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Category Archive: People

Anna Hazare’s 17 point agenda: full text and PDF

I've managed to locate Anna's 17 point agenda. PDF here. Full text below.

I'll analyse and comment on it in the next post. Some time ago I had published and commented on Anna's 25 point agenda. This will provide me with an opportunity to determine whether Anna has changed his stance for the better.


The newly elected parliament will implement the following programmes within one year:

1. To eradicate corruption from every level, Lakpal and Lolayukta In states will be set up immediately. And will pass Citizen Charter Bill and Whistleblower Bill and to bring transparency in functioning of government, every file related to government's decisions will be made public after 2 years, and will be uploaded on the Internet (Other than External Affairs and Defence).

2. Villages will be made the basic administrative unit and Village Councils (Gram Sabhas} will be given legislative power just as the Cabinet is responsible to the Parliament, panchayat will be made answerable to Gram Sabha. And implement village centric economic policies to make it self reliant and self-sustained.

3. Implement a village centric policy of Industrialization of Agriculture sector to eradicate unemployment.

4. The Land Acquisition Act will be amended, so that no one can grab their land. Moreover, a new credit policy will be changed for the farmers. New Forest law will be enacted. Rights of Tribal people and forest dwellers will be restored.

5. New energy Policy will be implemented in which every village will have their own power station and every one will produce energy for their requirement.

6. Development of modern infra-structure will be at the highest priority.

7. A Comprehensive electoral reform will be introduced to so that corrupt and criminals will not become the people's representatives.

8. Implement a new plan on rainwater harvesting and water distribution so that everyone get clean water to drink and irrigation.

9. A comprehensive change in health services to each and every village. Every senior citizen will be provided with free medical care.

10. Special schemes will be launched for the economic development of socially and economically backward minority and all other section of society.

11. Important changes will be introduced in the Judicial system. So that justice can be made available to the poor and timely Justice can be ensured for all.

12. New Education Policy will be implemented and it will be made employment oriented.

13. Black money deposited in the foreign banks will be declared national assets, and will be brought back to the country.

14. A tough law will made against adulteration and adulterers will be handed life imprisonment.

15. Inflation will be brought under control. The right to fix rates for diesel, petrol and cooking gas will be brought back to the government.

16. A new law will be formulated for the judicious use of national resources. Privatization of minerals will be stopped, so that no private company can plunder the country's natural resources.

17. New Tax Policy will be implemented and the tax regime that plunders the people will be removed.

We shall build such a democracy in which there shall be no scope for exploitation, and no corrupt will be let off.

My analysis of Anna Hazare’s 17 point agenda. Overall, a VERY POOR agenda.

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Rajiv Malhotra’s well-documented tendency towards aggression (including by Martha Nussbaum)

Rajiv is clearly a very aggressive opponent of liberty and anything that he might not agree with. Well within the mould of the Hindutva fanatics to which he clearly belongs. 

"Alex" wrote on my blog:

Rajivji is a full-blown right-wing Hindutva apologist, racist and and proto-fascist. It is useless to engage with him at all. A quick review of his writings revealed a lot about his thinking and attitudes—which do not look good. He has long been an opponent of criticism of religion, and his attitude is nothing new. 

I was willing to engage with Rajiv after the comment he wrote on the blog. And I was even willing to apologise if I was wrong. But Rajiv balked at opposing the withdrawal of Doniger's book by Penguin. 

Regardless of whether he DIRECTLY lodged the case or not, he can be said to be a keen supporter. 

I'm not saying whether Rajiv's arguments are right or wrong. He may well be right in his critique of Doniger's work. My objection is to his subversion of free speech and liberty.

Prof. Martha NussbaumErnst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, wrote about him thus, in her 2007 book The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future​:

The chief antagonist behind these attacks is Rajiv Malhotra, a very wealthy man who lives in New Jersey and heads the Infinity Foundation, which has made grants in the area of Hinduism studies. Had Malhotra decided to focus his energies on giving scholarships to students and graduate students in this area, he would greatly have enhanced the profile of Hinduism studies nationally. But in recent years most of his energy has been focused on Internet attacks against Doniger and scholars associated with her, on his website sulekha.com. Malhotra’s voluminous writings show a highly aggressive, threatening personality. His attacks are sarcastic and intemperate. He shows little concern about factual accuracy. Typically he makes no attempt to describe the book or books he attacks in a complete or balanced way; instead, his broadsides are lists of alleged mistakes or distortions, conveying little or no sense of what the book is about and what it argues. Malhotra also has associates, some both more able and more temperate than he (Vishal Agarwal is one of these). But all pursue a common enterprise: the discrediting of American scholars of Hinduism as sex-crazed defamers of sacred traditions. (248)

Wendy Doniger has pointed out the increasing tendency to stop discussion of alternative scholarly views about Hinduism:

Ms. Doniger wrote: "Right-wing Hindu groups, in India and the diaspora, have increasingly asserted their wish, indeed their right, to control scholarship about Hinduism." [Source]


"Doniger blames the Internet campaigns. "Malhotra's ignorant writings have stirred up more passionate emotions in Internet subscribers who know even less than Malhotra does, who do not read books at all," Doniger wrote in an e-mail. "And these people have reacted with violence. I therefore hold him indirectly responsible."  [Source]http://lists.goanet.org/pipermail/goanet-goanet.org/2010-December/202829.html

Malhotra suffers from a view that Hinduism can ONLY be examined by Hindus. According to him:

…there is a lack of Indic perspective that would…provide equivalent counter balance to Western scholar’s theories, creating an asymmetric discourse. Further, he says, most of the Hinduism scholars are either whites or Indians under the control of whites. One does not find Arabs, Chinese, blacks, Hispanics, etc., engaged in this kind of Hindu phobia racket. [Source]

But as Asim Rafiqui says:

That being said, a whole host of eminent Indian historians and scholars have produced original research and collaborated, informed, influenced and enlightened the American academy the names of Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar, Ahmad Aziz, D.N. Jha come to mind. And they have done so not as a result of their ‘insider’ position, but as highly qualified, rigorously scientific and openly curious individuals. But they too have been attacked, though this time by the Hindutva and other Hindu nationalists. Professor Thapar, D.N. Jha and others have been abused, threatened and in some even have been assaulted Professor Laine, author of Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, became the target of Maharashtran bigots and his Indian research collaborators and departments where he conducted research were physically attacked by goons. [Source]

Here are some findings of Selma:

I did a bit of checking on Malhotra and it turns out every article of his is about how the West and Abrahamic religions are harmful to the world and intolerant as opposed to Hinduism. Then I read what others have to say about this so-called inter-faith guru. And here is something very interesting. A frontline article called Non-resident nationalism speaks of Hindus based in America who support far right activities, the Hindutva ideology of supremacy and the insidous ways they operate to spread their message.

This information adds to my belief that Malhotra was involved in forcing Penguin to withdraw Doniger's book (he could have answered the questions I raised, particularly about the sources of his EARLY information about the case, and his gloating/ defending the book-destruction decision to Anuj – but he chose not to). 

But Malhotra's style is consistent with actions by VHP/BJP and Hindutva brigade to SHUT DOWN opposing views. [VHP's destruction of paintings in Ahmedabad, Modi's banning a book on Gandhi].

Not much to distinguish them from Islamic fanatics or Taliban.

We must create an India where there is ABSOLUTE freedom of expression

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Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravishankar – con man PLUS enemy of the truth. A total BETRAYAL OF HINDUISM (Advaita and Satyameva Jayate).

A few days ago I saw a video on FB that CLEARLY showed how Ravishankar was conning (cheating) thousands of people. This is typical in India – for its "Godmen" to cheat millions. India's children are simply not taught critical thinking in school. I was fortunate for I read extremely widely, including Western philosophy, Voltaire and Ayn Rand while in my early years of school and therefore got inoculated very quickly against "religious fraud" which is so rampant in India. My 5 volume biology textbook for AIHSc (year 11) was also excellent, particularly its introduction by a brilliant scientist whose name skips me (I would love to find that introduction and publish it – can anyone help obtain these old NCERT biology textbooks of 1979?)

This kind of cheating being so common, I merely noted it on FB and moved on. This is what I wrote on FB on 7 September 2013:

Wasn't aware that Ravishankar does such silly tricks. I can GUARANTEE this "oil" he sells is pure rubbish. I'm disappointed that Ravishankar is making money through PURE FRAUD.

I am fine with Swami Ramdev who actually teaches wonderful yoga and brings genuine health to Indians. But CHEAP trickery of the kind that Ravishankar is using to make money is ethically and morally wrong. I would like consumer protection regulation that punishes such FRAUD. To me such a man has no right to talk about corruption since he is himself LOOTING the people who buy this fake oil.

(I'll append a screen shot of this comment below.)

