The Real History of India – Part 3: Neolithic Supply Chain

Updated  Feb 12, 2008: Ganesh and Karthik have raised excellent questions on methodology.  I had included a segment on the methodology I used. You would have seen that part if you had read my post on Sunday. Later I took it out because the post was already way too long. Here is the methodology I used. As always critiques are welcome.

Prolog:

In the previous post, I explained how the Neolithic Plate was united by a common religion. In this post, we look at the economics of the Neolithic Plate, the other big aspect of civilizations. Not only did the Sumerian package include agricultural elements, it included supply chain economics and a written script. Why is all this context important? I believe with this context we can pass judgement on whether AIT is valid or invalid with certainty.

Pentagonal Supply Chain:

This episode in my journey of discovery started when I read the following lines in Page 88 of Romila Thapar’s The Penguin History of Early India:

The harappan system was a network linking the urban to the rural and some features could have been maintained in the rural areas, even if these areas suffered administratively and economically from the removal of this protective system.

Maybe other historians have also said this, but somehow this statement took my imaginaton by storm. I saw many things about IVC in a new light – they had a complex system of weights and measures, workshops for manufacture, seals, various tools and techniques, advanced town planning, a covered sewer system, fancy multi-storeyed buildings and of course the now famous Great Bath.

I also came across a news item in the Hindu newspaper about an Indus seal depicting Bull Leaping. I already knew by then that the same bull leaping was there in the Minoan Civilization in Crete, Greece that I talked about in my previous post. I even found this fresco of the Minoan Bull Leaping which is eerily similar to the Indus seal. This time, I read some more about the Minoans and I realized they have a similar mother goddess worship, a great lily pond (similar to the Great Bath), palaces, complex weights and measures, covered sewer and water management systems, advanced town planning and also a heiroglyphic like script that has not yet been deciphered.

Since I already came up with the realization that this entire region was acting like a continental plate – Neolithic Plate as I called it, this set of evidences told me that the connection between Minoans and IVC was much stronger.

Armed with this interpretation, I now went back into looking at Sumer and I came across the fact that there were several references to 3 places Magan, Dilmun and Meluhha from where they received ships. This clearly told me that there was some kind of trade network that Sumer was having with these three trading partners.

1. Meluhha – Asko Parpola, the f***ing brilliant Finnish Indologist had already proven that Meluhha was Mel Ahha (which he further derived to Met Agam = High Abode in Tamil, don’t know why he chose Met when Mel itself suffices) and it was the IVC. He also concluded that the Sanskrit term “Mileccha” meaning foreigner was a derivative of Meluhha. Al though i was convinced of this, i was not completely satisfied because I didn’t understand why people in the Indian subcontinent and Sumeria call the IVC by a term that means foreigner! So i thought about this further and I realized that “Mel” means “Upper”, “Agam” means Inside or House (as in Ezhil Agam or Thamizh Agam). Therefore Meluhha = Upper House, corroborated by evidence that houses in the IVC cities were often multi-storied and also included a citadel which could be called Upper House.

2. Dilmun -Researchers have already shown that Dilmun is Bahrain, a sea port in the persian gulf and a key part of the Arabian Peninsula. Interestingly, they simply used the IVC weights and measures. It is not clear if they also had their own script and IVC, Minoa like urban infrastructure. But without a doubt, they were a key trading partner of Sumeria and IVC.

3. Magan – Current research places Magan either in Oman or Yemen, but it also says the place is not known with certainty. Somehow this placement of Magan struck me as odd because when I was researching the Minoan civilization, i found that they were also a mercantile people who did trading. Not just any trading: it was a trading network that hooked together UK, Cyprus etc and traded with Mesopotamia as well!

At this point i made the intutive leap that Magan is the Minoan civilization. So i started to look for proof and went back to look at the Minoan as well as the Mycenaean that immediately succeeded the Minoans.

