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A New Light on the decipherment of
Indus-Saraswati Script
by Rajat K Pal Bookmark and Share

This article is an attempt to decipher the ancient script found in the seal, sealing, copper or other tablets, pottery graphiti etc. collected from the sites of Indus civilization. Here it is tried to read the writing by an Indian way, which was mentioned as ‘mleccha-vaca’ by Manusmriti and as ‘apasabda-s’ by Patanjali.


In the year 1874-75, A. Cunninghum got some unknown seals from Harappa of Beluchistan region. The signs and symbols inscribed on those seals were totally unfamiliar at that time. Though he had published his theory on them in the journals, he had but a little idea that it would lead to the gates of a treasure trove in the world of ancient history. The treasure-hunt was actually started in 1921 by R. D. Banerjee and D. Sahani under the guidance of John Marshall, the then Director of the Archaeological survey of India. Thereafter new excavations are still going on and the total geographical area of the Indus civilization has gradually exceeded one million sq. km. Lot of theories and calculations have been laid down during the last 90 years by scholars and amateur researchers regarding the type of this civilization. Mehrgarh excavation has given the hint of the primary habitations of the pre-Harappan people and different Kot Dizi-an sites have produced several evidences of the existence of Vedic documents in the time of this civilization. New sites are being found on the banks of the possible course of the extinct River Saraswati (Gaggar-Hakra). Researchers like B. B. Lal, Dales, Danino, Kenoyer are stating new points in favour of identifying this civilization as Indus-Saraswati civilization. Though there remain differences in opinions, but one thing is for sure that, the script of the inscriptions could not have been deciphered yet.

Earlier Attempts for Decipherment of Indus Script: 

In 1931 J. Marshall published his magnum work where Gadd and Langdom had important contributions on decipherment. According to them, the language group was Indo-Aryan and they might have been the ancestors of Brahmi. From 1950 researchers started to read them in the Dravidian way. Hunter, Knorozov, Parpola and Mahadevan are the main architects of that theory. At that time nobody was ready to believe that the civilization might have had any links with the Vedic civilization. On and from 1990 situation started to change. Various attempts were made to decipher the script taking it as a member of Indo-Aryan family. But no theory has yet been accepted unanimously.

Till date around 4000 inscribed texts have been discovered. These texts have been found on seals, sealings, miniatures and copper tablets, etc. Two grandfathers on this subject, A.Parpola and I.Mahadevan, published few concordances on this matter in 1970’s. According to Mahadevan, 420 signs are detected. Mahadevan has given serial numbers to these texts, which I have used in a latter table.

Numerous processes have been adopted by numerous researchers (alphabet, syllable, logo-syllable, constant-variable, root morpheme-suffix, semi-variable, etc) to decipher Indus script. Some scholars are trying (Dr. Kalyanraman) to read them through ‘Rebus’ method. Dravidian hypothesis is not producing results. In an interview in January, 1998, Mahadevan has admitted that Dravidian link was only a theory and no final proof was there. Meanwhile Witzel, Sporat and Farmer have mentioned Indus people as ‘illiterate’. To counter them, Mahadevan, Rao, Vahia, Yadav, Joglekar and Adhikari took the help of Markov chain model. Their essay was published in the 29th May, 2009 issue of Science, where they have given Entropic evidence for linguistic structure in the Indus script.

My View: 

Today the ‘Aryan Invasion Theory’ is almost obsolete. Later excavations in Pakistan and India are opening new horizons of ancient Indian history. Miniature terracotta horses of Lothal, Rana-ghundai and altars of Lothal and Kalibangan have made modern historians to think about the Aryan links with the Indus people, beyond the ‘Invasion Theory’. S. Kak and others have mentioned the similarities of Indus signs with Brahmi script. S. R. Rao has segregated Indus signs of the early, middle and later stages. Rangpur, Korat, Bet-dwaraka are a few missing links with the end of Harappan era and the Buddhist-Brahmi period.

In accordance with the popular Hindu mythologies I would like to say that both civilized and uncivilized people were already living side by side in India about 6000 years ago, if not more. Though the uncivilized people who mostly lived in jungles, hills and outskirts of towns/villages were larger in number, the civilized people had practically started ruling over the whole society by that time. Civilized people were separated into two major groups, the Deva (Sura) and the Asura. These two groups may also be named as the urbanised (Asura) and the non-urbanised (Deva). Series of Mehrgarh excavations prove that urbanization had already started by that time. These two groups had been developing separately and simultaneously — the Asuras on the western side of River Indus and the Devas, on the eastern bank of River Saraswati. While the Sura / Deva groups were the astute followers of Vedic culture, the Asuras, though were acquainted with the Vedic culture, were not always its followers. These two groups had developed different dialects within the same language. The Vedic people used to label their counterparts as ‘mlechcha’, and their languages, ‘apabhasa’, as by Patanjaji or ‘mlechcha vaacha’, as by Manusmriti. These two cultural peoples lived, fought and continued to have marital and other cultural intercourses in between them for hundreds of years.