Now I'm informed (13 September – but the message was sent on 12 September) that 

Do you know Art of living foundation has banned your unload [Sanjeev: this was not mine. I don't have time for such things although I'd love to have been its author] about Ravishankar. I must congratulate you for bringing all this into our notice, thanks to you for your efforts.

Have you copied that video ? unfortunately I could not copy that but i shared that link many times and now also want to send it to many people. Is it possible to have that video anymore ?

I was shocked that such a simple video could have come down. After all, TENS of videos about Satya Sai Baba that prove his fraudulent ways are still widely available. There was no copyright issue involved. In fact the copyright of the intellectual property (the analysis) belongs to Savvy Skeptic.

But I checked google and yes, that video has been pulled down by youtube. Looks like Ravishankar's team dialled the numbers and used its money power to get youtube to pull down the video apparently on 'copyright' grounds. What a joke!! They first CHEAT and then when someone points it out they say their copyright is violated!!!! CROOKS.

And the website of the "savvysceptic" has also come down.

But there is hope. Savvy Skeptic is hopeful that Youtube will deny this claim and he can then bring this video back 'with a bang'.

My regret is that these famous 'Godmen' of India NEVER teach critical thinking which is a key requirement for India to develop as a great nation. Advaita PROMOTES critical thinking and the truth, so why do these Godmen not teach it?

Instead of using a silly pretext (copyright) to pull this video down, Ravishankar should have been THANKFUL that he is being questioned and put himself to any test to prove that he is not LYING and CHEATING.

But he did not. That is further evidence of his being a con man.

Sorry, Ravishankar. In this world of the internet, your game is now over. I had at least some respect for you (after all – he does some good things). But after seeing how you have reacted to destroy even a discussion of the truth, I am TOTALLY convinced that you are an ENEMY OF INDIA.

Put that video back, you conman, and PUT YOURSELF AND YOUR OIL TO RIGOROUS SCIENTIFIC TESTS. I denounce you as a fraud, conman and enemy of India. You are an UNETHICAL man and bring great shame to the great religion of my father: Hinduism.

Now the only way you have to regain my respect is to put that video back AND get yourself tested by Randi Foundation. Nothing less than that will be acceptable to me. Remember, Randi Foundation is a place where even the 'great' frauds like Uri Geller bit the dust. You must now prepare yourself for COMPREHENSIVE SCIENTIFIC TESTING.

Savvy Skeptic – report of the take down by youtube and hope that it will be 'released' by youtube after inquiry.

My comment on FB:


A question has been asked of me by someone who hasn't seen the video: What happened in the video? Well, more or less this: (and its proof - in another case – by James Randi himself, of this kind of cheating as being totally FAKE)

One of the students from the back rows of the auditorium was chosen to share the dais. The chosen volunteer, a lean-framed male student wearing a black t-shirt with horizontal white stripes, was asked to extend his arm parallel to the floor, clinch his fist and resist the pulling down of his arm. Mr. Ravishankar, gripping the volunteer’s arm near the wrist, was able to pull down his arm easily over and over again, much to the amusement of the audience. He then produced from his pocket a small vial containing an unknown fluid, and shed a few drops on the volunteer’s arm. The volunteer was then asked to rub and spread this oil over his arm. After the volunteer took a step back and a deep breath to relax, the whole exercise was repeated again – except this time Mr. Ravishankar struggled quite hard to pull down the volunteer’s arm, amazing the vast audience. The volunteer, visibly impressed and believing that he had in fact become stronger in a matter of seconds after the application of the oil, went onto fall at the feet (cultural practice of surrender) of his new Guru Mr. Ravishankar. Following the thundering applause from his audience, Mr. Ravishankar went on to urge stronger volunteers to come forth. [Source]

Arvind Iyer​ has provided to related links on Sri Ravishankar:

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living it Up.

Pseudoscience unchallenged at IIT Kanpur

Arms, Drugs and Spirituality -A Counterpoint to a Counterpoint by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar




http://sveigo.ru/magicbooks/Body%20Tricks.pdf p. 95











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HD (Hasmukh Dhirajlal) Sankalia – some notes #2

Here's another perspective on HD Sankalia's work:

Hasmukh D. Sankalia (1908-1989)

By K. Paddayya, Anthropos, Bd. 85, H. 1./3. (1990), pp. 161-165

Hasmukh D. Sankalia, Professor Emeritus at Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute, Poona (India) since his retirement from active service in 1973 and who had practically become a by-name for its Archaeology Department, died of old age on January 28, 1989. Born in a middle-class family in Bombay in 1908, Sankalia derived his inspiration to know about past peoples from childhood tales drawn from ancient Indian texts and lives of famous personalities in history, including Napoleon, and from a chance encounter with literature on the Aryan origins. He opted for Sanskrit as the main subject for his B. A. examination of Bombay University. As advised by the famous Indologist Father Heras, in whose memory the Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture was established in 1926 as part of Bombay University, he switched over to ancient Indian history and culture for his M. A. degree and completed in 1932 a thesis on the ancient Buddhist educational establishment at Nalanda. This work entailed visits to ancient sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

At the behest of Father Heras again Sankalia proceeded to London and prepared a doctoral dissertation in 1936 on the dynastic history of ancient monuments of Gujarat. He also made use of this opportunity to attend courses in Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations and, more important, to participate in Sir Mortimer Wheeler's excavation at Maiden Castle and thus acquire the fundamentals of field archaeology. Both these aspects not only proved to be a decisive factor in his selection for the post of Professor of Proto-Indian and Ancient Indian History at Deccan College in 1939 but formed his only assets in chartering new directions in Indian archaeology and served as a passport to his rise as its unrivalled spokesman for half a century. At Deccan College Sankalia chaired the Department of Archaeology till his retirement in 1973 and, additionally, served as Joint Director and later as Director of the Institute for several years.

One must recall here that Deccan College, which was founded in 1821 as a Sanskrit School and had been undertaking teaching at the undergraduate level since the 60s of the last century, was given a new dimension in 1939 when it was asked by the Government of Bombay to exclusively devote itself to postgraduate teaching and research. The pioneering research schemes formulated and accomplished by S. M. Katre (Linguistics and Sanskrit), Sankalia himself in Ancient History and Archaeology, the late Irawati Karve (Anthropology and Sociology), C. R. Sankaran (Experimental Phonetics) and their associates soon enabled the Institute to carve for itself a secure place among the foremost institutions of higher learning and research both within and outside the country.

Sankalia's discovery of a megalithic site in the vicinity of Poona in 1939 itself and the publication of a research article about it the very next year (Sankalia 1940) initiated a long and unbroken series of field investigations by him and his colleagues/students. These encompassed different parts of the country and covered every branch of ancient history and archaeology. This wide geographical coverage and broad-based research, coupled with Sankalia's willing acceptance of students and faculty members alike irrespective of regional or linguistic considerations, soon won for the Department the coveted status of an all-India centre for archaeological research.

In collaboration with his colleagues Sankalia undertook excavations at about 20 major sites, among which special mention should be made of Langhnaj, Dwaraka, Somnath, Kolhapur, Nasik, Ne vasa, Inamgaon, Ahar, Maheshwar-Navdatoli, Tekkalakota, and Sanganakallu. He maintained till the end a holistic attitude towards the discipline and made original contributions to various branches of ancient Indian history, culture, and archaeology. Particularly noteworthy among his contributions to historical archaeology are the use of data on ancient placeand personal names for reconstructing historical and cultural geography and ethnography and the employment of archaeological evidence as a tool for ascertaining the location of places and historicity of events depicted in ancient Indian texts, particularly the Ramayana.

It was however to his work in the twin branches of prehistory and protohistory that Sankalia attached the greatest significance and rightly won world acclaim for it. Indeed he played the role of a true pioneer, the importance of which gains additional weight considering the fact that his initial background was in ancient Indian culture and history and that his grounding in archaeology was restricted to the courses he had taken in ancient civilizations in London and the short periods of training in excavation methods he received at Maiden Castle and later at the Harappan site of Chanhudaro in Sind. It will but be proper to expatiate on his major path-breaking projects in these two branches of Indian Archaeology.

In response to a suggestion made by Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, the then Director General of Archaeological Survey of India, Sankalia led the famous First Gujarat Prehistoric Expedition in 1941-42 to investigate the problem of hiatus which Robert Bruce Foote (the Father of Indian Prehistory) had raised earlier between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic phases. Having only rudimentary background in Stone Age archaeology, he had to literally start from the scratch and initiated himself into the job exceedingly well by reading the books of Bruce Foote, George McCurdy, and others and by consulting geological reports. The seriousness of purpose and success of this expedition could be gauged from the 335-page-long report which Sankalia published later (1946). He undertook four additional seasons of fieldwork in the area; the work was continued by others in the 50s and 60s. The chief task before Sankalia was the investigation of Stone Age sites along the Sabarmati and other rivers and also those occurring in the dune-covered tracts of northern and central Gujarat. Langhnaj was the most celebrated one among these sites. The major outcome of these prolonged studies was the bringing to light of a wealth of data arguing for a distinct Mesolithic phase (its stratigraphical position, its material culture and food economy, and even human burials) that erased once and for all the cultural hiatus postulated by Foote.

