What S. Balakrishnan wants in the context of breaking codes of IVC –  how his pro-Tamil and fixed research could bring unbiased results?

What S. Balakrishnan wants in the context of breaking codes of IVC –  how his pro-Tamil and fixed research could bring unbiased results?

Needed coding- Outlook Magazine March 2020

I came across a FB dialogue in the context of Keeladi and it appears interesting and hence, I want to discuss. Actually, it is about the book, “Journey of A Civilization: Indus to Vaigai” by R. Balakrishnan. It has been received by one N. Sathiya Moorthy and appeared in the Outlook magazine dated March 2020. It has been duly circulated / shared by RB and his friends. Of course, there have been comments also. As it involves dating and two civilizations as they mention – Tamil and Vedic, as they decided, the review has been taken up for critical study.

Journey of civilization - book launch Dec.2019

Hindutva and pan-Tamil social media have been rivalling each other in propagating the relative antiquity[1]: The reviewer of R. Balakrishnan book started[2], “At a time when Hindutva and pan-Tamil social media have been rivalling each other in propagating the relative antiquity of the culture and scientific temper of their forebears without challenging each other, R. Balakrishnan keeps it academic, strengthening internal evidence to establish the ‘Dravidian heritage’ of the Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC),” thus, he decided that the groups mentioned have been at loggerheads. However,, the so-called Hindutwa groups have never faced the pro-Tamil groups, in the way the reviewer tried to equate and interpret or compare. The fact has been the pro-Tamil groups have been carrying on aggressive propaganda in all ways, where the Hindutwa groups are no match to them.

Vaigai river civilization, politicized

Does Balakrishnan stays away from controversy?: He went on[3], “Balakrishnan, honorary consul­tant at the Indus Research Centre (IRC) of Chennai’s Roja Muthiah Research Library, has stayed away from controversy, relying instead on scholarship, analytical facts and extensive reading of previous Indus and other archaeological and socio-anthropological studies to establish onomastic[4] linkages, based on commonplace and people names, between IVC and ancient Dravidian/Tamil culture and civilisation.” But, he has been pro-Tamil attitude only without considering the other source materials. RB has been in the habit of reading and interpreting place names as names appearing in the “Sangam literature.” However, he never reads all the names of villages, cities and towns situated in and around such places.

Tamil tons in Afganistan, Pakistan - IVC

Reading the names of villages, cities and towns as Tamil: He went on to explain his methodology as, “It is likely that such a detailed comparison of names of places and persons in present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan on the one hand and ‘Dravidian’ Tamil Nadu on the other would not have been possible without computer software. The linkages that the aut­hor has established between the ‘KVT commonality’ of place names (Korkai, Vanchi and Thondi), among others, in anci­ent Tamil Nadu and present-day Pakistan linked to IVC studies is fascinating”. As long as Balakrishnan could read the names of cities and towns of Afganistan, Sindh, Pakistan etc., it would be that of “arumin” reading of I. Mahadevan. Of course, he declared, “neti, neti,” with caution, but, Ballakishnan has been proceeding with a fixed agenda to prove that everything is Tamil. Ironically, his friend, the so-called “Orissa Balu” has also been doing that wherever he goes[5]. He does not require any historical or archaeological evidences.

R B declaed that IVC was Dravidian 2018

Before Vaigai excavations, Balakrishnan decides its nature: He went on to explain the ongoing excavation as, “The reference to the southern Tamil Nadu river Vaigai in the title relates to the ongoing archaeological research at the Keeladi neighbourhood. Balakrishnan, like many predecessors, has acc­epted a north-south migration as ‘Indus to Vaigai’ suggests, though the rev­erse might have been equally true, given that both civilisations were seafarers of repute and were trading, hence migrating. Alternatively, the two might have co-existed, and one might have outlived the other, about which independent studies may have to be undertaken”. Thus, though, the excavations are going on, he would come to conclusion. In other words, the archaeology should follow what the pro-Tamil researcher order or expect. His suggestion that the migrated people to Vaigai, was talking in Tamil there at IVC, becomes meaningless. If RB accepted a “north-south migration,” then, what about AIT? He has to come out with an explicit stand.

