolution of the sub-surface stratigraphy. We need to make long term plans for the development of these paleo channels. ● Paleo Channel Recharge: We need to recharge as many well identified paleo channels on top most priority. In general the recharge procedure induces surface water (rain water, flood water and waste water) to percolate down to aquifer bodies of paleo channels through tanks, trenches, pits, wells and check dams that could hold water and prevent it from being wasted. We could rejuvenate and reclaim our deserts. ● Considering that our paleo channels run into hundreds of kilometers, the volumes of water that can be stored are enormous. These could re-green our deserts with Israeli style drip irrigation. ● Reviving the River? As part of the River Linking Plan we could divert the Satluj waters stored in the Bhakra Nangal Dam to the Indira Gandhi Canal and then link it to sub- surface paleo channels of the Sarasvati beyond Jaisalmer. Could we make the ancient Sarasvati River flow once again in a new, all-Indian alignment? This hydrating feat could possibly revive a lost civilisation. There are however strong contra opinions that feel that if we just regenerate the Sarasvati as a surface channel, its waters will largely be polluted heavily (like those of the Ganga and Yamuna) and become subject to heavy losses due to evaporation. We could therefore rejuvenate it in parts where it has appeared spontaneously as lakes and pools and monsoonal streams. We should identify its sub-surface channels— retain and rejuvenate them as underground aquifers and then exploit

the underground sweet water aquifers through thousands of tube wells to green parts of the desert and give a major fillip to food grain production and dairy farming in the desert regions of Rajasthan. In the rejuvenation of a river are we looking at the rejuvenation and resuscitation of our ancient civilisation per se? Are we also pointing out to all the people of the Indo-Aryan Gene Haplogroup R1 1a—spread all over North India (and South of the Vindhyas too), as well as Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and Europe, the civilisation of their original Aryan homeland in the floodplains of the Indus-Sarasvati rivers? This is where they could come to as tourists and pilgrims to retrace their roots.  

Approximate Alignment of a Rejuvenated Sarasvati river in India Cultural Renewal This physical renewal of the Sarasvati, making it flow in an entirely Indian course (surface stream or partly sub-surface), could herald a renewal and rebirth of the ancient Indian Sarasvati civilisation and its culture. The physical recharge and renewal must however be accompanied by a cultural renaissance and revival. The archaeological sites on the banks of the Sarasvati represent the cradle of human  civilisation. They go back to 9500 BP and even earlier. Great care must be taken to preserve these ancient sites and safeguard them. These are our original heritage sites. The most important heritage sites like Kalibangan, Banawali, Bhirrana, Baror, Binjor and Rakhigiri must be developed as centres of academic activities, research and cultural pilgrimage centres. Sarasvati Pilgrimage Tourism We could create a Sarasvati Pilgrimage Tourism circuit to revive the memories of our ancient civilisation and its cultural heritage. Places where sub-surface water has made spontaneous appearance can be developed the way Sabarmati river front was developed in Ahmedabad with gardens, orchards, amusement parks and museums. After all, Balarama had taken a pilgrimage tour of the Sarasvati course in the Mahabharatan era. Pilgrimage tourism along the Narmada course has greatly popularized that ancient river. Sarasvati pilgrimage tours could help to preserve the memory of an ancient civilisation and highlight to our people the amazing levels of cultural continuity and persistence of our civilisation from the ancient past to the present era. Great civilisations have arisen elsewhere in Egypt, Iran, Mesopotamia and Syria but nowhere have they persisted unbroken in essential cultural form and practice, as they have in the Indus- Sarasvati plains of India. The only other civilisation that can lay claim to such antiquity and persistence is perhaps the Chinese civilisation. The Chinese have invested so much to preserve their ancient heritage, culture and cultural sites. In India these have been the subject of gross and callous neglect. Can we think in terms of privatizing the preservation and marketing of our ancient culture and civilisation? The private sector could help to create a new pilgrimage tourism circuit along the course of the Sarasvati River where the bulk of the Harrapan civilisation sites are located. Can we, at the very least, provide far greater funds to the Ministry of Culture to ensure the preservation and protection of these ancient sites and heritage? Some of the