Interestingly, it turns out the decipherment of the Mycenaean Linear B script has shown that the name “Mycenaean” is incorrect, when applied to the civilization of mainland Greece.

At this point, I began to run out of steam. How do i connect Magan to Minoa – I got a couple of ideas – from my trip to Greece, I knew that there is a place called Mykanos which is a Mycenean place. In Greece, K and G are interchangeable – for example Knossos is also Gnossos. So Myganos maybe equivalent of Mykanos [Citation Needed] and if you strip the OS which is a standard Greek suffix, you get Mygan, pretty close to Magan.

Another thing I realized is that when Arthur Evans discovered the Minoan civilization, he simply named it after the King Minos. So this is another mistake in the Greek Historical Nomenclature. Now I was almost convinced that Magan = Mycaenae which is actually Minoa.

To see if i could find any other evidence, i looked to Egypt another culture which had a history of writing since 3200 BC to see if they had any references to Magan. It turns out Amenhotep III, refers to a place called Mwkinu or Mycaneae. Amenhotep III’s time is past the Minoan civilization but i think the name of the place wouldn’t have changed within 300 years of the decline of Minoa.

Need for a Complex Supply Chain:

Now, I landed in another problem – i didn’t understand why they had such a complex supply chain moving goods from Magan, Dilmun, IVC and Sumer because it looked like any other ordinary trading going on between countries since time immemorial.

As i wracked my brains, it dawned on me that we were dealing with the Bronze Age, which means one of the key metals is Bronze which is an alloy of Copper and Tin. I had read that Sumer, IVC, Minoan, Egypt all had Copper [Citation Needed]. Additionally I found with Priya Raju’s help that Tin is significantly rarer than Copper [2.5 ppm for Tin vs. 75 ppm for Copper].

Aha! that maybe what is driving this supply chain. I went back to Minoa again and started looking and voila, one of the main exports of the Minoans was Tin which they imported from Celtic UK!

Now that i knew that it was the metal trade that was driving this supply chain, it was pretty easy to connect Egypt to the network, it had Nubian Gold and Papyrus, as the fourth arm. From my Egypt trip, I knew that they had an alloy of Gold and Silver called Electrum. So i needed to find a source of Silver and it was right there in Anatolia (Luwia) near Catal Hoyuk which i wrote about in my previous post. Curiously Luwia also had Anatolian Hieroglyphics.

The Pentagonal Supply Chain is complete – Magan, Dilmun, Meluhha, Egypt and Luwia with Sumer being the orchestrator of the supply chain – can you believe this – a multi-hub-and-spoke model from 5000-6000 years ago!

One small problem remained – Magan is in the Mediterranen Sea and it needs to cross over to the Red Sea to reach Sumer. I guessed that Suez Canal which connects these 2 seas in the modern day may have been a small canal through which small boats might have passed through in ancient times [Citation Needed].

Epilog:

Next week I will show how the context we have established helped me decipher parts of the Indus Script. I started with this seal:

Check out Parpola’s interpretation of this seal

I will prove next week that aside from the brilliant connection to the Pleaides, Parpola’s interpretation is not completely correct. You all can also try your hand at interpreting this seal [Priya Raju is excluded because she knows the answer].


Comments

  1. Quote

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Sue.

  2. Quote

    Good post, Sukumar.

    Goes to show that people will love peace if they have ways to make money & take care of their needs. Plus, IVC was not a frog in an isolated pond. They were in touch with other great cultures of their time.

    What gets my goat is, we forgot all this & we are pre-occupied only with the Vedic culture. Its important to recognize the Vedas, but equally important to give credit to IVC.

  3. Quote

    Sukumar – I have this question. If IVC served as the trade hub for ancient India, how come we’ve never discovered their seals in Bengal, Orissa or South India? Do you think better research & digging will help us find the seals?

    If only our people were genuinely interested in history – instead of trying to prove that IVC & the Vedic culture are the same – we may have a shot at getting the answers.

