An Entirely New History of INDIA
An Entirely New History of INDIA; Indian History needs to be re-examined and freed from colonial biases and error. Driven by Christian belief in a 6000-year old planet, British scholars, and their Indian hires, post-dated Indian history to fit into erroneous Western conceptions. For their own agendas the manufactures theories such as that of an "Aryan Invasion" and dismissed vast evidences, such as the existence of the river Sarasvati, as "mythical", even though it was mentioned more than fifty times in the Vedas. The colonial gaze also erroneously represented events such as the invasion of India by Alexander the Great in the year 326 BCE and fabricated myths such as the conversion of emperor Ashoka to Buddhism, purportedly due to "remorse" after the terrible battle of Kalinga, when Ashoka already a Buddhist at the time of the battle. Thus this book rewrites Indian History based on new evidence including new scientific, linguistic and genetic discoveries. It seeks to dismantle the cliches, to clarify the controversies, and to retrace, as accurately as possible, the most significant periods of Indian history—history much older than previously thought
A must read for everyone in search of Bharat's Civilisational History
1. Prehistory and Protohistory of India, Cradle of Mankind
2. Sarasvati or the Lost River
3. The Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation (7,000 BC–2,600BC)
4. The Myth of the Aryan Invasion
5. The Iron Age (from 2,000 BC)
6. The Vedas (5000-1500 BCE)
7. The Influence and Place of Hinduism in the Ancient World
8. The birth of the Buddha (6th century BC)
9. The first invasion: Alexander the Great (3rd century BC)
10. The empires of Magadha, Maurya and Chandragupta (6th to 2nd BCE.)
11. Ashoka the Great: The Legend and the Reality (270-232 BC)
12. Great Empires of South India
13. The Vijayanagar Kingdom (1332-1672)
14. The First Muslim invasions (8th to 16th century)
15. The Mughal Dynasty (1526-1707)
16. The Arrival of European Settlers: the Portuguese (End of 16th century)
17. The French Indies (1667-1954)
18. The British Raj (1660-1947)
19. The Great Mutiny (1857)
20. The Fight for Independence
21. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
22. The Partition of India (1947)
23. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)
24. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of Pakistan (1876-1948)
25. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
26. Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian Don Quixote (1944-1991)
27. Sonia Gandhi, the Eminence Grise of India
28. The Bharatiya Janata Party
29. Ayodhya and the pogroms of Gujarat
30. Narendra Damodar Modi
31. India’s Future
PrologueAnyone intending to write a history of India faces an initial difficulty—dates. Because the British Sanskrit scholars had a tendency to post-date Indian history. Max Müller, the greatest Sanskrit scholar of his time, like any good Christian of the 19th century, had read the conclusions of James Ussher, a 17th century Irish theologian, who claimed ‘that God created Heaven and Earth on the evening of October 22, 4004 BCE.’ It was almost a sacrilege to think that Indians, a colonized and inferior people, could have had a civilization well before the time of Christ. Müller thus dated the writing of the Vedas at 1500 BCE, while many recent discoveries trace their existence back to at least around 5000 BCE.
The dates of the Iron Age in India are also controversial. So far, many historians, such as British archaeologists Gordon and Wheeler located it at about 700 BCE. With radiocarbon dating, it is now considered that Indians mastered the manufacture of iron as early as 2000 BCE.
Other controversies are centuries old and still persisting today. The theory of the Aryan invasion, for example, as well as the existence of the river Sarasvati, long considered to be mythical, even though it was mentioned more than fifty times in the Vedas. We will demonstrate that there has never been any Aryan invasion and that the Sarasvati did indeed exist.
It seems also that, for one reason or another, important events in Indian history had been reinterpreted by some historians. One thinks for example of the invasion of India by Alexander the Great in the year 326 BCE, described by his own chroniclers as victorious; or to the legend of Ashoka the Great, who had supposedly converted to Buddhism after the terrible battle of Kalinga, horrified by the sight of mutilated bodies strewn on the battlefield. But the real story is quite different.
Moreover, many Westerners wrongly consider that the history of India is less fascinating than that of China, for example. And thus, there are few books on the subject. In France for instance, the latest reference works include Alain Daniélou's Histoire de l'Inde (Fayard, 1971), many times reprinted, and The History of Modern India, edited by Claude Markovits (Fayard, 1993). Since then, not much has happened, except some works that mechanically carry forward the theories already propounded by other historians.