King Paandu had his second wife Maadri from Madra which is at present near Harappa. Duhshalaa, the sister of Duryodhana was married to Jayadratha, king of Sindhu, with whom Paandavas had a series of conflicts. Shalya, brother of Maadri, became the charioteer of Karna in the great war of Mahaabharata. In an altercation Karna told Shalya that, Madra people were uncultured and anti-Vedic. Pradyumna, son of Krishna was kidnapped by the neighbouring Asuras. Duryodhana, too, was once captured by Chitrasena, a Gandharva, and later freed by the Paandavas. Distressed, Duryodhana tried to commit suicide and was rescued by some Asuras, who had performed a yagna in his favour by reciting hymns from the Atharva-veda (ch-250; Vana Parva, Mahaabharata). Krishna, Arjuna and Bhima had at least one wife each from non-Vedic societies.

Our Vedic texts show hundreds of examples wherefrom it can be found that, different cultural people used to live together at that time, even some of the Asura people used to practice Vedic rituals. While the Vedic kings and Brahmins performed yagnik rituals regularly, the Asuras developed a mercantile society, with the emphasis on international trade.

The Vedas are also called ‘Sruti’ as the Vedic people, for different reasons, decided not to write down the Vedic hymns and the Brahmins had no other option but to memorise and pass on to their disciples orally. On the other hand, the Indus people had to invent different signs and symbols for the sake of international trade. They started with the punch marks and gradually through pictography, they at last developed their own script. Their initial script was of a primitive form. But with time, they developed the shape for syllables. It took more than 1000 years to reach the initial form of Brahmi. By that time, the Vedic people had also started writing and Brahmi got into a mixed shape.

By the influence of the Vedic people, Brahmi was started to be written from the left to right (although however, Kharosti remained in the ‘right to left’ form, but their signs were not similar to those of Indus). Brahmi being accepted as the origin of all Indo-Aryan languages, we can say Indus is the forefather of them.

My Attempt Of Decipherment: 

In this paper I have discussed a few steps towards the decipherment of the Indus script, in my way.

Step 1 : Valuation of Basic Signs

Two methods are followed here to have the valuations of the signs.

Table 1

Method 1 - Comparative Studies of Indus Signs with Other Indian Scripts.

Here I have tried to compare the Indus signs with all the other Indian signs in vogue, starting from the Brahmi signs. Through the ages, signs were changed and modified and to some extent, simplified. But still we can identify the similarities. I have also given a comparison between the Indus, the Bet-Dwaraka, the Sanur, the Semitic and the Asokan Brahmi scripts in the followings.

Table 3

From the above three tables, we find that some signs like ba, ja, ga, dha and ta are literally same, not only in the Indian scripts, but also in the Semitic script. These signs have remained similar for more than 2000 years in India. Table 3 clarifies the matter. A further comparative study gives 14 signs from Indus which we can find in later Indian scripts (with some evolutionary modification) at the time of Kushan, Gupta, Sunga and Brahmi era.
With the help of Method-I, the valuations of 14 signs have been derived. 

Method 2 - Valuaion of Signs Through Acrology:

Acrology is the study for determining a symbol which is used to represent phonetically the initial sound (syllabic or letter) of the name of an object. As for example, 'A' is the first sound of Greek Alpha. It is the method of getting the letter from a pictogram, through phonogram and logogram. By this process, the first phoneme of the phonogram becomes the sign value of that pictogram.

The valuation of 9 more signs have been determined through Acrology.

The determination of the valuation of ‘ka’ through Acrology is given below.

A vessel found in Mohenjodaro.
The upper thick portion to observe.
(Pic. from Harappa site)

Sign: This is a picture of a vessel. Many historians have earlier tried to identify it as a vessel and the side strokes as its handle. But not a single vessel has been found in Harappa and Mahenjodaro which has handle. So some critics were not ready to accept it as a vessel. I have assumed the strokes at the upper portion to be the thick round border at the neck of the vessel which we find in clay potteries.

All the Indo-Aryan languages have at least a word close to the Early-Aryan word   ‘kumbha’ or ‘kalasa’ which means vessel. In Telegu it is called ‘kundalu’, in Tamil it is ‘kutam’, in Bengali it is ‘kalsi’. Moreover in Sa(n)tali the word ‘kanda’ means ‘a pot of certain shape and size’. In Pali also, there is a word ‘kuta’ which possesses the same meaning.

kumbha or kalasa is an ancient Indian word which is found in almost every province and used in various ways even after thousands of years. Therefore, acrologically, this sign may be taken as 'ka'.

The outward shape of the U or V shaped Indus sign suggests ‘pot’ as its ‘pictorial meaning’. A contextual clue suggests that the ‘intended meaning’ also is ‘vessel’ or more exactly ‘sacrificial or offering vessel’.
— A. Parpola, Study of the Indus Script, Tokyo, 2005.