While investigating the hiatus issue in Gujarat, Sankalia simultaneously grappled with another major negative conclusion of Foote, i.e. , the absence of cultural remains of Early Man on the basalt plateau of Maharashtra on account of the non-availability of quartzite for tool-making purposes. Taking cues from the earlier discovery of fossil fauna by geologists in alluvial deposits, he took up a stretch of the Godavari near Paithan for investigation in 1943 and 1944 and found flake-tool assemblages of siliceous rocks together with fossilized hippo and rhino bones in a pebble conglomerate level at Nandur-Madhmeshwar and a few other places (Sankalia 1943, 1944). Then, in 1951 and 1952,' he recovered from the same river but at a different place, Gangapur near Nasik, a well-defined dolerite assemblage of Acheulian character from a gravel deposit forming part of an elaborate stratigraphical sequence exposed in the course of dam-construction work.

From these initial but promising studies in the Godavari basin it was a short step to Nevasa on the Pravara (a tributary of the Godavari) where in 1955, while conducting a large-scale Chalcolithic excavation, Sankalia and his colleagues explored river sections and detected three cycles of gravel deposit separated by silt deposits. What was more significant, he found a Lower Palaeolithic assemblage in the bottom gravel, a flake-tool assemblage of Nandur-Madhmeshwar type in the middle gravel and microlithic artifacts in the top levels of sections. Here was the much-needed breakthrough in the form of stratigraphie evidence for establishing a time-table of Stone Age cultures a Series I (Lower Palaeolithic) industry followed by a Series II industry and the latter in turn succeeded by a Mesolithic industry. As the later studies amply proved, the Series II assemblage turned out to be part of a new and full-fledged culture called the Middle Palaeolithic which Sankalia promptly reported in Science (1964).

Sankalia added an environmental dimension to this stratigraphical-cum-cultural sequence by associating the gravel deposits with wet climate and silt deposits with dry climate. At the end of his classic article in Ancient India (Sankalia 1956), giving the results of his work at Nevasa, he prophetically wrote that the stratigraphical-climatic-cultural sequence paradigm established here had opened up "a promising field for further research" in other areas. This was precisely the job which his colleagues and students in Poona and also workers elsewhere in the country took up during the next two decades, so that many regions in western, central, eastern, and southern parts of the country revealed comparable culture-sequences, sometimes with additions like those necessitated by the recognition of Upper Palaeolithic blade-and-burin assemblages. This was indeed the foundation for scientific prehistory in India, and Lewis Binford was only echoing the opinion of scores of other workers when he, in the course of a personal conversation a few years ago, likened Sankalia's role to that of the Abbé Breuil in European prehistory.

Two other notable pieces of Sankalia's Stone Age research are the identification of three pre-Neolithic industries at Sanganakallu in South India (a Middle Palaeolithic industry of dolerite, a flake-cum-blade industry of quartz with Upper Palaeolithic affiliations, and a Mesolithic industry of quartz) and putting Kashmir valley on the Palaeolithic map of India by the recovery of lithic material from a boulder conglomerate of Second Glacial Age at Pahlgam on the river Liddar (Sankalia 1969a, 1971a). In 1983 he startled residents of Poona by announcing the discovery of what he considered to be an Acheulian camp site in the premises of his own residence on the Institute's campus.

Sankalia played no less a pioneering role in the development of protohistoric studies in the country. The following up of small clues such as those provided by the finding of strange-looking pottery by rural folk and the excavations since the early 50s which he and his colleagues had conducted at Nasik, Jorwe, Nevasa, Maheshwar-Navdatoli, Ahar, Kayatha, and Inamgaon brought to light an entirely new set of Chalcolithic cultures, which all served to fill up the gap formed by the so-called Dark Age that was said to have interposed in Indian history between the end of the Indus Valley Civilization and the early historical period. This work soon gained world-wide recognition and Sankalia was one of the top seventeen archaeologists in the world who were invited to prepare syntheses of archaeological materials of their respective areas for the famous symposium entitled "Courses Toward Urban Life" which Robert Braidwood and Gordon Willey organized at Burg Wartenstein in 1960 (Sankalia 1962a). This article of Sankalia was an elaborate and updated version of his first attempt at synthesis of preand protohistoric materials of the subcontinent (Sankalia 1951). Subsequently he prepared booklength accounts from time to time (Sankalia 1962b, 1963 [1974], 1977c).

All this new knowledge notwithstanding, the anthropologist in Sankalia simultaneously began to realize that it was not the sites and their yields but the contextual relationships among materials which were more germane for reconstructing human life-ways. This realization made him, among other things, to interpret both Palaeolithic assemblages and distributional data relating to blade tools found in Navdatoli excavations in functional terms (Sankalia 1967; 1977a). It was this intellectual orientation towards the archaeological record which not only made him evince keen interest in the just-emerging New Archaeology movement and even choose it as the theme of his famous D. N. Majumdar Memorial Lectures in 1973 (Sankalia 1977b) but apply it with a great measure öf success in his prolonged excavations at the wellknown Chalcolithic site of Inamgaon in western India. Add to this the facts that he was the first archaeologist in the country to emphasize that the living hunting-gathering and agricultural ways of life must be used as research avenues for clothing the mute archaeological remains in flesh and blood, and that he even made a formal provision for ethnoarchaeology on the faculty of the Department.

Another notable first that must be credited to Sankalia was the enlisting of earth and biological sciences for archaeological reconstruction. For this purpose he did not hesitate to use the services of foreign workers. At the instance of Sir Mortimer Wheeler, F. E. Zeuner from the Institute of Archaeology in London was invited to India in 1949 for offering guidance on geochronological matters. "Stone Age and Pleistocene Chronology in Gujarat," published by Deccan College in 1950, gives an excellent account of Zeuner's investigation of alluvial deposits of the Sabarmati, Mahi, lower Narmada, and Godavari basins.

Then the famous Indian anthropologist, the late Mrs. Irawati Karve, and, a little later, Sophie Ehrhardt (Tübingen University) and Kenneth A. R. Kennedy (Cornell University) were entrusted with the study of Mesolithic human skeletal remains from Gujarat, Juliet Clutton-Brock (British Museum) with that of faunal material, and I. W. Cornwall (Institute of Archaeology, London) with chemical examination of bones. These research experiences of the 40s and 50s made Sankalia realize the need for and, in fact, start recruiting scientific personnel on the staff of the Department. It was this foresight of Sankalia and the efforts of his successors that led to the creation of a string of laboratories (geomorphology and sedimentology, archaeological chemistry, palaeontology, palaeoanthropology, palaeobotany, archaeozoology, and now even computer archaeology) in the Department; these are the envy of the best archaeological establishments anywhere in the world.

Unlike most of his colleagues in the country who are weighted down by factors like suspicion, chauvinism, and inferiority complex, Sankalia always encouraged the participation of foreign scholars in Indian archaeological research. In the early 60s the late T. D. McCown of the University of California at Berkeley and later Jerome Jacobson, also from the U. S., and the Venezuelan scholar Jorge Armand were entrusted with the study of Stone Age sites in central India. Archaeologists from Melbourne University were involved in his excavations at Ahar in Rajasthan. Under his guidance Gudrun Corvinus from Tübingen University made an intensive study of the Acheulian site at Chirki near Nevasa and Gregory Possehl from the University of Pennsylvania investigated the Harappan sites of Gujarat. Dr. A. T. Clason from Groningen University in Holland studied the faunal materials from protohistoric and early historic sites in the country.

Sankalia was prompt in publishing the results of his research and never concealed his displeasure at those who failed to do so. There are over two dozen major publications to his credit, and these include excavation reports in collaboration with his colleagues, works of synthesis at regional or national level, and books on specific themes. In addition, he published over 200 research articles in Indian and reputed foreign journals such as Antiquity, Man, World Archaeology, American Anthropologist, and Southwestern Journal of Anthropology.

Sankalia will also be remembered for his untiring efforts to spread knowledge of the past to the society at large. Towards this end he held exhibitions at excavation sites, established an elaborate museum at the Institute, and published extensively in Indian languages. No less important, he never hesitated to use his knowledge of the past human experience to take a bold and rational stand on public issues, be it his opposition to prohibition and the ban on cow-slaughter or about border and language disputes.

