Indus Valley Civilization literate

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Pintu, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Times of India reports that the Indus Valley Civilization was literate.

    The link and report from The Times of India follows:

    'Indus Valley civilization was literate' - Science - Health & Science - The Times of India

    'Indus Valley civilization was literate'
    24 Apr 2009, 0006 hrs IST, PTI


    NEW YORK: The 4,000-year-old Indus Valley civilization that thrived on the Indo-Pak border might have been a literate society which used a script
    close to present day languages like Tamil, Sanskrit and English, reveals a new finding announced on Thursday.
    A group of Indian scientists have conducted a statistical study of the symbols found in the Indus Valley remains and compared them with various linguistic scripts and non-linguistic systems like DNA and computer programming. They found that the inscriptions closely matched those of spoken languages such as Tamil, Sanskrit and English. The results published in the journal Science show that the Indus script could be “as-yet-unknown language”.

    An article in 2004 claimed that the Indus script does not represent language at all, but just represented religious or political symbols. The claim was made that the Indus civilization was not a literate civilisation,” Rajesh Rao, lead author at the Washington University said. “At this point we can say that the Indus script seems to have statistical regularities that are in line with natural languages,” he added.

    The scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Indus Research Center in Chennai collaborated with Rao to develop models which helped comparing the symbols with present day languages. According to scientists, symbols in any language neither follow a random order nor a rigid one but have some amount of flexibility in choosing next letter or word. This flexibility also known as conditional entropy helps in analysis of a language structure.

    “For example, the letter “t” can be followed by vowels like “a”, “e”, and some consonants like “r” but typically not by “b”, “d” etc. We measured this f lexibility in the choice of the next symbol in a sequence using the mathematical concept of conditional entropy,” Rao explained.

    “This is the first quantitative evidence that the Indus script likely encoded natural language rather than just religious or political symbols, suggesting the Harappans were likely a literate civilization after all,” Rao said.
     
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  3. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    It is a sensational news:

    gurdian.co.uk reports that Scientists claim to found languages of Indus valley civilisation.

    The link and the report from guardian.co.uk follows:

    Scientists claim to have found language of ancient Indus civilisation | Science | guardian.co.uk



    Scientists claim to have found language of ancient Indus civilisation

    If true, deciphering the words may unlock the secrets of one of the most mysterious civilisations known

    * Digg it

    * Ian Sample, science correspondent
    * guardian.co.uk, Thursday 23 April 2009 19.41 BST
    * Article history

    Indus script on a tabletView larger picture

    Example of the 4,500-year-old Indus script on a tablet. Photograph: JM Kenoyer/Harrapa.com

    Elaborate symbols drawn on to amulets and tablets by an ancient civilisation belong to an unknown language, according to a new analysis by researchers.

    The controversial claim raises the prospect of deciphering the written words of one of the most mysterious civilisations known, and so opening a window onto the ancient culture.

    The Indus civilisation flourished in isolation 4,500 years ago along the border of what is now eastern Pakistan, but almost no historical information exists about the people and their long-lost community.

    Archaeologists working in the region have unearthed a rich hoard of artifacts, including amulets, seals and ceramic tablets, many of which are embellished with the unusual symbols.

    The discovery of ancient objects belonging to the Indus has split the scholarly community, with some claiming the symbols form a primitive language and others arguing they are simply pictograms.

    More than 500 distinct Indus symbols have so far been identified, which include what appear to be representations of fish, rings, men and cowheads. In 2004 one researcher offered $10,000 to anyone who could find a single Indus artifact adorned with more than 50 of the symbols.
    Indus script on a tablet. Photograph: JM Kenoyer/Harrapa.com

    Scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai decided to undertake an analysis of the symbols in the hope of settling the dispute over the Indus scripts once and for all.

    Using a computer programme, the team compared patterns of Indus symbols with those found in known languages and other information systems, such as DNA and computer languages.

    In some information systems a sequence of symbols can seem to be random, while in others, such as pictograms that represent deities and other concepts, there is usually a strict hierarchy that influences the order in which symbols appear. Spoken languages tend to fall somewhere between these two extremes, incorporating order as well as flexibility.
    Indus script on a tablet. Photograph: JM Kenoyer/Harrapa.com

    When the researchers ran the analysis on a compilation of Indus texts, they found that the patterns of symbols were strikingly similar to those in spoken languages. The study, which appears in the journal Science, likens the Indus script to the ancient languages of Sumerian from Mesopotamia and Old Tamil from the Indian subcontinent.