R B declaed that IVC was Dravidian 2016- Tamil book

The people of Maharastra and Gujarat could be speaking Tamil[6]: He went on to explain his looking below Gujarat and Maharastra as, “Balakrishnan has gone further to peel off layers of IVC-Dravidian linkages through a closer study of ‘Dravidian Gujarat’ and ‘Dravid­ian Maharashtra’ in the north and IVC ‘vestiges’ of the Kongu and Nagarathar communities in present-day Tamil Nadu. In particular, his substantial references to IVC-era excavations at Adhichanallur on the banks of the Tamirabarani and later-day works at Keeladi (Keezhadi) on the Vaigai, make the study more relevant”. Thus, the Gujarat and Maharastra people could be speaking Tamil, before they could know Sanskrit or their languages. Without giving any historical evidence, he goes on building hypothesis on hypothesis and concludes.

Keeladi, Outloook dating as 6000 BCE

Keeladi date 6000 BCE?[7]: He went on to explain the datings of Keeladi as, “Recent studies by the Tamil Nadu archaeology department and of the ASI in Keeladi, respectively, in 2003-05 and 2018-19, add value and validation. Dating of the Keeladi excavations has since put ‘Dravidian antiquity’ and the related Tamil-­­Brahmi script older by 3000 years or so, at 6000 BCE. Against this, IVC is commonly dated at 3000-1300 BCE and by some at 5000 BCE. The antiquity of the Vedic Age is put at 1500-1100 BCE”. Thus, here, the cat has come out of the bag.  So they want to go before the Vedic period! This was pointed out by researcher K. V. Ramakrishna Rao in the FB column of Balakrishnan, but, it was reportedly deleted. However, as he posted the same in other “Outlook” sharings, two persons responded – Mani Manivannan and Sivarama KKrishna SK.  Initially, Mani Manivannan was defensive, “I am not sure where 6000 BCE in the article.” However, Sivarama Kkrishnan SK responded, “Sir, it seems it’s outlook magazine view which they have posted in their review or may be a typo error. But not Balakrishnan sir view, he has no where spoken this in his book.” When K. V. Ramakrishna Rao pointed out that it was in circulation, they informed that it was corrected. In other words, the line, “Dating of the Keeladi excavations has since put ‘Dravidian antiquity’ and the related Tamil-Brahmi script older by 3000 years or so, at 6000 BCE,” was changed to, “Dating of the Keeladi excavations has since put ‘Dravidian antiquity’ and the related Tamil-Brahmi script older by 300 years or so, at 600 BCE”.

Keeladi, Outloook corrected dates as 580 BCE

Balakrishnan’s ‘Dravidian hypothesis’[8]: He went on to explain the ‘Dravidian hypothesis’ as, “In contextualising the ‘Dravidian hypothesis’ of the IVC, Balakrishnan readily concedes that a clearer picture could emerge if and only if the ‘Indus Code’ is deciphered, and a bilingual format found to fix the gaps in the current understanding of IVC. In doing so, he stops with establishing name-based connectivity between the two and has stuck to well-accepted ‘migration’ theories, indicating it is the Indus peoples who had moved down south—taking names and place names with them”. Thus, without breaking the code or deciphering the pictogram or script, he has decided that it should be “Dravidian”! In local media, he has been advocating that IVC should be called as “Dravidian land.” How then, he could look at scientifically without bias about the existing evidences. In spite of his claims made, he is not aking the DNA analysis etc., for his interpretation, but sticking to “Dravidian hypotheses” and theories[9].

KVR pointing out Balakrishnan review-outlook-1

IVC was Tamil only, as the place-names could be read, only in Tamil and not in Sanskrit: He went on to argue about the Sangam words as, “Yet, most meanings and explanations that he offers to the words flow from the Sangam literature or other Tamil sources. Considering that Sanskrit and Tamil have varying antiquities, though one might have borrowed words and phrases from the other, most of the person and place-names that the author has identified as common to anc­ient Tamil Nadu and IVC do not find a place in Vedic literature. As he has established, more literary linkages have rem­ained between IVC and ancient Tamil Nadu, rather than between IVC and Vedic north, whichever preceded the other”. How then, he is going to explain the gap of 2250-1950 BCE and 580-300 BCE gap? Why the Sangam people should take more than 2000 years to compose their poetry?

