The noted epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan made some sound observations which echo the writings of one of the most prominent historians of our time Dr. Dani. Like Dr. Dani Dr. Mahadevan clearly says that the Hindu Aryan culture was distinctly different than the culture of the Indus Valley Civilization which was not Hindu. The IVC did not worship the “Hindu” Pantheon in any sense of the word. The IVC was mostly restriction to the valley of the Indus—however at the tail end of the civilization some of it dispersed into areas beyond the IVC. The map of the original IVC resembles the map of Pakistan as it exists today.
TIRUCHY: The Indian society was composed of elements inherited from groups speaking different languages, because of which it was a composite entity, observed Iravatham Mahadevan, noted epigraphist.
Delivering the History Congress endowment lecture at Tiruchy on Friday, he said that the Indus Valley civilisation predated the Aryan civilisation. While this civilisation was urban, the Vedic culture was rural and pastoral, he added. The Indus seals depicted many animals, like horses and chariots with spoked wheels, which were defining features of the Aryan-speaking society.
Religious worship in the Indus valley focussed on a buffalo-horned male god, mother goddesses, the pipal tree and the serpent, he said.
He added that these practices were known to have been derived from the aboriginal population and were totally unknown to the religion of the Rig Veda.
He explained that the Aryan mode of worship was centred on the fire altar, while the Dravidians had water as the base. He said the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro was a direct forerunner of the temple tanks of Hinduism.
The decline and fall of the Indus valley civilisation is generally attributed to natural causes, such as adverse climatic conditions, tectonic upheavals, changing and dried-up river courses, lowered fertility due to over-exploitation and increased salinity of the soil, he explained. Loosening of social and ideological bonds and internal strife could be other factors that had contributed to the eventual disintegration of the Harappan community, he added.
He said there had been fewer Aryans who had migrated and that they were considerably less in number to the vast indigenous population of the Indus valley civilisation. But, he added, the Aryans became dominant when the Harappans fragmented into smaller units in the absence of a central leadership.
A part of the Harappan population also migrated southwards from the Gangetic region, which is recorded in old Tamil literature, he said.
They gained prominence among the late Neolithic people in south India and later founded the Megalithic and Iron Age civilisations, which formed the base for the Chera, Chola and Pandya kingdoms, he said.
He discussed Aryan and Dravidian legacy in the linguistic sense, without a racial or ethnic connotation. The two cultures intermingled and merged, giving rise to a composite society, he said.
He said that some experts pointed to the presence of only a few Dravidian words in the later sections of the Rig Veda and as such it was deduced that the Indus valley civilisation was Dravidian.
Explaining this anomaly, he said that the highly trained priests of the Vedic age would not have preferred loan words in sacred hymns. ‘Indus Valley predated Aryan culture’. Express News Service. First Published : 11 Oct 2009 03:14:00 AM IST. Last Updated : 11 Oct 2009 07:59:17 AM IST