The Second Conference of Michael Witzel at Madras University

The Second Conference of Michael Witzel at Madras University

The so-called second conference[1] of Michael Witzel has been arranged at the Auditorium of the Madras University, Marina campus. Before the auditorium, there was a Police jeep with 8 police men and women!

When I entered by 11 am, there were only 8 or 9 persons. In the first row Michael Witzel was sitting with Iravatham Mahadevan. Prof Dass, HOD of Sanskrit Department was looking at the entrance anxiously. I sat in the last row and a police in plain cloth was starring at me.

Prof Dass, HOD, Sanskrit department (11.05 to 11.15): Then by 11.05 am, he decided to start the “Conference” and thus Witzel and Mahadevan went to the podium and sat. Prof Dass started introducing Witzel, as he was coming there after 6 years. Pointing to Iravatham Mahadevan, he recalled his paper presented at “The International Seminar on Indian Knowledge System”, that was organized there. Then he proceeded to eulogizes him in his own way: “MW needs no introduction, as he is well known from Harvard University. Harvard University Professor is the most elite in the world……………. He visited the department only for the purpose of seeing the manuscripts[2]. He also observed our activity of ‘catalogum catalogue’ of manuscripts project going on there. We request the professor guidance for it. I assure that it would be completed by 2012. Witzel would talk about important topic. I end with a saying from Mahabhasya, where it is said that one should not live / leave with a doubt. ……..If you do not understand (Phylogeny and Epigenetics), it does not mean it is ugly…whatever lecture, he gives, and we should understand and continue our research”.

Iravatham Mahadevan (11.15 to 11.25 a.m): “Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Gurudevo Maheswara; Guru sakshat Parabrahma tasmai sri kuruve Namaha” reciting this sloka[3], he started speaking: “WItzel has been the greatest expert in Vedic Sanskrit particularly in Rigvedic. …..I met him six years back at the Harvard University in connection with my publication of the book[4] and at that time, he received me and took me to go around the University[5] and the great library. To be frank with you, I do know about the topic, ”Phylogeny[6] and  Epigenetics and origin of languages”. From “gen”, I could understand that it is something connected with “production” or “origin” = to born, to produce…..I think he is going to show the unity of Indo-European languages.

“There has been misunderstanding about Michael Witzel and his work. Some two days ago, when Prof Witzel was invited to deliver his lecture at Madras Sanskrit College, some misguided elements tried to disturb the meeting and they distributed handouts. Of course, we have difference of opinion, but we should not resort to such methods. There could be difference of opinion, but we should respect our guests, as we believe in “Adhiti devo bhava” (treating / honoring the guests).  I too have difference with him about his fundamental view that Indus script was not a system of writing at all, but I cannot take a gun and shoot him…….Indian culture is pluralistic and tolerant………We believe in Ekam sat bhauta vadhanti…..Such was our attitude. In the west, there was conflict between the Church and the State…. But in India we have great leaders. Buddha taught band showed a different way ………In south, we have Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. Each wrote his own Bhasya, but their followers co-existed. “Therefore, such intolerant attitude is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu and they do disservice to our nation. Such elements are confined to the fringe of our society…..In this context, I should tell few words about Ashoka who lived 2300 years ago. I request the Sanskrit scholars to read Pali verses of the inscription and memorize in the heart. I read what the Girnar inscription says[7]

[“The individual morality that Asoka hoped to foster included respect (//susrusa//) towards parents, elders, teachers, friends, servants, ascetics and brahmins — behavior that accords with the advice given to Sigala by the Buddha (Digha Nikaya, Discourse No. 31). He encouraged generosity (//dana//) to the poor (//kapana valaka//), to ascetics and brahmins, and to friends and relatives. Not surprisingly, Asoka encouraged harmlessness towards all life (//avihisa bhutanam//). In conformity with the Buddha’s advice in the Anguttara Nikaya, II:282, he also considered moderation in spending and moderation in saving to be good (//apa vyayata apa bhadata//). Treating people properly (//samya pratipati//), he suggested, was much more important than performing ceremonies that were supposed to bring good luck. Because it helped promote tolerance and mutual respect, Asoka desired that people should be well-learned (//bahu sruta//) in the good doctrines (//kalanagama//) of other people’s religions. The qualities of heart that are recommended by Asoka in the edicts indicate his deep spirituality. They include kindness (//daya//), self-examination (//palikhaya//), truthfulness (//sace//), gratitude (//katamnata//), purity of heart (//bhava sudhi//), enthusiasm (//usahena//), strong loyalty (//dadha bhatita//), self-control (//sayame//) and love of the Dhamma (//Dhamma kamata//).”][8]

“Thus, I conclude; “Om Sahaba bavatu, sahanam bunaktu, saha viryamm karvavahai; tejastu navathi thamastu ma vidhyi savahai, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti hi.”

