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Books > History > Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and Politics
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Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and Politics
Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and Politics
Description
From the Jacket:

Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and Politics by N. S. Rajaram, With numerous illustrations and maps.
The discovery of the Sarasvati River, lauded in the Vedas as the greatest river, and the decipherment of the 5000-year old Indus script are the two most important breakthroughs in Indian history to have taken place in recent decades. The story of Sarasvati's rediscovery in our time is also the story of the rediscovery of Vedic India. Here, is a book on these epoch making developments by one who has been at the center of these discoveries.

The book shows unequivocally - Harappan civilization was Vedic. Harappan archaeology represents the material remains of the culture and civilization described in the Vedic literature, and flourished in the same geographic regions.

In the present book, N. S. Rajaram, a scientist as well as historian, marshals evidence from a wide range of sources, from archaeology and astronomy to the newly deciphered Indus seals, to shed light on the origins and the achievements of probably the most important civilization in world history. He goes beyond current theories and highlights important facts about natural history and population genetics that point to climate changes in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions rather than Central Asia of Eurasia as holding the key to understanding the origins of the Vedic civilization.

In the process the settles important questions like the "Aryan invasion" and the "Harappan horse" by exposing the political currents and the personalities that give rise to the brand of history imposed on the children of India by colonial authorities and their present day followers. To place it in the historical context, the book includes a summary of the current state of these politically motivated moves, including the recent controversy over textbooks used in California schools.

About the Author:

Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram is a mathematician, linguist and historian who after a twenty-year career as an academic and industrial researcher in the United States turned his attention to history, in which he has several notable achievements. He collaborated with the renowned Vedic scholar Dr. Natwar Jha on the decipherment of the 5000 year old Indus script leading to their epoch making work The Deciphered Indus Script. In may 1999, Rajaram deciphered the newly discovered sample of what has been called the "world's oldest writing," showing it to be related to the Rigveda. Most recently, by a detailed study of human population genetics, he has shown that the people of India are not recent immigrants but have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years. He sees history as an extension of natural history rather than as a field for political theories.

Preface:

In this modest volume, what I have attempted is an easy to follow summary of some important findings of the last four decades that have a bearing on the civilization of Vedic India. Taken individually any one of them may seem minor, but their cumulative impact is monumental. They force a fundamental reorientation in our thinking by drawing attention to South India (Peninsular India) and Southeast Asia as possible major contributors to the Vedic civilization from the earliest times. Judging by recent discoveries in archaeology and natural history - including genetics - this shift of focus from the west and northwest to south and east is likely to be the next major development in Indian historiography. Anyone familiar with history books in use today can see this is a radical departure indeed. In doing this, I have also moved away from the battle of polemics relating to the various invasion/migration theories and taken what I hope are steps towards reconstructing history on rational grounds and on scientific principles.

I have called the book Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization. This to me seems entirely natural. The discovery of the lost river Sarasvati led to the rediscovery of our Vedic past. It highlights also the two major discoveries that came to light in the final decade of the last century: the Vedic river Sarasvati and the identification of the Harappan civilization as the Vedic- Sarasvati civilization. The latter culminated in Jha's proposed decipherment of the Indus script, in which I too had a part.

These two themes - the Sarasvati River and the Vedic-Harappan identity - form the core of the book. They take us beyond refuting prevailing theories like the Aryan invasion and offer a constructive alternative. But they are not the whole story. Science now tells us that there existed a primordial civilization flourishing by the Sarasvati River going back to 4000 BC if not a good deal earlier. The Rigveda is a remnant of that hoary age. Whether there existed an even earlier civilization of which the Rigveda was a part - or from which the Vedic civilization sprang - is a question we must be prepared to ask. I have just touched on it here, but hope to address it more fully in the future.

