June 20, 2015
Trying to find more about Sonawani, I chanced upon his blog. This blog post shows his book was released by none other than Dr. Vasant Shinde, Vice-Chancellor, Deccan College. [Shinde's profile on DC website and his CV]
This is no mean achievement: to get the head of the most academically sound and eminent institute of archaelogy in India (and one of the few such institutes in the world) to release a book. There were a couple of other academics present at the event, as well.
Sonawani is no Talageri.
The man's intellect is powerful and has been able to attract some top academics of India.
June 20, 2015
Rarely do I come across much sense in the various writings on ancient Indian history (particularly the OIT-AIT etc. theories). When you read most of the writings, it appears that people are looks at things from fairly pre-conceived perspectives, and they are merely TWISTING the facts to suit their preferences.
At least that's the impression I got with most OIT "theorists". I've not paid much attention to alternative hypotheses (since there are too many of them). I've merely rejected OIT as being a bunch of nonsense.
But Sanjay Sonawani has no preconceived ideas and is willing to think more deeply. He is not content to debunk OIT but aims to find the truth. That's a far more ambitious project than what I started (a couple of weeks) to undertake. I'm not sure I'm going to spend much more time on these issues, since I don't intend to waste time on ancient history, but let me make a few notes on the broader issues, while I'm on the topic.
Sonawani is not a trained historian or scholar but jurors don't need to be trained criminlogists or forensic scientists. Jurors need to ask questions and make sure the facts fit the story being advocated. Sonawani asks sharp and pointed questions, and dismisses evidence that doesn't stack up. That's what I like about his work. Then he TENTATIVELY offers alternative possibilities. That's another good sign. Not the boor Talageri whose writings are littered with arrogant challenges to everyone in the world. Sonawani is the exact opposite of Talageri – even though both are untrained in any relevant discipline.
I won't comment on Sonawani's entire thesis till I've reviewed it carefully, but from what I've understood of his work so far (I've only reviewed a small bit), this is his deduction:
– Indo-European (or whatever these are called) languages came to India tens of thousands of years ago, along with the very early migrations that are well documented.
– Rig Vedic CULTURE (which is an offshoot of Zoroastrian culture) came into India from south Afghanistan in around 1500 BC through a SMALL group of preachers.
– These preachers settled in north India, in small pockets, but kept their proselytising momentum towards the East.
– Rig Vedic leaders absorbed a number of local language Prakrit influences and composed RV in around 1000 BC. Sanskrit was invented to combine the old Afghan language and the local prakrit.
– The Indus Valley civilisation is TOTALLY distinct to the RV culture, and was a major trading culture, with extensive roots in the middle-East.
– Indus Valley seals are labels for goods that were exported. They contain three pieces of info: the corporate brand/ logo, the product name and quantity. The seals contain NO evidence about the IV culture.
– It is FUTILE to try to link IV culture either with Dravidian or with RV/Sanskrit. It was a robust PRAKRIT culture, the SAME as what prevails TODAY in these regions. There is total continuity of culture/ artefacts (even names) and we should look at the UNDERLYING folk culture of these places to make deductions about the IV people. They didn't disappear – they continue exactly where they are.
Maybe Sonawani is on to something.
One thing is clear: OIT is RUBBISH. So also AIT (particularly the "invasion" bit).
Buddhism didn't influence the East through invasions. It spread through proselytisation.
It appears RV preachers found themselves a niche as Brahmins and became politically influential. They were also very clever and absorbed whatever local culture/s they found. Hence they spread their RV religion.
Apart from his book (which I've linked earlier, separately), you should download and read his article on the IV script, here.
June 20, 2015
Just thought I'd summarise the few things that have helped me reduce physical pain and inconvenience, and save thousands of dollars in doctor visits/ tests and charges. I've addressed these elsewhere but perhaps not included olive oil yet. Let me explain, briefly:
1) Vicks Vaporub: I developed a fungus type problem in my big toe, perhaps from the swimming pool. A stupid "skin specialist" tried his level best to waste my time and money – with zero results. I applied Vicks vaporub for a few weeks and viola, the entire problem disappeared. I now generally apply Vicks vaporub quite liberally – to any skin-related issue. It works.
