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Decoding Harappa culture: Indus script is not a language but a numerical representation

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harappa-tablet

By NewsGram Staff Writer

A veteran science historian has recently claimed that according to the artifacts discovered during the research of the Indus Valley Civilization, it was discovered that the Indus script is not a language but a numerical representation.

B.V. Subbaraayappa, a 90-year-old historian and a former president of the International Union of History & Philosophy of Science, said, “Attempts to decipher the Indus script were based on the assumption that a script should connote linguistic writing. There are many languages the world over without a script even today.”

The Indus Valley Civilisation was discovered by the Archeological Survey of India’s (ASI) director general John Marshall who later wrote about this discovery in “The Illustrated London News” in 1924.

Since then there are a number of mysteries associated with the civilization and one of them is language. The script became contentious due to different interpretations by linguists, historians and archaeologists the world over.

Subbarayappa stated that, “Over 4,000 seals and other inscribed artifacts were unearthed in the Indus Valley sites or the Harappa culture as archaeologists call it, and located in India and (now) Pakistan. They were used to meet the accounting needs of farm production and management.”

The script that was found had a unique and distinct characteristic features. The Indus Valley people had used the mathematical symbols like decimal, additive, multiplicative numerical system in their day-to-day occupations, which were primarily agriculture and animal husbandry.

Subbarayappa added, “The symbolic representation of six, four and two-rowed varieties of barley, wheat and cotton were depicted in the form of a composite animal – unicorn, a motif in about 1,100 seals, which were intended to be records of food grains (wheat & barley) and commodities (cotton).”

Buffalos, humped bulls and rhinos were also used for counting and making records associated with agriculture activity or production.

Subbarayappa recalled that, “The premise of the numerical hypothesis is that a language can be in vogue in the form of oral tradition long before it was scripted. For instance, the Vedic language did not have a script for over 1,000 years.”

Subbarayappa reiterated his argument by saying that, “Repetition of symbols twice, thrice and four times alongside on an Indus seal makes sense only in numeration and not in a language. Their presentation in a line mostly and occasionally in two or three lines on seals indicates numerical value than linguistic expression.”

As there is no outcome on the linguistic assumptions of Indus scripts and it is still in a blind alley, the science historian wants national institutions like the ASI, the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Indian National Science Academy to assess its numerical hypothesis in a scientific way.

Explaining the use of numerical in Indus culture, Subbarayappa concluded, “The large granaries at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, 18 de-husking platforms, geometrically shaped streets and lanes, standard storage jars, bricks in 1:2:4 ratio and seals clearly indicate the role of numerals and their utilization by the Indus Valley people for over a long time.”

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.