Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby member_22872 » 10 May 2012 05:49

ramana wrote:X-post...
nawabs wrote:Another nail in the Aryan coffin


Ramana garu, could you please post the link to the original article please?

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby nawabs » 10 May 2012 06:21


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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ramana » 10 May 2012 09:51

The lemuria theory is another form of AIT.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 10 May 2012 10:02

shiv wrote:I think that connecting an out of India hypothesis with the Hamitic thing is a mistake. No connection must be made. The Hamitic hypothesis is plain bullshit and the out of India thing at least has a chance of being right in many areas. So if any part is not proven, it will be taken as "proof" of the Hamitic theory. So please do not connect the two together.


ramana wrote:Yogi_G, In Judaism there is supposed to be covenant with God that makes the Jews superior to the non-believers. So all of them are equal.

Yet they had to face the reality that there are skin and color differences among people. So they came up with the Noah and his three sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) cock and bull story to justify racism and unequal treatment of humans even when they are believers. So Hamatic theory is a way to justify their top dog position.

Its at basic level an animal instinct of the dominance of the powerful you see in animal packs/tribes.


I consider the whites (Anglo-Saxons and other assorted Germannic tribes) and Pakis/Iranians/Non-Arab converts to be the most intellectually vaccuous when it comes to debating ancestry and race theories. Here are communities of people who are so shameless that they have abandoned and disowned the ways of their forefathers, have adopted alien desert cultures and then go on to preach to others (especially to cultural pure-breds like Indians) about the greatness of their ways. The white man is slightly better than the Paki in that he initially talks logic but then again in my interactions with whites on such topics I always see this line of defence,

1. Whites are superior because the latest innovations came from them. Walk around the home and you will find lots of things invented by the "West" (read whites) and not many from India or China.
2. Point out to them that only for the last few hundred years, was there innovations from the west and prior to that there was shoonya and then they resort to talking about Greeks and Rome and how the west is derived from them. Now when you point out that Germannic tribes were considered barbarians by these both civs and that even both of these civs were themselves tribes/hunter-gatherers when the other civs had moved on to cities and agriculture, thats where the camel's back breaks. And if you further add that as recently as 1900s, Greeks, Spanish, Italians were not considered whites by Anglo Saxon Americans boy do you have a debate on your hands. Except pseudo-thories and bible inspired crap from there on. The white man has no credible facts or information to debate from there on and will now have to resort to his last card as mentioned in #3 below. Expect some talk on alphabets from Phoenicians from some slightly more intellecual well-read whites but then when you point out that Phoenicians were never whites even that will die down and it's time to move on #3 for them.
3. This essentially is the last card and resort for the whites in their weird and absurd claims of exceptionalism and superiority. This is where theist inspired scriptural references come in and the debate is pretty much over. As a rational individual you cannot expect to have a sane meaningful conversation from this point on. And that's the Hamitic theory and "God demands segregation (of 60s fame)" theories spiced up by Ku Klux inspired pseudo-science.

Now this I have found only from the typical descendants of the assorted Germannic tribes with the exception of the Irish and the Scots. These 2 groups seem to have some sort of strange pride in their communities and even go to the extent of conveying "Yes, our ancestors may have been backward and tribals as recently as the 1200s" but atleast we fought well and maintained our identity and we are damn proud of it. The Gauls and Scandinavians are proud of their own cultures but dont resort to exceptionalism or weird race theories as much as the Germannic ones. The Slavs have a grudging admiration for the anglo-saxons and the ones in the west somehow see it that they need to prove their allegiance to their host countries by supporting Western exceptionalism, one of my close friend is a Slav but I have not met many Slavs so I am not sure if my conviction here is accurate, but the others I have met aplenty to be able to see a trend.

The last argument for most politically correct folks ends at #2 but the politically incorrect ones go onto #3 and this typically happens over the internet. The anonymity and the safety of the internet not only makes it the intellectual battleground of the world but also the place which reveals the true colours of the majority of the descendants of the Germannic tribes.

Now, it is extremely important to dismiss the Hamitic theory or make use of it to suit our needs. As Subhash Chandra Bose was ready to even work with Hitler for India's independence we need to be ready to engage such rubbish theories for our own benefit. No matter how much you prove scientifically the stupidity of race and exceptionlism theories the whites and the pakis will always resort to cr@p such as the Hamitic one. This is analogous to Pakis using such weird ones as Ghazwa-e-Hind or the EJs in India "saying xtianity is only religion, all others are the work of satan".

So how do you battle that? There can never be an intellectual thrashing until you destroy the last theoretical defence of your opponent. And these opponents are not as magnanimous and mature like Shri Mandana Mishra who accepted defeat to Adi Sankara and moved on. Now if you appropriate the very Hamitic theory and turn the tables on the whites and the pakis what are they left with? We can an Indic touch to Hamitic theory and other such assorted rubbish theories backed strongly by the Out of India kind theories and make it acceptable for all stakeholders and bring in a truce.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 10 May 2012 10:49

Yogi_G ji,

"Reverse Inculturation" is the thread, I would use to discuss Judeo-Christian Theology and its possible relationship to the Ancient Indians.

Hamitic Theory is based on the myth of Noah cursing his own son Ham. However considering the commonality between Noah's Deluge and the Hindu Flood Legends - Satyavarman, Vaivasvata, and Nahusha, it is obvious that the story is plagiarized from our texts. So we own Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and we can do with them whatever we want. Will expand on this later.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 10 May 2012 12:01

Rajesh ji, exactly, now we need to be prepared with all sorts of answers to all sorts of counter questions that they pose, one of them being the Hamitic theory. Out of India theory propogation must accompany with it a lot of answers to all sorts of questions to be successful. Now how to propogate is another matter and frankly I have no answer to it. I come to this thread to get that gyaan from others writings.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 10 May 2012 12:58

Climate change at the 4.2 ka BP termination of the Indus valley civilization and Holocene south Asian monsoon variability

M. Staubwasser
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

F. Sirocko
Institute für Geowissenschaften, Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany

P. M. Grootes
Leibniz Labor, Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

M. Segl
Geowissenschaften, Universität Bremen, Bremen, Germany

----------------------------------------------------------------

Planktonic oxygen isotope ratios off the Indus delta reveal climate changes with a multi-centennial pacing during the last 6 ka, with the most prominent change recorded at 4.2 ka BP. Opposing isotopic trends across the northern Arabian Sea surface at that time indicate a reduction in Indus river discharge and suggest that later cycles also reflect variations in total annual rainfall over south Asia. The 4.2 ka event is coherent with the termination of urban Harappan civilization in the Indus valley. Thus, drought may have initiated southeastward habitat tracking within the Harappan cultural domain. The late Holocene drought cycles following the 4.2 ka BP event vary between 200 and 800 years and are coherent with the evolution of cosmogenic 14C production rates. This suggests that solar variability is one fundamental cause behind Holocene rainfall changes over south Asia.

Published 18 April 2003.

----------------------------------------------------------------

A possible date when the Out-of-India migrations could have started, or at least this spate of migrations. There could of course have been some earlier as well.

This gives us several dates for such large-scale migrations out-of-India.

  1. 3,139 BC - Mahabharata War
  2. 2,200 BC - Drought in the Sindhu, and
  3. 1,900 BC - Drying of the Saraswati River due to Tectonic shifts resulting in the loss of Yamuna and then Sutlej
Last edited by RajeshA on 10 May 2012 14:42, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 10 May 2012 14:34

A website by name authentic Encyclopaedia of Hinduism says that after the Mahabharatha war there was wide scattering of populations to the extent that the Indus valley civilization got cut off from the rest of India. Such was the power of the weapons used in the war and the extent of the loss of life in the war. Surely some population must have westward post 3100 BC?

I am still of the opinion that with large scale excavations in India the truth will come out. We see only a small vestige in the IVC, the greater treasures are hidden in the heartland.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 10 May 2012 14:41

Yogi_G,

thanks for reminding about the Mahabharata War. Corrected the list.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ManishH » 10 May 2012 20:18

Yogi_G: assuming Mahabharata of "3139 BC"* was a catalyst for migrations out of India ...

One would expect at least some of the fleeing population to have remembered legends about Mahabharata. Even assuming they were the losers of the war, at least remember legends of Ramayana. But surprisingly no such evidence of post-Mahabharata memories remain. Even the Mitanni rulers know only about Vedic concepts, but not a single cultural relic from Mahabharata or Ramayana is seen. After all Mahabharata is claimed to have occurred in 3194BC way before Mitanni inscriptions of 1400 BC.

Compare this to SE Asia to where migration from India is well attested; and they do preserve cultural memories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

(*) what's the source of this amazingly old date ?

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 10 May 2012 21:48

ManishH ji,

It is possible that the Mitanni people really left India much earlier. In order to be conform with Indic idea of Itihaas, let's say it was around 5500 BC, before the Ramayana even.

We know that the Kurgan Civilization is from a time period of 6 millenium onwards. If the migrations were from India Northwards, where there was a mixing of cultures of Indians and natives, where the Indians implanted our Vedic Sanskritic language onto the natives. They would have known only of the Vedas and not much about the Ramayana or even of the Mahabharata. The Kurgans may not have been the only Indo-Aryans, who migrated out of India at that time. The Pre-Mitannis too could have been another group, which could have kept their deities. Some of those tribes may have migrated Westwards to Armenia and Kurdistan (Mitanni region).

As such the Mitanni knew only the Vedic Gods but nothing about the Ramayana or Mahabharata, which happened later on in India.

There could have been further subsequent migrations. After all Indians knew of these people as we had started trading with them in the 4th-3rd millenium, e.g. with Sumerians, etc..

So Mahabharata may have caused a spate of migrations, but it does not mean that the Mitanni are necessarily the descendants of that migration wave.

At the moment many in the OIT camp are saying that the Mitannis could have been from a migration wave just after the drying of the Saraswati. But it is indeed a good point as to why then they had no memory of Rama or Krishna, only of Vedic Gods.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ramana » 10 May 2012 21:58

Could be the migration was before the epics. Also the migration could be before the concept of Parvati or Shakti as Shiva's consort. Leads to the angry misogynist God!


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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ManishH » 11 May 2012 10:25

RajeshA ji,

It is possible that the Mitanni people really left India much earlier. In order to be conform with Indic idea of Itihaas, let's say it was around 5500 BC, before the Ramayana even.


This scenario will require evidence for horse domestication, chariot technology in India before 5,500 BC. None of which is found in archaeological records. After all, OIT claims Mitanni equestrian terms as evidence for them having migrated out of India and carried knowledge of horse domestication/training and chariotry out of India.

Another problem with an out-of-india migration in 5,500 BC is: how come we find epigraphic evidence for IE languages (Mitanni/Avestan/Old Persian) in ME only beginning 2nd millenium BC. After all writing did exist in ME since late 4th millenium BC; how come we only find epigraphic evidence for non-IE languages (Elamite/Sumerian) before 2nd millenium BC ?

So Mahabharata may have caused a spate of migrations, but it does not mean that the Mitanni are necessarily the descendants of that migration wave.


Fine, then other than Mitanni, do we have any other proposed migrant community that remembers anything about Ramayana/Mahabharata ? None at all, except well attested migrations by Buddhists to C. Asia and Hindus to SE Asia.

This is just an illustration of the contradiction between OIT and very old dates for Epics. One needs to accept either one of these:

1. There was no westwards out-of-india migration substantial enough to explain all of IE language family.
OR
2. Epics happened much after the proposed westwards out-of-india migration of ~5000BC. In fact the mention of semi-dried Sarasvati river in Mahabharata puts it after 1900BC.

Please think twice before accepting very-very old dates for Epics. Some of the proposals like 3000 BC etc are very very fanciful.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 11 May 2012 10:30

ManishH wrote:Yogi_G: assuming Mahabharata of "3139 BC"* was a catalyst for migrations out of India ...

