Sunday, June 29, 2014

Was Duryodhana a villain?

Thhe history is always written in the favor of winning side. Those who are acquainted with India’s great epic Mahabharata, surely knows that the Pandava’s were ill-treated by Kaurava’s and that though Pandava’s were virtuous, evil spirited Kaurava’s…especially Duryodhana was responsible for the tragedy of Mahabharata. The epical story tells us that because of Duryodhana and his wicked brothers and friends millions of people died on the battleground.

No doubt that the present version of Mahabharata has been interpolated in the course of the time. For example original story that Vyasa wrote was named as “Jaya” (Victory) which consisted only about 8000 stanzas. It seems that original version mainly was focused on the battle between cousin brothers i.e. Kaurava’s and Pandava’s. In later course of the time, because of constant additions and interpolations the Mahabharata became an epic of almost about hundred thousand-stanzas.

Kaurava’s were defeated in the great war, Duryodhana met with treacherous death and his parents had to go in an exile to meet ultimate death…thus wiping out entire Kaurava bloodline.

The war, from all the counts that we get from the present epic was certainly annihilation of both the sides, although Pandava’s won it…to express upon us that the Pandava’s were virtuous and thus they won the war.

Anyway. Always it is not the case the way it has been presented before us. The Mahabharata poses more questions than answers…To state the few…
  1. If Pandava’s were virtuous how the five brothers could marry a single woman without her consent?
  2. How Yudhisthir, eldest of Pandava’s could stake Draupadi in dice game without seeking permission of his other brothers as they too were husband with equal right over her? Duryodhana’s entire behavior during this session is admirable as he always wanted to be sure what Pandava’s has to say on his actions though Pandava’s had already been his slaves after defeat in dice game.
  3. There is no proof that Pandava’s rule over Indraprastha was just and righteous than Kaurava rule over Hastinapur.
  4. Yudhisthira was king of Indraprastha till he ruled it before dice game and later after defeat of kaurava’s. But Duryodhana was never a king. He was just a prince till his death. He couldn’t be a king till death of his crowned father. It doesn’t seem from the epic that Duryodhana ever tried to grab the crown by assassinating his father.
  5. Pandava’s killed, not only army of their sworn enemy, but their own Guru, keens, own blood-brother..Karna…Grandfather treacherously in the battle. We don’t see any example of such treachery from Duryodhana’s side.
  6. There is no slightest mention in Mahabharata that Duryodhana ever ill-treated his subjects or public in general.
  7. But Pandava’s, with help of Krishna, mass-massacred entire Naga clan by setting fire to Khandav vana and shooting arrows at the terrified people running helter-skelter for rescue.
  8. Pandava’s loved dicing. Especially Yudhisthira, the man called most virtuous, who didn’t stop his gaming till he staked a woman and brothers he alone didn’t own.
  9. The fact is there is no instance in Mahabharata that Duryodhana ever engaged in dicing. He indeed was a just Prince who is not blamed even in Mahabharata for treating his subjects cruelly or unjustly.
  10. Even final duel he fought with Bheema, followed the ethical norms and it was Bheema who treacherously broke the rules of duel and killed him by smashing his thighs.
There are so many instances that shows Pandava’s were treacherous, had no right over the throne being illegitimate children, used the sympathies of their Guru’s to their benefit and killed them finally to establish their own rule.

The history is as such. We always prefer and glorify the side of the winners. We always fall to the propaganda of the winners. We hardly want to see the truth through the truth. We always want to neglect the obvious. We always want to see that is being shown…we never attempt to see that is hidden.
We need to understand more than what we really do understand.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

‘Quota no cure for backwardness’


‘Quota no cure for backwardness’
Writer and activist Sanjay Sonawani advocates other measures to ameliorate conditions of the poor

Dhaval Kulkarni @dhavalkulkarni

Writer and activist Sanjay Sonawani has come out as one of the strongest voices against reservations to Marathas and Muslims on grounds of social and educational backwardness, Pune-based Sonawani pointed out that a large number of Muslims are already covered under reservations in various categories like the OBCs and there is no provision to grant quotas on religious grounds. Speaking to Dhaval Kulkarni, Sonawani, who said he had received threats over his opposition to Maratha reservations, noted that with reducing share of the government in jobs and education, it was a misnomer to consider reservations as the only panacea for backwardness.

What are the grounds on which reservations for Marathas are being opposed?

Quotas can be granted on grounds of social backwardness when a community is discriminated on grounds of caste and are treated as secondary citizens. Marathas do not fall under this category. Educational backwardness is a relative term. This argument can be extended to claim that people in the US are educationally backward than those in India. Marathas also account for a majority of elected representatives and 15% of government employment in the open (50%) category. So, calling this representation inadequate does not hold water.

What about reservations for Muslims?

No provisions exist in India to grant quotas on religious grounds. Muslim OBCs are already covered in the OBC category. Creating a separate category for Muslims does not fit into our Constitution.

You say this decision will create social strife. How?

The Marathas were granted reservations soon after they began protesting. However, communities like Dhangars, Kolis, Agaris, Ramoshis and Vadars have been agitating for their demands since 1981 to no avail. They are backward and lack political power unlike Marathas. Earlier, the OBCs respected Marathas. However, OBC organisations took to the streets to oppose Maratha reservations and the Maratha leaders criticised them in turn, creating social cleavages. Even if Marathas have not been included in the OBC category, they will eat into the OBCs share of Central government jobs. Maratha leaders actually resent the political rise of the OBCs and want to stop it.

Then, what is the way to ensure the amelioration of the poor Maratha and Muslims?

Give them a separate package and scholarships. Reservations will hardly serve any purpose as government jobs are declining gradually due to privatisation. Instead, impetus must be given to agriculture related businesses like food processing and in ensuring that wastage of farm produce is reduced and used for this. Education is also being privatised and commercialised. In such conditions, how can any community claim that the only way to ensure progress is through reservations? Maratha leaders also control educational institutions. They must admit Maratha students for half fees.

 (Story from page 5 - City, dnaofmumbai)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Islam and terrorism!


Islam is one of the major Monotheist religion in the world, originally having its roots in Judaism. Islam in modern world has become a subject of aggressive criticism for its involvement in various kinds of terrorism. Surprisingly, the main historical source of terrorism, Judaism, hardly becomes an subject of criticism by the politicians and scholars of modern world. May it be because of the holocaust of twentieth century stops them to remind the world that the originators of the religious terrorism were none but Jews. suicide terrorism too is a sad gift of Judaism to the world.

Anyway, we will deal with this later sometime; at the present let us focus on Islam and its roots those have made Muslims of the World violently vindictive towards the non-Muslims.

Arabia before Islam

As Jews were pagan before they enveloped themselves in monotheism, Arabs too were pagan, worshiping variety of nature Gods. Every Arabian tribe had its own God or unique symbol to worship. Mecca was the main pilgrimage center of their religion where they would assemble once in the year to pay respect to their family deities/symbols those were kept at Mecca. They were about 360 in numbers. It is believed that some Hindu deities too were kept there among Arab deities at Mecca because Hindu traders too were frequent visitors to Arabia. Arabians this way were tolerant and secular people in those times.

The Arabians in a way were stone worshipers. Every clan having its own symbol as a deity to worship! “El”, hailing from pre-Judaism pagan religion too was worshiped by Arabians as a supreme God "Allah"!

Hajrat Mohammed

It is not known clearly that why Hajrat Mohammed wanted to establish a new religion. It is said that the revelations by an angel to Paigambar those have made present Koran is the main source of the Islam. Rationally it is hard to digest. This is because most of the basic principles of Islam are directly or indirectly seems to have been borrowed from Judaism and Christianity. Not only this, Hajrat acknowledged Jesus and Moses being previous Prophets and he being the last in the tradition.

This way there is theologically nothing new in Koran except the doctrine of social regulatory directions. Initially, as history suggests, Hajrat was quite a hopeful that Jews will be more inclined towards his new founded religion and will acknowledge him as the Prophet. May be that for this very reason he had linked bloodline of the Arab's to Moses through his new religion. In the beginning, Namajh, as instructed by Hajarat, was being performed facing the direction of Jerusalem…a holy direction. It seems this was done by Hajrat to entice Jews towards his religion.

