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Rigvedic people not Harappans, Naditama Saraswati is Helmand in Afghanistan: Rajesh Kochhar

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Proposed migration of Indo-Europeans into India. Photo: Wikipedia

By Nithin Sridhar

The Aryan Question: Part 3

The Aryan question has been hanging for many decades without any conclusion, but with a lot of controversies and politics being played around it. In the quest to bring out the various facets of the Aryan issue, NewsGram decided to interview various scholars who have extensively worked on unraveling the mystery of Aryan issue.

Professor Rajesh Kochhar
Professor Rajesh Kochhar

In this third instalment of ‘The Aryan Question’ series, NewsGram brings an exclusive interview with Professor Rajesh Kochhar of Panjab University Mathematics Department who has written the book The Vedic People, Their History and Geography’, highlighting various aspects of Aryan debate.

Interview with Rajesh Kochhar

Nithin Sridhar: For the benefit of the readers, I would like to start with the basics. Who were the ‘Aryans’? Is it a racial, or cultural, or linguistic identity? And what do the scholars actually imply when they speak about Aryan invasion or Aryan migration? Does it imply only a transfer of language or a migration of people along with their culture and religion?

Rajesh Kochhar: Linguistic and literary evidence provide us with very important clues. The closeness in grammar, vocabulary and phonetics between Sanskrit and major European languages (especially Greek and Latin) suggests that ancestors of their speakers must have lived together in the remote past. This joint Indo-European homeland has been placed in the Eurasian steppes. Furthermore, there is a remarkable degree of closeness between the Rigveda and the Zoroastrian sacred text Avesta, not only in language but also in mythology and religious concepts.

The peoples of the Rigveda and Avesta referred to themselves as Aryan. The 19th-century German scholarship used the term Aryan to denote the ‘race’ of Indo-European speakers. With the Nazi holocaust, the term fell into disrepute. It is considered more appropriate to use linguistic indicators. Thus, we talk about Indo-European speakers, of whom Indo-Iranians constituted a sub-group.

It is surmised that various linguistic groups dispersed from the homeland into Europe and southwards into Iran, Afghanistan and North India. Indic speakers moved into India after the collapse of the mature Harappan phase. Whether there was a migration or an invasion is a mere matter of detail. The key point is that the Rigvedic People were not Harrapans. Evidence suggests that decline of mature Harappan phase was brought about by environmental factors (like the long-drawn draught) than war.

Also Read: No evidence for warfare or invasion; Aryan migration too is a myth: B B Lal

NS: The date usually given for the migration of Aryan language speakers into India is around 1500 BC. Can you shed some light regarding how this date was arrived at and what are the important evidence that point towards this migration of Aryans into India?

RK: The date 1500 BC was suggested by Max Muller purely on the basis of guesswork, although it may not be too much off the mark. Archeological evidence, of course, cannot tell us about the language spoken by the inhabitants. But the appearance of new cultural elements suggests the arrival of new people. Indo-Iranian speakers appear on the Central Asian scene in about 2000 BC.

I have argued that the composition of Rigveda began in south Afghanistan in 1700 BC and the Rigvedic people entered India around 1400 BC.

A remarkable piece of evidence from Namazga VI in south Turkmenistan has a bearing on India. Namazga VI (c. 1700 BC) shows unmistakable signs of a break with the past and the arrival of new people. One pedestal from here was decorated by a swastika, an absolutely new motif in local symbolism. It was never found again in the entire rich collection of south Turkmenistan pottery. The solitary swastika seems to be a remnant of Indic-speaking tribes which moved further southwards.

NS: Please explain the process by which the migrating Aryans spread their language and culture on the natives of India. Especially considering that many migration proponents believe that only small waves of migrations happened into India over a long period of time. How did these people who came in small waves of migration manage to completely uproot the native Harappa culture and language and impose their own?

RK: When the Rigvedic people arrived in India, Harappan culture had already declined. There is an interesting piece of evidence suggesting assimilation. Sanskrit has retroflex sounds (such as ‘sh’ in Krishna). Retroflex is absent in European languages as well as in the Avestan and Old Persian. But it occurs in South Indian languages. It is surmised that retroflex was introduced into Sanskrit through the merger of the new groups with the older groups.

NS: What cultural and social differences can we notice between the migrating Aryan speakers and native Harappa people? Any information available regarding the fate of the native Harappans after the migration of Aryan people? What happened to them? Where did they go?