Prof Miuchael Wizel: 11.25-12.30: “I came here visiting several places. I visited Mahabalipuram and several institutions…..I saw the catalogue work………… My colleagues have also come down here[9]…….When I met Raghavan, he was wearing the traditional dress…. In connection with Silver Jubliee, I was invited by the Hyderabad people. .I try to avoid the emotional and political content of my topic…………My topic is about the history of development of languages. It involves several fields – biology, genetics, etc……I have already given this talk………(at Bangalore / Hyderabad). ………….When I ask shepherd how does he call a goat, he says “meka”, but that word looks like Danish. Some may be thinking that Sanskrit is the oldest language, but it is seriously questioned based on scientific study………..the speech of men was compared with that of Chimpanzee. However, Chimpanzee could produce about 150 signs, but not all like man. The words of each language have specific use and connotation. In Indian languages, “Rama gives book” would be of “Rama book gives” type (He was showing PP hurriedly and skipping. He was showing the skull and jaw portions of Neanderthal and other man-types).

“Chimpanzee & ANM Human (Liberman)” 75 – 65 kya[10] some people stayed here (in India), some went to SEA and some to Australia. How can we say about the language spoken at that time? For that I have a scheme.

“Indo-European Reconstruction: Taking few words, I explain this. Father Heaven is found in IE languages as follows:

Sanskrit Dyau-pitr Pitaram
German Zeus pitar Pitram
Latin In-piper patram
Greek In pira
PIE Dieus putr

Similarly hasti-haesti- asti-esti- sti-is (he/she/it is) comes like this. So also “They are” can be explained.

Even in numbers different words are used. For example, the following words are used in Indian languages and thus, what Punjabi is speaking is not understood by Tamil.

Hindi Tamil Munda
Ek Onru
Do Irandu
Thin Munru
Char Nangu
Panch Ainthu
Cha Aru
Sat Ezhu
At Ettu
Nau Onpathu
das pattu

“Thus, the Indian lanuages have diversity and such system is not understood by others…..

“[The presence in Vedic Sanskrit of a number of phonetic, morphological and syntactical features alien to other Indo-European languages but common to the Burushaski[citation needed], Dravidian and Munda languages, as well as the presence of non-Indo-European vocabulary, is generally held by scholars to be due to a local substratum of Dravidian, Munda, a combination of both[1], another, lost prefixing language (“Para-Munda”, Witzel 1999) as well as proto-Burushaski [2] and some other lost languages spoken around 1000 BCE in northwestern and northern South Asia. Prominent examples, adduced by Kuiper (1967, 1991) include: phonologically, there is the introduction of retroflexes, which alternate with dentals; morphologically there are the gerunds; and syntactically there is the use of a quotative marker (“iti”).[3] A few words in the Rigveda and progressively more words in later Vedic texts were identified as being loanwords principally from Dravidian but with some forms traceable to Munda,[1] Proto-Burushaski,[2] and many to neither of these language families, thus indicating a source in one or more lost languages, such as Para-Munda (Witzel 1999).]

“Proto-human language (Ruhlen)[11]: Here, how certain words are found common in different lanuages. He was showing a table (as shown in the reference below in the foot notes. But he was explaing with the first 6 columns):

Language   Who?   What?   Two   Water   One/Finger  ,

“Out of African movement: According to Metspalu 2005, there is “out of Africa movement” is there (he was showing a drawn map). [Genetic markers transmitted through either the maternal or paternal line have been used to trace the great human migrations since Homo sapiens emerged in Africa. But attempts to trace the evolution of languages have met with less success, partly because of the impact on languages of untraceable political and economic upheavals. Metspalu and colleagues analyzed inherited variations in a huge number of samples – almost 3000 – of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) taken from natives of the Near East, Middle East and Central Asia, as well as North and East Africa. mtDNA is inherited through the maternal line, and by comparing their data with existing data on European, Indian, Siberian and other Central Asian populations, the researchers were able to create a comprehensive phylogenetic map of maternal lineages diverging from Africa and spreading towards Europe and Asia. Working in collaboration with language specialists, they found that this movement 10,000 years ago, which was probably centred on Ethiopia, could well have been responsible for seeding the Afro- Asiatic language from which all modern Arab-Berber languages are descended. The same genetic detective work has confirmed archeological evidence that the biggest movement out of Africa occurred around 50,000 years ago – which is when Africans first settled in other continents – and that it originated in a small East African population. The same genetic detective work has confirmed archeological evidence that the biggest movement out of Africa occurred around 50,000 years ago – which is when Africans first settled in other continents – and that it originated in a small East African population[12].]

“A fairly large number of words have been tentatively traced back to the ancestor language, based on the occurrence of similar sound-and-meaning forms in languages across the globe. The best-known such vocabulary list is that of John Bengtson and Merritt Ruhlen (1994), who identify 27 “global etymologies”. The following table, adapted from Ruhlen (1994b), lists a selection of these forms. (he showed another picture from Scientific American[13]).

