June 20, 2015
Very clever: Sanjay Sonawani’s hypothesis for the RV/Sanskrit culture & the Indus Valley “script”
By Sanjeev Sabhlok
Rarely do I come across much sense in the various writings on ancient Indian history (particularly the OIT-AIT etc. theories). When you read most of the writings, it appears that people are looks at things from fairly pre-conceived perspectives, and they are merely TWISTING the facts to suit their preferences.
At least that's the impression I got with most OIT "theorists". I've not paid much attention to alternative hypotheses (since there are too many of them). I've merely rejected OIT as being a bunch of nonsense.
But Sanjay Sonawani has no preconceived ideas and is willing to think more deeply. He is not content to debunk OIT but aims to find the truth. That's a far more ambitious project than what I started (a couple of weeks) to undertake. I'm not sure I'm going to spend much more time on these issues, since I don't intend to waste time on ancient history, but let me make a few notes on the broader issues, while I'm on the topic.
Sonawani is not a trained historian or scholar but jurors don't need to be trained criminlogists or forensic scientists. Jurors need to ask questions and make sure the facts fit the story being advocated. Sonawani asks sharp and pointed questions, and dismisses evidence that doesn't stack up. That's what I like about his work. Then he TENTATIVELY offers alternative possibilities. That's another good sign. Not the boor Talageri whose writings are littered with arrogant challenges to everyone in the world. Sonawani is the exact opposite of Talageri – even though both are untrained in any relevant discipline.
I won't comment on Sonawani's entire thesis till I've reviewed it carefully, but from what I've understood of his work so far (I've only reviewed a small bit), this is his deduction:
– Indo-European (or whatever these are called) languages came to India tens of thousands of years ago, along with the very early migrations that are well documented.
– Rig Vedic CULTURE (which is an offshoot of Zoroastrian culture) came into India from south Afghanistan in around 1500 BC through a SMALL group ofpreachers.
– These preachers settled in north India, in small pockets, but kept their proselytising momentum towards the East.
– Rig Vedic leaders absorbed a number of local language Prakrit influences and composed RV in around 1000 BC. Sanskrit was invented to combine the old Afghan language and the local prakrit.
– The Indus Valley civilisation is TOTALLY distinct to the RV culture, and was a major trading culture, with extensive roots in the middle-East.
– Indus Valley seals are labels for goods that were exported. They contain three pieces of info: the corporate brand/ logo, the product name and quantity. The seals contain NO evidence about the IV culture.
– It is FUTILE to try to link IV culture either with Dravidian or with RV/Sanskrit. It was a robust PRAKRIT culture, the SAME as what prevails TODAY in these regions. There is total continuity of culture/ artefacts (even names) and we should look at the UNDERLYING folk culture of these places to make deductions about the IV people. They didn't disappear – they continue exactly where they are.
Maybe Sonawani is on to something.
One thing is clear: OIT is RUBBISH. So also AIT (particularly the "invasion" bit).
Buddhism didn't influence the East through invasions. It spread through proselytisation.
It appears RV preachers found themselves a niche as Brahmins and became politically influential. They were also very clever and absorbed whatever local culture/s they found. Hence they spread their RV religion.
Apart from his book (which I've linked earlier, separately), you should download and read his article on the IV script, here.
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