RK: Presence of Brahui speakers in Balochistan provides a clue. Brahui is related to the Dravidian family rather than Sanskrit. This would suggest that the majority of Dravidian speakers moved into South India after the arrival of Indic speakers.

Also Read: Vedic and Harappan are respectively literary and material facets of same civilization: B. B. Lal

NS: You have pointed in your book that, the Vedic literature speaks about two Saraswati’s- Naditama Saraswati and Vinashana Saraswati. You have further identified the former with Helmand River in Afghanistan and the latter with Ghaggar valley in Rajasthan. Can you elaborate on how you arrived at this conclusion?

RK: River Sarasvati is described in detail as a mighty river, in the old books (mandalas) of the Rigveda. It is noteworthy that rivers Sarasvati, Sarayu and the land Sapata-Sindhu appears in the Avesta in equivalent forms. It has been received wisdom for a long time that the Sarasvati of the old mandalas (naditama Sarasvati) is to be identified with the Old Ghaggar. Ghaggar today is a small river, in the land between Satluj and Yamuna that loses its way in the desert. There is incontrovertible evidence that in the past, things were different. Both Satluj and Yamuna flowed into Ghaggar and the combined waters flowed into the Arabian Sea. It must be borne in mind that contrary to popular misconception, satellite imagery confirms the existence of Old Ghaggar but does not (cannot) provide any chronological information.

It is very likely that the Ghaggar system has been in its present pitiable state for say 10000 or 20000 years. More fundamentally, the old Ghaggar cannot match the Rigvedic attributes of the mighty Sarasvati. The waters of snow-fed Satluj and Yamuna will make Lower Ghaggar a mighty river, but Upper Ghaggar will still be as it is now, a small rain-fed rivulet.

It is noteworthy that there is an uncanny similarity between the Rigvedic description of Sarasvati and Avestan description of Helmand (old name Haetumant=Setumant). Rigveda (6.61.8) talks of Sarasvati ‘whose limitless unbroken flood, swiftly moving with a rapid rush, comes onward with a tempestuous roar’, while Yasht (10.67) refers to ‘the bountiful, glorious Haetumant swelling its white waves rolling down its copious floods’. This suggests that the same river is meant in both cases.

I have argued that the Naditama Sarasvati is to be identified with Helmand river of South Afghanistan, which matches all the Rigvedic attributes.

A point needs to be clarified. Helmand empties into an inland lake. This, however, does not pose any problem. Rigveda refers to the Sarasvati’s going into Samudra. The literal meaning of Samudra is gathering of waters, its identification with ocean came later.

Map showing River Hemland in Afghanistan. Photo: www.internationalwaterlaw.org
Map showing River Helmand in Afghanistan. Photo: www.internationalwaterlaw.org

NS: What is your view regarding the Nadisukta in Rigveda that places Saraswati between Yamuna and Sutlej? Some scholars point out that, the dried bed of Gagghar is wider than Helmand and was flowing at its full at around 3000 BC and hence, they assert that Ghaggar may well represent the Naditama Saraswati that was flowing into the ocean as well. What is your view on this?

RK: The famous river hymn, Nadisukta, appears in the tenth mandala which constitutes the youngest portion of the Rigveda. The star of this hymn is river Indus; all the superlatives earlier applied to Sarasvati are now transferred to Indus. Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, in order appears in this hymn in passing. It is certain that here the present rivers of the same name are meant. After the Aryans moved eastwards from Helmand towards Yamuna, they gave the name Sarasvati to Ghaggar (as it is today). The reference to the trio may explain the later Puranic mythology, making Sarasvati an invisible associate of Ganga and Yamuna which now were the most sacred rivers.

NS: Some archaeologists have asserted that no evidence of invasion or migration exists in the Harappa ruins. What is your view on this? Can you shed some light regarding the archeological evidence that point towards Aryan migration?

RK: I have argued that the Indic-speakers entered the Indian subcontinent at the end of mature Harappan phase, in three waves; the first two are dated c. 2000-1800 BC, and the third in 1400 BC. Direct archaeological evidence attributable to the Rigvedic people comes from the valley of Swat river (Rigvedic Suvastu) which joins the Kabul (Kubha) before flowing into Indus; from the Gomal (Gomati) in Baluchistan; and from across the Indus. Graves in Swat IV and V, as well as grave goods, are distinct from the earlier Harappan phase. More specifically, I have identified Swat V people with the Rigveda.