    "At this point, we can say that the Indus script seems to have statistical regularities that are in line with natural languages," said Rajesh Rao, a scientist at the University of Washington who led the study.

    The team is now examining more Indus scripts in the hope of understanding its syntax and grammatical rules.

    Asko Parpola, emeritus professor of indology at Helsinki University said he was optimistic the language could be deciphered.
    Indus script on a tablet Photograph: JM Kenoyer/Harrapa.com

    "Language is one of the hallmarks of a literate civilisation. If it's real writing, we have a chance to know their language and to get to know more about their religion and other aspects of their culture. We don't have any literature from the region that can be understood," Parpola said.

    Scholars of the 19th century were only able to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics after discovering the Rosetta Stone, which was inscribed with Egyptian scripts translated into ancient Greek. To decipher the Indus language, scholars may need a similar discovery.
     
  4. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Here is another report on the same from Livemint.

    The link and the report from Livemint follows:

    Scientists inch closer to cracking Indus Valley script - Home - livemint.com

    Scientists inch closer to cracking Indus Valley script
    The new study statistically strengthens the assumption that the Indus script represents a language

    Seema Singh

    Bangalore: Scientists may have moved a step closer to deciphering one of the three oldest languages in the world, that of the Indus Valley civilization by, interestingly enough, making a case that the markings found on artefacts from that era do indeed represent an underlying language and are not random marks.
    The language was spoken at least 4,000 years ago in what is now north-west India and the eastern part of Pakistan, and 130 years after the first details of this script came to light and at least 100 failed attempts to decode it, the Indus script remains undeciphered.
    Deciphering: Examples of the 4,000-year-old Indus script on seals and tablets. A team of Indian scientists has found out that the Indus script has a structured sign system showing features of a formal language. JM Kenoyer / Harappa.com
    Deciphering: Examples of the 4,000-year-old Indus script on seals and tablets. A team of Indian scientists has found out that the Indus script has a structured sign system showing features of a formal language. JM Kenoyer / Harappa.com
    There have even been studies that claimed it isn’t a script and doesn’t represent a language.
    Now, a team of Indian scientists reports in Friday’s issue of Science journal that the Indus script has a structured sign system showing features of a formal language. Using mathematical and computational tools, researchers show that the script has well-defined signs, which begin and end texts, with strong correlations in the order in which the signs appear.
    This is the first evidence supporting the hypothesis that the script represents an as-yet-unknown language, say co-authors Nisha Yadav and Mayank N. Vahia from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences in Mumbai.
    Other co-authors of the study are Rajesh P.N. Rao, computer scientist from the University of Washington; Hrishikesh Joglekar, a software engineer in Oracle India, Mumbai; R. Adhikari, faculty of the physics department at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai; and I. Mahadevan, researcher at the Indus Research Centre, Chennai.
    Several artefacts dating to the 2500-1900 BC Indus civilization have been found to contain symbols, but the question hasn’t been definitively answered whether they are just pictograms or have any relation to a spoken language. This time around, the researchers applied techniques of computer science, machine learning in particular, to compare the Indus script patterns to known linguistic scripts as well as to non-linguistic systems such as the human DNA and protein sequences. An artificially created linguistic system such as Fortran, a computer language, was also used for reference.
    Among the linguistic scripts, texts of English, Old Tamil, Rig Vedic Sanskrit and of the Sumerian language spoken in Mesopotamia, another civilization that thrived around 4,000 years ago, were used for comparison. What was compared was the permissible randomness in choosing a sequence. It is this randomness, which allows flexibility in composing words or sentences. But even within this randomness, there is always a clear pattern in a script that represents a language. In contrast, DNA sequences are completely random.
    The results show that the Indus inscriptions were different from any of the non-linguistic systems, says Rao of the University of Washington. The finding of the study marks a considerable leap from a provocative 2004 paper titled The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis that claimed the short inscriptions had no linguistic content, somewhat implying that the literacy of the Harappan civilization was a myth. Its lead author offered a $10,000 (Rs5 lakh) reward to whoever produced an Indus artefact that contained more than 50 symbols.
    The new study, indeed, statistically strengthens the assumption that the Indus script represents a language, says Nayanjot Lahiri, professor of ancient history at Delhi university. “The major problem, though, still remains: which language or languages? The script still remains undeciphered, notwithstanding the decades of scholarship that have been invested in trying to find the key to it.”
    The biggest impediment in the decipherment, according to another historian from Delhi university, K.M. Shrimali, is the fact that no bilingual text has been discovered from that period, which would help calibrate the Indus script. “Unless something comparable to the Rosetta Stone (the bilingual text that helped decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics) is found, it’s difficult to decipher the Indus script,” he says.
    Lack of bilingual text certainly makes the problem more challenging, say Yadav and Vahia, but there have been examples in history where scripts have been deciphered without this aid. “While we all hope to find an Indus Rosetta Stone one day, its absence should not prevent us from exploring other means to understand the script.”
    The present study has been funded by Sir Jamsetji Tata Trust and the Packard Foundation, set up by Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard. However, lot more work needs to be done before researchers can convincingly say what the content of the script is and what each sign represents, though the statistical analysis shows a small number of signs account for the majority of the usage.
    The team’s work, though, is cut out: to analyse the structure and syntax of the script and deduce its grammatical rules. “We are trying to write the ‘script’ before we can begin reading it,” says Yadav.
    [email protected]
     
