The present anthology of articles on the Vedic-Harappan Relationship is a result of an in-depth study by some of the senior most
scholars of the discipline who debated the issue at length in the international seminar organised by the Panjab University,
Chandigarh. It encompasses views presented on scientific lines and studies from various angles – archaeology, art, ethnology,
geography, geology, history, literature, linguistics and other related aspects. The latest researches contained in the volume are
sure to make a valuable contribution to the discipline and a rich food for thought to the student and scholars of the subject.
Prof. Ashvini Agrawal, presently Dean, Faculty of Arts and Professor of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology,
Panjab University, Chandigarh is a well known Indologist. He has distinguished himself as a meticulous researcher in various
branches of the discipline. He has to his credit about one hundred research papers and book reviews published in reputed
journals in India and abroad. Besides his magnum opus, The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, he has authored/edited several
other books on various aspects of Indological studies such as Working Women in Ancient India, Buddhist Art and Thought, Sarupa
Saurabham, Ratna Chandrika, etc. He is the founder Editor of the Research Bulletin of the VVRI. A life-member of several academic
bodies besides being on the executive boards of some of them, he has participated in and chaired numerous seminars and
conferences. He has been invited to deliver special lectures by several institutions in India and aboard and is a recipient of many
fellowships and awards.
The early 1920s brought to light he sprawling cities of Mohenjo-daro in Sind and Harappan in Punjab, through the archaeological
excavations, that by most conservative estimates belonged to the third millennium BCE. With these discoveries arose the problems
of the authorship of this civilization and it was surmised, without any evidence, that its authors were Dravidians, the so-called
original inhabitants of India, who were defeated and pushed towards the South by the Aryan invaders. But the credit, for such an
advanced urban civilization was not given to the Indians. John Marshall (1931), E. Mackay (1938), R. Mortimer Wheeler (1960), etc.,
attributed the urbanization in India to the Mesopotamian Civilization with terms like ‘ideas have wings’ that have been revived by
scholars like M. Tosi (1993) with the terms like ‘Turanian Cultural Shock’. The attempts of scholars like Sri. Aurobindo, Lakshman
Sarup and Madho Sarup Vats to relate the new discoveries with the Vedic Civilization were scoffed upon and the by their more
vociferous Indian counterparts without ever caring to examine the evidence, old new, fresh.
However, a section of scholars including archaeologists, Sankritists and historians brought to fore fresh evidence, both
archaeological and literary, through their laborious investigations thus discarding the old theory given by the imperialists and their
followers. Notions like the Aryan migration into India, their conflict with the inhabitants of the Indus Valley, the Middle of the second
millennium BCE as the date of composition of the Rigveda have been successfully challenged. At the same time the role of the
Sarasvati River in the Vedic vis-avis Harappan Civilization, the change of the nomenclature from the ‘Indus Civilization’ to the
‘Sindhu-Sarasvati Civilization’ and the both being two phases of one and the same culture-the Vedic Civilization, have been
proposed and highlighted. However, another section of Scholars still remains opposed to these views, though without any
In order to provide a common platform to all the scholar desirous of sorting out the matter, a seminar was organized by the Panjab
University. Dealing with a single theme, The Search for Vedic-Harappan Relationship, the papers contained amazingly varid data,
approach and subject matter yet convincingly leading to a consensus that the geographical horizons of the two coincide, that their
chronological horizons overlap and that the mosaics of their culture content have striking resemblance. It was felt that there is
need to discard old view in the light of fresh evidence indicating the continuity of the Indian civilization from Rigvedic to the
Harappan, the latter being the period of the Atharvaveda and the Brahmanas.
Prof. B.B. Lal, Former Director-General, Archaeological Survey if India, led the discussion by presenting keynote address, dwelt
upon the topic from every possible angle-the date the Rigveda, the archaeological evidence of the Sindhu-Sarasvati (Harappan)
Civilization, the authors of two, the role of the Sarasvati, the views of the earlier writers like Max Muller, concluding that ‘the
often-touted objections against a Harappan-Vedic equation are groundless and there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest
that this equation is the most likely one’. He set the ball rolling by his remark-‘It is time to rethink’.