“Different language groups existed thus in different areas (showing a map through PP). Dravidian languages were spoken in the Southern area (showing the four states – Tamilnadu, AP, Kerala and Karnataka), “Former Dravidian areas” (showing Maharastra), Indus (Sindhu area), Lanuage-X (UP), Khasi ( Assam ), ……..”Former Austro-Asiatic Areas?” (was shown in between the UP and MP from IVC / Rajasthan to Orissa)…..Based on “Place-names”, some scholars have shown more Dravidian words were spoken in the “Former Dravidian areas” and it is shown accordingly.

“In the case of Sri Lanka, though it appears Indo-Aryan superficially, the substratum has been Munda language. This pattern could be seen in other areas also.

“One scholar took words used in UPO area which are used for agriculture taking from Hindi and found that none of the words are from Hindi or any other Indian language, so he assigned Language-X to it. In fact, he should have taken all languages into account in his study.

Dravdian words are not my study. As Travatham Mahadevan pointed out, we can decide it amicably. So I give some references. Based on Krishnaswamy 2003 book, the Dravidian languages have been like this (showing a Dravidian language family) – various Dravidian languages.

“SARVA project[14] going on in Japan (He has given the following website showing a chart. http://www.aa.tufs.ac.jp/sarva/entrance.html, but it asks a password).

“N-S Cline of Autosomal Data: This is based on the study done by Hyderabad people. And it is unpublished. They have brought out data on such genetic studies about the people of India. Their data represented show that the south Indian tribals and Kashmir Brahmins belonged to the same stock. But still, you can find some groups are left out or fall outside the pattern represented. Who are those people? They are from Assam, Nagas and others.

“Epigenetics[15] – (showing a plain map featuring Central Asia at the centre). Kupier discussed about the epigenetics of the language formation starting at the central Asia and spreading out.

(He showed his concluding   PP as follows):

  • Reflexes (pronounced by bending the tongue back) as in ta, ta, na, ca etc.
  • Found in most Indian languages, but originally not in Tibeto-Burmese and in Munda (ex.d)
  • Heaviest concentration in the north-west even with palatals, c, ch, jh and vowels [Kalashup]
  • It is regional pattern……………………(he removed the slide).

Thus, I conclude my speech.

A professor, Calcutta: First, one professor from Calcutta asked about the migration and MW answered that linguistic migration is different.

KVR questions Witzel at MU Marina campus auditorium

KVR questions Witzel at MU Marina campus auditorium

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao: I am Ramakrishna Rao from Chennai, an independent researcher. I would like to ask specific questions. With reference to the diagram, where the languages are shown with stratum, substratum, layered formation, overlapping etc., the following specific questions are asked:

  1. How the same stratum pattern is not formed in all parts of India?
  1. How such language stratum forming pattern could be correlated and corroborated with the strategraphical studies in the archaeological and linguistic contexts?
  1. What are all material evidences to prove such pattern formation exactly as you try to postulate?
  1. Can it be applicable to the study in the context of script, language and literature?
  1. How much time it takes to happen for such pattern?

Michael Witzel: The archaeological evidences do not support such pattern formation……….. Discussion is based on the available material evidences………. As I told, Hun is found in the European languages now only………….. There would be 1000 years variation in determination of dates.

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao: Then, why you make conclusive statements? Do not force your views on others.

Michael Witzel: The study is based on scientific method.

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao: Yes, what I am asking is also on scientific basis only. But, the same stuff is repeated again and again that was told some sixty years ago. You are also telling the same thing differently like Max Mueller.

Michael Witzel: Max Mueller belonged to 18th century, but we are in 21st century.

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao: Yes. But you are also talking like him[16] about dolicocephalic dictionary, brachycephaic linguists etc.

Michael Witzel: My study is based on scientific data and information.

Prof Dass, IM, Witzel and Rao at MU Marina campus auditorium

Prof Dass, IM, Witzel and Rao at MU Marina campus auditorium

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao: I am also asking on the basis of scientific principles only. I give one more example – When Pingala could have evolved about binary numbers some 2000 years ago, how the same has been repeated again now?

Then I propose a simple experiment. Call one Sanskrit Pundit here. Let him recite a Sanskrit sloka. You are a Sanskrit Professor, you repeat it. Here is our scholar, Iravatham Mahadevan, let him also recite it. I do not know Sanskrit, but I will also recite it. You record the sounds. And then can you explain the differences based on your study [phylogenetics or epigenetics]?

Here, Iravatham Mahadevan intervened standing up.

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao: Sir, morning you were telling about the incidence happened two days back. Now the question is about intellectual discussion. It is only academic. Intellectual issues are to be faced intellectually, academic issues are to be faced academically [IM was moving towards the podium].

[There was some discussion between Witzel’s assistant and Rao, who were sitting in the second row. I could not listen to from sitting from the last row]

Iravatham Mahadevan (from the podium): The intellectual discussion could continue, but as the President of the meeting, let it be concluded with a vote of Thanks.

Prof. Das: Mr Rao, we will arrange a conference, where we can discuss about it.

However, two persons asked questions asking whether his findings were against Darwinian principle and so on.

