Country’s top academicians and intellectuals assembled at an international seminar in New Delhi urged the educational bodies responsible for drafting school and university curricula and textbooks in the field of ancient history to ensure that obsolete theories left over by the colonial prejudices about Indian civilisation should be phased out. They also stressed the need to set-up a rigorous academic process to update the content of curricula and textbooks and make sure that the latest discoveries are taken into account and brought to the knowledge of the students. The seminar was organised by Draupadi Dream Trust from March 26 to 28 on the topic “The Indus-Saraswati (Harappan) Civilization vis-a-vis The Ṛigveda”.
|Three day international seminar by Draupadi Dream Trust in Delhi|
ICHR Chairman Shri YS Rao portrayed archaeology as yielding subject along with other sciences like astronomy, meteorology, etc. Accepting that every study has its limitations, we should take only the positive aspects of each. Truth in all fields has to be accepted. Dynamism should exist.
ICCR president Prof Lokesh Chandra said life is a polycentric phenomenon, the past, history, language being only parts of the whole. He pressed on the necessity of questioning the Western ideology of Indian history, tracing back the glorious ancestry of the subcontinent and prominence of great masters of sciences and languages.
Noted scholar Dr Koenraad Elst talked about the misconception of Aryan Invasion Theory and proposed that Sanskrit must have been the origin of language. Dr Yvette Claire Rosser (Ramrani) pointed out the interference of politics in the study of ancient Indian history. Emphasising on the twists given by politicians in the textbooks with examples of Pakistan and India Dr Rosser emphasised on how facts are distorted or sidelined to please a certain ideology. Prof Dilip K Chakrabarti, renowned historian and Archaeologist of Cambridge University minced no words when he showed how political considerations hampered the understanding and teaching of the actual historical past.
Prof BB Lal explained the Rig Vedic culture and its geographical reference given in the literature. He emphasised that Vedic people emigrated from India to Western Asia in the second millennium BCE.
Dr David Frawley, Director, American Institute of Vedic Studies, USA interrogated the existing theory that the Vedic culture is confined to the river banks. By referring the verses of Vedas he claimed that the ocean plays an important role in their culture. Prof Michel Danino, of IIT Gandhinagar, in his talk on “Discovering the Saraswati River from 1855-2014” presented the research history of identification of Saraswati River and highlighted the pioneer work of French Indologist CF Oldham in the nineteenth century. Senior scientist of ISRO, Dr BK Bhadra, explained the geographical entity of Vedic Saraswati in relation to the Harappan settlements in North-West India.
Sushri Neera Misra, Chairperson of Draupadi Trust, said culture is the soul of any nation and India’s cultural identity comes from her rich ancient civilisation and Rig Veda. She stressed the need to give more focus of research exploration, excavation and preservation of sites related to the rich ancient Indian history and culture, especially sought support for attention to Kamiplya, the birthplace of Draupadi, Mahabharata Cultural Tourism Circuit, Panchala University for Culture Heritage Studies, and recognition to archaeologists and persons working for ancient cultural studies.
Union Minister of Culture Shri Mahesh Sharma spoke eloquently about the importance of spreading awareness of cultural traditions of respecting the girl child and women. Dr Bal Mukund of Itihas Sankalan Yojna showed admiration at the tremendous work of Draupadi Trust in highlighting issues of cultural identity. Pramod Kumar