NS: A recent seminar of Sanskrit scholars in India has dated Rigveda to a period before the Indus valley civilization using astronomical and literary evidence. Some have dated Mahabharata to 3000 BC using astronomical dating. Similarly, some genetic studies have shown that there has been no gene infusion into India after 10,000 BC. How consistent and reliable are these astronomical and genetic evidence? How do you reconcile these evidence with the present Aryan migration model wherein Aryans migrate around 1500 BC?

RK: Rigveda is familiar with metal (ayas=copper) and wheeled vehicles. Both these technological developments can be dated in the world context. In no case can Rigveda be earlier than, say 4000BC. It is, in fact, much younger, as argued above.

Astronomical data is not reliable and does not provide unique numbers. In the case of Mahabharata, dates ranging from 3000 BC to 1000 BC have been suggested. Nobody has even otherwise suggested a date outside this range.

Also, all the pieces of the puzzle should fit together. It is not sufficient to take one particular piece of evidence and build an inverted pyramid on it.

This is especially true of astronomical and genetic clues. They can be aids, not an end in itself. Many genetic studies pertain to genes from the mother’s side while ancient societies were predominantly patrilineal. When we talk of Aryan arrival, we are talking about their language and culture rather than their genes.

NS: What is your assessment of the Out of India Theory that posits the homeland of Aryan speakers in India itself?

RK: Indo-European speakers enter world history through domestication of the horse and use of the faster horse carts rather than ox-carts. Similarly, soma/haoma cult is an important part of Indo-Iranians. The Indo-European homeland must be the horse-land and the Indo-Iranian heimat the soma/haoma-land.

If India were the original home of Indo-Europeans, it must also be the birth place of Zarathushtra. If the Zoroastrians had migrated out of India, they would have carried memories of the geography they left behind. Avestan literature is not familiar with the Indus. In fact, it believes Indus and Oxus to be the same. In contrast, Avesta itself refers to features in Afghanistan.

NS: One of the paradox pointed out by many who do not accept Aryan Migration Theory is that, on the one hand, it speaks about a nomadic tribal people who have developed a sophisticated language like Vedic Sanskrit, but have left no script and have left no archeological imprints and On the other hand, Harappan people who had developed an extensive urban civilization are without a written language and have left no extensive literature. How is this paradox reconciled?

RK: The dichotomy is striking. At our current level of knowledge, the archeology and literary evidence do not intersect. Indus script, if it is indeed a script, remains un-deciphered. On the other hand, no archaeology can be associated with Rigveda. This may be due to the fact that we have been looking at the wrong places. Personally, I am confident that large-scale archaeological excavation of South Afghanistan would yield valuable clues on ancient India. This, of course, is not the time for such cultural exercises, but one hopes that situation would be more conducive in the future.

One line of inquiry can, however, be taken up right away. A rigorous, objective, open-ended, multi-nation investigation, under UNESCO auspices, into the hydrological history of the Ghaggar-Hakra system, would be very valuable indeed. If it turns out that the Ghaggar lost Satluj and Yamuna waters and reached its present puny state before historic times, the question of the identity of the Naditama Sarasvati of the old Rigvedic mandala would be settled once and for all.

More in the Series:

Interview with B. B. Lal-1-No evidence for warfare or invasion; Aryan migration too is a myth

Interview with B. B. Lal-2- Vedic and Harappan are respectively literary and material facets of same civilization

  • Narendra

    Genetical evidences suggest Aryan Gotra became common 9500 years before present and thus Gotra who have origin in Vedic rishi can be related to composition of RgVed. There is no doubt that yamuna/saraswati come out of same set of glacier in swargarohini range. There were two tectonic movements. one was rise of shivaliks and another was rise of land in kacch. There is no chance helmand being saraswati. Biggest rigvedic evidence is calling ashwa as hari+ashwa=haryashwa and calling deus or brihaspati s Deuspati which turns in to Diespiter of latin. Bharadwaj Gotra is descendent of Deus.

    But we can also see panchjan migrating from accross the sea and M89 haplogroup among Yadavs show they migrated from arab areas in to India at later dates. One hymns has Vishwamitr asking shatadru to flow low so his chariot crosses towards east.

    • RW911

      Is there any acclaimed book from which I can read more about this? Thanks.

      • मानवादी Humanist

        No there aren’t because what Narendre claimed is not substantiated by fact.

