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“Defalsify India’s History” by Subramanian Swamy – Excerpts

Some excerpts from Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s valedictory speech on January 11 at the International Conference on Indian History, Civilisation and Geopolitics 2009 (ICIH-2009) at New Delhi’s India International Centre, titled, “Defalsify India’s history as a first step in national renaissance“. It contains a very interesting account of how some critical dates  – based on which ancient Indian History has been re-constructed – may themselves be inaccurate and wrong. Read on.

*** Excerpts Begin ***


…Hindustan represents the continuing history of culture of Hindus. One’s religion may change, but culture does not. Thus, on the agenda for a national renaissance should be the dissemination of the correct perception of what we are. This perception has to be derived from a defalsified history. However, the present history taught in our schools and colleges is the British imperialist-sponsored one, with the intent to destroy our identity.

India as a State is treated as a British-created entity and of only recent origin. The Indian people are portrayed as a heterogeneous lot who are hopelessly divided against themselves. Such a “history” has been deliberately created by the British as a policy. Sir George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, wrote to the Home Office on March 26, 1888 that “I think the real danger to our rule is not now but say 50 years hence….. We shall (therefore) break Indians into two sections holding widely different views ….. We should so plan the educational text books that the differences between community and community are further strengthened”.

The Imperialist History of India

What is the gist of this British imperialist-tailored Indian history? In this history, India is portrayed as the land “conquered” first by the ‘Dravidians’, then by the ‘Aryans’, later by Muslims, and finally by the British. Otherwise, everything else is mythical.

…For example, even though the Mughal rule from Akbar to Aurangzeb is about 150 years, which is much shorter than the 350 year rule of the Vijayanagaram empire, the history books of today hardly take notice of the latter. In fact the territory under Krishna Devaraya’s rule was much larger than Akbar’s, and yet it is the latter who is called “the Great”. Such a version suited the British rules who had sought to create a legitimacy for their presence in India.

…In this falsified history, it is made out that Hindus capitulated to Islamic invaders. But on the contrary,unlike Iran, Iraq and Egypt where within decades the country capitulated to become 100% Muslims. India despite 800 years of brutal Islamic rule, remained 80% Hindu.

…Just because India did not have a nation state of the present boundaries, exercising control through a unified modern administration, does not mean that there was no India. On the contrary, there was always as India which from north to south, thought of fundamentally as one country.

…on the agenda for National Renaissance has to be a new factual account of our history, focusing on the continuous and unbroken endeavours of a people united as a nation. This history of India must deal with the conscious effort of our people to achieve a civilization, to reach better standards of life, and live a happier and nobler life.

Falsification of Chronology in India’s History

The fabrication of our History begins with the falsification of our chronology.

The customary dates quoted for composition of the Rig Veda (circa 1300 B.C.), Mahabharat (600 B.C.), Buddha’s Nirvana (483 B.C.), Maurya Chandragupta’s coronation (324 B.C.), and Asoka (c.268 B.C.) are entirely wrong. Those dates are directly or indirectly based on a selected reading of Megasthenes’ account of India. In fact, so much so that eminent historians have called if the “sheet anchor of Indian chronology”. The account of Megasthenes and the derived chronology of Indian history have also an important bearing on related derivations such as the two-race (Aryan-Dravidian) theory, and on the pre-Vedic character of the so called Indus Valley Civilization.

Megasthenes was the Greek ambassador sent by Seleucus Nicator in c. 302 B.C. to the court of the Indian king whom he and the Greek called “Sandrocottus”. He was stationed in “Palimbothra”, the capital city of the kingdom. It is not clear how many years Megasthenes stayed in India, but he did write an account of his stay, titled Indika. The manuscript Indika is lost, and there is no copy of it available. However, during the time it was available, many other Greek writers quoted passages from it in their own works. These quotations were meticulously collected by Dr. Schwanbeck in the nineteenth century, and this compilation is also available to us in English (J.M. McCrindle: Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian).

When European indologists were groping to date Indian history during the nineteenth century (after having arbitrarily rejected the various Puranas), the Megasthenes account came in very useful. These scholars simply identified “Sandrocottus” with Chandragupta, and “Palimbothra” with Pataliputra. Since Megasthenes talks of Sandrocottus as being a man not of “noble” birth who essentially usurped the throne from Xandrames and founded a new dynasty, the western writers took it as enough evidence to suggest that Sandrocottus was Maurya Chandragupta, who deposed the Nanda (=Xandrames) dynasty, and founded the Maurya dynasty. This identification, thus places Maurya Chandragupta circa 302 B.C.

However, Megasthenes also notes that Sandrocottus was a contemporary of Alexander, and came to the throne soon after Alexander’s departure. With a little arithmetic on how many days it would have taken Alexander to cross the Indus, etc., the scholars arrive at c.324 B.C. as the date of Chandragupta Maurya’s coronation. It is on this date that every other date of Indian history has been constructed.

The western writers constructed other dates of Indian history by using the data on the number of years between kings given in the Puranas, even though they have generally discredited this source. For instance, the Puranas give the number of years for the reign of Chandgragupta and Bindusara as 62 years. Using this period, Asoka’s coronation year is calculated by them as 324-62 =c 262 B.C. This estimated year is then cross-checked and adjusted with other indicators, such as from the Ceylonese Pali tradition. The point that is being made here is that some of the important dates of Indian history have been directly determined by the identification of Megasthenes’ Sandrocottus with Maurya Chandragupta, and Xandremes with Nanda.

The founder of the Mauryas, however, is not the only Chandragupta in Indian history, who was a king of Magadh and founder of a dynasty. In particular, there is Gupta Chandragupta, a Magadh king and founder of the Gupta dynasty at Patliputra. Chandragupta Gupta was also not of “noble” birth and, in fact, came to power by deposing the Andhra king Chandrasri. That is, Megasthenes’ Sandrocottus may well be Gupta Chandragupta instead of Maurya Chandgragupta (and Xandremes the same as Chandrasri, and Sandrocryptus as Samudragupta).

In order to determine which Chandragupta it is, we need to look further. It is, of course, a trifle silly to build one’s history on this kind of tongue-gymnastics, but I am afraid we have no choice but to pursue the Megasthenes evidence to its end, since the currently acceptable history is based on it.

In order to determine at which Chandragupta’s court Megasthenes was ambassador, we have to look further into his account of India. We find he was at Pataliputra (i.e. Palimbothra in Megasthenes’ account). We know from the Puranas (which are unanimous on this point) that all the Chandravamsa king of Magadh (including the Mauryas) prior to the Guptas, had their capital at Girivraja (or equivalently Rajgrha) and not at Pataliputra. Gupta Chandragupta was the first king to have his capital in Patliputra. This alone should identify Sandrocottos with Gupta Chandragupta. However some 6-11th century A.D. sources call Pataliputra the Maurya capital, e.g., Vishakdatta in Mudrarakshasa, but these are based on secondary sources and not on the Puranas.

Pursuing Megasthenes’ account further, we find most of it impossible to believe. He appears to be quite vague about details and is obviously given to the Greek writers’ weakness in letting his imagination get out of control. For example, “Near a mountain which is called Nulo there live men whose fee are turned back-wards and have eight toes on each foot.” (Solinus 52.36-30 XXX.B.) “Megasthenes says a race of men (exist in India) who neither eat or drink, and in fact have not even mouths, set on fire and burn like incense in order to sustain their existence with odorous fumes…..” (Plutarch, Frag. XXXI). However, Megasthenes appears to have made one precise statement of possible application which was picked up later by Pliny, Solinus, and Arrian. As summarized by Professor K.D. Sethna of Pondicherry, it reads:

“Dionysus was the first who invaded India and was the first of all who triumphed over the vanished Indians. From the days of Dionysus to Alexander the Great, 6451 years reckoned with 3 months additional. From the time of Dionysus to Sandrocottus the Indians reckoned 6452 years, the calculation being made by counting the kings who reigned in the intermediate period to number 153 or 154 years. But among these a republic was thrice established, one extending…..years, another to 300 and another to 120. The Indians also tell us that Dionysus was earlier than Heracles by fifteen generations, and that except for him no one made a hostile invasion of India but that Alexander indeed came and overthrew in war all whom he attacked.”

While there a number of issues raised by this statement including the concoction that Alexander was victorious in battle across the Indus, the exactness with which he states his numbers should lead us to believe that Megasthenes could have received his chronological matters from none else than the Puranic pundits of his time. To be conclusive, we need to determine who are the “Dionysus” and “Heracles” of Megasthenes’ account.