This book is also the story of the search leading to the rediscovery of our ancient roots. We call this the Vedic Civilization, though this represents only the culmination of what must have been a long journey. It is also the story of the decline and fall of a theology of false doctrines created by colonial politicians and other interested parties to serve their own interests. It is this theology that is still being taught as 'history' in Indian schools and colleges. The present book was written partly to correct the picture. It refutes unfounded theories based on evidence. It goes beyond refutation by providing an alternative.

The process by which a false, scientifically discredited version happened to gain respectability as 'Indology' (any now Indo-European studies) is an integral part of Indian historiography. I have therefore found it useful to discuss its background in some detail. It is necessary to learn from past mistakes so we don't keep repeating them.

With this in view, I have added Supplement I, which summarizes in one place the scientific, the historical and the political background to the Aryan invasion theory, which has dominated discourse for well over a century. I hope the reader will see that the debate today, or what is left of it, is entirely political in which the advocates of the Aryan invasion have little to add beyond verbal semantics and negation of evidence.

For these reasons I have taken an uncompromising stand on the issue of Western inspired Indology: I see Indology as a 'period discipline' like eugenics (race science) and colonial anthropological theories that were created mainly to give a veneer of respectability to political and religious motives. I see it as having two sides - racial and political. The two became intermixed as in the case of German Nationalism, but continues today in the guise of Indo-European Studies. Though racism is no longer academically respectable, the same ideas, often with similar conclusions continue to be promoted in the guise of linguistics and anthropology. This has now acquired new life, and new patronage, in the guise of genetics - supposedly as the result of 'genome research'. I have found it worthwhile to show its true colors and separate science from propaganda.

The book does not claim to be the final word on ancient history. Our voyage of discovery has only begun. It is not even entirely objective, for I have been too close to the events as well as to some of the key personalities whose work has made the present book possible. In any event, I doubt if such a thing as 'objective history' can ever exist. But I have no hesitation in asserting that the account given here is in much better agreement with empirical data than what is found in most history books today.

One of my goals in this book is to highlight the problems inherent in the current version of history and suggest alternatives based on science and the primary sources. If this provides room for thought, especially among the youth, I will be more than happy.

An emerging new field is the study of human genetics. Recent advances in the field have the potential to add significantly to our understanding of ancient history going back to the Ice Age. But what I have seen so far has tended to be native and at times motivated - with occasional attempts to revive discredited race theories in the guise of science. I have included some discussion of biological evidence, for it is bound to play an increasingly important role in the study of the ancient world. As I see it, the problem lies not so much with the biochemistry and the structure of genes, which are well understood, but a proper application of quantitative methods to human populations. I have occasionally touched on these topics but it needs many years of research before we can feel comfortable about genetic data and methods of analysis.

I feel that methods currently in use may not suffice and new ones may need to be created from fundamentals. Further, we need to study human history as part of natural history. This is an ambitious program. I have only touched on it in the present volume. I feel however that it is a new and important field that will attract the best talent in the coming decades.

Returning to the struggle for truth, what we are witnessing is in fact a rediscovery of the nearly lost roots of our Vedic past. Alien (and alienated) forces - both Indian and foreign - have done their best to erase all traces of its existence. But now, thanks to science and the dedication of many seekers, truth is finally coming to the fore. And naturally enough, for that reason, it is also a story of the struggle between truth seekers and false prophets - between light and darkness.

In the present volume, I have provided a summary of the following three major themes. First, an easy to follow but scientifically sound explanation of discoveries leading to the refutation of the model of history based on the notion of the Aryan invasion of India; this is based on, but not limited to, the Sarasvati River and the Vedic-Harappan connection. (This includes a popular account of Jha's proposed decipherment of the Indus script.) Next, a brief summary of the colonial politics and missionary interests that led to the creation of this mode. (Four this reason, it is now being called the colonial-missionary model.) Finally, I give also a brief discussion of biological and ecological antecedents of history that call for a reorientation of our focus from the north-northwest to the south and the southeast. This I have only touched upon in the final chapter.