    • मानवादी Humanist

      I don’t know of any genetic study, or as you call it “genetical evidences”, that indicate any of what you just said. Rather contrary. An Estonian study performed by the leading geneticists of our time are totally in contrast with what you are claiming. You really need to do more studying of history and linguistics from different viewpoints rather than uttering false narratives.

  • मानवादी Humanist

    This professor Rajesh Kocchar appears to be very unoriginal in his claims. It is apparent he in only regurgitating what he has been taught in school rather than neutrally studying all sides of the debate. When questioned about the OIT (Out of India Theory) he clearly displays complete ignorance of the theory and aims to refute it with his narrow understand of “facts”. “Dr.” Kocchar should really read the works of the acclaimed scholar Dr. Nicholas Kazanas of Greece, Dr. Koenraad Elst of Belgium, Dr. Giacaomo Benedetti of Italy, Dr. Aggrawal of India, the legendary Indian archaeologist Dr. BB Lal, the French Historian Michel Danino, and the German scholar Dr. Klostermier (to just name a few). The interviewed person is not very knowledgeable of current research and of different viewpoints.

  • इतिहास्प्रेमी History Lover

    Rajesh Kocchar needs to remain in Mathematics. Linguistics, history, anthropology, and archeology (few relevant fields related to this debate) don’t appear to be his expertise. He show’s an ignorance of this field, and lacks the competence to interpret the relevant data in a scholarly fashion. For instance take his argument of the Brahui presence in modern Baluchistan. RK argues that because it is a member of the “Dravidian language family” (South Indic Languages) in north India it is proof that they are the last remaining “dravidians” before they moved south into today’s Tamil Nadu etc. The problem with this argument is that the he assumes the Brahui people to have resided in that area since the Harappan era. This is totally false as recent research has disproven that hypothesis. The Brahui are actually recent migrants into northern India, not ancient residents. This is similar to the Gondwa people who are also a “Dravidian” group that migrated to Northern India few centuries ago. Another argument that RK makes is that the RigVeda and the Zend Avesta are almost Identical and also that the Avesta doesn’t remember India/Indus but does remember the Herat in Afghanistan. Its clear that Rajesh has no working knowledge in Sanskrit or in the Avestan language and has never read the original texts. Why do I say this? Because the Zoroastrian religious texts do in fact mention Hafta Hindu (India) as one of the holy lands. This in fact proves that India is mentioned in the Zoroastrian texts, but Iran is not mentioned in the Vedas. However the Vedas do mention the persian people as parshu (parzu). They are recorded in the battle of 10 Kings. Whether Zoroaster was born in Modern India’s borders or in what today is Afghanistan is irrelevant to the debate on homeland. Also Dr. RK doesn’t explain why the astronomical data is flawed, because the data was produced by very competent Astronomers who worked at at prestigious places like ISRO etc. Outside of speculating why Astronomical data in general is inaccurate, “Dr.” RK doesn’t really debunk the study as he has never really addressed any flaws in meathodology. Perhaps it is beacuse he has no background in Astronomy and science. He also mentions Max Mullers speculations. He failed to know that Max Muller gave a range from 1500-3000 not exclusively 1500 like most scholars claim. Also Max Muller in his work noted that it was was probable that the Vedas are older than the Avesta and that India might have been a plausable homeland. Unfortunately Dr RK doesn’t know any of the above. He shows extreme ignorance in this debate, and has no place in it. Rajesh show incompetence and ignorance of the field and sides of debates along with their arguments. In other words his opnions are useless and unimportant.

  • Narendra

    Genetical evidences suggest Aryan Gotra became common 9500 years before present and thus Gotra who have origin in Vedic rishi can be related to composition of RgVed. There is no doubt that yamuna/saraswati come out of same set of glacier in swargarohini range. There were two tectonic movements. one was rise of shivaliks and another was rise of land in kacch. There is no chance helmand being saraswati. Biggest rigvedic evidence is calling ashwa as hari+ashwa=haryashwa and calling deus or brihaspati s Deuspati which turns in to Diespiter of latin. Bharadwaj Gotra is descendent of Deus.

    But we can also see panchjan migrating from accross the sea and M89 haplogroup among Yadavs show they migrated from arab areas in to India at later dates. One hymns has Vishwamitr asking shatadru to flow low so his chariot crosses towards east.

    • RW911

      Is there any acclaimed book from which I can read more about this? Thanks.

      • मानवादी Humanist

        No there aren’t because what Narendre claimed is not substantiated by fact.