Traditionally, Dionysus (or Father Bachhus) was a Greek God of wine who was created from Zeus’s thigh. Dionysus was also a great king, and was recognized as the first among all kings, a conqueror and constructive leader. Could there be an Indian equivalent of Dionysus whom Megasthenes quickly equated with his God of wine? Looking through the Puranas, one does indeed find such a person. His name is Prithu.

Prithu was the son of King Vena. The latter was considered a wicked man whom the great sages could not tolerate, especially after he told them that the elixir soma should be offered to him in prayer and not to the gods (Bhagavata Purana IV.14.28). The great sages thereafter performed certain rites and killed Vena. But since this could lead immediately to lawlessness and chaos, the rshis decided to rectify it by coronating a strong and honest person. The rshis therefore churned the right arm (or thigh; descriptions vary) of the dead body (of Vena) to give birth to a fully grown Prithu. It was Prithu, under counsel from rshi Atri (father of Soma), who reconstructed society and brought about economic prosperity. Since he became such a great ruler, the Puranas have called him adi-raja (first king) of the world. So did the Satpatha Brahmana (v.3.5 4.).

In the absence of a cult of soma in India, it is perhaps inevitable that Megasthenes and the other Greeks, in translating Indian experiences for Greek audiences, should pick on adi-raja Prithu who is “tinged with Soma” in a number of ways and bears such a close resemblance to Dionysus in the circumstances of his birth, and identify him as Dionysus. If we accept identifying Dionysus with Prithu, then indeed by a calculation based on the Puranas (done by D.R. Mankad, Koti Venkatachelam, K.D. Sethna, and others), it can be conclusively shown that indeed 6451 years had elapsed between Prithu and a famous Chandragupta. This calculation exactly identifies Sandrocottus with Gupta Chandragupta and not with Maurya Chandragupta. The calculation also identifies Heracles with Hari Krishna (Srikrishna) of Dwarka.

…However, on the basis of these calculations we can say that Gupta Chandragupta was “Sandrocottus” c.327 B.C. His son, Samudragupta, was the great king who established a unified kingdom all over India, and obtained from the Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras their recognition of him. He also had defeated Seleucus Nicator, while his father Chandragupta was king. On this calculation we can also place Prithu at 6777 B.C. and Lord Rama before that. Derivation of other dates without discussion may also be briefly mentioned here: Buddha’s Nirvana 1807 B.C., Maurya Chandragupta c. 1534 B.C., Harsha Vikramaditya (Parmar) c. 82 B.C.

The time has come for us to take seriously our Puranic sources and to re-construct a realistic well-founded history of ancient India, a history written by Indians about Indians. Such a history should bring out the amazing continuity of a Hindu nation which asserts its identity again and again. It should focus on the fact that at the centre of our political thought is the concept of the Chakravartin ideal – to defend the nation from external aggression while giving maximum internal autonomy to the janapadas.

A correct, defalsified history would record that Hindustan was one nation in the art of governance, in the style of royal courts, in the methods of warfare, in the maintenance of its agrarian base, and in the dissemination of information. Sanskrit was the language of national communication and discourse.

…Without an accurate history, Hindustan cannot develop on its correct identity. And without a clearly defined identity, Indians will continue to flounder. Defalsification of Indian history is the first step for our renaissance.

*** End of Excerpts ***

Read it in full here

Related Posts:

“The Rigveda and the Avesta: The Final Evidence” – A blurb

A Search for the Historical Krishna

Who was the real “Ashoka the Great”?

On “AIT”, Islamic Invasions and “Whitewashing History”


UPDATE: Many of you will find the link in my comment #51 interesting in the context of attempts to re-write history in other countries. Thanks.

July 14th, 2009 Posted by | British Rule in India, Debates & Discussions, Distortions, Misrepresentation about Hinduism, Distortions, Misrepresentations about India, Indian History | 65 comments


  1. Very interesting..

    We are not even aware of our true history (whether good or bad, we dont even know the truth)

    Comment by shadows | July 14, 2009

  2. R Puri wants to know the past 45 yr old Indian history
    Read this

    Comment by Avinash | July 14, 2009

  3. R.Puri same as above.

    Comment by Avinash | July 14, 2009

  4. Another one piece of history

    Comment by Avinash | July 14, 2009

  5. Interesting point of view. I know that Europeans distorted Indian history, destroyed many of our historical texts. I wish I could help in some way so that people who research to bring out our correct history. By the way, if anyone has got more links or knowledge about books, articles on authentic history of India, please post/ share for everyone’s good.

    Comment by Rohit | July 14, 2009

  6. I’m sure the JNU historians, like Romila thapar, will refute all of Dr.Swamy’s statements. Probably they might even pull out “an authentic Ptolemy signed copy” of the Indika from their archives :)

    Comment by Dirt Digger | July 14, 2009

  7. In the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta thread gajanan has posted a brilliant utube lecture by Prof Ramchandran , who has given with simple tools a scientific evidences for the Chola bronze and Khajuraho statues. It is very convincing as it is very good science. Genetics study has debunked the Aryan – Dravdian theory. Witzel , according to many in the threads of these sites has bypassed the Aryan Dravidian theory, ( probably he knows that gene pools have destroyed this theory) when he came to Chennai to speak. Science ahs always come to the rescue of Hinduism. Please go the Ri Veda and Zend Avesta thread and see the utube posting by gajanan. It would shatter all the theories. It is a long one.

    Comment by Suhas | July 15, 2009

  8. @Rohit – There are many of us out here wanting to contribute to developing a truer picture of Indic history. However I think it is fair to assume that correcting cultural destruction of a thousand years including the mischievous and tendentious misinterpretation, falsification and intellectual subversion of our ethos and history in the last two hundred is a going to be truly monumental effort. There are a few dedicated people working on various aspects of Indian history, ethos, culture etc.

    You will find an emerging picture of the true history of india in the following link


    It is a publication from Dr Kaushal Vepa and the Indic Studies foundation (and includes contributions by many others).

    To improve knowledge about various aspects of Indian history and social commentary on it’s distortion and misrepresentation one can read works by the following authors (some of which are available on the web – a google search will lead to a wealth of material)

    David Frawley
    N.S Rajaram
    Subash Kak

    K.D. Sethna
    B.B. Lal
    Bhagwan Singh
    D.P Agrawal

    Shrikanth Talageri
    Konrad Elst
    Nicholas Kazanas

    Sitaram Goel
    Ram Swaroop
    Rajeev Malhotra

    Yvette Claire Rosser
    Arun Shourie

    S.N. Balagangadhara

    ..just to name a few.

    I think that we can best contribute to this effort by developing a knowledge base, a sophisticated scholarly understanding of the issues involved, a nuanced context and methodology for discussions and working around methodological and ideological pitfalls. It is important to understand that this is an effort of a lifetime – and likely to continue beyond our own lifetimes.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 15, 2009

  9. Dharampal’s India



    Comment by VoP | July 15, 2009

  10. Avinash, Rajiv and VoP: Thanks for the links…


    Rohit: Do also check out some of the websites/URLs that are mentioned on the “Links” page

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 16, 2009

  11. hey shantanu … nice post there … here is my 2 cents on that .. i would really appreciate your comments there …


    Comment by vivekam.vairagyam | July 16, 2009

  12. Do read Sandeep in “Ignorance as an Opinion piece”


    @ Vivekam: Thanks. Will have a look.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 16, 2009

  13. My understanding is that the Puranas are hymns that were composed by brahmin priests for religious ceremonial occassions. They had been adapted to circumstances as they changed. Religious texts should be treated just as that, a matter of faith rather than unquestioned truths. Effort would be better expended in making Hinduism fit for the national purpose: uniting and informing Hindus of our rich
    inheritence rather than the divisive force that it is in Hindu society.

    Proof of the existance of Hindu Gods like Ram and Krishna would always remain problematical. History requires some confirmation of truth of events that took place in the past. Any student of history knows that is from some other sources other than the litrary source itself. The writing of history did not exist in India in the same way it had in ancient Greece and Rome. I am hard pressed to name a single historian of ancient India. The weakness in history in India is evident in the way the school education space is monopolised by those singing high praise of Gandhi and the Nehrus without crtical analysis of the actual performance.

    I am afraid that the right wing Hindu agenda simply wants to replace the propoganda of the Nehrus with their own which would not serve India’s Hindu’s any better.

    The British had dismissed Rama as a minor chieften. The truth or otherwise of that is immaterial. The fact remains that his life of significant importance to the faiths of Hindus attested by the countless places of worship dedicated to him.

    I do not know why Indians rehearse these arguements when the British had left India more than half a century ago. It indicates to me that too great a reliance is laid in India’s educational institutions. That says something about the low level of scholarship. That is what needs to be addressed. The Puranas can be made an important contributer to India’s history if they are used objectively.