Sankalia considered teaching a sacred duty and supervised about 50 Ph. D. dissertations. Many among the three generations of students trained by him rose later to positions of eminence in the universities and government departments of archaeology. They recall with gratitude how eager he always was to share new knowledge with them and how his personal qualities (humility, simple living habits, inability to brook wasteful use of time and materials, task-master attitude but magnanimous enough to apologize for a wrong action or utterance, romantic interest in learning about nature, and, above all, till-last-breath dedication to the cause of a discipline close to his heart) have shaped their own Weltanschauung.

Sankalia was an honorary fellow or member of many research bodies and institutions including the British Academy and the Explorers Club of America. In recognition of his outstanding services to the cause of Indian archaeology he was bestowed numerous prizes, fellowships, and public honours, including the title of Padma Bhushan by the Government of India. The Robert Bruce Foote Plaque which he received in 1974 was one award he particularly cherished, because it was presented by the Department of Anthropology of Calcutta University which at one time had considered Deccan College as its rival in prehistoric studies.

He published his autobiography entitled "Born for Archaeology" in 1978 and is survived by his wife, Sarladevi.


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H D Sankalia’s vision for Indian archaeology, upon his retirement in 1973

I'm publishing this in full both for my illumintion and that of others. Archaeology is a mostly badly needed science in India today, given the MASSIVE fraud being perpetrated upon the people through politicians intent on distorting India's history (and pre-history) for their personal gain.

Archaeology in Post-Independence India

by H D Sankalia, India International Centre Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (October 1974), pp. 18-30

When India was in bondage, and split up into a number of semi independent states, often fighting amongst themselves, and with Great Britain slowly emerging as the paramount power in the sub continent, it was archaeology—knowledge of India's past through her ancient remains—that got her some respect. The decipherment of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1834-37 revealed that this land, and its civilization, was as old as that of Ptolemaic Egypt. Yet a hundred years later John Marshall dared to say that Indian history and civilization were not very old, that Indian Art was not as good as Greek Art ! This was quite true in 1923 because we had nothing to show earlier than the caves and inscribed rocks and pillars of Ashoka. It was the discovery of Harappa and Mohenjodaro that set things right. It proved that not only was this land as old as Greece and the Bible but that these cities could boast of a civilization that was older than that of Rome and Greece and comparable to that of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

During the last fifty years archaeology has brought to light some more unique features of this civilization and also shown the parallel existence of several other cultures on a lower level of development in the rest of India. Nobody can now say that 5000 or 6000 years ago India was one vast land either uninhabited or inhabited by the barbaric, nomadic, hunter-gatherers only. On the contrary, archaeology has enabled us to know how by slow steps Man in India, as in Europe and Africa and now in distant Australia and the US had marched towards civilization.

It is this awareness of India's most distant as well as the immediate past that we owe to archaeology. This consciousness has created a healthy respect for the nation, and aroused curiosity amongst its scholars as well as foreigners about the past. It has become important to know how, deep, more reliable, and more useful knowledge touching all aspects of India's past can be obtained. It is also important and necessary that this new know ledge of the past should not remain confined to a few scholars but should reach the masses, so that all will be involved and proud of doing something worthwhile.

In this article, I will review:

(1) the salient features and development of Indian Archaeology, particularly since 1947;

(2) discuss the role of the agencies which have contributed to this development;

(3) discuss the nature of this development and its net result;

(4) discuss how far we can adopt or use the methods of New Archaeology;

(5) point out how we should plan for the future;

(6) and suggest the means by which we could convey the new knowledge in archaeology to the Indian masses.

Era of Time-Tables

The most significant fact, symptomatic of what India itself was to achieve a few years later, was that in the 1940s, the Government of India which was largely British, lost or gave up its monopoly of archaeological excavations in the country. In a small way first, the University of Calcutta and then the Deccan College took to the field and later other Universities followed. This was indeed a big step forward and has contributed considerably to rapid development in our knowledge of India's past. This was further accelerated by defining for the first time what the aim of Indian archaeology should be. It was indeed very limited and in truth suitable to the beginning of archaeology in any country. The aim was to determine the 'time-table' of cultures in India. There was not that flair of the anthropologists to show progress "from savagery and barbarism to civilization." It was just the desire to know our past and to detail the various steps by which this could be reached. So this quarter-century since Independence might well be called an "Era of Time-Tables". For the precise, difficult and exacting means to realize this aim we are grateful to Sir Mortimer Wheeler, whose first Indian pupil I happen to be.

This era of time-tables has indeed achieved much, though anthropologists and historians have begun to question its validity lately. This is but natural as all aims and goals need to be re-defined along with new advances in knowledge. Consequently the means to achieve these goals necessarily undergo a change and are refined or are rejected in toto.

Wheeler's aim was limited : He wanted to establish a fixed point in early South Indian history. This was established by excavations at Arikamedu near Pondicherry and later at Chandravalli and Brahmagiri in Karnataka. He and other scholars along with him feel sure that the great Satavahanas ruled in South India between the 3rd century B.C. and 1st and 2nd century a.d. and that during their time a fine Black-and-red pottery, sometimes painted in red and yellow, had come into use in the country south of the River Krishna. This was also the time when Roman trade flourished and Roman wine, women and gold poured into India. This was known earlier from literature, but was documented archaeologically by the occurrence of two famous Roman wares, the two-handled amphorae and the rouletted ware.

Polished stone axe culture

Wheeler's excavations at Brahmagiri. also revealed for the first time a prehistoric culture viz. The Polished Stone Axe culture. This again was associated with a pottery distinctive in shape, fabric and decoration, and human skeletal remains. Thus within two years, important milestones in the past were reached as far as South India was concerned. The systematic collection of surface pottery soon revealed a broad pattern of distribution of the Polished Stone Axe culture and the subsequent megalithic and Satavahana culture.

Before Wheeler left India, he had arranged for a systematic survey and classification of megaliths in South India. To his great credit as well as to his assistants, this difficult task was also accomplished.

Jorwe culture

If the excavations at Brahmagiri paved the way for unravelling Karnataka's past, that of Jorwe and Nasilc laid the foundation for revealing the prehistoric cultures of western Maharashtra. At Nasik were found traces of a culture which preceded the Satavahana culture by some centuries. While the discoveries of the Jorwe culture helped to connect Wheeler's earlier discoveries further north, that of Gangapur near Nasik showed that this region need not have been bypassed by man because it was heavily forested or because quartzite, the preferred raw material for making stone tools, was not there. Excavations have shown that there is no part of western Maharashtra which does not possess the traces of Early Man.

Puranic Sites

One thing was now fairly well established. Sites traditionally known to be ancient were indeed old, dating back not only 1000 to 2000 years but to a prehistoric period as well. On this ground, should one not take up the verification of sites mentioned in Puranic accounts such as Maheshwar on the Narmada and Hastinapur on the Ganga?

Maheshwar and Navdatoli

It was with the intention of testing the truth or otherwise of the Puranic accounts of Maheshwar, that for the first time in India three Universities – those of Bombay, Baroda and Poona – were brought together in a joint venture organized by the Deccan College, Poona with financial support from private donors. It was their cooperative effort that brought to light the rich prehistory of Maheshwar and gradually of the whole of western Madhya Pradesh. This Joint Universities expedition was followed by another four years later concentrating on a more specific problem viz. to know the life of the dwellers on the Narmada 3500 years ago and to seek to understand their relationship with distant Iran. The excavations by the University of Saugar at the famous historic site of Eran and then by the Vikram Uni versity at Kayatha near Ujjain have substantiated the truth of the results reached at Maheshwar and Navdatoli. We are shown not only the wide extent and regional variation in the Malwa culture, as this was then called, but also the antecedents or the earlier phases of the Malwa culture at Kayatha.

India is so vast that it can be divided not only into broad regional cultures but also into sub-regional cultures. This is being proved every day archaeologically. Atleast two cultures have been brought to light between the Jorwe culture in the South and the Navdatoli culture in the north. Of these Prakash in Khandesh is well-known.

