Book review (Harappan Art) by Shireen Ratnagar : An open letter to THE HINDU

via S. Kalyanaraman published on September 4, 2007

To: The Editor, The Hindu




This is in reference to the review, by Dr. Shereen Ratnakar, which appeared in the Book Review Section of The Hindu, on 4th September 2007 on page 17. While referring to the poor quality of some plates, she mentions about the Gulf of Cambay Marine Archaeological findings also and comments sarcastically that the ” plates on Cambay, which has by now turned out to be an embarrassment rather than a find….” Her comment about ‘sindhur’ worn on two terracotta toys is disgusting. She should have known that archaeologists like Prof. Kenoyer and Prof. BB Lal were stunned by these finds showing red paint on parting of the hair of the toys while their necklaces were painted golden and the hair painted black.


It has become a habit among some ‘armchair archaeologists’ with out any scientific background or expertise to debunk the findings of geophysicists, geologists, botanists, palaeontologists and others like archaeologists who undertake field survey, collate their findings and provide balanced views on   their findings.  


We would like to know whether Shereen Ratnakar is aware of the scientific input that went into the analysis of materials collected at Cambay? Had she ever seen the materials? Does she have the expertise in any of the scientific disciplines mentioned above or about the optically stimulated luminescence dating method?  How can she denigrate a host of scientists who have collated every bit of evidence collected by them and formulated a credible theory? She did not bother to see the materials or interact with the scientists who carried out a systematic research. With these short comings, is she competent to comment about Marine archaeological finds from Cambay?


Yours truly,


S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D.,

Director, Sarasvati Research Centre,

Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank,

3 Temple Avenue,

Chennai 600015 [email protected]


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