Richard Meadow on Indus script!

Indus: The Unvoiced Civilization, Press Release , 02/02/2010

“Indus: The Unvoiced Civilization” – Video and Discussion at Harvard University, C. Gopinath and Thomas Burke

“Indus, The Unvoiced Civilization,” a video and following discussion, was presented in the Harvard Science Center on January 10. The lecture was sponsored by the Harvard Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies in its ongoing Outreach lecture series on “Indian Society through the Ages.” The session was introduced by Dr. Bijoy Misra of the Outreach Committee, who outlined the progress of the series and summarized the lectures of the past months.

Ms. Nalini Gopinath, who presented the video, first offered an overview of facts that have hitherto come to light about the long-forgotten Indus civilization. For a 900-year span from about 2600 BCE to 1700 BCE a sophisticated urban civilization flourished in the region of the Rivers Indus and Gagghar-Hakra, extending to south to modern Gujarat and east nearly to Delhi. The territory was rich in many kinds of flora and fauna, which are now extinct there. Crops such as wheat, barley, millets, sesame and cotton were cultivated.  This sophisticated urban civilization had trading ties to Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula. Seals bearing Indus characters have been found as far west as Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. These, together with a few Mesopotamian texts, point to a thriving trade between the Indus region and Western Asia.

The DVD Presentation titled “Indus:  The Unvoiced Civilization” lasted about one hour. It took the audience through the three most prominent sites – Harappa, Mohenja-Daro and Dholavira. It depicted the archeological finds, such as carnelian jewelry, pottery and seals. The urban centers of Harappa (Punjab), Mohenjo-Daro (Sindh), Dholavira (Gujarat), and Rakhigarhi (Haryana) as well as many smaller settlements reveal a concern for urban planning and sometimes include very sophisticated drainage and water storage systems. Mohenjo-daro, in particular, had many wells, while Dholavira was designed to channel rainwater into huge reservoirs. Harappa had both wells and tanks. It is speculated that as many as 40,000 people may lived in the city of Harappa and about 20,000 in Dholavira.

The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session with Dr. Richard Meadow, who appeared in the film and participated in the excavations of Harappa. The questions pertained to the script and the extent of the civilization. Dr. Meadow explained that a total of 400-600 characters have been identified from the various Indus inscriptions. No single inscription contains more than 17 characters. We do not know which language or languages were spoken in the Indus region. None of the many attempts which have been made to decipher the script have gained general acceptance. Sites of the civilization have been found as far as  northern Afghanistan.  Gaps in the archeological record do not permit us to speak of cultural continuity from the Indus civilization to the modern day, but many undeniable similarities suggest possible survivals.

Question and Answers by Dr. Richard Meadow

Why is the script not deciphered as yet?
We do not know which language or languages were spoken in the Indus valley. We have no bilingual inscriptions, no known inscription of more than 17 characters, and no obvious successor script. There is a theory that the characters do not reflect spoken language but are non-linguistic symbols, although this is widely debated.

How many characters have been identified so far?
About 400-600, the larger number is arrived at by regarding some similar characters as being separate.

How come there is so much evidence of trade out of the Indus region but no evidence of imported goods?
It is speculated that imports were mainly perishable items like textiles, which have not survived.

Why is there little evidence of tombs like those found in Mesopotamia and Western Asia?
Although few tombs are known, there are some sites at which have been found a large number of burials, for example at Harappa and at Farmana (Haryana). There seems to be no evidence so far that the Indus people had very rich graves of the kind known in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, or China. One must also remember that the long-lived Indus civilization left extensive remains, still largely unexplored. So far, excavations have in general uncovered only the topmost third of the many sites. “We still have only a hazy picture of the earlier phases of the culture,” as represented by the lower levels at the archaeological sites.

Why do archaeologists speak of a gap between the end of Indus culture and the beginning of the Vedic period, even though many of the Indus artifacts shown in the DVD are still in use today?
It is true that many cultural traits and artifacts may survive from an earlier into a later period. But it is methodologically problematic to speak of archeological continuity without some evidence of survival of artifacts in the interval between the two periods.

