Friday, March 31, 2017

Contaminating the history?

Transfer of archaeologist from history-defining Sangam era site leads to uproar in Tamil Nadu

I came across news about the excavation of a Sangam era site, about 12 KM away from Madurai which shows the urban culture had flourished during that era. However, since the excavation began, the features of the civilization started surfacing, the transfers of the key archaeological officers and deliberate shortage of the funds the excavation could not progress as expected. The matter was raised in the parliament. Archaeological Survey of India has no convincing answer for the abrupt transfers of the 27 officers in middle of the crucial excavation.

 “….The criticism was also echoed by Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. She said that evidence of an independent Tamil civilisation was getting systematically subverted.”, says the news report. 

Though I am no fan of DMK or Kanimojhi, what she says indicates to the indecent practices that ASI has adopted since the BJP government came into the power. We have seen that the December 2014 report of ASI that mentions the River Ghaggar as Sarasvati when it hasn’t been proven beyond doubt that the River Sarasvati ever flowed through India. The geological survey that has been conducted on the river bed of the Ghaggar has shown that it couldn’t have been Sarasvati that has been abundantly praised in the Rig Veda. Still, ASI blatantly renamed Ghaggar as Sarasvati, just to please the BJP government which has hell bent on rewriting Vedic History of India.

Recently, another controversy had popped up when the VC of Deccan College, Dr. Vasant Shinde, who is leading the excavation of the Rakhigadhi, had said that he wants to prove that the Rakhigadhi site is anterior to the oldest sites that are now situated in Pakistan and the people moved from India to Sind to build other Harappan cities. No excavation can be done with predetermined objective because the results then cannot be authentic and unbiased. However, a VC of an eminent archaeological college forgot that. How Indian academicians can become pawns of the dirty sectarian politics and shamelessly trample the basic principles of the business they are in! Whether oldest or not, the pre-determined speculation about Rakhigarhi came as a surprise in the world of archeologists. This creates a suspicion on the findings and meaning derived from them.

It has been old practice of the Indian archeologists that many turn to Vedicist (or saffron) camps when retired and rewrite the history that suits their sectarian approach. They even write contrary to what they had written in their papers while in the service. Dr. Madhukar Dhavalikar, BB Lal etc are also a fine example of this reckless practice. In all, they are determined to prove Ghaggar was ancient Sarasvati and that the earliest Indus site was in India and people moved westwards to build settlements. Also the claim includes that the westward movement of the Vedic Aryans spread Indo-European languages and culture till Europe. This is, no doubt, fantastic theory but with no supportive proofs. 

Vedic claim on Dravidian culture is not new. The Sangam literature proves that there was no entry of Vedic Aryans in the South till second century AD. Naturally, then it was impossible for Vedic scholars to stake claim on the Dravidian culture as its progenitors. Still, many have tried to credit Vedic Sanskrit as a basis of Dravidian languages. Many have tried to find Vedic elements in the burial practices of the Kings as mentioned in the Sangam literature. Up to what the Vedic stream is that they want to prove they fathered every culture that flourished in ancient India.

The 200 BC Sangam era site possibly has exposed material evidence that go contrary to the Vedic supremacist theory. It may impact significantly the known history of the Dravids. Most possibly they are putting obstacles in the continuance of the excavation till they find a dishonest archeologist who can come forth with planted Vedic elements at the Keejhadi site, thus contaminating the history of the Dravids. This is not a good science. Let the proofs naturally surface and let the archaeologists derive the independent meaning out of them without any external influence or people will start distrusting the archeological evidences as well.  

The government, no matter what ideology it belongs to, sould not interfere in the matter of science of the history and should be ready to accept whatever are the material evidences. Thus the fear of Kanimojhi is justified and the scholars of all branches should oppose in unison the attempts of the government (and ASI) to distort the history which never existed!

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