Searching the elusive Saraswati !!!!!

We have been taught in our school about Indus Valley civilization and how it was replaced by arrival of the people from west which have been called Aryans. That the Indus Valley civilisation was spread between Indus  and Yamuna rivers. Exacavation at many locations established many huge settlements like Harrapa in Pakistan side punjab and Mohenjodaro in Sind district. But it is not the end. So many sites have been established belonging to this civilisation throughout North India beginning from plains of Punjab and Haryana to as far south as Dholavira in the Kutcch coastal area of gujarat.

This civilisation thus was spread into the fertile flat plains served by many rivers like five rivers of Punjab, Indus River, Yamuna river and so many of their tributaries. These are perennial rivers with the origin in the glaciers of Himalayas. They bring about huge supply of water as well as rich alluvial soil. Thus the area is suitable for agriculture.

The civilisation is said to highly advanced as is evident from the town and unban planning, sanitary system, baths, water harvesting and trade with many countries in the west. But even then it is said that these people did not develop any language or whatever symbols are there still have not being interpreted.

Then it is also said that one fine day this civilisation disappeared. There are many theories like inundations due to changing course of the rivers which cannot happen short time. Another very strong reason is the invasion of these areas by fair colored people from the west. These are said to be pastoral people rearing cattles and riding chariots driven by horses. These were the people who are called Aryans and since they vanquished the native dark colored people who were pushed south wards or those remained were obliged to be inferior to their conquerors.

It is also said that the Vedas are their creation. How the pastoral people can create such profound literature? In these Vedas, another river figures prominently or rather dominates. It is river Saraswati. This river is said to have been responsible for the developments of the civilisation along its banks. It is said to be flowing between Satluj and Yamuna and going all the way down towards Sind after merging with Ghaggar river and then Hakra river combinedly called Ghaggar Hakra river.

Ghaggar which is sometimes synonym with Saraswati still exists but even the Vedas mention that at the Saraswati has dried down at many places is elusive today. It is definitely not the elusive third river of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati trio which does not fit the route mentioned in the Vedas. Since so many of remains of Indus Valley civilisation have been discovered in Haryana like Rakhigarhi-which is said to be spread over the largest area than earlier sites like Harappa fall near the path said to had been followed by the Saraswati . This means that Vedas existed at the time of Indus Valley civilisation people and invasion theory is not plausible. Many scholars like Michel Danino agree with this theory in his book “The lost river: on the trail of the Saraswati“. The following map is proposed by him.

But many like Doctor R.C.Thakran, professor of history at university of Delhi  who has done research on the geological and soil aspects of areas along the Ghaggar river contest the existence of river as being responsible for giving rise to such a big civilisation. It is too small a river with its catchment area in the lower Shivaliks. Thus at the most , this must have been a season river. The variation in the moisture content of the soil in the dry beds decline sharply with the distance travelled indicating that flow was not large enough so as to saturate the subsoil equally all along. Sediments are identical to those of Shivalik hills in composition indicating the source in the Shivaliks. Anyway the present reality is that river is not visible anywhere.

But government in Haryana is bent on its revival. Based on the scriptures, it will excavate the river said path to revive the past Aryan glory with which we North Indian identify ourselves. There are plans to pump the water from underground through tube wells into the excavated river.

According to the report the work is already begun. As reported in the times of India newspaper reproduced below.

As part of its attempt to revive Saraswati river, Haryana government on Tuesday initiated excavation work at Rolaheri village in Yamunanagar district.

Inaugurating the work, Haryana assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal said the project would once again take the culture and heritage of India to the golden period. Officials say that south Indian scholar Dr Ratnakar has shown interest in initiating the work on the project.”

Let us hope to be positive. But the conclusions based on the facts not the sentiments.

 

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Harappa Culture Continued

In the last post on Harappa Culture we described some features of the civilization. Science and intuition of some extraordinary men have enabled us to understand the Harappa Culture and its people.

English: Harappa Pakistan Indus Valley Civiliz...

As mentioned the cities streets were straight and very broad. Then as usual there were side streets running into the houses. Houses were in general quite large and built on a uniform pattern. There was a large courtyard and on its three sides were rooms and kitchen. Courtyard opened on fourth side to the street. Thus the windows opened against the walls of the houses on the opposite side houses presenting a monotonous vista. There were baths without showers. People took bath standing pouring pitchers of water on the them as we still to today.