How far did the civilization extend?
Sites of the Indus civilization are found almost to the border of Central Asia in the northwest, east almost to Delhi, south almost to Mumbai, and west nearly to the Iranian border as well as to coastal Arabia.

Is it possible that some Indus people are buried in Western Asia in one of the 80,000 tombs found in Bahrain?
Evidence is still lacking.

Is it true that the British built the Indian Railway system using bricks from the Harappa site?
The sites were always known to the local people. The British first became aware of Indus sites in the early 1800s. In the 1850s the Archeological Survey of India began to scout them. When the British built the Northwest Railway in the 1860s they used vast quantities of ancient bricks from Harappa to prepare the roadbed for the tracks. All have probably disintegrated by now. The ancient people of Harappa themselves recycled bricks, reusing old ones in new structures.

What do the names Harappa and Mohenja-Daro mean?
These are the names used by the local people and they may possibly be very old. There is no convincing explanation of their meaning. We do not know what the Indus people called themselves. Mesopotamian texts seem to refer to the Indus region as Meluhha.

Where can we find the DVD?
It’s a Japanese production and can be procured on the internet. Harvard affiliates can borrow it from Tozzer Library.

The next lecture in the series will be “The Indus Civilization: Myth and Reality.” It will be presented by Dr. Richard Meadow of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Dr. Meadow will note that while the Indus civilization has often been characterized as highly structured, uniform, and unchanging, in fact it was a highly diverse, varied, and dynamic cultural phenomenon with many different kinds of sites with strong local and region characteristics that changed over time.  The lecture is scheduled for Sunday, 14 February in Hall A, Harvard Science Center, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, at 3.00 pm. Admission is free and all are invited.

http://www.lokvani. com/lokvani/ article.php? article_id= 6272

‘Earliest writing’ found

The fragments of pottery are about 5,500 years old

Exclusive by BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse

The first known examples of writing may have been unearthed at an archaeological dig in Pakistan.

So-called ‘plant-like’ and ‘trident-shaped’ markings have been found on fragments of pottery dating back 5500 years.

Dr Richard Meadow of Harvard University: “We may be able to follow the history of signs.”

They were found at a site called Harappa in the region where the great Harappan or Indus civilisation flourished four and a half thousand years ago.

Harappa was originally a small settlement in 3500 BC but by 2600 BC it had developed into a major urban centre.

[ image: Harappa was occupied until about 1900 BC]
Harappa was occupied until about 1900 BC

The earliest known writing was etched onto jars before and after firing. Experts believe they may have indicated the contents of the jar or be signs associated with a deity.

According to Dr Richard Meadow of Harvard University, the director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project, these primitive inscriptions found on pottery may pre-date all other known writing.

Last year it was suggested that the oldest writing might have come from Egypt.

Clay tablets containing primitive words were uncovered in southern Egypt at the tomb of a king named Scorpion.

They were carbon-dated to 3300-3200 BC. This is about the same time, or slightly earlier, to the primitive writing developed by the Sumerians of the Mesopotamian civilisation around 3100 BC.

“It’s a big question as to if we can call what we have found true writing,” he told BBC News Online, “but we have found symbols that have similarities to what became Indus script.

[ image: Work at Harappa is likely to fuel the debate on early writing]
Work at Harappa is likely to fuel the debate on early writing

“One of our research aims is to find more examples of these ancient symbols and follow them as they changed and became a writing system,” he added.

One major problem in determining what the symbols mean is that no one understands the Indus language. It was unique and is now dead.

Dr Meadow points out that nothing similar to the ‘Rosetta Stone’ exists for the Harappan text.

The Rosetta Stone, housed in the British museum since 1802, is a large slab of black basalt uniquely inscribed with the same text in both Egyptian hieroglyphs and Greek.

Its discovery allowed researchers to decipher the ancient Egyptian script for the first time.

The Harappan language died out and did not form the basis of other languages.

Dr Meadow: “The earliest inscriptions date back to 3500 BC.”

“So probably we will never know what the symbols mean,” Dr Meadow told BBC News Online from Harappa.