  4. Quote

    Brilliant post Sukumar. As usual, I have to real all your links in detail before I fully understand how you made the connect.

    Let me try to interpret the seal. Is it the constellation. On the top left hand side is pashupathi (recongnizable by his two horns). Often Shiva is associated with Orion so he must be Orion. He is standing on Muyalagan (hare). The bull is Taurus and the ladies below are Sapthakanyas.

  5. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 11, 2008, 7:59 am:

    Thanks for subscribing and thanks for your kind words Sue.

    Priya, thanks. you nailed it. the biggest problem i observed in the field of indology is that almost all the indologists keep looking at India to come up with their theories without connecting to the larger pond of humanity that India is a small part of.

  6. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 11, 2008, 8:04 am:

    That is a great question Priya, one that I have been pondering for a while now. There has been one find of the Indus Script in Tamilnadu [http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/01/stories/2006050101992000.htm] which I think is too few. As you say, maybe we haven’t dug up in places other than the Indus Valley.

    And yes, it is sad that most of the research dollars are going into proving that IVC was Vedic instead of trying to find a bigger corpus of Indus artefacts across India.

  7. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 11, 2008, 8:05 am:

    Thanks Archana for your kind words. Yes, there is quite a bit of link labor one must do to understand the connections I have made.

    You will see my interpretation next week and you can compare notes then.

  8. Quote

    Brilliant Sukumar….That was truly briliant

    I still have some doubts in Meluhha..If the term has its orgins from Tamils…then does it make Tamil as one oldest ever Language…We have historical proof that Tamil existed during 3 century B.C…but did it exist before that ..But from what I understand the Proto Dravidan Languages had the orgin circa 700 BC .. if that was case how is possible to have a Dravidian Origin for IVC (I am using Dravidian for the want of better term )

  9. Quote

    Sukumar,

    Excellent research. I can buy how these cultures might have interacted with one another via commerce. A by-product of this exchange would have been cross pollination of religious ideas.

    Though I have to understand more about the validity behind some of the conclusions. Karthik beat me to the question I was going to ask, though not from a Dravidian angle.

    What was the basis for Parpola to translate “Mel Ahha” to “Met Agam”? Even if I can accept that, is the implication that Sumerians had trade relationship as far as Southern India to leverage the word “Meluhha” and thereby IVC itself might have been more far reaching than what is accepted today?

    As deep as your analysis is and your conclusions have been bold, how would one go about verifying it from a scientific angle? Would it be more excavation, more research, more analysis of existing data or all of the above?

    I probably would have to go through the posts multiple times to get a deeper understanding of your conclusions/implications.

    Irrespective, great job of researching. Looks like you are adept to find the various needles in the haystack!!

    Ganesh

  10. Quote

    Sukumar
    Great findings and thanks for this great series of Indus Valley. Here is the trade route of Magan and Sumer as per [Citation Needed] from your post. This is from “History and Geography of Human Genes by Luca,Paolo,Alberto”. page no 218.

    “The federation of Dilmum occupied the northwester coast on Persian gulf between Sumer and Bahrain Island. This was the trade center to forwarding materials to Sumer, and later to Akkadains from Magan and from the Harappan civilization in the Indus valley. Copper, Stone for craving and wood were the major goods traded by seafaring vessels.”

    In the same page, there is a detail route map figure between Indus Valley, Magan, and Sumer.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=FrwNcwKaUKoC&pg=PA218&dq=The+History+and+Geography+of+Human+Gene&ei=2rWwR-7bA4XYiwHRpMmnBg&sig=nj34j-Om8fg5OxNTrmRPqGjnV_8#PPP1,M1

  11. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 11, 2008, 6:41 pm:

    Karthik,
    Thanks for your kind words. Parpola has proposed that the language spoken in the IVC was Proto Dravidian. Tamil being one of the oldest languages is clearly a candidate. I also put up a link to the methodology I used in the upfront part of the post. Please read and comment. As for dating Tamil, i think you are referring to written records which don’t go back beyond 3rd or 4th century BC if i am not mistaken. But that doesn’t mean the language didn’t exist. In my view, Tamil is the language that is closest to what was spoken in the IVC. I am sure it would have been some form of archaic Tamil that none of us can yet understand and so the term Proto Dravidian that Parpola uses may be better. Using the term Proto-Dravidian is also in line with what linguists say about language drift.