  5. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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  7. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    IVC language probably didn't have an alphabet, but rather relied on a large number of symbols to depict objects and ideas.

    The "script" is thus still undeciphered, and I'm not too optimistic that it will ever be deciphered.
     
  8. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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  9. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    It is true Flint, they used large number of symbols.

    However, though with the doubt , but I will have my fingers crossed, and hope for good.

    Regards
     
  10. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    I don;t think anyone would have thought the Indus script could have been alphabet based,they were a later evolution and IVC died out before that.However the above experiments hopes to disprove that the Indus writing wasn't a script,which was proposed by messrs Witzel and Farmer a few years back,and probably was logosyllabic(similar to cuneiform)

    However S A Farmer have already come out with his refutation

    http://www.safarmer.com/Refutation3.pdf.
     
  11. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Indus Valley code is cracked - maybe

    By Raja Murthy

    MUMBAI- A 4,500-year-old mystery has been revived, with Indian-American scientists claiming on April 23 that the puzzling symbols that were found on Indus Valley seals are indeed the written script of a language from an ancient civilization.

    But skeptics, such as historian Steve Farmer and Harvard University Indologist Michael Witzel, say that claims of the Indus Valley civilization having a written language, and therefore a literate culture, are generally created by pseudo-nationalists from India, Hindu chauvinists and right-wing political frauds who wish to glorify the existence of an ancient Hindu civilization.

    The civilization on the banks of the 2,900-kilometer long Indus, one of the world's great rivers with a water volume twice that of the Nile, is said to have flourished between 2600 BC to 1900 BC.

    Unlike its river valley contemporaries in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China
    , very little is known about the Indus Valley civilization, largely because its "script" is yet to be deciphered, even though ruins were excavated 130 years ago.

    There appears little doubt that a reasonably advanced civilization thrived in the Indus Valley before mysteriously vanishing. But for the past decade, scholars and scientists worldwide have argued whether engravings found on hundreds of Indus Valley objects, such as seals and tablets, are a mysterious script of a language - like the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics - or whether they are merely non-lingual signs or pictograms.

    On April 23, the US-based Science journal published a paper by an Indian and Indian-American team of scientists and researchers that claimed patterns of symbols found on Indus objects had the definitive linguistic pattern found in written languages. Such a pattern is different from non-linguistic signs.

    The paper, titled "'Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script”, featured the findings of Indian-born researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai [1].

    It claims computer analysis revealed comparative "entropic evidence" that Indus signs have a linguistic order similar to some of the world's oldest languages, such as Sumerian from Mesopotamia, classical Tamil and Sanskrit from the Indian sub-continent.

    Comparative entropy involves a mathematical process by which an unknown variable can be theoretically determined using known related variables. In this case, researchers say they used computer analysis to compare the pattern of Indus symbols with the patterns of known spoken and mathematical languages. This is the first time that such a process has been used to determine whether unknown symbols are the written script of a language.