    Comment by Anonymous | July 17, 2009

  14. @ Anonymous: Thanks for the comment..

    You said: “Effort would be better expended in making Hinduism fit for the national purpose…rather than the divisive force that it is in Hindu society.

    Do you mean to say that Hinduism is divisive?

    Proof of the existance of Hindu Gods like Ram and Krishna would always remain problematical.

    Agreed…but you may find these two posts interesting: the first one is on Shri Krishna and the other on Shri Rama

    As for critical analysis of Gandhi’s performance, do read the comment I left today on this post


    Separately: It would be nice if you could leave your name when you make a comment. You can use this email address if you do not wish to reveal your personal email id: satyacomment AT gmail.com

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 17, 2009

  15. Most misunderstanding people have about the nature of our history can be traced to it’s colonial roots. S. Radhakrishnan our philosopher president has to say this about the colonial enterprise ” The west has tried it’s best to persuade India that its philosophy is absurd, it’s art puerile, it’s poetry uninspired, it’s religion grotesque and it’s ethics barbarous”. Internalization of western colonial discourse has led to us Indians adopting erstwhile colonial categories, and methodologies in the study of our own ancients. This leads to statements like ‘Ancient Indians did not have a sense of history’. This is unknown to them a repetition of a motivated Hegelian conceit. Prof Shivaji Singh masterfully explains this and other issues with Indian history in his inaugural address at ICIH held in Delhi in Jan 2009 which you can read here :

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 18, 2009

  16. “Proof of existence of Hindu Gods like Ram and Krishna would always remain problematic”

    Actually, the proof of the existence of God is problematic. However, proof of the existence of Ram and Krishna as historical figures should not be so problematic. What astounds me is that even events which are considered historical by western scholars of religion is not accepted by the Hindus themselves. So while a Columbia University professor would say something to the effect that Krishna was a historical figure, Hindus in India still have doubts.

    As far as Krishna is concerned, his life story comes to us from various sources including the Chandogya upanishad which according to western scholarship predates the epics . It is generally accepted that the original story of the Mahabharata ( Jayam) probably dates to the vedic period.

    If we are serious about finding out the historicity of our religious figures, it might behoove us to demand that the ASI is independent of political machinations. From my understanding, funding for excavations on the Saraswathi which had started in earnest during the BJP regime, came to a standstill during the Sonia regime.

    What we have in India is not merely a falsiying of history, but the stubborn refusal to discover the truth. Thus the entire dialogue has been taken over by two groups, neither of which have really any desire for the undecorated truth.

    The first of these groups I will call the “Holocaust deniers” a motley group of secular, liberal media, academic and political figures who have no interest in the truth of the what happened to Hindus as a people and refuse to recognize that they may have legitimate concerns.

    The second of the groups can be called the “Khaki knickers” who understand something of history, but are unable to articulate the concerns of a people or even to recognize that the culture they want to protect transcends their narrow definition of it.

    The truly funny thing is that both these groups have internalized the western definitions of what a Hindu is .

    Unless the middle ground occupied by genuine historians who have a passion for the truth and are prepared to go after it without being swayed by personal prejudice or political persuaion, we are in for a few more decades of the story of aryans sweeping in from Europe who then composed hymns (surprisingly) to the Saraswathi (which they must have composed even before setting eyes on it if current chronology is to be believed).

    Comment by K. Harapriya | July 18, 2009

  17. There is an excellent description of the the puranas in wikipedia. Even the Bhavishya purana is described–it relates to future events.

    Comment by K. Harapriya | July 18, 2009

  18. @Harapriya,
    Great points. But then again, there is no real proof that Jesus existed or that Mohammed went to heaven riding a horse :)
    These are jokers who would question Hindu faith, but not question other religions.

    Comment by Dirt Digger | July 18, 2009

  19. The claim for reliance on the Purana’s as a guide for India’s history begs the question why it should be necessary in the first place? The reason for that has to be because of the absence of writing history as a discipline in its own right in ancient times in India. The Purana’s assume a special role because as most such religious texts they originated in oral traditions and captured in writing many hundreds of years later.

    It can be said of written religious texts that they usually maintain integrity as their message is transmitted over time. But the Purana’s have had the problem of starting life as oral traditions recited to suit the times and written down hundreds of years later. For that reason they have suffered from some tampering.

    As far as history is concerned, the Indian practice of handing down an official history goes against scholarship that informs history teaching in England. History in English high schools is concerned as much with evidence from diverse sources for confirmation of the interpretation.

    Post independence India’s Marxists had a field day in concocting a view of history that was prejuidicial to Hindus. Romila Thapar has stands out singularly in this regard. I am afraid that the Hindu right want to simply replace her version of untruths with their own.

    It is certainly true that the British during their rule came to the conclusion that India’s caucasion population cannot have originated in India and theorized quite reasonably that they must have come from Europe. The alternative conclusion that the caucasions originated from India would have seemed fantasy to a people imbued with the superiority of the caucasion race. For this reason, quite why any Hindu wants to work himself into a lather on the origin of the Hindu people is quite beyond me.

    One such reason is that Hindu ideology has it as an article of faith that the Hindus are the original inhabitants of India. The fact remains that the Hindu caucasions are the only original inhabitants of India and others came much later. Genetics studies has established the caucasion settlement of India from as long as ago as 70,000 years ago. The chapter on this should really be closed in favour of writing a history that capitalises on India’s strenghs and not the sort of point scoring that does no service to history or India.

    Comment by Khandu Patel | July 18, 2009

  20. The reason Hindus are in such a “lather” about the correct representation of their history, is that history is what we use to understand ourselves and impacts our economic, social and political life. It is what impacts public policy. The reason Tamil Nadu has around a seventy or more reservation policy is because of a particular reading of history which says that the Aryans (read North Indians) are foreigners to the land and the Dravidans are the original inhabitants.

    “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.” – George Orwell.

    Orwell understood it much better than our secular Indians do. Narratives about a people can, not only rob them of any identity and agency in their own lives, but also rob them of their homeland.

    Thus we see the Kashmir problem merely as a political one, but actually it is a problem of identity and history. We have been told for years that Kashmir was never a part of a Hindu nation, that it had a separate identity, the Kashmiriyat, and that its culture was the confluence of sufi islam and savite Hinduism. But that is not the whole truth. Prior to Islam’s incursions into India, Kashmir was a Hindu religious seat: whether we harken back to Adi Shankara and the Sharada peet or to the time of Sarangadeva, who came from Kashmir to the South and wrote about Indian Music (Sangitaratnakara). So the common heritage that Hindus refer to as being from Kashmir to Kanyakumari was a fact and not a figment of a people’s imagination.

    We, as Hindus, living in our homeland, have a fundamental right to the truth about our past. We have a right to pride in our heritage. We have the right to protect it from foreign usurpers. We have the right to question those who seek to subvert and destroy our understaning of ourselves.

    Comment by K. Harapriya | July 19, 2009

  21. @ Harapriya –

    Excellent points – I especially liked the narrative about Kashmir.

    But, here is a question – at what date does one draw a line – the same question troubles Israel, which seeks to build a Jewish homestead, based on a historical/theological narrative.


    Comment by Patriot | July 19, 2009

  22. @Haraprya/Patriot

    I am afraid that throughout Bharat’s history Hindus have been so busy scoring points against each other that they were relieved to have any interloper intercede on their behalf. Perhaps that says something about Hinduism’s navel gazing which no amount of the right type history could ever cure.

    I agree entirely that history has been twisted by politicians to suit their own prejuidices. I am not persuaded that the doctoring of history by the Hindu right to suit their own agenda is any different. To return India to a certain “Vedic age” would be to return Brahmins to the position of religious pre-eminence and caste ordering that was inimical to ancient Bharat then and it would certainly not be bought by the Hindus of today. The only right thing to today is make caste irrelevance if need be by legislation. There would then be no need for the type reservations that has been the curse of post independence India.

    Comment by Khandu Patel | July 19, 2009

  23. @ Khandu:

    So, what is your prescription to make modern India a strong country?

    Comment by Patriot | July 19, 2009

  24. I am clear that India should be renamed Bharat and defined as a Hindu state for Hindus where dharma should have an important and critical place to ensure the best qualities of Hindus are enlisted to a nation dedicated for the greater good. I would not be shy in borrowing institutions and practices where they have proven benefits such as the rule of law and the highest standards of conduct in public and private life, and to ruthlessly enform them.

    Comment by Khandu Patel | July 19, 2009

  25. @ Patriot (#21): But, here is a question – at what date does one draw a line?

    How about drawing a line at the point from which we have a continuing historical narrative that is consistent and cohesive?

