Deciphering Indus Civilization – A New Perspective

. 4/25/09

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The one culture that has remained elusive to the historian and the archaeologist alike but which has nevertheless transmitted faithfully certain cultural traits of bygone ages is the Indus Valley Civilization, which was more or less coeval with the riverine civilizations on the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates. Subsequent explorations point to at least four stages of development of which the Harappa-Mohen-Jo-Daro phase was the first as well as the most advanced. Harappans are believed to have adopted the decimal system after the finds at Lothal in 1980 of gold discs, weighing 50, 100, 2500, 2750, 2900, 3000 and 3250 milligrams. But then one may certainly ask as to why the decimal system, which was easier than the duo-decimal one, could not sustain in the ancient world. Even if it is admitted that a certain culture in the world had developed and adopted the decimal system why it was not diffused to other culturally contiguous areas. Material aspects of culture generally perish as it did perish in the case of Harappans, but mental labour of man always survives in some form or other. Further it is not the case of adopting something better as duo-decimal is more cumbersome than the decimal system and for that matter, less sophisticated than the latter.

Further, one may not be very certain about the universal presence of the evidence of decimal system in the Harappan culture as the finds were confined only to Lothal in Saurashtra whereas the culture is said to have wielded influence as far as Afghanistan and Kashmir in the north and north-west; Karachi and Dwarka in the west; Bhavnagar in the south-east and Zekda (Gujrat) and Daim Abad in Maharashtra. Nearly 400 sites of Harappan Culture were discovered in the Cholistan desert of Pakistan. The culture is believed to have flourished roughly from 2500 BC to 1500 BC, that is, one thousand years and scholars are yet to arrive at a definite conclusion about it, shrouded as it is in the nebulous past. The generally accepted view about the Harappan Culture makes it pre-Vedic and the invading Aryans, responsible for its destruction around 1500 BC. This view was presented by Sir John Marshall but Shri Aurobindo and his followers contend against this view and hold that the Harappan culture was post-Vedic. They further hold that the caus'es of destruction or desertion of Mohen-Jo-Daro and other sites were mainly ecological. The climate of Sind, Punjab and Rajasthan was wet between 5000 BC and 3500 BC. Then followed a period of aridity in about 1500 BC so much so that the painted gray ware people, settled actually in the bed of the Saraswati river in Rajasthan, moved to other places. Lothal was destroyed or deserted because of a tectonic disturbance and/or a fall in sea level cut off the dockyard. This change in the Saraswati was known and perhaps witnessed by the Rigvedic people for they have composed beautiful verses in praise of the river.[1]

But 'Shri Aurobindo, like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was so much struck by the splendour of the 'Ushas' hymns that he was reminded of the long dawn in the North Pole and hence thought like Tilak that possibly in the distant past the Aryans had indeed witnessed this dawn.[2]

Efforts are being made in both India and Pakistan to decipher the Indus Valley script but on expected lines. We have read the views of Shri Aurobindo and other Indian scholars, who, for all practical purposes, want to bury the theory of the Aryan invasion around 1500 BC and prove that the Aryans were the natives, not foreigners. For this purpose even the Indus Valley seals are being tampered with.

Dr. S. R. Rao, an eminent epigraphist, while delivering the presidential address at the 7th annual Congress of the Epigraphical Society of India in Calcutta on 16 January 1981 claimed to have so far read 1800 inscriptions of the Indus Valley Civilization, out of which 1200 were published. According to him, these inscriptions gave a chrestomathy [3] of 250 words and a list of 70 roots common to Indus and Indo-European languages. He says that the Harappan script was a mixed writing, involving the use of pictures, pseudo-pictures and linear signs while the late Harappan script was pure linear.

As far as the evolution of the Indus script was concerned, the stratigraphic evidence from Lothal and Rangpur excavations helped establish the chronological order of seals and inscribed pottery which had not been possible earlier with regard to the seals from Harappan and Mohen-Jo-Daro.

According to Dr. Rao, the writing underwent a gradual change from a picture-cum-linear script to a purely linear one, dropping in the process pictures of birds, plants and objects such as hills and fields. Dr. Rao deciphered the Indus script in five stages; the script had 40 linear signs, including homo-morphones for 21 sounds but without any sign for palatals and cerebrals.

Dr. Rao also pointed out a very interesting feature of the Harappan script. He says that “as in the case of Avestan and Hittite languages, the Indus script retained all the three laryngeals, while the old Indo-­Aryan had dropped two and retained one”. Dr. Rao also said that his research showed that the Harappans were pioneers in evolving an alphabetic system which became the basis for the Semitic consonantal system. The Harappans used vowels too, though not all, he added.

Dr. Rao cited a number of examples to establish his claim that the Harappans were accurate in their measurements and they evolved the smallest unit of measurement of linear mass “ever known in the ancient world”. According to him, the Harappans seem to have used gold discs for exchange purposes which bore the exact ratio of 1:2:10 corresponding to the “Dhanya, Gunja, and Masaka of the Arthashastra”. The scientific instruments and tools such as compass for measuring angles up to 30 degrees, “the twisted drill and the circular saw bear testimony to the inventive genius of the Harappans”.

Lastly Dr. Rao appealed to university professors to update text­books on Indian history by “burying the archaeologically and now linguistically untenable theory of Aryan destruction of Indus cities and their non-Aryan origin”.[4]

Before we make any comment on the observations of Dr. S. R. Rao we should take into account the view point of the scholars engaged in research on the same subject across the Indo-Pak border. We have pointed out in the preceding pages that no less than 400 sites were discovered in Cholistan desert of Pakistan. These sites range in date from circa 3000 BC to 500 BC but the scholar, Dr. Rafiq Mughal who made such an important discovery unfortunately left for Dubai.

There was another scholar, Maulana Abu Jalal Nadvi whose contribution during the Sixties in the field of decipherment of the Indus script is no less important. Nadvi has based his thesis on two premises, viz., (i) that the people of Mohen-Jo-Daro were non-Aryans, as such, (ii) their script should be deciphered through Semitic sources, especially the South-Arabic or Minaeo-Sabaean language (also called Himyarite). Nadvi says that Sind was the name of a people (Qaum) who had settled in Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Persia, and Sind long before India was named Arya Vrat and Persia was called Persia. One branch of these people even entered into China and founded the city of Sindabal.

In order to prove his point Nadvi recalls that the Chinese had used the word TA-TSIN for the Arabian Peninsula. Similarly the Chinese name for India was TIEN TCHOU and CHEN TOU but the name CHEN TOU actually referred to the region lying between the Arabian Sea and Kabul that is Sind. Nadvi further finds its analogy in ancient Egyptian words TA and TAVI meaning land which recalls to mind TA­MER U, the ancient name of Egypt, meaning the land of floods, an allusion to the flooding of the country by the Nile. The Egyptian TA becomes TUWA in the Quran when Moses perceived fire in a distant bush and made for it to bring it for his family but on reaching near it he was accosted by God “Verily I am thy Lord; Therefore put off thy shoes, thou art in the sacred valley TUWA” (Quran 20:12). The mountain is also known as Tur Sinin, meaning the mountain of the Sin people. The Bible also speaks of the wilderness of Sin which lies between Elim and Sinai (Exodus 16:1).

