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No archaeological evidence to prove western invasion in the subcontinent: Experts

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Having set the tone for a discussion on the roots of Indian civilization, the seminar, “How deep are the roots of Indian civilization? An archaeological and historical perspective”, brought up some pertinent questions related to the subcontinent's past on Friday.

Day two of the seminar organised by Draupadi Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Archaeological Survey of India was marked by inputs from renowned archaeologists and scholars.

In the first session, Omilos Meleton Cultural Institute (Greece) director Prof. N. Kazanas spoke about the “Collapse of the Aryan invasion theory” based on linguistic evidence in the Rigveda supporting the indigenous nature of Indian civilization and genetic evidence that there was “no influx of new genes after 10000 B. C. in India”.

Prof. Kazanas' presentation was followed by Case Western Reserve University Anthropology professor Jim G. Shaffer, who spoke about the “Harappan diaspora”, explaining how the increase in population density of Haryana and eastern Punjab and decrease in population in Cholistan in the late Harappan period suggest a “displacement from Harappan civilization towards the east”. He also said there was no archaeological evidence to prove western invasion in the subcontinent.

Vedic scholar Dr. Bhagwan Singh spoke about “Rigvedic Harappans: Their roots and legacy”, calling it “incorrect…to hold Aryan-speaking branch to be the sole author of Indus-Sarasvati civilization”. According to him, there were three major cultural strains- Aryan, Dravidian and Mandari -- that cannot be classified into any one familial scheme.

Shah Abdul Latif University (Pakistan) Vice-Chancellor Nilofar Shaikh presented recent evidence found by the excavation of Lakahn-Jo- Daro site in Pakistan. The architectural evidence at the site suggests a strong linkage to the “mature Indus” civilization, in addition to some unique features like “I- shaped bricks”.

Ms. Shaikh's presentation was followed by Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda's professor of Archaeology V.H. Sonawane's paper on “The Harappan scenario in Gujarat”; Department of Archaeology and Museums (Raipur) advisor Dr. A.K. Sharma's paper on “The Harappan Horse - A study in comparative occurrence during Harappan & post Harappan times” and ASI (Nagpur)'s Dr. Nadini Sahu's presentation on “Excavations at the Early Harappan site of Bhirrana”.

The last session included presentations by ASI secretary general K.N. Dikshit on “The decline and legacy of Harappan civilization” and ASI joint director-general Dr. B.R. Mani titled “From Janas to Janapadas”. The day concluded with BHU professor Purushottam Singh who raised some important questions at the end of his presentation on “Early archaeology in the Gangetic Plains”.

Prof. Singh pointed out that the Ganga Valley civilization had no evidence of religion except burial grounds found in some places. He also questioned the absence of a “label” like the Aryans or Harappans for the people of this civilization, who had contributed significantly to the history of the subcontinent.

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