    This would firmly put Kashmir as part of “Bharat” – i.e. a nation-civilisation whose defining identity is a way of life based on the principles of “Dharma” and whose roots lie in vedic antiquity.

    What do you think?

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 19, 2009

  26. @ Khandu:

    “I am clear that India should be renamed Bharat”
    Okay, fine … although as the bard said, what’s in a name, a rose by another name would smell just as sweet.

    ” and defined as a Hindu state for Hindus”
    Disagree completely and vehemently. Bharat is for bharatiyas – where does “hindu” come into it?

    ” where dharma should have an important and critical place”
    What is “dharma”? Have you codified this? Are you referring to a particular codification? Vague, high sounding words do not cut it in a modern republic.

    “to ensure the best qualities of Hindus are enlisted to a nation dedicated for the greater good”

    Greater good? – what is that?
    And, why only hindus? The christians have done the best in education service in the past 100 years – would you not enlist them? how about the music and literature of the sufis – have they not helped enrich us? What about the buddhists and the jains?

    Your philosophy is exact carbon copy of Islam, in many ways. So, no thanks, I pass.

    Comment by Patriot | July 19, 2009

  27. @ Shantanu:

    “How about drawing a line at the point from which we have a continuing historical narrative that is consistent and cohesive?”

    Whose narrative to start with?
    Then, oral or written?
    And then, what do you do, when narratives clash and there is no factual evidence?


    Comment by Patriot | July 19, 2009

  28. @ Shantanu:

    Also, by such a narrative, would you try to include Manosarovar in India/Bharat?

    Comment by Patriot | July 19, 2009

  29. @ Shantanu:
    “a nation-civilisation whose defining identity is a way of life based on the principles of “Dharma” and whose roots lie in vedic antiquity.”

    Dalits reject this vedic narrative/identity – so, how would you go about nation-building when 30% of the residents reject your construct?

    Comment by Patriot | July 19, 2009

  30. @ Patriot: Whose narrative to start with?
    Then, oral or written?
    And then, what do you do, when narratives clash and there is no factual evidence?

    This is exactly why analysing History is fraught with controversies and conflicts.

    My view is that the over-riding criterion (to decide between the alternative interpretations, “facts”, written/ oral traditions etc) must be whether such an interpretation/ analysis is (i) consistent with other observed evidence and (ii) helps build a cohesive narrative of the past (ideally such an interpretation will not conflict with prevalent socio-cultural traditions of the land and its people).

    Again, this is my hypothesis – happy to debate/ discuss and learn from others.

    As for sections of our population rejecting the vedic narrative/identity. I do not blame them…I blame the story-tellers and the explainers i.e. us.

    And finally (with the standard disclaimer: in my humble opinion), this battle of narratives is unlikely to be ever won through an academic debate…Ultimately, the narrative that will prevail is the one that generates a sense of belonging, a sense of identity and appeals to the heart as much as it does to the mind – for the largest possible part of the population.

    I will hold off on commenting on this for a few days to see what other thoughts emerge.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 19, 2009

  31. @Patriot: what date does one draw a line ? Whose narrative to start with?
    Then, oral or written? And then, what do you do, when narratives clash and there is no factual evidence?

    The necessity for such a line, the logic and what would form the basis of such a line – is unclear – kindly explain.

    Any historical narrative has to evolve from native sources (oral and written – there is no dichotomy here), sources that may include material which is considered theological now. However material should not be bypassed because we think they are theological. Many historical works on ethics, sciences, history, lore etc may seem theological to us now as they derive from a pre islamic tradition – which is increasingly unfamiliar to us now. Is theology as it is understood by us now – natural to the people of pre-islamic (hindu) India ? In my view the context of theology as we understand it now derives from European history of reformation and conflict between the secular and religious – which seems rather inapplicable to india. It also derives from the semetic construct of religion. People such as Prof. Balagangadhara have question the applicability of the construct of religion itself. Such categories and thier conflicts were – to the best of my understanding – nonexistent in ancient India. Hence our approach to the reconstruction of history will have to be wide enough to encompass all relevant sources and not be limited by certain arbitrary categories.

    In case of clashing narratives – these are not unique to Indian case – there are accepted historical analytical methods that are used by historians – these can be honesly applied. Again may I point out that a rational reading of the puranas leads to substantial convergence of the ancient indian historical narrative. it is our present reading and discourse that is confused.

    The problems cited with current historical discourse is not that it is wrong (though that is true) – but that it is based on dishonest and motivated construction – that double standards have been followed in dumbing down Indian history and tradition. Examples of course are
    – the aryan invasion/migration/diffusion theory
    – seperation of harappan (ISC) civilization from historical narrative
    – the imposition of unattested, truncated, falsified, or fictitious chronologies
    – dismissal of almost all indian traditional works as myth
    – attribution of lack of historical agency to Indians throughout history
    – the false synchrony between alexander and chandragupta maurya
    – suppression of islamic genocide against ancient/medieval indians
    – suppression of British culpability in genocide of Indians through famines

    … just ot name a few

    What overwhelming reason prevents present historians (and people) from revisiting thier own narratives of indian history and chronology in the light of overwhelming genetic, textual, archeological and geological evidence ?

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 20, 2009

  32. @Patriot: would you try to include Manosarovar in India/Bharat

    Of course – We include parts of Pakistan, Nepal etc in our current historical discourse and narrative – even though these are no longer a part of the nation state of India.

    I think what Shantanu Harapriya and others were arguing was that Kashmir though legally a part of the Indian nation state – also has a civilizational basis for being Indian – lack of emphasis on this in our secular narrative – has contributed substantially to the schisms between Kashmiris and the rest of India.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 20, 2009

  33. @Patriot: Dalits reject this vedic narrative/identity – so, how would you go about nation-building when 30% of the residents reject your construct?

    It is entirely unclear – who these Dalits are who reject vedic narrative – in one voice. It may be true that a lot of Dalit’s do not subscribe to tenets of Vedic religion – but so do so many tribes and adherents of sects all over India. It is not clear why this should lead them to reject a historical narrative gleaned from these texts.

    The greatest spokesman for the dalit cause Dr Ambedkar emphatically and unconditionally rejected “the aryan invasion theory”. This did not stop our secular intelligentsia from imposing this theory on the populace of India. So much for listening to the dalit voice.

    As stated before the only choice for constructing a grand narrative is one of honest, unbiased evaluation of our history – unlimited by any context whether they be people, geographies, or ideological fashions.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 20, 2009

  34. Good points Rajiv (esp at #31). Thanks.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 20, 2009

  35. @ Rajiv:

    “The necessity for such a line, the logic and what would form the basis of such a line – is unclear – kindly explain. ”

    If you do not have a line, then all the land and its resources and its people are part of (modern day) Africa – you neither need separate nation states or any other identity. You are African. That could be one way to end all the strife the world goes through, of course.

    “Any historical narrative has to evolve from native sources (oral and written – there is no dichotomy here), sources that may include material which is considered theological now”

    I agree, with one caveat – no single narrative can be held supreme, in the absence of supporting data or texts, both of which need to be reliable.

    “Again may I point out that a rational reading of the puranas leads to substantial convergence of the ancient indian historical narrative. it is our present reading and discourse that is confused.”

    While I agree in principle, “rational reading” – is such a leading phrase. You get into all kinds of debates about why the previous reading was “irrational” – and, end of the day, if it is interpretation, only your construct of logic and evidence will win the day, not what you (or anyone else) thinks.

    And, we are getting alternative narratives now – they just have to win their market share. If the narratives are compelling, logical and backed by data (unlike the infamous horse seal scandal), they should then become the dominant narrative for India.

    Easey peasy!

    “@Patriot: would you try to include Manosarovar in India/Bharat

    Of course – We include parts of Pakistan, Nepal etc in our current historical discourse and narrative – even though these are no longer a part of the nation state of India.”

    Actually, Rajiv, my comment was more from a nation-state boundary perspective – Indians already make pilgrimages to Manosarovar – so, it is indeed part of our narratives.

    “It is entirely unclear – who these Dalits are who reject vedic narrative – in one voice. It may be true that a lot of Dalit’s do not subscribe to tenets of Vedic religion – but so do so many tribes and adherents of sects all over India. It is not clear why this should lead them to reject a historical narrative gleaned from these texts. ”

    Well, I think they do reject lots of the historical narrative, because our previous historical narrators have done a bad job of it (as Shantanu also mentioned), linking the historical narratives to a religious context. Since the religious context is rejected by the Dalits, for various reasons, the historical narrative also gets rejected. Of course, I understand that this is a generalisation, but with the rise of the BSP, I see the rhetoric about “manuvadis” increasing.