Sin means moon in South Arabia. The region produced many famous kings whose names bore the word Sin as suffix and prefix, such as Naram Sin (ca. 2171 BC), Abi-Sin, Darad-Sin, Sin-Moblat, etc.

The People who bore this name had settled around Tur, that is Mount Sinai and that is why the Tuwa valley came to be known as Tur Sinin. This word, Tur Sinin, when translated into ancient Egyptian language becomes TA SIN which is the exact copy of the Chinese TA TSIN, the name given to Arabia by the Chinese. The variation of TA TSIN is CHEN TOU which in course of time changed into Sind. Whether it is TA TSIN or CHEN TOU, meaning is the same, that is, the Land of the people who are called Sin (moon). This word Sind was the name of the country which became Hind and Hindu after further transformation. The Sanskrit word INDU, meaning moon is the remnant of that past. It also explains why some Hindu dynasties take a pride in being called the descendants of moon (Chandra Vanshi). It is also possible the land was the country of the moon-worshippers. The people of Sind had trade and commercial relations with the Fertile Crescent and the people of Arabia always thought of them as the descendants of the people who had settled in Hadramawt, Saba, Maen and Qataban in South Arabia. As such, Nadvi pleads, the Indus Valley seals may be deciphered through the Sabaean script.[5]

Despite the best scholarly efforts by Dr. S. R. Rao and other Indian experts, the theory that the Indus Valley civilization was post-Rigvedic and that it was not destroyed by the invading Aryans has not found favour with the intellectual world even after a lapse of a quarter of a century since Dr. Rao presented his views. Even if the view about the absence of horse in the Indus Valley culture is admitted as untenable as H. D. Sankalia wants us to admit there are certain facts which speak for themselves, such as the Rigvedic hymn to 'dawn', whose splendour and long duration made Aurobindo and Bal Gangadhar Tilak exclaim that the Aryans might have witnessed it in some distant past. That indicates that the Aryans were not indigenous people and they too had entered India like so many other immigrants.

Sankalia has further asserted that it is doubtful if it is possible to ride through the Bolan or the Khyber passes in a Chariot even now and then, 3600 years ago. Of course, it is not possible and yet the Kushans and the Huns invaded India through these passes. Alexander the Great, or Mehmood Ghaznavi, Shihabuddin Ghori and their armies, all came through these passes. The Aryans were fully equipped with the most formidable weapon of their times-the horse. It was introduced by the Hyksos some eighteen centuries before Christ, first into Syria and from there into Egypt. The presence of horse in the army had a terrifying effect on the people. But that the horse was domesticated by the Harappans is doubtful despite claims to the contrary. Evidence of the horse comes from a superficial level of Mohen-Jo-Daro and from a doubtful terra cotta figurine from Lothal. The remains of the horse have been reported from Surkotada situated on the west coast of Gujarat and belong to around 2000 BC but the identity is doubtful. In any case it is clear that this animal was not in regular use in Harappan times. Being mainly an agricultural community, the Harappans domesticated cows, oxen, buffalos, goats, sheep and pigs. Elephants and even rhinoceros were also known to the Harappans.

The most important question that has been dogging the historians and archaeologists alike is what was the racial origin of the Hatappans. Two scholars, Kennedy and Lukacs addressed the problem by using a novel method. They studied at least 300 skeletons in order to find out the evidence of 'stress' in the hard tissues of bone and teeth. 'Stress' is a medical term for the body's response to a wide variety of causes, parasites and psychological pressures.

The most important conclusion of Kennedy's study is that the Harappan population was not derived from peninsular India, nor does it reveal sudden changes of population in the Indus plain. There has been a reduction of tooth size during the last 5000 years in Asia. Smallest teeth are seen in the north and north-west of the sub-continent, larger in west and central Deccan and largest in south-east Asia and Sri Lanka. This is attributed to higher technology, including food production and preparation. Hence an important conclusion- the Harappans were a relatively stable population in north-west India for several millennia.

The other scholar, Dr. John Lukacs after making a comparative study of the Inam Gaon skeletons, presumably of the same era, concluded that the Harappans had soft and easily masticated food and hence suffered more from alveolar resorption that is periodental disease while dental caries (decay) and ante-mortem tooth loss occur with equal frequency. All these diseases are a characteristic of a sedentary agricultural population whereas hunting communities suffer most from dental abscesses. [6]

The skeletal and dental study made it very clear that the Harappan population was not derived from peninsular India. It also helps to reject the theory that the Harappans were Dravidians as has been inferred by some scholars on the basis of a skull of a Dravidian type, found in central Asia in strata of third millennium BC or the presence of a Brahui-speaking people-which is wrongly supposed to be a Dravidian language-in the north-west As a matter of fact, language has nothing to do with the environment the people live in.

Recent excavations at Moti Kuran, a village about 70 km from Khadir in the Kutch district of Gujarat, have brought to light the elusive continuum Indus Valley scholars have been looking for. Archaeologists have stumbled upon graves which are known as cists, cairns circle or simply circle with human shapes on them and were similar to those found in West Asia. Such graves were also found in Dholavira earlier and other parts of India right up to the country's southern tip. One of the graves in Moti Kuran had a skeleton in a sitting posture which led to the speculation that the place was developed at a later stage, because, as the experts say, burying in a sitting posture is a later concept and only those who were involved in religious activities were normally buried in a sitting posture. [7]

While the discovery of a skeleton in a sitting posture provides a good point for further research, one thing is certain that the Indus Valley people were not Aryans because the Aryans never buried their dead, they were cremated. The discovery of the missing link, that is, the graves, further proves a cultural link between the Indus Valley Civilization and West Asia.

Whoever they be, the Harappans had strong cultural relations with West Asia, as is evident from the discoveries made in the region. Human societies have always tried to reproduce their parent culture, often enriching and enlarging it during the process, which, on the one hand, keeps alive the memory of one's cultural moorings [8] and, on the other, introduces new responses to new challenges. In the case of the Indus Valley Civilization, the unique feature is the Great Bath which is found in Mohen-Jo-Daro. The Bath is rectangular about 23 x 39 feet and 8 feet deep. At each end a flight of steps leads to the bottom of the tank. The Bath is surrounded by a lofty building which has many rooms and several stories. The bricks are very well-laid with a water­proof inter-mediate layer of pitch in the tank wall. There is a well in a room adjoining the courtyard. The remaining rooms have doors that do not face each other. The whole complex was built near a 10-metre high mud-brick platform. But there are certain aspects of the Indus Valley civilization which have so far defied the imagination of both the historian and the archaeologist. For instance, what purpose did the Great Bath serve? This question becomes all the more relevant especially when one finds excellent bath-rooms and good wells in every house. Then there is another aspect. Why a mud-brick platform as high as 10 ­metre was built? We can not call it a citadel or fortress as it is simply a mound bereft of any military pretensions. Secondly, the way the Harappans lived their life did not necessitate any military or defence installations. They were a peaceful population engaged in agriculture or commerce and trade.