Vote of Thanks: [The lady, who was making some comments in between and even asked questions and doubts in between Witzel’s lecture, delivered the vote of Thanks[17]]

Then the Sanskrit department staff and students posed for a photograph on the podium.

I came out. I saw Haran collecting a folder from the police. Later I understood that brought the handouts for distribution, but the Police took and allowed him inside to listen the lecture.

  • Really, it is surprising that for such a meager audience, Iravatham Mahadevan should have brought two loads for police to protect the Harvard Sanskrit Professor, in the secular India.
  • While he talks about the pluralist India and all in the context of non-violence, how he could have conceived wrongly about the Madras / Chennai audience, who could react “violently” against Witzel?
  • With that meager audience for such a BIG Harvard Universiry Professor of Sanskrit, they could have brought van-load or even lorry-loads of audience as per the present sampradhaya[18] of Tamils or Indians, so that Witzel’s honour could have been saved!
  • The Harvard Elite Sanskrit Professor could not face the Chennai audience or answer questions.
  • Witzel has been evasive in answering questions.
  • In fact, he did not answer the questions directly, though specific and pointed answers were asked [as per the directions of IM].
  • As on 06-07-2009 []Madras Sanskrit College], he did not answer one of two questions, here on 08-07-2009 [Sanskrit Department, Madras University], virtually he did not answer at all.

Let us have more conferences.

MU Sanskrit dept scholar, KVR, Witzel at MU Maina campus auditorium

MU Sanskrit dept scholar, KVR, Witzel at MU Maina campus auditorium

Note: This has been prepared based on the notes noted down during the meeting. There are some points to be clarified. And therefore, certain points may be added or amended accordingly later. Here, the entire proceedings have been taped and the tape would give more details. Therefore, anybody wants to check up the proceedings, they could verify from the tape available with the Sanskrit Department, Madras University. Unfortunately, the proceedings were not videographed [also in Sanskrit college], as otherwise, it could have been an evidence to prove the capabilities of Prof Witzel.

Vedaprakash

09-07-2009


[1] The number may change, as Wizel is going obn having Conferences at different places as our Indian collaborators have been so accommodative to the American friends, they are having “conferences” that too, one or two in a day! Already, he was at Bangalore / Hyderabad presenting the paper of the same title “Phylogenetics or Epigenetics…………”. On 07-07-2009, he was at Pondicherry. Yesterday (08-07-2009) afternoon, there was a conference at Roja Mutthaiah Hall, Tharamani and today (09-07-2009) he is speaking at Indian Heritage Centre / JNU.

[2] To what extent he is still interested in Indian manuscripts is to be noted.

[3] Really, it is surprising that he started with a Sanskrit sloka, as he pretends to be a pucca secularist!

[4] Iravatham Mahadevan, Early Tamil Epigraphy: From the Earliest to the Sixth Century A. D, Cre-A: Chennai and the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, USA, 2003.

[5] IM has recorded in his book: “I received an offer from Prof. Michael Witzel, the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, USA, to have the work published in the Harvard Oriental Series (HOS). I thank him for honour and I am also grateful to my friend, Mr N. Ram, Frontline, Chennai, who had earlier introduced me to Prof. Witzel”, p.x of PREFACE.

[6] Evolution is regarded as a branching process, whereby populations are altered over time and may speciate into separate branches, hybridize together, or terminate by extinction. This may be visualized in a phylogenetic tree. The problem posed by phylogenetics is that genetic data are only available for the present, and fossil records (osteometric data) are sporadic and less reliable. Our knowledge of how evolution operates is used to reconstruct the full tree.[3] Thus, a phylogenetic tree is based on a hypothesis of the order in which evolutionary events are assumed to have occurred.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylogenetics

[7] http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.htmlv

[8] As he read out fastly, I could not take down and hence quoting from the reference given. And that is why this paragraph is given in the brackets.

[9] However, he has not naed “his colleagues” who have come down to Chennai or any other place of India. It is also not known who are they, where are they, what Conferences they are going to conduct etc., and other details.

[10] Ky = Kilo years = 1000 years; thus 75 kya = 75,000 years ago YBP

[11] The term Proto-Human is one of a number of terms sometimes used to designate the hypothetical most recent common ancestor of all the world’s spoken languages. It has been used by the linguists Harold Fleming [2] and John Bengtson (2007).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-World_Language

[12] http://www.geocities.com/nilevalleypeoples/nilevalleynews.htm

[13] Scientific American, April 1991, p. 145.

[14] The SARVA (South Asia Residual Vocabulary Assemblage) Project, http://www.aa.tufs.ac.jp/sarva/SARVA.pdf

[15] Kupier, Epigenetics?, 1967.

Epigenetics (as in “epigenetic landscape“) was coined by C. H. Waddington in 1942 as a portmanteau of the words genetics and epigenesis.[5] Epigenesis (see contrasting principle of preformationism) is an older word to describe the differentiation of cells from their initial totipotent state in embryonic development. When Waddington coined the term the physical nature of genes and their role in heredity was not known; he used it as a conceptual model of how genes might interact with their surroundings to produce a phenotype.