    “This did not stop our secular intelligentsia from imposing this theory on the populace of India. ”

    While neither defending the AIT nor the “doctored” history taught in some schools, there just was not enough research in the 50’s to 80’s to counter the bogus “history”.

    Also, I do not know whether Maharashtra school board was an exception to the history rule or not, but I did learn a lot about MohenjoDaro/Harrapa/IVC and about how “Indian” civilisation/ethos/thinking covers a much wider geographical area, and for longer than any other civilisation, than just the current nation state of India. The history books were also filled with the exploits of the various kings – Maurya, Chola, the Rajputs, and then of course, Shivaji and the Marathas.


    Comment by Patriot | July 21, 2009

  36. “suppression of British culpability in genocide of Indians through famines”

    Rajiv, you have obviously not read history books in Bengal – the perfidy of the british dominates these books! Also, Maharashtra.

    Of course, given that Bengal bore the brunt of the two great famines, that may not be such a surprise.

    I am now thinking that may be the state school boards in “southern” India did a better job than the central school board?


    Comment by Patriot | July 21, 2009

  37. @Patriot – If you do not have a line…

    Claim over land, people and resources is a political position. It is true that history has been used for political purposes. The various aryan/indo-european theories are apt examples – by positioning Indians as mongrel-europeans, or linguistic-inheritors, an implicit european claim is made over the people, cultures and land of India. However our position inasmuch that it seeks to reject this euro centric dogma – remains mostly apolitical.

    In fact it is claimed (by Oppenheimer et al) that post dispersal from Africa – India (and monsoon Asia) served as an incubator and a second home for early humanity during the ice age. It is likely that urban civilization was the product of long slow accumulation of technologies, and integration and prospering of village societies living by great rivers unleashed at the end of the ice age. The possibility that ancient Indian chronologies converges with this time period is notable and important – in that it bridges our understanding of development of societies and technologies during this crucial period.

    The point being that many chronologies inevitably converge – and provide better understanding about development of our societies, cultures, technologies etc. The fine dividing line is therefore a mirage – and perhaps unnecessary.

    There are some people – who make claims of puranic chronology going back millions of years with kings ruling for thousands, on the other hand there are those that reject everything puranic as myth. The logical reading that I argue for is employment of honest scientific analysis – as has been done to scriptures of other cultures. In fact such tasks have been taken up by savants like K.D. Sethna, Talageri and others – providing great clarity and amazing insight into issues clouded due to scholarly myth making by europeans. In my opinion – contrary to general assumption – very few of the indigenous historians have indulged in ever indulged fantastic theories.

    My own opinions about the harappan horse issue ( which I find irrelevant or inconsequential – to the content of a very interesting book in which it was published), is that it is amazing that fuzzy photograph which is not even discussed in the book – or used to support a point – could have so overshadowed the book in which it was published. Meanwhile I would like to point out that – a very serious misdemeanor of mistranslation of a verse from Baudhyayana Shrautasutra purportedly supporting the aryan invasion conceit by the author of the harappan horse expose – was never made a target of similar opprobrium. Here is a link on the subject, containing articles by both authors and Dr Nagaswamy – a noted archeologist.


    That said I do agree with you that a compelling, extensively corroborated, and convincing narrative needs to evolve based on hard facts would bridge the gap in our understanding of our ancestors.


    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 22, 2009

  38. @Patriot – british culpability

    No I have never had access to history books from Bengal or Maharashtra or from the south – so cannot comment much on them. However, I suspect and guess (maybe unreasonably) that most of these anti-british tirades are likely to be more polemical than academic.
    Dharampal’s resarch on pre-indian and early-colonial indian sciences, society etc is very well known and is constructed from British archives themselves. They show a very different pre-british Indian society, culture, econonomy and technology than our historians would have us believe. It is indeed amazing that most of our established historians have never thought it fit to access and investigate these archives – when a lay-historian like Dharampal could do so and come up with such revealing and insightful details.

    By the way why do you think state school boards in South India did a better job than Central School boards ?


    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 22, 2009

  39. @ Rajiv –

    “That said I do agree with you that a compelling, extensively corroborated, and convincing narrative needs to evolve based on hard facts would bridge the gap in our understanding of our ancestors.”

    I think we are on the same page then – because most of the times, when people write to me about historical narratives, I find that they are mostly their interpretations of when “indian/hindu” civilisation started without a shred of evidence to back them up. We had a gent on this forum a few months back, who talked about four-tusked elephants and how there was archaelogical evidence of this and the “fact” that the vedas were written some 50,000 years ago – I am still waiting for him to show us this evidence!

    “In fact it is claimed (by Oppenheimer et al) that post dispersal from Africa – India (and monsoon Asia) served as an incubator and a second home for early humanity during the ice age”

    While possible, given the richness of our soil and the amount of our resources, this is currently a hypothesis – I do not think that this has been proven yet. The other pointer against is that as the single earth mass separated out into continents, it is not easy to prove how man got to the American continent, if a group had not landed up on America just as a group had landed up on India, as the original mass broke out. So, India as the homeland for all of Europe+Asia (hate the term Eurasia) is possible, but not Americas.

    “My own opinions about the harappan horse issue ( which I find irrelevant or inconsequential – to the content of a very interesting book in which it was published), is that it is amazing that fuzzy photograph which is not even discussed in the book”

    I thought that Rajaram did make the claim that the existence of the horse seal proved that the Harrapan civilisation had horses, well before the IVC – and hence, the Mahabharata war dates back to this period. So, the fraud was not a *small* item – essentially, given the fraud on this issue, one can no longer trust Rajaram on any other issue of archaelogy and historical interpretation.

    And, given that alternative narratives, research, data and analysis in India is just about 15-20 years old, such an incident does a lot of damage to our collective reputations for objective research.

    European and American archaelogists and historians, on the other hand, have already done huge amounts of validated research in various areas range from Greece to Rome to Egypt, etc to be able to take a couple of bad research pieces.

    It is like when the Indian IT services guys went into the US or the Jap auto makers went into the US – they had to establish a standard that was better than the existing one, so that they could sell their products. Same is the case with Indian archaeology – we have to get over this whole “hindu texts being adequate proof” thing and move the standard of proof to hard data and evidence.

    I just read an article that said that the Vedic civilisation dates back some 400,000 years – just a complete waste of my time, as there is no shred of scientific data or evidence.


    Comment by Patriot | July 22, 2009

  40. @ Rajiv –

    “By the way why do you think state school boards in South India did a better job than Central School boards ? ”

    I think our federal structure in education had something to do with this – the southern states want to talk about their history more, rather than the rajputs of mewar (my history books in 3 out of 10 school years were solely devoted to Shivaji and the Marathas!). The northern states followed the central school board blindly – given the state and quality of education in the northern states (UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, Himachal – I think Punjab also followed their own school board mainly) at the time of independence, they just blindly adopted the central board syllabus, which was twisted over a period of time by the socialists and quasi-communists for propaganda.

    Also, I think the three-language system in place in the non-hindi speaking states led to the creation of state school boards, which were independent of Delhi.

    However, I regret very much that the quality of education in the state schools boards of Maharashtra and Bengal have been decimated by the Congress and the Communists, respectively over the past 10-20 years. As a result, kids of well-to-do parents are increasingly going to ICSE and CBSE boards, where they learn rotten history – CBSE is much worse.


    Comment by Patriot | July 22, 2009

  41. @patriot – oppenheimer’s work

    Yes Openheimer’s work is one of the many competing hypothesis, and I think very little is actually proven in history (or prehistory) – though reasonably accurate conclusions can be arrived at on the basis of available data – until new data or insights overturn it. Oppenheimer being a geneticist offers empirical evidence that the Indian population is the second-oldest (second most diverse) after the African population. This evidence seems to stand up to scrutiny for the moment. Here is what Oppenheimer says (quoted from a Rajaram article)

    “For me and for Toomas Kivisild, South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17 and his ancestors; and sure enough we find the highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17 line in Pakistan, India, and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 is not only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia, but diversity characterizes its presence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a marker of a ‘male Aryan invasion’ of India. One average estimate for the origin of this line in India is as much as 51,000 years. All this suggests that M17 could have found his way initially from India or Pakistan, through Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming into Europe.”

    Unfortunately it is true (but nevertheless desirable) that we do need to hold ourselves up to greater standards of academic standards than the erstwhile indology and orientalist bunch. True too that the harappan horse issue does not help a lot. However based on previous reading I view this as a typical spit and run campaign (alluded to by Talageri & Elst ) by the indo-orientalists . I have also read some of Rajaram’s books – which despite being polemical at times – do contain useful insights and important information. The ‘harappan horse’ attacks were aimed at everything – photographs, political beliefs of the author etc, everything except the methodologies employed in the book in which it appeared. The book was ‘The deciphered Indus Script’ based on decades of work by the late Mr N. Jha on deciphering the Indus script.