Prof. B.P. Sinha, who presided over the inaugural session, also questioned the theory of the so-called Aryan migration and the very
nomenclature Aryan for a race on the basis of literary as well as archaeological evidence. He strongly advocated the affinity of the
Vedic and the Harappan Civilization and pleaded for review of the entire evidence at our disposal in its totally.
The papers included in this volume represent almost every aspect the theme, the major thrust being on the affinity between the
archaeological and the literary evidence. The role of the Sarasvati in the Vedic-Harappan Civilization with deep discussion on its
identification, source and course, its place in the Vedic literature, Harappan sites on its ancient bed and their connotations, has
draw the attention of several scholars. The Sarasvati which is eloquently praised in the Vedic literature as naditama, ambitama, and
devitama, flowing from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea as a perennial river, had more than a thousand Harappan settlements
along its course till it disappeared due to geological-tectonic-volcanic changes forcing the inhabitants on its banks to migrate
elsewhere. Its region, called Brahmavatara, the most sacred land was not only home to the Vedic sages but it was here that
Vedic-Harappan culture flourished from the beginning. The attempts to draw conclusions about the past on the basis of the
present state of this great river are not only fallacious but also misleading.
The Aryan migration/invasion theory and the related questions like the date of the Rigveda vis-à-vis Harappan culture, the flow of
ideas to or from the west, the date of the Mahabharata War and the astronomical data, the archaeoastronomy and the like have
been fruitful discussed by an equally large number of scholars. Breaking the myth of the Aryan invasion/migration into the
Saptashindhu land, it has been convincingly argued that the Rigveda must be dated prior to 3000 BCE and the Harappan culture
reflects the age of the Atharvaveda and the Brahamanas. The Mahabharata War cannot be dated beyond the third millennium BCE
and the literary and archaeological evidence point same direction without contradiction.
The relevance of the geographical reference in the Vedic literature, especially to the ocean, rivers and Some, their bearing on the
present theme, significance and connotations have received due attention. Equally important are the articles correlation the
material culture described in the Vedas and known from the remains of the Harappan cities, including art and architecture, town
planning, pottery trade and commerce, navigation, etc., along with an interesting article on the affinity of art motifs in the Vedic and
Harappan Culture makes the connection between the two crystal clear. The religious affinity as discussed with the example of the
significance of the asvattha three motif on the Harappan seals and pottery and the parallel references in the Vedic literature point in
the same direction. The relation of the Harappan seals and the Motifs thereon with the passages in the Upanishads and the
Samhitas has also been dealt with. The presence of horse in the Harappan civilization that has been repeatedly questioned by the
critics of the Vedic-Harappan relationship has also been convincingly established by more than one scholar.
The ethnic affinities, groups and relations, the connotation of the word Arya have not escaped the attention of the scholars
contributing to this volume. The discussion on the need of a new paradigm for the Rigvedic-Harappan relationship in the light of
ethnic relationships and groupings leads to the same directing in a new way. The meaning of the word Arya never denoted a race
but was used for cultured, noble, educated elite and that such people cannot be called barbarians by any stretch of imagination
have been clearly established.
Rethinking and reinterpreting the oldest line of argument based on philology, that at one time had become the hallmark of the
Aryan Migration Theory, it has been shown that the Dravidian origin of the Harappan is a myth. It has been convincingly pointed out
that the Vedic Sanskrit is one of the Indo-European group of language but its speakers have not descended from an
Indo-European race. In fact there is no evidence tat such a race ever existed.
The archaeological evidence brought to fore by recent excavations at Kunal in the Fetechabad district Harappan, have brought to
light the culture remains from pre-to mature Harappan period shedding important light on the antiquity of the Harappans in
Brahmavarta and their affinity with the Vedic people. Through purely technical in nature, the paper serves as a base for further
discussion on the topic clearly pointing to the Vedic-Harappan relationship.
The articles included in this Volume, based on deep research on scientific lines, help us clear a haze that was created around the
earliest history of India, removing several wrong notions and clearing mental cobwebs. It was not possible to arrange them in any
thematic order as the broad subject and approach of all the scholars has been the same as also their scholastics merit. Therefore, it
was decided to put them in alphabetical order of the author’s names. This may not appear very scientific in itself but is an
often-followed practice in such cases. Of course, the opinions expressed her remain open to discussion and debate but may a
consensus of opinion emerge on the issue as prayed in the Rigveda.
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