Drainage system was the most important innovation of these people and emphasized once again the desire for cleanliness. There were drains running from houses to the bigger drains running on the sides of the main streets.

There were bigger public bath tanks. The bottom was covered on stones and sealed with bitumen. On one side there was a drain opening for draining off the water during cleaning operations. There were steps leading to the water and people bathed on the lowest steps. There were rooms along the periphery of the baths. This indicates that these baths might have been used for religious ceremonies and rooms were where priests lived.

There were granaries for storing the agricultural produce. Rows of quarters have been found near these granaries indicating that these were living places for the labors who pounded the harvest and worked the crops. One granary of the size 150X200feet discovered at Harappa stood on a high platform to protect it from inundation during flood days. It is divided into many storage blocks of 50X20 feet size to store corn.

The main crops were wheat, barley and sesamum, the latter still an important edible seed for extraction of edible oil. Many domesticated animals were buffaloes, goats, sheep, pigs asses, dogs and fowls. Although it is doubtful that horse was a domestic animal but few teeth of horse had been found in Baluchistan‘s Rana Gundai indicating that nomadic migrants from West began roaming the area. Bullocks were probably the beasts of burden.

On the basis of thriving agricultural economy these people built their rather unimaginative but comfortable civilization. They lived in good palatial houses. There was a well organized trade. They traded with village cultures of Baluchistan which were their North-Western neighbors. But their precious metals came from distant places. They imported conch shells from Saurashtra, silver, turquoise and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and Persia and Jade from central Asia.

We shall continue the story………..

Harappa Culture

In the early part of 3rd millennium, three great civilizations developed nearly simultaneously on Nile, Euphrates & Indus rivers. We know a great deal about the first two because they have left us written records in the form of papyrus scrolls or long engravings on stones. People of Indus valley did not left hardly any written records except few inscriptions on the seals. So knowledge about Indus valley civilization is incomplete.

Archaeologists call this civilization Harappa culture after the modern name of the place in Punjab located on the left bank of river Ravi. Meohenjo Daro, the second city, is located in Sind on the right bank of Indus river. The culture was spread over 950 miles from North to South and includes large and small cities like Kalibanga in the valley of old Sarasvati river and many villages near Ropar on upper Sutlej up to Lothal in Gujarat. That this culture was same is proved from the use of bricks of same shape and size.

This was an truly Indian people civilization with no influence or migration from the Middle East. It was the continuation of early village culture. Each city had a well-fortified citadel. The uniformity in planning of streets, bricks and layout of the cities indicate a single centralized state rather than a number of free communities.

Shiva-The Most Adorable God

Shiva evolved from the fierce Vedic god Rudra with whom elements of non-Aryan fertility were merged.

English: Bangalore Shive
English: Bangalore Shive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shiva or Siva is a great ascetic. The great Yogi sits in meditation on the tiger skin on the high slopes of Mount Kailasha in Himalayas. Through his deep meditation the world is maintained. He wears his long matted hair (Jata) in a topknot with crescent moon is fixed and sacred river Ganga flows. His neck is black, scarred by the poison which was the last product of churning of the cosmic ocean and which he drank to save the other Gods. Snakes encircle his neck and arms. His body is covered with ashes. Besides him is the trident and his wife Parvati and his mount Nanadi bull.

Although he always seems to be wrapped in meditation, he can, in his divine power divide his personality. He is the lord of dance (Nataraja). In this aspect he is very popular in Tamil country. He dances in his heavenly palace at Mount Kailasa and Chidambaram temple. He is said to have developed no less than 108 different forms of dances, some cal and gentle, others fierce, orgiastic and terrible. Tandava is the form of latter. In this dance he he dances and beats a wild rhythm which destroys the world at the end of cosmic cycle.

Another form which he is seen is called Daksinamurti a universal teacher and is depicted is an informal pose, with one foot on the ground and other folded on the throne on which he sits and one hand raised in a gesture of explanation.

Above all these, he is worshiped in the form of linga, usually a cylindrical pillar with rounded top. This form seems to be popular even in Harappa civilization thus constituting an element from non-Aryan culture.

In South India, story of the marriage of Siva and Minaksi, daughter of a Pandiyan king of Madurai is an event celebrated in one of the most famous and splendid of the temples.