What historians know of the Harappan civilisation makes them unique. Their society did not like great differences between social classes or the display of wealth by rulers. They did not leave behind large monuments or rich graves.

They appear to be a peaceful people who displayed their art in smaller works of stone.

Their society seems to have petered out. Around 1900 BC Harappa and other urban centres started to decline as people left them to move east to what is now India and the Ganges.

This discovery will add to the debate about the origins of the written word.

It probably suggests that writing developed independently in at least three places – Egypt, Mesopotamia and Harappa between 3500 BC and 3100 BC.

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23 Responses to “Richard Meadow on Indus script!”

  1. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    The script is not an isolated script nor it is just religious symbols as saild by many. Thousand of inscription written in this very script area lying scattared in Mesopotamia and what is interesting is that they are all published. The script actually contains just 80 to 90 signs and the rest are combined signs. The list of signs given in ZATU is about 800 signs. One can see the full script in the Sumerian Proto-Cuneiform script published even on the web. The fact that there are so few signs on the seals shows that either there is the name or a very short message.
    As far as language is concerned if we look at the contemporary language, Sumerian and Accadian we will find thousand of words still spoken in India. Collection of those words will tell us the language spoken in those times for if the words spoken then were absorbed in Sumerian and are spoken in modern times then that may be the language of Indus Civilisation.

    • vedaprakash Says:

      Thank you for your response. But you may have to clarify the following:

      1. As far as language is concerned if we look at the contemporary language, Sumerian and Accadian we will find thousand of words still spoken in India.

      – How the contemporary language, Sumerian and Accadian i.e, thousand of words from it are still spoken in India?

      2. Collection of those words will tell us the language spoken in those times for Collection of those words will tell us the language spoken in those times for if the words spoken then were absorbed in Sumerian and are spoken in modern times then that may be the language of Indus Civilisation.and are spoken in modern times then that may be the language of Indus Civilisation.
      – When you say ” if the words spoken then were absorbed in Sumerian” – how?

    • Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:


      It is a stable script. People like Richard Meadow must be encouraged.

  2. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    The people of Indus Valley and the Sumerians, Accadians were in close contact with each other as is found in a number of seals found in Sumer and also some inscriptions mention the visit of Indian saillors to Sumer. Essentially the two people talk and the words of one language were borrowed and absorbed in that language just as you may find a number of English, Persian and of other languages in Hindi and in other languages of India. I have looked into the Sumerian dictionary and found a number of words still spoken in India. Naturally the words spoken then in Indus Valley were absorbed by the Sumerians but were continuously spoken here in India. Those words must constitute the language.

  3. Joel Klenck Says:

    Very interesting. The script seems to have visual similiarities with ancient Greek, Proto-Sinaitic, and Early Phoenician.

    The right-most letter letter on the upper script and the left-most letter on the lower line compares to the letter dalet in the aforementioned languages.

    Particularily of note is the dot in the center of the right most letter on the upper script and the absence of the dot on the same symbol on the lower line. In the aforementioned languages the dot (dagesh) is used to give the dalet a hardened consonant sound — dalet verses daleth (without the “dot” or dagesh).

    The left-most letter on the upper script looks very much like a mem or mu in ancient Phoenician/Sinaitic and Greek, respectively.

  4. K. Venkatraman Says:

    It is a wonder as to why and how he has been ignored by Karunanidhi!

