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Another Interpretation!

The Centre of Excellence for Indian Knowledge Systems of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, a public technical university established by the Government of India in 1951, has released a calendar for 2022. The introduction of the calendar reads: “The current Chronology of Indian Civilisation and History is dubious and questionable. A long evolutionary sequence of literature, cultural and spiritual texts are evident prior to the birth of the Buddha and the Mahavira. It must have had taken a few 1000 years to achieve that. From the early Vedic Srutis (oracular form) before it took form of literature to later Vedic Age and Puranic literature, it is definitely a few 1000 years. But the long Chronology has suffered suppression, compromises, contractions, and distortions.” There are more than a few pieces of information about various historical events, along with images, in the calendar. Among those, one of the issues is very serious, as the Centre has claimed that the Indus Valley Civilisation (3300 BCE – 1300 BCE) was a part of Vedic Civilisation (from the late Bronze Age to early Iron Age)! In other words, the Centre has blasted the Western historians for mentioning that the Indus Valley Civilisation was a pre-Aryan Civilisation, as the Aryan-speaking people had entered the Indian territory from the highlands of Central Asia via Iran, and gradually gave birth to a prosperous Vedic Civilisation. According to the erudite from IIT Kharagpur, the Western historians wanted to establish that advanced culture and Hinduism had come to India from outside. Hence, this Institute of National Importance wants to rewrite history. It seems that the main motto of the Centre is to promote the Government of India’s plan to implement the new Education Policy, by distorting facts.

The IIT calendar

The historians, usually, come to a conclusion on the basis of evidence. They have to present all the evidence before the scientific and historical communities by publishing articles in research journals, where scholars judge whether it is possible to draw conclusions from what has been produced as evidence. Only when this process is recognised, historians’ claim becomes a part of history. In that case, one has to consider what evidence was excavated during the discovery of Mohenjo-daro by Indian archaeologist and museum expert Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay (April 12, 1885 – May 23, 1930) in 1922, and the discovery of Harappa two years later, on the basis of which historians had come to the conclusion that the Indus Valley Civilisation was a pre-Vedic Civilisation.

Firstly, the houses of the Indus Valley Civilisation were made of terracotta bricks. However, no houses, made of bricks, have been found on Indian soil in the next 1000 years. It means the Vedic Aryans did not know how to make terracotta bricks. If the Indus Valley Civilisation was a part of the Vedic Civilisation, then it is not supposed to be.

Secondly, the main animal in Vedic Literature is the horse. However, there are no wild horses in any Indian forest. Archaeologists found lots of terracotta seals while excavating at hundreds of Indus Valley sites. Those seals have images of various animals carved on them, and the animals include tigers, rhinos, elephants, deer, pigs, and bulls. Interestingly, there is no image of a horse. In other words, horses were not there during the initial stage of Indus Valley Civilisation. It means the horses had come to the Indian Subcontinent from a place where there were wild horses.

Thirdly, the seals of the Indus Valley Civilisation show that a written script was there. Unfortunately, those writings have not yet been deciphered, as the language bears no resemblance to any modern language. However, it is certain that there was a written language. On the contrary, there was no written language in the early days of Vedic Civilisation. The Vedic verses, termed sruti, were propagated and preserved through audition (or grace-note) and memorisation. If the Indus Valley Civilisation was a part of Vedic Civilisation, then the authors of Rigveda could have written the ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, and it was supposed to come in the continuity of the written language of Indus Valley Civilisation. However, that did not happen.

Indus Valley Civilisation

Finally, descriptions of urban life, like the Indus Valley Civilisation, are missing in Vedas, Vedantas, Upanishads, Puranas and other Vedic literatures. There is no mention of houses made of bricks, paved roads, covered sewerage systems anywhere in Vedic Literature!

Based on these pieces of evidence, historians have come to the conclusion that there was no cultural connection between the Indus Valley Civilisation and the Vedic Civilisation. As the cultural history of the Vedic Civilisation has been found incessantly, historians have opined that the Vedic Civilisation came into existence after the end of the Indus Valley Civilisation. As archaeologists discovered the earliest horse fossils of the Indian Subcontinent in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, they claimed that the Aryans had reached India from the highlands of Central Asia before the beginning of the Vedic Civilisation. The evolutionary history of the Indo-Iranian language group, too, supports such a view.

The IIT Kharagpur should not narrate its own beliefs in the Language of Science. The contribution of Ancient India in various fields of Science has already been recognised. If the Institute resorts to scienctific explanation in order to promote India’s past glory, then the attempt would ultimately downplay that contribution.

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