One would expect at least some of the fleeing population to have remembered legends about Mahabharata. Even assuming they were the losers of the war, at least remember legends of Ramayana. But surprisingly no such evidence of post-Mahabharata memories remain. Even the Mitanni rulers know only about Vedic concepts, but not a single cultural relic from Mahabharata or Ramayana is seen. After all Mahabharata is claimed to have occurred in 3194BC way before Mitanni inscriptions of 1400 BC.

Compare this to SE Asia to where migration from India is well attested; and they do preserve cultural memories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

(*) what's the source of this amazingly old date ?


I wish I knew. Migrations of India and past memories is a very complex topic and not easy to discern. Take for example the Roma people, you will see traces of Indian civilization but they no longer remember their Hindu Gods and ancestral religious practices. I bet many of them wont know Ramayana or Mahabharatha if you were to ask them even though their genes are predominantly of Indian origin.

And then there are the migrants to Africa and the Caribbean islands who still are faithful to their old religions and in fact are building temples on monumental scales. So its a mixed bag and not something that can be answered easily and with ease. The OIT theory in itself is not completely established and it raises more questions than answers. I was a skeptic of the OIT until last year believeing the fact that linguistics completely disprove OIT but now with more info coming out in open by linguistics I am now a believer but still not completely convinced.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 11 May 2012 10:36

ManishH wrote:
Please think twice before accepting very-very old dates for Epics. Some of the proposals like 3000 BC etc are very very fanciful.


Manish ji please google for info on validation of some of these dates using astronomical calculations. Some of the stellar events mentioned in the scriptures have been validated and it would be impossible to go back in time and back calculate these events without the help of sophisticated computing power if someone wanted to make up this info.

In the field of Indology any claim is not too absurd, after all we believed for many generations what the culture-history-less Germannic tribe individuals like Max Mueller told us in the form of AIT. I for one have come to realize that western info on Indology is rubbish and of late I have been reading Kannada and Telugu books to get an idea of our history as they are more reliable. I recently read Kannada books on Krishna Deva Raya and Badami Chalukyas, info that I never got in the English literature scattered on the internet.

And Ramayana is not of this Yuga. It goes many Yugas/Pralayas back.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ramana » 11 May 2012 11:07

Yogi_G, Can you write summaries in the Distorted history thread? Name of the book, author and short insight that you didnt know.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 11 May 2012 11:19

ramana wrote:Yogi_G, Can you write summaries in the Distorted history thread? Name of the book, author and short insight that you didnt know.


Sure Ramana garu, will do.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ManishH » 11 May 2012 13:53

Yogi_G wrote:Manish ji please google for info on validation of some of these dates using astronomical calculations.


Yogi avare,

What most of these astronomical back-calculations do not provide is the error probability. For one such example, dating of texts is done without knowing if the intercalary months was inserted, or even how frequently was it inserted at the period in question. Vedic and Epic texts variously mention a month to range from 27-35 days. Just the variation of 8 days would translate to a time depth of 576 years, if all one had to begin with is the name of the month and a solar event (eg winter solstice in Māgha). Add to that other missing parameters like when exactly would a month begin (new or full moon). That adds another 1000 or so years (assuming 1deg precession / 72 years).

back calculate these events without the help of sophisticated computing power if someone wanted to make up this info.


One really doesn't need "sophisticated computing power". What is missing is an accurate picture of Indian dating system at the time of the texts. Indian calendars as well as terminology has kept evolving as more empirical data has been collected.

And Ramayana is not of this Yuga. It goes many Yugas/Pralayas back.


Of course, the values are eternal. Not the events.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 11 May 2012 15:23

ManishH wrote:RajeshA ji,

RajeshA wrote:It is possible that the Mitanni people really left India much earlier. In order to be conform with Indic idea of Itihaas, let's say it was around 5500 BC, before the Ramayana even.


This scenario will require evidence for horse domestication, chariot technology in India before 5,500 BC. None of which is found in archaeological records. After all, OIT claims Mitanni equestrian terms as evidence for them having migrated out of India and carried knowledge of horse domestication/training and chariotry out of India.

I guess the question of horses and chariots is still insufficiently resolved.

Even if the horse is a "discovery" of Central Asia, one could imagine that there was trade of horses between the Indic kingdoms up north say in the Kurgan region and the Subcontinent, possibly through a system of small kingdoms on the route, allowing a fair degree of cultural isolation (no Rama or Krishna) of the Kurgan region in the North from the rest of India. These horses could very well have been integrated into the Vedic society and later on in the ages of Ramayana and later. The chariot could have been an invention in India, which was exported to the Indian colony in the Kurgan region, from where the Mitannis took it.

The cultural connection between India and Mitannis could actually have been weak, Mitannis being an offshoot of a very early offshoot of Indian people (say Kurgan).

ManishH wrote:Another problem with an out-of-india migration in 5,500 BC is: how come we find epigraphic evidence for IE languages (Mitanni/Avestan/Old Persian) in ME only beginning 2nd millenium BC. After all writing did exist in ME since late 4th millenium BC; how come we only find epigraphic evidence for non-IE languages (Elamite/Sumerian) before 2nd millenium BC ?

ManishH ji,

Perhaps Indians were not in the region of Middle-East before 2nd millennium BC, and if yes in some old unrecognizable form. I did mention the example of Kurgan culture, which it is claimed is an Indo-European culture, and that has been around since almost 6th millennium BC.

One could consider the Kurgan culture, or another Indian group in the neighborhood as the Indian migration wave which left the Subcontinent
  1. Before the Age of Ramayana as well as Mahabharata, say in 6th millennium BC.
  2. But did not spread into the Middle-East before 2nd millennium BC.
ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:So Mahabharata may have caused a spate of migrations, but it does not mean that the Mitanni are necessarily the descendants of that migration wave.


Fine, then other than Mitanni, do we have any other proposed migrant community that remembers anything about Ramayana/Mahabharata ? None at all, except well attested migrations by Buddhists to C. Asia and Hindus to SE Asia.

One may not find Ramayana/Mahabharata in the Middle-East in the same form as we know them, but one does see several legends from Mahabharata, which were customized and localized to a particular people. For example, there are legends of Heracles, which do have some resemblance to those of Krishna.
ManishH wrote:This is just an illustration of the contradiction between OIT and very old dates for Epics. One needs to accept either one of these:

1. There was no westwards out-of-india migration substantial enough to explain all of IE language family.
OR
2. Epics happened much after the proposed westwards out-of-india migration of ~5000BC. In fact the mention of semi-dried Sarasvati river in Mahabharata puts it after 1900BC.

Please think twice before accepting very-very old dates for Epics. Some of the proposals like 3000 BC etc are very very fanciful.

Actually there is the school of thought that the Sarasvati ceased to be a seagoing river about 3000 BC, explaining why the 3rd millennium settlements on the banks of the Sarasvati river end in the Bahawalpur region of the Punjab and do not reach the sea; there was a further shrinking of the river in about 1900 BC due to an earthquake that made its two principal
tributaries to be captured by the Sindhu and the Ganga river systems.

So even in 3137 BC, at the proposed time of Mahabharata War, Sarasvati could be considered semi-dried.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby member_22872 » 11 May 2012 16:34

Nawabs, thanks for the link.

RajeshA garu, new evidence of horse domestication, with roots in Eurasia, wonder how this effects OIT:
Reconstructing the origin and spread of horse domestication in the Eurasian steppe Vera Warmutha et al

New research indicates that domestic horses originated in the steppes of modern-day Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan, mixing with local wild stocks as they spread throughout Europe and Asia.
Despite decades of research across multiple disciplines, the early history of horse domestication remains poorly understood. On the basis of current evidence from archaeology, mitochondrial DNA, and Y-chromosomal sequencing, a number of different domestication scenarios have been proposed, ranging from the spread of domestic horses out of a restricted primary area of domestication to the domestication of numerous distinct wild horse populations. In this paper, we reconstruct both the population genetic structure of the extinct wild progenitor of domestic horses, Equus ferus, and the origin and spread of horse domestication in the Eurasian steppes by fitting a spatially explicit stepping-stone model to genotype data from >300 horses sampled across northern Eurasia. We find strong evidence for an expansion of E. ferus out of eastern Eurasia about 160 kya, likely reflecting the colonization of Eurasia by this species.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/ ... e9127e6c47

No horse population samples from Indian subcontinent were used in the analysis, why is that?

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 11 May 2012 17:13

venug ji,

thanks for the info. Indeed a pity that they did not include India or Southern Eurasia.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 11 May 2012 17:20

From the above study

Reconstructing the origin and spread of horse domestication in the Eurasian steppe

Image
Partitioning of sample populations into the three areas for calculating the summary statistics for ABC: Western Eurasia (orange circles), Central Eurasia (blue circles), and Eastern Eurasia (red circles).

The Supplemental Document.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby member_22872 » 11 May 2012 17:31

RajeshA Garu, is it possible that Equus Ferus is also available India that they felt there is no need to include any samples from India? even that assumption doesn't add up because even if the species is the same there could be DNA intermixing that could tell a different story with respect to ancestral lineage. So the above conclusion that they reached regarding horse domestication seems incomplete at the best or questionable without including any samples from Indian subcontinent. Hope experts can educate me if I am wrong.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby member_22872 » 11 May 2012 19:18

From the "Indo-Aryan Controversy" Book posted by RajeshA garu on the 1 page of the thread pp 488:

The earliest undisputed evidence of horses in the Indian subcontinent is generally dated to around the early second millennium BCE. In the opinion of many scholars, this paucity of horse bones in India indicates that the Indo-Aryans entered this region well after dispersing from their original homeland. The domesticated horse has been the primary animal for which scholars have tried to account in the homeland quest, since it is culturally central to the various IE traditions, and was possibly known to the undivided Indo-Europeans. This lacuna in the Indian archaeological record tends to haunt any attempt to argue for an Indian urheimat, and even any efforts to correlate the IVC with the Vedic culture, which is a horse-using one. Since this animal has become almost synonymous with the Vedic Aryans and, by extension, the whole Indo-Aryan migration debate, the horse evidence is of great relevance to this discussion. Some caveats seem to be in order, here: the first point that needs to be established is that, in terms of its proto-Indo-European pedigree, there seems to be a widespread opinion among linguists, going back at least to Fraser (1926), that considering *ekwos to have been a domesticated horse involves accepting some major assumptions which can easily be called into question. We don’t know if the term referred to equus caballus Linn or some other type of equid in the proto-period, we
don’t know if it referred to a domesticated horse or a wild horse, and, allowing that it did refer to a domesticated equus caballus Linn, we cannot rule out the possibility that it was a late loanword that circulated around the IE-speaking area
(D’iakonov 1985; Coleman 1988; Diebold 1987; Zimmer 1990; Dolgopolsky 1993; Lehmann 1993). Clearly, if the word for horse could have circulated after the dispersal of the IEs, and then been restructured according to individual dialects, then stating that the IEs knew the horse before their dispersal and must therefore have inhabited an area wherein the horse is native (and eliminating other areas where the evidence for the horse is a later phenomenon) is barking up the wrong tree.
Furthermore even if *ekwos does refer to a PIE domesticated caballus Linn, horse domestication may well have occurred in the steppes(the above paper discusses E.Ferus, but equally applicable), since this is the natural habitat of the animal, but it is an unwarranted assumption to then conclude that the IE homeland must have also been in the same area. The horse could have been very well known to the proto-Indo-Europeans in their original homeland without the horse necessarily being a native of that homeland, or they themselves its domesticators.[/color] Of course, in the Indian context, irrespective of the referent of PIE *ekwos, there is little dispute that the ¸gveda does refer abundantly to equus caballus Linn, and one cannot fault scholars using the first appearance of these specific horse bones in the archaeological record as an approximate terminus post quem for this text. However, although the horse has always been highly valued in India – from the Vedic, through the Epic, and up to the Sultanate period, it has always been an elite item – it has always been an import from the Northwest and never indigenous (although foreign breeds have been imported and bred on the subcontinent with varying degrees of success, especially up in the Northwest – later Vedic texts speak about the fine horses of Kandahar and other places). One must accordingly be wary of making the Indo-Aryans themselves overly synonymous with the horse..

