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Category Archive: People

Long overdue – a visual summary of my visit to Varun Arya’s Aravali Institute of Management

Thanks to a reminder by a friend, I'm publishing photos from my visit to Varun Arya's outsanding institute of management (Aravali Institute of Management) on 21 July 2014. I took a train on the night of the 20th from Gurgaon, spent a day with Varun and returned back by train to Gurgaon on 22nd morning. The train experience was not too bad (but bathrooms were NASTY), but that's a different point.

The purpose of my visit was to spend quality time with Varun in his institute to understand his work better. 

I could write tens of pages about this visit, but I think Varun's work is so powerful and inspiring the whole of India either knows about it already or will get to know in due course. I recommend the book Just an Indian – the Man who Will not Bribe by Veeresh Malik for those who still don't know about Varun's work.

Let me just note a few things and then publish a few of the photos I took:

- Varun's institute is the most remarkable example of something wonderful produced in the most inhospitable salt-saturated soil: soil that destroys buildings, soil that doesn't allow a single plant to survive. Today, there is MASSIVE amount of water in this land, and lush greenery. The tricks by which plants are able to grow in this inhospitable soil, and in which buildings don't simply collapse – are engineering marvels in their own right. Varun should one day write about these technical solutions to the most difficult problems one can imagine.

- Varun is the most determined and clear headed man I've come across. He doesn't pick fights everywhere but when he determines to fight for something he carries it to the very end, as he says – "to the logical conclusion". And he has made a name and reputation across India and the world. There are now case studies being written about his brilliant work.

- He is able to inspire the greatest devotion from people who work for him. He is a marvelous role model for all budding and future CEOs. Follow his humility and equal treatment of all, and you'll achieve wonders. 

– He is clear that he will not meet all and sundry, but that when he commits to meet someone, he will give his FULL and undivided attention. I've never seen a more solicitous host. Varun dropped all his work for the day in order to spend time with me. During this process I discovered an enormous number of things about him, his work, the people he works with, and so on. I don't have time to write everything down, but maybe I'll do so, one day in the distant future when time is in abundance and the travails of daily life don't impinge.


Below a couple of these, I'll make a few comments. Click for a larger picture in each case.

This is the tent next to the lake under which we sat for hours, discussing this and that. You can see Varun inside the tent along with a helper, organsing the meals. Most of the food we ate was prepared at his home but some chachh (lassi) was also sourced from the nearby village. The breeze under the tent was sheer heaven. Note that this was one of the hottest seasons in India, but it was a pleasure to be in Varun's AIM – the place that attracts the winds, the birds and the best people of India and the world.

I took some rest in one of his guest rooms, pictured below:

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Che Guevara – a self-declared BLOOD THIRSTY mass murderer who “really liked killing”

I've been ignoring Che Guevara for long – a known MEGA criminal, but given the fraudulent remaking of his image by millions of people who should have known better, it is important to assert – and if necessary, repeat – the truth about him.

Watch this first, and watch with care! Che EXPLAINS HOW HE WAS THIRSTY FOR BLOOD AND HOW HE LIKED KILLING. A more vicious criminal can barely be imagined. On par with the worst that mankind has ever generated.

Sources for Stefan Molyneux's video:

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara by Jorge G. Castaneda

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara

Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him by Humberto Fontova



Hey Urban Outfitters: Che Guevara Was a Murderer and Your Poster Is Not Cool

There's MUCH MORE but I think this should do. If you have any more links you wish to share, do so through the comments.

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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 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]

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





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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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