  5. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    Even if a small linguistic component is added – rebus principle or punning (Witzel Kyoto, 2009 or Sproat in his presentations) or acriphony is added, it qualifies for full literacy. I assume some ’sound coding’ would have been useful to them atleast on some occasions.. the longest seal is 17 characters non-analomous and 26 characters analomous. I have never said that what Farmer is saying is necessarily fully wrong, but even Parpola has been reading them mostly as logograms with a linguistic component. So how much of what Farmer is saying is new apart from the fact that he popularized the idea? These men have been saying almost the same thing and fighting with each other?Till 2900 BC Egypt and Mesopotamia were considered proto-literate even if their texts are shorter(not non-literate!!!!)- even if there is small difference between the 2 maybe the Indus system was more expressive than Egyptian proto-literate- because conditional entropy, order of signs, combinations probably did play a major role in meaning in the Indus script (Korvink). ????Terminologies pertaining to literacy cannot be changed unless all scholars agree – and any demands to change terminology must be met with suspicion, naturally. Only a very small portion of the IVC has been excavated, you know, 5% maybe! Even Farmer agrees “Judging from modern examples and research in the linguistic history of South Asia, the Indus Valley was probably intensely multi linguistic throughout its history. This may have provided the Indus emblem system with an advantage over ordinary writing as a means of providing the civilization with social cohesion. The fact that the majority of inscriptions rely on a surprisingly small core of symbols suggests that the meaning of Indus signs could have potentially been known by almost or all (ALL!!) of the population, resulting in a pervasive quasiliteracy far beyond that achieved in Mesopotamia or Egypt.” No other civlization mass produced writing or (”writing”!!). Where else did they have public signboards then apart from the Indus?
    I can instead cite Farmer and declare it the most literate civilization on erth. And he and I could be saying the same thing. I say such terms must be avoided. if they had learned how to use the rebus principle , they would have used it whenever the need arose. Seal writing is always short . Sproat’s smoking gun cannot be used to test the stability or the complexity of the system. It has weaknesses. It cannot also be used to prove that the Indus script didn’t have a linguistic component.

    Making fun of ancient people is absolutely disgraceful.It is in poor taste~!!!!

    I hope more Indians take up research. people are taking us for a ride.

  6. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    I may mention that the Indus Script and the Proto-Cuneiform script of Sumer of the period 3000-2500 BCE are exactly the same. The books the Proto-Cuneiform Texts of Jemdetnasr and ZATU can baea seen specially the sign lists. This script was already desiphered from the Behistun Inscription. There is a possibility that as Indus Civilisataion was much more advanced it loaned the script to Sumerians as well as a number of words spoken in Indus area. If we look at the script we find that a number of signs are having Indian names. We can look at the sign containing three standing lines is named ‘eesh’, or the sign having two horns meaning bull as ‘go’. We can also look at the ancient books, Nlrukta- Yaska which is erronously called a book of etymology but actually mention Indus Script symbols, how they are written which combination of signs is required for a name and how many combinations can made to write a single name. For example many Rishis might have written the word Indra in many ways, Nirukta points out many combinations in which the name was written. Obviously the Vedas were written in Indus Script. I may also mention that considering many references to historical situations points out that Yaska must written it earlier than 14th century BCE and probably after 23rd century BCE. Vedas people say were written after their arrival in India after 15th century BCE but there is no archeological evidence of the arrival of Aryans at all in India. On the other hand people migrated from India to other countries. The geographical map of Indus Valley is correctly reflected in the Vedas. I may also mention that the name given to Harappa as Meluha by some is wrong for the name of Harappa was ‘Aaratta’ as mentioned in Mahabharat.

    • Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

      Dear Gyan,

      You are absolutely right. It is how the script was used (what it was used for) that matters.

  7. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    Please find the response by Steve farmer . He is happy that India is no longer represented in a new book. Then why does he have to be an indologist? Let him resign.

    re: [Indo-Eurasia] BOOKS: Visible Language

    This book is not actually out yet, but when it is, it will be available for sale
    as well as for download free of charge at:

    Some teasers from the exhibition installation are appearing on facebook at

    -Chuck Jones-

    —- Original message —-
    Steve Farmer wrote:
    > New book out from the Oriental Institute, passed on
    > from the Agade List.
    > Note how the so-called “Indus script” — which is
    > certainly not a “script” as linguists view that term — is
    > slowly but surely disappearing from the world of international
    > scholarship. About time, and I’m happy with Michael and Richard
    > to have started that process.
    > Steve

  8. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    The link to the book was below the mail on IER.


    Posted by Steve Farmer – Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:01 am

    These are only isolated examples

    People should be aware of all these before spending so much on courses.
    This will hold good until the joker duo are around.

  9. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    Dear Vedaprakash and others

    I think you will enjoy reading

    The Indus script a Positional Statistic approach by Michael Korvink.