KVR pointing out Balakrishnan review-outlook-2

Balakrishnan has dedicated his work to the late Indus researcher Iravatham Maha­de­van: “Balakrishnan has dedicated his work to the late Indus researcher Iravatham Maha­de­van, who is acclaimed for his work on the ‘Tamil Brahmi’ script. Journey of a Civilisation is a must-read for students of archaeology and socio-anthropology. The publishers should try to take it to a larger audience, through a condensed version, but using com­­monly-spelt names (Silappadikaram ins­­­tead of Cilapaticaram) for the non-academic reader to relate to and identify with,” N. Sathiya Moorthy ended his write-up in this way. And we do not know what ideology he belongs to. Anyway, I Mahadevan had been a dedicated IVC researcher and done excellent work in preparing the concordance.

IVC is Tamil civilization, R. Balakrishnan

The Vaigai Valley Civilisation[10]: About “Vaigai Civilization,” he and his friends discussed and “The Hindu” carried a detailed report last November 2019 with the opinion of the TN government and the ideologists[11]. The Keeladi findings have led academics to describe the site as part of the Vaigai Valley Civilisation. The findings have also invited comparisons with the Indus Valley Civilisation. A researcher of the Indus Valley Civilisation and retired civil servant, R. Balakrishnan, points to the similarities in urban planning between the Indus Valley and Keeladi.  Rajan refers to the cultural gap of 1,000 years between the two places: “This cultural gap is generally filled with Iron Age material in south India. The graffiti marks encountered in Iron Age sites of south India serve as the only residual links between the Indus Valley Civilisation and south India.” Some of the symbols found in potsherds of Keeladi bear a close resemblance to Indus Valley signs. There is already a demand in the region to expand the excavation to more areas along the Vaigai so that there is archaeological evidence to prove the glory of life along the river in the ancient Pandya kingdom. Noted epigraphist V. Vedachalam supports the idea of an extended excavation beginning in Madurai. R. Balakrishnan accepted, However, more excavations have to be carried out in the Vaigai and Tamirabarani regions to conclusively figure out how close the Vaigai civilisation was to the Indus Valley in “temporal terms”. More excavations in the region are required, he says, along with timely submission of reports.

© Vedaprakash

24-02-2020

Keeladi dating-Sivaramakrishnan respose-outlook

[1] Incidentally, on 22-02-2020, the Hindutwa group realigned under “Centre for South India Studies,” arranged a meeting on Keeladi, but, not publicized. Thus, the purpose of the meeting has been defeated. Dr B.S. Harishankar came to Chennai, but, they failed to take advantage, as the media has been mum about the meeting. They should have consulted academicians or the persons who have contacts with historians etc., so that the meeting could have been made more fruitful, instead of keeping it within four walls.

[2] The Outlook, Needed: Indus Code Breakers, N. Sathiya Moorthy 02 March 2020. Review of R. Balakrishnan book

[3] https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/books-needed-indus-code-breakers/302820

[4] Onomastic – has been study of history and origin of proper names, just like etymological study.

[5]  He takes all piece-meal details in photos, news reports and other details and declares that all are Tamil, Tamil was spoken throughout the world and so on.

[6]  I have listened to the speeches of S. Balakrishnan at the auditorium of the Tamil Virtual Academy and I could note that his habitual way of interpreting the poems of Pattuppattu and Ettuttogai in his own way and tries to link with Tamil and Tamil people. He is not worried about  what the Tamil scholas, pundits and related experts have recorded in their commentaries and writings of and about the “Sangam literature.”

[7] About the dating of Kelladi, already, controversy has been going on, as they have not publicly exhibited the dating of other 5 or 6 samples sent to Beta Analytics and dated. I have already pointed out earlier when I asked Beta Analytics, they refused and when I wrote to TN State archaeological department, they have not replied so far. Therefore, under such circumstances, again, why they play with datings is intriguing.

[8] R. Balakrishnan, The ‘High-West: Low-East’ Dichotomy of Indus Cities: A Dravidian Paradigm, Bulletin of Indus Research Centre, No. 3, December 2012, Roja Muthiah Research Library, Chennai.

[9] Ironically, many Hindutwa guys support him directly and indirectly. Iravatham Mahadevan used to talk with them nicely in person, but, react exactly opposite, the moment they left. Here, how Balakrishnan has been – not known.

[10] The Hindu, Keeladi: Unearthing the ‘Vaigai Valley’ Civilisation of Sangam era Tamil Nadu, NOVEMBER 02, 2019 00:15 IST; UPDATED: NOVEMBER 02, 2019 12:16 IST

[11] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/unearthing-an-ancient-civilisation/article29856930.ece

 

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