September 26, 2015

India: Delhi University dept stargazing to fix Veda dates

The Times of India

DU dept stargazing to fix Veda dates

NEW DELHI: Apparently the stars can tell when Rig Veda was composed. Delhi University's Sanskrit department is holding a three-day seminar on "Vedic Chronology" and on the first day, the department head, RC Bharadwaj, delivering the key-note address, argued that "astronomical data" and the "jyotish paramapara" (astrology) in Vedic literature furnish enough 'evidence' to support his view that Rig Veda predates the Indus Valley Civilization.

Adding to his argument, he said that Harappan culture is simply a later-Vedic one, that the movement of 'Aryan' culture was from East to West and not the other way around and all the "so-called progressive Indian historians" are wrong.

This batch of seminars, like the ones on disproving the Arya invasion theory before it, is mean to place in the mainstream academic discourse the view of Sanskrit scholars and Indian 'Indologists' - as distinguished from foreign or foreign-trained ones - that there was no invasion. Romila Thapar, naturally, came in for a lot of criticism.

Bharadwaj argued that Harappan town-planning had to be preceded by some less sophisticated version of community dwelling; that Vedic culture travelled to the West - explaining the links of language, myths and culture - following the Chinese trade routes.

While these views coincide exactly with those of the Hindu right-wing, Bharadwaj maintains his department "is not working in a specific direction." The day-one list of speakers seems to support this as Sanskrit scholar Gaya Charan Tripathi countered several of Bharadwaj's arguments, primarily the one on "astronomical data." He also gently reminded the gathering that western Indologists like William Jones also "contributed much to Indian nationalism."