But Jews didn't fall to the promise of the new self-declared Prophet. Indeed they remained engaged in the conflict against Christians, their sworn enemy and thoroughly neglected the eager Prophet.
Hajrat, thus enraged against Jews and their Holy Jerusalem, changed the direction of performing Namaj towards Mecca, holy city of the Arabians. Meanwhile thousands of the Jews were slain at his army’s hands. Still he believed in Mary and Christ. But Christians too stood as a great hurdle, not accepting Him as a Holy Prophet.

Thus, neither Jews nor Christians accepting him as a Prophet, what other way he had to accomplish His goals but to convert Arabians to his religion?

His raid on Mecca was an outcome of his desperation to spread a religion of whom he was self-declared Prophet! He had to destroy the ancient faiths to restore new ones as commanded by him.

Still this was not a easy affair. In this course, from experience may be, he knew ancient faiths are too difficult to eliminate.

Thus he did following things:

1. Mecca that was already a holy place for all and one Arabian tribes was acknowledged as Holy center of Islam!

2. The sacred stone-slab of Kaaba, that had been pinnacle of faith for all the Arabians from the ancient times was declared to be the highest sacrosanct central place of the Islam.

3. “Allah” a Holy word addressed to the Lord by all the Arabians, borrowed from pre-Judaism “El” (Al) was elevated to the only beneficent Lord, thus keeping tradition alive in new religion.

4. Allat, Al Ujha and Mannat, as described in Satanic Verses, were maintained in the new religion.
To be brief, Islam became mixture of the Pagan and monotheist religion. In fact there is no monotheist religion on this earth as the traditions hardly can be thrown away by the masses in entirety. Pagan elements can be easily detected in every monotheist religions.

So, when I think of Islam, I find nothing new in it as far theology is concerned. Philosophy is confused. some parts seems to be borrowed from the ancient tradition. The ideology is based upon the foundation of hatred against Christianity and Judaism and others those are idol worshipers.

This may sound strange when there is no slightest originality in a religion that totally breaths upon borrowed concepts claiming to be supreme over the religions of which it is off shoot!

I think may be Hajrat too knew the contradictions he had seeded in his religion.

Now, when one don’t want to be questioned of such contradictions, only way remains, make the things holiest of holiest and close all the doors for questioning to not only adherents of the religion but others as well!.

I think Islam did the same. Hajrat followed the path of his previous Prophets…compounding all elements of paganism in monotheism making a new package.

The seeds of religious terrorism were already sowed and sprouting between Judaism and Christianity…a new party joined the struggle for religious supremacy and that was Islam!

Terrorism

When we talk of western religions, their unending strife for supremacy over others, today's terrorism is an inevitable outcome of it. If we study carefully, none of the religion can claim of independent thought and origin of their religion. Some countries, because of their military and economic prowess, are in an attempt to crush the countries ruled by enemy religions. The countries those cannot face the calamities in open battlefields have resorted to terrorism. The history of Abrahamic religions is filled up with the gory and vindictive episodes. In a way Islamic terrorism has become moreover reactive because at least for the present Christian countries are far more powerful and are in constant process of exploiting and undermining the countries of their enemy religions.

The legacy still continues.

But to me there are very simple questions that always remain unanswered.

1. Whether there was any need to Hajrat to form a Religion which was not at all made out of indigenous theological concepts?

2. Wouldn’t be people of Arabia could have lived more peacefully with their ancient Pagan religion?

3. And wasn’t it meaningless to retain, no matter how few of Pagan elements, if at all a monotheist religion was in making?

Indeed the similar questions can be asked to all Abrahmic religions.

In the world, at the present and in the past so-called monotheist religions have been main source of the terrorism. The bloodbath still continues. one tolerant and secular Arab's gradually embraced to the intolerance and hatred is a fact that is a sad story of mankind!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When exactly did the Ghaggar River dry?

Ghaggar River at present in monsoons.
Ghaggar River at present in monsoons. 
Ghaggar-Hakra River has become a center of prime attraction and fascination for many reasons. Over a thousand Indus civilization settlements found on the banks of this river led to the hypothesis that the Ghaggar is the lost river Sarasvati of the Rig Veda and hence the ancient settlements on its banks are the creation of ingenious Vedic Aryan’s. Previously the time approximately fixed for drying of the Ghaggar being 1750 to 1900 BC, coinciding with the collapse of the Indus civilization that encouraged some scholars to link mythological stories of the lost River Sarasvati with the Ghaggar.

But what are the facts? The river bed of the Ghaggar and other palaeo-channels are being vigorously researched and examined on various aspects to know the provenance of the ancient river system. Instead of going into much technical jargon, let us see what the latest findings are and whether they can be linked with Vedic Sarasvati or not.

Let us have a look at the findings and observations made by the Japanese team that worked for almost five years conducting large scale investigations in the basin of the Ghaggar and adjoining Rivers as presented in the paper “Geomorphological Constraints on the Ghaggar River Regime During the Mature Harappan Period” by Hideaki Maemoku, Yorinao Shitaoka, Tsuneto Nagatomo, and Hiroshi Yagi as follows:
  1. The width of the Ghaggar floodplain is much smaller than that of other glacial fed rivers like Indus and its tributaries.
  2. Most of the sand dunes accompanying Choutang and Ghaggar on either side of the floodplain are as old as 10 to 15000 years. They did exist during mature Harappan period.
  3. The results are supported by habitation layers on the sand dunes dating back to mature Harappan period and many by the Harappan sites occurring in its present floodplain.
  4. Ghaggar did not experience drastic changes in water discharge during the Harappan period.
  5. Ghaggar was not glacial fed river anytime.
  6. The mythical Sarasvati did not exist as described in Veda’s in the Ghaggar basin as a glacial fed large river such as the Indus and its tributaries at least during mature Harappan period.
Ghaggar near Chandigadh, flooded in July 2013,
Ghaggar near Chandigadh, flooded in July 2013, 
Many scholars intentionally or by sheer misunderstanding jump to the conclusion that if the river bed of the Ghaggar at some places is as wide as 8 kilometres, it must have been a mighty river in the past. Actually, the width corresponds to the floodplain, not the riverbed. The Himalayan-fed rivers have floodplains ranging from 10 to 20 kilometres wide whereas Ghaggar’s average floodplain is 5 kilometres wide. The largest floodplain width is documented in Rajasthan region at some places to the extent of 8 kilometres. It is agreed by Sridhar et al. (1999) ephemeral rivers often have wider floodplains because of the shallow riverbed. The satellite imagery had shown the width of floodplains, not of the riverbeds. Actual field work exposes the difference between riverbed and floodplain of the Ghaggar River. Ghaggar recently had experienced severe floods in 1988, 1993,1995 and 2010. Except for summer monsoons normally Ghaggar is a dry river. However, it was never a dead or lost river.

There have been many small archaeological sites in the floodplain of the Ghaggar. It does mean that the Harappan people never suffered from the devastating floods since they settled there. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any human settlements in the floodplain. The occurrence of the floods may be once in several decades.

In a paper ‘Fluvial landscapes of the Harappan civilization’, Giosan et al, in March 2012, published in Proceedings of National Academy of Science, has stated that, “This widespread fluvial redistribution of sediment suggests that reliable monsoon rains were able to sustain perennial rivers earlier during the Holocene and explains why Harappan settlements flourished along the entire Ghaggar- Hakra system without access to a glacier-fed river.”

Further stated is “…Contrary to earlier assumptions that a large glacier-fed Himalayan river, identified by some with the mythical Sarasvati, watered the Harappan heartland on the interfluve between the Indus and Ganges basins, we show that only monsoonal-fed rivers were active there during the Holocene. As the monsoon weakened, monsoonal rivers gradually dried or became seasonal, affecting habitability along their courses. Hydroclimatic stress increased the vulnerability of agricultural production supporting Harappan urbanism, leading to settlement downsizing, diversification of crops, and a drastic increase in settlements in the moister monsoon regions of the upper Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.”

From above it occurs that the Ghaggar was not the Himalayan snow-fed river. The monsoons were stronger in the Harappan period which sustained river flow round the year. However, because of the climatic changes, the monsoon started reducing precipitation by the late Harappan period. The chronology of the climatic changes in north-west India is recorded in the following order.