I have included also three supplementary chapters that present some facts about important topics and recent developments. They are related to topics discussed in the book, but may be read independently. Supplement I in particular contains important new information that is likely to have a major bearing on Indian history and historiography.

The present volume differs from most other books on the subject by going beyond refutation of the Aryan invasion and providing an alternative approach to reconstructing ancient history. (I have also touched on the possible westward diffusion of language and culture, based partly on Shrikant Talageri's Vedic-Puranic synthesis. This needs the support of hard data from science and archaeology, which one hopes will not be long in coming. A beginning has been made by geneticists Luigi Cavalli-Sforza and Stephen Oppenheimer in their recent research, which I have briefly touched on. Results so far indicate that all non-African peoples living in the world today are desended from South Asians.

In terms of chronology, the present volume departs from the accounts found in most history books on these two points: (1) identification of the Harappan civilization as Vedic; and (2) placing the Rigveda before the material civilization represented by Harappan archaeology. The history of the Sarasvati River provides the theme, for the history of the Sarasvati River is veritably the history of the Vedic Age.

If there is one message that I have tried to convey it its that science and the primary sources must take precedence over theory and beliefs. As Einstein once said: "A theory must not contradict empirical facts."

Contents

Foreword by David Frawleyix
Preface: Science in the service of historyxv
1. Introduction: Science and faith1
2. Sarasvati: River lost and found8
3. Colonial cobwebs: The Aryan problem29
4. History and politics: Scholars and patrons42
5. Vedic people: Image of the ocean61
6. The language puzzle: Vedic India and Europe71
7. Vedic Age: On the banks of the Sarasvati87
8. Birth of writing: The Indus script97
9. Beyond invasion: Looking south and east113
Epilogue: 'History is always written wrong'120
Supplement I: The current state of Aryan theories124
Supplement II: Science in Ancient India130
Supplement III: Date of the Mahabharata War138
Bibliography143
Index147

Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and Politics

Item Code:
IDJ545
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2006
Publisher:
ISBN:
8177420666
Size:
8.9" X 5.8"
Pages:
171 (Black & White Illus: 29)
Price:
$29.00   Shipping Free
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From the Jacket:

Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and Politics by N. S. Rajaram, With numerous illustrations and maps.
The discovery of the Sarasvati River, lauded in the Vedas as the greatest river, and the decipherment of the 5000-year old Indus script are the two most important breakthroughs in Indian history to have taken place in recent decades. The story of Sarasvati's rediscovery in our time is also the story of the rediscovery of Vedic India. Here, is a book on these epoch making developments by one who has been at the center of these discoveries.

The book shows unequivocally - Harappan civilization was Vedic. Harappan archaeology represents the material remains of the culture and civilization described in the Vedic literature, and flourished in the same geographic regions.

In the present book, N. S. Rajaram, a scientist as well as historian, marshals evidence from a wide range of sources, from archaeology and astronomy to the newly deciphered Indus seals, to shed light on the origins and the achievements of probably the most important civilization in world history. He goes beyond current theories and highlights important facts about natural history and population genetics that point to climate changes in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions rather than Central Asia of Eurasia as holding the key to understanding the origins of the Vedic civilization.

In the process the settles important questions like the "Aryan invasion" and the "Harappan horse" by exposing the political currents and the personalities that give rise to the brand of history imposed on the children of India by colonial authorities and their present day followers. To place it in the historical context, the book includes a summary of the current state of these politically motivated moves, including the recent controversy over textbooks used in California schools.

About the Author:

Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram is a mathematician, linguist and historian who after a twenty-year career as an academic and industrial researcher in the United States turned his attention to history, in which he has several notable achievements. He collaborated with the renowned Vedic scholar Dr. Natwar Jha on the decipherment of the 5000 year old Indus script leading to their epoch making work The Deciphered Indus Script. In may 1999, Rajaram deciphered the newly discovered sample of what has been called the "world's oldest writing," showing it to be related to the Rigveda. Most recently, by a detailed study of human population genetics, he has shown that the people of India are not recent immigrants but have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years. He sees history as an extension of natural history rather than as a field for political theories.