    • मानवादी Humanist

      I don’t know of any genetic study, or as you call it “genetical evidences”, that indicate any of what you just said. Rather contrary. An Estonian study performed by the leading geneticists of our time are totally in contrast with what you are claiming. You really need to do more studying of history and linguistics from different viewpoints rather than uttering false narratives.

  • मानवादी Humanist

    This professor Rajesh Kocchar appears to be very unoriginal in his claims. It is apparent he in only regurgitating what he has been taught in school rather than neutrally studying all sides of the debate. When questioned about the OIT (Out of India Theory) he clearly displays complete ignorance of the theory and aims to refute it with his narrow understand of “facts”. “Dr.” Kocchar should really read the works of the acclaimed scholar Dr. Nicholas Kazanas of Greece, Dr. Koenraad Elst of Belgium, Dr. Giacaomo Benedetti of Italy, Dr. Aggrawal of India, the legendary Indian archaeologist Dr. BB Lal, the French Historian Michel Danino, and the German scholar Dr. Klostermier (to just name a few). The interviewed person is not very knowledgeable of current research and of different viewpoints.

  • इतिहास्प्रेमी History Lover

    Rajesh Kocchar needs to remain in Mathematics. Linguistics, history, anthropology, and archeology (few relevant fields related to this debate) don’t appear to be his expertise. He show’s an ignorance of this field, and lacks the competence to interpret the relevant data in a scholarly fashion. For instance take his argument of the Brahui presence in modern Baluchistan. RK argues that because it is a member of the “Dravidian language family” (South Indic Languages) in north India it is proof that they are the last remaining “dravidians” before they moved south into today’s Tamil Nadu etc. The problem with this argument is that the he assumes the Brahui people to have resided in that area since the Harappan era. This is totally false as recent research has disproven that hypothesis. The Brahui are actually recent migrants into northern India, not ancient residents. This is similar to the Gondwa people who are also a “Dravidian” group that migrated to Northern India few centuries ago. Another argument that RK makes is that the RigVeda and the Zend Avesta are almost Identical and also that the Avesta doesn’t remember India/Indus but does remember the Herat in Afghanistan. Its clear that Rajesh has no working knowledge in Sanskrit or in the Avestan language and has never read the original texts. Why do I say this? Because the Zoroastrian religious texts do in fact mention Hafta Hindu (India) as one of the holy lands. This in fact proves that India is mentioned in the Zoroastrian texts, but Iran is not mentioned in the Vedas. However the Vedas do mention the persian people as parshu (parzu). They are recorded in the battle of 10 Kings. Whether Zoroaster was born in Modern India’s borders or in what today is Afghanistan is irrelevant to the debate on homeland. Also Dr. RK doesn’t explain why the astronomical data is flawed, because the data was produced by very competent Astronomers who worked at at prestigious places like ISRO etc. Outside of speculating why Astronomical data in general is inaccurate, “Dr.” RK doesn’t really debunk the study as he has never really addressed any flaws in meathodology. Perhaps it is beacuse he has no background in Astronomy and science. He also mentions Max Mullers speculations. He failed to know that Max Muller gave a range from 1500-3000 not exclusively 1500 like most scholars claim. Also Max Muller in his work noted that it was was probable that the Vedas are older than the Avesta and that India might have been a plausable homeland. Unfortunately Dr RK doesn’t know any of the above. He shows extreme ignorance in this debate, and has no place in it. Rajesh show incompetence and ignorance of the field and sides of debates along with their arguments. In other words his opnions are useless and unimportant.

Next Story

The history and development of Indian Handicrafts

Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India

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History of Indian handicrafts
History and development of Indian handicrafts. Pixabay
  • Handicrafts are the products which are mostly made by hand.
  • The history of Indian handicrafts can be divided into three eras: Pre British, British era, and Post Independence.
  • Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed in India.

New Delhi, September 28, 2017: Handicrafts in India have a long history. From ancient to the contemporary times, handcrafters have preserved this art. This art has been passed on from one generation to the next. Pottery making, in fact, is one of its forms, whose existence can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization.

What are handicrafts?

Handicrafts are products that are produced either completely by hands or involve tools. Mechanical tools could also be used as long as the manual contribution of the artisan remains the central component of the produced object. The production of these crafts require great skill and represents a particular expression, culture or tradition. Handicrafts could hold a number of values, some of them being aesthetic, cultural, decorative, utilitarian, religious, functional etc.