Thus, 18 basic values have been extracted in the following Table 5 after exclusion of the 5 common values from Table 3 (14 values) and Table 4 (9 values).

Step 2 : Change of shape of Consonants after adding Vowels with them 

In Brahmi, the shape of the consonants was changed after using strokes for vowels. We shall apply the same to the Indus signs.

Brahmi Consonants with Vowels

Now we shall discuss the changes of Indus signs when vowels were added to consonants in the light of Brahmi applications. We should remember that the time period of Indus-Saraswati Inscriptions was 1500 years prior to the Brahmi era. So they were in a crude form at that time. Through the years they gradually took the Brahmi shapes.


I. Strokes in the upper portion of a letter used to add ‘i or ii’.
II. Strokes in the middle or lower portion indicate ‘u’.
III. Upper cover on a letter adds ‘o’.
IV. Horizontal strokes in right side add ‘aa’.
V. Though concepts are the same, in Indus-Saraswati applications are in crude form, whereas in Brahmi the applications are to some extent refined.

Step 3 : Structure of Compound letters / Conjuncts

Step 4 : Some Basic Considerations

To read the Indus-Saraswati script we have to remember a few of its salient features.

  1. It has been considered as a member of Indo-Aryan language group.
  2. All the signs are letters and more precisely they are syllables.
  3. Most of the readings are from the right to left.
  4. Though the vowels are pronounced independently, they were never used separately.
  5. Cerebral and palatal ‘na’-s were not used distinctly. They often interchanged.
  6. Similarlly, cerebral and palatal ‘sa’-s were not used distinctly.
  7. A few phonemes (letters) had different signs/forms. For example, ba, na(cerebral), la & ra had various forms. This feature was not uncommon in ancient scripts. Hittite hieroglyphs had 2 to 3 signs for each syllable. In Egyptian hieroglyph there were 4 signs for ‘h’ and 2 signs each for ‘sa, da, ka, ta’.
  8. As these texts were used for trading to establish identity marks, in most of the cases proper names are found. Often various single lettered titles were used. In no case full sentence was inscribed.
  9. Sometimes names of places are found.
  10. On many occasions sign variants were used.
  11. All the above features require detailed discussion, which has been done in a separate book.

Step 5: Reading the Inscriptions

Continued to "Origin and Etymology of the Valuations of Indus-Saraswati Signs"


1. I. Mahadevan – The Indian Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables, 1977
2. A. Parpola – Corpus of texts in the Indus Script, 1979
3. B. B. Chakraborty – Indus Script-The Artistic version of Brahmi, 1981
4. S. R. Rao – Dawn and devolution of the Indus civilization
5. Dr. S. Kalyanraman – Saraswati Hieroglyph & others
6. B. N. Mukherjee – Origin of Brahmi & Kharosti script, 2008
7. Various essays published in various journals.

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Comments on this Article

Comment The Aryans came to India between 10, 000 and 5000 years ago via Iran and Afghanistan from the Central South Russia composed the Rg Veda and Yajurveda outside India. They did not have their own script and thus were first introduced to the written alphabet after coming in contact with the Dravidians. The Dravidians of the Harappa and Mahenjodaro civilizations of India were already using a script, the Saendhavii script; after the Aryan migration into India, that script became transformed into the Bra?hmii and Kharos?t?hi scripts.>> The Bra?hmii and Kharos?t?hi scripts were invented some time after Shiva, after 7000 years ago during the Atharvaveda period.

The letter ka means god, another meaning is water . The svastika derived from the letter ka (which is the cross in Brahmii script).

Above ideas are from the books of Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar

Ananda Rama
08/13/2016 00:19 AM

Comment we have deciphered all pictographs of indus seals . no body respondind to my comments on 30 07 2012. prakash salame

prakash namdeorao salame
11/24/2014 04:13 AM

Comment we have deciphered indus script by root marphems of gondi language dr. motiravan kangali his inventinal book ' decipherment of indus script in gondi' please contact 09922475025

11/13/2014 20:37 PM

Comment I am very much interested in Indus valley script. get me the book of By kongli.
I feel that indus script is the origin of brahmi . I have studied the development of the tibet language , i feel quite similar that same way indus script gave the way to brahmi. Such kind of the script which is so developed that time can start just like that.

One more thing we should do more finding actually in the ground . more sights and scripts should be found out. In China i have seen how presistantly they work and in end they found the xia dynastys artifacts. why govt does not put more funds in finding new artifacts this will broden our view and something new may click up. recently i heard that some golden coins were found by theASI in punjab. no news on that later. please update me on that.

sharma nc from guangzhou. --China .