As we have already observed, the Indus Valley civilization had strong cultural affinity with the West Asian countries and the lofty mud-brick mound in Mohen-Jo-Daro recalls to mind the Assyrian Ziggurat (high place) having seven stories, each assigned to the sun, the moon and the five planets known till then. The Assyrian Ziggurat was a sort of an observatory meant for the study of planets and their movements in the sky. Does it mean that the Indus mound was also an observatory? By all accounts the answer seems to be in the affirmative.

Then there is the mystery of the Great Bath. It is generally held that the Great Bath served ritual bathing. Dr. D. D. Kosambi thinks that the Great Bath was associated with the fertility cult. “It was part of the ritual for men not only to bathe in the sacred water but also to co­habit with the female attendant representatives of the mother-goddess whom the citadel complex belonged. This is not far fetched. The temples of Ishtar in Sumer and Babylon had similar practices in which girls of the leading families had also to participate. The goddess Ishtar was herself eternal virgin and harlot at the same time, mother-goddess but not wife to any god. She was also the goddess of the river”. [9]

The observation of Dr. Kosambi seems to be quite plausible.

In Harappa numerous terracotta figurines of women have been unearthed. In one figurine plant is shown growing out of the embryo of a woman. It means the earth was looked upon as a fertility goddess, because the image with a plant emerging from the embryo represents earth. It seems the people of the Indus Valley like the Egyptians worshipped the mother earth. In Egypt it was called Isis but in the Indus valley we do not know the name nor we have an idea whether theirs was a matriarchal society. It took a long time for Hinduism to develop the worship of the earth goddess although some Vedic texts do show some reverence to it which is not very prominent. Only from the sixth century AC do we come across various mother-goddesses such as Durga, Amba, Kali, Chandi, etc. in the Puranas and in the Tantric literature.

The fertility cult in Sumer and Babylon found expression in sacred prostitution. Women devotees sacrificed their honour and men their virility and served in the temple of Ishtar as self-made eunuchs. [10] In India the sacred harlotry still survives in the institution of Deva Dasis. The other cultural heritage of the Indus valley Civilization seems to be the sacred ponds which are generally built near the places of pilgrimage (Tirtha). The idea of sacred ponds which are now called Pushkara must have been borrowed from the Great Bath.

But the most important seal that deserves special attention but has been given scant regard is the one that depicts a three-faced image in a sitting posture of a yogi, crowned with two horns and surrounded by an elephant, a tiger and a rhinoceros. It has a buffalo below his throne and two deer, at his feet. Epigraphists and archaeologists, because of their preconceived notions, dismissed the image as a proto-type of later Siva, lord of beasts (Pashupati). The presence of numerous stone symbols for the male and female sex organs in Harappa and Mohen-­Jo-Daro has further reinforced the idea. But archaeologists conveniently forget that the introduction of Siva in the Hindu pantheon is a pretty late development; Vishnu and Siva were the deities of growing ascendancy towards the close of the Brahmanical Age, that is, before sixth century BC which is considered to be the beginning of the Buddhist Age.[11] Perhaps it was because of this fact that some archaeologists, with a view to investing the idea with some semblance of antiquity used the word Rudra, instead of Siva when they came across the same image while excavating in Daim Abad in Maharashtra. But Rudra, the storm-deity of the Vedic Age (from the earliest Aryan migrations to about 800 or 700 BC) was never depicted with horns. Similarly the Trinity composed of Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Siva, the Destroyer seems to be equally late development in the Hindu pantheon. And this unity was created in order to bring to an end the internecine war between the Savites and the Vaishnavites. This unity was further reinforced by the addition of Brahma, thus forming a Trinity. A rock carving at Elephanta which depicts the Supreme God with three heads illustrates this Trinity. But the Trinity is also without horns. It means the horned Trinity was a foreign idea sown in the Indian soil. The pertinent question is whom does the horned three-faced image, found on the Harappan seal, represent?

We have already witnessed that the Indus Valley Civilization had its cultural moorings in West Asia and it should be put on record that there were many Yemenite rulers whose names bore the word dhu, which means 'two' in Arabic, such as, Dhu Nuwas who was the last Himyarite king. Thus the image with two horns on the Harappan seal after translation in Arabic will be Dhul Qarnayn, that is the Lord of the two horns. The Arabic word Qarn (in singular) has many references. It may mean (1) a horn in the literal sense; (2) metaphorically, horns of a kingdom, that is, two portions at opposite ends, or (3) an Epoch, an Age or generation, referring to the power and influence, extending far beyond his lifetime.

The Holy Quran has mentioned about Dhul Qarnayn who had great power and great were his opportunities; he was a monotheist; he traversed the earth, first towards the west 'reaching the setting of the sun', then towards the east, coming to 'the rising of the sun'. During his journey, he came across a people who were constantly threatened by Gog and Magog. So he erected an iron barrier between them. [12]

Some scholars identified him with the Greek conqueror, Alexander, the Great. This view was made popular by the Persian poet Jami (1141­-1203 AD) into his epic Iskandar-Nama. Another Persian poet Nizami has also dwelt upon the story of Dhul Qarnayn and the poet takes the hero, Alexander, to the shores of the Atlantic. This view, that is Alexander being Dhul Qarnayn was also shared and discussed in detail by Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his translation of the Holy Quran.

There is another view which identifies Dhul Qarnayn with the Persian king, Cyrus II, variously called as Khorus (in Hebrew), Cyrus (in Greek), Gorush and Kai Arsh (in Persian) and Kai Khusro (in Arabic). This view was presented by no less a person than Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his Tarjuman-ul-Quran and followed with some reservations by Maulana Hifzur Rehman. [13] The reservations are mainly about the identification of Gog and Magog. Cyrus II attacked and destroyed Babylon in 538 BC. Its ruler Belshazzar who is known in history as the one who had witnessed the writing on the wall was killed and the Jews who were brought as prisoners from Jerusalem and held in captivity in Babylon by Belshazzar's father, Nebuchad-nazzar were released from bondage and allowed to return to Jerusalem and re-build the Temple of Solomon there by Cyrus II. Since Cyrus II was the deliverer of the Jews, they called him Dhul Qarnayn. [14] This title is understood to have become very popular among the Persians and after the death of Cyrus II, his image was carved with two horns signifying his victories in the west and the east (Persia and Media) along with an eagle on the head, a symbol purportedly used for Cyrus by Isaiah in his Book. [15] This carved image of Cyrus II has been discovered in Persepolis (Arabic, Istakhr) with two horns and an eagle carved on the head.

