In India, the recurring attack on the past, especially on Indus Sarasvati Civilisation is carried out by ideological and political lobbies because they know the power of history to integrate people, rejuvenate societies and blend conflicting diversities
To study the past is to study transitions. Historians are professionals in analysing and interpreting human identities and socio-cultural transformations and civilisations over time. They apply a wide range of methods and analytical tools to unveil the past and to reconstruct the diversity of past human experience. How profoundly people have differed in their ideas, institutions, and cultural practices; how widely their experiences and outlooks have varied by time and space, and the trajectories they have adopted and confronted while inhabiting an environment.
On History, Bertrand Russell wrote how it enlarges the imagination, and suggests possibilities of action and feeling which would not have occurred to an uninstructed mind. He highlights how it relates the present to the past, and thereby the future to the present. It makes visible the growth and greatness of nations, enabling us to extend our hopes beyond the span of our own lives, according to Russell.
Historians use a wide range of sources to weave individual and collective initiatives and campaigns into narratives that bring critical perspectives on both our past and present. The search for the past does not begin or end within a prescribed time space context. Historical method consists essentially of presenting fresh evidence. Constant examination of the past helps us understand and grapple with complex questions and dilemmas by examining how the past has shaped (and continues to shape) regional and national relationships between cultures and civilisations.
Early Indian History is largely dependent on archaeology. Hence, theoretical preoccupations of Indian archaeology occur at various levels such as ‘changing concerns’, ‘the idea of diffusion as an explanatory model’, ‘the problem of correlation between archaeology and literature’, ‘the geographical approaches’, ‘prehistory’, ‘the transition to food production’, ‘agriculture’, ‘ urbanisation’ ‘metallurgy’ and ‘trade’ . These issues are reexamined and reinterpreted with new evidence in archaeology.
In India, the recurring attack on the past, especially on Indus Sarasvati Civilisation is carried out by ideological and political lobbies because they know the power of history to integrate people, rejuvenate societies, blend conflicting diversities, sustain values, identities and a sense of belonging to the homeland. They know history is a source of resistance and resilience, sustaining communities and ways of looking to the future with hope and confidence.
Despite studies of skeletal remains from Harappan sites from Indus and Sarasvati valleys by physical anthropologists, the ongoing conflict and debate sown by British colonialists has been taken ahead by Left and Euro American lobbies to establish Aryan invasion and migration as a historical fact. Skeletal remains have been unearthed from various Harappan sites such as Kalibangan, Harappa, Mohenjo–daro, Rupar, Lothal, Chanhudaro, Surkotada, Allahdino, Dholavira, Banawali, Nausharo and Rakhigarhi. Mortimer Wheeler’s conclusion was not accepted as the last word by the academic community. Scholars such as Kenneth AR Kennedy, John R Lukacs, Hemphill Brian, George F Dales and Toomas Kivisild rejected the massacre theory in their studies. Indian archaeologists such as BB Lal, George F Dales, A Ghosh, Kenneth Kennedy, JP Joshi, SR Rao, BK Thapar, Vasant Shinde, RS Bisht and VN Misra have discarded these Aryan invasion and migration theories. Jim G Shaffer and Dianne Lichtenstein trace Euro ethno-centrism, colonialism and racism in the allegations of mythical invasions and migrations. Indologists Michel Danino and Nicholas Kazanas have brilliantly exposed the major issues underlying the Aryan debate. For the Indian Left, these scholars of global reputation are fascists with a communal agenda. It was constant historical research that exploded the Aryan Invasion Theory which would have been used to break the spine of India’s civilisational nationalism and unity.
But Left historian Romila Thapar adopted Aryan Migration Theory after Invasion Theory was internationally discarded. In an article in Journal of Asiatic Society of Bombay (1988-91) Thapar contended that, “If invasion is discarded then the mechanism of migration and occasional contacts come into sharper focus. These migrations appear to have been of pastoral cattle breeders who are prominent in the Avesta and Rig Veda”.
It was Professor Romila Thapar who was one among those who first highlighted the Sarasvati River and acknowledged its presence in the historical context. In December 1969, at the Presidential Address of Ancient Indian History Section of Indian History Congress at Varanasi, Professor Thapar in her paper titled The Study of Society in Ancient India, outlined the importance of Sarasvati in study of the period 2500-500 BC as a starting point, which provides both archaeological and literary evidence. But she took a vertical shift due to her Left ideology, and later in all her writings denied the existence of the Sarasvati river. Left historians RS Sharma, DN Jha and Irfan Habib made scathing attacks on any reference to Sarasvati river.
The ASI has so far discovered over 2,000 Harappan sites spread over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Of these, about 1,400 can be located in the Sarasvati belt alone, while the Indus belt doesn’t have more than 300-400 sites. Major research institutions have identified the existence of a perennial river Sarasvati, through studies on the temporal changes of sediment provenance along a 300 km stretch of the Ghaggar river basin using different dating methods. Analysing the sediments along the river valley, they found three distinct soil and rock formations. It led the researchers to conclude that the Sarasvati flowed from the Higher Himalayas between 7,000 BC and 2,500 BC, which enabled Harappans to build their early settlements between 3,800 BC and 1,900 BC. The study also suggests that the eventual decline of the Sarasvati led to the collapse of the Harappan civilisation.