Hastinapur and the Painted Grey Ware

If the excavations at Maheshwar have proved that there was some truth in the Puranic accounts when they spoke of the establishment of the Naga and other kingdoms at Mahishmati ( a city supposedly founded by King Muchukunda according to Puranic tradition), then could Hastinapur and other sites mentioned in the Mahabharata be equally old? This was a definite problem with which Professor B. B. Lai started investigations and explorations in 1950-52. Within a few years a wide distribution of the Painted Grey Ware, the distinctive pottery first found at Ahichchhatra has been established and the excavations at Hastinapur, Ahichchhatra, Noh, Kausambi and Atranjikhera have shown that the whole Ganga-Yamuna doab, between 400 B.C. and 800 B.C. was inhabitated by a people who used an identical pottery. It is indeed unfortunate that twenty years after its discovery we still do not know whether to designate this widespread occurrence of Painted Grey Ware as a culture or civilization because excepting for a few pots and pans and some tools, weapons and ornaments, no other details like house plans and settlement pattern have become known. I believe that this Painted Grey Ware does not belong to the Early Aryans, but might belong to the various kingdoms—Pandava, Kaurava etc. mentioned in the Mahabharata. It is also certain that the Painted Grey Ware people were not the earliest people after the Harappans in the Punjab, western UP and North Rajasthan, but a people who lived a considerable time after those who used Harappan-like, black-painted, red pottery with distinctive shapes and also the bearers of flat, shouldered and bar celts, hooked-spear-heads, antennae swords etc., the so-called "Copper Hoards".

Unfortunately for want of a more systematic and determined effort, the period between 2000/1700 B.C. and 1000 B.C. still remains obscure, if not dark.

However, the Indus civilization is better known now than twenty-five years ago. This is again due to the work undertaken by Wheeler and other scholars in the Archaeological Survey of India. Excavations at Harappa have shown that this civilization was not non-violent, but had taken enough precautions to safeguard its cities by putting up fortifications through the length and breadth of its cultural empire which now extended over 1000 miles from north to south and the same from east to west. The latest site to show this feature is Surkotada in Kutch and Gumla and Rahman Dheri in the north western frontier region. It has now been established that this civilization normally had a citadel, where houses and other constructions were built on huge platforms. There is also the evidence of a "Lower Town". In addition to these, the structures at Kalibangan point to the remains used for rituals as well.

Another most interesting feature of this civilization was revealed at Lothal in Gujarat. This is a large dock-like structure measuring 218×37 metres. It does not seem to be a tank as some scholars have argued, but appears to be a true dock, the earliest to be so recognized in India and perhaps in the whole world.

Pre-Harappan Cultures

More important than all this is the fact, now clearly established, that the Indus civilization was not the earliest culture either in Sind or the Punjab. It was preceded by an equally extensive, though probably less developed civilization. No town plan of this culture or civilization has been laid bare but we are assured at Kalibangan and Kot Diji that this pre Harappan settlement was fortified. The question now arises, who were these pre-Harappans settled all over Sind, North Rajasthan and the Punjab? Their pottery shows much more Iranian influence than the Indus and the Harappan varieties. The evidence at Kalibangan and Kot Diji is definite that the pre-Harappan cities were burnt and destroyed by the Harappans. It we think once again in terms of Aryans and Dravidians the question arises : who were the Kot Dijians destroyed by the Harappans?

As if this problem was not difficult enough, Dr. Dani of the University of Peshawar has found in his excavations at Gumla in the north western frontier region of India, a culture earlier than the pre-Harappan. Another early culture has been discovered near Taxila as well as on other sites in this frontier province of Pakistan. The whole thing is becoming more and more exciting to archaeologists who are interested in the beginnings of civilization in the Indian sub-continent. But there is little doubt that the Kot Diji, Kalibangan and the Gumla cultures were greatly influenced by the cultures of Afghanistan and Iran.

A clear understanding of the problems raised by archaeological work during the last twenty-five years, and definite solutions, cannot be reached unless planned work can be taken up in Pakistan. Such a planned effort is necessary not only for understanding the genesis of the Harappan and pre-Harappan civilizations, but also the Cemetery-Harappan and Painted Grey Ware cultures as well.

There is little doubt now that the rest of India, outside the pale of the Indus civilization, was neither a terra incognita nor a land which was inhabitated by Stone Age savages. Vertical excavations in Bihar, West Bengal and in Andhra-Karnataka and horizontal excavations at Navdatoli in MP and Inamgaon near Poona and at Ahar in Southeast Rajasthan have shown that at least by 2500 b.c, people had begun to build mud huts throughout India. Their pottery was made 011 the wheel and they ate rice in eastern India, ragi and kulath in Andhra-Karnataka and wheat, rice, lentil, sesamum peas and flax etc. in Maharashtra and MP. Thus the foundation of an agricultural life had been laid. However there is as yet no trace of writing anywhere and therefore anthropologically these people are considered illiterate.

A brief reference to the pottery each regional or sub-regional group had is necessary, with a view to ascertaining ethno-archaeologically (that is, by finding out what kinds of pots and pans the various tubal or aboriginal pre-literate people used either in the past or at present) who these people were. It has been found in two cases by detailed study of the present Bhil population around Udaipur, and the Boyas, a semi-nomadic people living at Tekkalkota in the Bellary District, that, compared to the rich and varied stock of pots and pans which each of these newly discovered cultures at Ahar (Rajasthan) and Tekkalkota possessed some 4000 years ago, the present occupants were indeed poor, and occupied the lower rungs of the social ladder. The same thing would be true in the case of the Jorwe culture of Maharashtra and the still richer Navdatoli culture of Madhya Pradesh.

Colonization Of India

If these prehistoric cultures cannot be derived from the indigenous elements, how may we account for their presence in the various parts of India between 2500 B.C. and 500 B.C.? I have come to the conclusion on the basis of present knowledge, that these regional cultures have to be called 'colonizations', using the word 'colonization' in a descriptive sense. Even when I propose this solution for understanding the sudden emergence of so many distinctive regional cultures I must make it clear that at no time do I visualize a very large scale migration of people from abroad. What I believe is that a small group of people seem to have trickled in during the course of this long past, particularly from the north-west and south-east and east, across the Khyber, Bolan and the Gomel passes as well as the jungles of Assam across Burma and populated various regions of India by mixing with the local population. Thus were born the Ahar culture in Southeast Rajasthan, the Kayatha and Navdatoli cultures of Madhya Pradesh, the Prakash and Jorwe cultures of Maharashtra and the Brahmagiri culture of Andhra-Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Even the earlier Indus or the Harappan civilization and its predecessors, the Kot Diji, Kalibangan and the Gumla cultures contain many Iranian and Western Asiatic elements. There is little doubt that the various Baluchi cultures—Kile Gul Mohmed, Damb Sadat, Shahi Tump and Nal, to name only the few well-known cultures, were all derived from Iran and western Asia. This seems also to be true of the earliest Neolithic and its later phases at Burzahom in Kashmir.

It is in this way that the introduction of the Megalithic culture of Peninsular India was explained by Wheeler and Haimandorf, when its outline first became clear by the former's excavation at Brahmagiri. After Wheeler's departure, the interest in this problem flagged, and except for the uncovering of a few more megaliths at Sanur in Tamil Nadu and Nagarjunakonda and Maski in Andhra, nothing further was done. No town site of this period was detected or even partially opened. As a consequence even after twenty five years we do not know how these megalithic people lived.

However, our knowledge about the further northward extension of megalithic monuments in the Bijapurand other districts of Karnataka as well as in Vidarbha around Nagpur has been enriched by the intensive and sys tematic survey conducted by Dr. Sundara and the useful excavations by Dr. S. B. Deo of the Nagpur University at Junapani and Mahurjhari. The latter have yielded not only precious but tantalizing finds as they show dis tinct similarities with those dug up in the last century at Adichanalur in Tamil Nadu and those of eastern Iran. The Nagpur discovery underlines the importance of continuous planned work in other parts of India in a field which belongs to the transitional phase between prehistory and history. Dr. Sundara's work in the Bhima-Tungabhadra basins has indicated that this concept might have originated in the preceding Copper and Bronze Age, thus leading to a number of new lines of inquiry.

The pre-history significance of the few discoveries in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Kashmir should be pointed out. Bihar was the last out post of Aryan penetration according to some scholars, thus suggesting that nothing earlier would be found here except stone tools. But the discoveries at Chirand and Sonpur reveal that man had learnt to grow rice, make ex cellent tools and weapons of bones as well as wood as early as 2500 B.C. to 2000 B.C. Where did he get this knowledge from ? Evidence is now accumulating that in Meghalaya at least, the influence had come from Thailand across Burma. This influence might have penetrated further into Bihar. A similar but more elaborate Neolithic way of life is found at Burzahom in the Kashmir valley, where people lived in karewa pits, manufactured fine pots and pans and excellent bone tools and buried their dead as well as animals within the habitation. If the evidence of the objects—pots—from the late Neolithic phase of life is to be relied on, the civilizing influence in this instance seems to have come from eastern Iran.

Thus, by about 3500 B.C. from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Assam-Bihar to Baluchistan and Kutch we witness man emerging from a purely nomadic Stone Age way of life and establishing, within a thousand years, an urban civilization in western India, and a pastoral-cum-agricultural way of life in the rest of India. While all this is new knowledge obtained during the last twenty-five years, the explanation of the marked divergence in the cultural development as well as the full implications of these various regional cultures should hold the attention of scholars in the remaining quarter of this century. We shall see later how we might attempt these solutions.

