Karpasa in pre-historic India: a chronological and cultural clue, with an introd. by H.D. Sankalia
Moves towards a general revision of ancient Indian History. Taking the aid of archaeological discovery, documentary material and linguistic study, it seeks to bring about a radical change in (1) comparative chronology, (2) the sequence of cultures and (3) the cultural character of several phases of India's career in antiquity. By a close investigation of the term karpasa for cotton in Sanskrit literature and by an alignment of its first occurrence with the first ascertained cultivator of the cotton-plant in our country, the body of Indian writing called Sutras is shown to be in its early stage contemporary with the Harappa Culture, the Indus Valley Civilization, of c. 2500-1500 B.C. The natural consequences are a new date for the Rigveda which is commonly held to have started in c. 1500 B.C. a thousand years before the Sutras, and a new understanding of the Indus Valley Civilization as at once a derivative, a development and a deviation from the Rigveda a millennium after this scripture's beginning. However, the argument from karpasa does not stand alone. Its import is buttressed from several other directions. Pointers from India are rendered sharper by significant suggestions caught from the Mesopotamian region with which the Indus Valley Civilization had commercial and cultural contacts. In agreement with several scholars but with an eye to more particulars, a name for this Civilization is discerned in the Sumerian records. It is then matched -- again with a closer scrutiny than given before by like-minded scholars -- with a name applied from more inland India to people of the Indus Valley for the first time in the Satapatha Brahmana which just precedes the earliest Sutras and would thus synchronize by the new chronology most appropriately with the initial development of the Harappa Culture. The riddle of the Indus script is also confronted and a fairly long debate held on the claims of Proto-Tamil and Proto-Prakrit for the language embodied in it. The latter is adjudged more likely to be the base though other elements as part of the superstructure are not brushed aside. At the end, as a key-insight, the vocable karpasa itself is disclosed as functioning under a transparent veil in several lists of Sumero-Akkadian words which are connected with the trade between the Harappa Culture and Sumer. The above summary hints at only a few aspects of the manifold research pursued along new lines with a sustained thoroughness. Here is a book opening up vista on novel vista for the Indologist without sacrificing any of the scientific rigour with which honest investigation of the past is to be carried on.;;
Pages etc.: x,204p., 23cm.
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