    As far as western research is concerned – after a few years of reading – I am inclined suspect even their most sacred categories as non-universal( for example do concepts such as freedom, individuality etc have any intrinsic meaning at all ?) I see most of their social sciences as a product of european world-view. While not downplaying their achievements – one must exercise caution in imbibing and internalizing their discourse, methods and conclusions. Therefore a lot of the apparently validated data from western narrative is still suspect and open to debate.

    About Hindu texts – the problem with Indian historiography is that it is not based on text at all but – on a questionable application of a science called linguistics, and opinions of colonial researchers who were not qualified to comment on Indian historical issues. History is primarily based on regional historical literature / lore etc, then corroborative evidence is found based on other sciences like archeology etc. This is how european history, chinese history etc is created but not Indian history – which created in exception to the rule. These methodological flaws oblige us to take a second and more serious look at regional literature (Hindu texts) to ascertain what the ancients say about themselves and construct history accordingly – of course subject to extensive corroboration.

    Unfortunately people who make exaggerated claims, insist on an unconditional literal interpretation of every textual testimony unconsciously make this task very difficult.


    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 23, 2009

  42. Here is a brief comparison of geological and historical timeframes from a mixed chronology (still work in progress).
    All dates are tentative

    mya – million years ago
    tya – thousand years ago

    (g) – geological landmarks
    (e) – evolutionary landmarks
    (a) – archeological landmarks
    (p) – puranic landmarks

    years ago (g) (e) (a) (p) Event
    4500 mya yes formation of earth
    210 mya yes breakup of pangaea
    50 mya yes indian landmass collides with asia

    3500 mya yes unicellular life forms
    3000 mya yes multicellular life forms
    439 mya yes land based life forms
    245 mya yes dinosaurs
    146 mya yes primitive mammals
    65 mya yes early primates
    35 mya yes early apes
    5.2 mya yes hominid apes
    1.6 mya yes various hominids
    110 tya yes last ice age starts
    80 tya yes Mt toba eruption – near
    extinction of humans (?)
    70 tya yes humans step out of africa
    (from horn of africa)
    60 tya yes humans in indian subcontinent
    (beach combers via arabia/persia)
    55 tya yes humans in australia
    (beachcombers via sunda-land and sea-voyage)
    30 tya yes humans in europe (hunter-gatherers via northwest,
    central-asia, anatolia (?))
    18 tya yes maximum extent of glaciation
    14 tya yes humans in america (hunter-gatherers via siberia,
    bering straits,alaska (?))
    11.7 tya yes ice age ends
    11 tya yes bhimbetka rock sculpture
    9 tya yes mehrgarh neolithic culture
    8.676 tya yes Saptarshi calendar starts
    6 tya yes saraswati – a river that
    flows from mountains to the sea
    5.4 tya yes saraswati stops being an ocean going river
    5.3 tya yes early indus-saraswati civilization
    5.102 tya yes kaliyuga calendar
    4.8 tya yes middle indus-saraswati civilization
    3.9 tya yes start of mature indus-saraswati civilization
    3.9/8 tya yes age of the Buddha
    3.6 tya yes start of the mauryas
    3.5 tya yes end of mature indus-saraswati civilization
    2.8 tya yes start of the andhra-satavahanas
    2.3 tya yes start of the imperial guptas

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | July 23, 2009

  43. Rajiv: Got your email re. formatting of this comment..will try and see if I can fix this.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 23, 2009

  44. @ Rajiv:

    “8.676 tya yes Saptarshi calendar starts
    6 tya yes saraswati – a river that
    flows from mountains to the sea
    5.4 tya yes saraswati stops being an ocean going river
    5.3 tya yes early indus-saraswati civilization
    5.102 tya yes kaliyuga calendar”

    Maybe the formatting is wrong, but I did not quite get the above – are you saying that there is archaelogical evidence of Sarawati flowing in 4000 BC? Please reference this for me? Also, archaelogical references for ISC?

    Also, what is the kaliyuga calendar? and, how does it reference to our existing calendar system?


    Comment by Patriot | July 24, 2009

  45. @ Rajiv –

    And, of course, when I say evidence, it could either be hard evidence such as carbon dating or soft evidence such as peer reviewed articles in respected journals.


    Comment by Patriot | July 24, 2009

  46. @Patriot –

    Before I begin let me point a few things out. The table I presented was in response to your comment relating human origins to the breakup of continents. What I wished to point out was that geological timescales (breakup of continents) are far removed from human prehistoric timescales – which are minuscule in comparison.

    The third part of the table lists a coincidence of historical (puranic) and late-prehistoric timescales in post ice-age India.
    You can find a more readable table in the following link


    Admittedly this list is still work in progress and I intend to keep updating it from time to time.

    That said let me respond to your queries. Yes I do point out that there is evidence for Saraswati flowing as early as 4000 BC. The evidence is mostly geological, partly archeological in inference and broadly corroborated by textual evidence. Due to the detail and scope of your request for evidence I shall make separate posts – over the course of time – dealing with the following issues:

    1. The River Sarasvati

    2. The Indus-Sarasvati Civilization (ISC)

    3. Indic Calendric System (and the “Kaliyuga”)

    I shall follow up with these posts shortly.


    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | September 9, 2009

  47. http://www.indiawest.com/readmore.aspx?id=953&Sid=8

    Prof Ed Bryant’s views. A neutral view point.
    Extracts below

    Most of the arguments raised by the detractors of the Indo-Aryan migration theory rely on archeological evidence “partly due to the fact that there has been so little opportunity available for the study of historical linguistics in India,” Bryant noted.

    In India, there are only three institutions devoted to the study of Indo-European linguistics, “and this whole issue is a linguistic issue, and it’s a shame (there are not more institutions), because Indians with their knowledge of Vedic have a head start in this whole field,” Bryant contended.

    “It would be nice if at least that point was somehow stressed in conferences such as this, that somehow encouragement be given to Indian academic institutions to establish departments of historical linguistics.”

    He is right in saying this. India should establish more institutions. The trouble is it will be sore eye for secularists. The best way is to establish an non-profit pvt funded institute in Karnataka in Mathoor , where the entire village speaks Sanskrit. The environment will the ideal one for research into Sanskrit and its linguistics.

    One thing which has always bothered me is that if migration was from outside , then why is nobody conversing in the Sanskrit language there, from the origin. It is all in India where the action of Sanskrit written, spoken, and reading is. Has Prof Ed Bryant , with his call for establishing more institutions for historical liguistics given a green signal to OIT diplomatically. He even says that Indians with the knowledge of Vedic ( Vedas) will have a head start. This is as good as admitting OIT.

    Comment by gajanan | September 10, 2009

  48. Jagannathan at his best
    Review of ASen’s book. The Idea of justice


    ASen missed the classic Upanishad ” The Sandilya Upanishad ” Here it is and judge ASen well. Jagannathan is right when he writes

    “They have been part of our cultural ethos from ancient times and we have to thank scores of ancient Indians for it, not just Ashoka”

    Here is Sandilya Upanishad for all.

    This forbearance ASen conveniently forgot

    Sandilya questioned Atharvan thus: “Please tell me about the eight Angas (parts) of Yoga which is the means of attaining to Atman.”

    Atharvan replied: “The eight Angas of Yoga are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Of these, Yama is of ten kinds; and so is Niyama. There are eight Asanas. Pranayama is of three kinds; Pratyahara is of five kinds; so also is Dharana. Dhyana is of two kinds and Samadhi is of one kind only.

    Under Yama (forbearance) are ten: Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Daya, Arjava,Kshama, Dhriti, Mitahara and Saucha. Of these, Ahimsa is the not causing of any pain to any living being at any time through the actions of one’s mind, speech, or body. Satya is the speaking of the truth that conduces to the well-being of creatures, through the actions of one’s mind, speech, or body. Asteya is not coveting of another’s property through the actions of one’s mind, speech, or body. Brahmacharya is the refraining from sexual inter-course in all places and in all states in mind, speech or body. Daya is kindliness towards all creatures in all places. Arjava is the preserving of equanimity of mind, speech, or body in the performance or non-performance of the actions ordained or forbidden to be done. Kshama is the bearing patiently of all pleasant or unpleasant things, such as praise or blow. Dhriti is the preserving of firmness of mind during the period of gain or loss of wealth or relatives. Mitahara is the taking of oily and sweet food, leaving one-fourth of the stomach empty. Saucha is of two kinds, external and internal. Of these, the external is the cleansing of the body by earth and water; the internal is the cleansing of the mind. This (the latter) is to be obtained by means of the Adhyatma-Vidya (Science of Self).