Development of Man In India

Let us now see briefly how Man in India had reached this stage. One cannot fail remarking that whereas in 1947 or 1939 one could have only a glimpse of the Early Stone Age man in Madras, Gujarat and the Punjab, now we can broadly declare that, as in Europe and Africa, in India we can take back the antiquity of man for nearly 3,00,000 years or more. Almost every part of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Dwarka to Bhuvaneshwar and Gauhati was inhabitated by Early Man and we do not leave him at this stage. Enough evidence has been available practically from all parts of India to document changes in man's life, and his mental development, until he reached the stage where we see him making a fundamental change in his lifeways, depending more upon raising of food and live-stock than on hunting. It is of little interest and significance to assert that, broadly, as far as the stone tools are concerned, man's mental and industrial development parallels what one witnesses in Europe, Africa and western Asia. In these continents we have first the large stone tools of quartzite and trap called hand axes; cleavers and choppers during the Early Stone Age, then comparatively small tools of various fine grain material called points, borers and scrapers of the Middle Palaeolithic period. Evidently these were used for making larger tools and weapons of bone and wood. Fine blade tools and burins, the proto-type of our steel blades, come next. So far these highly specialized tools were believed to have been confined to Europe and western Asia and were regarded as the hallmark of the Upper Palaeoliths. These are now found to occur in Andhra-Karnataka, southern Bihar, southern UP as well as in parts of Maharashtra and even near Gwalior, as we are informed by Professor B. B. Lai. More important, the lime stone caves of Kurnool have yielded not only a few tools of this type but plenty of Upper Pleistocene fauna and bone which have been worked into tools with the help of burins, exactly as they have done in western Europe. Thus except for the cave art—painting, engraving and objects in the round, we have all the necessary evidence for postulating an Upper Palaeolithic period in India.

The 'microliths' or tools made on fine grained stones found above help us build the bridge to the Neolithic. Practically the whole of India has yielded microliths, but these can be dated to a period about 5000 B.C. in Andhra-Karnataka and southern Bihar. Thus no more in India do we have "stones and more stones". All these stones speak, and relate the story of man's physical, mental, social and economic development over the period between 3,00,000 years to 3000 B.C.

The help that archaeologists have got from the Birbal Sahani Institute, Lucknow and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay and the zoologists of the Anthropological Survey of India, the M. S. University of Baroda, and Dr. Alur of Dharwar has to be acknowledged at this point. If the lifeways of the maker of pots and pans and stone tools have become more real to us, and the knowledge about his time more exact, it is because these institutes identified the charred grains, grain impressions, and animal bones. The Tata Institute gave us the Carbon-14 or radiocarbon method of dating the past, where the known rate of decay of carbon-14, present in all living matter, is used as the basis of dating.

Compared to the tremendous strides taken in the development of pre and proto-historic archaeology, it must be admitted that not much has been achieved in the field of historical archaeology. No doubt, Wheeler began with this, putting South Indian history on a firm basis. This was followed up by Professor B.B. Lai's work at Sisupalgarh in Orissa and the tremendous salvage effort of excavating an entire city and transplanting it on a hill at Nagarajunakonda was also witnessed in this period.

The ancient city of Kausambi, near Allahabad, is being dug by the University of Allahabad for the last 20 years and more. These excavations have proved how valuable this site is for knowing the various facets of life in ancient India. However, only horizontal excavations will tell what the layout of this city was at different periods in its long history. This knowledge alone will give us an insight into the life of the people. The con temporary city of Ujjain was also dug by the Archaeological Survey of India and important evidence obtained, particularly about the antiquity of iron.

The expeditious manner in which the Universities of Baroda and Nagpur have published the results of the excavations at Baroda, Vadnagar, Devnimori, and Pauni respectively deserve a special mention, because such an effort has to be emulated all over India. The magnificient stupas at Devnimori and Pauni in regions which are forested today show the immense dedication of the Buddhists in taking their faith to the remotest parts of India. Equally creditable is the work of the K. P. Jayswal Research Insti tute, Patna, which has carried out excavations at Vaisali and other sites in Bihar, and published the results. Likewise, the Universities of Calcutta and Madras have published the results of their work at Rajabdiganga and in the lower Kaveri Valley. In short, the entry by the Universities and research institutions in field archaeology has immensely benefitted the subject. Not only is their work as good as that of the Archaeologlcai Survey, but more expeditious and much cheaper.

Among the most important epigraphical discoveries since 1947 are the Asokan edicts in Greek and Aramaic at Kandahar in Afghanistan, the Gujarra inscription from Madhya Pradesh which is the second record men tioning Asoka's name; an early Jaina inscription from Pale near Kamshet, Maharashtra, wherein we find the earliest Saka date, and the earliest inscription from Devnimori in Gujarat, Hisse Borala inscription of the Vakataka Devasena from Basim and the inscription of Ramagupta from Vidhisha. The discovery of stone sculptures and bronzes in Gujarat has been welcome. Some of them help fill the gap between the 7th-10th centuries a.d. and between the 2nd-5th centuries A.D.

New Archaeology

Some concepts have been aired in the West under the name of New Archaeology. Having been associated with a group of American students who employed some of its methods on a specified site in Saurashtra, and having attended a seminar on the subject in the US I must say frankly that those Indians and foreigners who advocate a wholesale employment of these methods in India have little idea of Indian sites. These sites very often belong to a number of periods, so that surface collection of potsherds and other items however carefully made can barely give an insight into the social features of the life of the inhabitants. Moreover, our sites are quite diffe rent from those of the Navajo and other American Indian tribes. So to expect a knowledge or evidence of social stratification, religion etc. through archaeology is not quite justifiable, though desirable.

Pottery still forms an integral part of any household, rich or poor, whether the person belongs to the upper class or the lower class. So it was in the past and as far as we can take back its antiquity. However, from the difference in the quality of pottery at any given site, historic or pre historic, it will indeed be hazardous to arrive at a judgement about strati fication in that society. At the most one may get some idea about the status of the individual, if his grave contains more or less number of vessels. Archaeology by its definition is a study of antiquities—material objects. However much one may talk of ideal archaeology the basic premise viz. the collection, classification and interpretation of facts remains.

Plan For The Future

Compared to what was done and known earlier the recent advances in Indian archaeology might look phenomenal. The reasons for this growth of knowledge are obvious. The government monopoly is no longer there. Apart from the activities of the reorganized Archaeological Survey, a number of Universities and research institutions have taken up the quest of discovering India's past. A welcome change befitting India's freedom from bondage had come. Hence this progress in archaeology.

Still we must not be complacent. As some scholars rightly feel, these explorations followed by vertical excavations have in many cases become ends in themselves : Initial exploration is comparatively easy and vertical excavations might follow, because these do not cost much, or require a large personnel. But these should not be our sole aim. As soon as a reason able and sure chronology of a site or culture is established, efforts have to be made to know as much as possible of the life of the people concerned with all the limitations inherent in such a search. Such an effort requires a horizontal excavation and such an excavation cannot be conceived of without adequate funds, a large and trained personnel and utmost exactitude in the field and almost immediate study of the finds on the field. Horizontal excavations should not be undertaken lightly. Again, the aims should be clearly defined and explained to every member of the staff. By this small but significant details will not be missed. I dare say this having organized for such excavations at Navdatoli, Tekalkota, Sangankal and Inamgaon.

It is only when such excavations are undertaken in various parts of India and the finds studied in relation to their location and interpretation arrived at in reasonably good time, by experts from various disciplines such as physical anthropology, biology, chemistry, medicine and geology, that a reasonably good, though not complete, picture of man's life in the past may be reconstructed.

In future, archaeologists in India should try to work in the areas mentioned below:

(1) Search for and undertake the excavation of camp or habitation sites of Early Man and his successors so as to have an idea of the life of these people, the changing climatic conditions and the flora and fauna of the region. A beginning in this direction has been made at Chirki Nevasa and at Adamgarh and Bhimbetka near Bhopal.

(2) Horizontal excavations of Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites, such as Chirand, Sonapur, Majhi in Bihar, Burzahom in Kashmir, Tekkalkota, Sangankal in Karnataka have to be undertaken. On this basis, some information can be gathered about the settlement pattern, size of family and density of population, basis of subsistence, trade and commerce, social and economic organization, religion and adminis tration of the people of that age.

(3) Excavation of megalithic sites in Andhra-Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Vidarbha with a similar aim and with a view to knowing the origins of the megalithic people.

(4) Excavation of town sites of the historic periods—early mediaeval and even earlier, but particularly of the period from 300 B.C. to 1000 A.D. At present we really do not know anything about the layout of the cities of the period.