[16] Incidentally, Sankaranarayanan compared him with Max Mueller singing a Sanskrit sloka. Therefore, the concept of Max Mueller to Michael Witzel to attack India has been significant. The only difference is that the former did not see India, but later had lived in India, with Indians and understood the weakness of the Indians, so that they would go on arrange “conferences”. After going to Harvard, they would publish books through Cambridge and Oxford declaring that the Sanskrit Pundits of India fell at his feet and acknowledged their defeat. They even honoured him with a title – “…….” Conferred on him at the Sanskrit College Madras by a great Sanskrit Pundit. Of course, soon or later, some Sanskrit Professor of Madras would get a chance to fly to Harvard and he would be treated nicely by the Americans.

[17] She might be another Professor of the Sanskrit Department.

[18] Just like “secularism”, “communalism” etc., now Witzel has taught us about and introducing “sampradhaya”. So let us use it in his context.

24 Responses to “The Second Conference of Michael Witzel at Madras University”

  1. M. Nachiappan Says:

    It is surprising to note as to how the Sanskrit scholars, historians and others kept quite?

    The scholars mentioned have been of reputed categories and that they should have accommodated such Indian-baiting foreigners is also surprising.

    I remember some years back, Dr R. Nagaswamy wrote against Michael Witzel, but he was lamenting that “The Hindu” was not publishing his response articles.

    Actually, scholars like him should have attended his lecture and exposed him.

  2. evanquepe Says:

    Unadulterated words, some authentic words dude. Made my day!

  3. ownerremn Says:

    Waow loved reading this article. I added your feed to my reader!

  4. Omega Graban Says:

    I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles.Great post, You make 100% right points in a concise and pertinent fashion, I will read more of your stuff, many thanks to the author

    • vedaprakash Says:

      Really, I should thank Michael witzel for getting this type of responses! As he in the Harvard University, kindly send the responses to him also, so that he would be more happy!

  5. ownerremn Says:

    Lots of people write about this subject but you wrote down really true words!!

    • vedaprakash Says:

      Thank you.

      As for as the visit of Michael Witzel to India, the hype created exosed only his real status of “Professor of Sanskrit”.

      The same thing happened to Gustav Oppert, the Sanskrit Professor of Madras University, when he tried to misinterpret “Salagrama / Shiva worship” as phallic!

      Of course, at that time he had to face Swami Vivekananda and the Sanskrir Professor could not understand the verses, he recited fluently from Atharava Veda. He gave explanation in English to prove the western thinking of “Salagrama / Shiva worship” as phallic was totally baseless and wrong.

  6. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    Please go through this. It is in two parts …and is a 150 page, solution for the so-called Aryan problem, published in a peer-reviewed journal.
    It is the longest research paper in the humanities in the history of India since independance and follows as interesting approach. Anyone who
    refutes one part of the hypothesis will contradict himself somewhere else,

    It also provides methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans.

    – Part one is just a high level overview with proof

    – Part two is a detailed century by century model (This is the most important part) contains methods to reconstruct the languages of the IVC

    Part one http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1324506

    Part Two http://ssrn.com/abstract=1541822

  7. karigar Says:

    Thanks Vedaprakash for attending and sharing the notes with readers. Witzel & his favor seeking Indian ‘buddies’ have a good game going as long as knowledgeable Indians play shy & don’t challenge their game…glad to see this happening more & more, wher the Good Herr Professor is a bit…shall we say…tongue tied….

    BTW, I came here searching for background on Sujay Rao Mandavilli…so far no luck, although I see the same papers he publicizes here being publicized elsewhere….

  8. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    please find the full papers

    Here is my complete , comprehensive solution to the so-called Aryan problem
    Part one is a high level overview. Part two is much more interesting
    This is one of the longest research papers published in a peer-reviewed journal since independance.
    Part 2 is particularly important
    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/27103044/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One
    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/27105677/Sujay-Npap-Part-Two
    > Mirror:
    > http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25880426/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One
    > http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25865304/SUJAY-NPAP-Part-Two
    Links to the journal
    Part one http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1324506
    Part Two http://ssrn.com/abstract=1541822

    part 2 is important – while there was noInvasion, the IVC cannot be vedic – Sanskrit was a liturgical language , not the language of the masses, Vedic culture originated in the Vedic homeland, the IVc originated in baloochistaan, thae harappans ate beef , wrote right to left – kenoyer, possehl laugh at the VT

  9. 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.

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  10. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    The Harappans had the oldest “signboard” in the world, apparently. They mass produced writing (or “writing”) . According to Parpola, 1/10th of
    Mohendodaro (100 square metres) has yielded 2100 seals (with 9000 characters?). Or more than one character per person. I declare the Indus the most literate civilization on earth as every body could ‘read and write’ – Farmer.
    This makes the debate so shallow it is nearly ridiculous. After all what then is the difference beteween the Indus and civilizations which did not yield any trace of writing? History is a subject after all and is taught everywhere in the world. Don’t mislead people deliberately and try to deceive them by using wrong terminology!