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 11 May 2012 19:56

venug ji,

even though there is frequent mention of the horse in Vedic and other scriptures, one must really do some analysis of our own texts,
  1. whether the horse is a common commodity in our texts, or whether it is some prized elite commodity, a rarity.
  2. whether there are any mentions of breaking wild horses in our texts, or whether the horses that appear are always domesticated and harnessed.
  3. which places are mentioned from where good breed horses could be procured, whether any horse markets are mentioned

Today diamond cutting is big business in India, but diamonds are mostly imported. So knowledge of chariots and care for horses could well be known to Indians/"Aryans", without those horses being really from the same geographical area.
Last edited by RajeshA on 11 May 2012 20:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby member_22872 » 11 May 2012 20:32

RajeshA garu, what you say indeed makes sense. Certainly one must fall back on vedic scriptures for any references than depend on western experts to interpret it for us.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 11 May 2012 21:20

venug ji,

there are two types of scenarios where I could think of Indic civilization giving the horse, the level of attention that it has received.
  1. Horse was a rare and prized commodity, prized because of several reasons - military, public order, speed, agility, freedom, regal stature, religious
  2. Horse was the central element around which life of the people revolved around

If one observes the life of the Mongols, one would see they occupied huge land masses and they needed to travel around. From their childhood itself, the children learn how to handle the horse, how to ride it. The mares are milked and the people eat horse meat as well. The horse is central to their lifestyle.

I checked up Wikipedia to see what is written about it.
Wikipedia wrote:Horses are greatly cherished in Mongolian culture, particularly among the nomads because horses are very useful to people's daily lives and livelihood. Horse racing is the second most popular event in Mongolia, after traditional wrestling. Mongol horses were a key factor during the 13th century conquest of the Mongol Empire. There is a traditional saying in Mongolian: "A Mongol without a horse is like a Bird without the wings". Genghis Khan himself once said: "It is easy to conquer the world from the back of a horse". A nomad with many horses is considered wealthy, and having many horses which are also in good shape is considered honorable behavior. Mongol people individually have favorite horses, each family member has his and her own horse, and some family members value their favorite horses by saving them from working under a lot of pressure.


I don't think the horse was that central in the lives of the "Aryans" or "Proto-Indo-Europeans". It was used in the military and the royalty prized these highly. Life revolved around other things.

The Aśvamedhá yagam itself shows that the horse was a rarity initially.
  • Why otherwise would a horse be otherwise be considered as a marker for attaining glory for a king?
  • Why otherwise would it be considered a challenge to other people from the king?
  • When the king lets it loose, what is the temptation to the people against which they need to fight in order to show their acknowledgement of the king's right to rule?

Most probably a horse was initially a rare commodity imported from outside, from the Central Asian steppes. It is a beautiful animal and everybody would have loved to be in possession of one. So the king used to let it loose. Everybody who laid his eyes on the horse would have been mesmerized, possibly because he may never had laid his eyes on the horse before that. But he must be aware that it is a horse let loose by the king, and should he give in to his temptation of wishing to own it, he would be challenging the king.

If the horse would have been common, everybody could have just ignored the Aśvamedhá horse. It would thus have been a non-challenge from the king.

Later on when the horse attained a position of something prized for its beauty, its grace, its speed, and its use in fighting battles, import of horses became a regular thing and more horses began to be imported.

Also I find, that in battles like Mahabharata, etc. it is not as if all soldiers were provided with horses to fight their opponents. It was just the royalty which used to ride the chariots, often having several horses tied to the chariot, in quadrigas, etc.

If the Aryans used to live in an area with many horses, each soldier would be in possession of a horse. When the Mongol Army went on its conquest of Eurasia, I wonder how many soldiers were just foot-soldiers! I would think, all had horses.

That is not what we hear in our scriptures! Right?

Sure when Indians expanded into the Middle-East, they used the knowledge of the chariot, etc. to the fullest, but they had the additional advantage that they had much better access to horses as horses were native to the region.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby member_22872 » 12 May 2012 00:16

RajeshA garu, please no ji for me. your description of awe that horses hold and their value in the battle field actually seem sound for the reason that Jared Diamond in his book/documentary 'Guns, Germs and Steel' describes the very same reasons for the fall of Incas. The few Spanish soldiers were able to completely decimate the Incas with horses and modern weaponry of that time unknown to the Incas as you already might know:
At this point in time Pizarro had 168 men under his command: 106 on foot and 62 on horses. Then, Pizarro sent his captain Hernando de Soto to invite Atahualpa to a meeting. Soto rode to meet Atahualpa on his horse, an animal that Atahualpa had never seen before.

and :
DeContemporary accounts by members of Pizarro's force explain how the Spanish forces used a cavalry charge against the Inca forces, who had never seen horses, in combination with gunfire from cover (the Inca forces also had never encountered guns before).

from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_conquest_of_the_Inca_Empire

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 12 May 2012 09:29

ManishH wrote:
Yogi_G wrote:Manish ji please google for info on validation of some of these dates using astronomical calculations.


Yogi avare,

What most of these astronomical back-calculations do not provide is the error probability. For one such example, dating of texts is done without knowing if the intercalary months was inserted, or even how frequently was it inserted at the period in question. Vedic and Epic texts variously mention a month to range from 27-35 days. Just the variation of 8 days would translate to a time depth of 576 years, if all one had to begin with is the name of the month and a solar event (eg winter solstice in Māgha). Add to that other missing parameters like when exactly would a month begin (new or full moon). That adds another 1000 or so years (assuming 1deg precession / 72 years).

back calculate these events without the help of sophisticated computing power if someone wanted to make up this info.


One really doesn't need "sophisticated computing power". What is missing is an accurate picture of Indian dating system at the time of the texts. Indian calendars as well as terminology has kept evolving as more empirical data has been collected.

And Ramayana is not of this Yuga. It goes many Yugas/Pralayas back.


Of course, the values are eternal. Not the events.


Manish ji, why would you need to know stuff like adhika mAsa etc when the stellar events can be calculated using modern atronomical techniques. No one is trying to calculate the dates using the Chandramaanena calendar. What you say would be applicable using those. A particular star formation over a particular geograpgical position, a solar eclipse etc can be calculated using any calendar, even the recent Gregorian calendar.

Are you saying you dont need tables, calculations to date some particular stellar phenomenon going back say 2000 to 3000 years back? Not everyone is that talented to calculate this using their fingers, I doubt if you can do it using a basic Panchangam also. Try doing it using a software like stellarium and I doubt you would have much luck there as well. BTW, the Protugese came to India for these very accurate tables and other such calculation information.

Manish ji, please dont use the western linear dating meme (as pointed out in the non-western world view) in the Indian context and scriptural events.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 12 May 2012 17:34

The Horse and the 'Aryans'

venug,

the Aryan Invasion Theorists contend that Rigveda must have had a source outside India, because in the Rigveda there is a lot of talk of horses, and the horse played a central role in Aryan life, while archaeology in the Indian Subcontinent does not really bear this out as not many bones or seals of horses have been found.

This is one of the last stands on which AIT stands.

I am simply giving my take on why this conclusion is a false one, and the AIT-wallahs are wrong.

The arguments I have made till now are
a) Horse was not central to the Ṛgvedic life as is the case with Mongols, just an elite animal used in Indic chariots.
b) Aśvamedhá yagam shows that Horse was a prized rarity, and its prized rarity was used as a temptation to others to formulate the regal challenge.

Furthermore,
c) We don't see horses being named in our scriptures, including in the Vedas. We have Nandi the Bull. We have in Bhagawad Gita that Krishna knew each of his cow by name. This is love for the animal. But we don't have name for any horses in Vedic literature. The horse is simply not considered as an animal worth emotional attachment. In many societies with horses, horses are given proper names. This article on Mongolian Olympics - "Naadam" says that "the fastest horses are honored with poetic names from Mongolia's glorious past." Do we see a similar sentimentality for horses in the Ṛgveda or later? No! Do we know of any horse whisperers in the Ṛgveda?

d) The concept of chariot itself reveals a lot about how the "Aryans" looked at the horse. Why chariots? Why not riding the horse directly? After all in the Steppes, the people are much more inclined to ride their horses, and fight while mounted, be it with spear, bow or sword. But the "Aryans", they fight not from the horses back, but rather from a chariot being driven by the horse. The horse is simply technology to provide good maneuverability, speed, and power. It is technology that the "Aryans" use from a safe distance. One could talk of a certain discomfort and shyness among the "Aryan" nobility to come too close to the horse. One would speak of an attitude of keeping the horse at a respectful distance. This admiration for the horse for its various attributes and its value in battle, however never really turned into a love affair. The horse was always a foreigner for the "Aryan" and never "family".

When the Ṛgveda was composed or rather heard, the people were already quite advanced. One doesn't start composing or even understanding such ideas with a monkey brain. The "Aryans" already knew of the horse beforehand, before Ṛgveda begun to be chanted. Otherwise one would not speak of the Ashwins riding their chariot in the sky.

Summarizing: Ṛgveda could only have been composed where the horse was not native to the land.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ManishH » 12 May 2012 19:52

Yogi avare, to clarify - I mean sophisticated computing equipment is not needed, what is needed is sophisticated observational as well as empirical data. The one thing particularly missing is accurate observations. Eg. take the case of Kausitaki Brahmana which mentions winter solstice in month of Magha. If we don't even have accurate information on the duration of the month in use at the time, nor how intercalary month was inserted, the error probability of such dating becomes enormous.

Most of the articles which date epics to old era using "astronomical data" do not do due diligence to mention error of probability - which in any scientific work should be mentioned. They confidently assign dates down to the year eg. 3783 BC without mentioning what factors could change dates by thousands of years.

I'm unaware of what is "western linear dating". I hope you don't object to counting in terms of solar years.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 12 May 2012 20:42

I'm posting this in full, as the alleged absence of horse in Ancient India is one of the argument the AIT-wallahs give in support of AIT.

From Archeology Online:

THE HORSE AND THE ARYAN DEBATE

by Michel Danino

(Published in the Journal of Indian History and Culture of the C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Institute of Indological Research, Chennai, September 2006, No.13, pp. 33-59.)

The presence or absence of the horse in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization has been a bone of contention for decades, especially in the context of the Aryan invasion theory. The argument is familiar: the Rig-Veda uses the word ashva over 200 times, ergo the Vedic society must have been full of horses, ergo the Harappan civilization, from which the noble animal is conspicuously absent, must be pre- Vedic and non-Aryan. The horse must therefore have been brought into India around 1500 BCE by the invading Aryans, who used its speed to crushing advantage in order to subdue the native, ox-driven populations. This line of reasoning is regarded as so evident and foolproof that it is taken to be the final word on the issue; as a result, we find it confidently repeated in reference books
and history textbooks dealing with India’s prehistory.

However, on closer view, there are serious flaws at every step of the argument — and indeed several concealed steps. I will first examine the physical evidence of the horse from various Harappan sites, both in terms of skeletal remains and depictions, before turning to problems of methodology that have compounded the confusion, in particular the double-edged use of negative evidence, and the persisting colonial misreadings of the Rig-Veda.

