SUNDAY MAGAZINE

The Indus script

The article, "Towards a scientific study of the Indus Script" (February 4) is a highly scientific and clear exposition of not only the core problem of deciphering the Indus script but also conclusions that could be drawn from the extensive investigation of the Indus script over the years with the progressively increasing use of the evolving technology. It has thrown some light on the ideologically differing views on the "invasion of the Aryans into India". The article affirms that `Aryan' and `Dravidian' are names of languages and not of races and seems to lend credibility to the assertion that in Vedic literature the term `Dravidian' does not exist and that the term `Aryan' was used only to mean something or someone respectable. I hope that the modern researchers in this field will scrupulously follow the sane advice given by the author. B.K.S. Nair, Thiruvananthapuram
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Iravatham Mahadevan's research endeavours in deciphering the Indus script deserve to be commended. His rational, scientific and unbiased research also shows that the Indus culture and language is more identical to the Dravidian than Vedic culture. As he says, the commitment of ideological neutrality in the field of research is a valuable guideline for all researchers. This is probably the only ancient script to be deciphered and let us be optimistic that it will soon be cleared. Shivakumar Pavate, Banahatti, Karnataka
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Iravatham Mahadevan's statement that the terms Aryan and Dravidian refer to languages and not to races and that research should not get bogged down in false notions of racial and ethnic identities is sound advice from a seasoned researcher. With this, the western theory of Aryan invasion should be a closed chapter. The term, Dravidian' is also said to refer to either the region or the race. Now that it is not a racial epithet and that both languages encouraged intermingling, the artificial segregation should be abandoned in the interest of the unity and integrity of India. K. Panchapagesan, Bangalore
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What interested me in the erudite article by I. Mahadevan was the remark that the Indus script was read from right to left. I was reminded of our history lessons in school and most of the pictures that accompanied the article were of "seals". If that was the case, they should have been read after they were made to cast an impression on a soft base. Dr. Mahadevan's and other scholarly studies have bunked regionalist and other either divisive or unifying theories of Indus valley civilisation. We should treat history, as far as possible, without bias and without fear or favour to socio-political expedience. Dr. Tony George Jacob, Delhi
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Iravatham Mahadevan's article was scientific, informative and refreshingly unbiased. While not holding any brief for the view that the script is Aryan, I do not understand why the learned scholar has described the Indo Aryan as a prefixing type of language. It is universally acknowledged that the all Indo Aryan languages were inflected with suffixes and when they became analytical in the course of time, flexion was still carried out with suffixes. The Upasarga type of prefixes was never used for syntactical purposes. This is a feature of all Indo-European languages. Dr. C. Rajendran University of Calicut, Kozhikode Please send your feedback to sundaypost@thehindu.co.in