Are Lions and Cheetahs not indigenous to India?

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Das ka das, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Das ka das

    Das ka das Tihar Jail Banned

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    Last week, a very interesting book named Exotic aliens was released in Delhi. Written by a trio of authors — the legendary wildlife writer Valmik Thapar, acknowledged historian Romila Thapar and Moghul history scholar Yusuf Ansari — it is a debate about whether lions and cheetahs existed in India or were they introduced by man. While many agree that the cheetah seems to be an exotic specie, the authors have spawned a new debate that the lion too, is. They have created serious doubts through a historical enquiry that questions the indigenous nature of these animals, suggesting that lions and cheetahs were possibly introduced by the hunters or rulers of old times who brought them from faraway lands due to their fascination with exotic species. The presence of lions in our ancient sculptures and paintings are not enough as proof of their natural presence in our country. There is an argument that these may be influenced by the globally powerful image of the animal and may not have been inspired by the actual, physical presence of them.

    The book is well researched and has systematically examined all the possible proofs in support of the lion’s presence. They start with documentations going back to the prehistoric times of 8,000-10,000 years ago, when primitive man made rock art in caves. The authors quote Erwin Neumayer’s book, Lines on Stones, on prehistoric rock art of India, revealing the absence of ‘manned’ felines on the rocks. The book is 20 years old and in this period, many more cave or rock paintings have been discovered which we need to study in detail.

    Further, they make an important point that Indus valley civilisation (3300-1300 BCE) shows no evidence of lions on their seals or artefacts although the civilisation was predominantly spread across Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, which is where India’s lions are believed to have been once distributed. The first strong evidence in favour of the lion’s presence in India was found in the 3rd BC at the Ashoka pillar, which is also an emblem of India today. Interestingly, the authors illustrate how it is more influenced by Pharaonic pillars and connections across the seas with Egypt. And if you thought that many age-old monuments, like the famous 13th century Konark sun temple in Orrisa, were full of lion sculptures thus, indicating the presence of lions in the country, consider that the temple also features sculptures of giraffes, testifying to the contemporary rulers’ fondness for exotic species.

    The modern era offers equal food for thought. Quoting Mahesh Rangrajan’s reference in his book that between 1875 and 1925, some 80,000 tigers and nearly twice as many leopards were killed by various rulers, while only 30 to 40 lions were hunted in the same period. Thapar rightly questions if it’s really conceivable that lions were found naturally in the country considering only one lion was hunted every four or five years, while in contrast, 1,600 to 2,000 tigers were shot every year! Before the book was released, I met a wildlife institute head, who was not convinced with these arguments and expressed his intention to review the book and establish its views as wrong due to incomplete research and incorrect facts. But the book is based on historical evidences available on a global level and the authors referred to several hundred books to arrive at their conclusions, which Thapar says, are based on a compelling argument rather than clinching evidence. He believes the book opens the doors for new research into the history and natural history of the species and this work should inspire such research. In reality, we expect a high-level positive debate from experts in the field rather than merely a controversy or a prejudiced inference. The geneticists, paleontologists and evolutionary biologists need to take this discussion forward to finish the debate.

    Exotic aliens brew a new debate over age-old evidence | mydigitalfc.com

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    I meant to put in the title "Are Lions and Cheetahs not indigenous to India"
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
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  3. Das ka das

    Das ka das Tihar Jail Banned

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    Double post
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  4. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    Lions are social animals of plains, so they were already hunted down by the time people settled in the fertile plains. While tigers and leopards are solitary jungle dwellers and had all the southern peninsula and other jungles of north as natural habitat, no wonder there were more tigers and leopards in 19th century. Lions were found from Greece to India, highly unlikely that they were introduced by men.
     
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  5. Das ka das

    Das ka das Tihar Jail Banned

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    Why is there no reference to lions in IVC?
     
  6. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    IVC is not a journal or documentation. It's fragmentary collection of archeology and artifacts. If something is not found in these artifacts, it doesn't mean it wasn't there.
     