    Comment by gajanan | September 10, 2009

  49. Thanks for the links and excerpts Gajanan.

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 11, 2009

  50. Sorry to comment on an older article! but I just read and wanted to comment.

    cutting the chase, my questions on Swamy’s article –
    1.Swamy’s assertion on Gupta Chandragupta and Maurya Chandragupta seem credible but what are the corroborative and/or any other indirect evidences/references? Alexander’s touch point with India is a very important historical event. There must have been some documentation on the Greek side? What does the Arthasashthra say about these events? does these find any mention at all? (according to this Arthasashthra would have pre-dated Gupta Chandragupta).
    2. Nalanda University (which I believe is a contemporary to Maurya Chandragupta) may have many foreign students/teachers. Any documents /writings/references on the events during the times? (but I believe the Nalanda treasures were completely destroyed by some Muslim invader. dont remember who?)
    3. How does this compare with the Astrological/Astronomical dating of Mahabharata war/submersion of Dwaraka etc?

    finally what about the Royal Chronology of India (detailed timelines of events and dynasties of India and the World events) developed by folks at http://www.newdharma.org/
    download the spreadsheet from – http://www.newdharma.org/India_Chron.zip
    its a zip file containing a spreadsheet. Its a fantastic work done by the team (Raj Mohanka and his team).

    Once again sorry to re-open the discussion after a long gap.

    Comment by Chandra | July 26, 2010

  51. @Chandra: Am travelling at present but hope to respond later.

    Meanwhile, have a look at my recent comment on Bhagat Singh, Rajdev etc (being labelled as “terrorists” in Std VI textbook)…Perhaps the debate on “Re-writing History” needs to be re-opened.

    Also read History, with rose-tinted hindsight More on all this later.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 27, 2010

  52. @B Shantanu, thanks for the link. Interesting!

    Comment by Chandra | August 16, 2010

  53. First of all, history can’t be determined by using the carbon dating technique.Carbon dating can easily fool anyone by making “new ones” old and “old ones” new,whether its the ancient structure or written insription.Carbon dating can easilychange the timings of actual historical events.The location of that particular structure or monument also needs to be taken in account as to whether its located in desert or sandy areas,say like middle east or in another location
    like say monsoon country like India where there’s ample of rain every year or say europe where the climate is snowy or clean.

    The structures say like pyramids are constantly bombarded with sand due to frequent sandstorms,hence they may look old inspite of being recently built.At the same time many ancient structures in say country like India are costantly cleaned every year due to heavy rains which continuously washes them.Hence inspite of being very old may look “less old”.Hence to determine real history ancient records need to be balanced properly along with archeology.For instance,lets say I buy
    2 earthen pots today.I bury one pot in the ground and keep other at my home.Then after two years I redig that pot and give it for carbon dating The results would show it to be 200 yrs old,when
    actually its only 2 yrs old!!!!! I think Pyramids of Giza must be built somewhere around 600 BC.

    Current history of world has been distorted totally due to failed carbon dating technique.

    Comment by Dheeraj | September 11, 2010

  54. @Dheeraj: I am not sure you understand carbon-dating correctly. Pl do read up a bit on it.

    Carbon dating *cannot* “…change the timings of actual historical events.”

    It does not rely on how old a structure looks. Further, your example is deeply flawed. The pot in the ground will not show it is 200-years old.

    Pl be sure of your facts before making statements like “Current history of world has been distorted totally due to failed carbon dating technique.

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 13, 2010

  55. Really interesting article about the Indian history.Well recently I been reading a lot of articles related to Gautam Buddha,Alexander and Chandragupta.I think there’re lot of evidences to prove that Alexander had invaded Northwest India during the rule of Chandragupta of Gupta dynasty and not the Chandragupta belonging to Maurya dynasty.Its also a fact that Gautama Buddha and Chandragupta Maurya existed around 1900-1500 BC which is much earlier to Alexander’s invasion.But the fact is that most of the Indians aren’t aware of this.Hence it becomes more and more important to first spread an awareness amongst the Indian massses all over the world about this real history of India.This issue should be focused more in Media and news channels to get more public attention.

    Comment by Samaranjitsingh | October 8, 2010

  56. Samaranjit: Thanks for the comment…
    Our history has been badly perverted and systematically distorted over the last few years…

    I will just mention a few links here…Do go throught them at your leisure..and do share with friends and colleagues…

    Who was the real “Ashoka the Great”?

    Dear Vir, Leave these kids alone…

    A Rebuttal to “Eminent Historians”: Lies and more lies

    and finally Lies and half-truths in the name of national integration

    Thanks and I hope to see you here more often.

    Comment by B Shantanu | October 10, 2010

  57. I don’t know if anyone got a chance to read this at TOI

    Never seen such thing before. Slap on the face of all our psedo experts.

    Comment by Nanda | October 11, 2010

  58. Posting this here – partly in response to Patriot at ~44 and #45 etc
    Yuga and mahayuga in Hindu time-reckoning

    Yuga is used in three contexts and achieving three levels of precision in Hindu calendrical or astronomical computations:

    Yuga: Reckoning real (or, elapsed) time: yuga refers to a duration of 12,000 years
    Pankta yuga: Reckoning auspicious time for performance of yajña: Pankta yuga refers to a duration of five years
    Mahayuga: Reckoning astronomical computational time: mahayuga refers to a duration of 4,320,000 years.

    Yuga (in the Mahabharata and the Manava Dharma sastra) has a total duration of 12,000 years. Yuga is divided into four parts: K?ta,Treta, Dvapara, and Kali, with lengths of duration in the ratio 4:3:2:1

    More here: http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.com/2011/06/yuga-and-mahayuga-in-hindu-time.html

    Comment by B Shantanu | June 25, 2011

  59. Putting these 2 links here for the record:
    From Anuraag’s blog (do read the post in full):
    Unlike what most Western historians would like us to believe, Indian military machine was a successful system – which safeguarded India well.
    ..What were India’s main military differentiators? It’s main line of defence? In one word – elephants. The first military general to have an answer to elephants was Timur Lane. Timur mined the fields with caltrops – a four headed spike, with one spike always upward.

    Then came the guns, cannons and gun powder. Elephants were no longer effective against caltrops or gun powder. Indians were not lagging in gunpowder, cannons, guns or muskets. Indian ships sailed the world – under Indian or foreign flags.

    The main reason for India’s military eclipse was the economic reason – slavery. The use of slaves for economic production, gave a temporary edge to slave societies – which India did not have. Indian rulers, with limited options could not wage long term wars – as slave owning cultures could. Indian rulers, were hobbled by a system which dispersed property, wealth – unlike the rest of the world where it was concentrated in the hands of the few. India, which was never a slave-owning culture, could not muster resources to wage a 100 year war, like Europeans could – at a great cost to their societies.

    and Why The Greeks Never Came Back To India By Rakesh Krishnan Simha

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 10, 2012

  60. I don’t know Mr. Swami calls it an 800 years muslim rule. It is 150 years of pan India Mughal rule. Add may be 50 more years of fragmented regional rule. Lastly there are those turko-afghan Sultanates that ruled over parts of north India for 300 years with varying effect and range of rule.

    There were continuous tides of invasions by Turko-Afghans against Rajputs and other powers of North India. Everyone resisted but not all could succeed. Invasions were repulsed at Mewar and Marwar. Which is proven by the coins, inscriptions, temples, trade cities and forts of these Kingdoms post the invasion spree. Only the financially and militarily capable/sovereign Kingdoms could do that. Not vassals.
    Not only that, even within the Sultanates core territories, groups of villages (called Mandals) were formed by all communities and they continously fought the militarily stronger Turks. The same is corroborated by Ibn Batuta.
    Often un-noticed but important fact is that the entire resistance was in unison and synchronized. A Rajput held fort would engage majority of Turko-Afghan army in direct battle while the Mandals would fight off the small garrisons left behind in the Sultanate’s core camps.
    By the time Babur arrived, Rana Sanga had already won Gwalior, subdued Malwa, invaded Gujrat and held Mahmud Khalji’s son captive. He had defeated Lodi’s advance, subdued Khanzadas of Mewat and was breathing down Lodi’s neck for the latter’s core territories. ‘Peela Khal’ near Agra was his northern boundary now. Delhi, Malwa and Gujrat all three Sulanates were defeated in respective battles.

    The ones like Kumbha and Sanga are only examples among so many leaders who had beaten the pulp out of invaders in fair man to man fight. While the 1000 years muslim rule is a big hoax, calling it 800 is still a tragedy.
    In my opinion the devil is in the details. We have to read between the lines. The “rule on parts of India” is very subtly generalized/simplified into “rule on India” and you successfully fool the reading generations into believeing some story that is far from truth. So far from truth !!