10/20/2014 17:49 PM

Comment I am a sociologist working presently to find the ancient roots of Himalayan Khas tribe with an aryan origin. In this context, I found that in Kashmir old language contains the word 'ka' which means water.
I would suggest that the term 'ka' stands firmly with water in both Rigvedic and Avestan literature,rather than water containing pot. Also find the root of the term in the famous 'Battle of Kadesh' in ancient Egypt .
Keep going on you seem to be in right direction, even if you find yourself alone, remember Tagore's - 'ekala chalo' and even Indra was left alone by Devas (including his friend Vishnu), while he was trying to slain Vrta.(R.V.4.18.11)

01/29/2014 01:40 AM

Comment indus script at last is deciphered in gondi protodravidian language by hon"ble dr. m. c. kangali contact me prakash n. salame 09922475025

prakash namdeorao salame
12/31/2013 12:47 PM

Comment Dear Rajot,
Another confirmation of your choice of the syllable 'va' for the arrow of the Indus Script. In comparing the Brahmi 'va', box with a line coming out of the top, it does not appear an exact correlation. However, consider the story of the offering of the one-horned ox of Sumeria. The instrument of the gods to create humanity by digging them out of the ground was a pick-axe made from the tooth of the one-horned ox. The following website shows the picture of it on a Sumerian boundary stone:
Notice the basket (or box) below the arrow, thus helping solidify your case for the 'va' syllable as an arrow. As well, the Sanskrit dictionary (used in the preliminary verification of your syllables) confirms the arrow is a symbol of the syllable 'va'.
The one-horned ox is the unicorn of course, seen all over the Indus seals. :)
P.S. Did you get my article on the comparison of the Indus and Rapa Nui Scripts?

10/24/2012 17:18 PM

Comment hi JJ,
thanks for your further comment. i had Egyptian 'ka' sign in mind while deciphering, but Upanishad quote a new knowledge for me.

10/18/2012 01:20 AM

Comment Another confirmation of Rajot Pal's interpretation of the Vessel symbol occurs on the Indus seal containing vessel, goose in circle, vessel. Pal's interpretation of the vessel is 'ka' meaning 'who is' often used as a suffix to personal names.
It fits perfectly as a surround for the goose in a circle based on this verse of the Upanishads:
Svetasvatara Upanishad Book I, verse 6:
“In this mighty wheel of brahman, life-giver to all, rest to all,
Rover a goose.” (the goose represents the self)
If the goose represents the self in the brahman wheel on the Indus seal it is fittingly surrounded by the glyph used to represent 'who is' and the Egyptian synonym for the soul.
Pal's syllable is being verified from several angles (Egyptian, Upanishads, etc), much like a patchwork quilt. This is what is expected of a genuine decipherment.

10/17/2012 22:20 PM

Comment Further evidence toward the confirmation of Rajot Pal's Indus syllables is the correlation with nearby Ancient Egyptian symbols. For example, Pal's vessel is interpreted as 'ka', which represents the 'who is' suffix of Indus seal names. Notice the Egyptian 'ka' syllable with the two raised arms in the shape of a vessel. The Egyptian 'ka' represents the persons eternal aspect or 'self' that when purified become immortal after the body dies. Therefore, Pal's interpretation enables an elaboration of the Indus Valley spirituality, which is what is expected of this particular culture in the context of its location and the evidence the seals offer in terms of spirituality, offerings, deities and early Hindu mythology. A deeper investigation of Pal's Indus syllables using his methods, with the Brahmi and acrology supplemented with ancient Egyptian (and other nearby scripts) parallels will lead to a deeper understanding of the Indus Script.

10/17/2012 12:09 PM

Comment To, Mz Mandeep Kaur,
thanks for your new contribution. permission is not needed to quote anything from my essay. that will be my pleasure.

10/15/2012 11:08 AM

Comment Thanks Rajot and Guru Nanak,
Guru Nanak, I am interested in the website on symbols you give. Thanks. The symbol of the Fish in Polynesia is a sign of the Underworld (Milky Way) used as a sign of the abode of the ancestors. The Polynesian offered the first fish and the first fruits to maintain this relationship with the ancestors and the 'feed' them into perpetual memory. Does this fish sign have a similar significance in the Indus Valley?

Wooooooooow - take a look at this - a 1000 year old bark with the Indus Script on it. Is this for real? The research points to authenticity in this pdf file....

Om Mane Padme Hum

10/13/2012 16:16 PM

Comment Interesting article thanks for sharing information. Intriguing how we are being tuned into ONE collective consciousnesses in understanding unity through diversity by use of symbols and signs. May I have your permission to quote you and your work in my work?

Regarding KA mentioned 800 times comment by JJ above. Wanted to share that in Guru Nanak's teachings Guru Gobind Singh (Nanak X) used this sound vibration KA i.e. Wahi Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahi Guru Ji Ki Fateh. Wahi in Arabic also means God will reveal through inspiration to all of us! Everything is fused in the Universe so we may all explore like an adventure and self discover with fun. Khalsa is from a Persian root used also by Saint Kabir in his poetry and I noticed on Boloji site Kabir is mentioned.

Says Kabeer, those humble people become pure - they become Khalsa - who know the Lord's loving devotional worship. Guru Granth Sahib p655

The KA is also the "sign" for Supreme Soul in Egyptian mythology! Now Ki is also chi or ki as in energy vibration in other cultures (Chinese and Japanese.) If we ask the Inner Teacher all will be revealed and the dots do connect all cultures as ONE unified whole.