Physical remains of the horse in Indus-Sarasvati sites

Our first surprise is that contrary to conventional assertions, quite a few archaeologists have reported horse remains from India’s prehistoric sites. A. Ghosh’s respected and authoritative Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology mentions without fuss:
In India the ... true horse is reported from the Neolithic levels at Kodekal [dist. Gulbarga of Karnataka] and Hallur [dist. Raichur of Karnataka] and the late Harappa levels at Mohenjo-daro (Sewell and Guha, 1931) and Ropar and at Harappa, Lothal and numerous other sites. … Recently bones of Equus caballus have also been reported from the proto-Harappa site of Malvan in Gujarat.1

Mortimer Wheeler, a flamboyant proponent of the Aryan invasion theory if ever there was one, admitted long ago that “it is likely enough that camel, horse and ass were in fact a familiar feature of the Indus caravan.”2 The well- known archaeologist B. B. Lal refers to a number of horse teeth and bones reported from Kalibangan, Ropar, Malvan and Lothal.3 Another senior archaeologist, S. P. Gupta, adds further details on those finds, including early ones.4 In the case of Lothal, the archaeozoologist Bhola Nath certified the identification of a tooth;5 he also made similar observations regarding bones from Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.6


Image
Fig. 1: Horse bones from Surkotada (in Katchchh)

A. K. Sharma’s well-known identification of horse remains (Fig. 1) at Surkotada (in Katchchh) was endorsed by the late Hungarian archaeozoologist Sándor Bökönyi, an internationally respected authority in the field; in 1991, taking care to distinguish them from those of the local wild ass (khur), he confirmed several of them to be “remnants of true horses,”7 and what is more, domesticated horses. In his 1993 report to the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, Bökönyi made no bones about the whole issue:
Through a thorough study of the equid remains of the prehistoric settlement of Surkotada, Kutch, excavated under the direction of Dr. J. P. Joshi, I can state the following: The occurrence of true horse (Equus caballus L.) was evidenced by the enamel pattern of the upper and lower cheek and teeth and by the size and form of incisors and phalanges (toe bones). Since no wild horses lived in India in post-Pleistocene times, the domestic nature of the Surkotada horses is undoubtful. This is also supported by an inter- maxilla fragment whose incisor tooth shows clear signs of crib biting, a bad habit only existing among domestic horses which are not extensively used for war.8

Quite in tune with the findings at Surkotada and Lothal, P. K. Thomas, P. P. Joglekar et al., experts from the Deccan College on faunal remains, reported horse bones from the nearby Harappan site of Shikarpur “in the Mature Harappan period,”9 and from Kuntasi (at the boundary between Kutch and Saurashtra).10
To the Neolithic sites mentioned by A. Ghosh, we must add Koldihwa (in the Belan valley of Allahabad district), where G. R. Sharma et al. identified horse fossils.11 Contemporary with the Harappan period, the culture of the Chambal valley (in Madhya Pradesh) was explored by the respected archaeologist M. K. Dhavalikar, with layers dated between 2450 and 2000 BCE.
His observations are remarkable:
The most interesting is the discovery of bones of horse from the Kayatha levels and a terracotta figurine of a mare. It is the domesticate species (Equus caballus), which takes back the antiquity of the steed in India to the latter half of the third millennium BC. The presence of horse at Kayatha in all the chalcolithic levels assumes great significance in the light of the controversy about the horse.12

Let us stress that just as at Surkotada, the horse at Kayatha was domesticated.
In the face of so many reports from so many sites by so many experts, a blanket denial of the animal’s physical presence in pre-1500 BCE India passes one’s comprehension. Are we to believe that all identifications of horse remains by experts are wrong and misleading? Have scholars rejecting such evidence personally crosschecked even 10% of it? Have they, too, expressed similar doubts about the identification of other animal remains found in the same sites and conditions?

Richard Meadow and Ajita Patel did challenge Sándor Bökönyi’s report to the Archaeological Survey.13 Bökönyi however stuck to his views (although he passed away before he could give his final response), and Meadow and Patel concluded their long plea with the rather weak statement that “… in the end that [Bökönyi’s identification of horse remains at Surkotada] may be a matter of emphasis and opinion.”14 What makes their eagerness to convince Bökönyi to change his mind suspect is that they never challenged Indian experts such as A. K. Sharma, P. K. Thomas or P. P. Joglekar; it was only when Bökönyi endorsed findings on the “Harappan horse” that they got alarmed. Since then, amusingly, their inconclusive paper has been quoted by several Marxist15 historians as the last word on the nonexistence of the horse in the Indus- Sarasvati civilization.16 Even more ironically, when invasionists attempt to trace the introduction of the horse into Europe, they turn to the same Bökönyi!17 His expertise was never in question in Europe, but is unacceptable in India.

The old argument that so-called horse remains invariably belong to species of wild ass such as the onager (Equus hemionus onager), the khur (Equus hemionus khur), or the plain ass (Equus asinus) is unacceptable, firstly because it is sweeping in nature and produces little or no evidence, secondly because in several cases, experts have simultaneously reported remains of the wild ass from the very same sites, which implies some ability to distinguish between those species.18

Another frequent and sweeping objection is that the dates of the disputed horse remains are not firmly established and might be much more recent. But Jagat Pati Joshi’s excavation report, for instance, makes it clear that,

At Surkotada from all the three periods quite a good number of bones of horse (Equus Caballus Linn) ... have been recovered. The parts recovered are very distinctive bones: first, second and third phalanges and few vertebrae fragments.19

The first of Surkotada’s “three periods” coincides with the mature stage of the Harappan civilization,20 which rules out the possibility of the horse having been introduced by Aryans around 1500 BCE. Moreover, we have the case of Mahagara (near Allahabad), where horse bones were not only identified by G. R. Sharma et al., but “six sample absolute carbon 14 tests have given dates ranging from 2265 B.C.E. to 1480 B.C.E.”21 The case of Hallur, mentioned by A. Ghosh above, is even more striking: the excavation (in the late 1960s) brought out horse remains that were dated between 1500 and 1300 BCE, in other words, about the time Aryans are pictured to have galloped down the Khyber pass, some 2,000 north of Hallur.22 Even at a fierce Aryan pace, the animal could hardly have reached Karnataka by that time. When K. R. Alur, an archaeozoologist as well as a veterinarian, published his report on the animal remains from the site, he received anxious queries, even protests: there had to be some error regarding those horse bones. A fresh excavation was eventually undertaken some twenty years later — which brought to light more horse bones, and more consternation. Alur saw no reason to alter his original report, and wrote that his critics’ opinion “cannot either deny or alter the find of a scientific fact that the horse was present at Hallur before the (presumed) period of Aryan invasion.”23 The claim that horse finds are undated is therefore disingenuous.

Finally, S. P. Gupta offers a sensible reply to the further objection that horse remains, if at all they are accepted, rarely account for more than 2% of the total animal remains at any site. Pointing out that the same holds true of the camel and elephant (animals undeniably present in Harappan sites), he explains that this low proportion is “simply because these animals are not likely to have been as regularly eaten as cattle, sheep and goats as well as fish whose bones are abundantly found at all Indus-Saraswati settlements.”24

All in all, the case for the horse’s physical presence in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization is quite overwhelming, and is bound to be further strengthened by evidence yet to come out of thousands of unexplored sites. Archaeologist A. K. Sharma’s conclusion, in a paper that surveyed the “horse evidence” and his own experiences in this regard, is worth quoting:

It is really strange that no notice was taken by archaeologists of these vital findings, and the oft-repeated theory that the true domesticated horse was not known to the Harappans continued to be harped upon, coolly ignoring these findings to help our so-called veteran historians and archaeologists of Wheeler’s generation to formulate and propagate their theory of ‘Aryan invasion of India on horse-back’....25

Depictions of the horse and the spoked wheel

The Harappans certainly built much of their religious symbols around animals, depicting many of them on their seals and tablets, in terracotta figurines, or as pottery motifs. While it is true that the horse does not appear on the Harappan seals (except if we were to accept the conjecture by S. R. Rao26 and a few other scholars that the composite animal represented on thousands of seals as a unicorn actually has a horse’s head), it has been hastily claimed that the animal is never depicted at all.

A horse figurine did emerge at Mohenjo-daro (Fig. 2), which drew the following comment from E. J. H. Mackay, one of the early excavators at the site:

Perhaps the most interesting of the model animals is one that I personally take to represent a horse. I do not think we need be particularly surprised if it should be proved that the horse existed thus early at Mohenjo-daro.27

Image
Fig. 2: Horse figurine from Mohenjo-daro.

Wheeler himself accepted it as such.28 Another figurine was reported by Stuart Piggot from Periano Ghundai, and several at Lothal, some of them with a fairly clear evocation of the horse (Fig. 3 & 4).29 The horse also appears on some pottery, for instance at pre-Harappan levels of Kunal (Haryana), among other animals, according to the excavator R. S. Bisht et al.30 Another figurine was found at Balu, with what looks like a saddle.31 Dhavalikar, quoted above, mentioned “a terracotta figurine of a mare” in the Chambal valley. Finally, the horse is depicted in rock art (for instance at Bhimbetka or Morhana Pahar in the Narmada valley), but unfortunately, we have very few absolute dates for rock
art in India.

Image
Fig. 3: Horse figurine from Lothal


Image
Fig. 4: A horse-like figurine from Lothal (circled, as part of a set of “chessmen”)

It is not just the horse that invasionist scholars sought to erase from pre- 1500 BC India: they also asserted that the spoked wheel came to India only with the Aryans.32 “The first appearance of [the invading Aryans’] thundering chariots must have stricken the local population with a terror ...” writes Michael Witzel in a grandiloquent echo of nineteenth-century racial theories.33 The spoked wheel was thus seen as a crucial element in the speed game, compared to the slow bullock-driven solid-wheeled Harappan cart — until it turned out that Harappans did have spoked wheels, after all. Fig. 5 shows a few terracotta wheels from Banawali and Rakhigarhi where the spokes are clearly visible in relief or painted.34 More such wheels have been found at Kuntasi,35 Lothal, and Bhirrana36 (in Haryana).

Image
Fig. 5: Terracotta wheels from Banawali and Rakhigarhi, displaying spokes painted or in relief
All this material illustrates the danger of “negative evidence”: it takes very little to make it irrelevant.

Methodological issues

Raw evidence apart, the appearance of the horse in the Indian subcontinent is, in reality, a complex issue, and by treating it crudely, the conventional theory suffers from serious methodological flaws. Let us briefly highlight a few of them.

1. Physical remains and depictions of the horse in India after 1500 BC

The invasionist school posits that the horse was introduced into India by the “Aryans” around 1500 BC. One would therefore expect a marked increase in remains and depictions of the animal after that fateful event (or non-event). Yet — and this is one of the best kept secrets of Indian prehistory — nothing of the sort happens.

Looking only at the early historical layers, Taxila, Hastinapur or Atranjikhera (Uttar Pradesh) have indeed yielded bones of both the true horse and the domestic ass (strangely, the distinction between the two is no longer disputed here!), but at other sites, such as Nashik, Nagda (Madhya Pradesh), Sarnath, Arikamedu (Tamil Nadu), Brahmagiri (Karnataka), Nagarjunakonda (Andhra Pradesh), no remains of either animal have turned up. There are also sites like Jaugada (Orissa) or Maski (Karnataka) where the ass has been found, but not the horse.37 Finally, data available from sites that do come up with horse remains show no significant increase in the overall percentage of horse bones or teeth compared to Harappan sites such as Surkotada.

If, therefore, the low amount of evidence for the horse in the Indus- Sarasvati civilization is taken as proof that that civilization is pre-Vedic, we must extend the same logic to the whole of pre-Mauryan India! It is clear that the horse was as rare or as common an animal before and after 1500 BC — “rare” is probably the correct statement for both.