major cities and towns of the Harrapan era need to be declared as UNESCO heritage sites. A revival of the ancient Indian civilisation would in fact be heralded by the commencement of such Sarasvati pilgrimage tourism, designed to revive an ancient heritage and culture and make the world conscious of the actual Aryan Homeland. That’s from where Sanskrit, the real Proto-Indo-European language, was taken to as far afield as Europe and Central Asia (and has migrated even westward to America subsequently). We must first revive the knowledge and history of our very ancient heritage and culture. We must revise our history books and rescue them from the clutches of our colonial past. We must redeem our history from its self- proclaimed Leftist guardians who insist that not one word of the colonial narrative can be changed by the natives. We need to preserve that precious heritage. We cannot allow the Harrapan sites to be left unprotected and vandalized. These must be preserved for posterity. They are the oldest heritage not just of the Indian civilisation but of all mankind. They predate the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt by well over a thousand years. We must build museums to preserve their artefacts and set up academic research centres, and parks. We should organize sound and light shows to transmit the knowledge of this ancient Vedic culture and the amazing levels of cultural continuity between that ancient past and our present. We are living through an era of a significant paradigm shift in the knowledge and interpretation of our ancient history. We have inherited the world’s oldest surviving culture and have much to be proud of in terms of our antiquity and cultural continuity and sheer persistence over the millenniums. We need to own our history and not appoint some universities in America and Europe as the sole custodians and interpreters of our history and the last words on the discipline of Indology. We need to rescue our history from the Sheldon Pollacks and Wendy Donigers of this world and people with a vested interest in spin doctoring our past to take ownership of our present. In fact Rajiv Malhotra quotes Pollack himself who has said—“ India is about to become the only major world culture whose literary patrimony, and indeed history, are in the custodianship of scholars outside the country: in Berkeley, Chicago and New York; Oxford, Paris and Vienna. This would not be healthy for India or for the rest of the world that cares for India.”

Denigrating and ridiculing the Indian civilisation has become an academic pastime in Leftist Indian academic circles. We need to carry out original, objective and empirical research that will help us reclaim our history from some self-appointed interpreters in the West and the academic eco-system of Left historians they have spawned. Some of them have acquired a vested interest in keeping our history as their sole preserve. Can you imagine Chinese or Russian or French history being sub-contracted to American universities? Today we need to reclaim our history and reinterpret it dispassionately in the light of the new facts and knowledge that has emerged in so many multiple fields of enquiry. We need to strive hard to shift the very paradigms of Indian History. Above all Indians and Indian universities and think tanks must take up ownership of these attempts to reinterpret and revive our ancient Rig Vedic civilisation. We should be proud of its sheer persistence and continuity over space and time. It may not have left behind imposing monuments like the Pyramids, but its intellectual and mystical achievements have risen to even greater heights. They have given the world the philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads and great mystical insights into the nature and universality of consciousness per se. When the Sarasvati river dried out, the major portion of the Indic civilisation was forced to shift to the Ganga-Yamuna floodplains. This is the new Indian heartland and the current bedrock of our culture and civilisation. The Vedic civilisation with its emphasis on Soma and the Fire Sacrifice morphed into the Sanatana Dharma as we know it now. Most of the Vedic Gods were forgotten and replaced by the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesha and a new set of Devis and Devas became more popular. Where the Vedas focused on consciousness, the later Shakta Tantras focused on Energy —on Shakti as the primal stuff of the cosmos. This made it so much closer to the new physics. The Maha Kumbh mela takes place here on the banks of the Ganga. Millions of people throng here in the greatest concourse of humans anywhere in the world, impelled by a deep rooted tradition. But buried like a lodestar in our folklore and oral history is the memory of a much older river and a civilisation based upon an even greater river. That was the Rig Vedic civilisation. The Vedas themselves talk of a tradition that is much older—a tradition evolved from a meditative culture of deep contemplation, of dhi mahi. This caused the intellect to shine with the brilliant effulgence of the truth—Pracho dayat—that is the prayer encapsulated in the Gayatri mantra

