Sep 26, 2023
Sep 26, 2023
The History of India - I
Continued from Previous Page
Attempt was made in the previous part for the synchronization and concordance of two sets of Indian chronology; one put forth by the Western historians as endorsed by the leftist and left-leaning historians largely centred around the Indus Valley civilization, and the other by the traditional Indian historians on the basis of ancient literature, inscriptions and archaeological findings in various parts of the country. Some of the important archaeological evidences include the sunken city of Kusasthali and Dvaravati in the Gulf of Khambat suggesting that cities and kingdoms indeed existed at least since 11000 BCE in ancient India. Apart from these, the archaeological evidences collected from the excavations of Bhirrana, Kalibanga, Mehargarh, Dholavira, Rakhigarhi, Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in the Sindhu-Saraswati region as well as remains of chariots discovered at Sanauli in Uttar Pradesh almost convincingly establish the existence of a fairly developed and flourishing civilization since many thousand years before 2000 BCE.
Although the aforesaid archaeological findings indeed suggest the existence of a long and continuous civilization but these findings are not suffice enough to establish a reconciled and unbroken chronology. On the other hand, the chronology put forth by the Western historians suffer with serious inadequacies in as much as this unduly relies only on the Indus Valley civilization and the theory of Aryans invasion despite the fact that they have not been able even to decipher the Indus script and intriguing issues attached with mass Aryans migration so far. Notwithstanding, these historians have considered the Puranic genealogical records to deny or falsify the Indian historical legends and conversely also used historical legends to refute the genealogical records as per their convenience, which is certainly defective and cannot be considered a scientific methodology. Conversely, the traditional Indian historians have mostly relied on the chronological data and information available in the ancient Indian puranic texts and archaeo-astronomical data to establish ancient historical legendary history.
On the basis of linguistic evidence of the evolution of Sanskrit and its grammar, Indian scholars have opined that the Vedic corpus viz. Vedas, comprising of Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads as also various Hindu Sutras texts are older compared to Puranas and Itihasas texts like the epics of Ramayana, Mahabhrarta and many others, and, therefore, more authentic and reliable too. Accordingly, the historical legends described in the Vedic corpus have also been considered more authentic compared to Puranas and other later texts. Similarly, efforts have also been made to explain the mix up of the identity and names of some legendary entities over a span. Thus, the traditional scholars and researches of the Indian chronology and history have prioritized the sequencing of chronology and legendary entities based on available corpus and legendary historical account. For illustration, information available in Vedic corpus is used to decipher the chronology and genealogy of historical legends; conversely, legendary accounts to improve upon the chronology and genealogy. Based on the aforesaid model, the traditional legendary history from Svayambhuva Manu to Mahabharata era is briefly summarized in the following paragraphs.
Legendary History upto Mahabharata Era
The traditional Indian history starts with the advent of Svayambhuva Manu, the son of the Vedic Rishi and Astronomer Brahma I, who is considered the earliest king and progenitor of the Manu dynasty. Apparently, there have been several legendary kings with the name of Manu, but he finds mention as Svayambhuva Manu in Puranas. According to Rig Veda, the agriculture and animal rearing were the main occupations of the society during the age. Among other things, the Vedic astronomers had apparently also found ways to reconcile solar and lunar years to introduce a basic lunisolar calendar of the 5-year Yuga cycle. The scholars believe that Brahma deified as the creator god in puranic literature, was actually the first rishi and founder of the knowledge based Vedic society inter alia establishing Paitamaha Siddhanta i.e. the 5-year Yuga cycle based on astronomical calculations.
The puranic literary and other traditional sources have described the legendary chronological history of the Vedic and Post-Vedic eras right from King Svayambhuva Manu to Mahabharata period in the timelines of Yugas, Mahayugas or Chaturyugas and Manvantaras. The archaeological findings in the Sapta-sindhu region such as the sunken city of Dvaravati in the Gulf of Khambat reasonably establish the occurrence of the Vedic civilization at least since 11000 BCE although these findings are not suffice to establish the synchronized genealogical and chronological history. Therefore, the traditional historian and scholars have mostly relied on archaeo-astronomical data and information in the Vedic and post-Vedic literature to establish likely dates of the rishis and kings of these eras. Partial assistance has also come from the oceanographic studies and the dating of the palaeochannels of the ancient Sarasvati, Sutlej, Yamuna and Drisadvati rivers.