Historical Perspective of Indian Handicrafts:

To understand the historical perspective of Indian handicrafts, we need to go back in time. Let’s take a look at the development and decline of the artisanal production under three different time periods: before the arrival of British in India, Under colonial rule, and after India got independence.

History of Indian Handicrafts Before the arrival of British:

Art and crafts, as we have already mentioned, has been a tradition in India since long. Textiles, the most important of the Indian handicrafts, reached the zenith of perfection during the Mughal period. While under Mughals, it was the art of weaving and silk spinning that scored refinement; it was metal works, ivory works and jewelry that reached great potential during the Gupta period. The handicrafts production during that time can be divided in four broad categories. The first category dealt with the village economy under the jajmani system, in which the products were articles of daily use. The second category was integrated with the urban areas, where artisans produced crafts mainly for the purpose of sale. The third category concerns the dadni system, in which the merchants advanced cash to the artisans for production. The final category includes the Karkhanas, where skilled artisans produced luxury crafts under the command of kings or high nobles. Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India.

History of Indian Handicrafts Under Colonial Rule:

Under the British rule, production of Indian Handicrafts faced a rather sharp decline. When the East India Company was in power, it forced monopoly over the production of artisans from Bengal, and the price of these products were fixed 15-40% lower than their actual market price. What came as the biggest blow to the Indian artisans, however, was the removal of most of the Indian princes and nobles, which as an effect, led to the destruction of the artisan’s major market.

History of Indian Handicrafts Post-Independence:

The plight of the artisans and the cultural importance of artisanal production was taken into accord after India got independent. The establishment of All India Handicrafts Board in November 1952, to look at the problems and find solutions concerning Indian Handicrafts; the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India Ltd in 1958, to promote handicrafts exports; Opening of Crafts Mueseum in 1953 in Delhi, to develop people’s interest in handmade Indian goods, all alluded to the idea that India had finally realized the importance of its art and crafts, and did not want to leave any stone unturned for its development.

A brief history and development of different form of handicrafts in India:

  • Clay craft and pottery: Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed, in India or in the world. A simple earthenware made of clay or ceramic has been created and used by the rural population for centuries. Potters have had an integral traditional link with the villages. The earthen pottery has only been developing, with the addition of new colors, figures of gods and goddesses, and decorative elements like flowers.

Main centers: Uttar Pradesh (Nizamabad and Chinhat), where the pottery is dark black; Bengal which produces large figures of gods, especially on the occasion of Durga Puja; In Kashmir, Srinagar is the place where special glazed pottery is made; Terra-cotta roof tiles are a tradition in Orissa and Martha Pradesh; both Rajasthan and Karnataka are popular for their black pottery; Manipur in the northeast is also famous for its pottery.

History of Indian handicrafts
Clay craft or pottery. Pixabay
  • Wood craft: Wood craft is widely produced and used throughout the country, with the most important products being household furnitures, carts and decorative objects. Baskets for storage and Toys, both for play and decoration are also made on a large scale.

Main centers: The elegant use of wood by skilled craftsmen can be seen in the houses at Gujrat and Kerala. Kashmir acquires a special position in this category of craft, with the walnut and deodar being the most favorite woods there. Saharanpur in U.P is also quite famous for its wooden furniture and objects of decoration.

History of Indian handicrafts
Wood craft. Pixabay
  • Metal craft: Copper was the most widely used metal in India before Iron joined in. Utensils, jewelry, dagger, axe heads etc in the harappan finds suggest that casting of copper objects made use of moulds. Bronze was also an important metal for the artisan production. The skills of craftsmen on metals are of various types, such as embossing, engraving, moulding etc.

Main centers: Kashmir (Srinagar) and Ladakh (Zanskar) are the two main centres. In Uttar Pradesh, Moradabad, Aligarh, Varanasi are the main centres of metal craft. Kerala specializes in the bell metal, whereas Bidar in Karnataka is noted for its Bidri work. Tribal groups in India also appear to hold their specific metal craft traditions.

History of Indian handicrafts
Metal craft. Pixabay

Also readMedha Tribe which masters in Weaving unique Bamboo Handicrafts are facing threat of extinction in Mysuru Region

  • Stone craft: Stones, without a shadow of doubt, have been there with humans since the earliest. They have been crafted into various products such as tools, decorative objects, sculptures and even jewelry. Statue of Yakshi of Didarganj is one fine piece of stone sculpture and dates back to the Maurya period. Majestic Qutub Minar in Delhi, and forts at Agra, Delhi, Jaipur are all works of stone craft.