Some sing of His Gifts, and know His Sign and Insignia Guru Granth Sahib – 1

Have written on signs which you may find helpful

As for inspiration directly Saint Kabir "spoke" through a poem I had written as did Guru Govind Singh ... their energies are ALIVE as United ONE consciousness just like they were in physical form. We are immortal.

... I have realized on my journey the symbols and signs are simply pointers and clues to explore, discover and guide us to understand it is all ONE United Intelligence pouring through creation as Love energy that touches us all equally.

Thanks again your work helped fill in some gaps I had regarding the fish symbol!

He Himself is the fisherman and the fish; He Himself is the water and the net.
Guru Nanak - Ang 23

Mandip Kaur Sandher
10/13/2012 09:13 AM

Comment jj
to me Indus is the fore father of Brahmi and Brahmi always carried the ancient north Indian languages. Sanskrit, the ancestor of Vedic had the Puranic (Mythological) continuations. In all North Indian grammars, which were descended from Sanskrit had 'k' used at the end of nouns, with a special meaning, deriving from other noun/verb.
like rajan/raja(king)> rajaka
arajaka = a state without raja
we can say many a words like sudraka ( a person from sudra [the so called lower caste system in India)], putraka, balaka(= who have bala or strength), paalaka (= who looks after) etc.
that's why many a vedic names have words ending with 'ka'.
It is not that pure names are only found. names often found with declensions also.
regarding two strokes I still have some confusions.

10/13/2012 08:52 AM

Comment I hope you have received my messages to your email.
I continue to read your four postings and gather your
syllables. Notice your 'ka' syllable occurs over 800 times,
more than any other. What explanation would you offer for
this? Also, the two small strokes, 'll' occur over 400 times.
Why might this be the second most common Indus sign?

Perhaps 'ka' represents "Who?" as in "Whom shall we worship
as god with this oblation?" But maybe it is a syllable used
at the end of numbers, where the 'two' strokes glyph is used
so often because it coincides with many different numbers, such as,
2 hundred, twenty 2, 2, sixty 2, etc.
Or does this 'two' have a Hindu religious significance concerning
the two bodies of the true Brahman?
What do you think?


10/12/2012 23:54 PM

Comment JJ sir,
I really want to keep in touch with you. I have sought for your mail ID from RK sir, of
On the amateur issue, I like to disclose that establishments like Archaeological Survey of India and others have refused to make any comment on my work. It is not that I am seeking for acclamation only. Grandfathers on that subject like Asko Parpola and I. Mahadevan have replied me and encouraged a lot. But they have neither accepted nor rejected my hypothesis. You are the one of very few persons till date who have gone through the essay seriously. I have never claimed to have deciphered the Indus Script totally. If an 'amateur' (!) like you come forward, the journey would be a joyous one.
waiting for your ID. you may get mine from
Thanks a lot again

10/09/2012 01:21 AM

Comment Thanks Rajot,
What is a pro. vs. an amateur? Is the professional the one who has deciphered the syllables? or is it the one who has a doctorate and professorship but still has not deciphered the syllables?
The Blackfoot Elders have taught me that an Elder may be a child, since every heart has the capacity to teach.
Please email me using the above ID. I will gladly read your 1200 deciphered seal attempts. I will send you my contextual novel on the decipherment of the Easter Island tablets and my research document for your own reading also.
There are a few questions that the preliminary verification brings up. First, an attempt should be made with randomly picked syllables to see if they produce the same results. That is, do random syllables (2 or 3) used to produce words also name rulers 16 out of 19 times. If so, another means of verification is necessary. Are the words you have chosen placing the syllables in the correct order? Does the animal on the seal or the Indus city the seal was made make a difference in terms of the glyphs being used and the interpretations found? Answering these questions and as many other relevant questions that can be applied to your research will help verify, solidify and expand on the results.
My research on your work lacks the depth of a complete understanding of the composition of the seals. I admit, I am also an amateur.
May Prajapati, Lord of Creation, bless you and yours.

10/08/2012 22:09 PM

Comment To, JJ,
Mine is an ameture attempt, as I'm a public servant by profession. I'm ever grateful to, who agreed to publish my essays[please go through four essays], after being refused by so many journals. your labor on my work is astonishing. I may send one copy of my book where I have claimed to have valuated 1200 seals, for your kind perusal.
Earlier has given my mail address to one regular author of their magazine.
Any suggestion from your end is solicited for.
In India only established persons are taken seriously by the scholars.
I have taken your blessings with gratitude.