Svayambhuva Manu was the first king of the organized society in Vedic period, who married Satrupa and ruled from 14460 to 14420 BCE. Apparently, the people of his kingdom came to be known as Manavas or Manushyas owing to his name. According to puranic texts, Manu had two sons, namely Priyavrata and Uttanapada; He was succeeded by the younger son King Uttanpada who ruled for about thirty years (14420-14390 BCE) in the Central and Southern regions, while the elder son Priyavrata reigned over the north and North-western regions of the kingdom. After Uttanapada, King Dhruva (14390-14350) ascended to the throne, who became the most celebrated king of those times with popular support of Prajapatis (community leaders). The pole star was named after Dhruva (means ‘immovable’) by the astronomers the early Vedic era. The Kingdom was known as Brahmavarta which was located between the legendary Rivers Saraswati, named after the wife of Brahma, and Drisadvati, and this region finds a mention in Rig Veda.
During this period, seven rishis namely Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Bhrigu, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya also emerged among the most knowledgeable and great scholars of the society, who have continued to be known as Saptarshis responsible for laying down a strong foundation for the evolution and development of the Vedic sciences. In the puranic texts, these rishis have also been recognized as manas-putras of Brahma, being the latter’s accomplished pupils. It is widely believed that the descendants of saptarshis were identified as Brahmanas in later years. Even in the modern age, the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation are named after these rishis. Some other legendary and remarkable rishis of the Vedic age known for their in-depth knowledge and scholarly contributions to Vedic society are Brihaspati, Visvamitra and Vasistha; although the list of accomplished rishis as leaders of culture, science and astronomy in the ancient age is rather long.
The Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata provide rich historical literature on numerous legends of the Vedic and Post-Vedic age along with the details of genealogy and lineage of various dynasties right from the King Vaivasvata Manu to King Yudhisthira and some more of the Mahabharata age in a chronological order. For instance, the Mahabharata contains the contemporary history of Kuru and Yadu dynasties with associated events; however, as it occurred much later to the Ramayana age, so it encompasses life of King Ramchandra of Ayodhya and many associated events as well in chronological order. The traditional Indian historians and scholars have attempted to rebuild the legendary history of the ancient India by sound application of logic and rationale on data and information available in the Vedic corpus, Puranas, Itihasa texts (Epics), other Sanskrit and Prakrit literature, inscriptions, regional accounts, Vamsavalis, monastic chronicles, Buddhist and Jain literature, and so on. It indeed appears that Adbhuta Rasa was added in Sanskrit literature to make events more incredible and fascinating although it led to exaggeration of events transforming many historical legends to historico-mythical legends. This feature was later exploited and used by colonial historians to falsify and deny the Indian cultural past citing it as mythology.
No other ancient civilization has such an elaborate data and information on chronology, genealogy and Vamsavalis and, therefore, it cannot be simply ignored or dismissed as has been done by the colonial historians. The Indian legendary history has been broadly explained by the traditional historians and scholars under the Proto-Vedic (before 14500 BCE), Vedic (14500-10500), Post-Vedic (10500-6777 BCE), the 28th Treta Yuga (6777-5577 BCE) encompassing Ramayana era, the 28th Dvapara Yuga (5577-3176 BCE) encompassing Mahabharata era, and the 28th Kali Yuga (3176 BCE onwards). As already mentioned, Brahma I was the founder of Vedic society, Svayambhuva Manu or Manu I was first King or emperor who, for the first time, systematically attempted to administer an organized society with the active cooperation and assistance of Prajapatis like Saptarishis, Daksha, Ruchi, and so on. Although the puranic literature glorify Brahma as creator god; on the contrary, he was apparently a great Rajarshi (leader, rishi and astronomer) who laid foundation of a knowledge-based society rather than just creating the man and woman as illustrated in mythical legends.
