Indian scholar deciphers Indus script

via HK Correspondent published on January 16, 2006

CHENNAI:  The Indus valley script, an enigma for scholars for over 130 years, has been deciphered by Dr S Kalyanaraman, a Chennai based scholar. Ever since the first Indus seal with script was discovered in 1870 by Alexander Cunningham, efforts were on to decipher the script. “The decipherment of the script is central to unraveling the true chronology and history of Indian civilization and culture,” Dr Kalyanaraman told Haindava Keralam.    


Dr. Kalyanaraman, a former senior executive with the Asian Development Bank at Manila quit his job to devote full time for the research on Inter-linking of Indian rivers and deciphering the script of the Indus seal. Over the last 26 years, Dr Kalyanaraman has compiled a multi-lingual comparative dictionary for over 25 ancient Indian languages with about half-a-million words and has put it up on the internet.


It was a journey in a Pakistan International Airlines flight which made Dr Kalyanaraman to quit his high paying ADB job. “I was presented with replicas of two seals, really paper-weights, by the PIA sincve I was traveling by the first class on that day,” said Dr Kalyanaraman. Curiosity forced Dr Kalyanaraman to ask the PIA staff about the replicas. He was literally shocked by the reply given by them. “They said that the seals were from Mohenjodaro and it established the 5,000-year old history of the civilization of Pakistan. They kept silent when I pointed out to them that there was no Pakistan at that time,” Dr Kalyanaraman explained.


“About 5000 years ago, there was only Bharat mentioned in the Rigveda. Visvamitra, a Rigveda rishi, refers to the people of Bharat as Bharatam Janam (that is, people of the nation of Bharata),”pointed out Dr Kalyanaraman, author of a major book “Saraswathi”. 


He pointed out that the word Bharatiyo in Gujarati means ‘caster of metals’ and goes on to present an array of evidence from about 4000 epigraphs on a variety of objects from what he calls “Sarasvati Civilization”. The epigraphs appear on seals, tablets, potsherds, ivory rods, copper plates, even on metallic weapons.


The breakthrough in confirming his decipherment has come from two sources: 1. the presence of Sarasvati hieroglyphs on two pure tin ingots discovered in a ship-wreck in Haifa, Israel; and  the presence of Sarasvati hieroglyphs on artefacts in archaeological sites of Jiroft (Iran) and Adichanallur (Tirunelveli, South India).


According to Dr Kalyanaraman, the glyphs are pictorials connoting homonyms (similar sounding words which could be depicted pictorially) of metals, minerals, alloys and furnaces. “For example, a jar with a rim, an antelope, an elephant, a rhinoceros, a heifer (bull-calf) can be depicted pictorially. The words related to these glyphs are homonymous with words for varieties of minerals, metals, alloys and furnaces,” Dr Kalyanaraman explained. 


Dr Kalyanaraman, claims that the code of the script or writing system has been decoded simply as representation of the repertoire of smiths, smithy, mines, and metal workshops. The arte facts are gathered from many sites; there are about 2,000 archaeological sites on the banks of a desiccated River Sarasvati (representing about 80% of the 2600 total archaeological sites of the civilization dated to between 3500 to 1900 Before Common Era, BCE).


Some of the sites are: Rakhigarhi (near Delhi), Kunal, Kalibangan, Banawali, Ropar (near Kurukshetra, Chandigarh), Dholavira, Lothal, Surkotada, Prabhas Patan, Dwaraka (Gujarat) and of course, Mohenjodaro, Harappa (Pakistan), Mehergarh (Afghanistan). A woman’s burial found at Mehergarh contained ornaments including a wide bangle made of s’ankha; the surprise was that this burial was dated to 6500 BCE. The s’ankha industry continues even today in Tiruchendur, near Gulf of Mannar, South Indian coastline where West Bengal handicraft corporation obtains s’ankha to make bangles which are a must for every Bengali bride to wear during marriage. A remarkable continuity of culture and an industry unbroken for the last 8500 years !


He quotes profusely from the great Indian epics to substantiate his claims. “The language of the epigraphs is said to be mleccha (Meluhha, mentioned in cuneiform records of Mesopotamia). Vatsyayana refers to cipher writing as mlecchita-vikalpa (alternative representation by copper workers),” according to Dr Kalyanaraman.


Mleccha is also referred to as a spoken language in Mahabharata; Yudhishthira and Vidura converse in Mleccha about the shellac palace (lakshagriha) constructed to trap the Pandavas with metallic and non-metallic killer devices. An example of mleccha is ‘helava, helava’ comparable to the ‘elo,elo’ boatmen’s song by seafaring and river-faring navigators who navigate hugging the coastline and along rivers which were the highways of ancient times, enabling long-distance trade over very long distances exceeding 3,000 kms., making the Sarasvati civilization the most extensive civilization of its times.


“Languages of present-day India can be explained from a common source and the theory is called ‘Proto-Vedic Continuity Theory’, “says Dr Kalyanaraman.


These claims could have a significant effect on the study of languages and contribute to historical studies emphasizing the essential continuity and unity of Indian civilization and culture as a continuum from 6500 BCE to the present-day.

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