    Comment by Virendra | May 30, 2012

  61. Virendra: Well said: “While the 1000 years muslim rule is a big hoax, calling it 800 is still a tragedy.

    Just in case you have not seen this already: The Myth of 1000 years of Slavery

    Comment by B Shantanu | June 1, 2012

  62. Congress historians get paid properly for their work.Whatever history we learn today in our education system is utter false and cleverly manapulated.The two biggest hoaxes in Indian history and 1.the Wrong dating of Buddha (which is actually 1883 BC as per Tibetan,Chinese,Japanese ancient records) 2.Wrong dating of Mauryan and Gupta eras which were actually in 1550 bc and 323 bc respectively,thus also deleting the records of 1200 years of Indian history including those of Andhra dynasty kings.

    These two blunders changed the entire complexion of the world history.

    Comment by Mahesh | July 14, 2012

  63. From 2ndlook.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/destruction-of-takshashila-a-defining-moment/:
    An important source for ‘modern’ history, much used by Western historians are the travels of Chinese travellers (like Fa Hian/ Faxain, Huien Tsang /XuanZang). Supposedly 1000 years after death of Gautama Buddha, overlooking some gaping holes in Fa Hian’s travelogue.

    How could Fa Hien miss meeting /mentioning Kalidasa – supposedly a contemporary of Fa Hien? In fact, Kalidasa is not mentioned at all in Fa Hian’s account, which supports the hypotheses that Kalidasa preceded Fa Hian. It may be pointed out that since, Kalidasa’s works are artistic rather than religious or philosophical, the lack of Fa Hain’s interest in his works is obvious. But to ignore a man of Kalidasa’s stature and learning?

    Then Fa Hian misses the name of the supposed ruling ‘Gupta’ king – a dynasty which ruled over most of South Asia! And it is Fa Hian who is supposedly a significant authority on the Gupta period. Western history labelled the Gupta period as the ‘golden age’ of Indian history – which Fa Hian seems to have completely missed. Similarly when Fa-Hien visited Takshashila in 5th century AD (travelled in India during 399-414 AD), he found nothing. His travelogue makes some cursory mentions of Takshashila.
    And that leaves Indian history with some rather big ‘dating’ holes! Is it that Fa hian visited India much after Kalidasa, the Gupta dynasty, the death of Buddha? Maybe a few centuries later, relative to the period in Indian history. Fa Hian’s date is well indexed. So that possibly cannot move much. It is the the corresponding Indic dates which come into question!

    At the time of Takshashila’s decline in the 5th century, a significant Gupta king was Purugupta – successor of Skandagupta. Written records from Purugupta’s reign are few and far in between, he has been variously named as Vikramaditya, Prakashaditya and of course as Puru /Pura Gupta.

    The most authentic link to his reign is the Bhitari seal inscription, (near Ghazipur, in modern UP). The Bhitari seal provided proof of an elongated Gupta reign – than the Skandagupta-was-the-end-of-Gupta dynasty dating. Currently dated between 467 AD, Purugupta’s reign saw many border wars.

    Purugupta’s reign saw Vasubandhu, a known teacher of logic and debate, become famous and Huien Tsang reportedon the debates based on Vasubandhu’s texts.
    Today Vasubandhu’s texts exist in Chinese and Tibetan languages – the original Sanskrit volumes remain untraceable.
    Purugupta also restored the gold grammage in the ‘suvarna’ coins, probably debased in Skandagupta’s time, possibly due to the cost of the fighting the Hunas.

    Is it that the Porus identified by the Greeks, Purugupta? Were the marauding soldiers, mentioned in Chinese texts, mercenary soldiers hired by Alexander to replace the ‘deserting’ Greek’ soldiers, on the eve of his Indian ‘campaign’? The dating of the Gupta dynasty to end of the 5th century AD, is probably off by about 800 years.

    Comment by B Shantanu | August 19, 2012

  64. Must Read: Alexander’s Indian Misadventure by Sh N S Rajaram

    Comment by B Shantanu | November 2, 2012

  65. Excerpts from Alexander vs Porus: Beyond the fog of war by Rakesh Krishnan Simha, dt June 3, 2013
    Marshal Zhukov on Alexander’s failed India invasion
    In his book, Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar says 150 years before Alexander, Indian archers and cavalry formed a significant component of the Persian army and played a key role in subduing Thebes in central Greece.
    Alexander, however, knew no fear. More than anything else, he wanted to invade India. It would prove to be a strategic blunder.
    Zhukov’s take
    “Following Alexander’s failure to gain a position in India and the defeat of his successor Seleucus Nikator, relationships between the Indians and the Greeks and the Romans later, was mainly through trade and diplomacy. Also the Greeks and other ancient peoples did not see themselves as in any way superior, only different.”
    This statement by Russia’s Marshal Gregory Zhukov on the Macedonian invasion of India in 326 BCE is significant because unlike the prejudiced colonial and Western historians, the Greeks and later Romans viewed Indians differently. For instance, Arrian writes in Alexander Anabasis that the Indians were the noblest among all Asians.
    In fact, Arrian and other Greeks say the Indians were relentless in their attacks on the invaders. They say if the people of Punjab and Sindh were fierce, then in the eastern part of India “the men were superior in stature and courage”.
    All this is glossed over by Western historians, in whose view the one victory over king Porus amounted to the “conquest of India”. But the Greeks made no such claim.
    Battle of Hydaspes – Hardest ever
    Greek contemporary writers describe the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) as the hardest fought of all Alexander’s battles. Frank Lee Holt, a professor of ancient history at the University of Houston, writes in his book, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions: “The only reference in Arrian’s history to a victory celebration by Alexander’s army was after the battle with Porus.”
    Alexander’s army did not indulge in celebrations after the Battle of Gaugamela where they defeated 200,000 Persians. No wild festivities were announced after the Battle of Issus where they defeated a mixed force of Persian cavalry and Greek mercenaries.
    The fact they celebrated after the Battle of Hydaspes suggests they considered themselves extremely lucky to survive after the clash with the Hindu army, with its elephant corps.
    If Porus lost, why reward him?
    According to the Greeks, Alexander was apparently so impressed by Porus he gave back his kingdom plus the territories of king Ambhi of Taxila who had fought alongside the Macedonians.
    This is counterintuitive. Ambhi had become Alexander’s ally on the condition he would be given Porus’ kingdom. So why reward the enemy, whose army had just mauled the Macedonians?

    Charles Le Brun Alexander and Porus (1673). Source: wikipedia.org
    The only possible answer is at the Battle of Hydaspes, the Macedonians realised they were dealing with an enemy of uncommon valour. Sensing defeat they called for a truce, which Porus accepted. The Indian king struck a bargain – in return for Ambhi’s territories, which would secure his frontiers, Porus would assist the Macedonians in leaving India safely.
    Alexander’s post-Hydaspes charitable behaviour, as per Greek accounts, is uncharacteristic and unlikely. For, in battles before and after, he massacred everyone in the cities he subdued.
    Why pay off a vassal?
    Before the battle, Alexander gave king Ambhi 1000 talents (25,000 kilos) of gold for fighting alongside the Macedonians. The only explanation is Ambhi was driving a hard bargain. He knew the rattled Macedonian army was seeking to quickly exit India. He thought he could use the Macedonians to remove his rival Porus. However, Porus’ decision to offer Alexander combat checkmated those plans.
    Tired of fighting: Lame excuse
    Greek sources say Alexander retreated from India because his soldiers were weary, homesick and close to mutiny. Imagine if German soldiers had told Hitler they were tired of fighting? They would have been summarily shot. In Alexander’s time, the punishment was crucifixion.
    The Macedonian army had a system of rotation where large batches of veteran soldiers were released to return home (with sufficient gold and slaves). In their place, fresh troops eager poured in from Europe.
    If they were weary of constant warring, it is inexplicable why these soldiers chose to fight their way through obstinately hostile Indian territories. The homesick soldiers would have preferred the garrisoned northwestern route they took while coming in. Why would a brilliant commander subject himself and his troops to further violence when all they wanted was a peaceful passage home?
    Clearly, the Macedonians were in a mess and not thinking straight. Not the sign of a victorious army.

    A few years before the Indian campaign, a large part of the Macedonian army was massacred by the Scythians (Hindu Shakas, the Buddha’s clansmen) at Polytimetus, present day Tajikistan. Alexander warned his surviving troops not to discuss the massacre with other soldiers.
    Strabo, the Greek historian wrote: “Generally speaking, the men who have written on the affairs of India were a set of liars…Of this we became the more convinced whilst writing the history of Alexander.”

    Comment by B Shantanu | November 1, 2013

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