As regards “post-invasion” depictions of the horse, they are also no more frequent than in Harappan sites: barring a few figurines at Pirak, Hastinapura and Atranjikhera, we find no striking representations of the animal, while we would have expected the aggressive “Aryans” to pay rich tributes to their instrument of conquest, which, invasionists tell us, the Rig-Veda glorifies so much. And yet, “the first deliberate and conscious attempt of shaping a horse in durable material like stone was witnessed in the art of the Mauryas in India,” writes historian T. K. Biswas.38 Another historian, Jayanti Rath, commenting on the animals depicted on early Indian coins, remarks: “The animal world of the punch-marked coins consists of elephant, bull, lion. dog, cat, deer, camel, rhinoceros, rabbit, frog, fish, turtle, ghariyal (fish eater crocodile), scorpion and snake. Among the birds, peacock is very popular. The lion and horse symbols appear to have acquired greater popularity in 3rd century B.C.”39

All in all, an eerie equine silence pervades pre-Mauryan India.

2. Physical remains and depictions of the horse outside India

It helps to take a look at a few regions outside India. In contemporary Bactria, for instance, the horse is well documented through depictions in grave goods, yet no horse bones have been found. “This again underscores the point that lack of horse bones does not equal the absence of horse,” writes U.S. Indologist Edwin Bryant.40

In the case of the horse in America, where its spread is fairly well known, Elizabeth Wing points out,

Once safely landed in the New World, they are reported to have prospered along with cattle in the grazing lands, free of competitors and predators. Horse remains, however, are seldom encountered in the archaeological sites. This may be a function of patterns of disposal, in which remains of beasts of burden which were not usually consumed would not be incorporated in food or butchering refuse remains.41

This fits with the picture we have formed of the horse in the Indus- Sarasvati civilization, and with S. P. Gupta’s similar observation on the non- consumption of horse meat. Clearly, invasionists have sought to put too much weight on the rarity of horse remains in the third millennium.

3. Introduction of the horse = Aryan invasion?

Another non sequitur is that since the true horse was undoubtedly introduced into India at some time, and probably from Central Asia, it can only have been introduced by invading Aryans.

As we have seen, the horse’s introduction must have taken place right from Mature Harappan times, if not earlier; but let us assume for the sake of argument that it only happened, as invasionist scholars assert without the least evidence, in Late Harappan times. Even if it were so, how would it establish
that the horse came as a result of an invasion or a migration, when other possibilities are equally valid, or more so if we look at the evolution of the region? Bryant, again, puts it crisply:

In the absence of irrefutable linguistic evidence, there is no reason to feel compelled to believe that the introduction of the horse into the subcontinent is indicative of the introduction of new peoples any more than the introduction of any other innovatory items of material culture (such as camels, sorghum, rice, lapis lazuli, or anything else) is representative of new human migratory influxes.42

In other words, at whatever epoch, the horse could have been introduced as an item of trade — and we do know that Harappans had extensive trade contacts with a wide region, from Mesopotamia all the way to northern Afghanistan and possibly parts of Turkmenistan. This is indeed the stand of archaeologists like Jean-François Jarrige or Jonathan M. Kenoyer. The latter, for instance, notes that the adoption of the horse or the camel reflects “changes [that] were made by the indigenous [Late Harappan] inhabitants, and were not the result of a new people streaming into the region. The horse and camel would indicate connections with Central Asia.”43

Whatever the date of the horse’s introduction into the subcontinent might be, there is no ground to assume a “violent” introduction through a war-like conquest.

4. The problem of depiction

Regardless of the issue of physical remains, invasionists have persisted, understandably so, in stressing the nagging non-depiction of the horse on Indus seals (conveniently glossing over the figurines mentioned earlier). However, S. P. Gupta points out that the camel, “wolf, cat, deer, Nilgai, fowl, jackal are rarely or never found in [Harappan] art but their presence has been attested by bones.”44 We can add the camel and the lion, which were certainly present in some regions of the Harappan civilization yet were never depicted. The scholar K. D. Sethna pertinently asks, “As there are no depictions of the cow, in contrast to the pictures of the bull, which are abundant, should we conclude that Harappa and Mohenjo-daro had only bulls?”45 Sethna goes further; he makes the opposite point that the mythical unicorn is found on numerous seals, and asks, “Was the unicorn a common animal of the proto-historic Indus Valley?”46 Clearly, animal representations, or their absence, have cultural reasons: the Indus seals were not intended to be zoological handbooks. Until we have a deeper understanding of Harappan culture, we can only conjecture about its iconography.

5. Is the Vedic horse the true horse?

Invasionists are usually unaware that they begin by making an important assumption: they take it for granted that the Vedic horse is the true horse, Equus caballus L. Although this might appear self-evident, it is not. In fact, as some scholars have pointed out, the Rig-Veda47 describes the horse as having 34 ribs; so does a passage in the Shatapatha Brahmana.48 However, the true horse generally has two pairs of 18 ribs, i.e. 36 and not 34.

This suggests that the horse referred to in the Rig-Veda may have been a different species, such as the smaller and stockier Siwalik or Przewalski horses, which often (not always) had 34 ribs. The scholar Paul Manansala, who stressed this point, concluded: “So the horse of India, including that of the asvamedha sacrifice in what is regarded as the oldest part of the Rgveda, is a distinct variety native to southeastern Asia.”49

The question is far from solved, as experts in the field do not always see eye to eye, but it also cannot be wished away.

6. Meaning of ashva in the Rig-Veda

We now come to a more fundamental point. After the nineteenth-century European Sanskritists, most scholars have taken it for granted that Vedic society should be full of horses because of the frequent occurrence of ashva in the Rig- Veda. This conclusion is flawed on two grounds.

First, because the language of the Rig-Veda is a symbolic one that constantly operates at different levels. Else, how could we explain powerful images with no possible ritualistic or “animist” explanation, such as a lower and an upper ocean,50 a “wave of honey” rising from the ocean,51 rivers of ghee rising in the “ocean of the heart,”52 a “well of honey” hidden under the rock,53 a divine fire born of waters,54 present in the stone,55 or compared to a child that gave birth to its own mothers,56 an “eighth sun, hidden in darkness,”57 and dozens more? A purely materialistic or ritualistic reading of the Rig-Veda is bound to fail us at every step, and is unjustified when other mythologies, from the Babylonian to the Egyptian and the Greek, have long been explored at deeper figurative and symbolic levels. It is strange how most scholars, hypnotized by colonial misinterpretations, have failed to follow the Rig-Veda’s own clue: “Secret words that reveal their meaning [only] to the seer.”58

So let us turn to one such “seer.” As early as 1912-14, a decade before the discovery of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, and thus long before our “Harappan horse” controversy, Sri Aurobindo in his study of the Rig-Veda and the Upanishads found that

The word ashva must originally have implied strength or speed or both before it came to be applied to a horse.59

More specifically,

The cow and horse, go and ashva, are constantly associated. Usha, the Dawn, is described as gomati ashvavati; Dawn gives to the sacrificer horses and cows. As applied to the physical dawn gomati means accompanied by or bringing the rays of light and is an image of the dawn of illumination in the human mind. Therefore ashvavati also cannot refer merely to the physical steed; it must have a psychological significance as well. A study of the Vedic horse led me to the conclusion that go and ashva represent the two companion ideas of Light and Energy, Consciousness and Force....60

For the ritualist the word go means simply a physical cow and nothing else, just as its companion word, ashva, means simply a physical horse.... When the Rishi prays to the Dawn, gomad viravad dhehi ratnam uso ashvavat, the ritualistic commentator sees in the invocation only an entreaty for “pleasant wealth to which are attached cows, men (or sons) and horses”. If on the other hand these words are symbolic, the sense will run, “Confirm in us a state of bliss full of light, of conquering energy and of force of vitality.”61

In other words, Sri Aurobindo rejects a mechanical equation ashva = horse.

The constant association of the Vedic horse with waters and the ocean, from the Rig-Veda to the Puranic myth of the churning of the ocean, confirms that we are not dealing here with an ordinary animal, as does the depiction of the Ashvins as birds. Within this framework, the ashvamedha sacrifice also deserves a new treatment, which the Indologist Subhash Kak has recently outlined very cogently.62

Sri Aurobindo’s stand received indirect support from a wholly different angle, that of the late anthropologist Edmund Leach, who warned against the picture of a horse-rich Rig-Vedic society:

The prominent place given to horses and chariots in the Rig Veda can tell us virtually nothing that might distinguish any real society for which the Rig Veda might provide a partial cosmology. If anything, it suggests that in real society (as opposed to its mythological counterpart), horses and chariots were a rarity, ownership of which was a mark of aristocratic or kingly distinction.63

Thus the place of the horse in the Rig-Veda needs to be reassessed from a decolonized standpoint, with a fresh look at the Vedic message and experience. If Sri Aurobindo and Leach are both right, then the word ashva refers only occasionally to the actual animal, and its rarity is well reflected in the modest amount of physical remains and depictions. Indeed, even in today’s India, despite having been imported into India for many centuries, the horse remains a relatively rare animal, invisible in most villages.

At this point, a valid objection could be raised: if the horse did exist in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, and if one wishes to equate this civilization with Vedic culture,64 the latter at least makes a symbolic use of the animal; why is the horse therefore not depicted more often as a symbol in Harappan art, for instance on the Indus seals? The answer I propose is simple: even if the Rig- Veda is contemporary with, or older than, the mature Indus-Sarasvati civilization, we need not expect Harappan art to be a pure reflection of Vedic concepts. The Veda represents the very specific quest of a few rishis, who are unlikely to have lived in the middle of the Harappan towns. Although Vedic concepts and symbols are visible in Harappan culture, the latter is a popular culture; in the same way, the culture of today’s Indian village need not exactly reflect Chennai’s music and dance sabhas. Between Kalibangan’s peasant sacrificing a goat for good rains and the rishi in quest of Tat ekam, That One, there is a substantial difference, even if they ultimately share the same worldview.

Only a more subtle approach to Harappan and Vedic cultures can throw light on their apparent differences.

7. Is ashva only Aryan?

One more unstated assumption of invasionists, who trust that their readers will not go and check the original text, is that ashva, in the Rig-Veda, is a purely Aryan animal. But is that what the text actually says? No doubt, most of the references place ashva, whatever the word means in the Rishis’ mind, squarely on the side of the Aryan gods and their human helpers. But it turns out that there are a few revealing exceptions, when Dasyus and Panis also possess ashvas.

For instance, Indra-Soma, by means of the truth (eva satyam), shatters the stable where Dasyus were holding “horses and cows” (ashvyam goh).65 In another hymn, Indra’s human helpers find the Pani’s “horses and cattle”: “The Angirasas gained the whole enjoyment of the Pani, its herds of the cows and the horses.”66

The most striking passage67 is from the famous dialogue between the divine hound Sarama, Indra’s intransigent emissary, and the Panis, after she has discovered their faraway den, where they jealously hoard their “treasures.” Sarama boldly declares Indra’s intention to seize these treasures, but the Panis are unimpressed and threaten to fight back; they taunt her: “O Sarama, see the treasure deep in the mountain, it is full of cows and horses and treasures (gobhir ashvebhir vasubhir nyrsah). The Panis guard it watchfully. You have come in vain to a rich dwelling.” Every verse makes it clear that all these treasures, horses included, belong to the Panis; at no point does Sarama complain that these are stolen goods: “I come in search of your great treasures,”68 she declares at first, and the Panis would not be insolent enough to taunt her with goods seized from the Aryans; yet Sarama considers that Indra is fully entitled to them.

Now, if we followed the same colonial reading that invasionists impose on the Vedas, we would be forced to acknowledge that the Dasyus and Panis also had horses of their own — which of course negates the whole idea of the animal having been introduced by the Aryans. It does look as if this Vedic landscape is getting a little too crowded with horses, rather like a cheap Hollywood western.