  11. samson Says:

    Am studying msw degree in regular i want notes about ist semester

  12. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    September 24, 2010 at 8:37 am | Reply
    Please find the response by Steve farmer . He is happy that India is no longer represented in a new book. Then why do they have to be indologists? Let them resign. This is not an isolated instance. This happens with them all the time.

    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:

    http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/oimp/

    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

    P.S Indology should flourish in Harvard and elsewhere – that is what we all want . But is this the ideal? I invite other commentors to judge. This is not an isolated instance!!

  13. 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.

  14. sujayrao2012@gmail.com Says:

    Literacy in pre-Buddhist India (before 600 BC)

    Please find my collection of papers on literacy in Pre-Buddhist India

    Before mature phase of Indus valley civilization (before 2600 BC)

    – There are some potters marks but none qualify as full writing

    Indus valley civilization (2600 BC to 1900 BC)

    1. The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script thesis (very logical and self explanatory paper)

    2. The reintroduction of the lost manuscript hypothesis (the case for this thesis has obviously become much stronger in the recent past)

    Post-Harappan India (1600 BC to 600 BC)

    1. Literacy in post-Harappan india (obviously literacy in post-Harappan India existed in certain pockets & were limited to very small sections of society- alphabetic scripts were brought from West Asia and the Indus script also continued – this a very logical and self-explanatory paper and anyone can cross-verify the conclusions)

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  15. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    I am publishing my sixth research paper directly online as it is an extension of my previous papers. Kindly read pages 4 to 18 as it contains a detailed discussion of the term ‘Aryan’. This paper explains why the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus theories are not tenable.

    Methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans were presented in the present and previous papers.

    The older papers were written taking the 19th century school of Indology as a base and working backwards. These may appear to be outdated now (at the end of our very long journey). However, the fundamentals are still correct

    Part one

    Part Two very,very important!

    the first 5 papers were published in peer-reviewed journals — Preceding unsigned comment added by 182.72.239.115 (talk) 17:51, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli sujayrao2012@gmail.com
    Kalyanaraman was kind enough to create a page with my papers!

  16. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    The Demise of the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus myths

    I am publishing my sixth research paper directly online as it is an extension of my previous papers. Kindly read pages 4 to 18 as it contains a detailed discussion of the term ‘Aryan’. This paper shows why the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus theories are not tenable.

    Methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans were presented in the present and previous papers. We hope other scholars take up the exercise of reconstructing the languages of the Indus Valley civilization!

    The older papers were written taking the assumptions of the 19th century school of Indology as a base and working backwards. These may appear to be outdated now (at the end of our very long journey). However, the fundamentals are still correct.

    Part one

    Part Two very,very important!

    (These comprise the complete and comprehensive solution to the Aryan problem)

    for those who have trouble reading part two in the above link use the link below:

    part two
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25865304/SUJAY-NPAP-Part-Two

    Literacy in pre-Buddhist India (before 600 BC)

    Literacy in pre-Buddhist India (before 600 BC)

    Please find my collection of papers on literacy in Pre-Buddhist India

    Before mature phase of Indus valley civilization (before 2600 BC)

    – There are some potters marks but none qualify as full writing

    Indus valley civilization (2600 BC to 1900 BC)

    1. The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script thesis (very logical and self explanatory paper)

    2. The reintroduction of the lost manuscript hypothesis (the case for this thesis has obviously become much stronger in the recent past)

    Post-Harappan India (1600 BC to 600 BC)

    1. Literacy in post-Harappan india (obviously literacy in post-Harappan India existed in certain pockets & were limited to very small sections of society- alphabetic scripts were brought from West Asia and the Indus script also continued – this a very logical and self-explanatory paper and anyone can cross-verify the conclusions)

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  17. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    some people complianed that some links were troublesome.. i have provided alternative links (as applicable)

    Yes.. the “aryan problem” isn’t complex .. just break it down into its logical components!

    The Demise of the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus myths

    I am publishing my sixth research paper directly online as it is an extension of my previous papers. Kindly read pages 4 to 18 as it contains a detailed discussion of the term ‘Aryan’. This paper shows why the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus theories are not tenable.

    Methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans were presented in the present and previous papers. We hope other scholars take up the exercise of reconstructing the languages of the Indus Valley civilization!

    The older papers were written taking the assumptions of the 19th century school of Indology as a base and working backwards. These may appear to be outdated now (at the end of our very long journey). However, the fundamentals are still correct.

    Part one

    Part Two very,very important!