6200 BC - 4000 BC: Wet Phase
4100 BC - 3800 BC: Dry Phase
3800 BC - 2200 BC: Wet Phase
2200 BC - till Present: Wet Phase begins to decline.
(Linguistics, Archaeology and the Human Past” (Edited byToshiki OSADA and Akinori UESUGI)

From the above data, it can be surmised that the dry and wet phases have occurred in north-western region alternatively after almost thousand and more years. It does not mean wet phase remained wetter throughout or dry phase remained drier throughout. However, rise or drop in average rainfall must have influenced the human settlements in the region. However the studies suggest that the decline of the Harappa civilization was a gradual process, it didn’t occur suddenly due to drastic natural or social events. The gradual decline resulted in the disintegration of trade network connected with different regions of Indus society, thus harming the economy as well.

From archaeological evidence, it seems that about 2000 BC the Harappan settlements started to decline, later were abandoned because of the climatic changes making agriculture unsustainable During Harappan era, though Ghaggar was a stable river though it never was a large river as interpreted by some scholars from the width of her floodplain. Since the riverbed of the Ghaggar was and is shallow, there is no question of its being Sarasvati which is described as mighty and bursting with her strong waves, in Rig Veda.

Shrikant Talageri’s “Out of India” theory too collapses on the geological accounts because after declining of Harappan civilization, many of the Harappan people moved towards wet regions of Gangetic planes, towards the east, which is evidenced from the post-Harappan settlements found in the eastern regions.

WHEN YAMUNA AND SATLEJ DID CHANGE THEIR COURSE?

It is widely assumed by the Indian scholars that during Harappan Phase Yamuna and Satlej used to be tributaries of the Ghaggar River, thus adding immense water in the Ghaggar channel and making it a mighty river. The assumption came from the satellite images that do not define the minute topography and geological age of the channels.

Whether ever Satlej and Yamuna did flow in the channel of Ghaggar? The opinions are divided on this. According to “Current Science” article (2004) contributed by Indian and German scientists, “...the “Sarasvati" did not carry glacier waters. The Ghaggar-Hakra area does not show the mineral deposit of Himalayan glaciers, and thus could not be a big, perennial, glacier-fed river, but, rather, a smaller, seasonal, monsoon fed one. Based on sediment geochemistry and composition and geomorphologic and paleoclimatic constraints that the Ghaggar-Hakra River was likely always Siwalik fed.”

This does mean that Satlej and Yamuna were never ever tributaries of Ghaggar. Satlej and Yamuna are glacial fed rivers hence had they been fed into the Ghaggar in the past, the glacial mineral traces would have been detected in the sediments of Ghaggar channel. But that is not the case.

However Peter D Clift et al in a paper “U-Pb zircon dating evidence for a Pleistocene Sarasvati River and capture of the Yamuna River” suggests that “…although loss of the Yamuna from the Indus likely occurred as early as 49 ka and no later than 10 ka. Capture of the Yamuna to the east and the Sutlej to the north rerouted water away from the area of the Harappan centers, but this change significantly predated their final collapse.”

According to Sanjeev Gupta (Imperial College London), the river sediments ceased in the tract of the palaeo channel after 14000 BCE, long before the Indus civilization. His conclusion is formed after his team had done extensive drilling into the 30-40 m thick sand body in the subsurface beneath a tract of the Ghaggar-Hakra palaeochannel adjacent to the Indus city of Kalibangan.

Sedimentary Geologist Suvrat Kher, referring to the research of Clift and his colleagues, states that the Yamuna and Satlej stopped flowing in Ghaggar long before 50,000 and 10,000 years respectively. While doing in depth analysis of the critical issue, he clearly states that, “…I have stressed that this attempt to link a hypothesis of a mighty Sarasvati to the presence of Aryans is misguided and one that has caused harm to the public understanding of the topic and to what constitutes good science. Many geologists and archaeologists accepted the validity of a glacial Sarasvati without critically weighing the evidence. Taking their cue, in web forums and books, supporters of a glacial Sarasvati have popularized the hypothesis of a late river avulsion and often presented it as irrefutable evidence favoring the indigenous Aryan theory.” 

(- See more at: http://suvratk.blogspot.in/2012/02/yamuna-and-sutlej-stopped-flowing-into.html#sthash.513eAJST.dpuf )

From the above we can conclude the following:
  1. Ghaggar is not the mythical river Sarasvati.
  2. Satlej and Yamuna had stopped flowing into the Ghaggar channel long before the early phase of the Harappa culture had begun.
  3. The decline of the Harappan culture was gradual due to the climatic changes and was not a sudden event as thought by some scholars.
  4. When Harappa civilization was declining due to the aridity, Harappans moved towards the east, not to the west.
  5. At the least Ghaggar = Sarasvati equation cannot become the basis of indigenous Aryan theory.
Basically, the problem with some Indologist’s seems anyhow finding the location of the original habitat of the Aryans. Was Aryan a race? All the genetic proofs go against the very notion of the race theory. Aryan was not the race. In fact what attempts are being made are to locate the habitat of Vedic people in India itself to prove them being indigenous. It doesn’t end here. The scholars want to establish the connection of the Vedic people with Harappan culture as its founders. As discussed in earlier articles religious faith and lifestyle of the Harappan people nowhere match with of the Vedic people. Distorting or misrepresenting the geological proofs to make a theory plausible is something that is not desired from the serious scholars.

The Ghaggar River never was a lost river, like Sarasvati. It always flowed, though seasonably, in summer monsoons. The desertion of Harappan sites was a gradual process that might have been continued intermittently over hundreds of years. No foreign aggression or sudden natural or social calamity has been recorded.

Vedic culture, as evidenced from Rig Veda, had been distinct. We will have to find their homeland elsewhere without keeping any prejudices.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Indus civilization: Scholarly blunders!

In the Nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century scholars were too hyped by the Aryan Invasion Theory and kept themselves busy in constructing cultural and linguistic history of Europe and Indian subcontinent based on the hypothesis of Indo-European Language group. Racist outcome of the Aryan theory did tremendous harm to the Europe. Indian scholars too jumped on the theory because it boosted superiority of certain class of Indian society. Though later on it was proved beyond doubt that the so-called Aryan race never existed, the shadows of this theory has marred the sociocultural history of India and even Europe.

Let us see here how the theory has been used and modified by deliberate misinterpretation in India from time to time to ultimately establish sociocultural dominance of Vedic people over others in India

1. Before scholars even knew about the existence of the Indus culture, in 19th century, it was assumed that Aryan’s, in groups, invaded Indus valley and settled in the region after defeating aboriginals like Das, Dasyu, Asur tribes and enslaved them. Various Rig Vedic verses mentioning some wars were handily taken as a proof to support invasion theory. The theory was well accepted by Indian scholars as well, especially Brahmin community, as it boosted their ego as the theory implied their historical invasion and superiority in warfare and culture.

2. Politically, present rulers, British too, being ancient Aryans per this theory, too theoretically became their blood brothers of ancient times. Social reformer like Vishnushastri Chiplunkar publicly reminded British of their ancient brotherhood. AIT thus helped British in tightening their rule through Brahmanical administrators, as so called local Aryans aka Brahmanical society was blood-linked to them.

3. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, president of the Indian National Congress, took so much so pains to scholarly pen down “Arctic Home in Veda’s” and “Orion” in support of AIT, proving the Aryan homeland being in Arctic regions. With Tilak, who was a national figure, accepting and propagating the theory, almost every Vedic scholar readily jumped into the bandwagon of the racial ego.

4. The non-Vedic masses were baffled at this shocking revelations. They were victimized of inferiority complex because the AIT theory implied how they were enslaved by the mighty invading Aryans thus causing their past and present status inferior in the society. Mahatma Jotirao Phule, a great pioneering social thinker of nineteenth century, used this theory to liberate masses from Brahmanical clutches. His argument was since invading Arya-Brahmins enslaved aboriginals, they being foreigners had no role whatsoever in aboriginal society of India and fought against the birth-based inequality that had been result of so-called victories of Aryans over the aboriginals.