    "The findings provide quantitative evidence suggesting that the people of the 4,500-year-old Indus civilization may have used writing to represent linguistic content," said project leader Rajesh Rao, a computer scientist at the University of Washington.

    "If this is indeed true," Rao told Asia Times Online, "then deciphering the script would provide us with unique insights into the lives and culture of the Indus people."

    The 130-year-old excavations in the Indus Valley, covering areas in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, have revealed evidence of an urban civilization. Ruins of excavated Indus Valley cities such as Mohenjadaro and Harappa have revealed elaborate urban infrastructure such as well-planned streets, brick houses, sophisticated drainage and water-storage systems, trading, use of weights, jewelry, knowledge of metallurgy and tool-making. Archaeologists say many more Indus Valley cities are yet to be excavated.

    The problem is that any new "path-breaking" Indus Valley research findings have to pass credibility tests. The Indus Valley puzzle took a more crooked dimension in the past decade. India's right-wing political outfits that grew in this period, such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have been known to make clumsy, ridiculously amateurish attempts to "rewrite" over 5,000 years of Indian history.

    Such fake coloring of authentic Indian and Hindu religious history was to feed a narrow-minded sectarian, political and chauvinistic agenda. The BJP has denied such history-faking tricks. But a senior BJP worker in Kolkata, an art critic by profession, told this correspondent in 2003 that he was engaged in rewriting history textbooks. The BJP was then heading India's central government.

    This history tomfoolery included attempts to portray the Indus Valley culture as a Hindu civilization. Some fraudsters have even produced fake Indus seals as "proof" of an advanced society with rich, as yet undiscovered, literature.

    But the genuine Indus symbols are merely simple non-linguistic signs common in the ancient world, according to a controversial paper in 2004 titled "The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis: The Myth of a Literate Harappan Civilization". The paper was written by comparative historian Steve Farmer; Richard Sproat, a biomedical computer scientist at the Oregon Health and Science University, Portland; and Michael Witzel, an Indologist from the Department of Sanskrit and Indian studies at Harvard University.

    Five years later, in 2009, Rajesh Rao and his colleagues' year-long study claimed to have debunked the debunkers Farmer, Sproat and Witzel. The California-based Packard Foundation and Mumbai-based Sir Jamsetji Tata Trust sponsored the project. The global media reported on Rao's April 23 Science Journal paper supporting claims that the Indus symbols are the written script of an ancient language.

    However, the original Indus script debunkers refuse to be debunked. In a quick counter response dated April 24, Farmer and Co rubbished the Washington University study. Their two-page answer was cheekily titled, "A Refutation of the Claimed Refutation of the Nonlinguistic Nature of Indus Symbols: Invented Data Sets in the Statistical Paper of Rao et al. (Science, 2009)". Farmer and Co argued that Rao and Co had compared the Indus sign sets with "artificial sets of random and ordered signs”.

    They said the Rao study proved nothing that is not known - that is, "the Indus sign system has some kind of rough structure, which has been known since the 1920s”, said their rejoinder.

    "Indus Valley texts are cryptic to extremes, and the script shows few signs of evolutionary change," Farmer and Witzel wrote in October 2000. "Most [Indus] inscriptions are no more than four or five characters long; many contain only two or three characters. Moreover, character shapes in mature Harappa appear to be strangely 'frozen', unlike anything seen in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia or China."

    The left-leaning Indian news magazine Frontline carried Farmer's and Witzel's article in a cover story titled "Horseplay in Harappa - In the 'Piltdown Horse' hoax, Hindutva propagandists make a little Sanskrit go a long way”. The article debunked sensational claims in 1999 that the Indus script had been "deciphered" by N S Rajaram and Natwar Jha.

    The motive of this fraud was to prove that the Indus civilization was an early Hindu civilization. As proof, Rajaram and Jha produced an Indus Valley "horse" seal as evidence that the Indus people used horses, an animal commonly mentioned in the Vedas, the ancient Indian texts dating to the 2nd millennium BC - over 2,000 years later than the earliest dated Indus Valley seals. But no images of horses were found in the Indus Valley excavations, until Rajaram and Jha produced their horse seal.