    Would love your critique of the methodology.

  12. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 11, 2008, 6:46 pm:

    Ganesh,
    Thanks for the kind words. As I explained above, Parpola says Proto Dravidian was used in the IVC and since Tamil is one of the oldest languages in India, he used Tamil to decipher the IVC script and has accumulated a significant corpus of work. And I am in agreement with Parpola’s view. I will explain in my next post, why that makes the most sense. So Meluhha being Melagam doesn’t mean Sumer was trading with South India, it just means they were trading with the proto-dravidian speaking IVC which was a network hub. The spokes of the IVC hub extended throughout India including South India.

    I will also prove that it is not some random mixing of religious ideas, but a wholesale implementation of the Sumerian Religion. Stay tuned.

    I am glad you asked the question on how i can prove all this scientifically. I have now updated the post to include a link to the methodology I used. The way i have structured the methodology we don’t need more excavations but definitely those will help because at the end of my series we will have some pointers that can guide new excavations.

    I will love your critique of the methodology.

  13. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 11, 2008, 6:48 pm:

    Subba,
    Thanks a lot for the kind words. I think you are the only one that caught on to my [Citation Needed] approach that i have copied from the Wikipedia.

    Thanks for the research. Unfortunately, the citation you provided shows Magan being in Oman which i disagree with. As i say above, Magan is Crete and is in the Mediterranean Sea. The boats must have crossed over by the proto-suez canal [Citation Needed] to reach the Red Sea and then reach Sumer via the Persian Gulf. I will be grateful if you can do some more research and help me when you have the time.

  14. Quote

    Sukumar,

    I think Brahui would have been (at some point of time) closest to the IVC language – since that’s spoken even today in the Indo-Pak North-West (the same area of Mohenjodaro-Harrappa).

    However, I agree that Tamil (and perhaps a few tribal languages) retain their Dravidian identity the most. Brahui is mostly Urdu these days.

    And hence Tamil would be very useful for breaking the IVC script.

  15. Quote

    Good point Priya. You are right. Once upon a time Brahui=Proto-Dravidian would have been true. But now that Brahui has drifted so much, we need to pick a language that has the least potential to have drifted from the original proto-dravidian and that would be from the reference cultures in India – Tamil, Gonds and other fiercely protective Dravidian speaking ones. Also for a layperson like me who can’t yet do field research in tribal areas, and as a native Tamil speaker, Tamil is the best fit.

  16. Quote

    Hi Sukumar,
    I was reading about the Sumer civilization and something stuck me. In Lalitha Sahasranamam devi is described with the words “Sumeru madhya Sringastha, Sriman Nagara Nayika” it translates to “the lady who resides in the middle of sumeru and who rules over the city”

    All the time, Sumeru is thought of as the 3 dimensional view of Srichakra. It is in the form of a mountain and it is used to churn the milky ocean. Given the culture of goddess worship, I was wondering if it refers to the ancient Sumeru?

  17. Quote

    Archana – I thought Sumeru was a mythological mountain that’s supposed to be 300,000 miles (or some such impossibly huge number) tall.

    It might have referred to some mountain such as the Pamirs in the North West, at one point of time. Or, perhaps some other mountain near Iraq (if indeed the “Sumeru” in Lalitha Sahasranama is from Sumeria).

    Interestingly enough, there’s a Mt Meru in Tanzania.