The Aryan Invasion theory did tremendous social harm, as the caste conflict turned to be racial conflict, making it even bitter. Dravidian's demanded separate nation as they thought north Indians race and their languages being of Aryan origin when Dravidian race, culture and languages were independent of them. The strife has been violent sometimes. In a way society got divided between Aryans and Non-Aryans.

5. The supporters of AIT were baffled when the excavations at Indus valley brought forward an ancient civilization that was far developed, mature and widely spread. They did not know initially how to react to these findings.

But as usual scholars cunningly found their way out. They started proposing that those were invading Aryans who destroyed the cities after clearly defeating inhabitants of the Indus valley. To support this new hypothesis they again used some verses of Rig Veda’s, in which Indra is depicted as destroyer of the fortified cities.
But to prove this new founded hypothesis, they had to stretch back the timeline of Vedic period. Vedic period, till then, was widely accepted being 1500 to 1200 BC, but carbon dating had proved time of Indus Culture being as early as 3100 BC. Vedic scholars again readjusted time of Veda's to meet their requirement. This was another blunder committed.

But none of the Indus site could provide them with any slightest proof of violent wars taken place in or around the Indus settlements. Still the scholars believed in AIT and defeat of the Indus people at the hands of the invading mighty Aryan’s!

In all, to them AIT was true and most believable theory, keeping them busy in finding original home of the Aryans, either in Ural, Central Asia or on northern pole regions, but to no avail!

5. In later times, about middle of the last century, Aryan Invasion Theory became problematic, widely being denied on lack of any physical proof, staunch supporters of AIT again were confused. The new theory was proposed that, if AIT was not true then Aryans migration in waves would have taken place. There were lot many takers to this theory as well, but it didn't click for Indian nationalist scholars. What was special about Aryans if they just were migrated to India with their religion and culture? They wanted more spice to it to prove Aryan supremacy.

This was something not easy to digest. Superiority complex is a thing that does not die that easily. Nationalist scholars like Shrikant Talageri came forward with a theory to prove that the Aryans did not invade or migrate to India, rather they migrated in branches towards Iran and Europe from Punjab. Thus trying to prove the Aryans were indigenous and not foreigners. The problem before Out of India theorists was the location of Saraswati river that has been abundantly praised in Rig Veda. Unless the location of Saraswati was fixed out of India theory had no ground to stand upon.

Ghaggar-Hakra, now a monsoonal river, came to their rescue. Vehemently they started arguing that the Ghaggar-Hakra was known as Saraswati to ancient Aryans. Ghaggar-Hakra has been widely researched on every geological and glaciological grounds since last fifty years.

It is a fact that the river used to be live in remote past when the climate was wet five thousand years ago. The scientific proofs also show that it never was a glacier-fed river. This fact goes against Rig Vedic description of the Saraswati as Vedic Saraswati originates from Himalayan mountains!

But neglecting this, nationalist scholars renamed the Ghaggar as Saraswati, and now are demanding that instead of Indus culture, it should be named as Saraswati culture!

Other blunder was brewing. The efforts for proving Ghaggar as Saraswati had a reason! There are over 1000 Harappan settlements so far are found across the banks of Ghaggar! They could not miss any opportunity to prove that the progenitors of Indus (Harappan) civilization were none but Vedic Aryans!
And what were the proofs?

1) Ghaggar being claimed as ancient lost river Saraswati.
2) Fire pits found at the two settlements out of over 2500 Harappan settlements!

There is no concrete proof that Ghaggar was ever ancient Saraswati. All the Vedic and Geological proofs go against this notion. The fire pits were tried to connect with the Vedic sacrificial altars by Dr. S. R. Rao and Dr. M. K. Dhavalikar. The insufficient logic employed was, when sacrificial fire altars are found in Indus valley culture, it must have been founded by the Vedic people.

Now, if you look carefully at the remains of the so-called altars, they are circular or oblong shaped pits, except one rectangular situated at the corner of the wall.



But let’s first understand the construction of the fire altars used for sacrificial purpose by the Vedic people, as explained carefully in Brahmanical texts. They were either rectangular or square…but none are described as being circular or oblong. Constructing fire altar had always been a special ritualistic science followed very carefully by Vedic people. Also sacred fire altars could not be so close to each other making it impossible to the performers of the sacrificial ritual to sit around the altars to conduct variety of ritualistic activity. In sacrificial fire (Yajna) each direction has its own function and relevance in the process. Most importantly sacrificial altars were no permanent structures and fire sacrifices were taking place in temporary pavilions, not within the closed walls of the home and as congested as we see in the photo.
 
Hence the fire pits those have been found at two sites at any case cannot be sacrificial fire altars!
Then what are those remains?

They are simply fire pits called “Tandur Bhatti”, ( Earthen Oven) abundantly in use even today to roast meat and bread! Many scholars admit to the fact that the fire pits were none but earthen ovens.
This is how a theory is created to anyhow prove superiority of Vedic people by misinterpreting the facts while constantly propagating the pseudo-science for stealing the credit of Indus civilization!

As we have observed how they have misused every theory, AIT or AMT, to prove Vedic Aryan superiority. While doing so they neglected the thousands of other proofs those were contrary to their theories, such as Indus trade, seals, script, Pashupati, forms of Shaivait worship practices, the script, use of cotton cloth, art of weaving cotton etc. which does not find a slightest mention in Rig Veda!

They even neglected the Vedic texts where it is mentioned that Saraswati was flowing between Yamuna and Satlej rivers. The geological proofs show that before Ghaggar dried up Satlej and yamuna used to be tributaries to the Ghaggar, confluence taking place at the upper part of the course, as evidenced by satellite images. Considering this fact the Rig Vedic description itself falsifies the Ghaggar = Saraswati equation, as historically Ghaggar never was a glacial fed river, but monsoon fed small river. Not a mighty river as Rig Vedic verses describe.

Finds of only two fire pits and assuming Ghaggar was the lost river Saraswati, they build a hoax! To claim Ghaggar being the lost river Saraswati they misused and conveniently misinterpreted the geographical proofs!
We, in brief, have seen how a blunder after blunder has been committed by the scholars in an order to keep supremacy of their so-called Vedic religion or caste. We have to see the history with unbiased vision and accept the facts. But....

Friday, June 13, 2014

Shrikant Talageri and his dubious Theory!

Mr. Shrikant G. Talageri
While “Aryan Invasion Theory” (AIT) is being widely disputed, Mr. Shrikant G. Talageri has proposed “Out of India Theory” to add to the further dispute. Though Talageri, often is dubbed as Hindu nationalist scholar, have heavily been criticized for that, still, we need to look into his theory and discuss how he, like other AIT/OIT theorists, is going wrong unnecessarily complicating the simple issues.

According to Talageri, it is evidenced from Rig Veda that the Aryans moved from east to west, from Haryana towards Iran and Europe. He cites chronology of the River names appearing in various Mandala’s of early to late part of the Rig Veda and implies that the changing graph of the river names shows that after the time of King Sudasa Aryan movement began from east to west. “In the Early period, right from pre-Rig Vedic times to the time of SudAs, the Vedic Aryans were   settled in the area to the east of the Punjab: MaNDala VI knows of no river to the west of the Sarasvati.” Talageri states in his book, “Rig Veda” A Historical Analysis, chapter 4 titled as “The Geography of the Rig Veda”

It is clear that Talageri is implying demographic migration of the Vedic Aryans from east Punjab, Vedic Aryan’s original habitat, to Afghanistan, from the graph of the rivers appearing in Rig Veda. From the battle of ten kings also Talageri wants to impress upon us the westward movement of the Vedic Aryans and not otherwise as has been claimed by the AIT/AMT theorists.

Let us have a closer look at his theory. Mention of river names in Rig Veda in a different order does not imply the demographic migration of the Aryans in either direction. Rig Veda has been composed over the time span of about 300 to 500 years in the families of the ten Seers. 300 to 500 years time span that is given to the composing of Rig Veda, however, may not be accurate. It is just an assumption based on the calculation of generations of the Rig Vedic seers. Still, it can be assumed that the composition of Rig Veda was continued for at the least couple of centuries. Talageri himself classifies Rig Veda in early, middle and later parts thus agreeing that the Rig Veda was composed over the longer period. Over this longer period of few centuries, and being mostly the pastoral, semi-nomadic, community, it is but natural that they would have been aware of the rivers located nearer or farther. If, as Talageri claims, the oldest part of Rig Veda does not mention any river from the west, they did not know any other river of the west, hence they must have been settled east of the Sarasvati River, is a strange logic! He is forgetting the main purpose of the Rig Vedic texts is religious, not to document the geography.

