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Indus valley Dravidian Culture

Indus Valley…..Dravidian culture….

            Dravidians are the original inhabitants of Indiawho form 90% of the Indian population. IndusValleycivilization is the evidence for ancient Dravidian culture and the civilization of India.

            Different views are expressed in the world of research on the Indus Valley Civilization. Some say it is of the Aryans while others opine that it is of the Dravidians. On the basis of the four Vedas, the theory that the Indus Valley Civilization is of the Aryans was built up. Hence, the analysis of the Vedas will throw much light on this line of thought.

            If Indus Valley Civilzation is of the Aryans, mother goddess worship that plays an important role in the Indus Valley Civilization should be described in the Vedas. But in the Vedas only minor female deities are mentioned. The IndusValleydeities normally have horns, whereas the deities of the Vedas are not portrayed with horns.68   (Mr. I. Mahadevan, Indian Express, Madras-5, August 1994. Ibid. Sir John Marshall, Mohenjo-daro and the Indus Civilization, Vol.I, Indological Book House, 1973, Pp.109-112. Dr.Alexander Harris, ‘Holes in Vedic Valley Theory’, The Week, August 9, 1998) Sivalinkas which are found in the Indus Valley Civilization are later on degraded in the Vedas.

            1.   The Vedas describe the wheels of the Chariots with spokes, but the wheels that are seen on the seals and vehicles of clay inIndusvalley do not have wheels with spokes.69  (Mr. I. Mahadevan, ‘Review – An Encyclopaedia of the Indus Script’ by Asco Parpola, International Journal of Dravidian linguistics, Vol.xxvi number1, January 1997, P.110)

            InIndusValleylarge number of Swastika symbol occurs whereas in the Vedas there is no mention of it.

            The Following analysis of Sir John Marshall on the Indus Valley Civilization gives us some clues to the cultural basis ofIndia, contrasting it with the ‘Vedas’.

1.       “The picture of Indo-Aryan society portrayed in the Vedas is that of a partly pastoral, partly agricultural people, who have not yet emerged from the village state, who have no knowledge of life in cities or of the complex economic organization which such life implies, and whose houses are nondescript affairs constructed largely of bamboo.

         At Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, on the other hand, we have densely populated cities with solid, commodious houses of brick equipped with a adequate sanitation, bathrooms, wells, and other amenities.

2.       The metals which the Indo-Aryans used in the time of the Rigveda are gold and copper or bronze; but a little late, in the time of the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda, these metals are supplemented by silver and iron.

         Among the Indus people silver is commoner than gold, and utensils and vessels are sometimes made of stone – a relic of the Neolithic Age – as well as of copper and bronze. Of iron there is no vestige.

3.  For offensive weapons the Vedic-Aryans have the bow and arrow, spear, dagger, and axe, and for defensive armour the helmet and coat of mail.

         The Indus people also have the bow and arrow, spear, dagger and axe, but, like the Mesopotamians and Egyptians, they have the mace as well, sometimes of stone, sometimes of metal; while on the other hand, defensive armour is quite unknown to them – a fact which must have told against them in any contest with mailed and helmeted foes.

4.       The Vedic-Aryans are a nation of meat-eaters, who appear to have had a general aversion to fish, since there is no direct mention of fishing in the Vedas.

         With the Indus people fish is a common article of diet, and so, too, are molluscs, turtles, and other aquatic creatures.

5.       In the lives of the Vedic-Aryans the horse plays an important part, as it did in the lives of many nations from the northern grasslands.

         To the people of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa the horse seems to have been unknown

6.       By the Vedic Aryans the cow is prized above all other animals and regarded with special veneration.

         Among the Indus people the cow is of no particular account, its place with them being taken by the bull, the popularity of whose cult is attested by the numerous figurines and other representations of this animal.

7.       Of the tiger there is no mention in theVedas, and of the elephant but little.

         Both these animals are familiar to the Indus people.

8.       In the Vedic pantheon the female element is almost wholly subordinate to the male…….

            Among theInduscults………..the female elements appear to be co-equal with, if not to predominate over the male.

As times goes on, doubtless many other salient points of difference will be revealed, but for the moment the above will suffice to demonstrate how wide is the gulf between the Indus and Vedic Civilizations. Now it may, perhaps, be argued that the difference between them is a difference of time only; that the Vedic civilization was either the progenitor or the lineal descendant of the Indus civilization…….. Let us assume, in the first place, that the Vedic civilization preceded and led up to the Indus civilization. On this hypothesis the progress from the village to the city state and from the nondescript houses of the Vedic period to the massive brick architecture of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa would find a logical explanation, though we should have to postulate a long interval of time in order to account for the evolution. But what about other cultural features?

            If the Vedic culture antedated theIndus, how comes it that iron and defensive armour and the horse, which are characteristic of the former, are unknown to the latter? Or how comes it that the bull replaces the cow as an object of worship in the Indus period, only to be displaced again by the cow in succeeding ages? Or, again, how comes it that the Indus culture betrays so many survivals of the Neolitihic Age – in the shape of stone implements and vessels – if the copper or bronze and iron culture of the Indo-Aryans intervened between the two? Clearly these considerations put out of count any solution of the problem which postulates an earlier date for the Vedic than for the Indus Civilization. But if it was not earlier, are there any grounds for supposing that it was evolved out of the latter? In other words, could the Indo-Aryans have been the authors of theIndusas well as of the Vedic Civilization?

Here, again, we are faced with a like dilemma. For, though on this assumption we could account for such phenomena as the introduction of iron, of the horse, and of body armour, all of which might have signalized merely a later phase of the same culture, we are wholly at a loss to explain how the Indo-Aryans came to relapse from the city to the village state, or how, having once evolved excellent houses of brick, they afterwards contented themselves with inferior sturctures of bamboo; or how, having once worshipped the linga and the Mother Goddess, they ceased to do so in the Vedic Period, but returned to their worship later; or how, having once occupied Sind, they subsequently lost all memory of that country of the Lower Indus”.

            Opinions of Asco Parpolo regardingInduscivilization and the review of Mahadevan on Asco Parpolo’s view are given as follows.

The Survival of Brahui; a Dravidian language, spoken even today by large number of people in Baluchistan and the adjoining areas in Afghanistan and Iran, is an important factor in the identification of the Indus Civilization as Dravidian. Brahui belongs linguistically to the North Dravidian group with several shared innovations with Kurukh and Malto; no dialectal features connect it with the South or Central Dravidian languages. Hence Parpola cocludes that Brahui represents the remnants of the Dravidian language spoken in the area by the descendants of the Harappan population.

Survival of place-names is generally a good indicator of the linguistic pre-history of a region. Parpola points out several place-names in the north western region like nagara. Palli, Pattana and Kotta with good Dravidian etymologies.70 (Mr. I. Mahadevan, ‘Review – An Encyclopaedia of the Indus Script’ by Asco Parpola, International Journal of Dravidian linguistics, Vol.xxvi number1, January 1997, P.109)

Parpolo also points out that syntactical analysis of the Indus inscriptions has revealed Dravidian like typological characteristics, especially the attribute preceding the headword.71  Asko Parpolo, Deciphering the Indus Scripts, Cambridge University Press, F.P.1994, Pp.168,169

It has often been pointed out that the complete absence of the horse among the animals so prominently featured on the Indus seals is good evidence for the non-Aryan character of the Indus Civilization.

            Hence, these evidences reveal thatIndusValleyis of the Dravidians and this truth has been conceded through ages.



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