    (These comprise the complete and comprehensive solution to the Aryan problem)

    for those who have trouble reading part two in the above link use the link below: part one http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25880426/Sujay-NPAP-Part-One part two (very important) http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25865304/SUJAY-NPAP-Part-Two Literacy in pre-Buddhist India (before 600 BC)

    Literacy in pre-Buddhist India (before 600 BC)

    Please find my collection of papers on literacy in Pre-Buddhist India

    Before mature phase of Indus valley civilization (before 2600 BC)

    – There are some potters marks but none qualify as full writing

    Indus valley civilization (2600 BC to 1900 BC)

    1. The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script thesis (very logical and self explanatory paper)

    2. The reintroduction of the lost manuscript hypothesis (the case for this thesis has obviously become much stronger in the recent past)

    Post-Harappan India (1600 BC to 600 BC)

    1. Literacy in post-Harappan india (obviously literacy in post-Harappan India existed in certain pockets & were limited to very small sections of society- alphabetic scripts were brought from West Asia and the Indus script also continued – this a very logical and self-explanatory paper and anyone can cross-verify the conclusions)

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  18. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/173667228/SUJAY%20HISTORIOGRAPHY%20BY%20OBJECTIVES%20FINAL%20FINAL%20FINAL.pdf

    pleased to present my new paper’ historiography by objectives’ this delineates a theoretical framework for the study of history in the 21st century and exposes the perils/pitfalls of all ideology driven approaches. it also probes the histirians duties towards society

    My previous papers on the Aryan problem are here.. calling more mainstream researchers to take up research on Ancient India.
    http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2013/04/defining-meluhha-demise-of-dravidian.html
    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  19. Sujay Rao Mandavilli Says:

    his is with respect to a recent article on the Saraswathi River in ‘The Hindu’ dated 17-04-2015. The identification of the Saraswathi River with the Ghaggra-Hakkar is accepted by leading archaeologists such as the much-respected late Dr Gregory Possehl as well and I don’t think any other scenario is feasible- readers may go through material published by him and other scholars in this regard. This is because of the following factors (a) The River Saraswathi explains the desertification of Rajasthan. (b) It also explains the transfer of populations to the Ganga-Yamuna doab in around 1900 BC. (c) The Indus Valley Civilization could not have flourished or taken shape with the Thar Desert sitting right in the middle and large cities on either side of the Thar Desert. However, the IVC was pre-Vedic as was explained in my papers, and the transfer of power happened through a series of acculturations. THE RIVER SARASWATHI DOES NOT PROVE THAT THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION WAS VEDIC. If this was the case, the IVC should have been pronounced Vedic a long time ago, as the Sindhu was known in the RV!

    This is not the first time such a trend has been observed- and Marxist historians are possibly as biased and prejudiced as Hindutvavaadins themselves. For example, conservative western scholars such as Witzel have often called for a reconstruction of history from Vedic and other texts- Marxist historians seem to have a penchant for claiming that effectively nothing existed before 600 BC. Even Edward Luce and Edwin Bryant suggest that Marxist historiography is of questionable neutrality. I would also challenge D N Jha to prove that his book ‘The myth of the holy cow’ is unprejudiced or unbiased or explains all facets of the complex issue impartially. I even have the following quote of Irfan Habib “Let us look at why a historian chooses a subject. To give a very mundane example, because I had a Communist background, I chose to work on the agrarian system of Mughal India, at the same time that my friend, the late M. Athar Ali, chose the structure of nobility under Aurangzeb, because, being of a liberal persuasion, he wished to examine how far religious identities impinged on Mughal administrative functioning. We would not have chosen these different topics if our personal predilections were identical. So, even in research work, the very fact that one chooses a particular topic may reflect some previous presumptions about what is more significant in history.” (THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY: Irfan Habib Journal of History and Social sciences Volume: II, Issue I, January-June 2011)

    To reiterate, anyone who adopts a myopic or one-sided view that acts against the interests of science, society and the education system must likewise be exposed through empirical facts and data, and this is a process that must be begun in right earnest. This includes Hindutvavaadins, Marxist scholars, Dravidian nationalists, Euro centrists and Indo centrists, and anyone else for that matter.