It is not possible to accommodate the complete details of the legendary dynasties in a small piece, hence only a brief mention of the important entities and events shall be made here. From the genealogy and Vamsavalis of dynasties, it appears that usually the eldest son or an eligible son succeeded his father on throne while other competent son(s) were allowed to rule part of the kingdom or extended empire as subsidiary. Apart from King Dhruva, Prithu was another descendant and great king who is known to have performed ninety-nine Asvamedha Yajnas and the term Prithvi (planet earth) was name after him. Nabhi was another remarkable king of the hereditary line of Svayambhuva Manu, whose grandson was Bharata. The country was named as Bharatvarsha after the King Bharata. It appears that during the Vedic age, several kings were identified with the name “Manu” at different points of time. According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, Manu (14050) built the city of Ayodhya and a precursor of the Ikshvaku dynasty that ruled Ayodhya for a very long period from the Vedic age to Ramayana era. Apparently, the descendants of King Manu I had migrated from Brahmavarta to other parts of Bharatvarsha establishing own dynasties and clans. One such branch migrated to the Saurashtra region (Gujarat) after the rise of Puru and Bharata dynasties in the main land and important kings of this offshoot were Tapasa Manu, Raivata Manu, Chaksusa Manu and Vaivasvata Manu. The great deluge (flood) finding mention in Puranic literature apparently occurred in Sapta-Sindhu region during Vaivasvata Manu’s regime.
Some of the ancient Vedic kingdoms which were established by the descendants of Manu I following the expansion of the Brahmavarta include Ayodhya, Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra, Suhma, Mahodayapuri, Kausambi, Girivraja, Dharmaranya, Gaya, Kampilya, Saurashtra and Matsya. During the Rigvedic era, the Sapta-Sindhu region developed as the heartland and cradle of the Indian civilization. Names and geographical maps of seven rivers of early Vedic era have been documented in the Nadi Sukta of Rig Veda. The names of these key rivers find mention in the Rig Veda as Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Sutudri, Marudvridha, Arjikiya and Sindhu. It is mentioned in the Vedic literature that the culture evolved in this region and people from here migrated to all directions from 14000 BCE till the Ramayana and Mahabharata era (5677-3176 BCE). The K2 Mountain of the present day Gilgit Baltistan is reckoned as the legendary Mount Sumeru of the Rigvedic era delineating the northern border of Bharatvarsha. Similarly, significant clans of Rigvedic Kshatriyas and warrior tribes before the advent of Vaivasvata manu include Manavas and Aidas, Rudras and Shivas, Purus, Bharatas, Anus, Druhyus, Turvasas, Yadus, Tritsus, Bhrigus, Visanins, Bhalanas, Alinas, Pakthas, Parsus, Yaksus, Panis, Kikatas, and Krivis. Though the details of the traditional genealogy and Vamsavalis of these clans is available but is neither feasible nor desirable here.
Although a plethora of information is available about the chronology, genealogy and Vamsavalis of dynasties and rishis since Vedic age but the same is not without gaps and discrepancies prior to Mahabharata era. Besides, there have been mix up in names and places in many cases. However, Puranas and other allied sources referred to in earlier paragraphs provide fairly accurate and continuous genealogical and chronological history of dynasties starting from Mahabharata war and coronation of King Yudhisthira to the end of Gupta period. For instance, nearly all traditional and literary sources suggest the Mahabharata war to have occurred in the 32nd century BCE while the epigraphic evidence of the Aihole inscription conclusively determine the period of war in 3162 BCE. Also in the latter part of the Vedic era, it appears that the Manu and Puru dynasties had been transformed into the Surya Vamsa and Chandra Vamsa respectively. A fairly continuous and reliable account of the genealogy and Vamsavalis of the kings of Surya and Chandra dynasties is available in chronological order.