2) Aloe vera: I developed some painful sharp cuts in the skin (in an embarrassing place) for which the doctor advised some pretty strong medicine. Nothing happened. Medicine failed. I tried the sap from a fresh aloe vera leaf and within a day the skin healed. Aloe vera works. I've tried it henceforth for similar trouble and it works ALWAYS. Without fail.
3) Olive oil: I developed some crumbs of white on my face some time ago – flaking skin. Dry etc. Went to doctors for opinion, they gave strong cortisoids. One didn't work, so tried another. No effect. Asked a pharmacist. He gave some other brand of some similar strong medicine. Nothing worked. (btw, Vicks Vaporub or Aloe Vera also didn't work – although they seemed to assist). Finally, tried olive oil. Worked like magic. Within weeks, the flaking has almost entirely disappeared. Further, there is this costly medicine that allegedly helps reduce ear wax. One fine day I tried olive oil, instead. I thought it worked well. In fact, it seems to work like magic.
4) Potassium Chloride (KCl): This one I've written about relatively recently – about the heart specialist who gave me some terrible medicine called beta blocker for some random, fast heart palpitations (mostly while playing tennis). After reading up and thinking about it, I decided to try KCl to supplement my diet (to try to mimic the K-Na ratio of paleo diets) along with a banana a day. This has worked beautifully. The frequency of the palpitations had dropped very significantly. I've decided to escalate my supplementation of KCl to around 2-3 gms per day.
5) Extreme stretching: YOGA IS USELESS. After getting extreme RSI I spent a lot of time doing yoga, and in mild stretches. BOGUS. No point doing any mild stretch. When your muscles get really sore, you need EXTREME STRETCHING. By now my RSI (which had reached a level that is perhaps unprecedented) and my eyestrain (which again, is definitely unprecedented) – both driven by my extreme typing/reading/writing – have almost disappeared. Not because of yoga but because of extreme stretches. I will perhaps write about these extreme stretches one day, time permitting.
June 20, 2015
I have a problematic habit: I question everything. When I start examining any issue I test all claims. That often means going to the original sources. But that's not all. I question the original sources for their methodology and integrity. I beat up all arguments and claims to death – till only the truth remains standing.
It is this approach that led me to throw out the Out of India Theory (OIT) within just a few days of starting reading up on the subject. I've already elaborated the "big picture" reasons why that theory is untenable. The common sense test was badly offended by the OIT.
That doesn't mean AIT is "correct". I've come out with a view that there is an In and Out Theory (call it IOT). That ideas can come and go (in various forms and shapes) is not remarkably interesting: just the way the world works.
In the process of "beating the arguments to death", I found that even stalwarts like MK Dhavalikar make massive deductions on the basis of facts that are not established. He is an archaeologist but his paper "Archaeology of the Aryans" necessarily makes use of the findings of numerous other disciplines. Unfortunately, he seems to take as "fact" things which are not necessarily facts. He doesn't "beat the arguments to death". He is a good archaeologist but a poor critical thinker. He needs to weigh the "facts" and attribute a "truth value" to them. Most importantly, he needs to assemble alternative explanations even for the well-established facts.
An example is his assertion: "It has now been scientifically established that the river dried up in the lower basin because of change of courses of its tributaries, viz Sutlej and the Yamuna, the former joining the Indus system and the latter, the Ganga".
I NEVER take anything as "scientifically well established" because I know how poorly most empirical science is conducted, and understand the limitations of data. (Climate "science" is absolutely bogus in most respects, for instance).
So I started testing this "well established fact".
And within minutes I found that this is a minefield. The assumptions made by people on the basis of a mere "satellite map" are frighteningly vast! Is this how people do science?!
In this process of investigating this a little bit further I chanced upon Sanjay Sonowal's 2015 book, Origins of the Vedic Religion: And Indus-Ghaggar Civilisation. I've now bought the book (readily available in kindle) and browsing through it.
Here's the section on the Sutlej-Jamuna issue. The man does have a critical mind. It would be worthwhile reading his book. I'll talk more about the book and its findings in the next few days/weeks. I am trying to assemble, separately, a set of facts that ARE true. These facts constrain all "theories" in this space, but definitely the Saraswati as a major river is not a "fact" to rely upon.