There is yet another view that confers this title upon a Yemenite ruler who is believed to belong to the Himyarite tribe. There were four Yemeni kingdoms, namely, the Minaean, the Sabaean (Biblical Sheba) Hadramawtians and Qatabanians, and the Himyarite. No one knows for sure when these kingdoms were founded because the ancient texts translated by different specialists have given different details which are sometimes at variance with each other. For instance, the name of Bilqees, the Queen of Sheba, reputed to have visited king Solomon does not figure in the extant records of Yemeni rulers. The Himyarite rulers had assumed the royal title of Tubb'a which has survived in the Islamic literature. The best known among these rulers was one Shammar Yer'ash who is reputed to have gone as far as Samarqand and destroyed the city. It was because of destruction by him that the city got its name (Shammar-Kund). The Arab historian, al-Masudi mentions that a Himyarite king Dhul Edhar raided the Maghreb and compelled the region into submission. Another prominent name among the Himyarite kings was Abu-Karib As'ad Kamil or Abi-Kariba As'ad who is said to have conquered Persia and who later embraced the Jewish faith. Ibn Athir and al-Masudi hold that Abu Karib was the nomenclature (Kuniyat) of Shammar Yer'ash. He was the last Tubb'a; he attacked Mesopotamia, Persia and Khorasan and destroyed Sughd (Sogdiana) across the river Jayhun (Oxus or modern Amu Darya). The Persians, as we have already said, described it as Shammar-Kund. He is said to have twice invaded Persia and also raided China. He is reported to have died during his expedition against China. He was converted to Judaism at the instance of Banu Quraiza tribe who were also Jews and Judaism was the only monotheistic religion in those days. Ibn Athir places his reign around 850 BC. But Abul Fida (1273-1331 AC) another great historian, gives somewhat a different version. According to him the name of the first Tubb'a was Harith Raish; he was followed by his son, S'ab. This S'ab was Dhul Qarnayn. [16]

There is an interval of five generations between S'ab, the Dhul Qarnayn and the Queen of Sheba (Bilqees) who was contemporary with Solomon, the king of Israel. This was around 1000 BC. If this date is admitted, the period of Dhul Qarnayn is likely to be around 800 BC.

Some scholars identify Shammar Yer'ash with Dhul Qarnayn but an inscription found in Yemen in the second or third century Hijri does not corroborate this claim. The inscription states, "hadha ma bina Shammar Yer'ash Sayyeda-t as-Shams", [17] 'This (temple) was constructed by Shammar Yer'ash in honour of the sun-goddess'. It seems the people of Yemen after a brief indulgence with monotheism relapsed into their old faith. Even the Queen of Sheba, we are told, was not a monotheist when she met king Solomon and embraced his faith only when she was convinced of his righteousness. [18] It is more than likely that Dhul Qarnayn, because of his expeditions far and wide and service to humanity commanded respect and love of the people and was deified by them along with other deities.

The religion of South Arabia was in essence an astral trinity in which the moon-god was the supreme deity [19] with sun (Shams) as his wife and venus ('Athtar, corresponding to the Babylonian goddess, Ishtar, Phoenician, Ashtart) their son, forming the triad. In course of time this astral trinity received further boost by the addition of two horns symbolizing Dhul Qarnayn's expeditions in the west and the east.

It is not improbable that the mysterious personage with three faces and two horns found on the Indus valley seal was an imported idea from the South Arabian kingdom of Saba, so blatantly called Pashupati by John Marshall (1931, plate VII, 4) without sparing a moment's thought to the Hindu mythology that Siva is never shown with horns. Similarly, the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva was also an imported idea and symbolized the astral triad of Saba. The same mysterious horned figure with three faces has also been found in Daim Abad in Maharashtra. The only difference with the figure is that the personage is shown in a large war chariot with solid wheels drawn by a pair of horses. The Daim Abad bronze has all the animals except the tiger. It means that the Daim Abad bronzes were not contemporary with the Harappan and Mohen-Jo-Daro seals. M. K. Dhavalikar, an archaeologist associated with the excavation at Daim Abad, has this much to say, “It is tempting to identify the person in the chariot as Pasupati, The Lord of Beasts” for the simple reason that all the animals, save the tiger which appear on the famous Pasupati seal from Mohen-Jo Daro are present in the Daim Abad hoard. Marshall's identification of Pasupati on the seal was based on comparison with medieval representation of Siva (Marshall, 1931: 1, 52-56; plate VII, 4). Presently, however, one is not concerned with the identification and iconography of the figure. One can only conclude that the evidence discussed amply demonstrates that in all probability the bronzes in the hoard belong to the late Harappan period at Daimabad and that they were probably imported from Harappa or some smith from Harappa made them locally'. [20]

But the motif which had its origin in ancient Saba continued to wield its sway over Indian iconography but, of course, without the symbolic horns. Thus we find it at Aihole, attributed to Brahma during the rule of the Chalukya dynasty (550-757 AC). Interestingly, the Chalukyas claimed their descent either from Brahma or Manu or Moon. Should we say, they came from Saba, the moon-worshippers? The three-headed image is now at the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai. Another three-headed image is found at Madugular in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It was also attributed to Brahma and belonged to the period of the ruling Pallava dynasty (4th century AC to 740 AC). We have already mentioned about the rock carving at Elephanta. But the Sabaean motif, shorn of its mystic symbolism has assumed strange dimensions. For instance there is a carved head of Vishnu as Vaikuntha with a lion face and a boar face on either side depicting quite a new symbolism. The image belongs to the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty (8th century AC) and is now at the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai. Then there is a mutilated bust of a female divinity, with three heads in Gahadavala style (11th century). The bust is presently at the National Museum, New Delhi. These different manifestations of the mysterious personage of the Indus seal, no wonder, prompted John Marshall to resemble it with Siva.

But John Marshall is not all alone in the field of cultural ethno-centrism. There are others who refuse outright to acknowledge the simple fact of life that human societies in order to develop fully borrow from and lend to other human groupings - a process called acculturation. These champions of the Theory of Cultural Continuity insist that whatever there was in the Indus Valley civilization remained intact in the post-Indus civilization in the subcontinent. Thus Iravatham Mahadevan, an epigraphist, pleads in his article, 'Terminal Ideograms in the Indus script' that the Indus Valley civilization be treated as an extension of the Rigvedic culture as the finds in the Indus Valley includes Pasupati, phallic stones, serpent, etc, which are the hall-mark of the Rigvedic culture. Mahadevan also makes some very interesting observations about the Indus script. He says: 'Sign sequences in the Indus script are unique, bearing no relation to any of the West Asian script.'

(i) The Indus script is not related to the Sumerian or any other West Asian language.

