Indian History And Its Historians

Part I : Dating of Indian Events Before 2000 BCE

First, it needs to be recalled that anthropological research has established Paleolithic continuity, starting 60,000 BC, with the help of DNA dating. Genome studies during the Holocene, from 12,000 years ago to the present, have revealed that the genetic profile of humans settled in north, south, east and west of India is the same and has remained the same for the last more than 11,000 years. Therefore, contrary to the belief popularised by Western scholars, Dravidians and North-Indians have common ancestors and both are indigenous to the Indian sub-continent. This interesting revelation was made by Dr VR Rao, Professor of Anthropology, Delhi University, while presenting his paper at the national seminar on “Scientific Dating Of Ancient Events Before 2000 BC”.

The seminar was held in New Delhi on 30th and 31st July, 2011. It was attended by about 400 people including Sanskrit scholars and astronomers, archaeologists and geologists, ecologists and anthropologists, oceanographers and space scientists, bureaucrats and academicians, as well as other persons from the public and the media who took deep interest in the deliberations of this otherwise highly technical event organised by the Delhi chapter of I-SERVE [ Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas].

The two main objectives of the seminar were :

One, to highlight the fact that new applications of scientific inventions and tools can determine the authenticity and historicity of ancient events, without recourse to religious beliefs or linguistic guesswork. Such scientific dating is not only credible and convincing but is also likely to push back the antiquity of Vedic civilisation by 4-5 millenia, giving all Indians a shared pride in our rich cultural heritage and its unbroken continuity.

Two, to integrate the authenticated information contained in latest research reports of our eminent scientists, available with the Ministries of Science and Technology and of Earth Sciences, with the contents of our school and college books to enable the young minds to appreciate our history, reconstructed purely on scientific basis.

Presenting the theme of the national seminar the Director of Delhi Chapter of I-Serve, Ms Saroj Bala stated, “Till now we have been told that prior to 1500 BC, India was uncivilised and that the Aryans who came from Central Asia pushed the uncivilized inhabitants towards the south and were later known as Dravidians. These invaders were the ones who set up the first civilised society in North India. Multidisciplinary and purely scientific research has shown that this premise, which was based on linguistic guesswork, is not correct.”

According to Ms Saroj Bala the key findings of the seminar have the potential of uniting all Indians and raising their self esteem by giving them shared pride in their ancient-most and rich cultural heritage. There is now scientific evidence to establish that indigenous civilisation has been developing and flourishing in India for last 10,000 years and that some of our ancestors moved out of the sub-continent and shared their way of life with people elsewhere.

* * *

Misinterpreted Greek Synchronism

In Ancient Indian History

by Kosla Vepa

It was F E Pargiter, who introduced the notion of a Synchronism in Indian Historiography, in one of the first such works to appear in a European language, which lent credulity to the Puranic texts, he was the first to analyse them in detail and publish his findings in a book. 

Even so, Pargiter had fallen prey to the propensities of the colonial mindset, the right to tamper with data instead of reporting on it in a dispassionate manner. In doing so he follows the pattern of British Indian civil servants who, with literally dozens of domestic servants to relieve them of daily chores and a security enabled through sumptuous salaries at the cost of the impoverished Indian, were able to indulge in the favorite pastime of re-writing and re-interpreting Indian History in a form more palatable to the European audience.

Pargiter exhibits a degree of adherence to the evidence not evident in most other writers from the Occident. However, despite his scholarship, the constant contact with Indians who were mostly in a subordinate role and generally obsequious in their behavior to most Occidentals, had taken its toll on his objectivity and there is palpable condescension in the narrative that he spins and, like other English historians, he does not seem to have sought the opinion and review of Indic pundits.

The concern about synchronism was a natural one and stemmed from the need for understanding the relationship between various overlapping dynasties that spanned a millennial time frame. Hailing as they did from a small island, they were not used to seeing the sheer plethora of dynastic families that ruled over the different parts of the subcontinent during the millennia. More importantly, the tendency to disbelieve any dates or absolute chronology was so strong that they were looking for external synchronisms, especially with respect to an Occidental one that their world could relate to. 

The difficulty was that there was not much of a civilisation in the Occident in the millennia prior to 1000 BCE, with the exception of countries surrounding the eastern Mediterranean. As a result, there is no record that is accessible to us, even of travelers from Greece or Babylon, during the time frame in question. This is not to say that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It is just that more work needs to be done to see if there were other travelers to India during the time period under consideration.

… to be continued

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