    Farmer and Witzel proved that the horse seal was a fraudulent computerized distortion of a broken "unicorn bull" seal. The fake horse seal was derided as the "Piltdown Horse", an imaginary creation to fill the gap between the Harappan and Vedic cultures, just as the famous "Piltdown Man" did in 1912. That year, skeletal remains of the "missing link" between ape and man were "discovered" in Piltdown, a village in England. They were later found to be fake.

    In their April 23 paper, Rao's team said they compared statistical patterns in sequences of Indus symbols with sequences in known ancient and modern spoken languages, computer language and natural sequences such as in human DNA.

    While Farmer and Co claim in their April 24 rebuttal that Rao's team used limited and artificial comparative language tools, Rao's team says the comparative computer analysis included:

    # 1,548 lines of Indus text and 7,000 signs, from veteran Indus scholar Iravatham Mahadevan's 1977 compilation from the Archaeology Society of India.

    # 20,000 sentences from The Brown University Present Day Standard Corpus of Present-Day American English - a well-known dataset compiled from a wide range of texts including press reports, editorials, books, magazines, novels, scientific articles and short stories.

    # 100 Sanskrit hymns from Book 1 of the Rig Veda, said to be composed between 1700-1100 BC.
    # "Ettuthokai", or "Eight Texts", anthologies of poems in classical Tamil from the Sangam Era, circa 300 BC to 300 AD.

    # Sumerian - nearly 400 literary compositions dated between 3 BC and 2 BC.
    # DNA - first one million nucleotides in the human chromosome 2, obtained from the Human Genome Project.

    # Protein - the entire collection of amino acid sequences from the Bacteria Escherichia Coli, more famous as E coli.

    # Programming Language - 28,594 lines of code from FORTRAN.

    Both camps are adamant they are right. But both could be wrong, given how vested interests and human egos often stubbornly cling to inaccurate views by seeing what they want to see, instead of reality as it is.

    If the Indus Valley has an equivalent to the sensational 18th-century discovery of the Rosetta Stone, considered one of the greatest-ever historical finds, that would indeed confirm whether the Indus symbols are a written language - one possibly opening the doorway to an unknown civilization. An officer in Napoleon Bonaparte's invading French army, Captain Pierre-Francois Bouchard, found a grey-pinkish granite stone in an Egyptian village called Rosetta on July 15, 1799.

    Dating to 196 BC and displayed in the British Museum since 1802, the Rosetta plaque carried a royal decree in Egyptian and Greek in three scripts - Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Greek. Since Greek was a known language, stunned scholars could use the translation to decipher the 3,500-year-old hieroglyphics. The doorway to ancient Egypt was opened to the modern world.

    Even if the Indus Valley symbols are indeed a written script, there is little chance of deciphering them unless a Rosettta Stone equivalent is available. Archaeologists from India and Pakistan continue to work at Indus Valley sites, unearthing new discoveries each year.

    Note
    1. The April 23, Science journal paper "Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script" was by:
    # Rajesh P N Rao - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
    # Nisha Yadav, Mayank N. Vahia - Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai 400005, India.
    # Hrishikesh Joglekar - 14, Dhus Wadi, Laxminiketan, Thakurdwar, Mumbai 400002, India.
    # R. Adhikari - The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai 600113, India.
    # Iravatham Mahadevan - Indus Research Centre, Roja Muthiah Research Library, Chennai 600113, India.
     
  12. advaita

    advaita Regular Member

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    Old post yes. but it just struck me that:

    Ancient India seemed to lack any sense of history in favour shruti, allegory and ideas.
    One of our modern mathematician was so bent on writing just the final solution that he appeared to be working of the ancient methodology of sutras and mantras.
    Since pretty old times Indians could think of the concept of zero and infinity in rolled into sutras and took these concepts &/or methodologies into religion through the use of mantras (shortest one being "Om" and even crazyly mounvratas) and pagan social practices of shruti that even to this day are continued in the practice of kathas for moral guidances). And of course who can forget the symmetry and philosophic completion of of the Mahavakyas:
    (1) Prajnanam Brahma - "Consciousness is Brahman" (Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda)
    (2) Ayam Atma Brahma - "This Self (Atman) is Brahman" (Mandukya Upanishad 1.2 of the Atharva Veda)
    (3) Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou art That" (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda)
    (4) Aham Brahmasmi - "I am Brahman" (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda)
    The traditions of mantras being extrapolated into Hymns (which perhaps provided the basis of large collections of poetry in all and sundry languages and eventually to this day in the song and dance routines in our movies).
    Looks like there is a strong possibility of Indians just doing away with the use of script and language as a store house of cultural values and relying instead on direct intuition as opposed to vaccilations of fealings and countering those fealings with scripted rules.
    Looks like quite a few of our fathers were Advaitin interested in the natural resonnance of the world.

