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Origins of Civilization (New Light and Fresh Perspectives on Ancient History)

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Item Code: UAS787
Publisher: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788180902734
Pages: 294 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00 X 9.00 inch
Weight 1.25 kg
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Book Description
About The Book

This book was initially conceived after some starting archaeological discoveries began to be made in the second half of the twentieth century. At the same time, a new computer software was developed, which could verify astronomical dates given in many ancient texts. Once the astronomical data was verified to be correct, it added to the overall credibility of the concerned texts. This work takes cognizance of some of he new data, and discoveries, and attempts to correct some clearly, unacceptable concepts about ancient history, handed down to us from the colonial period of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. In doing so, the authors have also tried to show the various paths of cultural development that had taken place prior to the current era of our history. Indeed they could claim to even show the initial origins of human civilization, as it exists today.

This book arrives at some challenging conclusions, and claims to solve puzzles of our ancient history, that had been inducted in the textbooks of the colonial period. It also calls for the cleansing of political and religious prejudices from the pages of earlier historical works, which had scant attention to developments considered to be politically unsavoury. This work calls for the recognition of truths about our ancient past, even if they had not been favoured in the past.

About the Author

Commander Sureshwar D. Sinha, who retired early from the Indian Navy, drew inspiration from a family collection of manuscripts that were later gifted to a library. It included the world's oldest copy of the Mahabharata written on palm leaf and also documents from the ancient university of Nalanda.

Whilst in the Navy he visited museums and ancient sites, rather than shopping centres in the various ports of call. Though he could not visit the ten thousand year old site of Nevali Cori in Turkey, as it had submerged in waters of a reservoir, he met with the head of the excavation team Dr. Harald Hauptmann of the Heidelberg University and collected the valuable data gathered from the site. It was then that he decided to embark on this project to bring out the newly emerging perspectives on ancient history.

Dr B.R. Mani (b.1955) has been a renowned field archaeologist, numis matist and art critic, who is serving at present as Joint Director General in the Archaeological Survey of India. He has a throughout first class first career upto his Master degree which he did from Banaras Hindu University in 1976 and completed his Ph.D. on 'Life in the Kushan Age' in 1980 from B.H.U. He had been teaching in B.H.U. and Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies from 1978 till 1984 when he joined the A.S.I as Deputy Superintending Archaeologist. He has discovered a large number of archaeological sites throughout the country. He has directed more than 14 excavation projects in the country, some of which are Lal Kot (Delhi), Salimgarh (Delhi), Muhammad Nagar and Harnol (Haryana), Siswania, Sankisa, Ayodhya (UP) and Kanispur and Ambaran (J&K). He has widely travelled to European and Asian countries in international seminars and conferences. He has four books and about 170 research papers to his credit.


Commander Sureshwar D. Sinha has spent over three decades studying ancient India, and her relations to the emerging civilizations of Europe, whilst Dr. B.R. Mani, has collected valuable data from many important archaeological discoveries of the last sixty years. Together they have edited and put together this important work that gives us fresh insights into the rise of ancient civilizations and a general view of global happenings like rice cultivation in India and China around the tenth millennium BC. Twelve contributors from India, Europe, China and the USA present challenging aspects of India's history as well as that of China, West Asia, Europe and Egypt. New software has been used by B.N. Narahari Achar to prove the traditional chronology of Bharata. Dr. B.R. Mani surveys the long span of ten millennia of Indian civilization; a resume that has been overdue since the discovery of Mehrgarh, and of around a thousand sites spread over a vast area from the banks of the Indus to the vibrant shoreline of the long-lost Sarasvatt River. Dr. R.S. Bisht writes on the Harappans and the Rgveda, a point that has been discussed by several Indian scholars. Subhash Kak writes on the Vedic religion in Iran. The Weltanschauung in this volume is revolutionary as it seeks to examine Sanskrit texts in the context of archaeology, sometimes with ultra-modern software with its stupendous time depth. New time computations bring astonishing results, being unlimited in their reach into antiquity.