Preface:

In this modest volume, what I have attempted is an easy to follow summary of some important findings of the last four decades that have a bearing on the civilization of Vedic India. Taken individually any one of them may seem minor, but their cumulative impact is monumental. They force a fundamental reorientation in our thinking by drawing attention to South India (Peninsular India) and Southeast Asia as possible major contributors to the Vedic civilization from the earliest times. Judging by recent discoveries in archaeology and natural history - including genetics - this shift of focus from the west and northwest to south and east is likely to be the next major development in Indian historiography. Anyone familiar with history books in use today can see this is a radical departure indeed. In doing this, I have also moved away from the battle of polemics relating to the various invasion/migration theories and taken what I hope are steps towards reconstructing history on rational grounds and on scientific principles.

I have called the book Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization. This to me seems entirely natural. The discovery of the lost river Sarasvati led to the rediscovery of our Vedic past. It highlights also the two major discoveries that came to light in the final decade of the last century: the Vedic river Sarasvati and the identification of the Harappan civilization as the Vedic- Sarasvati civilization. The latter culminated in Jha's proposed decipherment of the Indus script, in which I too had a part.

These two themes - the Sarasvati River and the Vedic-Harappan identity - form the core of the book. They take us beyond refuting prevailing theories like the Aryan invasion and offer a constructive alternative. But they are not the whole story. Science now tells us that there existed a primordial civilization flourishing by the Sarasvati River going back to 4000 BC if not a good deal earlier. The Rigveda is a remnant of that hoary age. Whether there existed an even earlier civilization of which the Rigveda was a part - or from which the Vedic civilization sprang - is a question we must be prepared to ask. I have just touched on it here, but hope to address it more fully in the future.

This book is also the story of the search leading to the rediscovery of our ancient roots. We call this the Vedic Civilization, though this represents only the culmination of what must have been a long journey. It is also the story of the decline and fall of a theology of false doctrines created by colonial politicians and other interested parties to serve their own interests. It is this theology that is still being taught as 'history' in Indian schools and colleges. The present book was written partly to correct the picture. It refutes unfounded theories based on evidence. It goes beyond refutation by providing an alternative.

The process by which a false, scientifically discredited version happened to gain respectability as 'Indology' (any now Indo-European studies) is an integral part of Indian historiography. I have therefore found it useful to discuss its background in some detail. It is necessary to learn from past mistakes so we don't keep repeating them.

With this in view, I have added Supplement I, which summarizes in one place the scientific, the historical and the political background to the Aryan invasion theory, which has dominated discourse for well over a century. I hope the reader will see that the debate today, or what is left of it, is entirely political in which the advocates of the Aryan invasion have little to add beyond verbal semantics and negation of evidence.

For these reasons I have taken an uncompromising stand on the issue of Western inspired Indology: I see Indology as a 'period discipline' like eugenics (race science) and colonial anthropological theories that were created mainly to give a veneer of respectability to political and religious motives. I see it as having two sides - racial and political. The two became intermixed as in the case of German Nationalism, but continues today in the guise of Indo-European Studies. Though racism is no longer academically respectable, the same ideas, often with similar conclusions continue to be promoted in the guise of linguistics and anthropology. This has now acquired new life, and new patronage, in the guise of genetics - supposedly as the result of 'genome research'. I have found it worthwhile to show its true colors and separate science from propaganda.

The book does not claim to be the final word on ancient history. Our voyage of discovery has only begun. It is not even entirely objective, for I have been too close to the events as well as to some of the key personalities whose work has made the present book possible. In any event, I doubt if such a thing as 'objective history' can ever exist. But I have no hesitation in asserting that the account given here is in much better agreement with empirical data than what is found in most history books today.