    I wont be surprised if IVC was entirely "Dravid without language but strong direct intuition" and these Dravids developing the concept of Shiva and Vedas only to reinvent/rediscover themselves as Vedic in one smooth fashion just the way Purans developed in one smooth explosion from essentially the Vedas.

    I could be wrong though...... just going off on my own little flight..... you guys judge for yourself.
     
  13. decoder

    decoder New Member

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    Pintu,

    Indus script as deciphered in May of this year, at least, more than 70 of the signs now have phonetic values.

    Results are here:

    http://harappanwriting.piczo.com
     
  14. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    S. M. Sullivan appears to have attempted to bridge the divide that exists among the linguists involved in the IVC sign decipherment by conflating elements from both Indo-Aryan and Dravidian.This would imply that the IVC spoke a language that must have been shared by the Indo-Aryan and the proto-Dravidian.This is going to be difficult to prove and get those long involved in this process to accept it. I. Mahadevan and Asko Parpola don't think IVC signs have any IA element.
     
  15. rcscwc

    rcscwc Tihar Jail Banned

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    Quite a paradox. Indus valley civilation was literate, but where is the literature?

    Aryans were "illterate" but they left a rich body of literature!!

    It is nearly impossible to decode a script unless in bilingual form tablet.

    Gangesh Mishra, about 1200 BCE, had proved that a language can exist with a script, but not vice versa. Since Indus language is not known...


    Only way out is to relate it to Indian languages, not English which was not even born.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  16. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Indus Valley culture left behind rich material culture and no literature,atleast those that can be satisfactorily deciphered.Indo-Aryas had no identifiable material culture(not until we move into the later historical period)but left behind a humongous literary culture.What if this paradox were jigsaw puzzle,what are the missing pieces,one has a missing literary corpus the other a missing material deposits,what if putting other the two missing pieces by borrowing from the each other, completed the jigsaw puzzle.
     
  17. rcscwc

    rcscwc Tihar Jail Banned

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    This paradox goes away if you take Indus civilsation too as Aryan one. Why not?
     
  18. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Western scholarship which hold the forte over this issue an their Indian counterparts will not be caught dead admitting the possibility of Indus Valley civilization being a proto Indo-Aryan culture.
     
  19. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    First of all, this is an excellent post with some credible references and supported claims.

    There is one thing I would question here:

    Rig Veda was composed between 1700-1100 BC (although many hymns probably existed for few thousand years even then and there are claims that Rig Veda was composed even earlier). Panini lived in 4th Century BC and composed the Eight Chapters of Sanskrit Grammar. Now, it is obvious that Rig Veda was composed before Sanskrit even existed. Hence, any attempts or claims to draw links between IVC language (which probably predates Rig Veda) and Sanskrit must be thoroughly questioned and analysed before coming to any conclusion.

    More details:
    Sanskrit is a synthetic language, was used only in academia and rituals but not used by the common man. The very term 'sanskrit' is an adjective (participle to be precise) from which the substantive 'Sanskrit' is derived (note the lower case and upper case differences); and, it means 'polished'. Panini formalised his grammar by polishing and modifying the existing lingua franca, which, one might call 'a-sanskrit' or 'pre-Sanskrit'. Therefore, how is it possible that hymns in Rig Veda were written in Sanskrit? Moreover, there are significant differences between the language used in Rig Veda and the other three Vedas that came much later, especially in adjective declinations and conjugations (some of Max Müller and Rosenberg's publications confirm this, plus, it is out there for anyone to verify is he/she so wishes).

    I am no expert in this subject, but, it seems there are too many interpretations and explanations doing the rounds that often defy logic. From what I gather, Rig Veda was not in Sanskrit but the other 3 Vedas were indeed in Sanskrit. Am I missing something?

    Now to get back to the main topic:
    There have been too many interpretations of the IVC language. Cuneiform and/or pictographic are believed to be the heritage of the IVC alphabet or set of symbols or whatever term is most appropriate.