  18. Quote
    Sridhar N.K said February 12, 2008, 6:05 pm:

    Sukumar,

    It look me a long time to get here. First off, I didn’t quite follow your second post (History of India – 2) and I had to go back and re-read it after reading this one. Now, it all makes sense as to how you got here. I also had to read up a lot (forgot everything from the history books :-). The lecture by Parpola helped (http://www.harappa.com/script/indusscript.pdf).

    About the Indus seal, I have 2 takes

    1. It signifies new growth, planting season, new season etc. I think this might be Parpola’s interpretation as well, but I am not sure.
    The sun god on the left depicted by fire and the horn on the head, the great bear constellation on the right with the bull and fish (ezhumin) kneeling before the sun, the six female sages in the bottom (the 7th one seem to be annointed with godly powers), the god kneeling down seem to have a crop on the head signifying new growth.

    2. The goddess on the left is earth (I am interpreting the plaited hair for a female god) and this is trying to depict an eruption or an earth quake that happened during vernal equinox (depicted by the great bear constellation)

    In either case, I am left with more questions than answers. Why is the tree of wisdom there on the left? The 7th sage seem to have a pot on top of her head, why? What’s beside the fish?

    Now, I can’t wait for your next post on this

  19. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 12, 2008, 8:35 pm:

    Thanks Priya.you’re right.
    Archana, interesting connection. Meru a.k.a Sumeru are the Vedic Holy Mountains whereas Sumer is the name of a civilization. One important point to bear in mind with respect to Vedic documents is the lack of dates due to lack of writing and the continuous changes many of these have undergone. Only the vedas have the mnemonic checks and balances method to ensure that it gets transmitted accurately. So the only Vedic document we can use in anthropology is the Rig Veda Samhita (and not the Brahmanas or Aranyakas). Therefore, if you find any correlations with the Rig Veda Samhita, please tell me about it. That will be an extremely useful point of view. Remember also that the RV is currently dated to 1500BC-1000BC.

  20. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 12, 2008, 9:40 pm:

    Sreedhar,
    Thanks. Archana also mentioned that she didn’t understand part2. What part of the post is hard to understand? If you let me know I can change my style in future posts.

    Man, you have a prolific and vivid imagination. I think those are key qualities to decipher scripts. When I publish my next post you can compare notes.

  21. Quote

    Another point to note about Sumeru is that it was the name Akkadians gave to that civilization. Sumerians called their land “Kiengir”.

  22. Quote

    Thank you Priya and Sukumar.
    I have no clue who Akkadians are. If Sumerians called themselves Kiengir why do we call them sumerians?

    Regarding Sumeru being an ancient mountain, yes you are right. Have you seen the Shree chakrs, which several overlapping triangles. Meru is supposed to be a three dimensional view of the Srichakra. I may be imagining, but I wondered if it is some kind of a map.

  23. Quote
    pk.karthik said February 13, 2008, 5:09 am:

    @ Archana .

    Akkadians was civilization that replacedSumeria in mespotamia(I may be wrong as some historians club them as Sumerians,I have a difference of opinion on that as they had a seperate enity..langauage etc)..They lived in circa 2000 BC .They had their orgin from a city called Akkad( may be the present day Baghadad)

  24. Quote
    Sridhar N.K said February 13, 2008, 10:08 am:

    Sukumar,

    I don’t think your 2nd post by itself was hard to follow or understand (we are not talking Indus Script here 🙂 Reading your second post was similar to going through a jigsaw puzzle, where the 3rd post completed the puzzle and it was easier to understand.

    Looking at what to change from your second post, and I am using a tooth and comb and being extremely critical, it would have helped me if you had told what your quest / question you were trying to answer was upfront. Not knowing what you were trying to solve, made it uphill for me personally.

    About your posting only once a week in a series of posts, you are heightening my anxiety during the week and it feels like waiting for JK Rowling’s next book (want to know what the answer is and can’t wait for the next one to come out). You make us all a little more knowledgeable each day. Thank you!