The editors Commander Sureshwar D. Sinha and Dr. B.R. Mani deserve congratulations in enlarging our vision of human achievements up to ten millennia. Starting even carlier, Dr. Christine Pellech gives us insights into the common ethos of the ancient world with regard to birth, death and rebirth, and other concepts prevalent in ancient Egypt. Whilst the eminent French archaeologist Dr. Henry Francfort tells us of the wide expanse covered by the Harappan world, going well beyond the Oxus, the nineteenth century philosopher, Louis Joccoliot tells us of the depth and extent of spread of Indian ideas in the ancient world. The parallel development of cultures in China, along with carly cultivation of rice, has also been ably presented by archaeologists Jiang Gang and Yang Jianhua. It is again welcome that modem creative computer scientists like Subhash Kak have taken to explore the chronology of Puranic king-lists on the basis of astronomy. I can only admire the daring of the adventurous academics to interpret the information of Sanskrit texts with the state-of-the-art technology being constantly developed in the USA. Glory to the science of information that illumines the dark nooks and corners of human evolution!

The chronological down-dating of every phenomenon has been due to the insistence that all development emanates from Western lands. If the dates of Indian history were realistic, then flow of influences could also be from the East to the West: das Drang nach Westen. Hegel's deglorification of India as an antidote to the romantic fascination led to the "vanity" of European thought about the intellectual and religious superiority of Europe over the rest of the world. Trivialisation of non-European cultures became central. The magnificent volume India and Europe; an essay in understanding by Wilhelm Halbfass is a masterly statement of European supremacy. On page 437 he is honest in expressing his arrogance: "India has discovered Europe and begun to respond to it in being overrun and objectified by it".


History would really be worthless, unless we were to learn lessons from it. And no correct lesson can be learnt from a narrative that is concocted, and not close to facts. In that case, the corruption of truth becomes counter-productive. Today, it is a major misconception for modern man to feel that the present state of material development represents the pinnacle of human progress. This is clearly an illusion, as nothing is gained without consequential costs. Regrettably, high rates of material development, also lead to environmental degradation. Since the nineteenth century, the ecological costs have been extremely high, and have brought our planet, the only home of humankind, close to disaster. Two major wars have also ravaged nations during the last century. Clearly, we have not learnt the correct lessons from history, Recent archaeological finds, over the last half century, have indicated that there was indeed global intercourse and trade, at fairly high levels of human development even ten millennia ago, without the annihilating conflagrations of today. It may, thus, be worth our while to examine whether some valuable lessons could not be learnt from the history of ancient times, some aspects of which we have often chosen to ignore or misinterpret.

Since the industrial revolution in Europe led to the political ascendancy of western powers, it has been an objective of the ruling classes of these states, to also show that human civilization had reached its highest levels of sophistication through this revolution, and the resulting material developments promoted by them. Earlier, assiduous efforts were made till the 19th century of the current era, to establish that the biblical theory of the creation of man by God, represented the truth with regard to man's advent on this planet. However, when Darwin overturned this theory, it became necessary to show that culturally human development had moved longitudinally from Africa to Egypt, and thence to Babylon, Greece and Rome, where, in southern Europe, cultures were uniquely evolved, leading to, supposedly, the highest levels of sophistication of human civilization, as it exists in the western nations of today.

Over the past two centuries, western universities have made strenuous efforts to promote the afore mentioned ideology, and shut out any other light which new archacological discoveries of the last half century, could shed. Indeed even some of the older evidence with regard to cultural development, such as those concerning the growth of Indo-European languages, with their roots in Sanskrit, were systematically challenged and their significance covered with controversies. The role of migrations from the cast by very diverse groups over some seven to eight thousand years, was lumped together as Celtic migrations, and their importance minimized, with the migrants being dubbed as barbarians. New archacological discoveries of the Neolithic period in Anatolia and in castern Europe, which could be quite revolutionary with regard to historical interpretations for that period, have also been shut out from the history currently being taught in most western universities.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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