—the holiest of all Hindu invocations. This had resulted in deep mystic insights and glimpses of a truth that was paradoxical, that was almost Quantum mechanical in its fuzzy logic. We come to a deep synthesis of ancient philosophy and a new physics. Today we need to make an ancient stream of knowledge flow again. The river Sarasvati was regarded as the goddess of wisdom, intuition and insight. This ancient stream of knowledge and wisdom needs to flow once more. Will the mystical streams metaphorical flow have to be preceded by the flow of that rejuvenated stream in the physical plane? Reviving the lost stream of our ancient Rig Vedic civilisation is a great challenge. Rescuing our minds from the shackles of a psychological slavery will perhaps constitute an even greater challenge. The Quest for a Grand Narrative. In the end, the quest for an Indian identity boils down to the question of who we are as a people. It is a facet of self-recognition. It is one’s sense of identity and self-definition. It is our sense of distinctiveness from the rest of the world. What is it that sets us apart from the rest? In the case of the civilisation of the Indus- Sarasvati flood plains—it is cited as the homeland of not just the indigenous people of India but of a people called the Aryans who once belonged to an Aryan homeland whose people had spread from there to Iran, Central Asia, and Europe. These Aryans were all part of a gene Haplogroup designated as R1a1a. This has over a billion members today spread over large parts of South and Central Asia and Europe. In genetic terminology a haplogroup is a group of individuals who share a common ancestor with a particular genetic mutation. It is a single line of descent which typically dates back several thousands of years. A haplogroup is therefore a large, extended family or clan, all of whose members have a shared ancestry. To recapitulate-there are two types of Haplogroups— Y-Chromosome (Patrilineal) Haplogroups Mt DNA (Matrilineal) haplogroups The Y-chromosomal (Patrilineal) haplogroup R1a1a (also called R-M17) is the world’s most successful haplogroup. Its members number some one billion. It is widespread across Eurasia, with high concentrations in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, as well as the Indian sub- continent and the Tuva region of Asiatic Russia. This haplogroup is closely associated with the spread of Indo-European languages across Eurasia. In India the R1a1a haplogroup represents the Indo-Aryan people. It records an uninterrupted lineage of males from father to son, all of whom have descended from one common

male ancestor. A recent study published in 2015 ( lucette G 2015)confirms that the oldest examples of this haplogroup R1a are found in the Indian subcontinent and are approximately 15,450 years old. This proves that the R1a haplogroup originated in India and that the possibly over a billion members of this R1a family now spread across Eurasia have all descended from one single male ancestor who lived in India some 15,450 years ago. The Indus-Sarasvati plane has now emerged as the prime contender for the mantle of the mythical Aryan Homeland from where the R!a haplogroup originated over 15,000 years ago. It is therefore a very sacred geography not just for the people of India abut also the people of Iran, Central Asia and large parts of Europe. It is the fabled Aryan homeland. Like the ancient land of Palestine it is the home of a civilisation and the oldest religious book of mankind (the Rig Veda) was composed here. The Aryan population spread over Eurasia may now belong to several different religious denominations but they can now trace their genetic ancestry to this region and perhaps a single male ancestors who lived here some 15,000 years ago. That by itself qualifies it as sacred geography to a billion people in Eurasia. The sub-continent of India itself has close to 1.4 billion people today. India has overtaken China as the most populous country in the world. As such India need not look across to the rest of Eurasia to seek comfort and a sense of belonging. It is a world and eco- system complete in itself. We now know that this Indian ciivilisation had originated and flourished in the IndusSarasvati plains for the last over 9500 years. It had graduated here from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic and later stages of human civilisation independently and autonomous of any other civilisation. It had domesticated the wheat, barley and even the rice cereal and many local animals. It was a trading state with wide ranging contacts over land and sea. What is however most remarkable is the sheer degree of cultural continuity and persistence that we see between this ancient Harrapan civilisation and the present day culture of India. The Indic civilisation therefore is the world’s oldest surviving civilisation that continues to flourish and grow for almost the last 10 millenniums. What is common is the practice of Yoga and meditation and a mystic mindset which sees consciousness as the primal stuff of the cosmos. Consciousness everywhere is one and the same, whether in the individual or in the sun and stars. I and the cosmos are one—is its central aphorism. This area is indeed the sacred geography of the Rig Vedic civilisation from which the present day religion of Hinduism has descended.