  25. Quote

    Thanks a lot Sreedhar. Appreciate the feedback. I will try to change my approach in the next post. I am planning to do a mid-week post this time because we have picked up significant momentum in our understanding of things as a collective group. I will try my best to do that amidst the gazillion late evening conf calls that i have.

  26. Quote
    Sridhar N.K said February 13, 2008, 11:39 am:

    Sukumar,

    Did you notice that all of the words used in the script as described by Parpola are 2 letter words. Even today, in tamil (which was one of the proto-dravidian languages), we use mostly 2 letter words and sometimes combine 2 separate 2 letter words to form a 3-letter word.

    The reason I say this is because, these inscriptions could mean more than what meets the eye, especially, if they are using a complex language system. Did you find a site which has all the inscriptions uncovered thus far?

  27. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 13, 2008, 7:10 pm:

    Sreedhar,
    That is an interesting observation. I had not noticed that. In my limited knowledge of Tamil, i seem to recall more 3 letter and 4 letter words than 2 letter words. Maybe Priya can comment?

    Technically speaking both Parpola and Mahadevan are script decipherment claims only as of this point because we need to have a more complete decipherment before a claim is accepted. So there is no site where all the inscriptons have been uncovered. Maybe I didn’t understand your point?

    If you are referring to the archive where all the seals are present – i am sure that exists, i don’t think it exists electronically. I could be wrong. Does anyone else know?

    Please look at the most recent research done by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research on the harappa.com site they have calculated the frequency of 2 letter, 3 letter and 4 letter strings.

    http://www.harappa.com/script/tata-writing/tata-indus-script-research.html

    They have done a fantastic job with the analysis. Check it out.

  28. Quote
    senthil (subscribed) said February 15, 2008, 3:02 pm:

    I dont know, if i can quote this information here.. but i came across this underwater explorations today near japan.. the site is yonaguni,..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yonaguni
    http://www.lauralee.com/japan.htm

    Is there any chance, that there might be more underwather structures, that hasnt been explored… this is not related to the IVC discussed here, but, since this info is new to me, i am just sharing it here.

  29. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 15, 2008, 8:41 pm:

    Senthil,
    Interesting links. There are 2 ongoing myths about a fantastic submerged civilization called Atlantis and we have our own called Lemuria. Everytime some fancy underwater structures are found, we claim to have found either of these. Even in the links you provided, you can see that Geologists are saying these are natural formations. I guess people must do some more research and figure out what these are in a scientific manner. As i said, given the number of such claims for undewater civilizations, the scientific establishment may find it hard to evaluate these claims. Maybe the proponents of this theory, can use scientific methods and prove to the scientists instead of heaping conjecture upon conjecture.

  30. Quote

    This is an extraordinary post. I am new to anthropology & this type of research, and it makes excellent impact on me.

    //Meluhha was Mel Ahha (which he further derived to Met Agam = High Abode in Tamil, don’t know why he chose Met when Mel itself suffices) and it was the IVC.//

    In Tamil, we use a word “Methagu/Metagu” (Tamil: மேதகு), which is used in the meaning “esteemed” (eg: மேதகு ஆளுநர் அவர்கள்).

    I am not sure if this is relevant here, but it just came to me as I was reading this. The roots for this word could be மேல் + தகைமை

  31. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 28, 2008, 8:14 am:

    Meenaks,
    Thanks for your kind words. Your derivation is brilliant. I guess that is the direction Parpola would have taken. Thanks a lot. I am so glad to have a Tamil expert in the blog’s community. It will be great if you can critique the other posts as well.

  32. Quote

    Sukumar, Thanks. I am reading up all the posts with tremendous interest. They are opening new dimensions inside my thought process. You are doing a terrific job here. Will surely offer my views and thoughts.

