Yesterday night,I ,by chance,happened to read an article in a self styled popular magazine of India,which proclaims its Secular outlook,which attacked eminent historians like Romilla Thapar,P.N.Oak,Kalyanaraman for their efforts in trying to clear the misinformation and disinformation of Indian History.
It took exception to Sri. N.S .Rajaram for his study on Harappan horse Seal.
The scholar lampooned Sri. Rajaram for doctoring images.
The article went on to ridicule Historians who are trying to unearth the real Indian history thus,
The Indus Valley Decipherment Hoax
MICHAEL WITZEL, a Harvard University Indologist, and STEVE FARMER, a comparative historian, report on media hype, faked data, and Hindutva propaganda in recent claims that the Indus Valley script has been decoded.
LAST summer the Indian press carried sensational stories announcing the final decipherment of the Harappan or Indus Valley script. A United News of India dispatch on July 11, 1999, picked up throughout South Asia, reported on new research by “noted histo rian, N.S. Rajaram, who along with palaeographist Dr. Natwar Jha, has read and deciphered the messages on more than 2,000 Harappan seals.” Discussion of the messages was promised in Rajaram and Jha’s upcoming book, The Deciphered Indus Script. For nearly a year, the Internet was abuzz with reports that Rajaram and Jha had decoded the full corpus of Indus Valley texts.
This was not the first claim that the writing of the Indus Valley Civilisation (fl. c. 2600-1900 BCE) had been cracked. In a 1996 book, American archaeologist Gregory Possehl reviewed thirty-five attempted decipherments, perhaps one-third the actual numb er. But the claims of Rajaram and Jha went far beyond those of any recent historians. Not only had the principles of decipherment been discovered, but the entire corpus of texts could now be read. Even more remarkable were the historical conclusions that Rajaram and his collaborator said were backed by the decoded messages.
The UNI story was triggered by announcements that Rajaram and Jha had not only deciphered the Indus Valley seals but had read “pre-Harappan” texts dating to the mid-fourth millennium BCE. If confirmed, this meant that they had decoded mankind’s earliest literary message. The “texts” were a handful of symbols scratched on a pottery tablet recently discovered by Harvard University archaeologist Richard Meadow. The oldest of these, Rajaram told the UNI, was a text that could be translated “Ila surrounds th e blessed land” – an oblique but unmistakable reference to the Rigveda’s Saraswati river. The suggestion was that man’s earliest message was linked to India’s oldest religious text.1 The claim was hardly trivial, since this was over 2,000 year s before Indologists date the Rigveda – and more than 1,000 years before Harappan culture itself reached maturity.
After months of media hype, Rajaram and Jha’s The Deciphered Indus Script2 made it to print in New Delhi early this year. By midsummer the book had reached the West and was being heatedly discussed via the Internet in Europe, India, and the United States. The book gave credit for the decipherment method to Jha, a provincial religious scholar, previously unknown, from Farakka, in West Bengal. The book’s publicity hails him as “one of the world’s foremost Vedic scholars and palaeographer s.” Jha had reportedly worked in isolation for twenty years, publishing a curious 60-page English pamphlet on his work in 1996. Jha’s study caught the eye of Rajaram, who was already notorious in Indological circles. Rajaram took credit for writing most of the book, which heavily politicised Jha’s largely apolitical message. Rajaram’s online biography claims that their joint effort is “the most important breakthrough of our time in the history of Indian history and culture.’
Witzel was born at Schwiebus, then in Germany, now Poland.
He studied Indology in Germany (from 1965 to 1971) under Paul Thieme, H.-P. Schmidt, K. Hoffmann and J. Narten as well as in Nepal (1972–1973) under the Mīmāmsaka Jununath Pandit. At Kathmandu (1972–1978), he led the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project and the Nepal Research Centre. He has taught at Tübingen (1972), Leiden (1978–1986), and at Harvard (since 1986) and has held visiting appointments at Kyoto (twice), Paris (twice), and Tokyo (twice). He has been teaching Sanskrit since 1972.