King Vivasvan (11290 BCE) was the progenitor of the Surya Vamsa and grandfather of King Ikshvaku (11250 BCE), after which the long and glorious Ikshvaku dynasty was named. According to Saura Purana, Vaivasvata Manu was the son of Vivasvan, who had nine sons including Ikshvaku, who founded the Ikshvaku dynasty in Madhyadesa. Among the early kings of this dynasty, King Mandhata is considered one of the greatest kings of Madhyadesa. Established history of Ikshvaku dynasty with Ayodhya as capital started with King Sagara (11000-10950 BCE) whose grandson was Bhagiratha (10900-10850 BCE). The subsequent (Post-Vedic) history of Ikshvaku kings in various parts is rather sketchy and often broken. However, again a rather continuous and complete Vamsavalis of the Ikshvaku kings can be drawn from Puranas from 7600 BCE onwards up to the age of King Sri Ramchandra. Kalidasa’s Raghu Vamsa also provides the genealogy from King Dilipa, the great grandfather of Sri Ramchandra up to King Agnivarna (4800-4780 BCE), and his wife and ruling Queen (4780-4750 BCE). After this, apparently the kingdom of Ikshvaku dynasty split into smaller parts and the dynasty gradually lost its political aura and significance although Puranas have recorded their genealogy up to 1710 BCE following the Mahabharata war.
As for the Chandra Vamsa, Atri’s son Soma II or Chandra is considered as progenitor who married several daughters of Prajapati Daksha. The history of Chandra Vamsa is traced since 11325 BCE with early kings in succession Budha II, Pururava, Ayu, Nahusha, Yayati, Yadu II, Puru III, and so on, with Kashi and Kanyakubja (Kanauj) kingdoms. Subsequently, the descendants of Chandra Vamsa appears to have migrated in other parts as well establishing many dynasties like Gandhara, Yadu, Kuru, Panchalas, and so on. However, Chandra Vamsa too appears to have gaps and discrepancies in the post-Vedic era as in case of the Surya Vamsa. For instance, almost no information on the genealogy of the Kuru or Panchala kings is available for the post-Vedic and Ramayana era. However, the post-Ramayana era history of these kings is more systematic and authentic from 4350 BCE onwards when, apparently, Kurus and Panchalas re-appeared as powerful dynasties following the gradual decline of the Ikshvaku dynasty. The world’s greatest epic Mahabahrata gives complete and unbroken genealogy of thirty-five Kuru kings and their spouses starting from Puru (4350-4300 BCE) to Yudhisthira (3162-3125 BCE). Similarly, in the post-Mahabharata period, the genealogy of twenty-eight Kuru rulers from King Parikshit (3125-3100 BCE), the son of Abhimanyu and grandson of Arjuna, to Ksemaka (2330-2300 BCE) is well documented. Such details of several dynasties in South India such as Pandya, Chola, Chera, Kolla, and so on in the post-Mahabharata period are also available.
According to Vayu Purana, Vahni (11700 BCE) was the progenitor of the Pandyas, Cheras (Keralas), Cholas and Marutta. Marutta was the fifth descendant of Vahni who adopted Duskrita, the son of Raibhya of the Puru dynasty. His grandson King Janapida had sons namely Pandya, Kerala, (Chera), Chola and Kola, who are said to have founded their kingdoms in various regions of South India around 11400 BCE. The chronology of Pandyas kings from the Vedic era, through the First Sangam Period (11226-6826 BCE), Second Sangam Period (6826-3126 BCE) and thereafter is fairly accurately available. As per Puranas and Tamil sources, Chola was one of the brothers of Pandya with Puru lineage and later on Chola dynasty of Tamilnadu mixed up with the Ikshvaku kings of Andhra giving rise to Telugu-Chola lineage, also a reason for the later Chola kings claiming their origin from Surya Vamsa. According to Manimekhalai and Tamil legends, King Kantan was earliest known famous king contemporary to Rishi Agastya. Similarly, the Puranas, Mahabharata, Sangam literature and epigraphic records give illustrated accounts of the Chera and other dynasties of the South India.