(ii) The Indus script is not related to the latter Indian scripts, namely the Brahmi and Khorashti.

(iii) The Indus script is not related to the Indo-Europeon family of languages as there is no evidence for pre-fixing or inflectional endings in the Indus script.

An analytical study of the concordances is that none of the published claims of decipherment of the Indus script is valid. [21]

(iv) The most common supposition that the frequent terminal signs of the Indus script represent grammatical suffixes, especially case endings has not been confirmed by the concordances. A careful study of the concordances show that the most frequent terminal signs are too closely related to their antecedent signs and sign groups with which they occur in terminal positions in all contexts, to be variable case endings. The relationship appears to be semantic rather than grammatical.

The typology of the Harappan language resembles the Dravidian language. [22]

The conclusions that Mahadevan arrived at are not new; his whole mental exercise was undertaken with a view to endorsing a previous exercise underwent on similar lines in 1969/70 by the Finnish and Russian scholars who had also identified with the help of computers the language of the Indus script as proto-Dravidian. The Finnish and Russian scholars knew that the Brahui language in the north-west contained many words of Dravidian languages. As such one may very well guess as to what type of data they had fed into the computers.

Mahadevan has done the same; his conclusion that the typology of the Harappan language resembles the Dravidian language was pre­conceived. His exercise about the relation of the terminal signs with their antecedents had nothing to do with the Indus script; rather he was unconsciously interpreting the technicalities of some Dravidian language which is now in vogue. Besides this, he seems to have been pre-occupied with intentionally establishing a rapport between the Indus script and the Rigvedic culture. Instead of going into the details of this aspect, one instance will suffice. The sign 'U' is interpreted as 'jar' by Mahadevan and then he brings into focus all sorts of details from Rig­veda as to how the jars were used for preserving the ashes of the dead, forgetting the historical fact that the ancient Aryans had learned this ritual from the New Stone Age man. While doing so he is oblivious of the point at issue that he was dealing with the script of a language and not the history of a ritual. The sign of jar is believed to be very much in the Indian tradition according to which the ruling class, the princes and the priests were born from a jar. The jar-born elite is a very famous old Indian symbolism starting all the way from the Rigveda, where Agastya and Vashishta are supposed to have been born out of jars. The major rishis are believed to have been jar-born. The sign of jar is supposed to be a terminal sign in the Indus script. That it was a vessel with handles was first suggested by Hunter. B. B. Lal finds its variants at Kalibangan and its symbolism, according to Mahadevan, is very much near the Indian tradition. But as regards the sign of jar, Mahadevan seems self-contradictory.

As we have already noted (point no. IV), Mahadevan holds the view that the frequent terminal signs of the Indus script do not represent grammatical suffixes. This was his position in 1977 but in 1998, that is just 21 years later, Mahadevan takes quite a different position. In an interview on 17th January, 1998 with a Site Producer, he says that 'through the pathway of Indian mythology I arrive at the conclusion that the jar sign represented the ruling elite of the Indus Valley Civilization. But within the Indus script itself it might have performed the function of a grammatical suffix. It could have been a nominal suffix, used only by the elite. [23]

The sign of jar U, is a Semitic (6th Hebrew) letter vau with the sound value of W or U. If the jar is put upside down ‘n’, it becomes B of South Arabic, that is Minaeo-Sabaean (also called Himyarite) and in Phoenician script, the letter B takes the shape of 9. At this juncture it is worthwhile to know the views of Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani, an authority on archaeology and architecture. When asked about the theory whether the Indus language was a Dravidian language, Dr. Dani said that the Indus language 'is an agglutinative language, there is no doubt. That has been accepted by all of us. Dravidian is an agglutinative language. But at the same time Altaic is an agglutinative language and certainly we know that there was a connection between Turkmenistan (in Central Asia) and this region. Turkmenistan is a region where Altaic languages are spoken. Even in the pre-Indus period, we have a connection. In what we call the Kot Diji period, we have a connection between Indus Civilization and excavations in Turkmenistan.

So if we insist on an agglutinative language being used in the Indus period why not connect it with Altaic, rather than just with Dravidian? Why not connect it with Sumerian, which is also an agglutinative language? In fact, I found that Korean is an agglutinative language, which I did not know before. Just because of agglutinative language, it is not necessary that it is connected with Dravidian. But unfortunately, our history has been so written in the time of the British that earlier we tried to trace our history from the Aryans, and we thought that before the Aryans were Dravidians, that was the idea. So when the Indus Civilization was discovered, it was thought that if it is not Aryan, it must be Dravidian, that was the general assumption. But it is not necessary.... Whatever we know of the Aryans, from the literary record, in the Rigveda, the earliest book or the first nine books of the Rigveda, does not speak at all of any urban life. They speak of only rural life, villages, and as the Indus Civilization is an urban Civilization, therefore, to talk of any Aryan association with the urban "­life seems to me rather unthinkable. If you read the entire book of Rigveda you will find it is totally rural life, not nomadic, they were agricultural, no doubt, living in small villages. At the same time, they had no concept of irrigation, they had no use of dams on the rivers, in fact their god, Indra is the destroyer of the dams. Hence the type of agriculture and the type of urban life the Indus Civilization people built up was beyond the conception of the Aryans or even the earlier Aryans.

'This is very important from our angle. If at all, in the Aryan book, the earliest book whatever we know of it today, whatever we have been able to gather from other Aryan languages, not just Sanskrit, from old Iranian, there is nothing of urbanity, nothing of irrigation, nothing called building the dams. All these three are basic factors in the development of the Indus Civilization'. [24]

Dr. Rao, on the contrary, gives a list of 70 roots which are common to the Indus and Indo-European languages but 'there appears to be no sign for palatals and cerebrals'. This observation of Dr. Rao compels one to think that he tried to decipher the Indus script on the basis of Sanskrit which has palatals as well as cerebrals, which are not found in the Indus script. It is really interesting that both Mahadevan and Rao want the Indus language to be included in the inventory of Indo-­Aryan languages for not possessing the characteristics of the latter. As we have already noted, the Indus script, according to Rao, retained all the three laryngeals whereas the old Indo-Aryan retained only one laryngeal. One wonders whether this retentiveness entitles a language for inclusion in the Indo-Aryan stock.

The problem with the Indian scholars is that they live in the world of their own imaginings and judge the affairs of the world in the semi-light of their ideas which are mostly faulty. The Indus Valley script is a case in point. The people of the Indus Valley have given ample evidence of their culture and history but instead of judging them in the light of that evidence, scholars have recourse to post-Indus culture in India and draw inferences. One of the finds in the Indus Valley is a bronze statuette of a naked dancer in repose. The figurine, 5th inches tall, now in the National Museum, New Delhi, represents a Negroid type. Indians do not have such features nor such hair. That the Indus Valley had cultural and trade relations with South Arabia and north-east Africa is further proved by this find.