10/08/2012 11:18 AM

Comment (Dear Rajot Pal - I have decided to offer you a preliminary verification of your work. I am amazed at how your decipherment matched the dictionary so completely and how I was able to reproduce new understandings other Indus seals. Please use this as you wish. I have a Masters in First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education with a Project based on Rapa Nui linguistics. I will offer you my Curriculum Vitae, my research and any future attempts to use your syllables. You may consider checking my work, as you are the expert, not me. I ask that you take care regarding my good name, as there are those who are set on defaming me and my work. Many blessings Jame Dansereu

Preliminary Verification of Pal’s Indus Decipherment

Rajot N Pal has deciphered various syllables and words from the Indus Script by first comparing signs of other early Indian scripts with the Indus Script. For example the Indus Script ligatures that appear similar or identical to the Brahmi syllables were given that same syllable designation .

Pal then used acrology to determine the values of Indus signs that appeared to represent culturally specific symbols. He was able to identify vowels on corresponding consonants by studying the Indus ligatures that appeared to occur with slight variations. Then a similar research revealed compound letters common to early Indian linguistics.

Pal’s methods progressed to the point of interpreting various words on the Indus seals. For the purposes of this preliminary verification, each word in Pal’s interpretation will be explored in terms of the function of similar seals used in other regions of India.

Pal’s list of Indus seal interpretation of syllables into words include :

shi-va, ma-da, la-va, paa-la, ba-la, ba-ka, na-ra, su-va, dha-ra, sha-sha-ka, sa-sa-ka, ba-ni-ka, si-ba-ka, su-ba-ka, su-na-ka, paa-ba-ka, paa-la-ka, ba-la-ka, da-sa-va, ndha-na, raya-ndha-na, nri-si-va, nri-ga-ka

William’s 1899 Sanskrit English dictionary will be used to verify Pal’s Indus seal words since a comprehensive understanding of the Vedic literature is included in William’s work. Using Vedic literature is important to interpret the Indus Script, because the timelines of Vedic Period and the Indus Valley Civilization overlap. The Indus Script was in use for certain up to 1900 BC and possibly even up to 1100 BC . Vedic literature was written between 1500-150 BC, but the oral tradition existed long before the written record. Given that the deity Siva is confirmed on the Indus Script, the use of such a dictionary in this preliminary research is appropriate.

To understand the context of the Indus seals, take the word si-va (shi-va) interpreted by Pal. The Indus seal bears what appears to be a spear (interpreted va resembling the Brahmi) and a fish (shi/si/sa from Sanskrit safari meaning fish). The seals script reads from right to left producing the word shi-va. Again, the transfer from the first syllable of safari, or sa, to the first syllable of Shiva, or shi/si, occurs because the fish appears in a slight variation on the seal. In this case, Pal has determined that shi/si occurs when the fish ligature producing sa with downward fins are curved upward.

This preliminary verification of Pal’s work confirms a reproduction of the words he found on the Indus seals when the syllables he discovered are applied to those words. In some cases, several different possible glyph sequences were found for each word, since Pal has found more than one symbol for some syllables. However, in every attempt at least one of the results corresponded with Pal’s list of words. A more in depth research would involve the reproduction of more of the Indus Script corpus.

A royal emblem of the fish exactly as it appears on the Indus seals (fins down) is also found on the ancient Pandyan, Sri Lanka trading seals . These Sri Lanka seals contained elephants, tigers and livestock with various royal emblems very similar to the Indus seals. The Sri Lanka seals also contain the titles and/or names of government or deities. For example, an ancient Sri Lanka seal contains the title Maharaja (Great King) and another similar Jha Ga Mi Ni Ti Sa ha de Va Na pi Ya (The Great King Gamini Tisa Devanapmpiya). This pattern with emblems and titles is common to many ancient Indian coins and seals.

Therefore, taking Pal’s Indus seal words one at a time, the following results occur.

shi-va – deity represented on Indus seals due to the presence of the drum in the lower left and the four faces (one not seen)

This Siva seal has 6 glyphs above the crown. Reading from right to left:

vessel, fish, vessel (2 up/central strokes), Brahmi ‘ma’ sign (2 low strokes), Bhrami ‘ma’, man

Pal’s syllables read as follows:

ka sa/sha kuu/kii mu ma na

ka-sha-ku (fire, the sun)
mu (a bond– of Shiva; the final consecration at death)
ma-na (to meditate, to honor)


kas (Who? Whom shall we worship; Kama-deva, goddess of love)
ku (the cry of a bird; k?, to cry out loud; earth)
mu (a bond – of Shiva)
ma-na (to meditate, to honor)

In the context of the seal with Shiva surrounded by animals, an expanded meaning could be as follows:

Whom shall we worship? Shiva, lord of creation by the Sun
Behold! Make a sacred bond even to death
With the passion of the sacred bird, cry out loud
Meditate to honor deeply the destroyer and restorer.