I must draw your attention to a fact to which most of the Indologists give deaf ear. First of all, it is not certain that the present available Rig Veda is in a complete form consisting of all the verses composed by various seers over the period!

The order of Rig Veda, from first to tenth Mandala too is not chronologically correct. For example, first Mandala of Rig Veda is actually has been composed in the late Vedic times. From 2nd to 7th Mandala’s are said to be older whereas remaining Mandala’s form part of the later compositions. Even the arrangement of every verse and hymns incorporated in them have not been chronologically composed. From the late addition of Purusha Sukta in tenth Mandala, it clearly seems that available Rig Veda is also interpolated to some extent though the claim is that the Rig Veda has orally been preserved as it is from ancient times without any alteration.

Hence the scholars should have been more careful while taking every word from Rig Veda as a final to support their theories. The riddle of the original language of Rig Veda also remains unsolved, though the attempts are being made in that direction.

However, we will have to do with the available text because we will not know ever what contained in the missing portions of the Rig Veda.

If considered Talageri’s Aryan migration theory, it seems that Vedic people were hopping from one place to another while compositions of Rig Veda were continued by the Vedic seers. The basis of his theory is, as described before, the names of the rivers appearing in each Mandala in certain chronology. For example, in early Mandala, only Saraswati River finds its mention and he thus concludes that Vedic Aryan’s didn’t know any river located to the west of the Sarasvati. Doubtless, this is a bold statement. Mention or omission of any river name cannot become an evidence of the geography known to the Vedic people.

Also, mention of any river in any verse does not also necessarily mean that the Vedic people were settled by that particular river when the specific verses mentioning the river name (s) were composed. One should not forget the main objective of Rig Vedic rhymes is religious in particular, not to describe geography in general! Mention of the river names in Rig Veda is in praise of them in poetic form. For such praises, it does not necessarily require that the Vedic people’s or seers had to be inhibited in the close vicinity of those mentioned rivers.

Talageri states, “Sarasvati is still the most important river in the MaNDala: it is referred to by the eponymous RSi Atri (V.42.12; 43.11) who also refers to the RasA (V.41.15). All the other references to the western rivers (Sarayu, KubhA, Krumu, AnitabhA, RasA, Sindhu) occur in a single verse (V.53.9) by a single RSi SyAvASva, obviously a very mobile RSi who also refers elsewhere to the ParuSNI (V.52.9) and even the YamunA (V.52.17).”

From the above statement, Talageri shows that Seer Syavasva was a mobile person hence he could mention the rivers from Afghanistan to Punjab. Again this is a blatant statement as he has blindly considered Ghaggar being the Vedic River Sarasvati. Rather all above-mentioned rivers refer to the geography of present Afghanistan and bordering India. Of Yamuna, we cannot be so sure whether it is another river from Afghanistan or present Yamuna of India. Yamuna name derives from “Yama”, a Vedic God, who also is frequently mentioned in Avesta as “Yima”. Hence there is a probability that Yamuna of Rig Vedic seers was not the Yamuna River that still flows through India.

In his above quotation, Talageri uses his imagination to support his farfetched theory. As said earlier, knowing the river names one needs not to be only mobile. One can acquire such information from the travelers, traders or even from the friendly tribes. In a way Talageri contradicts himself. Finding no mention of any western river except Sarasvati in the oldest part of the Rig Veda doesn’t mean at all that they really did not know the western geography.

Migration and Invasion theorists often suggest that the Vedic people renamed the rivers out of their nostalgic sentiment when they reached new places. Here they forget that similarity in the river names does not necessarily require the presence of the migrants. The similarities can be tracked to the other circumstantial and linguistic factors prevalent in those times. Strangers giving some name to the existing places and locals accepting it are only possible if the locals are conquered or outnumbered by the migrants. This is not the case with Vedic people. Rig Veda doesn’t support any of the above.

Also, the fact should be noted that many river names mentioned in Rig Veda are not in use since ancient times. Hence it is difficult to ascertain to which river Vedics are referring to by particular name. For example, Ganga is thought to be having mentioned in Rig Veda by another name, Jahnavi. This identification is already disputed by the several scholars including Michael Witzel. The case with Shutudri too is same. It is now being identified with Satlej. Vipasha is said to be present Bias. Vedic Drushadvati is said to be present Chowtang! If Ghaggar is considered to be Vedic Sarasvati, there is no explanation for its name change! Many river names mentioned in Rig Veda remains to be unidentified with any other river. How logical are these identifications is a matter of another debate. Corruption in the river names in the course of the time is very much possible, but looking at the above name-changes, they at the least are not at all the corrupt forms of the original Vedic river names.

Sindhu not necessarily refers to the Indus River all the time but is frequently used in plural for rivers. The “Sindhu” word also has been used as a synonym for large lake or sea.

In short Talageri’s chronology of the river names appearing in various Mandala’s of Rig Veda to prove the westward migration of the Aryans is faulty because the identification of the rivers itself is based on flimsy premises. This applies to the Aryan Invasion or Aryan Migration theorists too, because they too use the same logic to prove their theories.

BATTLE OF THE TEN KINGS!

We will turn towards Talageri’s another argument in support of his out of India theory. Battle of the ten kings was fought on the banks of the Parushni River. Parushni is identified with present Ravi. Ravi was known in ancient times as Iravati. “Ravi” is said to be have derived from Iravati. There indeed is no satisfactory explanation to the drastic changes in some River names whereas many rivers bear the ancient names even today.

However, even if taken Talageri’s theory as it is for the moment, he states that King Sudasa’s movement is from east to west whilst his enemies are attacking from western direction. He uses this information to add one more proof to his pet “Out of India” theory.

Sudasa and his allies won this war. But what does it prove? How does it suggest migration of Vedic Aryans from east to west? Has Rig Veda or any Vedic literature, even slightly indicates the movement of Sudasa from east to the west after this much-celebrated war?

In the battle, Sudasa defeated his enemies. His camp was on the eastern side of the Parushni whereas his enemies, such as Siva’s, Anu, Drahyu, Parshu, Pakht, Bhalanas etc., had gathered towards the western side of the river.

Parshu’s are identified with Persian people whereas Pakhta’s are identified with present Pakhtun tribe. Siva’s may be the people from Sivalik Mountains. Bhalanas are identified with the people living in Bolan Pass region. Except for few tribes, it clearly seems that rest of the tribes were inhibited the present day Afghanistan and its bordering regions. If we have a look at the geographical location of the Parushni (present Ravi), to wage a war with King Sudasa, they would have to travel for longer distances, even had to cross the vastness of Sindhu River to reach the banks of the Parushni. Though identification of Parushni with Ravi seems improbable, let us assume that indeed Sudasa’s enemies did cross that huge distance to approach Parushni to wage war against Sudasa.

After the defeat, what is the scenario? Defeated tribes were not annihilated. A number of dead in the war is given 6666. Though the figure could be speculative or exaggerated, the survivors of the war must have traveled back to their homeland after paying huge tributes. Rig Veda (7.33.6) mentions that Bharata’s under Sudasa received tribute from the defeated kings like Ajas, Sigrus and Yaksus. RV 7.18.13 informs us that Indra destroyed the seven fortifications of the enemy and gave treasures of Anu to Sudasa. (Talageri identifies Anu's with Iranians.)

Sudasa, after this victory, would have returned to his capital, whatsoever and wherever the war took place. Surprisingly there is no mention of his capital in Rig Veda. In fact, no city or village name appears in the entire Rig Veda!  However, it does not mean that he had no capital. Also, we are left to mere guesswork as to how large had been his tribe? What was the expanse of his kingdom? Looking at the population of those times his tribe could not have been too large occupying vast lands. Area of about forty-fifty square miles would be enough to provide for his tribe the necessary livelihood. Had the tribe been settled in Afghanistan or India, it needed not to cross vast distances in an order to migrate unless there was the natural calamity of any kind or enemies driving them out of their original habitat. Rig Veda mentions none of such incident. Rather Sudasa had won the war!