One important aspect of the cultural bonhomie between South Arabia and north Africa was that people from al-Yemen and Hadramawt had established many colonies which ultimately paved the way for the Abyssinian kingdom and civilization 'which the native Negroes could probably never have achieved'. [25] If Josephus (died circa AC 95) is to be believed, the Queen of Sheba who had met king Solomon was the Abyssinian queen. That the rulers of Abyssinia take a pride in calling themselves the descendants of Queen Bilqees who is known as the Queen Makada in their language is not without reason.

The bronze figurine of a naked dancer, found at Mohen-Jo-Daro, clearly indicates its origin. The other surviving trace of the Indus Valley civilization is the Great Bath. Ever since its discovery, it has puzzled the scholars, some of whom have come out with fantastic ideas, such as the one we have already noted. It is quite possible that the later Hindus borrowed the idea of Pushkara or sacred pond from the Indus Valley civilization but the real purpose of the Great Bath seems to be quite different.

The fact that no temple was found in the Indus Valley Civilization suggests that they were practical people, the concept of other­worldliness, if not unfamiliar, was secondary to them and their attitude towards life was more utilitarian than anything else. The small terracotta figurines, found in abundance in the Indus Valley may at best be described as objects meant for some religious rituals. The Great Bath at Mohen-Jo-Daro, with its size and the way of its construction recalls to mind the Great Ma'rib dam, Sadd Ma'rib, built by Luqman bin 'Ad, a legendary king of Yemen, probably around 1700 BC. It had thirty sluices to regulate the flow of water. It was constructed some six thousand feet above the Red Sea. Vast weirs were scissored out of the volcanic mountain, thus channelizing the flash flood water for irrigation. It is simply unbelievable that such a great feat of engineering and technical skill could take place in remote antiquity. But the dam is there with its mighty ruins, some sixty miles east of Sana, the present­ day capital of Yemen.

The Great Bath at Mohen-Jo-Daro was constructed for the same purpose. The region of Sind has been receiving scanty rainfall since time immemorial. The Indus river passes through this region which must have certainly given the idea of water harvesting. The confusion arose because Marshall used the word 'Bath' instead of reservoir and because of the flight of steps leading to the bottom of the tank it was but natural on his part to conclude on those lines. It seems the Indus people depended mainly on dam irrigation instead of river canal irrigation. This was the safest way for agriculture as rivers generally change their course and the Indus river has certainly changed its course during the last two millennia. The last time that it changed its course was in 1819 when the area was rocked by earthquake.

There is another feature of the Indus Valley Civilization which has escaped notice of the archaeologists. Some of the richer houses in the Indus Valley have walls 7 feet thick, of well-burnt bricks, suggesting that the houses rose to several stories. This is exactly what one comes across in Yemen, where houses were built on rocky surface with stair­ shaped construction. Such houses were called Modarajat. The main consideration for building such houses was that the people wanted to utilize every drop of valuable rain water. Thus the geographical conditions dictated the pattern of construction in Yemen which is a country of majestic mountains, mysterious desert dunes and flat plains. The geographical conditions prescribed more or less the same pattern of construction in the Indus Valley, the 7 feet thick wall of houses in the Indus Valley is, as it were, the Parallel of the Yemenite Modarajat.

The thickness of wall, on the one hand, provided firmness to the unstable sandy base, and on the other, made possible the construction of several upper stories. Thus the thick walls of houses in the Indus Valley performed the same function which the mountainous bases did in Yemen. These walls are oriented north-south, as in Egypt. Traces of city walls were not found. That indicates relative security of the people.

The parallels between the cultures of the Indus Valley and South Arabia are so conspicuous that the former may be described as the off­shoot of the latter. Moreover there are certain legends which speak of the invasion of some Himyarite king against Gandhara in Broach in Gujarat. We are told that when Hisham bin 'Amru al-Tughlabi, an army general of the second Abbasid Caliph, al-Mansoor (754-75 AC), invaded Gandhara in 769 AC/ 151 AH, he came across an iron pillar which was 100 arms' long. He was told by the local people that the pillar was erected to commemorate the victory of a Himyarite Tubb'a over Gandhara. The Yemenites believed that a couplet of the Tubb'a pointed to the same event. Hisham was also told that the Persian soldiers of the Tubb'a broke their swords, melted them and made the iron pillar.

Al-Beiruni (Abu Raihan al-Beiruni) does not believe the story and dismissed it as a myth. It is not proper to say something categorical or pass any judgment about the hoary past. The story, shorn of its rhetoric, does tell us about the invasion of some Yemenite king. Was it Dhul Qarnayn? May be it was; maybe it was not! But the story does suggest that the event took place in Iron Age (1200 BC-600 AC). The Holy Quran also places the event of Dhul Qarnayn erecting an iron barrier against the barbarian tribes of Gog and Magog in the Iron Age. This proposition must come in handy to those Indian scholars who are hell-bent upon proving that the Indus Valley civilization is post-Rigvedic provided they accept that the three-faced horned figure, found at Mohen-Jo-Daro and nick-named Pashupati, symbolizes the expeditions of Dhul Qarnayn in three directions, west, east and north.

The story of Dhul Qarnayn as having been unfolded in the Iron Age would certainly upset those scholars who had confined the Indus Valley culture to the Bronze Age (4000 BC to 6000 BC) only. But, as we have already noted, there were, at least, four stages of development, of which the phase at Mohen-Jo-Daro and Harappa was the most advanced, the second in time sequence and the most important. This was also the period of development of metallurgical art as well as of a system of weights and measures. The system depended on numerous articles which showed that in weighing mostly 16 or its multiples were used, for instance, 16, 64, 160, 320, and 640. Interestingly the tradition of 16 continued in India till the sixties and 16 annas made one rupee.

As far as the system of writing is concerned, it seems to have been read from right to left like other Semitic scripts. We have discussed in preceding pages the views of almost all the scholars except Nadvi who were associated somehow or other with the research work on the Indus Valley Culture. Maulana Abu Jalal Nadvi struck a right chord when he suggested some sort of a relation between the Indus and the Sabaean scripts. But it seemed Nadvi did not follow the Sabaean script faithfully while deciphering the Indus script. For instance, the letter H (Arabic Hie Havvaz) takes this shape* in Sabaean**, but Nadvi follows the ideograph which is***, in fact, the Ugaritic or Ra's al-Shamrah letter H. Similarly, the letter T (Arabic Toay) is in Sabaean**** but Nadvi reads this shape as T (*****) which is certainly not Sabaean although all these scripts stem from the same root. However credit should be given to Nadvi for breaking a new ground and introducing a new line of research on the subject. However the present writer wants to suggest that the projects dealing with the decipherment of the Indus script should also include the Ehiopic script as the latter had linguistic affinity with the Sabaean.