  33. Quote

    Meenaks – Now, that’s a very interesting suggestion – “Methagu”. Perhaps we should share some of the names we found in the Rig Veda to see if you think of some parallel in Tamil.

    Names like Pipru, Susna & Sambara are mentioned – of course, Aryans may have made mistakes in the name, but if there’s any Tamil name, word, thing or profession sounds similar, it will be very interesting to know. Any suggestions?

  34. Quote

    Priya, Could you give an indication to the meanings of these words?

  35. Quote

    Meenaks – Apparently, these were names of the locals that were either against Indra or sided with him. 1 such name – Kuyava – captured Sukumar’s attention, since Kuyavan is a Tamil word for “Potter”.

  36. Quote
    Meenaks said March 12, 2008, 5:13 am:

    Priya, I tried looking up related terms for susna.

    I started with சூசனம் (susanam) which has the meaning – “indication or suggestion”. The modern word for it seems to be சூசகம் (susakam). eg. வரி விதிப்பு இருக்காது என அமைச்சர் சூசகமாகத் தெரிவித்தார்.

    Then I looked for சூசம் (susam). This word refers to a species of ram (செம்மறி ஆடு), particularly the male.

    Then I also looked for சூசகன் (susakan) which means a spy or a teacher/person with exemplary virtues.

    To me, “spy” looks very promising, as does the linkage to rearing of sheep. Does RV give more details about the word susna?

  37. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 12, 2008, 6:13 am:

    that is brilliant Meenaks. Ever since i found Kuyavan and Kusavan as names of Dasyus (Dasyu=IVC people is the best guess we have now), i have been on the track that the RV people must have confused the people’s professions for their names.

    So i felt that the words Susna, Pipru and Sambara must be the names of IVC professions as well. The sheep reference you came up with called Susam fits that model. Susna would have been the sheepherd or sheep farmer.

    We need to see if we can tie Pipru and Sambara also to professions? One thought i had for Sambara is a grain farmer because samba is still today used to mean grain – kichilia chamba, chamba godhumai etc.

    Does this make sense?

  38. Quote
    Meenaks said March 12, 2008, 7:09 am:

    Your guess for sambara sounds feasible. Let me research more on this.

    However, I found a reference for “sambaran” in – guess where – kanda puranam which is written in praise of Lord Murugan. Here, Lord Murugan is referred to as “the enemy of sambara” (சம்பரனுக்கொரு பகைவா!).

    In a lexicon, I also found an entry for sambara as “the asura who got killed by kaman”. Given the kaman reference from IVC, it sets me thinking on whether it is a case of an IVC legend adapted into RV as their own, and giving Indra the status of destroying Sambara.

    Interestingly, Sambara is also crucial in Ramayana. Dasaratha went to help Indra during the fight with Sambara, and it is during this fight that Kaikeyi ends up helping Dasaratha and gets rewarded with two boons. She eventually used these boons to send Rama to the forest.

  39. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 12, 2008, 7:25 am:

    That is very interesting. One important thing we must bear in mind while dealing with the IVC is that we must never use any Vedic documents in the interpretation at the outset. Kanda Puranam and Ramayanam are both documents produced in the Vedic Age and as you mention it is highly likely they depicted some IVC person as a demon. Even the Kabandhan who is a demon in Ramayana is actually a Tamil word (dont know the meaning, maybe you know).

    Therefore, as a first step, try to find the interpretation only using Tamil sources like lexicons etc. If something is sanskrit sounding just drop the idea. Once we figure out the true meaning, we can then look at Vedic sources to figure out how it was incorporated into the Vedic culture. as an example we know from pure tamil that Kuyavan and Kusavan are Potters. Now when you look at what that meant in the RV, it meant a Dasyu’s name whose Pura was destroyed by Indra or was killed by Indra.

    Please let me know if any of this is not clear to you?

  40. Quote
    Meenaks said March 12, 2008, 7:31 am:

    Sukumar, the process to follow is very clear to me. I just noted down the things I found interesting while I was researching the topic.