All along the ancient legendary history of the Indian civilization, perhaps two most significant entities and events had been the Ikshvaku King Sri Ramchandra better known for his Sri Lanka expedition in the Ramayana era of 28th Treta Yuga and King Shree Krishna for his decisive role and contribution in the Mahabharata war towards the end of 28th Dvapara Yuga. Aforesaid two kings of their time were so great, virtuous and revered men that the common people started worshipping them as gods with the passage of time. Therefore, it may be fair and reasonable to spend a paragraph each on the two historic icons. As for their existential span and events of life, the traditional historians and scholars have estimated and evaluated it by the data and information in the Vedic corpus, Puranas and Itihasa texts, archaeological evidences and astronomical calculations. To this author, such calculations appear more worthy and credible compared to Western estimates endorsed by the leftist historians of India citing them as part the mythical history.
Sri Ramchandra was the most famous and glorious king of the Ikshvaku dynasty during the estimated span of 5677-5577 BCE, popularly referred to as the Ramayana era in Treta Yuga. Sri Ram was born to Queen Kaushalya and King Dasharath in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River, on 03 February 5674 BCE as per Indian traditional estimates. Being eldest and most competent among four brothers, he married Sita, daughter of King Janaka, and circumstances led to his exile for fourteen years accompanied by wife and brother Laxman. According to legends, Sita was kidnapped by Lanka King Ravana during their southward expedition towards the fag end of their exile that led to a fierce war between Sri Ram supported by the Vanara King Sugriva on one side and Asura King Ravana on the other side. As a result of war, Sri Ram killed Ravana along with his evil associates, rescued Sita and returned to Ayodhya where he was coroneted as the next Ayodhya king in 5635 BCE. During his rule, Sri Ram turned out to be the most just and fair king, so much so that the people at large started worshipping him as god with the belief that he was a reincarnation of the Vedic era god Vishnu. His legendary tale was documented by his contemporary Rishi Valmiki in the Ramayana and Sri Ram’s political and cultural influence grew much beyond the Indian sub-continent in the Southeast Asian countries like Java, Bali, Malaya, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, etc.
Shree Krishna was yet another iconic personality and king of Yadu Vamsa towards the later part of the Dvapara Yuga (5577-3176 BCE), comparable to Sri Ramchandra in glory and popularity. Kuru, Panchala and Yadu Vamsas were among the most prominent and powerful dynasties in the northern part of the Indian sub-continent during his time and the famous Mahabharata war took place in 3162 BCE involving almost all Kshatriya and Asura kings of the age. According to the traditional Indian estimates, Shree Krishna was born in 3223 BCE and died in 3126 BCE. Although the famous historical Epic Mahabharata of Rishi Vedvyasa mainly features the events of the powerful Kuru dynasty, Shree Krishna has remained the central character in control of various events and entities of the time. Many other texts such as the Bhagavata Purana, the Bhagavad Gita, the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, the Vishnu Purana, Harivamsa and many other Hindu texts too have illustrated his life events at length. As a close relative and well-wisher of the Kuru King Yudhisthira and his brothers, Krishna played a pivotal and decisive role in the Kurushetra war. Some of the central evil characters (tyrant kings) whom Shree Krishna personally handled during his time included Kamsa, Shishupala and Jarasandha. To avoid constant conflicts and bloodbath of Yadu clan warriors, he had established another kingdom in Dwarka, Gujarat, far away from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Owing to his iconic personality and glory, Krishna too was personified as god and reincarnation of Vishnu in due course and as such worshipped by Hindus till date.