One of my goals in this book is to highlight the problems inherent in the current version of history and suggest alternatives based on science and the primary sources. If this provides room for thought, especially among the youth, I will be more than happy.

An emerging new field is the study of human genetics. Recent advances in the field have the potential to add significantly to our understanding of ancient history going back to the Ice Age. But what I have seen so far has tended to be native and at times motivated - with occasional attempts to revive discredited race theories in the guise of science. I have included some discussion of biological evidence, for it is bound to play an increasingly important role in the study of the ancient world. As I see it, the problem lies not so much with the biochemistry and the structure of genes, which are well understood, but a proper application of quantitative methods to human populations. I have occasionally touched on these topics but it needs many years of research before we can feel comfortable about genetic data and methods of analysis.

I feel that methods currently in use may not suffice and new ones may need to be created from fundamentals. Further, we need to study human history as part of natural history. This is an ambitious program. I have only touched on it in the present volume. I feel however that it is a new and important field that will attract the best talent in the coming decades.

Returning to the struggle for truth, what we are witnessing is in fact a rediscovery of the nearly lost roots of our Vedic past. Alien (and alienated) forces - both Indian and foreign - have done their best to erase all traces of its existence. But now, thanks to science and the dedication of many seekers, truth is finally coming to the fore. And naturally enough, for that reason, it is also a story of the struggle between truth seekers and false prophets - between light and darkness.

In the present volume, I have provided a summary of the following three major themes. First, an easy to follow but scientifically sound explanation of discoveries leading to the refutation of the model of history based on the notion of the Aryan invasion of India; this is based on, but not limited to, the Sarasvati River and the Vedic-Harappan connection. (This includes a popular account of Jha's proposed decipherment of the Indus script.) Next, a brief summary of the colonial politics and missionary interests that led to the creation of this mode. (Four this reason, it is now being called the colonial-missionary model.) Finally, I give also a brief discussion of biological and ecological antecedents of history that call for a reorientation of our focus from the north-northwest to the south and the southeast. This I have only touched upon in the final chapter.

I have included also three supplementary chapters that present some facts about important topics and recent developments. They are related to topics discussed in the book, but may be read independently. Supplement I in particular contains important new information that is likely to have a major bearing on Indian history and historiography.

The present volume differs from most other books on the subject by going beyond refutation of the Aryan invasion and providing an alternative approach to reconstructing ancient history. (I have also touched on the possible westward diffusion of language and culture, based partly on Shrikant Talageri's Vedic-Puranic synthesis. This needs the support of hard data from science and archaeology, which one hopes will not be long in coming. A beginning has been made by geneticists Luigi Cavalli-Sforza and Stephen Oppenheimer in their recent research, which I have briefly touched on. Results so far indicate that all non-African peoples living in the world today are desended from South Asians.

In terms of chronology, the present volume departs from the accounts found in most history books on these two points: (1) identification of the Harappan civilization as Vedic; and (2) placing the Rigveda before the material civilization represented by Harappan archaeology. The history of the Sarasvati River provides the theme, for the history of the Sarasvati River is veritably the history of the Vedic Age.

If there is one message that I have tried to convey it its that science and the primary sources must take precedence over theory and beliefs. As Einstein once said: "A theory must not contradict empirical facts."

Contents

Foreword by David Frawleyix
Preface: Science in the service of historyxv
1. Introduction: Science and faith1
2. Sarasvati: River lost and found8
3. Colonial cobwebs: The Aryan problem29
4. History and politics: Scholars and patrons42
5. Vedic people: Image of the ocean61
6. The language puzzle: Vedic India and Europe71
7. Vedic Age: On the banks of the Sarasvati87
8. Birth of writing: The Indus script97
9. Beyond invasion: Looking south and east113
Epilogue: 'History is always written wrong'120
Supplement I: The current state of Aryan theories124
Supplement II: Science in Ancient India130
Supplement III: Date of the Mahabharata War138
Bibliography143
Index147
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