We have already noted that the ramifications of the Indus Valley civilization were found in as far north as Kashmir and as far south as Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Indus seals have been discovered in Bahrain also. The Indian archaeologists, especially marine archaeologists have done a commendable job in tracing Dwarka, the legendary city of Krishna, which has also yielded a wealth of information about the Indus Valley civilization. While surface exploration yielded pottery of the Harappan period, the marine archaeologists of the National Institute of Oceanography, led by Dr. S. R. Rao, brought up from the bosom of the sea, shells and seals, conch and a bell, representing animal motifs, particularly unicorn which is very conspicuous on the Indus seals. The shells tell a tale. The under-water expedition of Dr. Rao for the search of the legendary city continued from June, 1981 to 1988. Dr. Rao came across the fortifications and bastions of the 15th-17th century BC, an arm of a large stone jetty and perforated stone anchors of the proto-historic period lying 8 metres deep in water and structures of the proto-historic and early historic periods, that is, from 1st to 8th centuries AC. A large round plant of silver alloy pottery and lumps of what looks like bitumen, used for either water-tightening the wooden boats or for sealing cargo, has also been recovered. It may be noted that bitumen was also used in Harappa and Mohen-Jo-Daro.

Among the antiquities recovered from the early historical levels, mention may be made of iron anchors of medium and large size.

The marine archaeological investigations in Dwarka have also yielded data of scientific value for study of sea level fluctuations in the Gulf of Kutch. Computing the levels of the in situ proto-historic structures and historic ones with the present high water line, the ancient sea level in 1400 BC can be said to be about 9.6 metres below the present level while in 100 AC it was about 6 metres below the present level. It means the rise in the sea level by four to six metres during the last 2400 years resulted in the submergence of the legendary city of Krishna. Digging beneath the alternate layers of sand and habitation deposits of two distinct periods, the archaeologists discovered evidence which suggested that the first township of Dwarka was destroyed most probably around 1500 BC. The City of Krishna was destroyed second time by about 900-1000 BC. Interestingly, the rise in the sea level did not confine to India alone. Instances of submergence in Bahrain and the Aegean Islands have also been reported. [26]

With the results of marine archaeological investigations at our disposal we are in a better and safer position to draw inferences about the Indus Valley civilization.

The first and foremost conclusion is that the Indus Valley and the legendary city of Krishna, Dwarka were culturally coterminous, rather the latter was a part and parcel of the former. It is quite possible that both the regions met the same fate at the same time, that is, submergence under the saline water of the sea as a result of the rise in its level. The sea-water receded in course of time from the region turning the Indus Valley and the adjoining areas of Rajasthan into desert but the City of Krishna sprang to life once again only to be submerged later for ever. Assignment of dates to such events would not be wise as they took place in an unknown past, although the radio carbon method dated the submerged finds to 1400 BC, which is generally supposed to be the period of the Mahabharata war.

The Parent culture, that is the Sabaean, got respite for some more centuries but before it met its doom, it left its indelible mark on the Mahabharata society. Strabo, the Roman geographer (died, 24 BC), tells us that in South Arabia polyandry of the type in which a number of brothers married the same wife prevailed. [27] The Indians borrowed this practice from the South Arabians and it is still found in some Himalayan regions where the ratio of the female population is by far less than the male population. The fraternal polyandry, so to say, is very much there in the Mansa region of the Indian Punjab. The villages in the Boha area of the region have families where even seven brothers share a single wife, the main reason being purely materialistic. Fraternal polyandry helps in preventing fragmentation of farm land. Publicly the woman is married to only one brother but within four walls of the house there is a mutual understanding among the brothers and they do not marry, thus the woman is a New Age Draupadi. Such marriages have found support among the Jat Sikh community which attaches great importance to preservation of land holdings and marriages are settled, keeping all these in mind [28]. Apart from this consideration, female foeticide may also be one of the reasons for having recouse to such marriages. Whatever be the reason, the origin of fraternal polyandry may be traced to South Arabia. It may be safely assumed that Semitic culture has played a more dominant role in weaving the social fabric of India than the Aryan culture which was, in fact, uncouth when it made its incursion into India. The Aryans were simple people, more accustomed to unsettled life, fired with wanderlust. The Mahabharata society, on the other hand, was sophisticated, impregnated with all sorts of evil that come with sophistication, waiting for the apocalypse.

The Sabaean culture, flourishing for a few more centuries, met the same fate which had already happened to its off-shoots.

The Sabaean were a peace loving people, mainly engaged in trade and commerce. They had monopolized the maritime trade of the Red Sea as well as developed the land routes between Yemen and Syria along the Western Coast of the Arabian Peninsula, leading through Mecca. Another route was developed from Syria to Egypt and Mesopotamia. The land route through Hijaz was dotted with stations. The Holy Quran has given graphic details of these stations. 'Between them and the cities on which We had poured Our blessings, We had placed cities in prominent positions, and between them We had appointed stages of journey in due proportion: 'Travel therein, secure, by night and by day'. (34:18). The Sabaean traded in frankincense and myrrh, oriental clothes, perfumes and spices. They charged heavily not only for their own products but also for the goods that passed through their hands.

Trade and commerce brought wealth and prosperity to the Sabaean as well as jealousy and competition from other nations in the neighbourhood, especially the Romans who had become the master of the world and now wanted to have a share in that prosperity. In the days of Pliny (1st century AC) the Romans had been paying exorbitant prices for the Indian goods to the South Arabian traders. A Greek sailor, Hippalus discovered in 70 AC the monsoon winds which greatly facilitated maritime trade. By the end of the first century BC the Roman sway was almost complete over the sea route and maritime trade but it seemed their ships had been making commercial forays into the Arabian Sea as early as 300 BC. Recent digging at the sleepy hamlet of Nani Ryan on the bank of the river, Rukmavati, 4 kms from the river's confluence with the Arabian Sea has brought to fore a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts-pottery, pieces of Roman period, amphora, an iron smelting foundry, and evidence of human settlement dating back to third century BC, contemporary of Sung-Kushana period. This is a very important find in Kutch after the Harappan sites.

The erosion in maritime trade brought in its wake a complete collapse in overland trade of the Sabaeans and Petra, Palmyra and north-western Mesopotamia, who were their partners in prosperity, one by one fell prey to the Roman power. But it seemed the Sabaeans made a last ditch effort to revive their trade relations and capture once again foreign emporia. We get this clue from the Holy Quran which says, 'But they said: 'Our Lord, place longer distances between our journey stages.' But they wronged themselves (therein)' (34:19). But their efforts did not seem to have been crowned with success. The circumstances were not in their favour. The Indus Valley had turned into a vast desert, the city of Krishna was no longer there and the Romans ensured that all the goods from India and Africa land at the Egyptian and Syrian ports instead of at the Red Sea ports of Yemen. This resulted in complete ruin of the South Arabian economy.