It is widely assumed by the Indian scholars that during the Harappan Phase, Yamuna and Satlej used to be tributaries of the Ghaggar river. It is said that the Yamuna and Satlej added ample water in the Ghaggar channel and made it a mighty river. This assumption has been derived from the satellite images that show the palaeo-channels of both the rivers. However, the satellite images do not define the minute topography and geological age of the river channels.
Did Satlej and Yamuna ever flow in the channel of the Ghaggar? We need to consider opinions of various scholars in this regard.
According to ‘Current Science’ report (2004) contributed by Indian and German scientists, “…the Saraswati did not carry glacier waters. The Ghaggar-Hakra area does not show mineral deposit of Himalayan glaciers, and thus it could not be a big, perennial, glacier fed river, but, rather, a smaller, seasonal, monsoon fed one. Based on sediment geochemistry and composition and geomorphologic and palaeoclimatic constraints that the Ghaggar-Hakra river was likely always Siwalik fed.”
Further, the report adds, “The suggestion of glacial sources and the Yamuna and Satluj rivers draining to the river Saraswati through Ghaggar before they were pirated by the Ganga and Indus respectively, are not supported by our isotopic data. If these hypotheses were correct, we would expect to find sediments derived from the Higher Himalayas in the Thar. Our data also do not support the idea that there was a change in the source area for the Ghaggar from a glaciated region to rainfall region.” 12
The report emphatically states that the Satlej and Yamuna being the tributaries of the Ghaggar, even in the remote past is a myth nourished by scholars neglecting the vital proof. According to the same report, the waning of the Ghaggar was only because of the declining of the rains, which was a gradual process, and not because of the capture of its tributaries by the other rivers or any tectonic events.
This means Satlej and Yamuna were never tributaries of Ghaggar, or at the least they were not feeding Ghaggar during the Harappan times, if taken into the considerations the other reports. Satlej and Yamuna are glacial fed rivers. Had they been feeding the Ghaggar in the past, the glacial mineral traces would have been detected in the sediments of the Ghaggar channel, but that is not the case according to the above-mentioned report. Rather, mighty rivers such as Satlej and Yamuna feeding a moderately small river even in the remote, pre-Harappan, past is a ridiculous idea.
In a research paper, published in “Geology”, Peter D Clift et al states, “…although loss of the Yamuna from the Indus is likely to have occurred as early as 49 ka and no later than 10 ka. Capture of the Yamuna to the east and the Sutlej to the north rerouted water away from the area of the Harappan centers, but this change significantly predated their final collapse…… Throughout the Holocene, including the Harappan period this river was fed only by seasonal monsoon rain in the east. This rain-fed Ghaggar-Hakra was active until after 4.5 ka and was then covered by dunes before 1.4 ka. What this means is that the Ghaggar-Hakra, unlike any of the major Indus tributaries, was not fed by snow melt, which begins in Spring and may be unpredictable, but was entirely reliant on swelling its banks from the summer monsoon.” 13
According to Sanjeev Gupta (Imperial College London), the river sediments ceased in the tract of the palaeo channel after 14,000 BCE, long before the Indus civilisation era had began. He reached this conclusion after his team did extensive drilling in the 30-40 m thick sand body in the subsurface beneath a tract of the Ghaggar-Hakra palaeochannel adjacent to the Indus city of Kalibangan.14
The Project Palaeo-Environmental Research Group — FB conducted field research and analysis of satellite imagery to identify the former course of the Ghaggar river and determined the causes and the dates of its avulsion. Contrary to its description in the Rig Veda text, field evidence demonstrates that the Ghaggar was not a large river, but a small one capable of providing water for agriculture only during the monsoon season.15
Sedimentary Geologist Suvrat Kher, referring to the research of Clift and his colleagues, states on his blog that the Yamuna and Satlej stopped feeding the Ghaggar long before 50,000 and 10,000 years respectively. While doing in-depth analysis of the critical issue, he clearly states that, “…I have stressed that this attempt to link a hypothesis of a mighty Saraswati to the presence of Aryans is misguided and the one that has caused harm to the public understanding of the topic and to what constitutes good science. Many geologists and archaeologists accepted the validity of a glacial Saraswati without critically weighing the evidence. Taking their cue, in web forums and books, supporters of a glacial Sarasvati have popularised the hypothesis of a late river avulsion and often presented it as irrefutable evidence favoring the indigenous Aryan theory.” 16 This statement speaks for itself.