He is noted for his studies of the dialects of Vedic Sanskrit, old Indian history,the development of Vedic religion, and the linguistic prehistory of the Indian Subcontinent.He is editor-in-chief of the Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS)and the Harvard Oriental Series. He has been president of the Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory (ASLIP) since 1999, as well as of the new International Association for Comparative Mythology (2006-).He was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, and was elected as an honorary member of the German Oriental Society (DMG in 2009. He became Cabot Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard U. (2013), recognizing his book on comparative mythology (OUP, 2012).’
I am not a scholar of standing to comment on these comments.
But I am born in great country,not ashamed of it,learnt and studied Sanskrit and Vedas for eight years.
I am not a Phd nor do I make a living out of trying to interpret cultures of which my knowledge is only bookish and limited.
Nor do I need to satisfy my sponsors.
But I am presenting facts through this blog what I have unearthed,especially from foreign sources ,anything from Foreign is acceptable secularists,from Plato Strabo,Sumerian,Akkadian,Hittie,Arabic,Persian………
And sources on Vedic life,Tamils from foreign sources as well.
How Max Mueller,Robert Caldwell&Co misinformed and disinformed under the cloak of scholarship.
Though I have published articles dispelling the myths of such ‘Indologists’, I shall present ,periodically,how Indian texts were copied and passed off as their own by the others.
The first one is Panchatantra.
Panchatantra,an early Indian Sanskri Nitisastra,moral story,was by Vishnu Sarma.
The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed around the 3rd century BCE ,s attributed to Vishnu Sharma. It is based on older oral traditions, including “animal fables that are as old as we are able to imagine”.
Panchatantra is dated around 300 BC!
This has been copied by nearly all the cultures, changed and passed off as their own.
‘Scholars have noted the strong similarity between a few of the stories in The Panchatantra and Aesop’s Fables. Examples are ‘The Ass in the Panther’s Skin’ and ‘The Ass without Heart and Ears’.”The Broken Pot” is similar to Aesop’s “The Milkmaid and Her Pail”, “The Gold-Giving Snake” is similar to Aesop’s “The Man and the Serpent” and “Le Paysan et Dame serpent” by Marie de France (Fables) Other well-known stories include “The Tortoise and The Geese” and “The Tiger, the Brahmin and the Jackal”. Similar animal fables are found in most cultures of the world, although some folklorists view India as the prime source. India is described as the “chief source of the world’s fable literature” in Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend.
…there are recorded over two hundred different versions known to exist in more than fifty languages, and three-quarters of these languages are extra-Indian. As early as the eleventh century this work reached Europe, and before 1600 it existed in Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, German, English, Old Slavonic, Czech, and perhaps other Slavonic languages. Its range has extended from Java to Iceland… [In India,] it has been worked over and over again, expanded, abstracted, turned into verse, retold in prose, translated into medieval and modern vernaculars, and retranslated into Sanskrit. And most of the stories contained in it have “gone down” into the folklore of the story-loving Hindus, whence they reappear in the collections of oral tales gathered by modern students of folk-stories.’
‘Another Indian literary product popular in all the European literatures are the body of
tales known as the Panchatantra. These tales were transmitted through Persian, Arab and
Greek. The South Slavs have early adaptations from Greek of these tales known by the title
“Stephanites and Ichnelates” in the literary Slavonic used by Serbs, Macedonians and
Bulgarians. The originally Greek names are modeled on the Arab ones, which in their turn
are modeled on the Persian Pahlavi Kalilah and Dinnah, “The Stolid and the Sly.”
The Persian text was rewritten and expanded in the fifteenth century, connected with the
name of Pilpay or Bidpai, the sage narrator, and was the basis for later Turkish and French
versions. A Ragusan by the name of Vincent Bratuti, in the capacity of the official interpreter
to the Spanish court, made the first Spanish version from the Turkish one in seventeenth
century, while in the eighteenth the enlightened officer M. A. Relkovic made a Croat version
from a French one. In the nineteenth century we have the first translations of some Indian
tales from Sanskrit into Serbo-Croat (by Petar Budmani) and into Slovenian (by Karol
Glaser); the complete Arab text of “The Stolid and the Sly” has been recently translated into
Serbo-Croat by the Bosnian orient list Besim Kor- kut. In addition a number of adaptations
of the Pancha- tantra from French and Russian have been published in the post-war
(This Transaction is a resume of a lecture delivered at the Indian Institute of World Culture by Mr.