As if it was not enough, the final blow came in the catastrophe of the bursting of the great dam of Ma’rib, resulting in great floods which devastated the gardens and fields, the Yemenites were proud of. The Holy Quran describes the events as having been caused by seil al ‘arim that is flood released from dam. The flood waters converted the Garden of Arabia into a great waste. The luscious fruit trees gave place to wild plants with bitter fruits. (Quran 34:16). [29]

Some Muslim scholars place this event before the economic ruin of the Sabaeans. But this is not correct because before the final breach, the dyke was twice restored, first in AC 449-50 and second time in 543 AC by the Abyssinian, Abrahah. This Abrahah was the same person who had undertaken an unsuccessful expedition against the K'abah.

The incident is said to have taken place in the year of the birth of the Prophet Mohammad, that is about AC 571. As such the event of seil al 'arim must have occurred some time after 543 and before 571 AC.

And that is the story of Dhul Qarnayn, the Indus Valley civilization and the undying spirit of adventure of the Sabaeans, dead and gone for ever.

'At length We made them as a tale (that is told), and We dispersed them all in scattered fragments. Verily in this are signs for every (soul that is) patiently constant and grateful'. (Quran 34:19)


  1. H.D. Sankalia, book review on, 'Harappan Civilization' edited by Gregory Possehl (Oxford & IBH, Delhi) The Times of India, 06-02-1983.

  2. H.D. Sankalia, book review on, 'The Problem of Aryan Origin' by K.D. Sethna, The Times of India 13-09-1981.

  3. Chrestomathy: collection of choice passages specially to help in learning a language.

  4. Presidential address of Dr. S. R. Rao at the Indian Museum Calcutta on 16-01-1981, as reported by The Times of India, 18-01-1981.

  5. The views of Maulana Abu Jalal Nadvi, as expressed here, were culled from three articles published in March, 1958, October, 1958 and March, 1959 in Mah-e-Nau, an Urdu monthly, published from Karachi (Pakistan).

  6. John R. Lukacs, Article No. 28, 'Dental Diseases And Dietary Patterns and Subsistence at Harappa and Mohen-Jo-Daro'- Harappan Civilization edited by Gregory Possehl, pp. 301-5.

  7. The Times of India, Delhi, 15-02-2004.

  8. Thus there are two Tripolis. Similarly there were three Alexandrias. One was in the Kabul region which was later named Ghazni. The other was Alexandria Ara­Choton or present day Kandahar and the third one is still in Egypt.

  9. D.D. Kosambi, Ancient India (Vikas Publishing House. New Delhi, 1991), p. 68.

  10. Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria (McMillan, 1951), p. 118.

  11. Donald A. Mckenzie, Indian Myth And Legend (Reprint, 1971), p. no.

  12. Quran; 18: 83-110. The word Dhu (objective Dhi) means not only two but also 'possessed of, endowed with'. It conveys the same sense as the Hindustani usages, such as ghee-wala (the one having butter) or banatwala (clothes merchant).

  13. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his Tarjuman-ul-Quran (Urdu Vol. IV) pp. 393­542; Sahitya Academy Delhi; (1996). Hifz-ur-Rehman Sivharvi, Qasas-ul-Quran (Urdu) Vol. III (Delhi, 1993), pp. 147-237.

  14. It should be noted that ancient Persia had witnessed two kings bearing this name, Cyrus. Cyrus I died in 600 BC followed by his son, Cambyses I (Kai-Qubad in Persian) who ruled as a vassal of the Medes. He was succeeded by his son, Cyrus II in 559 BC.

  15. The Book of Isaiah, 46:9-11; the exact words are- 'calling a bird of prey from the east' (46:11). It is interesting to note that Maulana Hifz-ur-Rahman has given preference to the interpretation of Dhul Qarnayn by Maulana Azad but later in the same vein endorses the view of his mentor, Maulana Anwar Shah that Dhul Qarnayn was Semitic genealogically (Ibid., p. 233).

  16. Tubb'a Abu Karib says in one of his couplets: 'My grand-father, Dhul Qarnayn was a Moslem and a ruler of such great eminence that many other kings were under his tutelage and laid prostate before him'. Quoted from Qasas-uI-Quran, Vol. III, p. 126.

  17. Tarikh Hamza Isfahani (Calcutta) p. 110. Quoted by Maulana Hifz-ur-Rahman in Qasas-ul-Quran, Vol. ill, p. 314.

  18. Quran, 27:44

  19. The moon-god was known as Sin in Hadrimawt; as Wadd (love or lover, father) to the Minaeans, as Almaqah (the health-giver?) to the Sabaeans and as ‘Amm (paternal uncle) to the Qatabanians. (See Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 60).

  20. M.K. Dhavalikar, 'Daimabad Bronzes'-Harappan Civilization, pp. 365-6.

  21. Compare it with the observation of Dr. S. R. Rao who also claims to have deciphered the Indus script and contrary to the claim of Mahadevan gives a list of 70 roots common to Indus and Indo-European languages.

  22. Mahadevan article No. 29 'Terminal Ideograms in The Indus Script', pp. 311­-16; in Harappan Civilization, edited by Gregory Possehl. Mahadevan in his other work, 'The Indus script, Texts, Concordance and Tables' (1977) states in the preface that decipherment is beyond the scope of his work.

  23. Interview of Mahadevan by Omar Khan on 17-01-1998; Harappa Website.

  24. Interview of Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani by Omar Khan, Producer Harappa Website on 06-01-1998.

  25. Hitti, History of the Arabs, (1967), p. 56.

  26. The results of the marine archaeological investigations reported in these pages are based on the articles published in the Indian Express (19-01-1986), Times of India (08-01-1987 and 29-04-1988) and Midday, Delhi (25-03-1988).

  27. Quoted by Hitti, History of the Arabs (1967), p. 48.

  28. Times of India 18.07.2005

  29. The Times of India, 24-07-2003.
    It is difficult to imagine the loss of life and property caused by the dam burst more than 1500 years ago but one may have some idea of the devastation from a dam burst on 10th February, 2005 near Pasni in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. The 150-meter-long Shadi Kor dam burst swept people into the Arabian Sea. The death toll from floods and a week of torrential rain and avalanches rose to 350. Officials put the figures for missing persons between 1000 and 1500 in coastal villages. About 3000 troops and 1000 para-military forces backed by helicopters, coast-guard boats and C-130 transport planes ferried food, medicine and tents to Pasni and nearby villages close to the dam burst, some 800 km south of the provincial capital, Quetta. The event may also be described as seil al' arim on a lesser scale.

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S. Kalyanaraman said...


decoding indus script. k

BR said...

Fascinating theory.
Have you presented this anywhere or submitted it for academic review?

Alexjamesinfo at gmail . com said...

Please note that what you meant to say was Israelites and not Jews. The Quran differentiates between these two groups. Jews are Babylonians whereas Israelites are descendents of Jacob. Judaism is not the religion of the Israelites, Judaism is Babylonian Talmudism whereas Monotheism was the religion of the Israelites.

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