  7. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Interesting observations. The common belief was that these two animals lived in India in the wild and were hunted to extinction. Do ancient works of literature mention them?
     
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  8. HEILTAMIL

    HEILTAMIL Regular Member

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    in classical tamil tigers and chettahs were mentioned ; they are indigenious
    lions only after 5 AD - they were foreign to southern India and Southeast Asia just like horses
     
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  9. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    HEILTAMIL, did classical Tamil have a word for Cheetah, apart from say Panther or Tiger?
     
  10. Das ka das

    Das ka das Tihar Jail Banned

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    Lions never existed south of Narmada, and cheetah is a Sanskrit word.
     
  11. HEILTAMIL

    HEILTAMIL Regular Member

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    tiger was the common word, no separate word for cheetah,

    tiger with stripe
    tiger with dots
     
  12. Das ka das

    Das ka das Tihar Jail Banned

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    This probably meant the leopard.
     
  13. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    horses were not known in south india??? Weren't horses used ramayana war?? Indrajit was using a flying chariot right?? So if lanka had, why would not south india not have it???
     
  14. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    In Tamil Leopard is called Siruthai and Cheetah I guess is Siruthai Pulli.
    Tigers is commonly known as Pullikal .

    I have always wondered where the word Singham in tamil for Lion originated. We even have a zodiac or horoscope sign called simha rasi also which is descended from ancient times.
    So i am not very sure if the lion was not there in the indo-gangetic planes and south india during the Sangam or classical age. I remember that the early pandya kings also had Lion symbols. Let me check where I saw it....
     
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  15. HEILTAMIL

    HEILTAMIL Regular Member

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    i am reffring to pre 3AD classical tamil


    siruthai is a thiribu sol - a modern form

    references to Lions were only after budhist influence and deepened during pallavas

    lions in coins belong to pallavas not pandiyas,
    pandiyas had only fish/bull/elephant/peacock/sword symbols

    if you refer to ancient astrolonomical references you will find tiger used not lion
     
  16. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    Credentials of all three are suspect. For them Ram never lived, Ayodhya is fictious and no Ram temple ever existed. For them India was lifeless place before a certain period when humans and animals discovered India and made a beeline for the land.

    Don't worry that it would be knda tough for lions to migrate to India from Sub Sahara Africa, braving deserts, cold mountains etc.

    As for Indus seals, they don't depict crows and eagles and elephants. They of migrated to India.

    PS: Romila was dead against excavation at Ayodyha lest it should upset the established history [false it maybe].
     
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  17. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, lion and cheetah that must have evolved as a species in subsaharan Africa could not have traversed the difficult terrain ... the Sahara and the Arabian deserts themselves would have been a daunting task.
    Though the Indian subcontinent did breakoff from Africa in prehistoric times, that must have happened long before these two species had evolved in the mainland.
    P.S.: I didn't know that acceptance of Ram was the litmus test for the merit of a historian or anthropologist.
     
  18. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    I am getting some kind of anti-Hindu sense with this book ! to deny the Hindu religious text with the leftist view you will have to do something like this, as Lion is considered Durga Mata's "Vaahan".

     
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  19. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Now that is hilarious!! The other side of radical Islam!! Nothing predates Islam... Now nothing predates Hinduism!!
     
  20. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    You just compared radical Islam with Hinduism :facepalm:
     
  21. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    Romila Thapar is an anthropologist? Is she authority on natural history? She should have kept away from such topics and left them to specialists.

    What are her arguments? Since lion motiff is not found Indus seals, so it came to India after that!! Do you know the meaning even? That Asiatic and African lions developed differences within 2500-3000 years? Genetic differences, mind you.

    Linkage with Rama? She opposed excavations at Ayodhya. It is on record. Her reasons was that findings might upset history. That too is on record. Leave aside the historicity of Ram, she is much more interested in preserving her Aryan Invasion Theory.

    PS: Litmus test, according to her, is acceptance or rejection of Aryan Invasion.

    Yes. Take artifacts recovered from any site in the world. Can you expect whole range of flora and fauna represented?

    What an a$$y distorian.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013

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