  41. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said March 12, 2008, 9:10 am:

    Thanks Meenaks. The reason i am particular about the process is that, if you use the vedic sources first and then the tamil sources it would give rise to confirmation bias – that is we find first how the meaning was corrupted and then we go looking for evidence that its original meaning was different.

  42. Quote

    Sukumar,

    I was going through the posts once again. In looking at the seal again, it seem to depict “Valli” being asked by Muruga in marriage. Valli is supposed to have been found in the forest in between “Valli Kodi” by her dad and hence the name “valli” for her.

    Valli also means creepers. Kodi also means “fire” – As the creeper’s leaves looks/spreads like fire. The lady inside the creeper is Valli. This doesn’t look like the usual tree depiction that is found in other seals, it looks like a creeper. The person kneeling in front is Murugan asking Valli to marry him.

    Semmeen-ezhumin-vizhavu – which is also celebrated as panguni vizhavu (or panguni mayakkam!!!) is to celebrate muruga’s marriage. Semmeen (Aathi-irai star) and Ezhumin (can be looked at as ezhu meen – palisades) is depicted in the picture as well. Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Tamil_country for tamil festivals.

  43. Quote

    That is an interesting interpretation Sreedhar. Makes a lot of sense actually. Once we have a greater understanding of the script, we can come back and take a relook at this. Ettu Thogai and Patthu Paatu is a great pointer. We must investigate them carefully for potential clues.

  44. Quote

    I think Meluhha means Democracy in the Sumerian language which was widely used in Mesopotamia.

    Refering to Sumerian Lexicon at http://www.sumerian.org/sumerian.pdf , I found the following:
    Me = responsibility; function; office
    lu = men; people
    ha = diverse; numerous

    Putting together it would mean ‘(A country where) people shared diverse responsibilities (in government)’, unlike the kingdoms of Sargon and Pharoahs.

  45. Quote

    Interesting. Meluhha is a name of a place and hence a lexical analysis may not be appropriate.

  46. Quote

    A Neolithic stone shaped like a hand held axe, dating to between 2000 BC – 1500 BC has been found near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. What makes this find more interesting is the fact that this stone has Indus Valley signs on it. This is one great find since this brings out evidence that the Indus script had reached Tamil Nadu around the same time the Indus civilization was in its glory.

    According to Mr. Mahadevan, the first sign on the celt depicted a skeletal body with ribs. The figure is seated on his haunches, body bent and contracted, with lower limbs folded and knees drawn up. The second sign showed a jar. Hundreds of this pair have been found on seals and sealings at Harappa. Mr Mahadevan read the first sign as “muruku” and the second sign as “an.” In other words, it is “Murukan.” The earliest references in Old Tamil poetry portrayed him as a “wrathful killer,” indicating his prowess as a war god and hunter. The third sign looked like a trident and the fourth like a crescent with a loop in the middle.[Discovery of a century” in Tamil Nadu via email from Anand Krishnamoorthi]

    Does this mean that Harappans and the people of Tamil Nadu shared a same language? Iravatham Mahadevan, an expert on Indus Valley script thinks so.

    He said: “`Muruku’ and ‘an’ are shown hundreds of times in the Indus script found at Harappa. This is the importance of the find at Sembiyan-Kandiyur. Not only do the Neolithic people of Tamil Nadu and the Harappans share the same script but the same language.” In Tamil Nadu, the muruku symbol was first identified from a pottery graffiti at Sanur, near Tindivanam. B.B. Lal, former Director-General of ASI, correctly identified this symbol with sign 47 of the Indus script. In recent years, the muruku symbol turned up among the pottery graffiti found at Mangudi, near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, and at Muciri, Kerala. But this was the first time that a complete, classical Indus script had been found on a polished Neolithic stone celt, Mr. Mahadevan pointed out.[ Significance of Mayiladuthurai find]

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