Main centers: Rajasthan due to a large availability of stones tops the list of most prominent places for stone works. Salem district in Tamil Nadu also makes it to the list along with Gaya in Bihar. The stone cutters of Orissa also share a long history with the craft.

Main centers of Indian handicrafts
Stone craft. Pixabay
  • Ornaments and jewelry: From grass jewelry to that of gold and diamonds, one can witness great diversity when it comes to ornaments and jewelry in India. Gold, gems, silver, diamonds, other metals and precious stones are some materials used for making ornaments. Bones, horns, sea shells, lac, glass etc are also used in many  parts of the country to create ornaments. The Harappan finds revealed a number of ornaments, indicating their existence since long. There are many references in Ramayana and Mahabharata of gold being precious objects.

Main centers: Western ghats and Matheran in Maharashtra are noted for grass ornaments. Gujarat and Rajasthan share a rich and long tradition of jewelry. Kashmir is one of the most prominent places, again, with its exquisite jewelry, Varanasi and Awadh of U.P. are famous for gold studded jewelry.

History of Indian handicrafts
Ornaments and Jewelry. Pixabay
  • Textiles: India had had one of the richest traditions of textiles made from different raw materials. It won’t be wrong to say that Indian textiles tend to reflect Indian culture and religious beliefs. Bengal was the chief center of cotton production and Carpet weaving reached its zenith at the time of Mughals. The most commonly knows fabrics are cotton, wool and silk. The three main techniques used for patterning are weaving, embroidery and dyes.

Main centers: Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are famous for ikat fabric, Gujarat and Rajasthan for bandhani, U.P. and Bengal for jamdani fabrics. Rajasthan is also noted for Masoria fabric.

Indian handicrafts
Indian textiles. Pixabay

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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River Saraswati of Rigveda and Hindu mythology did exist, concludes Expert Panel

The river Saraswati was once upon a time the lifeline of the north-western states of India and a vibrant series of civilizations from Mahabharat period to Harappa had flourished on the banks of this river

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Representational image. Pixabay

October 16, 2016: The evidence of the course of river Saraswati mentioned in Rigveda and Hindu mythology is said to be found by an expert committee of archaeologists, geologists, and hydrologists.

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The seven-member expert committee is headed by Professor K.S. Valdiya of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR). A report commissioned by Water Resources Ministry announced it in public on Saturday. It concluded that evidence from paleochannels, the remnants of the river suggested that Sarsuti-Markanda rivulets in the State of Haryana were the water courses of the eastern branch of Himalayan river, whereas the Ghaggar-Patiala channels were the western branches.

The branches met in Shatrana, that is, 25 kilometers south of Patiala and it flowed as a large river which emptied out into the sea and that is now known as the Rann of Kutch.
The mystery of the origins of Saraswati rivers has occupied the scholars over at least two centuries or more with some confirming that the Yamuna, Ghagghar, and Sutlet were all once part of the Saraswati and its shrinking is associated with the decline of the Harrapan civilization. However, other scholars believed that the river Saraswati existed only in the mythology.

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The findings are quite convincing evidence for the government. According to The Hindu, the Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said in a statement, “The report is an assertion of the assumption that River Saraswati originated from Adibadri in the Himalaya to culminate in the Arabian Sea through the Rann of Kutch.”

[bctt tweet=”River Saraswati of Rigveda and Hindu mythology did exist” username=””]

“This river was once upon a time the lifeline of the north-western states of India and a vibrant series of civilizations from Mahabharat period to Harappa had flourished on the banks of this river.”

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Apart from the mythological investigation, the six-month investigation’s greater purpose was to check whether the ancient channels that buried under several layers of sediment can ever be replenished and used for the improvement of groundwater levels.

-by NewsGram team

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A Look Back In History: Contribution of Indian Mathematicians in the field of Mathematics

The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem

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The Babylonian mathematical tablet Plimpton 322, dated to 1800 BC. Wikimedia
  • The chronology of Indian mathematicians spans from the Indus Valley Civilization and the Vedas to Modern India
  • Mathematical concepts from India were transmitted to the Middle East, China, and Europe
  • Ancient India was not only the land of sages, saints, and seers but also the land of scholars and scientists

September 13, 2016: Indian mathematicians have made a number of contributions in the field of mathematics that have significantly influenced scientists and mathematicians of the modern era. These include place-value arithmetical notations, the use of the ruler, the concept of zero, and, most importantly, the Arabic-Hindu numerals predominantly used today and likely into the future. But, in the course of time, the names are lost in the pages of History.