    I am giving the links here. Some of the pages are disabled


  10. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    In order to understand the Indus Valley Civilization and the Indus script it is necessary to look at the seals closely. There are some signs perceived in them which are not found in the sign list given by Prof. Parpola and Mr. Mahadevan. We may look at seal no 430 (FEM). In it a deity is standing between two branches of a tree and before him is standing a person who may be his disciple, a worshipper or may be a son. Behind him are shown seven birds. We may notice the disciple is standing in a peculiar way. Actually he is not kneeling and that his lower portion is a sign which in Proto-cuneiform script is shown as having the value ‘el,il’ meaning either a messenger or to raise. He is having in his hands something which resembles a sign. We may notice that deity is shown standing between two branches of a tree. We may notice that the two branches of the tree and the deity in the middle of the two branches make a perfect sign. The branches are joined at the bottom and taking a curve go upward and make the outer form of the sign and the deity in the middle make it a sign just similar to the sign in the hand of the disciple. Actually these signs may give us the names. Similarly in seal no 420 from Mohenjodaro(FEM) known as Pashupatinath seal we find a bull-faced deity is sitting and four animals are moving around him. Both the deities may be actually one a host of mythology is built around him. Jain mythology named him Rishabh and mentions sixteen dreams seen by his mother before his birth. Actually these dreams are a riddle. Jains believe that these dreams were seen by her seen one by one. However if we look at them then it is clear that they describe Pashupatinath seal. The earlier ones mention bull and four animals which is this seal and the later ones his genealogy, i.e. mother father, grandfather etc. Jain mythology also mentions that Rishabh once visited his son Bharat who received him in a garden which is shown in the seal no 430. The Hindu mythology also mentions both Rishabh and Bharat but Rishabh is mentioned as the incarnation of Vishnu and Bharat as his son. There is another seal which shows a creature half-man, half- lion land a child with armed men with him. He is also shown as an incarnation of Vishnu. Bharat is mentioned in the Hindu mythology as having a lion as his companion. In some seals a child is shown having two lions on either side of him. Nirukt points out that Vishnu is Sun, Rishabh or ‘go’ is Sun and the number seven means Sun, seen in the seal no 430 as seven birds. If we can get the name, then it may be found on some seals also which are just amulets.
    In the seals carrying the picture of Unicorn we find just below his mouth something strange which people describe as incense burner. I think they may be some signs. The lower one has the appearance of proto-cuneiform sign ‘du’ while the upper one is I think is mentioned as ‘in’ in Proto-Cuneiform script. In Proto-Cuneiform script the sign has a plant growainga from it. KedaraNath Shastri, one of the excavators mentions in his book ‘Harappa (in Hindi) that in some seals the plant appears to be coming out of the sign. If it is so then the combination of the two signs will make it Indra or Indu which recurs in Sumerian language as the name of some place.
    In seal no. 488 from Mohenjodaro (Further Excavations at Mohenjodaro) we find that some animals, crocodiles and birds are going in one direction and among them are some bushes. The bush is a sign in proto-cuneiform script,
    In the script we find a tree being worshipped by a man whose lower portion is sign ‘el, il’ as seen above. What do we understand by tree? In some seals we find the tree. In Sumerian language the word ‘eesh’ also means tree. Does tree means the same deity as on Pasupatinath seal? We do not find tree or the man worshipping it in the sign lists.
    These are some of the signs I could not in the lists of signs of Indus script. I hope scholars will find them helpful.

  11. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    Pleased to announce the publication of my paper ‘The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script’ . This shows why the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script and longer texts certainly existed in the Indus. This shows why Sproat’s smoking gun is wholly invalid. If Farmer chooses to disagree with me, he has to reply to me point by point. Back to square one

  12. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:


    Facts about the Dholavira signboard
    (f) It is one of the most famous of Harappan inscriptions.
    (g) It was very large in size.
    (h) It was located in Far from Mesopotamia Dholavira and in one of the furthest sites from Mesopotamia.
    (i) It hung over the citadel there.
    (j) It must have represented the name of the place and must have been closely tied to speech: note the sign repetition.
    (k) The sign which was used as a determinative was a very common Indus sign.
    (l) The sign used as a determinative appears to have been also similar to determinatives in other writing systems.
    (m) The Indus script was also related to Proto-Elamite which means it probably had a linguistic component.
    (n) The other signs with which the determinative was used were also common Indus signs.
    (o) Few sensible scholars will now dispute the fact that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script on the basis of this evidence.
    (p) Few sensible scholars will deny the fact that speech encoding was one of the major functions of the Indus script and had this feature had reached a very precocious maturity.
    (q) This inscription was apparently more closely tied to speech than most proto-Elamite inscriptions.
    (r) Dholavira was not even the most important of sites.
    (s) The fact that it was hung over the citadel meant it was meant to be read by elites.
    (t) It was put to the most frivolous use.
    (u) Speech encoding would have been a prized possession: no one would have used it just for a decorative signboard at far-from-Mesopotamia Dholavira. Why would a man who had inscribed this, done so (a) if nobody else could read it (b) why would he have learnt to encode speech only to inscribe this signboard? This automatically implies the existence of longer texts. It also shows that the Indus elites used more complex forms of communication.
    (v) Even if we assume that speech-encoding was added in Mature Harappan 3B, this logic would still hold good.
    (w) This logic is already accepted by mainstream Indus archaeologists as a precursor to the existence of longer texts

    Jane Mcintosh states::
    Farmer also draws attention to the absence of long Harappan inscriptions onpotsherds.
    If the Harappan signs were a script, he contends, this absence would make it
    unique among the scripts of literate cultures, who all used potsherds often
    like scrap paper.This need only, imply however, that the Harappans had
    other media that were easier toscribble on, such as cotton cloth or
    wooden boards, or that the writing medium was not wellsuited for
    use on sherds. Likewise the absence of long monumental inscriptions seems
    significant to Farmer, but the Harappans did not create monumental art or
    architecture onwhich such inscriptions might have been written; the
    nearest they came to this is theDholavira signboard, which is quite possibly the
    tip of an iceberg of a now vanished publicinscriptions.”
    “He (Farmer) also considers that the proportion of singleton and rare signs is
    unusually high; other scholars such as Parpola (2005) demonstrate that this is
    not so, sincein general logo-syllabic scripts contain a small corpus of
    frequently used signs and a largenumber of much less common ones.
    Moreover, new signs are continuously added, evenwhen the writing system is
    a fully developed one, something Farmer also denies. Statistically the
    Harappan script does not differ significantly in its sign proportions from other
    logographicscripts. A further point regarding the singletons is
    that Wells (n.d.) has demonstrated thatmany are variants or ligatures of
    basic signs, rather than completely different signs; again,this is
    something to be expected in a genuine script”“Perhaps more significantly, the
    brevity of the majority of the Harappan texts (four to fivesigns on
    average) makes it less likely that signs would repeat within them than it is in the
    longer texts with which Farmer compares them (McIntosh 2008, p. 374).

    Farmers arguments fail to account convincingly for the structural regularity
    analysis have revealed in the usage of Harappan signs. These support the hypothesis that the indus script is a writing system

  13. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    The signs of the Indus Script are found in ancient literature scattered. On seal no. M-420 from Mohenjodaro we find a bull –faced deity sitting surrounded by four animals. In the inscription, the first sign from the right is also found in Zodiac under the head Bull, in Hindu calendars the ‘ Rashi’ Vrishabh we find the same sign and also in Sumerian Proto=Cuneiform script we again find the same sign with the namea ‘go’ but in Sumerian language ‘go’ means Bull. ‘Go’ is also found in Nirukta by Yaska where it is meant for Sun. It appears that as the deity is bull-faced, Yaska makes it that the deity is Sun itself. Similarly the Hindu Panchang under the Rashi Kumbh is given a sign which is also found in Zodiac against the name Aquarious meaning water-carrier. It also found on only one seal M-102. The other signs are all in the Indo-Sumerian script. Unfortunately the only writing available from Indus is on seals whilclh may be names of deities, of persons and short messages. Thus the Indus script is incomplete. However the Proto-Cuneiform Script is a complete one and we find that they are the same. Actually lit may be only one script used by both Indus and Sumer. If we look into ancient Indian literature specially the Tantric literature may be that we may found these signs treated as mysterious signs.
    If we look at the headdress of the deity alone and turn it 90 degrees to the left we will find that it is most sacred sign of the Hindus, ‘OM’. May be because it represent the deity.
    We thus find that these signs are scattered all over the ancient literature. We have to search them. We need not looking for a Rosetta stone for understanding the Indus script.
    Gyan Swarup Gupta