Ivan Slamnig, of the Department of Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Arts of the Zagreb University.)
I shall upload the research paper in the forthcoming article.
Sri. Rajaram’s reply in Frontline.
Interview with N.S. Rajaram.
Following the publication of “Horseplay in Harappa,” N.S. Rajaram wrote a letter to the Editor of Frontline. In the covering note, he offered access to “the original photograph” of the ‘horse seal’ on which the image published in the Jha-Ra jaram book was based. Frontline accepted the offer and received from Rajaram a copy of the photograph, which was identical to the one Rajaram sent Iravatham Mahadevan in 1997. Frontline correspondent Anupama Katakam interviewed Rajar am in Bangalore on November 2 on the provenance of the image of the ‘horse seal,’ the ‘computer enhancement,’ the ‘decipherment,’ and other aspects of Rajaram’s work and views. Excerpts from the tape-recorded interview:
Where did the image of the ‘horse seal’ come from?
Jha had a photograph taken of the image from Mackay’s book – Mohenjodaro. This attribution is in the index of his book. Jha lives in a small town. He may not have had access to high-tech equipment, which explains the low quality of the image.
Why does he believe it to be a horse?
I looked at the original [photograph], which is very small. In Mackay’s book. Of course, Frontline gave a much better picture because they have better facilities. To me it looks more like a horse. I am convinced it is a horse.
The shape of the under-belly. If you look at the unicorn bull’s genital area, it is very prominent [referring to Frontline‘s cover]. It is not so in the horse. The tail is also quite different. And another thing is – the tapering back is a feature of all fast-running animals.
What is the significance of the ‘horse’?
I feel the importance of the horse is blown out of proportion. We have a great deal of much more important evidence that we have to explain. They are making it the central issue… It was just a footnote in our book…
As far as identification is concerned, we are sure it is a horse! And we can demonstrate that horses existed.
I believe the debate should be on a whole range of issues.
What is the old-style-telephone-like object in front of the animal?
Do you find it in our book? You see what has happened is this writing [pointing to the annotation] has got scrambled in the scanning. This writing which has got scrambled resembles this telephone-like thing which they refer to as a [feeding] trough. Noth ing is behind that label. This is not in the original seal.
Who annotated or labelled it?
Jha must have. To keep the file number… This is the photo I received and I have checked it with the original… But I didn’t have such a good print. The original seal is in Mackay’s book. This [points to the image numbered M-772A, published on p. 9 of the Frontline issue of October 13] they say has been flipped horizontally. It is probably the same seal, but you see there is more damage here. But I am not going to look at this one. You see when Parpola took this photograph, it was about 30 year s later. This has been computer-manipulated. As far as I am concerned, I will go with the oldest.
In any case, it is irrelevant as they may be the same image. See, the writing is the same… As far as the trough goes – it is a distortion of the letters.
On the why and how of the ‘computer enhancement’
I never said computer enhancement in my book. When they kept pressing me, I said it might have been computer-enhanced. That is what I mentioned in a particular note to these people. I had no idea. I think it was scanned by the publisher. The best way of finding out is if you look at what copy the publisher has and mine. Then you will know what went into the book. This has not been scanned by me. I xeroxed it and I either sent a smaller photograph to improve the resolution, or a contraction of it taken o n a xerox machine.
If I had this quality [pointing to a clear image of the broken seal published in Frontline], there would be no problem. My point is if ‘computer enhancement’ was said, it may have been said under pressure. I have never done any computer enhancemen t.
Clearly he [Jha] has, or somebody has, taken the photograph from a publication. And I either sent a photocopy of it… And I remember what I said to the publisher. I said, “see if something can be made out of this.”
Sources to Harappan Horse Seal materia.
Featured Image Credit.