However, battleground being at the banks of Parushni and both the parties to the war attacking from different directions, how does it can prove the demographic migration of the Aryans to either direction?


If Talageri’s theory is considered true, then it will appear that the Pakhta, Bhalanas, Parshu and some other tribes were certainly had come to the war from western side as their geographies are identifiable and they do exist even today. This is not the case with Sudasa and his tribesmen as there is no evidence that after the victory he too moved to settle somewhere in the west or east. Why a victorious king should have to migrate from his native place? Rig Veda describes that Sudasa and his allies chased the fleeing enemy, some drowned in the rivers and some were slain while on the run. But the original habitat of the enemy tribes doesn’t seem to have changed. Then why only Sudasa would desert his habitat to move elsewhere?

As stated earlier, the description of the battle of the ten kings is mixed up with mythical elements, such as active involvement of Lord Indra in the war and his destroying seven fortifications of the enemy. One cannot take the rhymes as describing the exact history. Also, the location of the war can be disputed as the river Parushni itself is unidentifiable. Its identification with Ravi is farfetched. Even if we agree to this identification, for the time being, it does not prove migration of any tribe from east to west or west to east. The battle taking place on the banks of the River Parushni also does not indicate Sudasa’s homeland being at the east of the Parushni. The positions of the warring parties are decided by so many other strategic factors at the given moment of the war. Direction from which they fight does not indicate their homeland too located in the same direction.

In nutshell whole premises that there was Aryan migration (or expansion) from east to west can be surmised as a whimsical idea of a scholar. This applies to the western scholars also those infer west to east direction from the outcome of the same war!

Demographic migrations are not new to the even modern world. Small nomadic tribes can be seen on the constant move. From Rig Veda it seems that Vedic society could have been semi-nomadic as it was mostly a pastoral community. However, semi-nomads tend to move around in a circle of their habitat. That too applies to the clan of Sudasa in whose reign the entire corpus of the Rig Veda was composed. Had Rig Vedic society been constant on move, there would have been at the least mention of the alien tribes they came across during the movement. In Rig Veda about 50 tribes are mentioned in different contexts and they appear to be located in the almost circular positions if Avestan Harxvaiti basin is considered to be the center point of Vedic Aryan’s habitat.

Except few tribes related to Puru brotherhood all other tribes, including Puru, were non-Vedic…ayajnya’s. (Nonperformers of the fire sacrifice.) Even the tribes those fought against Sudasa and his allies are described as non-performers of the fire sacrifices. The true reason behind the war may be the religious conflict between different faiths. From the Rig Vedic story of enmity between Vashishtha and Sudasa’s former priest Vishvamitra that became main reason of the battle suggests that there were many tribes that were against Vedic religion and finally gathered against Sudasa for a war. Vishvamitra is said to have gathered enemy tribes against Sudasa over the religious conflict only.

Anyway, the war took place and Sudasa turned out to be victorious. How does it can be connected with the western migration of the Vedic Aryans as Mr. Talageri suggests?

Actually, Talageri indirectly supports the theory of Vedic homeland being a part of Afghanistan or bordering northwest regions of ancient India. The most of the rivers mentioned in Rig Veda are of Afghan origin, including Sarasvati. Most of them bear the same name even today though Afghanistan has undergone many political and religious upheavals. Sindhu means river or sea, can be applicable to any river or rivers, whenever used in plurals. Hence it does not necessarily mean to have used all the time for Sindhu (Indus) river. Parushni could not have been present Ravi as the geography itself goes contrary to the Rig Vedic descriptions of the war.

Hence Talageri’s migration theory is bad in the light of his far-fetched conclusions.


Place names in Rig Veda:


Now let us look into the place names appearing in Rig Veda and Talageri’s conclusions based on them.

Talageri states that there are five different regions are mentioned in Rig Veda. Those are;

A. Afghanistan.
B. Punjab.
C. Haryana.
D. Uttar Pradesh
E. Bihar.

Afghanistan was known to the Indians from ancient times as Gandhara. There is a huge corpus of the Buddhist ancient literature in Gandhari language as well. In Gandhari language Indian Prakrit G phonetically changes to K. Present Kandahar is none but Gandhar to the ancient Indians as evidenced from the various epigraphs. Except for such phonetic changes we do not find drastic variance in Gandhari and other Prakrit dialects of about 3rd Century BC to 2nd century AD those appear in various epigraphs.

Talageri states that the region name Gandhara appears only once in late upa-maNDalas of MaNDala I (I.126.7). He further adds that “But, the name is also found indirectly in the name of a divine class of beings associated with GandhAra, the Gandharvas, who are referred to in the following verses: III.38.6; VIII.1.11; 77.5; IX.83.4; 85.12; 86.36; 113.3;
X.10.4; 11.2; 85.40, 41; 123.4, 7; 136.6; 139.4, 6; 177.2.”

From this Talageri wants to impress upon us to suit his theory of westward migration of the Vedic people, i.e. from Punjab to Afghanistan. He suggests that the Vedic people landed in Afghanistan during the last phase of the composition of the Rig Veda.

If taken this theory at its face value, it would seem that Vedic people first moved from Punjab to the region of Parushni (Ravi) and from there they migrated to Afghanistan. But is it so?

Punjab.

Talageri, instead of explaining whether the name Punjab occurs anywhere in the Rig Veda, declares on us, “The Punjab is known in the Rigveda as “Saptasindhu”.

Punjab would mean the land of five rivers. Talageri’s explanation to this is, Sidhu being farther west and Sarasvati being farther east and the land between them constituting of the five rivers would mean Punjab.

Talageri goes further to stress that the Avestan “Hapta Hindu” also refers to the Punjab region. This is something that extols the non-existent. “Hapta Hindu” in Avesta does not at all refer to the Punjab, but rivers in Afghanistan itself. “Hapta Hindu” (Sankrit Sindhu) would mean the region of seven rivers…not the region beyond Sindhu River. If Hapta Hindu of Avesta is as same as Sapta Sindhu of Rig Veda and if is referred to one and the same region, in all probabilities Sapta Sindhu region cannot be Punjab but valley of Helmand river of present Afghanistan itself. 

We should note here that Avesta does not refer to or mention any other river except those is present in Afghanistan. Hence Avestan Hapta Hindu could not refer to the region of Punjab but the region of Avestan geography itself. Rather Rig Veda mentions many rivers like Rasa (Raha), Kubha (Kabul), Krummu (Kurram) etc. which means that the Vedic people were more acquainted with Avestan geography than of the Punjab.For example, Talageri admits that Vedic Aryan's did not know any river to the west of the Sarasvati, means they did not know the Punjab, Sindh regions located to the west of Sarasvati!

C. Haryana.

Talageri admits that the place names such as Kurukshetra or Brahmavarta (believed to be in Haryana) do not appear at all in Rig Veda, yet he tries to derive meaning from the so-called epithets, such as “ nAbhA pRthivyA” (Center of the Earth) or “ vara A pRthivyA” (Best place on the earth),he thinks is addressed to Haryana region.

Further he states that “M.L. Bhargava, in his brilliant research on the subject, points out that these places are still extant: MAnuSa is still known as MAnas, still a pilgrim centre, a village 3½ miles northwest of Kaithal; the ApayA or ApagA tIrtha is still recognised at Gadli between MAnas and Kaithal; and ILAyAspada or ILaspada at SAraka is the present-day Shergadh, 2 miles to the southeast of Kaithal: MAnuSa and IlAspada were thus situated on the right and left sides of the ApayA, about 5½ miles apart, and in the tract between the DRSadvatI and the SarasvatI.”

First, let us have a look at Manas village. It is a small village situated in Kaithal district of Haryana State. Kaithal name is said to have been derived from Kapisthala, the birth place of the Monkey God, Hanuman. However, unlike what Talageri states, the village is named Manas because there is a pond named “Manas Sarovar “ besides the village. It clearly shows that the name is taken after famous highly revered Himalayan lake “Manas Sarovar” which is pilgrimage center from ancient times. Most importantly this Manas village is not any kind of pilgrimage center! Connecting it to the Vedic “Manusa” is a ridiculous idea. Need not to mention, others too are highly imaginative derivations by the author.