  14. Says:

    Vedic people never believed in writing.To read vedic names sound absurd.Can anyone explain this paradox?

  15. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    I think that whole of Vedic literature was wriltten on documents. as a proof we have a book ‘Nilrukta’ by Yaska. It is book which is said to be a book of etymology but a study of it will tell us that there is not a single word of etymology. Whole of it consists of study of words of Vedas as written in Indus script as found in Vedas and in some Brahmans sp. Shathpath Brahman. In the belief that there was no writing in Vedic literature and nothing was known about the Indus script or Indus civilisation, it was assumed that that the book is a book of etymologoy. If we look at it we find that it is explaining the list of words of Nighantu. In the first three parts of Nighantu the script gives the sign of the words as it is. However in the later three parts of Nighantu every word is given which is written differently and is read differently. We may look at the word ‘Go’ which means cow. However Nirukta explains that it means ‘Aditya’ in Vedas. Similarly ‘dwar’ meaning door is to be read as ‘Agni’. So on for every word in the fourth and fifth part of Nighantu whilch written differently and meaning differently.
    All this means that the writing in Indus times was in the Indus script. If we can get a long text we can read it with the help of Nirukta.
    People regard Nirukta as written in 7th century B.C.E. in the belief that it was written after Aryans invaded. However the historical references in it poins out that it must be written not later that 18th century BCE. Asur or Assyrians were a dominant race in 16th century BCE who defeated the powerful Mittanians and concluded a treaty with them in 1353. However Nirukta mentions them as innocent and always on the move, i.e. nomads. This could happen only earlier than 18th century BCE.
    We may take it that there was writing in the Indus script only we have to search it.
    Gyan swarup Gupta

  16. sujay rao mandavilli Says:


    Please find my two papers below and circulate amongst the skeptics, particularly!

    To state the obvious, the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script and a lost corpus did exist.

    Published in the ICFAI journal of history and culture, January 2011

    Published in International journal of philosophy and journal sciences , November 2012

    I am also introducing logo-syllabic thesis B in this paper

    The paper is very self-explanatory! does anybody still beg to differ?

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  17. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    sujayrao2000 (signed in using yahoo)


    Please find my two papers below and circulate amongst the skeptics, particularly!

    To state the obvious, the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script and a lost corpus did exist.

    Published in the ICFAI journal of history and culture, January 2011.

    Published in International journal of philosophy and journal sciences , November 2012.

    I am also introducing logo-syllabic thesis B in this paper.

    The paper is very self-explanatory!

    does anybody still beg to differ?

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli.

  18. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    I think the idea that the Indus script was only used on the Indus Seals is not correct. If we look at Nirukta by Yaska we will find that it mentions a large number of signs of the script whose meaning is different than it appear. we may look at the sign ‘dwar’ or gate which according to Nirukta mean Agni or Fire, figure seven means Sun, two tens becomes ‘Vinsh’ etc. All the examples are given from the Vedas. It appears that Nirukta is not a book of etymology of Sanskrit words but a book which actually discusses the signs of the Indus Script and the meaning they denote.The examples of the use of these signs is from Vedas. Brahmans etc. It may be that other books attributed to the era i.e. Mahabharat may also be written in this script. Mr. Mandavilli may consider it.
    Gyan swarup Gupta

  19. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    i am pleased to announce the publication of my fifth research paper in a peer-reviewed journal

    this deals with the origin of Brahmi . this is a logical and self-explanatory paper and is written using a multi-disciplinary approach. it is written in such a way that anybody can cross-verify the conclusions.

