Bringing the Roots of Indian Civilization to Light

NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 26, 2010: The seminar “How deep are the roots of Indian civilization? An archaeological and historical perspective” was inaugurated by Ministry of Culture Secretary Jawahar Sircar on Thursday. It focuses on creating awareness in civil society about recent archaeological and historical researches, and also to promote understanding and relevance of Indian civilization in modern times.

Organised by Draupadi Trust in collaboration with knowledge partners Archaeological Survey of India and Indian Archaeological Society and hosted by the Vivekananda International Foundation, the three-day-long seminar will include presentations by renowned scholars and archaeologists from India and abroad.

Mr. Sircar stressed the importance of a “serious study on the subject of antiquity of Indian civilisation” and urged scholars to base their research on rational, not emotional basis.

Delivering the keynote address, former ASI Director-General Prof. B. B. Lal spoke about “postulates [that] have been distorting our vision of India’s past”. Among these is the belief that the Vedas are no older than 1200 B.C. and that Vedic people were nomads. Recent excavations at sites in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat and a fresh study of Vedic texts, he said, have proved that most of these postulates are “ill- founded.”

According to Prof. Lal, these excavations proved that the Rigveda is older than 2,000 BC and people of this civilisation were not nomads. Quashing the “Aryan invasion theory” he said that the Harappan civilisation did not become extinct, and C-14 dating procedures proved that Harappan and Vedic people were indigenous, not invaders or migrants.

Thursday’s session focussed on the life and practices of Harappan and Vedic civilisations, with presentations on scientific findings of the geographic identification and significance of Sapta Sindhu by California State University Professor Dr. Shiva Bajpai; the drainage system in north-west India with regard to river Saraswati by Central Arid Zone Research Institute’s Dr. J. R. Sharma and Indian Space Research Organisation scientist Dr. Bidyut Bhadra; among many other luminaries.

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