While finding the references of Uttar Pradesh in Rig Veda, Talageri admits that there is no direct reference, still, he blatantly states that “It may be noted that all the pilgrim centres of Hinduism are located to the east of Haryana. There is no Hindu pilgrim centre worthy of particular note in the Punjab or the northwest. This also discounts the possibility that the oldest and hoariest text of Hinduism could have been composed in those parts.” Thus he contradicts his own theory of westward migration.

First of all, Talageri is committing a blunder by mixing Hindu religion with Vedic religion. There is no pilgrimage tradition in Rig Veda or even in later Vedic texts. Also at one side, Talageri states that the Vedic Geography (where most of the Rig Veda was composed) is east Punjab, he admits that there is no noteworthy pilgrimage center in Punjab or west. Had Vedic Aryans were moving towards west, he cannot explain why the most of the pilgrimage centers are at the eastern side.

Reference to the River Ganga appears only once and that too as Jahnavi, not directly as Ganga. Whether Vedic Jahnavi and Ganga is one and the same is not yet proven beyond doubt. It does not prove that the Vedic Aryan's knew the regions of present Uttar Pradesh.

What we can conclude from Talageri’s Vedic geography is, he has recklessly tried to link Indian places and rivers with Rig Vedic river and place names, neglecting the overwhelming proofs indicating Rig Vedic early geography being Gandhar, that is to say, present Afghanistan. Most of the rivers those flow in the terrain of Helmand bear similar names even today. This is not the case with Indian rivers including Ghaggar, Jhelam, Chinab, Choutang, Ganga etc. There is no reason why the river names should have drastically been changed in the course of the time if they were so praiseworthy to the Vedic people.

Also, it does not indicate why demographic migration of the Vedic people would have taken place? Most of the tribes mentioned in Rig Veda can be identified with the tribes of northwest regions of India and of Afghanistan and Iran. It seems Vedic people were quite familiar with them and their dialects. They too shared similar dialect. Vedic people were familiar with Avestan religion and their faith and borrowed heavily from them, including God’s and Demons, though in later times Vedic people had changed the meaning opposite to the originals. However, terminologies remained the same. Asura (Av. Ahura) meant “Lord” to Vedic’s as well in the early period of Veda’s, though the term was used as Demons in later times.

This shows clearly that geographically Vedic people must have been settled in the close vicinity of the Avestan people. Had they been migrants from the Punjab to Afghanistan, the religious concepts, dialectical similarities, Gods and Demons wouldn’t have been similar. It is impossible. It cannot be said that Avestan people borrowed from Vedic people because Vedic Asura seems to have lost its original meaning immediately after the composition of some verses, whereas Avestan Ahura did remain the same with its original meaning throughout! This must have occurred after some kind of enmity arose between Avestan and Vedic people. Battle of Ten Kings could be a possible reason for this drastic shift. This may be evident from a fact that Parshu tribe too was a party to the war against Sudasa. Parshu’s are identified with Persian people. Talageri’s another bold suggestion is proto-Iranians were located in Punjab in pre-Vedic times is another blunder that we will examine in the separate article.

Talageri, to prove his theory of Aryan migration raises the following vital questions:

1. Why the tribe of Sudasa should have hopped from Haryana towards Afghanistan intermittently? What were the reasons? What was the reason for his tribe to vacate earlier settlements to move towards Afghanistan only when there were other better directions too were available to him to move?

2. It is assumed and agreed by the scholars that the composing of the Rig Veda continued for almost 300 to 500 years. This is not a small passage of the time in which many generations would have elapsed. If this is the case, was migration pre-determined or was Sudasa or his clan was forced out of India? Does Rig Veda give any indication of such happening?

3. If Talageri is right in his hypothesis, it would appear that the Seers of Rig Veda too traveled with the tribe adding the names of the rivers in Vedic verses as they came across. How then the bulk of Rig Veda traveled back to India?

4. Geologically it is proven that the Ghaggar River during the times of Indus civilization were in the condition as same as it is now, a monsoon-fed minor River. It was never snow-fed river. How then Talageri connects Ghaggar with the mighty river Sarasvati of Rig Veda?

5. If Talageri in his works claims that proto-Iranians too were located in Punjab in pre-Vedic times and moved towards Afghanistan later, how can it justify the linguistic differences in Vedic and Avestan languages? And what would be the reason for proto-Iranians to move from Punjab towards Afghanistan? If this really is the case why there is no slightest of the reference to such movement neither in Avesta nor Rig Veda?

6. If there were series of westward migrations of Indian Aryans, which were those migrating tribes apart from Sudasa’s?

7. Why Talageri frequently uses the term "Aryan's" when the Aryan race theory has been abandoned on all counts, including modern genetics?

To find the solution to any cultural or linguist problems, migration theories appear to be simple explanations, but they raise more questions those cannot be easily answered. Nationalistic approaches may delight to some Vedic people but it drives away the masses from the truth!

Shrikant Talageri’s theory thus proves to be unreliable that only can bolster the egos of Vedic Hindu nationalists, nothing else!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Religion of the Indus culture

Mohenjo Daro

Excavations at Indus-Ghaggar valley have provided us with ample of proofs those can give us fairly well idea of the religion people of those times practiced. Though the Indus script yet is to be deciphered, the physical remains talk themselves of the glory Indus people possessed. With the available material evidences there should not be any doubt that the non-Vedic, Shaivait faith had been prevalent in those times. The religion that still is practiced by the Indian non-Vedic Hindu religion. The Shaivait tradition now is enriched with profound philosophies those were developed in the course of the time. It will be unwise to say Indus-Ghaggar civilization was declined and vanished from the pages of the time. We can clearly see how it has been continuously flowing adopting changes and thus modifying itself to till date.

Let us have a look at the findings at Indus-Ghaggar civilization and its significance over today’s religion Hindu’s are practicing.
Yogishvar Shiva
Yogishvar Shiva 

Such ample of seals are abundantly found in the remains of Indus-Ghaggar civilization. The image over the seal is called as “Yogishvar Shiva” as the deity in image is seating in Yogic posture with horned headdress. Most of the scholars believe that this is the image of proto-Shiva whereas some scholars opine that this image may not represent Shiva.

One must remember here that the Indian mythology unanimously declares that the Yoga was first introduced to the mankind by benevolent Lord Shiva. He has been called Yogishvar because not only he created Yoga, he himself is an eternal Yogi! Indeed Yoga has been practiced mostly in non-Vedic tradition since time unknown.

The myth is, Patanjali, who wrote first treaty on yoga, was born from Shiva's palm by his water tribute. Thus the name is Patanjali...born from Shiva's palm. This also suggests how yoga is perpetually associated with Shiva.

On his head we can see a hornlike headdress, the horn winged in the shape of crescent moon. Presently in the images of Shiva a single crescent moon is depicted. It seems that over the time, with changes in iconography, the changes might have occurred, while adorning other attributes such as serpent in neck. However there can be no doubt that the image on the seal is of Shiva.
2. We have another proof that clearly indicates the Shaivait faith of the Indus-Ghaggar people. This is terracotta Shivlingam found at Kalibangan site, carbon dated 2600 BC.

This is the same Lingam that is worshiped even today in the same form by almost every Hindu. This provides us insight in the religious practice of the Indus people that is preserved and practiced even today. In India, almost everywhere, millions of such Shivlingams are venerated most piously.

In the country, from the mountain Kailasa to Rameshvaram and from Somanatha (Gujrat) to Asam there will not be a single town or village where Shiva in Lingam form is absent! Looking at overwhelming Shiva Lingams all over the country, if we call this country "Shivadesha" (Country of Shiva), it would not be an exaggeration. In fact unity of this country, despite different languages and races, can be attributed to a common factor, that is Shiva worship.
Pashupati
Pashupati 
Shiva’s main epithet is Pashupati, Lord of the animal. A sect in Shaiva religion is called “Pashupata” those worship Shiva in the Lord of Animal form. He is protector of animal. The seal depicts a male figure sitting in Yogic Posture surrounded by the animal, praising the Lord. Worthy here is to mention that famous Shiva temple in Nepal is called “Pashupati Nath”. Though Vedic’s tried to connect Shiva with Vedic Rudra on the basis of this slightest similarity, Vedic Rudra is characteristically entirely different deity than Shiva.
Here we come across Bull seal. Bull seals are so much so common in Indus civilization. It is proven that Indus-Ghaggar civilization was primarily an agrarian society. Bull has a special significance in the agrarian life even now as he is helpful for tilling the farms, pulling the carts and many other agriculture related work.