    sujay rao mandavilli

  20. Gyan Swarup Gupta Says:

    The above are the Indus Seals found in Middle-East. People are disputing the language of the Indus Valley and feel that it cannot be deciphered unless some sort of Rossetta stone is found having the Indus language and some other language. However it is not possible nor desirable to wait indefinitely for such Rossetta to be found. The list is from Shree Mahadevan’s book Indus Script.
    We will try to read the seals from the middle-east simply because it can be written in either Sumerian language or the Indus language. Fortunately for us the script of both Sumer and Indus valley are the same and as such we can find the value of various signs used in the script on the seals. There is another advantage for us in that we have a book ‘Nirukta’ written by Yaska, which various signs of the Indus Script and their pronunciation and the meaning for which it is used in the Vedas. Some scholars say that the Nirukta gives the etymology of Sanskrit words, when actually there is no etymology of any word instead it gives the word represented by the various signs. Scholars have again estimated the date of the book to be written in 7th century CE. However if we look at the contents we find many references to events in history, which only points out that the period when it was written could not be later than 18th century BCE. We may also keep in mind that both books which give us the Sumerian signs i.e. ‘ZATU’ and ‘Proto-Cuneiform Texts from Jemset Nasr’ mention that the pronunciation of Sumerian words is not known and it may actually differ from that given in the books.
    We may try to read the writings on some of the seals given above from the Middle-East.
    1. We will look at the seal no. 9853 which contains only two signs. The signs are a bird within a bracket and a man from whose shoulders two lines on either side from neck to thighs. The picture on the seal is that of a humped bull eating from a trough. The secret lies with this sign. In the sign list given in Zeichenliste Der Archaschen Tdexts Aus Uruk or in short Zatu, no 447 we find a sign i.e. a line obviously from shoulder to thing which is a part of the sign which had it on both sides of a man. Obviously the man denotes that the sign shows a person not some other thing. The name of the sign is given as ‘si’. We have noted above that the scholars have given it that the pronunciation of Sumerian words is not known and it may be different than given. We have seen that Nirukta is not a book of etymology of Sanskrit words but gives the name of signs of the Indus Script and their meaning. As both the scripts Indus and Sumerian are the same and the name of the signs must be same, hence we look at Nirukta if we find either ‘si’ or a similar word. There is no ‘si’ but a word ‘sir’ सीर . ‘Sir’ means according to Nirukta Sun and is found in Rigveda( 4.57.5) as well. It is found in Nirukta 9.34. We may see that the word ‘sir’ is also accompanied by the picture of a bird which implies that it is related to something in the sky i.e. Sun. We may also note that picture on the seal is that of a humped bull. Bull is somehow connected with the Sun and whenever it is shown it means Sun as also the he-goat which is said to draw the chariot of the Sun. Hence the seal depicts Sun and as it is too small to be a message it must be an amulet.
    2. We may look at the seal no. 9901. It consists of four signs and the picture of a short-horned bull on the seal. We may look at the seal from the right. The first sign is read as ‘sir’ ‘सीर’ which as we have seen above means Sun. The nest letter is a Sumerian sign ‘gu4. We have noted that he pronunciation of Sumerian words is not known and may vary. It appears that the word may be ‘go’ in Indus script. ‘Go’ is defined as meaning bull but as per Nirukta wherever ‘go’ meaning bull occurs it is to be read as ‘Aditya’ i.e. Sun. So here it is Sun. Both words mean ‘Sun’. Two words meaning the same is to assure the readers that means Sun. The other two signs are identical. They are not found in the Sumerian sign-list. However we may note that they are a replica of the tree with two branches between which the deity is standing in seal no. FEM 430. So the signs are meant to indicate that it represents the deity i.e. Sun. The whole seal thus means that it shows the Sun. It must be an amulet to be kept safely.
    We can thus read the Indus script with the help of Sumerian script both being identical. We may also note that the indus sign list as found from the Seals is not complete and hence to base our thesis on them is not easy.
    Can somebody tell us if ‘सीर’ belongs to some other language than Vedic Sanskrit.

    Gyan Swarup Gupta

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