Legendary History under Traditional & Western Lenses
Going by the Western historians and scientific calculations, the modern human race first arrived in the Indian sub-continent about 55,000 years ago or even back but the earliest human remains are about 30,000 year old. Then they also agree that there are adequate evidences of the settled life i.e. from foraging to farming and animal husbandry, in the region around 7000 BCE citing Mehrgarh, a neolithic archaeological site, in Balochistan of the modern age Pakistan. In the same sequence, they put forth that the settled life had spread more widely in the Indus Valley and adjacent areas by 4500 BCE. Then they suggest that probably a spell of persistent drought caused the Indus Valley population to shake and start migration from urban to rural areas. Around the same period, the Indo-Aryan people moved into Punjab from the Central Asia in multiple waves of migration conquering and completely subjugating the native population; their arrival and settlement is marked with the Vedic Period (1500-500 BCE) when the Vedas were composed and the Varna System developed comprising of the hierarchy of the priestly class, warriors, peasantry and serving class that gradually transformed into the caste system. In due course, the Indo-Aryans migrated from Punjab to the Gangetic plain and other parts to set up predominantly an agriculture and pastoral life.
Quite obviously, while putting forth the aforesaid early Indian history based on scant archaeological findings of the Indus Valley along with other postulations, the Western historians and Indologists completely junked the age old Sanskrit literature comprising of a vast Vedic corpus, Puranas, Itihasa texts and other evidences enumerating the chronology, genealogy and Vamsavalis of the Sanatana (Hindu kings and rishis) culture of the Indian sub-continent citing it as mythological history. In essence, although sporadic groups were present from the earlier times but the civilized society evolved in the Indian sub-continent only after the arrival of the Aryans from the Central Asia. In a way, this very averment reflects the colonial mindset whereby the Westerners thought that everything native in the Indian sub-continent was backward and under developed till their arrival. Now the Central Asia is the Asian stretch from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and Iran/Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region was traditionally inhabited by the Iranian (Persian) origin and has remained the homeland for Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tatars, Turkmen, Kyrgyz and Uyghurs people. While the Indian traditional historians have used a rich Vidic corpus, Puranas and Itihasa texts, inscriptions, some archaeological findings, etc. to counter the Western biased view, this author has a few more basic questions in mind.
Although this is not the chief object of this write-up to discuss pros and cons of the Aryan invasion theory propounded by the Colonial era rulers and historians, and endorsed by the Indian political regime inheriting their legacy after independence in connivance with the leftist or left-leaning native historians, but the theory indeed have many serious shortcomings and flaws. Although there are guesstimate of the Aryan tribes coming from Germany and/or Finland in the West to Kazakhstan in the east but the general agreement among the propounders of the theory is that they came somewhere from the northern Caucasus region. If that be so, why did these Aryan tribes avoid much nearer Mesopotamian civilizations to choose distant Indus Valley Civilization? Going by the Western historical account itself, there were at least three kingdoms in the Caucasus region about the same time when Aryans are alleged to have invaded India. These kingdoms were Hittites, Mittani and Hysko; for any rational and logical mind, it may be interesting and intriguing to observe that dominant Aryan tribes in the region failed to impose their culture and language close to the homeland on these kingdoms but totally succeeded in imposing it to the distant Indian land, which by Western account itself already had a rather developed and fairly advance civilization.
In fact, even a new study recently conducted by an Indo-US research team has debunked the controversial and ill-conceived Aryan invasion theory. They have put forth some scientific evidence too from the Harappan period to claim that the much hyped and established large-scale migration from the Central Asia to India never happened. This research paper was published in the “Cell”, one of the top international journals, while debunking Aryan invasion theory, highlighted that the hunter-gatherers (nomads) of the Southeast Asia switched on to farming communities of their own and were the central figures of the Harappan civilization. The evidence and aforesaid conclusion was derived after the detailed analysis of the DNA samples extracted from the skeleton of a female buried in Rakhigarh, near Hisar of Haryana state between four to five millennia ago, which is one of the largest Indus Vally sites known so far. According to VS Shinde, an Indian archaeologist of repute and lead author of the research paper, the ancient DNA findings completely reject the theory of Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmers as the source of ancestry to the Harappan population thereby demolishing the hypothesis of the mass human migration in area from outside, and that the Vedic culture was developed by the indigenous people of the South Asia.