In all these areas, we should adopt new methods and techniques only so far as they suit Indian conditions. Certain methods give only a superficial, scientific veneer to the subject but do not touch the heart of the problem. Therefore I would suggest that the validity of these new scientific methods be tested by doing the same work with the help of orthodox methods though the latter are regarded as expensive and time-consuming.

Aerial photography

Indian archaeologists should take advantage of aerial photography and gain fresh insights by photographing such extensive sites as Kausambi and Tripuri, Eran, urnfields around Nagpur and at several places in the south. What can be learnt by a long and costly ground survey can often be known from such aerial surveys. Except for Sisupalgarh and perhaps one or two other places, no other site has been photographed from the air to my knowledge.

Underwater Archaeology

Underwater archaeology has also developed during the last decade. This difficult and daring discipline could also be employed in India, as we have a long coast line on the west and the east. With our extensive trade with the western countries and Africa and Southeast Asia, there must have been cases of expensive cargoes which got sunk and some of these might be salvaged.

Study of Human Skeletons

Something has got to be done for the expeditious, scientific study and reconstruction of human skeletons and animal bones from excavations. Without such a study all our knowledge of the Harappan and post-Harappan cultures as well as the Late Stone Age, Neolithic and Megalithic remains incomplete. Man himself is always more important than his few creations gathered by archaeologists. Unfortunately so many reports of such discoveries of skeletons have remained unexplored. Study of Animal Bones The study of animal bones has now become a full-time but extremely rewarding job. We do not just want an idea of the sort of animals man killed for his food, but also whether these animals were young or grown up, domesticated or not, and the amount of protein that man could have had in his diet.

Aim Of Archaeology

The answer to the question: "Why is all this work undertaken?" is that archaeology helps us to know our past, so that we may guide our steps in the future and develop a sense of pride and awareness of our legacy. It is indeed important that all necessary steps be taken to communicate this new knowledge to the masses. At present we do not notice this happening. It is not enough to issue press notes some months after an excavation is completed. Wherever an excavation is being conducted the people of that region should be informed about its purpose. And when the excavation is done, an exhibition should be held on the site, explaining the significance of the new discoveries in a language that can be easily understood. Likewise all restrictions on photography should be removed. A specialized report and articles in research journals should follow as a matter of course. Nobody should be denied permission to use the excavated material. Archaeology, new or old, and the knowledge it gives of the past should be shared at all levels and should not be a preserve of a few scholars or officers in the Archaeological Survey or a University. Such an involvement of the masses will create pride and respect for India's past and help prevent the looting of the Indian heritage, which is clandestinely going on before our eyes, by encouragement from foreigners and the active cooperation of our own people.

Our literary tradition should not be neglected. A study of Indian literature from the archaeological point of view should be undertaken and efforts should be made to sift the chaff from the grains by excavating tradi tionally known sites with a view to testing their antiquity. Hastinapur, Dwarka, Nasik, Maheshwar and Tripuri have already been dug up. Ayodhya arid Mathura should now be excavated. Likewise, the Mahabharata and other Puranic accounts should be examined critically as was done with the Ramayana.

There is no dearth of expertise. What is needed is a well thought out plan of future work so that several lacunae existing in our knowledge of Man in India and his material development throughout the long time that he has been here can be filled up. At the same time everyone engaged in work must know that it is not enough to discover or to excavate. All excavations and explorations, small or big, must be fully and speedily reported.

With the rapid discovery of newer scientific methods of detecting, retrieving and interpreting lost evidence, the quest of Early Man and his successors as well as their cultures is becoming exceedingly fascinating and absorbing. India of today and of tomorrow must participate in this quest more meaningfully, more seriously and more sincerely.

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HD (Hasmukh Dhirajlal) Sankalia – some notes #1

I regret that I did not get to know Dr Sankalia better. As I now read his works and various people's writings about him, I am now perhaps ready to get to know him beter. While reading his work, the names the great archaeologists of India whom I personally met 35 years ago have all come back to me, and I'd like to learn much more Indian archaeology – something I'd basically forgotten many decades ago.

I've OCRd my 1982 article on the Deccan College a few minutes ago. It is time to now read Prof. VN Misra's article in memory of Prof. Sankalia. I knew Prof. Misra and can appreciate some of what he has written. I wonder where Prof. Misra is today. Well, here's the answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V._N._Misra.


IN MEMORIAM: Hasmukh Dhirajlal Sankalia 1908-1989, by V. N. MISRA, Professor of Archaeology Deccan College, Pune, India, Asian Perspectives, Vol. 30, no. 2., 1991

THE PASSING AWAY of Professor H. D. Sankalia on 28 January 1989 marks the end of a long and glorious era in Indian archaeology. It is unlikely that we will ever again see another archaeologist of his achievement, dedication, and versatility. Sankalia was born 10 December 1908 into a middle-class Gujarati family in Bombay. Right from his birth he had a weak constitution, and he remained thin and frail throughout his life. But he overcame this handicap by sheer willpower and strict discipline in his daily routine. Until his retirement in 1973, he spent several months of every year conducting field work in some part of the country, and set an example to his colleagues and students by his hard work in the field. He would walk for many kilometers during explorations, setting a pace that younger and healthier people found difficult to maintain. Quite a few young men and women who were unsure of their capacity to pursue an archaeological career drew inspiration from Sankalia's example. Sankalia was a blessed man in that he found his vocation very early in life, and he set out to fulfill it with a missionary zeal.

Sankalia developed an interest in history during his childhood from hearing the stories of the Puranas and the epics as told to him by his parents. Around the age of sixteen he happened to read Lokmanya Tilak's Arctic Home in the Vedas. This book made such as impression on him that he decided to pursue a career in ancient history. To equip himself for this task he set out to acquire a sound knowledge of Sanskrit. He obtained a master's degree in history from Bombay University in 1934 by writing a thesis on the University of Nalanda. The thesis was published as a book in the same year, and a second, revised edition appeared in 1973. On the advice and encouragement of his teacher, Father Heras, Sankalia went to England for further studies. His doctoral research at the University of London focused on the archaeology of Gujarat, and his dissertation was based on a study of Gujarati inscriptions, art, and architecture. He received his Ph.D. in 1936. While in England, Sankalia also took part in Mortimer Wheeler's excavations at the Roman site of Maiden Castle, where he learned the techniques of excavation.

After completing his graduate studies, Sankalia returned to India where in 1939 he was appointed a professor of Indian protohistory and ancient history at the newly founded Deccan College Post-Graduate & Research Institute in Pune. Here he found an environment and facilities conducive to his research, and he decided to remain. In later years he received many offers of positions with better salaries from institutions outside Poona but he never changed or regretted his original decision. Sankalia de-veloped a deep attachment to Deccan College and came to identify himself with the institution. While still in active service at the college, he built a house on campus so that he would be able to continue his research conveniently even after retirement. He lived in this house until his death. When he retired, he gave his entire personal collection of books to the Deccan College library. Deccan College gave Sankalia the facilities he needed and complete freedom to pursue his research, and Sankalia in return conferred prestige on the institution by his renowned academic achievements. Long before the scholar died, Sankalia and Deccan College had become synonymous in the eyes of the international academic community.

Soon after joining Deccan College, Sankalia began to work in prehistoric archaeology. He had had no formal instruction or practical training in this branch of archaeology, so he taught himself the discipline with the help of books and field work. Although he worked in every subdiscipline of archaeology, he devoted the largest part of his time and energy to prehistory, which he called his life's work. In 1941 he organized an expedition to Gujarat with the support of Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, then director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, to follow up the almost forgotten work carried out more than half a century earlier by Robert Bruce Foote, father of Indian prehistory. During this expedition, Sankalia discovered many new palaeolithic and mesolithic sites, the most important being the mesolithic site of Langhnaj in Mehsana district. He carried out excavations at this site and discovered the first physical remains of Stone Age man here. The results of this work were published in 1946 under the title Investigations into the Prehistoric Archaeology of Gujarat. Sankalia spent several more seasons excavating at this site and published several papers on the findings. The consolidated results of these excavations were published in three volumes in 1965, under the title Excavations at Langhnaj 1944-1963, with archaeology covered by Sankalia, animal remains by J. Clutton-Brock, and human remains by S. Ehrhardt and K. A. R. Kennedy.

During his thirty-five years at Deccan College, Sankalia conducted excavations and explorations in almost all parts of India, from Gujarat to Assam and from Kashmir to Kerala, uncovering evidence of several Stone Age cultures. He published the results of these explorations and excavations in numerous articles and two monographs, Godavari Palaeolithic Industry and Mesolithic and Pre-Mesolithic Industries from Sangankallu.