Commies Propagate Aryan Falsehood
The Aryan Invasion Theory, although rejected by archaeologists, molecular biologists and physical anthropologists as a ‘colonial construct’ , is still globally propagated by Leftists and their associated religious groups, mainly by FOSA and FOIL. FOSA, (Friends of South Asia), is a US-based political organisation founded in December 2001, by a group of nine Pakistani and also Indian Americans. FOIL, (Forum of Indian Leftists), is a group of over 300 Left-wing activists. The co-founders of FOIL are two Indian Leftists, Biju Mathew and Vijay Prashad. FeTNA’s testimony at the California Curriculum Commission made the dubious claim that the early Tamil texts clearly distinguish between Tamils and Aryans. Further LTTE arms dealer Father Gasper Raj, who is also closely attached with Keezhadi excavations, which is linked with Pattanam, was sanctioned by ASI.
But the racial politics of Aryan Dravidian Theory is kept alive by secessionist groups and foreign-funded political lobbies. In 2019, former Tamil Nadu Minister for Tamil Language and Culture, K Pandiarajan, designated the antiquities from Keezhadi site in Tamil Nadu, part of ‘Bharatham’s civilisation’. This infuriated Madurai Central MLA PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan, who is also the Finance Minister. He now asserted, “We will never accept it as a culture of Bharatham,” as it is Dravidian and has nothing to do with Aryans of main land. These observations have much relevance, when Indian Left historians have always argued for racist identities and dubious claims whether in Aryan invasion context or Dravidian geo linguistic secessionism.
In the early 1960s, Marxist historian D.D . Kosambi put forward a hypothesis that heavy iron tools, which came from the West, aided the clearance of forests in the Ganga Valley and made it suitable for agriculture. Kosambi’s theory was adopted by left historians such as RS Sharma and DN Jha. Similarly iron technology was thought to have been brought to the Indian subcontinent with the migration of Indo-Aryans. This has been suggested in Indo-European philological comparisons by RS Sharma, DN Jha and also by Asko Parpola and Michael Witzel.
In the mid seventies, archaeologists challenged the view of a Western origin of iron into India, stating “there is no logical basis to connect the beginning of iron in India with any diffusion from the West, from Iran and beyond” and further established that India was a separate and possibly independent centre of manufacture of early iron. Recent archaeological discoveries by Rakesh Tiwari indicate that iron using and iron working was prevalent in the Central Ganga Plain and the Eastern Vindhyas from the early second millennium BC. The knowledge of iron smelting and manufacturing of iron artefacts was well known in the Eastern Vindhyas and iron had been in use in the Central Ganga Plain, at least from the early second millennium BC.
India’s second urbanisation took place in the Ganga Valley with the spread of iron technology. The Ramayana narrates Rama’s journey from the Ganga plains through central India to south along Pampa Sarovar in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka and also Krishna Godavari delta
India’s second urbanisation took place in the Ganga Valley with the spread of iron technology. The Ramayana narrates Rama’s journey from the Ganga plains through central India to south along Pampa Sarovar in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka and also Krishna Godavari delta. Rama’s journey was neither an intrusion, incursion, encroachment nor making inroads by a monarch; it was the relinquishment of a monarch. His journey covered the plains, river valleys and forest regions of Nandigam, Sringaverapura, Ayodhya, Chitrakut, Dandakaranya, Panchavati, Bhadrachalam and Kishkinda from north to south along which more archaeological studies are needed.
In early India, an oral tradition was maintained, especially in Ganga Yamuna Sarasvati region, for comprehending, examining and preserving knowledge traditions. Mahabharata is a brilliant example of this oral tradition down the ages. Sage Vaisampayana, disciple of Vyasa, recites Mahabharata for the first time to King Janamejaya at his sarpasatra in Takshasila, modern Pakistan. Later at Naimisaranya, on the banks of the Gomti river near Lucknow, it is narrated by Ugrasravas, showing how the epic was stored, memorised and transmitted orally during different periods in history. During a conclave of sages headed by Saunaka, at Naimisaranya, Ugrasrava Sauti, son of Lomaharsana, again narrates the entire Mahabharata. The distribution of Iron Age Painted Grey Ware (henceforth PGW) sites is associated with Mahabharata. From Lakhiyo Pir in Sind to Sravasti in Uttar Pradesh, the PGW sites extend about 1,400 km, and from Gharinda in Punjab to Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, about 900 km, a span which compares with that of the Indus Sarasvati Civilization.
Hindus seek nod for Praying inside Srirangapatna Jamia Masjid Built over Temple
Activists of Narendra Modi Vichar Manch The activist group said that Jamia Masjid has been built on the Anjaneya Temple. They also claimed that there is historical proof that the Jamia Masjid was Anjaneya Temple.