Also Bull represents male prowess. Bull's are beautifully depicted on the Indus seals. It was but natural for Indus-Ghaggar people to give him a special position in their religious and social life. Appearance of thousands of Bull seals proves that how those people revered an trusted animal. Even now in the villages Bull is still worshiped with a festival dedicated to him.

Importance of Bull in Indian culture doesn’t end here. Before every Shiva Temple we can see a bull idol in sitting position and is paid tribute by the devotees before entering the temple. It is evident from above that the tradition of Bull worship has its roots in the Indus-Ghaggar culture.
Shakti...the Mother Goddess
Shakti...the Mother Goddess 
Mother Goddess worship is as ancient as human history and practiced almost every corner of the world. Shiva worship conducted in phallic form while Mother Goddess was worshiped in female organ form or in human form. We have ample of the proofs that the phallic worship was being practiced by the Indus-Ghaggar people in both the forms, i.e. organ form as well as in human form.

From the available proofs we can see that in the beginning Shiva and Shakti (Male and Female gods) were worshiped independently. In later course it seems that both were unified in Shivlingam form. The unification must have been done when “Advaita” (Monism) philosophy of Shaiva’s had emerged.

Shakti (Also known by various names such as Parvati, Jagdamba, Amba etc.) is consort of Shiva in Indian mythology, sometimes worshiped separately by some cults called as Shakta’s. Shakti, under her various names have independent temples, whereas when in Shiva temple she always is in unified form with him.
Indus-Ghaggar finds gives us clear idea how the tradition have perpetually been flowing to us.

Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha 
This is the head of Ganesha, an elephant God, most revered after Shiva and Shakti. He also is the God of intelligence, and destroyer of disasters. Traditionally he is said to be son of Shiva and Parvati.

The image, if carefully looked at the traces of vermillion can be seen. Even today Ganesha idol is painted with vermillion.

Need not to mention here the entire above God’s are not from the Vedic tradition. In fact idol worship is not at all a part of Vedic rituals. The same Gods are being worshiped even today in almost every household. This shows how Indus-Ghaggar cultural traditions are preserved by the Hindu masses.

When and where Vedic religion took birth is a matter of great dispute and is mostly left to the varied speculations in absence of the physical evidence. Only thing is evident that the Indus-Ghaggar civilization never did come under influence of the Vedic religion!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Buddhism and Dr. Ambedkar

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

In an introduction to his scholarly written book, “The Buddha and His Dhamma”, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had raised interesting questions on the fundamental tenets of Buddhism and had left them for probing to the coming generations. However it didn't happen as the book became so sacred to Ambedkar’s dedicated followers, Neo-Buddist's, that they completely neglected the issues raised by Dr. Ambedkar on the very religion! Here is an attempt to seek some answers to those queries.

  1. First question posed by Dr. Ambedkar is, why Buddha took Pavajja (Renunciation)? Traditional answer to this question is on a day he came across scene of death, ailing man and an old person, which made him think on the futility of the life.
Dr. Ambedkar do not accept the traditional explanation stating that it was impossible for a twenty nine year old prince to not have come across such a common phenomena occurring almost every passing moment throughout everybody’s life!

I agree with Dr. Ambedkar. We can see in the history of the religions various myths are created around the founders to elevate them in the eyes of the people. In my opinion it was difficult for the later Buddhists to explain the sudden renunciation of Buddha when he already had married to a beautiful woman and had an infant son when he left home unannounced. It was a cruel deed if judged on any moral ground. Hence it needed a strong logic to explain the deed of Buddha. This is why a story must have been created that Lord Buddha confronted three tragic episodes of the life on a single day that changed him suddenly and to seek answers to the inevitable he abandoned the family and mundane pleasures.

Superficially the story seems believable. Religious people don’t question. But an intelligent personality like Dr. Ambedkar, who was on the verge of embracing Buddhist faith with his millions of the followers, only could raise such vital question. It is agreeable that deed of Buddha, abandoning his sleeping wife and infant unannounced, in the middle of the night, was not a humanly act. However to justify his deed the clarification was given thorough the above myth.

However, not satisfied by this myth, Dr. Ambedkar creates another story to justify the act of Buddha's renunciation. According to this new myth Buddha left Shakya clan and his family to save Shakya and Koliya clan from the possible war between them over share of the river water. However this story also does not find any support from Buddhist literature.

2. Buddhism propounds four Noble Truths (Arya Satya) those include;
"This is the noble truth of dukkha (sorrow): birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dukkha; union with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation from what is pleasing is dukkha; not to get what one wants is dukkha; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha."

"This is the noble truth of the origin of dukkha: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, which is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."

"This is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."
"This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of dukkha: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration."

It is said that this is the central doctrine of the Buddhism. However Dr. Ambedkar seems to be dissatisfied with this doctrine. According to him these principles are pessimistic in nature and cannot raise any hope in anybody if life to death and even Rebirth is suffering.

However it seems clearly that Dr. Ambedkar has not given much importance to the last two truths those clearly indicate “cessation of sorrow through Noble Eightfold Path”. Instead Dr. Ambedkar states that these noble truths are great hindrance for the non Buddhist to become Buddhist.

Still, the Noble Truths also can be criticized. First, according to this principle, everything is Dukkha…sorrow. Everything that man craves for is the sorrow. Craving for separation too is sorrow. If such is the case, even if one follows the Noble Eightfold Path, how he is going to get rid of the sorrow?

Cessation of suffering, it is said, is the cessation of all the unsatisfactory experiences and their causes in such a way that they can no longer occur again. It's the removal, the final absence, the cessation of those things, their non-arising. One can easily understand why Dr. Ambedkar didn’t give much importance to the cessation and Noble Eightfold Path. He asks rightly, if suffering is the base of the philosophy of this religion and which cannot promise any pleasure or hope then why at all this religion is needed?.

Dr. Ambedkar questions whether these principles are original tenets of Buddhism or later additions made by the unknown Bhikkhu’s? (Monks)

Here, we must consider a fact that though followers of any religion in later times do tend to add, remove or modify some principles of the religion to suite to their times or ever-changing needs, but hardly one can change the central doctrine. Buddha in his life seems to be a philosophically confused personality. Element of suffering he borrowed from Sankhya philosophers of his time and modified it to some extant. None else but the Four Noble Truths should be attributed to Buddha as his basic philosophy that has overwhelmed almost all the oldest Buddhist scriptures.

3. Dr. Ambedkar raises a serious question on the Buddhist concept of Soul, Deed and Rebirth. According to him, Buddha has denied existence of the Soul but is staunch believer in the deed (karma) and rebirth. This is a great paradox in Buddhist doctrine to which many answers have been proposed. Still, Dr. Ambedkar asks, if there is no Soul (Atma) how then there could be Rebirth? How there could be any act (deed) in an absence of the Soul?

This indeed is a valid question. There cannot be concept of rebirth in absence of the soul, though scholars have tried to find many explanations. From some scripts it seems that Buddha too had tried to find solution to this problem by raising counter questions, but not to the satisfaction. Existence of the soul is precondition to the concept of Rebirth.

Buddha does not meet this condition. This is a great lacuna in his basic philosophy. When I read Buddhist oldest scriptures, in fact I do not find much difference between Tripitaka’s or Jataka’s and Hindu Purana’s except mention of some Buddhist elements. All Vedic God’s keep on floating around in almost every story. Miracles too have occupied greater part of the Life of Buddha, though Buddhists claim Buddhism being scientific religion. That way Buddhism, as considered by the people in general, has not anything special to boast of. It has no independent philosophy to offer of its own.

DR. Ambedkar, though having serious doubts on Buddhism, had no choice but to embrace Buddhism, as Hinduism of those times (and to some extent even today) had crossed all the limits of inhuman practices of inequality and untouchability. Still a great scholar like him only could raise serious questions on a religion he was about to embrace with his millions of people!