India has always been a field for mathematical development from time immemorial. Ancient Indian Architecture like ‘Jantar Mantar’, in Jaipur which is the largest observatories ever built, are the precedent of Indian Mathematic Calculations. There are more examples that show the course of Indian mathematical history and how well versed we were.

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The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, which was long before the European mathematicians.

Craved zero in ancient Gwalior Shiva temple. Wikimedia

Indian Mathematicians are the one who introduced ‘Zero’ and ‘Concept of Infinity’ to the world for the very first time. ‘Decimal System’ is also one of the greatest contributions by Indian mathematicians to the world of mathematics.

‘‘Shunya’’ as we say in Hindi for ‘‘Zero’’ was introduced by the extraordinary mathematicians Brahmagupta who was also known as ‘Ganita Chakra Chudamani’ among his fellow scientists which means ‘‘the Gem of the circle of Mathematicians’’.

Brahmagupta (598–668 AD) was an Native indian math wizzard and uranologist who wrote many essential performs on mathematics and astronomy. Wikimedia
Brahmagupta (598–668 AD). Wikimedia

Brahmagupta wrote many books but he is known for his work in Brahasaputasiddhanta which means ‘Correct Treatise of Brahma’ and includes many mathematical findings and rules of Arithmetics, all written in verse form. He came forth with Geometrical Theories and rules of Trigonometry in his book which are part of today’s mathematical solutions.

Aryabhatta. Wikimedia
Aryabhatta. Wikimedia

When it comes to the contribution of Indian mathematicians the name of Legendary Aryabhatta is always heard of. Aryabhatta is still considered a legendary hero for his incredible work in the field of Algebra, Trigonometry, approximation of pie, Indeterminate equations, Place value system and zero.

Aryabhatta (AD 476–550) was the first in the line of great mathematicians and astronomers to provide a breakthrough in these fields. He is the father of the Hindu-Arabic number system which is of universal relevance today. His most famous works are the Aryabhatiya (AD 499 at age of 23 years) and Arya-Siddhanta.

Ananda Rau is seated on the high stool at the far left along with Ramanujan in the front chair. Wikimedia
Ananda Rau is seated on the high stool at the far left along with Ramanujan in the front chair. Wikimedia

”Where there is a will, there is a way’’ is just the right term for another Great Legend Ramanujan. He was a self-taught mathematician with no specific or formal training in the field of mathematics and made extraordinary contributions, with his phenomenal works like Mathematical Analysis, Number Theory, Infinite Series, and Continued Fractions. His other contributions like Ramanujan’s Master Theorem, Ramanujan Prime, Ramanujan Conjecture makes him India’s one of the greatest mathematical geniuses.

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When he was 16, Ramanujan came across the book “A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by George S. Carr. This book was a collection of 5000 theorems, and it introduced Ramanujan to the world of mathematics. The next year, he had independently developed and investigated the Bernoulli numbers and had calculated Euler’s constant up to 15 decimal places.

Bhaskara (1114 – 1185) (also known as Bhaskara II and Bhaskarachārya. Wikimedia
Bhaskara (1114 – 1185) (also known as Bhaskara II and Bhaskarachārya. Wikimedia

Bhaskara was also one of the greatest mathematicians of medieval India who lived in 12th century, discovered some of the principles of Differential Calculus and showed how to apply it to astronomical computations. Keeping in mind that the earliest Discoveries by Newton or Leibniz that related to differential or integral calculus were in the 1660’s. Bhaskara is well known for his work ”Siddhanta Shiromani’’ meaning ”Crown of Treatises’’ which includes work in Arithmetic, Algebra, Mathematics of the planets and spheres.

There is a famous book ”Science in the Medieval World” written in the 11th century by said al-Andalusi. The chapters show how vastly mathematicians from India have contributed to the world Mathematics.

Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao at ISI Chennai. Wikimedia
Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao at ISI Chennai. Wikimedia

Mathematicians like Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (popularly known as CR Rao) well-known Statistician, famous for Theory of Estimations and Narendra Karmarkar is known for his Karmarkar’s Algorithm. They are still contributing to mathematics at a global level. There is no doubt that the world today is greatly indebted to the contributions made by Indian mathematicians. We can see the glimpse of Indian mathematical approach in our ancient architecture, historical buildings and even in religion.

-by Aakash Mandyal of NewsGram. Twitter @Akashsen6