The present day Hindu ivilization is centered in the Ganga-Yamuna flood plains. The Ganga is the most sacred river of its sacred geography. Curiously this ancient civilisation had carried in its oral traditions the memory of an even more sacred and primal river for 4000 years since it had desiccated completely and vanished. That was the sacred Sarasvati on whose banks the Rig Veda and later Vedas had been composed. The Sarasvati therefore constitutes the most sacred element within India’s sacred geography. As Rajiv Malhotra tells us, unlike the pagan religions of Europe that have died out without a trace-the Vedic religion had its canon of shastras or Sacred Literature. It is this body of sacred scriptures (that were preserved for over a thousand years just by memorization and then committed to writing) that helped to save Hinduism from being wiped out as a result of repeated invasions and massacres of families and Keepers of the oral traditions and practices. The Sanatan Dharma today is located in the sacred geography of the Ganga river. But the origins of the Indic civilisation lie along the banks of the Sarasvati which constitutes the primal sacred geography of the original Indic tradition. The Rig Veda talks of an even earlier tradition. Rajiv Malhotra asks—what are the key constituents of any country’s Grand Narrative? He answers—these are:● A Narrative of Cosmology. This could be what the Germans called the Weltanschauung of a people—how they view their place in the cosmic scheme of things. Ritam in India’s Vedic philosophy is the primal stuff—the essence of the cosmos—the Quantum soup of possibilities from which everything emerges and returns (in David Bhom’s conception of the Implicate and Explicate orders). Yagna is necessary in Vedic philosophy and ritual to keep the inner world aligned with the order of Ritam. The Vedic civilisation relied upon the technique of the fire sacrifice and other means to retain this alignment of the implicate and explicate orders. It also relied on yoga and meditation as also the yoga of knowledge and devotion to maintain this essential harmony and alignment of the various levels of our being. The Yajna or Fire sacrifice was a core element of the Rig Vedic civilisation which had arisen on the banks of the sacred Sarasvati. ● A Sacred Geography. The Sarasvati-Drishadvati rivers and the seven sacred Streams of the Rig Veda were the core of this sacred geography of the Indian civilisation. The nadi sukta of the Rig Veda

clearly lists these seven sacred streams and lists the Sarasvati as the most powerful and raging river of these seven streams. It calls it the mother of the Sindhu (Indus). This was the land of the Aryans (Aryavarta) in the Bharat Khande (the land of the Bharatas in the sub- continent) which in turn was situated in the Jambu dvipe (the world island—continent of Asia?). Even today the performer of any Hindu ritual recites the Sankalp Shloka (affirmation Shloka) to situate himself in his sacred cultural geography before the performance of any ritual. ● Itihasa or History. The sacred Geography has to be complimented by a study of the history. The Mahabharata and Puranas are classed as itihasa or history in the Indic tradition. This region is richly endowed with a glorious history of almost 10,000 years of a continual and unbroken existence. This ancient culture is remarkable not just for its antiquity but for the amazing levels of cultural continuity and sheer persistence over time. No other culture in the world has exhibited this level of continuity from its ancient past right up to its present. Not the civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia or Syria ,nor that of the Mayas—not even those of Rome and Greece. They have hugely changed and are unrecognizable from their original forms. It is this facet of continuity that makes this Indic civilisation so very unique and remarkable. The only other civilisation that can compare in terms of antiquity and persistence is perhaps the Chinese civilisation. That is why the Indic Civilisation classifies itself as Sanatana— literally eternal and unchanging. It is this that makes us unique and one of a kind. We are simply the oldest surviving civilisation of all human history. That is our USP and chief distinguishing characteristic. As the poet Iqbal said of the Indic civilisation— Kuch hai Hamme ki mit sakti nahi Kabhi hasti hamari, sadiyon raha hai dushman daure zaman hamara. There is something unique in this civilisation of ours that its essence, its individuality can never be destroyed even after centuries of invasions and persecutions. The Indic civilisation has a wonderful assimilative quality. It can absorb the best from all civilisations that it comes in contact with it, yet continue to retain its essential form in an unbroken stream of the Indic

civilisation for well over 10,000 years. No other civilisation in the world can hold a candle to us. That is simply stated our grand narrative.


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