TAMIL NADU

Rewriting history

Sir,— I was disappointed to read the reported remarks on India being the only former colony not to rewrite history: Reassessing earlier historical writing is an ongoing process in all civilizations. David Frawley and N.S. Rajaram are wrong in claiming that India "has failed to rewrite the history dictated by its former colonial masters". Historiography has not stopped in 1947. Specifically, N.S. Rajaram's "decipherment" of the Harappan seals is not taken seriously by any serious scholar: He even gets the direction of the script wrong. Frawley's "maritime basis of Vedic civilisation" is a similar figment of imagination, dissected at length in the Open Page of The Hindu this summer. The report uncritically follows Frawley's fantasy of identifying the Harappan (Indus) and the Vedic civilisation. The dry bed of the Saraswati and "so also the river "Rishadvati" have been known for more than 100 years. Frawley's "150 references to the ocean in the Rig Veda alone" were dismissed in the Open Page, for lack of the necessary scholarly (Vedic) knowledge. Rajaram's claim of an early "movement of people from India to outside" is based on the wrong translation of "one" Purana passage. His "archaeological and linguistic evidence of this in Iran and Central Asia" is found only in his fertile mind.

Michael Witzel,

Cambridge, U.S.

Sir,— This has reference to your comprehensive report of the work on the latest discoveries and their implications that David Frawley and I presented at a conference in Bangalore ("New light on south Indian civilisation,' Dec. 3). It is time the nation recognised the contribution of the South from the earliest times. I would, however, like to offer a few clarifications.

The underwater discoveries in the Gulf of Cambay were made by Indian divers of the National Institute of Ocean Technology and not American marine archaeologists. Also, Graham Hancock, who produced the video on the findings, is a British writer and not an American. The report also gives me credit for deciphering the Indus (Harappan) script, which is not entirely correct. It is mainly the work of Dr. Natwar Jha, a Vedic scholar living in Mau near Varanasi. I am happy that your correspondent reported the fact that Sir John Marshall had given measurements of the "Mohenjo-Daro horse" as far back as 1931.

This is only one of many pieces of evidence showing that the claim of ``No horse at Harappa'' is baseless. Marshall had also observed that what he called the "Mohenjo-Daro horse" was the smaller "Indian country bred".

N.S. Rajaram,

Bangalore

Recommended for you