This interpretation appears to match overwhelmingly with the context of the seal. For example, this seal may have been attached to any offering used for funerary purposes. Also worthy of note is the Vedic lord of creation, or Prajapati, in the Hymn to the Unknown God, Rigveda x.121, the Golden Seed or first god is invoked with the question, ‘What God shall we worship with our offering?’ This interpretation reproduce Pal’s syllables using a seal outside of Pal’s initial research. It almost seemed too easy to decipher this tablet for the first time using Pal’s syllables. But that is expected from a true syllable chart. Therefore, a further evaluation of Pal’s syllables in an unbiased manner will extend the meaning of the Indus seals. Could this be the wrong syllables? Could something else be intended? Perhaps. But now the view of this research would be to find a reason against Pal’s research that is more remarkable than the interpretation of the Shiva seal above.

Another Indus seal which contains a stamp of Shiva with Indus inscriptions to add to a verification of Pal’s syllables.

The seals included from right to left are as follows:

vessel; an undeciphered glyph; fish with central line …crown… two marks; an ‘X’ sign

Pal’s syllables read as follows:

ka ? si/shi …crown… ta ma

ka(s) - whom shall we worship? (Prajapati, Shiva: matching Pal’s abbreviated signs for gods)
?- (undiciphered appears as a river) sindus, meaning river; where Indus River was named
by Greeks who drop the ‘s’. Sind are the drops of Soma falling from the moon.
si/shi – Shiva (The dictionaries abbreviation for gods matches Pal’s Indus seal
abbreviation for gods)
ta-ma – supreme, the best (among the gods)

There appears to be a play on the mythology and Vedic style dialogue between the gods. Each sign represents an exchange in the conversation. For example: the earth cries out the ‘kas’ in the request, “Whom shall we worship?” It is the call of the crow, the enlightened bird of the sun in Eastern lore. Heaven replies with the river glyph, Sinduh (using Pal’s acrology to define the look of the glyph). The myth is better known where the Ganges falls down from heaven. Given that Soma falling from the moon is defined in the Sanskrit dictionary as Sind, the Indus seal appears to express this River of Life. The next Si/Shi fish glyph with the line in the center corresponds to Shiva according to Pal’s use of determinatives that abbreviate single glyphs into deities . Finally, a two glyph word, ta-ma, meaning supreme, is used to modify the name of the deity. The entire glyph can be understood as follows:

The Earth cries: Whom shall we worship?

Heaven replies: The Creator Lord (Prajapati) who brings down the river of Soma from heaven.

The Earth rejoices: His name is Shiva, who reigns supreme.

The words from the Indus seals that Pal deciphered (listed above) are briefly defined below:

ma-da – soma, intoxicating drink, to be spirituous (perhaps the name of a ruler).
la-va – (lavanya) King of Kasmira, a royal family of Kasmira in the Indus Valley’s north.
- deified son of Rama-chandra.
- sea salt, plucking, reeping.
paa-la / paa-la-ka – name of a prince, meaning a guard, nourisher, herdsman, ruler
- bushels of straw or an amount of fresh meat .
ba-la / ba-la-ka – deified son of Varuna, meaning to infuse with strength, to inspire.
ba-ka / vaka – ruler of the district of Vaka; king of the Cranes, meaning the cunning.
- a crane, a very cunning animal
paa-ba-ka – protector of the cunning.
na-ra / nara paala – man / name of a king; meaning protector of men.
nri-ga-ka – name of a people; meaning a hiding place; name of a deified Naga, as the hider or
su-va – name of a king; meaning golden, sun, moon, a sacrifice.
- perhaps an offering intended for Siva.
su-ba-ka – name of a king; meaning very powerful.
dha-ra - name of the king of tortoises; meaning to carry; a carrier, supporter of the earth.
sha-sha-ka / sa-sa-ka – a governor; saka is the name of a king; the saka people were Sagara’s
Scythian enemies produced from the sweat of a cow to win a battle.
- moon crested; related to Shiva; a rabbit or image in the moon.
ba-ni-ka / vani – a merchant, fire, Angi, a merchants path of trade or commerce.
nri-si-va – Shiva as the man? or as ruler of humanity? Perhaps intended as the name of a king.
si-ba-ka /si-va-ka – Shiva the cunning
su-na-ka ¬– name of a king; sunaya – son of a deity.
sundara – meaning beautiful; name of a king.
da-sa-va / das-vas – offerings to the gods; faithful worshipers / martyrs.
- Dasavaman – name of a prince; dasavajin – the moon (in cart pulled by ten / das horses).
ndha-na – name of a royal family; head of a family; meaning a finale or conclusion, nothing else
is greater
raja-ndhana - the residence of a king.

Though the Indus valley names are much earlier than the names of royals given in the Sanskrit dictionary, the use of those names in defining the royal line is confirmed by Pal’s translation. Of the 19 Indus seal words interpreted by Pal, 16 are possible names or titles of rulers, 9 are possible deities and 6 are possible items for offerings and commerce (with some overlap, ie. a ruler’s name may also be the name of a deity or an offering). What was expected on these seals with various animals that represent emblems of a district or royal family, exactly as those used elsewhere in India? Elsewhere in India, merchant seals use the names or titles of royals or deities and on occasion describe what is being sent. Given the offering items are often understood as deities themselves, such as, Soma, it can be understood that what is found on the Indus seals refers to a royal family and/or their preferred deity/mode of worship.