To understand the Dasyus’ and Panis’ “horses,” we need to return to the Vedic symbolism proposed by Sri Aurobindo: the demons do possess lights (cows) and energies or powers (horses), but, as misers, keep them for themselves, neither for the gods nor for man. In the Vedic view, this is a transgression of the cosmic law. The duty of the rishi, helped by the gods, is to reconquer those “treasures” and put them to their true purpose; only then will the cosmic order be reestablished. This is certainly more interesting than the tribal clashes of a barbaric and primitive age. In fact, the Rig-Veda itself makes its symbolism clear again and again, if only we can learn to read it with an open mind. In the last verse69 of the dialogue between Sarama and the Panis, for instance, the narrator concludes, “Go away, you Panis! Let out the cows which, hidden, infringe the Order!” This “order” is ritam, the true cosmic law. It is infringed not because the Panis hide a few cows and horses inside a cave, but because they misuse their lights and powers and do not offer them up as a sacrifice. That is why Indra is entitled to their treasures — not because he is a greedy tribal leader out to expand his territory and wealth; and that is why he can shatter the demons’ dens only “by means of the truth.”

Had it not been for the Aryan invasion theory, the Rig-Veda would have long ago been the object of interpretations on a level with that accorded to Greek or Egyptian mythology, instead of being constricted to a literalist reading.

Conclusions

That the invasionist scholars should have skirted such important issues, as regards both findings and methodology, does little to inspire confidence. Clearly, the whole question of the Vedic and Harappan horse has been treated simplistically. To sum up:

1. Several species of Equus, including the true horse, existed in the Indus- Sarasvati civilization, probably in small numbers. Some of them may have entered India over a much longer time span than is usually granted, in the course of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization’s interactions with neighbouring areas, but certainly not through any Aryan invasion or migration, which in any case has already been rejected by archaeological, anthropological, genetic, literary and cultural evidence.70

2. This process continued with a gradual but slight increase after the end of the mature phase of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization right up to early historical times. There was no epoch exhibiting a sudden, first-time introduction of the animal.

3. The Rig-Veda has been misread; it tells us strictly nothing about a sizeable horse population, and rather suggests its rarity. The animal was important in symbolic, not quantitative terms.

4. The Rig-Veda also tells us nothing about conquering Aryans hurtling down from Afghanistan in their horse-drawn “thundering” chariots and crushing indigenous tribal populations; it is high time we abandoned once and for all those perverse fancies of nineteenth-century scholars, even if some of their peers hang on to such myths even today.

The hypothesis I have put forward is testable: if correct, we should expect further excavations of Harappan sites to come up with more horse remains and depictions, although nothing on the scale that the Aryan invasion theory wrongly expects of a Vedic society — and has failed to document in post-
Harappan India.

Acknowledgements

I am much indebted to Shri Vishal Agarwal for generously sharing his unpublished research on the topic; some of the data on horse remains in protohistoric and historical periods are borrowed from his work, and his advice on other points was very helpful.
* * *


References & Notes


1
A. Ghosh, An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1989),
vol. 1, p. 4.
2
Mortimer Wheeler, The Indus Civilization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953), p.
92, quoted by Edwin Bryant in The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan
Migration Debate (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 170-171.
3
B. B. Lal, The Earliest Civilization of South Asia (New Delhi: Aryan Books International, 1997),
p. 162.
4
S. P. Gupta, The Indus-Sarasvati Civilization – Origins, Problems and Issues (Delhi: Pratibha
Prakashan, 1996), pp. 160-161.
5
Quoted in S. R. Rao, Lothal – A Harappan Port Town (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of
India, 1985), vol. II, pp. 641-642.
6
For Harappa, see Bhola Nath, “Remains of the Horse and the Indian Elephant from the
Prehistoric Site of Harappa (West Pakistan)” in Proceedings of the All-India Congress of Zoology
(Calcutta: Zoological Society of India, 1961). See also Bhola Nath, “Advances in the Study of
Prehistoric and Ancient Animal Remains in India – A Review” in Records of the Zoological
Survey of India, LXI.1-2, 1963, pp. 1-64.
7
Sándor Bökönyi, “Horse Remains from the Prehistoric Site of Surkotada, Kutch, Late 3rd
Millennium B.C.,” South Asian Studies, vol. 13, 1997 (New Delhi: Oxford & IBH), p. 299.
8
Sándor Bökönyi, 13 December 1993, in his report to the Director General of the
Archaeological Survey of India, quoted by B. B. Lal in The Earliest Civilization of South Asia,
op. cit., p. 162.
The Horse and the Aryan Debate / p. 18


9
P. K. Thomas, P. P. Joglekar, et al, “Harappan Subsistence Patterns with Special Reference to
Shikarpur, a Harappan Site in Gujarat,” Man and Environment XX (2) – 1995, p. 39.
10
P. K. Thomas, P. P. Joglekar, et al, “Subsistence Based on Animals in the Harappan Culture
of Gujarat,” Anthropozoologica, 1997, N°25-26, p. 769.
11
G. R. Sharma, History to Prehistory: Archaeology of the Vindhyas and the Ganga Valley
(University of Allahabad, 1980), quoted by K. D. Sethna, The Problem of Aryan Origins, p. 220-
221.
12
M. K. Dhavalikar, Indian Protohistory (New Delhi: Books & Books, 1997), p. 115.
13
Richard Meadow & Ajita Patel, “A Comment on ‘Horse Remains from Surkotada’ by Sándor
Bökönyi,” South Asian Studies, vol. 13, 1997 (New Delhi: Oxford & IBH), pp. 308-315.
14
Ibid., p. 314.
15
I use the word “Marxist” not in any derogatory manner, but in the way those historians and
scholars use it to describe their own school of thought. D. D. Kossambi’s Introduction to the
Study of Indian History (1956) set the tone, declaring its intent to use “dialectical materialism,
also called Marxism” to read the evolution of Indian society, complete with a “proletariat”
and class war. My use of the term “Marxist” is the same as Romila Thapar in her Penguin
History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300 (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2003), p. 22 ff.
16
For instance Ram Sharan Sharma, “Was the Harappan Culture Vedic?”, Journal of
Interdisciplinary Studies in History and Archaeology (University of Allahabad), 1:2, Winter 2004,
pp. 135-144. See also Romila Thapar Penguin History of Early India, op. cit., p. 85 (although she
does not specifically refer to Meadow’s and Patel’s paper, the context makes it clear).
17
For instance, J. P. Mallory, In Search of the Indo-European: Language, Archaeology and Myth
(London: Thames and Hudson, 1989), p. 273, note 8; Bernard Sergent, Les Indo-Européens:
Histoire, langues, mythes (Payot, 1995), p. 397.
18
This is the case at Surkotada. See Jagat Pati Joshi, Excavation at Surkotada and Exploration in
Kutch (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, Memoirs N°87, 1990), pp. 381-382.
19
Ibid., p. 381.
20
Period IA starts about 2300 BCE (see ibid., p. 60 ff.), but this is based on uncalibrated C-14
analysis; a calibrated date will usually be a few centuries older, which would fit well with
the now accepted date of 2600 BCE for the start of the mature Harappan phase.
21
G. R. Sharma et al., Beginnings of Agriculture (Allahabad: Abinash Prakashan, 1980), pp. 220-
221, quoted by Edwin Bryant in The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture, op. cit., p. 170.
22
K. R. Alur, “Animal Remains” in Proto-historical Cultures of the Tungabhadra Valley, ed. M. S.
Nagaraja Rao (Dharwad: Rao, 1971). Note that here too, the dates are most likely
uncalibrated and therefore to be pushed back a few centuries.
23
K. R. Alur, “Aryan Invasion of India, Indo-Gangetic Valley Cultures,” in New Trends in
Indian Art and Archaeology, ed. B. U. Nayak & N. C. Ghosh (New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan,
1992), p. 562, quoted by Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-
Aryan Migration Debate (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 170 and by A. K.
Sharma, “The Harappan Horse was buried under the dunes of …”, Puratattva, No. 23, 1992-
93, p. 30.
24
S. P. Gupta, The Indus-Sarasvati Civilization – Origins, Problems and Issues, op. cit., p. 162.
25
A. K. Sharma, “The Harappan Horse was buried under the dunes of …” in Puratattva, N°23
(1992-93), p. 31.
26
S. R. Rao, Dawn and Devolution of the Indus Civilization (New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1991),
p. 196 & 299.
The Horse and the Aryan Debate / p. 19


27
E. J. H. Mackay, Further Excavations at Mohenjo-daro (Delhi: Government of India, 1938), vol.
I, p. 289.
28
Quoted by B. B. Lal in India 1947-1997: New Light on the Indus Civilization (New Delhi: Aryan
Books International, 1998), p. 109.
29
The set of chessmen is taken from S. R. Rao, Dawn and Devolution of the Indus Civilization, op.
cit., detail of plate N°120. I suggest the following test to anyone who doubt that this figurine
represents a horse: show the whole set of “chessmen” to schoolchildren and ask them what
it is; the answer will always be, “Chess!” (This, at least, has been my own experience.) Then
as, “Why?” The reply: “Because of the horse.” I suggest that children’s sense of observation
in such a case is more reliable and less biased than even that of “experts,” all the more so as
many of the Harappan figurines were very likely toys for children.
30
R. S. Bisht, C. Dorje, Arundhati Banerji, eds. Indian Archaeology 1993-94 – A Review,
Explorations and Excavations (New Delhi: Director General Archaeological Survey of India,
2000), p. 49.
31
See K. D. Sethna, The Problem of Aryan Origins (New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 2nd ed., 1992),
pp. 419-420.
32
See for instance Romila Thapar, Cultural Pasts (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.
1131.
33
Michael Witzel, “Early Indian history: Linguistic and textual parametres,” in The Indo-
Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity, ed. George Erdosy
(Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1995), p. 114.
34
Both pictures are taken from B. B. Lal, The Sarasvati Flows On: the Continuity of Indian
Culture (New Delhi: Aryan Books International, 2002), p. 74.
35
M. K. Dhavalikar, Indian Protohistory, op. cit., p. 297.
36
L. S. Rao, “The Harappan Spoked Wheels Rattled Down the Streets of Bhirrana, Dist.
Fatehabad, Haryana,” in Puratattva No. 36, 2005-06, pp. 59-67.
37
Bhola Nath, “Advances in the Study of Prehistoric and Ancient Animal Remains in India – A
Review” in Records of the Zoological Survey of India, LXI.1-2, 1963, pp. 1-64.
38
T. K. Biswas, Horse in Early Indian Art (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1987), p. 46.
39
Jayanti Rath, “The Animal Motifs On Indian Coins (Ancient And Mediaeval Period)” in
Orissa Historical Research Journal, vol. XLVII, No. 1, p. 57.
40
Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture (New York: Oxford University Press,
2001), p. 175.
41
Elizabeth S. Wing, “Impact of Spanish Animal Uses in New World,” pp. 72-79 in Juliet
Clutton-Brock, ed., The Walking Larder – Patterns of Domestication, Pastoralism, and Predation
(London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), p. 78.
42
Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture, op. cit., p. 228.
43
Jonathan M. Kenoyer, “Interaction Systems, Specialized Crafts And Cultural Change,” in
The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. George Erdosy (Berlin & New York: Walter de
Gruyter, 1995), p. 227.
44
S. P. Gupta, The Indus-Saraswati Civilization, op. cit., p. 162.
45
K. D. Sethna, The Problem of Aryan Origins (New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 2nd ed., 1992),
p. 179.
46
K. D. Sethna, The Problem of Aryan Origins, p. 179.
47
Rig-Veda, I.162.18.
48
Shatapatha Brahmana, 13.5.
The Horse and the Aryan Debate / p. 20

49
Paul Kekai Manansala, “A New Look at Vedic India,” published and circulated over the
Internet (http://asiapacificuniverse.com/pkm/vedicindia.html).
50
Rig-Veda, VII.6.7. (All translations from the Rig-Veda are adapted from Sri Aurobindo’s.)
51
IV.58.1.
52
IV.58.5.
53
II.24.4.
54
III.1.3.
55
I.70.2
56
I.95.4.
57
III.39.5, X.72.9.
58
IV.3.16.
59
Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, vol. 12,
1972), p. 400-401.
60
Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library,
vol. 10, 1972), p. 42.
61
Ibid., p. 118.
62
Subhash Kak, The Asvamedha: the Rite and its Logic (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002).
63
Edmund Leach: “Aryan invasions over the millennia” in Culture Through Time:
Anthropological Approaches, ed. Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney (Stanford: Stanford University Press,
1990), p. 240.
64
See a number of parallels between Harappan and Vedic cultures, as well as historical
survivals of Harappan cultures in Michel Danino, “The Harappan Heritage and the Aryan
Problem,” Man and Environment (Pune), XXVIII.1, January-June 2003, pp. 21-32.
65
Rig-Veda, IV.28.5.
66
I.83.4.
67
X.108.7. I have freely adapted here the French translation of the hymn provided in Le Véda,
ed. Jean Varenne (Paris: Les Deux Océans, 1967), p. 152-53.
68
X.108.2.
69
X.108.11.
70
For a study of the Aryan invasion theory, see Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic
Culture, op. cit.; Koenraad Elst, Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate (New Delhi: Aditya
Prakashan, 1999); Michel Danino, L’Inde et l’invasion de nulle part (Paris: Les Belles Lettres,
2006).