The research paper published in “The current Science” which was mentioned earlier, also concludes that, ‘If the snowline did not drop to the Sub-Himalayan ranges even during glaciations and the glaciers continuously occurred only in the HHC, a higher rainfall for the huge erosion of Sub-Himalayan lithologies and to sustain the rivers was essential. Our isotope data provide a scientific basis for the absence of a glacial-fed, perennial Himalayan river in the Harappan domain, i.e. the River Ghaggar is not the Saraswati as far as its origin in the glaciated Himalayas is concerned.” 17 (Emphasis mine.)
From the abovementioned facts, we can conclude the following:
1. The Ghaggar is not the mythical river Saraswati.
2. The possibility of the mighty Satlej and Yamuna being the tributaries of the comparatively minor monsoon-fed rivers is unlikely.
3. Even if considered, though unlikely, that the Satlej and Yamuna were flowing through the Ghaggar Channel before they changed their course, it was quite long before when even the early phase of the Harappa culture had began.
4. The decline of the Harappan culture was gradual for several centuries due to the climatic changes and was not a sudden event as thought by some scholars.
5. At the least, equating the Ghaggar with Saraswati cannot become the basis of indigenous Aryan theory.
It appears that the problem with some was also to find anyhow the location of the Vedic people in the vicinity of IGC sites to stake the big claim that they were authors of the magnificent civilisation. Scholars like Kazanas seriously try to place the date of the Rig Veda in third millennium BC to coincide with the previously supposed date of Yamuna and Satlej changing their course, but the hypothesis is ridiculous in the light of the geological findings. 18 C
For the time being, let us leave aside the geological proofs, which clearly indicates that the Ghaggar could never have been Rig Vedic Saraswati, and consider different other points of view as to why the Ghaggar could not have been Saraswati.
In addition, we have already discussed that the Ghaggar river never was a lost river, like Saraswati. It always flowed, though seasonably, in summer showers, though its water discharge had reduced considerably because of the weak monsoons. Desertion of the Harappan sites was a gradual process that might have continued intermittently over hundreds of years. No foreign aggression or sudden natural or social calamity in the vicinity has been recorded. Still there are other socio-cultural evidences as well which misfits the Ghaggar as a candidate for being the lost Saraswati.
June 19, 2015
Around four days ago, I received this fifth installment from Kalicharan Tuvij. I find some assertions (e.g. in red, below) that I don't agree with. Much is interesting but not directly relevant to the issue I'm looking into: the OIT.
Publishing this for the record.
"Well, this information (re: Parsuram, Sudras, etc.) is rather interesting and I'm sure will interest a lot of people."
No sir, this – or anything else – will NOT interest a lot of people. Tolerance for truth is not among the highest in our country, where playing "fighting" into each other is a profitable business ensuring returns even without investment.
Our middle class being a consumer, and not producer, need to be told or taught how to do/ use this or that; sadly, they are completely dysfunctional in every other way.
When RV was redacted (text form) for the first time, the society (except our "beggar-bhaktas", and "village-Hindus") was already dysfunctional. Because it is very clear that those who did the documentation, or did the subsequent commentaries (Yaska, Sayana, even Panini, etc), did not have any clue on what the text meant.
This was because a civilisation had just died a natural death (widely understood under "yuga-cycle"; yeah US will also go, someday:-)), and RV as a written text was an attempt to salvage some of that.
The oral tradition was, therefore, continuing since even before that: prAkrita and Sanskrit existed side by side- none being older or younger to the other. RV is in Vedic Sanskrit, so we don't have any records of Prakrit from that period (other than the substratum in RV).
Indus seal writings have not been deciphered, and will never be, because we don't have Prakrit from that period. It is also a false framework to compare Sanskrit with other IE languages, because Sanskrit IS NOT A NATURAL LANGUAGE, Prakrit is. But we don't have any Prakrit texts from that time to compare with, since Sanskrit was the medium of formal communication; Prakrit was not even one language – it was a guild of a thousand languages.
Ultimately, Sanskrit is as old as the RV ideas. Using the RV ideas, Prakrit was modified, unified, rationalised, and refined to create Sanskrit. Sanskrit, on the other hand, since then, continued to influence Prakrit as well.