Alongside his work in prehistory, Sankalia turned his attention to protohistory as well. In the 1940s little was known of India's history between the Stone Age and historical times, except for the Indus civilization whose known remains were then confined to northwest India (now Pakistan). In the early 1950s Sankalia excavated the site of Jorwe in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, where he discovered a chalcolithic culture. This excavation provided the first evidence of a settled farming people in Maharashtra and opened a new chapter in the archaeology of India.

Over the next two decades Sankalia carried out excavations at several chalcolithic and neolithic sites—Nevasa and Inamgaon in Maharashtra, Maheshwar and Navdatoli in Madhya Pradesh, Ahar in Rajasthan, and Tekkalakota and Sangankallu in Karnataka. These excavations threw a floodlight on the culture and society of the pioneering agricultural settlers in western India. Sankalia's work also encouraged other archaeologists to explore and excavate similar sites in different parts of the country. Thanks to his and other archaeologists' excavations, today we have a fairly clear picture of the continuous human occupation of different regions of western India from Rajasthan to Karnataka. Sankalia promptly published the results of his excavations in the form of papers in Indian and foreign journals and as comprehensive reports.

Besides conducting original research and writing up the results, Sankalia also wrote several syntheses of Indian prehistory and protohistory in the form of articles and books, which he revised periodically to bring them up to date. Among his major publications of this kind are Prehistory and Protohistory of India and Pakistan (1962, 1974), Indian Archaeology Today (1962, 1979), and Prehistory of India (1977). His Prehistory of India and Pakistan remains the most masterly and exhaustive survey of the subject.

Although Sankalia's major research interest throughout his career remained pre-history and protohistory, he found time to pursue other lines of research as well. For example, he excavated the historical sites of Kolhapur, Nasik, Nevasa, Dwarka, and Tripuri. He also retained his early interest in traditional historical archaeology—the study of art, iconography, architecture, numismatics, epigraphy, and palaeography—and wrote many papers on such subjects. One of his main interests was the reconstruction of historical geography and cultural ethnography from the data available in inscriptions. He applied this methodology to the inscriptions from Gujarat and reported his conclusions in the Thakker Vassonji Madhavji Lectures which he delivered at the University of Bombay in 1944. The lectures were later published as a book. Yet another important field of Sankalia's research was a critical study of the Ramayana in the light of the internal evidence of the epic and available archaeological data. He came to the conclusion that the story could not have been composed before the early centuries of the Christian era, and that Ravana's Lanka could not have been the present-day island of Sri Lanka. Rather, the Lanka of the Ramayana was located somewhere in the area defined by the borders of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra, and Orissa. He elaborated his ideas on the historicity of the Ramayana in several papers and two books, Ramayana: Myth or Reality? (1973) and Ramayana in a Historical Perspective (1982). These unconventional views made him the target of severe criticism from orthodox Hindus, but he held his position steadfastly.

Apart from being a researcher of exceptional dedication and versatility, Sankalia was a teacher par excellence. He loved teaching, both inside and outside the classroom. Nearly fifty students from different parts of India and abroad completed their doctorates under his supervision. Many of them went on to occupy important positions in universities and other archaeological institutions and have contributed substantially to the unraveling of India's past. Indeed, Sankalia trained several generations of students, and Indian archaeology as it is today was largely shaped by him. Sharing his knowledge with students and others was a passion with Sankalia, and he was able to inculcate in his students a spirit of inquiry, a love of knowledge, and a sense of commitment and dedication. As soon as he read an important new book or article, Sankalia would bring it to the notice of his students so that they could use it for their own research.

Sankalia did not treat archaeological knowledge as the cloistered preserve of a professional elite. He strongly believed that since archaeological activity was carried out with public money, the people had a right to the knowledge gained from this research. To this end he wrote copiously in newspapers and popular magazines and published a number of booklets in simple language in English, Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati, explaining his research findings. He also organized exhibitions at his ex-cavation sites so that the local people could learn the history of their region. He was strongly critical of archaeologists who did not care to share their findings with the public. Thanks to his popular writings, Sankalia became a household name all over India, to such as extent that in the popular mind he came to be identified with archaeology.

Throughout his life Sankalia remained a student at heart. He had an insatiable hunger for knowledge. He kept himself abreast of all new developments in archaeology. Long before the larger archaeological community realized the importance of ethnoarchaeology (the study of living societies as an aid to reconstructing the past), Sankalia asked one of his students, as early as 1962, to write a thesis on ethno-archaeology. Soon after he made provision for the regular teaching of this branch of archaeology at the beginning graduate level. Similarly, when the New Archaeology movement began in the West in the early 1960s, Sankalia immediately grasped its importance. He chose New Archaeology and Its Application to India as the subject of his D. N. Majumdar Memorial Lectures in 1974; the lectures were published as a book in 1977. He realized quite early the importance of rock art in prehistory and encour-aged one of his students to take up its study for his doctoral research. Sankalia himself chose prehistoric art as the subject of his Father Heras Memorial Lectures in 1974.

Apart from his monumental research work and numerous publications, Sankalia's lasting contribution to archaeology is the development of the Department of Archaeology at Deccan College. Founded in 1939 under Sankalia's leadership, it had developed into a premier research institution by the time of his retirement in 1973. Step by step he created teaching posts in different branches of archaeology and tech-nical posts for drawing, survey, photography, and modeling. Sankalia fully recognized the need for expertise in the physical and biological sciences in order to study varied archaeological materials and to provide comprehensive training for young archaeologists. To this end, he created teaching and research posts in archaeological chemistry, geology, geomorphology, palaeontology, and palaeobotany, and arranged the construction of laboratory facilities in these fields. He also built a fine museum in the department, mainly to display finds from the excavations and ex-plorations conducted by him, his colleagues, and his students. The University has given generous grants to the department and accorded it the status first of Department of Special Assistance and later of Center of Advanced Study. No other archaeological center in South Asia today can boast of having staff or facilities to equal those of Deccan College, or of enjoying such a high reputation. That Sankalia's colleagues and students have maintained the dynamism he encouraged and the high standard of research he set is a tribute to the spirit of research Sankalia was able to inculcate among them.

As a human being Sankalia was exceptionally simple, unassuming, and honest. Everyone, irrespective of status, had easy access to him in his office or at home. He took a keen personal interest in the welfare of his students and of the employees of the college. During his daily morning walks around campus, people would approach him with their problems; he would listen to their story and then direct the appropriate official to attend to the matter promptly. He had great respect for the dignity of labor and did not consider any type of work inferior to any other. He strongly disapproved of waste and was scrupulous about the thrifty and proper use of both public and private funds. His increasing fame and status did not in the least affect Sankalia's intrinsic humility and simplicity. For example, he avoided being nominated to serve on government committees, since he considered them a distraction from his research.

Recognition and honors from academic institutions, government, and the public came to Sankalia in abundance. He was invited to lecture by numerous universities in India and abroad. The prestigious lectures delivered by him include: Thakkar Vassonji Madhavji Memorial lectures (University of Bombay, 1944, 1965), Bhagwanlal Indraji Memorial Lectures (University of Bombay, 1960), Father Heras Memorial Lectures (St. Xavier's College, Bombay, 1960, 1974), Rao Bahadur Gaurishankar Ojha Memorial Lectures (Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur, 1969), and D. N. Majumdar Memorial Lectures (Ethnographic Folk Culture Society, Luck-now, 1974). He was awarded Bhagwanlal Indraji Prize in 1933 for his master's thesis on the University of Nalanda; the Silver Medal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay, in 1944; the Gold Medal of the Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, Ahmedabad, in 1967; the Dadabhoy Naoroji Prize in 1968; the Chakrabarty Silver Medal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1972; the Robert Bruce Foote Plaque of the Anthropology Department of Calcutta University in 1974; the Hari Om Trust Prize of South Gujarat University, Surat, in 1975; the Campbell Memorial Gold Medal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay in 1977; the Vishwa Gurjari Award of Ahmedabad in 1981; and the Explorer's Medal of the Explorer's Club, New York, in 1984.

Sankalia was granted honorary fellowship in several prestigious academic societies and institutions, including the Indian Archaeological Society, Ethnographic and Folk Culture Society, Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, and the British Academy. He was Honorary Tagore Professor of Indian History and Culture at the M.S. University of Baroda from 1960 to 1965. The president of India conferred on him the title of Padma Bhusan in 1974 in recognition of his immense contribution to archaeological studies.

Sankalia formally retired from Deccan College in 1973; the college authorities made him professor emeritus in recognition of his important role in the development of the college. The only difference retirement made to Sankalia was that he stopped doing field work, but he continued to read and write until almost the last day of his life. His death was due to old age and weakness and not to any particular illness. He was widely mourned in India and abroad. Sankalia's name and memory will live forever in the form of his monumental research work and in the future of Deccan College, which he contributed so much to build as a great center of learning.



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