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 12 May 2012 21:09

Manish avare, there are many "secular" (not wedded to any specific calendar) cosmic events which when in collation very easily help us date the Mahabharatha. For example the Surya Siddhanta says that Kaliyuga began on new moon day (shukla paksha vidhiya in Chandramaanena) when the sun was 54 degrees from the vernal equinox. This translates to around 5100 gregorian years ago. Now both you and I know that kaliyuga began after end of Mahabharatha war. Another such secular event would be the incidence of 2 solar eclipses in a gap of 13 days, solar eclipses happen on new moon days and in this case the geography of viewing of this eclipse would be Kurukshetra. In the same period as 5100 years ago there are some 100+ incidences of such back to back eclipses and given the time period of the events mentioned in Mahabharatha (evenings) it is pretty easy to see that this period around 5100 years ago is a very strong candidate.

Now this is what a amateur-amateur like me who plagiarises content from the web for my own posts can come up with, just imagine what the professionals would be able to do?

This western year/time concepts tends to assume that time is an ever moving constant factor while this goes against the concept of pralaya and "reset" of the time in our scriptures and understanding of life and universe.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ManishH » 12 May 2012 21:26

RajeshA wrote:the Aryan Invasion Theorists contend that Rigveda must have had a source outside India


Please point me to one peer reviewed paper post 1940s which claims that Rgveda has a source outside India. I'm aware of no such claim. The usual claim is that descendants of people who entered india from outside composed Rgveda in India.

, because in the Rigveda there is a lot of talk of horses, and the horse played a central role in Aryan life, while archaeology in the Indian Subcontinent does not really bear this out as not many bones or seals of horses have been found.


Please read Allchin & Allchin, "Rise of Civilization In India and Pakistan". Many such instances of horse furniture are found beginning 2nd millenium BC.

a) Horse was not central to the Ṛgvedic life as is the case with Mongols, just an elite animal used in Indic chariots.


And yet we find no injunctions against ritual slaughter of this "elite animal".

b) Aśvamedhá yagam shows that Horse was a prized rarity, and its prized rarity was used as a temptation to others to formulate the regal challenge.


Aśvamedhá is a late reference. Look at earlier references to horse sacrifice in Rgveda (1.162). No such grand regal objectives to it - just a regular animal sacrifice.

Furthermore,
c) We don't see horses being named in our scriptures .... But we don't have name for any horses in Vedic literature. The horse is simply not considered as an animal worth emotional attachment.


This is from a very shoddy source. Please look up many praises of a horse named Dadhikras in Rgveda

In many societies with horses, horses are given proper names.


Of course.

d) The concept of chariot itself reveals a lot about how the "Aryans" looked at the horse. Why chariots? Why not riding the horse directly?


Again wrong claim, horse back riding is mentioned in Rgveda read RV 5.61,2
RV_05.061.02.1 kva vo 'śvāḥ kvṛbhīśavaḥ kathaṃ śeka kathā yaya
RV_05.061.02.2 pṛṣṭhe sado nasor yamaḥ

The Maruts described as seated on horse back and horse having reins in the nose.

Why horse back riding was not popular for warriors - the invention of stirrup hadn't yet happened (It's another Indian invention BTW). This makes doing battle on horse very difficult (balance). That's why it was more practical for a warrior to stand on the chariot and hurl spears or shoot arrows. It allowed for better balance and freed both hands for battle. The warrior is called "rathesta", literally standing on the chariot.

After all in the Steppes, the people are much more inclined to ride their horses, and fight while mounted,


Again a very unsubstantiated claim. Read David Anthony "Horse, Wheel and Chariot". Horse back riding was first used for herding larger herds of cattle and in a larger area, not in battle. This is the summary of archaeological evidence (around page 223):

Many experts have suggested that horses were not ridden in warfare
until after about 1500-1000 BeE, but they failed to differentiate between
mounted raiding, which probably is very old, and cavalry, which was in-
vented in the Iron Age after about 1000 BeE.
...

<<On impracticality of horse back warfare in bronze age>>>

Mounted archery probably was not yet very effective before the Iron
Age, for three reasons. The bows reconstructed from their traces in steppe
Bronze Age graves were more than 1 m long and up to 1.5 m, or almost
five feet, in length, which would clearly have made them clumsy to use
from horseback

The invention of the short, recurved, compound bow (the "cupid" bow)
around 1000 BeE made it possible for riders to carry a powerful bow
short enough to swing over the horse's rear.

... These tactics (horseback warfare), and the soldier mentality
that went with them, were not applied to riders before 1000 BCE,
partly because the short bows and standardized arrows that would
make mounted archery truly threatening had not yet been invented



Doing battle while mounted on horse back needs greater skill and this was not prevalent until the invention of the stirrup. Horses were used in cattle raids to herd the cattle, but not directly in warfare.

Whereas chariot riding allowed the warrior use of both hands as well as better balance.

be it with spear, bow or sword.


Please. Hurling a spear on horse back without a stirrup ? This source clearly hasn't researched basics of the evolution of horse domestication. Again from Anthony's book pp 400:

<<<comparing ease of launching a projectile standing on chariot v/s horseback>>>
From a standing position in a chariot, a driver-warrior could use his
entire body to throw, whereas a man on horseback without stirrups (in-
vented after 300 eE) could use only his arm and shoulder.


One could talk of a certain discomfort and shyness among the "Aryan" nobility to come too close to the horse. One would speak of an attitude of keeping the horse at a respectful distance. The horse was always a foreigner for the "Aryan" and never "family".


Again wild claims. Rgveda has no mention of foreign imports of horse. In fact, one sukta pictures a horse appearing in the wild (actually forest).

When the Ṛgveda was composed or rather heard, the people were already quite advanced. One doesn't start composing or even understanding such ideas with a monkey brain.


The source quickly lowers down to invectives. Of course, it forgets that monkey is a revered organism in Indic tradition ;-)

Summarizing: Ṛgveda could only have been composed where the horse was not native to the land.


Yes, of course Rgveda is composed in India. And equuus caballus is not native to India. But that doesn't preclude that people familiar with horse brought the horse to India and their progeny composed Rgveda in India.

ManishH
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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby ManishH » 12 May 2012 22:47

Yogi_G wrote:Manish avare, there are many "secular" (not wedded to any specific calendar) cosmic events which when in collation very easily help us date the Mahabharatha. For example the Surya Siddhanta says that Kaliyuga began on new moon day (shukla paksha vidhiya in Chandramaanena) when the sun was 54 degrees from the vernal equinox


Yogi Avare,

To date Mahbharata, one should look for references in Mahabharata. Not Surya Siddhanta. What about the gap between Mahabharata and beginning of Kaliyuga (when Sri Krishna left earth) - it is said to be 27 years but then is the year solar or divine year ?

Can you please tell me the exact Sanskrit term for "vernal equinox" in Surya Siddhanta? Is it per chance 'viśuvat' ? If yes, please be aware that this term has been sometimes used for solstice and sometimes for equinox. Eg. in Kauṣīṭaki Brāhmaṇa 19.3 , it clearly means the solstice. Whereas in Surya Siddhanta and other late texts like Amarakoṣa, the term was used for equinox. When Indian tradition is not unanimous about what 'viśuvat' means, how can one use this for dating ?

Then the question of archaeological correlation. If Mahabharata was in indeed in 3,000 BC, then how come there is mention of a semi-dried Sarasvati in there ?

This could only mean one of these:

1. Mahabharata is not as old as 3,000 BC
2. If Mahabharata is as old as 3,000 BC, the semi dried Sarasvati River cannot refer to Ghaggar-Hakra River bed which is claimed by OIT protagonists to be "scientifically dated via satellite images" to 1900 BC). See http://www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/MahabharataII.pdf
3. The semi-dried Sarasvati mention in Mahbarata is not the Ghaggar-Hakra river channel.

So multiple contradictions emerge. OIT protagonists do not realize that there own claims contradict each other.

Re: eclipse pairs. There are multiple matches to eclipse pairs as described in Mahabharata ranging from 3000BC to 1700BC. Again, the criteria used to sift out some of them are based on ambiguous references in Mahabharata.

http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Cont ... cleID=1052

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby RajeshA » 12 May 2012 23:23

ManishH ji,

there was no "source" for what I had posted. That was my post. :)

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:the Aryan Invasion Theorists contend that Rigveda must have had a source outside India


Please point me to one peer reviewed paper post 1940s which claims that Rgveda has a source outside India. I'm aware of no such claim. The usual claim is that descendants of people who entered india from outside composed Rgveda in India.

The interesting thing is those making those claims want to have their cake and eat it too. So they say, "sure the Ṛgveda refers to Indian geography, but the mentality is foreign, e.g. with horses." But when asked to show any references to any foreign origin in the Ṛgveda, where this foreign mentality could have developed, there is no response. There is no mention of any migration from outside India.

So even if the AIT-wallahs concede that Ṛgveda was composed in India, they still claim that the content of Ṛgveda has foreign origin. So it becomes an issue of semantics about what they concede.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:, because in the Rigveda there is a lot of talk of horses, and the horse played a central role in Aryan life, while archaeology in the Indian Subcontinent does not really bear this out as not many bones or seals of horses have been found.


Please read Allchin & Allchin, "Rise of Civilization In India and Pakistan". Many such instances of horse furniture are found beginning 2nd millenium BC.

Then I hope the AIT-wallahs are cognizant of this, and do not continue to make absence of evidence for horse into an issue.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:a) Horse was not central to the Ṛgvedic life as is the case with Mongols, just an elite animal used in Indic chariots.


And yet we find no injunctions against ritual slaughter of this "elite animal".

Exactly! It is ritual slaughter, and not common daily slaughter, say for food. If one wishes to make a ritual sacrifice, one would tend to offer something that is not a common commodity, but rather something that is a prized possession, possibly imported.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:b) Aśvamedhá yagam shows that Horse was a prized rarity, and its prized rarity was used as a temptation to others to formulate the regal challenge.


Aśvamedhá is a late reference. Look at earlier references to horse sacrifice in Rgveda (1.162). No such grand regal objectives to it - just a regular animal sacrifice.

Still a sacrifice ... of something most probably prized.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:Furthermore,
c) We don't see horses being named in our scriptures .... But we don't have name for any horses in Vedic literature. The horse is simply not considered as an animal worth emotional attachment.
In many societies with horses, horses are given proper names.