    Marxist historiography, like Hindutva, is perhaps a one-sided ideology- it is, if it can be empirically proved, anti-truth, anti-science and anti-progress and is such is sure, like Hindutva, to go into the dustbin and rubbish-heap of history. I have, in my papers, taken the views of several mainstream and non-Hindutva western scholars about how racism and imperialism continue to haunt us to this day. Marxist scholars on the other hand, are silent about the issue – Marxist historiography is one of the pillars of racism and imperialism in India, and as such, one should have no qualms or inhibitions in calling it the Colonial-Marxist-Imperialist school of Indology. Marxist Historiography is also one of the pillars of Hindutva because one kind of a bias legitimizes every other kind of a bias. I have also discussed in my papers why a Marxist historian ceases to be a scholar in the longer term and becomes more of a ‘politician’ acting against the interests of science, society and the education system. Clearly, dogmatic Marxist historiography of the kind practiced in India is biased, one-sided and irrational, and due to this, we declare them anti-national in most respects, even though they may have no mala fide intentions per se. The fact that their approach is one-sided has been pointed out by many other scholars and we are certainly not the first to have done so. In many cases, they may be working against national interest, and in what cases they are working against national interest, they themselves may have no control, given that they may be entirely driven by dogma, unlike that approach that should be ideally adopted by logical-thinking individuals. As has been pointed out Marxist historiography has become synonymous with obsolescence and senility, and this kind of an approach cannot even continue beyond one or two generations, and will lead to depleted intellectual faculties, illogical and irrational behaviour, loss of personal respect and dignity, lowered level of professional competence, and such individuals may frequently act against national interest and interests of science and will inflict, like Hindutva, damage on the education system as well. We will persist with this categorization, however provocative it may seem, till they change, or can at least provide a convincing refutation backed by data. The fact that the average age of the top five Marxist historians in India as of 2015, was around 83 years speaks for itself, and this by itself should serve as an indicator that something is very seriously wrong with their approach. Thus, the obvious conclusions are (a) Marxist historiography in India cannot continue and is doomed to failure (b) It death can come about due to a variety of causes such as death of its practitioners, senility or old age (c) its collapse may also be cataclysmic like the collapse of the Soviet Union and may be brought about by the takeover of the field by other ideologues. (d) Its collapse with be disastrous, as there is no credible alternative approaches to history, and a fossilized-approach has ensured that textbooks have not been updated for decades. (e) Marxist historians are not even interested in combating Hindutva in the longer term. While they undoubtedly did play a major role in exposing Hindutva in the 2000’s, and must be thanked for it, their long-term commitment to the healthy progress of science is under question; the reasons may not be difficult to seek: when an individual starts with a fundamentally wrong premise, and attempts no course corrections over a period of time, he loses a sense of direction, loses his purpose and will eventually cease to act in the interests of science and scholarship. Such approaches also work against the natural process of knowledge-creation, and are against the spirit of innovation, adversely impacting many fields of science. In a recent paper called ‘Historiography by Objectives: A new approach for the study of history within the framework of the proposed Twenty-First Century School of Historiography’, we identified nearly forty key objectives of a historian which would be endorsed with any one with elementary common sense – the performance of Marxist historians in all these parameters as would be very obvious to even a casual observer, has not just been abysmal or sub-par- it has been nothing short of disastrous! All this warrants serious course-corrections in the interests of science and scholarship.

    Indology needs to be modernized, liberated from antiquated nineteenth century paradigms and brought into the 21st century before it is too late. The stakes for all related fields of science and scientific progress in general are simply too huge to be ignored- this time the transition must be led by mainstream scholars and researchers. Unless this happens, and all ideology-driven approaches are driven out from the purview of mainstream scholarship, mainstream scholarship will always be at a risk of losing relevance. However idealistic this may seem to some, this is the crying need of the hour and has to happen. The healthy growth of science and scholarship must override all other vested interests.

    To reiterate, the key objectives of modernizing Indology should be as follows, as these should be obvious to anyone who has read my published papers as well:

    1. To use a scientific study of Indology as a weapon against Hindutva, Marxism, Dravidian nationalism, Euro-centrism, Indo-centrism and other ideology driven approaches.

    2. To use a scientific study of Indology to combat superstition and blind faith as most Indians rely on tradition and blind faith and a scientific reconstruction of history will go a long way in educating the people and can do for India what Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution did in the West.

    3. To use latest theories and acculturation models to help synthesize archaeology and linguistics and help trace the spread of languages in India and elsewhere.

    4. To use latest acculturation models to interface with anthropology and other theories explaining the evolution and spread of humans across the globe.

    5. To help in Indo-Iranian studies and research on the ancient history of Iran.

    6. To help the research of the history of writing systems. Thus, the modernization of Indology and the adoption of latest acculturation models can have a major bearing on the research of writing systems as we have shown in one of our papers.

    7. To help promote indo -US ties and ties between India and other countries as cultural barriers have often led to misunderstandings between Western and Indian scientists/historians and approaches like this will allow scientists from across continents to work together in greater harmony. As Marxist historians are living in a long-bygone age, they may not understand all this.

    8. To help in reconstructing the languages of the Indus valley civilization as approaches to reconstruct the languages of the Indus valley civilization have been presented in these papers.

    9. To help in the research in alphabetic scripts as a very detailed theory on the origin of Brahmi is presented in one of these papers.

    10. To use latest theories as a template for the cultural studies of Ancient India.

    11. To use latest theories as a template to study the invention & dissemination of other technologies such as metallurgy and transportation technology.

    12. To help popularize multi-disciplinary and India-specific approaches for the study of Ancient India.

    13. To popularize approaches based on transparency, collaboration and goodwill among researchers in the interests of advancement of research. (This is certainly not possible so long as Hindutvavaadins, Marxist historians and other ideologues exist.)

    This is a part of a series of posts to create awareness both in the West and in India- particularly in mainstream circles- Indology needs a revolution and a makeover- ask for it in the name of science!

    If this still does not work, we have many other tools at our disposal- all Marxist scholars will be branded imperialist, one-sided, anti-science and anti-truth- just as Hindutva is branded anti-science – and we will prove it empirically- such that they are driven to death’s door. So far Marxist historians may have been lucky as awareness of India related issues in the West is low and because racism and imperialism have always been the pillars of Marxist historiography in India- but that may be about to change.

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

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