As the Western concept of the Aryan Invasion Theory does not stand to crucial scientific proof and logic, they appear to have only ignored and falsified the traditional legendary history and culture of Indian civilization in calling it mythical. The Indian traditional historians too dismiss the Western theory of the Aryan invasion and limitations attached to the Indus Valley civilization. In fact, apart from points made in the preceding paragraphs, the Indian scholars have presented many irrefutable evidences about the fallacy of the Aryan Invasion Theory. According to the Indian traditional sources, the so-called Indus Valley civilization is not an exotic civilization; instead, it should be taken as a Post-Vedic civilization and the undeciphered script of the Indus seals must be evaluated with reference to the chronological evolution of the Indic languages and scripts. Arguably, the journey of the Indian languages started with the Proto-Sanskrit (most likely a corpus of symbols) in the early Vedic era: Gradually, the basic rules including conjunctions (Sandhis) and meters (Chandas) were evolved with concurrent development of the basic phonetics (Proto Brahmi). Thus the structured Vedic Sanskrit was painstakingly developed by the Indian rishis to codify Mantras and Suktas.
The provisions of Sanskrit such as Sandhi and context-free grammar are unique to this language which were seemingly introduced in the Vedic Sanskrit (mostly in verses) to ensure musical rhythm and freedom of using words anywhere in the sentences. Most probably, the Vedas were referred to as “Shruti” not because a script was not present but to make sure that the pupils by listening it from teachers can avoid mispronunciation of the Vedic Mantras. Over a long civilizational span, the Vedic Sanskrit gradually transformed to Laukika Sanskrit and various other offshoots of the Proto-Sanskrit evolved to different other north and south Indian languages. It appears that the Vedic society of the Sapta-Sindhu region used at least two languages: Proto-Sanskrit which was a natural language and Vedic Sanskrit that was artificially developed. While the ordinary people spoke of the natural language i.e. Proto-Sanskrit, the rishis, teachers and pupils used Vedic Sanskrit for the Vedic rituals and education. Seemingly, the Proto–Indus script represented Proto-Sanskrit comprised of hieroglyphs (corpus of symbols) whereas Proto-Brahmi script was used in the Vedic Sanskrit which over a long period and in stages further evolved into many modern age Indian languages.
Although India is not the only nation whose traditional history and chronology have been distorted by the Christian historians of the colonial era but there is no doubt that they have been particularly biased and harsh with the Indian sub-continent. Perhaps the main reason behind this has been the mistaken belief that the history of the civilized world after Christ is more factual while the events before Christ are more or less mythical beyond a point. Many traditional historians and scholars believe that this was Isaac Newton who emphatically distorted the traditional history of various ancient civilizations in his book “the Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms” published in 1728 CE. Ever since the so-called secular historians of the west have not only religiously endorsed and followed the historicity of the epoch of the Christian era but also fiddled with the traditional history of the nations considering the Christian era as the sheet anchor and mostly junking the distant historical past as mythical, particularly in the Indian context. The aforesaid averment and view have increasingly received strength and acceptance following more archaeological and other evidences from the nations including India.
The Western historians have failed to defend the colonial methodology of selective acceptance and selective rejection of data and facts available in the native languages. This selective and arbitrary approach has rendered hardly any civilizational history beyond 2000 BCE in the modern text or history books despite the traditional historians rendering a plethora of genealogical and chronological history of several millennia before 2000 BCE. It is true that owing to various constraints and events, several gaps exist in the traditional historical data. Besides, nearly all civilizations including the Indian sub-continent have freely mixed Adbhut Rasa with supranatural and supernatural content in their historical texts probably to make it more interesting and appealing to the readers. In the event when the traditional history has gaps but the west driven colonial era history too suffers with serious inexplicable inadequacies, the former cannot be simply junked at the cost of the latter. It will be more rational and sane to examine, research and recast the traditional history ignoring the supra- or supernatural elements and events rather than accepting and going by what biased foreigners visualized and tried to make us believe.
Note: I gratefully acknowledge Shri Ved Veer Arya, an erstwhile dear colleague and currently a Joint Secretary in GOI as some genealogical and Vamsavalis details have been taken from his now popular book "the Chronology of India" (From Manu to Mahabharata) for this article.
More by : Dr. Jaipal Singh