Mandya (Karnataka): C T Manjunath, Manch state secretary, and other activists of Narendra Modi Vichar Manch on Monday filed a memorandum with the Deputy Commissioner of Mandya to allow Hindus to worship Anjaneya’s idol and perform Puja inside Jamia Masjid popularly known as Masjid-i-Ala.
The activists claimed the structure had been originally a temple that was converted into a mosque. They demanded permission to perform puja in the mosque. The activist group said that Jamia Masjid has been built on the Anjaneya Temple. They also claimed that there is historical proof that the Jamia Masjid was Anjaneya Temple. They also demanded permission for taking bath in the pond situated in the premises of the mosque. CT Manjunath said, “The documentary evidence of Tipu writing to a ruler in Persia admitting that there was Hanuman temple and the mosque where Hindu inscriptions on its pillar and walls support our stand.” “We requested them to open the mosque’s doors to offer prayers,” he further added.
Srirangapatna is the capital of erstwhile ruler Tipu Sultan. The Jamia Masjid is located inside the Srirangapatna Fort, which is believed to be built during the Vijayanagar Empire and taken over by Tipu. The mosque is said to have been built around 1782.
Hindu Right activists claimed that Tipu Sultan wrote about the temple in a letter to the king of Persia Khalif and demanded that the archaeological department consider the documents and investigate the matter.
Tipu Sultan was one of South India’s most ferocious Islamic invaders. Tipu’s army has been accused of forcibly converting, rapping, and kidnapping Hindus under his instructions in the past. During his rule, many temples are said to have been razed. Tipu Sultan had a grudge against the local Hindus and tribals, according to historians such as Khan Hussain Ali Kirmani. Earlier today a local court in Varanasi ordered the sealing of the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque after the surveyor claimed that a ‘Shivling’ was found in the masjid following the conclusion of the three-day court-mandated videography survey of the complex.
The distribution of Iron Age/ PGW sites associated with iron are confined to the Indo-Gangetic divide, the Sarasvati basin, the Ravi-Sutlej basin and the entire Ganga-Yamuna doab. The PGW culture with over 1000 sites extends from the dry bed of Sarasvati in Bahawalpur and north Rajasthan eastwards across the water shade of the Ganges and Indus to the Ganges-Yamuna doab.The PGW sites are largely associated with Mahabharata Period. It includes Atranjikhera III, Jakhera IIIB, Hastinapur II, Ahichchhtra II, Alamgirpur II, Autha, Bateswar I, Hulas II, Allahpur I, Kaseri II, Khalaua II, Sonkh I, Mathura I, Kampil I, Noh II, Jodhpura II, and Raja Karan Ka Qila where, in a majority of cases PGW is reported in association with iron. More archaeological studies shall unveil the contextual relationship between Mahabharata and early Iron Age urbanisation.
British administrators, anthropologists and Euro American missionaries have kept North East India as an isolated area having no link with India’s mainstream civilisation. They portrayed the region as a “cultural vacuum” constantly ruined and exploited by people from the mainland. The policy of protectionism towards hunting gathering communities, whom colonial administrators designated tribes, culminated in the designation of ‘Excluded’ and “Partially Excluded Areas” by the Government of India Act 1935, and the consequent scheduling of tribes. The people of India, especially hunting, gathering and pastoral communities have been addressed and named variously by colonial ethnologists. Relying heavily on Aryan invasion theory, Risley and Elwin called them ‘aboriginals’, Baines included them under the category of ‘hill tribes’, Grigson regarded them as ‘wilder aboriginals’ and Shoobert called them ‘aborigines’. The Anthropological Survey of India was set up hastily in December 1945 barely twenty months before the transfer of power.
North East Is An Eye Opener
But historical researches, especially archaeological explorations and excavations, have changed our perspective on the North East as an isolated region. Numerous Iron Age sites have been found at Khasi Hills, North Cachar Hills, Brahmaputra Valley and Assam Arunachal border. There are many Maurya and Gupta sites in Brahmaputra Valley. Many Gupta and post-Gupta sites such as Garh Doul, Ambari, Dubarani, Alichiga Tengani, Mahadeosal, Boxnagar and Kanchipur have walls and ramparts. There are hundreds of sites in North East India with Vaishnava, Shaiva, Buddhist, Shakta and Jaina remains including rock cut caves and images.
It was warned by historian Martin Sabrow that if the cooperation between politicians and historians is too close, it might be harmful, since the relationship between history and politics can develop into a fatal friendship offering the reward of public attention and moral esteem whilst destroying the radical independence of historical research and its disposition to rethink history. Sabrow was quoted by Jan Marinus Wiersma in her work (2009), Politics of the Past: The Use and Abuse of History.
Recently, Dilip Chakrabarti pointed out that scholars like to dwell on human differences rather than human unities. Behind every genocide, he remarked, there is a perception of difference, and directly or indirectly genetic studies based on racial concepts have been instrumental in sharpening the sense of difference. Present-day academics are strengthening the feeling of difference, according to Chakrabarti.
Our heritage studies demand more extensive research and much more participation of professionals and institutions, since there is also a parallel effort to block historical facts that shall undermine the agenda of lobbies in India which are also funded from outside.