This is from a very shoddy source. Please look up many praises of a horse named Dadhikras in Rgveda

Thanks. May be that was because that name was used for symbolizing the Sun. And one would not want to come short on praising the Sun. Perhaps!

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:d) The concept of chariot itself reveals a lot about how the "Aryans" looked at the horse. Why chariots? Why not riding the horse directly?


Again wrong claim, horse back riding is mentioned in Rgveda read RV 5.61,2
RV_05.061.02.1 kva vo 'śvāḥ kvṛbhīśavaḥ kathaṃ śeka kathā yaya
RV_05.061.02.2 pṛṣṭhe sado nasor yamaḥ

The Maruts described as seated on horse back and horse having reins in the nose.

Why horse back riding was not popular for warriors - the invention of stirrup hadn't yet happened (It's another Indian invention BTW). This makes doing battle on horse very difficult (balance). That's why it was more practical for a warrior to stand on the chariot and hurl spears or shoot arrows. It allowed for better balance and freed both hands for battle. The warrior is called "rathesta", literally standing on the chariot.

My reference was about warriors riding horses. Thanks for the info on stirrups. Quite educational.

It is interesting that the Indians felt the need to first deploy chariots and then to develop a stirrup. If one goes by the rule that necessity is the mother of invention, one could say that the highly advanced Indians were not in a hurry to develop the stirrup. Even the one we seem to have developed was more of a foot support rather than a full-fledged paired stirrup useful for fighting.

It basically becomes a question of chicken and the egg.

The warriors did not prefer riding horses in battle as the stirrup wasn't yet invented, or the stirrup was not invented simply because there was no demand for warriors to mount the horse, e.g. as the horse was not considered trustworthy.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:After all in the Steppes, the people are much more inclined to ride their horses, and fight while mounted,


Again a very unsubstantiated claim. Read David Anthony "Horse, Wheel and Chariot". Horse back riding was first used for herding larger herds of cattle and in a larger area, not in battle. This is the summary of archaeological evidence (around page 223):

Many experts have suggested that horses were not ridden in warfare
until after about 1500-1000 BeE, but they failed to differentiate between
mounted raiding, which probably is very old, and cavalry, which was in-
vented in the Iron Age after about 1000 BeE.
...

<<On impracticality of horse back warfare in bronze age>>>

Mounted archery probably was not yet very effective before the Iron
Age, for three reasons. The bows reconstructed from their traces in steppe
Bronze Age graves were more than 1 m long and up to 1.5 m, or almost
five feet, in length, which would clearly have made them clumsy to use
from horseback

The invention of the short, recurved, compound bow (the "cupid" bow)
around 1000 BeE made it possible for riders to carry a powerful bow
short enough to swing over the horse's rear.

... These tactics (horseback warfare), and the soldier mentality
that went with them, were not applied to riders before 1000 BCE,
partly because the short bows and standardized arrows that would
make mounted archery truly threatening had not yet been invented



Doing battle while mounted on horse back needs greater skill and this was not prevalent until the invention of the stirrup. Horses were used in cattle raids to herd the cattle, but not directly in warfare.

Whereas chariot riding allowed the warrior use of both hands as well as better balance.

To be honest, I don't really know how it is - what is easier - fighting from a chariot or from a horse's back?

I would imagine the opposite. When a spoked-wheel chariot is being drawn by horses, it would be quite bumpy, going over various stones and rocks. Battles were hardly fought on paved roads. With a chariot, there is too big a variable when the chariot loses its stability and starts rocking. However with the horse, which gallops over all rocks and uneven ground, the rider would have far more stability as he can sync his seating with the movement of the horse.


ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote: be it with spear, bow or sword.


Please. Hurling a spear on horse back without a stirrup ? This source clearly hasn't researched basics of the evolution of horse domestication. Again from Anthony's book pp 400:

<<<comparing ease of launching a projectile standing on chariot v/s horseback>>>
From a standing position in a chariot, a driver-warrior could use his
entire body to throw, whereas a man on horseback without stirrups (in-
vented after 300 eE) could use only his arm and shoulder.

A spear need not be hurled but can be used for "poking". The rider would simply use the momentum of the horse to ram through enemy lines. This is a standard battlefield tactic.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:One could talk of a certain discomfort and shyness among the "Aryan" nobility to come too close to the horse. One would speak of an attitude of keeping the horse at a respectful distance. The horse was always a foreigner for the "Aryan" and never "family".


Again wild claims. Rgveda has no mention of foreign imports of horse. In fact, one sukta pictures a horse appearing in the wild (actually forest).

Actually it is incumbent on those who propose that Aryans cohabited with the horse, to show a lot more hymns describing the horses in the wild, as well as about such a wild-horse-rich landscape. Also they need to show how the Aryans caught those wild-horses and broke them. Such a landscape, an environment would be a matter of course, self-evident.

So if Rigveda does not have any mention of import of horses, at least then it should show how plentiful horses were locally and how they were broken.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:When the Ṛgveda was composed or rather heard, the people were already quite advanced. One doesn't start composing or even understanding such ideas with a monkey brain.


The source quickly lowers down to invectives. Of course, it forgets that monkey is a revered organism in Indic tradition ;-)

Well ... :)

The point was that Rigvedic society could be familiar with horses even before they started composing or "hearing", the horse being an import.

ManishH wrote:
RajeshA wrote:Summarizing: Ṛgveda could only have been composed where the horse was not native to the land.


Yes, of course Rgveda is composed in India. And equuus caballus is not native to India. But that doesn't preclude that people familiar with horse brought the horse to India and their progeny composed Rgveda in India.

The progeny seem to be very silent on people bringing those horses to India. So it simply a speculation with no basis. A bit over the top that some people came down with a few horses, with no possibility to replenish them from their Urheimat, and then they took over the whole place.

It is far more plausible that proto-Ṛgvedic society came into contact with people of Central Asia, and a trade in horses developed, with the nobility in India buying them, inventing the chariot and using them for their chariots.

It is also possible that some pre-Ṛgvedic tribes may have moved up North and built up the supply line of horses from Central Asia for the Ṛgvedic Civilization.

It is far more plausible that there was a movement of horses to India (as trade), than a movement of people who defined India.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby Yogi_G » 13 May 2012 07:23

ManishH wrote:
Yogi_G wrote:Manish avare, there are many "secular" (not wedded to any specific calendar) cosmic events which when in collation very easily help us date the Mahabharatha. For example the Surya Siddhanta says that Kaliyuga began on new moon day (shukla paksha vidhiya in Chandramaanena) when the sun was 54 degrees from the vernal equinox


Yogi Avare,

To date Mahbharata, one should look for references in Mahabharata. Not Surya Siddhanta. What about the gap between Mahabharata and beginning of Kaliyuga (when Sri Krishna left earth) - it is said to be 27 years but then is the year solar or divine year ?

Can you please tell me the exact Sanskrit term for "vernal equinox" in Surya Siddhanta? Is it per chance 'viśuvat' ? If yes, please be aware that this term has been sometimes used for solstice and sometimes for equinox. Eg. in Kauṣīṭaki Brāhmaṇa 19.3 , it clearly means the solstice. Whereas in Surya Siddhanta and other late texts like Amarakoṣa, the term was used for equinox. When Indian tradition is not unanimous about what 'viśuvat' means, how can one use this for dating ?

Then the question of archaeological correlation. If Mahabharata was in indeed in 3,000 BC, then how come there is mention of a semi-dried Sarasvati in there ?

This could only mean one of these:

1. Mahabharata is not as old as 3,000 BC
2. If Mahabharata is as old as 3,000 BC, the semi dried Sarasvati River cannot refer to Ghaggar-Hakra River bed which is claimed by OIT protagonists to be "scientifically dated via satellite images" to 1900 BC). See http://www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/MahabharataII.pdf
3. The semi-dried Sarasvati mention in Mahbarata is not the Ghaggar-Hakra river channel.

So multiple contradictions emerge. OIT protagonists do not realize that there own claims contradict each other.

Re: eclipse pairs. There are multiple matches to eclipse pairs as described in Mahabharata ranging from 3000BC to 1700BC. Again, the criteria used to sift out some of them are based on ambiguous references in Mahabharata.

http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Cont ... cleID=1052


Manish ji,

I am only using Surya Siddanta in trying to determine the date of Mahabharatha when you yourself dont want to use the Hindu calendar which per you is ambiguous in that there is no mention of things like the Adhika maasa and hence there will be a differential (albeit per me a differential of a few thousand days is insignificant). Using other references to determine the dating of a text has nothing wrong to it.

Now, to your point on there being an ambiguity or may I say re-use of the same term for both equinox and solistice. In Sanskrit the exact term for equinox is SamAh. The term for Solistice is Ayana (Uttarayana/Dakshinayana). In the Surya Siddanta the term Aayana is used in its own right for denoting the Solistice and there is no confusion in that. We can doubt the solistice/equinox mix-up if this were not the case but here the distinction is clear. Next, there is mention of the equinox shadow and the positioning of the equator in this regard and the aayana is not used in this context. So it is clear that there is a clear distinction between solistice and equinox. Now, the equinox happens once in some 25000 odd years and the solistice happens twice a year, now I doubt anyone with the clear knowledge as demonstrated in the Surya Siddanta (even by the western narrative of it being "written" and not heard i.e. not a Shruti but a smriti) would be mixing up both. Oh and it was the Dharmics who gave to the world the concept of the equinox and its progression.

The Sarasvati river in many parts formed into small ponds and to the eye would have appeared as a dry bed. Even the puranas mention this very nature of the Saraswati and it is this very fact that gives the name Saraswati. So there is no confusion here.

Now lets return to the original topic of the Hindu calendar which you say is ambiguous. I doubt the adhika maasa would have been discounted in the calculation as this month is taboo for some and auspicious for some. For example, in our family we dont do anything auspicious in the adhika maasa and in some relatives I know, anything done in this month is auspicious. I would assume something as important as this would not be discounted. And that this happens once in 3 years, so even if not counted, you can see for a 5000 year time period, 136 years have been discounted. Is this a big deal? Next, until a few centuries back, the averaged duration of the year in the Hindu calendar was the most accurate (to a few decimal places) and it is this accuracy which led to the Gregorian calendar being highly influenced by it. Up until the time of Aryabhatta and Virahmira the regional calendars of today were not prevalent yet. So when Aryabhatta gives a reference to the start of kali yuga with reference to his own age it would be using the calendar of the day and that leaves little doubt as to the approximate end of the Mahabharatha war.

No one calculate the start and end of Mahabharatha war to its exact second. That is not the intention here. We are discussing rough dates here.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby SBajwa » 13 May 2012 07:35

When was elephant domesticated? Domesticated elephants were used nowhere but in India.

I agree that horse is not a native to India and was an import in small numbers.

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Re: Out-of-India - From Theory to Truth

Postby brihaspati » 13 May 2012 07:36

Are we not chewing old tobacco here all over again? The horse, the dating of the mahabharata, iron, linguistics!

MB should be modeled as possibly a three layered construction where memories and traditions from at least three [perhaps even more] different periods have been woven, and finally given shape at the latest date in complete verse form. The final date will affect the linguistics. The different dates of formation of the layers will be indicated in overlays that seem anachronistic. This does not necessarily invalidate the core conflict incidents described in the epic at around 3100 BCE.

Three possible periods are : 5700 BCE, 3100 BCE, and middle bronze - between 1600-1400 BCE. Submergence of Dwarka however possibly belongs to the 5700 BCE period. The elaborate material descriptions of pomp and splendour probably belongs to the later bronze age. The compendium was also likely formulated in its final form in the post SSC phase - when society and philosophers had begun to search for a post-war, post-apocalyptic, moral foundation for society - and was giving birth to the precursor post Vedic philosophical milieu which over time would lead to Jainas, Buddhists or Ajivikas.

Elements of later periods occurring in text cannot and should not be used to deny the core events at an earlier period.


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