Philology is therefore successful when Russian region is shown to be the main genesis of European IE, but fails when it is taken out of context to include Vedic Sanskrit into its application on the Eastern IE.
One doesn't have to be particularly bright to see that Sanskrit has a lot of innovations (sound resolutions, rules inventing, roots arithmetic, and so on), but that doesn't mean that Sanskrit came later: because, as I said, Sanskrit was coexisting with Prakrit. Sanskrit was also a language designed to be an efficient carrier of innovations, its root system is an important tool to support that. PANini didn't create Sanskrit — everyone knows that — he didn't create inflection, roots, any of that. The original Sanskrit is known as "Aindra Sanskrit".
Sanskrit was meant to be the ONE LANGUAGE, as against the many of Prakrit. Sanskrit was meant to be the formal pan-bhArata lingo, so the insistence that there is only one Indian IE, that is Sanskrit, is in the end nothing but an obfuscation.
The native names of places and rivers (small or big) in Punjab, Haryana etc are known to be IE. This is because they are from various Prakrit's, which were all IE's.
Linguistically speaking, and in every other sense as well, India can be modelled as an inverted triangle: the three vertices being — at the bottom TamilNadu-Kerala, at the left upper Punjab-Haryana, and at the right upper Bihar-Jharkhand.
This is the three dimensional "vector" model, where all other regions of bhArata are seen as different sums of these three pure, "basis" vectors.
Among these three, the bottom vertex is the "first among the equals". The RV ideas, even though co-eval, were preceded a bit by the South. Remember, the timelines I am talking here could be tens of thousands of years.
So, even though the three "centres" were the independent contributors to the competencies, these still interacted with each other and kept abreast, so the content remained the same.
Under this triangle model, the IE story is only the third of the whole story.
The Easterners are less bragging than the Westerners, and that is I guess why the Japanese are not claiming a JIT (Japanese Invasion Theory) explaining their connections with the Bengalis or others on the East :-)
To the East, it is not the RV or Sanskrit that played that role: it was primarily the Ramayana culture. Not different languages, just different Ramayana's. Not much military enforcement was required either. Yet, the Ramayana ideas are at the deepest level the same as the RV ideas, even though there is a lot of difference in their respective forms.
So, yes, ideas went outside both from the East and the West of India.
We don't believe in creationist theories of "Aryans" (which nobody, I admit, "believes on paper", either, nowadays. Well, good for them), but the thing is, a lot of evolution and enrichment took place in India which was specially located for this purpose (spent a lot of time even floating there in the sea as an island).
There is a "West", and there is an "East", and we are right there in the Center. For clearly, "east" doesn't mean that "the sun REALLY rises there", neither does "west" mean that "the sun REALLY sets there". (I have read K.Elst earlier say something along this line).
There are many deeper things about these world-views and models, but I will not allow myself to speak more on this; however, the point is, this is the framework (already existing in our native sources) I am suggesting that is relevant here, and admits of all facts.
The liberal narrative demands that various models should be given opportunity to compete with each other. There is no middle path.
June 18, 2015
In BFN I showed why Indians will continue to FLEE India – till the level of freedom in other countries is higher than India's.
In SKC agenda, the sole measure of success is this:
2.4 Our sole measure of success
There will be many milestones on this journey to success. All of them will need to be identified, planned, and monitored.
But we ask the country to focus only on one ultimate indicator of success: the reversal of India’s brain drain. When thousands of our best and brightest halt their exodus from India, and when the world’s best graduates become desperate to migrate to India, then we will know we have succeeded. Not one day earlier.
That day, India will become well-entrenched as the beacon of liberty to the world, the greatest land of opportunity the world has ever seen.
Soon thereafter, India’s per capita income will rise to exceed the world’s highest, a foregone eventuality.
The sorry case of the Visa God
More details here.
The sad reality is that these people can easily make India BETTER than the West – IF ONLY THEY START THINKING.
Sorry, I'm a bit tired now, but those who have the energy to talk to Indian idiots about good policy can try. And please tell them that all their Modi-Shodis will only FURTHER ruin India since they have NO CLUE about the BASICS of governance.
Of course, if the vast majority of Indians DON'T want to understand about good public policy despite your best efforts, and continue to elect corrupt ignorant rascals to the top positions, then you should get out of India – for the sake of your own sanity.