Pal’s interpretations correspond exactly with the expected cultural and linguistic context of the use of early India’s clay seals of commerce. Therefore, a more in depth study toward the reproduction of Pal’s syllables is warranted. Seal’s with Shiva carved and pressed onto the clay not only contain the deities name using Pal’s syllables and determinatives, but also expound upon our understanding of how and when historic India understood and defined those attributes. As a result, Pal’s work might not only lead to a decipherment of much of the Indus seal corpus, but will also significantly expand historic and mythical knowledge of the Indus valley in relation to the surrounding civilized world.

10/07/2012 21:38 PM

Comment Hello jj,
thanks for your valuable comments and for your interest on my work.
i may send one of my book if you desire. you may get my mail address through or from my website

09/27/2012 01:24 AM

Comment Hi Rajot Pal
Your work is verifiable and professional. It may in fact be the actual decipherment of the Indus Valley Script. How can you advance your work? You have a book. That is a great start. Send it to as many scholars you can find in this field or remotely related to see if they can verify your work and send comments back to you to add to your portfolio. Can you afford to study at a university and complete this work toward a Masters or Doctorate?
The scholastic community sometimes leaves true genius behind for sake of maintaining control of the knowledge and its growth. Learning becomes a monopoly for the few instead of a guiding light for all. Start your own guild or group of pupils who can learn your work and advance it. You may not be on the main bus, but that doesn't mean you have to be on the bus. You can start by walking there with a friend or two. Try for the main players, but also seek recognition in China, Russia or other locations that study linguistics of all cultures and eras. I am intereseted in the Indus Script for its relationship with the Easter Island script. I would love to read your book. I look forward to sharing more in the future.

09/26/2012 23:14 PM

Comment hellow to all viewers in year 2002 gondi sahetyacharya hon.ble dr. m. c. BY kangle published his noble discory indus pictographical script has been decephered in gondi langauge only. all script has been decephered. book title named SAINDHAVI LIPI KA GONDI MEIN UDWACHAN. all seals pictographical script decephered in gondi. gondi langauage is proto dravidian. if any body want to read can be available on followig address. prakash salame chandrapur thermal powert station urjanagar colony gtr. no. D TYPE 90 by 6 chandrapur m.s. india pin code 442404. and mobile no. 09922475025. dr. m. c. kangale must ge nobele prize for his discovery.

prakash salame gondi litreturer
07/30/2012 04:01 AM

Comment Sir,
Thanks tt. Actually I want to contact not only with Sri Sarkar but also persons like you. Pl visit the website stated before and contact. rajot

03/28/2011 02:38 AM

Comment dear sir,

thank you for this interesting article. the philologist of Bengal, Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar has written many books (shabda cayanika, varna vicitra, laghu nirukta, etc.) on the history of indian languages most of which unfortunately are in bangla.

he supports your thesis that Brahmi evolved from the indus script. however he claims that the indus script is in fact dravidian. Shrii sarkar is a supporter of the aryan invasion theory but pushes back the dates to around 7500 years ago. He has laid out a proposed projection of the different stages of the aryan conquest noting how previously hostile areas such as mithila, anga and magadha were gradually conquered. shrii sarkar dates the earliest areas of the indus civilization to about 5000 years so your hypothesis that at that time aryans and non-aryans were living together would hold true.

however shrii sarkar identified an even earlier civilization (7000years) than the indus in the caves of Alan (near kota, Rajasthan). proper study of this site has yet to take place

03/25/2011 06:45 AM

Comment agree. but the problem is Marxist historians like Habib,Thappar are still dominating. Archaeological survey of India is stating that they are not expert enough to judge my work. Already a book has been published by me and some discussions made in I donot know how to proceed further. rajot

03/18/2011 02:09 AM

Comment Dear Rajot, Both the Asiatic Society and the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad are now hot beds of politics and are run by some rogues and rascals owing allegiance to the CPM. They are unlikely to respond unless you have links with Alimuddin street. Please don't feel discouraged, carry on your good work.

03/17/2011 02:19 AM

Comment thanks db. rajot

rajot pal
03/14/2011 01:38 AM

Comment Thanks TagoreBlog. Rajot

rajot pal
03/11/2011 04:19 AM

Comment Sir, I went through this article and you really did a commendable job.

03/11/2011 03:58 AM

Comment Thanks TagoreBlog. I have sent one to Asiatic Society, but not received any response yet. A bengali version is ready. Are you sure, they will show interest? Till date B.B.Lal and few other scholars like I.Mahadevan have sent few encouraging comments on it personally. I'm yet to receive any response from any recognised institution. Rajot Pal

rajot pal
03/11/2011 00:46 AM

Comment An excellent specimen of serious scholarship. The most appropriate place for its publication is the journal of the Asiatic Society. A Bengali version may be published in the journal of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad.

03/10/2011 04:17 AM

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