In addition, philology, which reconstructs ancient history through comparative studies and tries to look objectively at its subject in order to be more balanced, has not always been impartial with India. Indeed, as noted by the Sanskrit scholar Dominic Goodall, former Head of l’École Française d’Extrême- Orient, Pondicherry: “We all live on the legacy of 19th century philology, which studied a country without setting foot there,” and he adds: “Many French Indologists do not stay in India and often live its culture on an intellectual level only.”
We can mention also the ‘forgetting of India’ as noted by philosopher and journalist Roger-Pol Droit, which reminds us “that it is probably Nietzsche who is the last of the great thinkers who could talk about Indian philosophy without seeing his interlocutors smirk.” Forgotten also is the fact that Frenchmen like Anquetil-Duperron revealed to Europe the thought of the Upanishads as early as 1800; or Eugène Burnouf, who gave in 1844 the first introduction to the history of Indian Buddhism.
The clichés still attached to India in the 21st century are another cause of the scarcity and conventionality of history books on the subcontinent. In spite of all the sympathy felt by the French for the Indians, when you mention the word “India,” the first image that comes to their mind is that of poverty and slums. Now, as this book will establish, not only does India have a rich and vast history, but economically, politically and socially it is surpassing China by its democratic and liberal values.
Thus, we need to rewrite the history of India—and fortunately, many new scientific, linguistic or genetic discoveries will help us in this task. This book seeks to dismantle the clichés, to clarify the controversies, and to retrace, as accurately as possible, the most significant periods of Indian history—history much older than previously thought.
Prehistory and Protohistory of India, Cradle of Mankind
Prehistoric sites in IndiaTools made by proto-humans have been discovered in the Soan River Valley in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent. It is the oldest archaeological site of Paleolithic hominid known today. The research, which began in the spring of 2009 in the Himalayan foothills, was conducted by a team from the Museum of Indian Prehistory.
The Soanian sites are located in the Shivalik region, in provinces of India, Pakistan and Nepal. Thanks to traces of cuts made with bifaces— stone tools characteristic of ancient periods of prehistory—still visible on fossils of bovids—a family of hollow-horned mammals including sheep, goats, cattle, antelopes, and buffaloes, carbon studies have revealed the existence of a “civilization” dating back to about two million years BCE.
In 2011, excavations conducted by a team of Indo-French researchers reinforced the hypothesis of Indians living in the subcontinent more than one million years ago—while most history books indicate the presence of human beings only from 300,000 BCE onwards. It is in Attirampakkam, in Tamil Nadu, 60 km from Chennai that more than 4,000 tools of the ancient Palaeolithic period, including axes, choppers, as well as bifaces were found, dated to about 1.7 million years. These weapons are very similar to those discovered in Africa, dating back to about 1.5 million years. These are rather precise dates, thanks to new paleomagnetic techniques, which measure the isotopes of two metals—aluminium 26 and beryllium 10—using the accelerator CERAGE, the only one in France dedicated to this very complex mode of analysis. Nicolas Thouveny, geophysicist and director of the CERAGE, (CNRS-University of Aix-Marseille) believes that “this new dating is a key to understanding the terrestrial dissemination of hominids, from Africa to Eurasia, India, then in the Indonesian archipelago, via the Middle East1.”
These measurements, say the CERAGE researchers, revealed that “these sediments were deposited while the Earth's magnetic field was reversed (the needle of the compass would have indicated South), thus indicating 780,000 years ago, the age of the last reversal of the Earth's magnetic field.” The association of the results of cosmogonic radioactive isotopes, relating to the formation of the world plane,2 and paleomagnetism shows that the Acheulean site of Achirampakkam, about 100 km from Chennai via NH-32, the oldest in India, represents a key to understanding the evolution of the occupation of the globe by hominids. For this age comes near the threshold of hominisation, associated with the first African technical cultures.
Other Palaeolithic deposits have also been discovered in the sub-Himalayan region, as well as on the banks of the Narmada, one of the great sacred rivers of India where axes made of chiselled
1 Shanti Pappu, Yanni Gunnell, Kumar Akhilesh, Régis Braucher, Maurice Taieb, François Demory, Nicolas Thouveny,Early Pleistocene Presence of Acheulian Hominins in South India, (10.1126/science.1200183), Science, 25 march 2011.
pebble and chipped stone were found, that were dated to the Middle Pleistocene, that is, between 100,000 and 400,000 BCE. The two main tools used by Indian Palaeolithic farmers appear to have been primitive hoes made from polished stone and chopped stone axes.