    It is not known whether they had literature or not. It is well known they had modes of entertainment, culture, customs, pastimes and also geometry, architecture and civil engineering. It is very unlikely that they did not have any literature. Clay and stone tables may have been found. However, does it mean they did not have other books written on leaves or barks that have been completely lost?

    The following pictures show how rich IVC was:

    Dancing girl: This proves that IVC had music and possibly had songs. If they had songs, they surely would have had poetry as well. This in itself indicates the possibility of existence of literature.
    [​IMG]

    Architecture: roads and walls intersecting at right angles. Surely, their basic sense of geometry was impressive.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Toys for Children: Surely, IVC knew not only how to entertain themselves, but their kids as well.
    [​IMG]

    Surely, IVC was more advanced that many would have us believe. While Farmer et al. may like to debunk IVC script and literature theories, Rao et al. have also made certain errors in the way they have presented their findings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
    Pintu likes this.
  20. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    The wide spread adoption Paniniya system should not presuppose the fact that no tradition of grammar existed before it,nor should it be construed that Panini invented the Sanskrit Grammar.Panini merely "put together" and codified the system of recognizing and expressing phonemes and their possible etymology.No doubt the paniniya system due to its inherent genius and easy its adoption into the emerging oral tradition helped establish it as the most prevailing system of instructing the language of the scripture for the succeeding generations.

    While panini's Sanskrit,which would later become the classical Sanskrit,measurably differed from the Vedic Sanskrit,the language in which it was composed,there isn't such a perceptible difference in usage, enough to suggest that the language of Panini and the Vedas could not have emerged from a tradition of spoken words which were similar.The padaPAda tradition of reciting the Veda mantras and its emphasis on adherence to the poetic meters,accent and intonation,have preserved for posterity through Veda samhita,the language of the Aryas spoken by the Aryan people from long before the time of Panini.No doubt languages do not always remain the same nor the dialects over such a long period of time,they have to evolve and probably did into the Apabhramsa system which must have been in vogue during Panini's own time.Infact Panini's Ashtadhyayi must have one such response to counteract the growing strength and vitality of the Prakrit and Apabhramsa systems.

    It must be remembered that we dont know any other attested language in which the Vedas could have been or were composed and the Sanskrit of the Vedas is the only and the oldest.

    Absolutely, there is nothing clinching about the hypothesis that Old Indo-Aryan(Vedic Sanskrit)was the language of the people of the IVC,most attempts to decipher the IVC script has met with skepticism,any attempt to discern the language of the IVC will first have to wait the successful and unanimously approved decipherment of the IVC script.But in the absence or should we say the repeated failure of all such previous effort,we have the IVC people without a attested language,Indo-Aryan language with contested authors,a people and a language coterminous for better part of their history.

    When there are two possible solution to a quandary,the simplest solution that resolves the predicament usually is the most attractive.
     
  21. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    The 'Bronze dancing Girl' is probably one of the most iconic and easily recognizable representation of the art of the Indus valley culture,probably as famous as the bust of the robed priest,also from Mohenjodaro.However the sobriquet 'dancing girl' might be in need for some correction.The Bronze statuette of the dancing girl was discovered in Mohenjodarao from the early days of the IVC excavation and stood as unique example of Harappan iconography,until a ASI team led by L.S Rao excavating a Harappan site in Bhirrana(Haryana) discovered a potsherd with etching distinctly recognizable as in the style ad image of the Mohenjodara's 'dancing girl'.

    The site at Bhirrana is significant because it consists of all the three phases of the Harappan cuture,pre-Harappn,early urban and mature phase,its suspected that the potsherd with the etching may predate the bronze from Mohenjodaro.

    The fact that the engraving of the /dancing girl was found at a site hundreds of kilometers from Mohenjodaro,perhaps indicates that the the figurine served a purpose different from its perceived entertainment aspect.The posture,the pronounced pelvic region o the figurine,the eyes closed as if contemplating or meditating,indicates that the figurine represented a religious motif than anything else.Fertility worship and mother goddess worship was known to the IVC people,some terracotta figurines associated with fertility cult discovered in the Mediterranean region,like Turkey,show female figurines with the length of the limb covered with anklets or decorations.

    The possibility of the dancing girl being some sort of fertility deity,like the priest bust,should be considered.
     

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