A 125-acre site has also been excavated, unearthing lithic tools previously only attributed to Homo-Sapiens in East Africa. This new Indian civilization, much older than we had thought, would belong to the Masol hominids, named after the village where the excavation was undertaken. At the Masol site, fossils of Miocene apes have also been discovered, suggesting that the Masol hominid descended from the Indophitecus Sivapithecus. In the same region, 1,500 fossils of different animal species have been unearthed, most of them herbivorous: giant tortoises Colossochelys, mammals such as Elephas, the ancestor of the current elephant, and Sivatherium, ancient giraffe, camels and even horses (Hipparion). The rare carnivores discovered are the Himalayan panther, as well as the hyena. It seems that these hominids were not herbivores, because there were traces of butchering on fossils, especially a tibia fragment and a broken metapodia, long bones of the limbs and hooves, of bovids, probably a wild buffalo. Micro-scanner examinations at the Natural History Museum of India have shown that the bones have been struck to extract the marrow. Researchers see similarities with archaeological discoveries made in China, for example in Longguppo (South China), 3,000 kilometres east of Masol, where butchery marks were found on animals dated about two Ma (millions of years)
During the Mesolithic period, the Indians of the time—who may be referred as the Bharatas, from the ancient Sanskrit name of India: Bharat– would have made a series of microliths, tiny stone tools, often of geometric shape, fashioned from a bladelet. These tools were mainly found in Central India, present-day Rajasthan, up to the Indus River.
It is also interesting to take a look at the Northeast of India because of its strategic location, at the junction of Southeast Asia and East Asia, a region rich in Neolithic archaeological discoveries. Due to the prehistoric and protohistoric—a period between prehistory and history—movements of different peoples coming from South China and Southeast Asia, this region has often been referred to as the “Great Indian Corridor.” And thanks to an abundant monsoon, a great diversity of plants and seeds, such as wild rice, which were cultivated very early by the inhabitants, as demonstrated by a team of geographers and botanists led by Nikolas Vavilov in the early 20th century. Vavilov, who has identified different kinds of rice grown in the prehistoric era in the Assam region, opined that “wild rice is part of the oldest Indian culture.”
As for animals, the magnificent and now endangered wild buffalo of Assam, was long hunted by prehistoric Indians, as borne out by the bones and stone axes, found in the hills of Assam. These prehistoric weapons have been studied by Indian archaeologists such as C. Goswami and A.C. Bhagabati, who divided them into three prehistoric periods: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures.
Also excavated in Assam’s Garo Hills, are numerous fragments of Neolithic pottery, characteristically corded— decorated with prints of twisted cord on raw clay, before firing. The potters of that time used a wheel called khasi, which lent its name to one of the oldest surviving tribes of the North-East in Assam. Other discoveries in the Phunn Hills of Manipur, also in the NorthEast, have been dated to about 18,000 BCE. They are comparable to the Yuchayan and Miayoan sites in China, dating back to 15,000 BCE.
In Eastern India and Central India, pottery containing rice grains has been discovered and dated 9,000 BCE by carbon
14 examination. These findings suggest that rice cultivation would have been extant much earlier than previously estimated, reportedly about 10,000 BCE. On the other hand, the presence of coal residues in some grains of rice would indicate that these ancient Indians were burning their fields after the third or fourth harvest, and then leaving them fallow for a certain time. It is also in the Lahuradewa region that important traces of crops were discovered in lake sediments, including rice. These hills of South- Western India were often distant from the rivers, indicating that the rice of that time was of a dry variant, such as the“japonica” variety, which was also cultivated in China; it is only later on that rice would have become an irrigated crop.
It has been assumed that the peoples of Northeast India belonged to the Sino-Tibetan language family. However, the Khasi, as well as the Bodo, Naga, Kuki, Tripuri and many other tribes, belong more to the Tibetan-Burmese family, as recent genetic studies have shown. These tribes would have come down from South China and settled little by little in different parts of Northeast India. Other discoveries at the beginning of the 20th century showed important links between Neolithic China and North-Eastern Neolithic India. For example, chopped stone axes found in areas of North-Eastern India have also been found in parts of upper Burma, as well as in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
Recently, a new prehistoric city was discovered in Vangchhia, in the Champhai district of Mizoram. Megalithic structures with unprecedented forms were exhumed, as well as houses made of large stones, with terraces as high as 7.50 metres. “These terraces could be burial grounds,” said Sujeet Nayan, an Indian archaeologist. Menhirs have also been discovered, on which scenes from life have been carved. One can see a warrior with a stone spear, whose sophisticated form seems to confirm that the Neolithic civilizations of Southeast India were extremely advanced, compared to those of other countries.