Sarasvati project is on, under a new name

via http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1123191 published on September 24, 2007

NEW DELHI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has quietly continued with its controversial search for the mythical river Sarasvati despite strong disapproval from the UPA government.


Though the project has been officially denied funding, parts of it have been relabelled the Ghaggar project to continue with the research.


The Ghaggar is an “intermittent river” that flows westwards during the monsoons from Himachal Pradesh towards Rajasthan.


The Sarasvati heritage project was launched in 2003-04 by Jagmohan, culture and tourism minister in the BJP-led NDA government, to prove that the Sarasvati mentioned in the Rig Veda was the same as the lost river connected to the Harappan civilisation.


The project had strong support from the Sangh Parivar and Hindu historians for obvious reasons. Left and non-Sangh Parivar historians do not deny the existence of a dried up river near old Harappan sites, but say that it would be a stretch to connect this river to the mythical Sarasvati. Not unlike the Adam’s Bridge-Ram Setu controversy, this is another project where faith muddies the waters of research.


In November 2003, Parliament’s standing committee on tourism, culture and transport, which had begun an inquiry into ASI’s functioning, sought details on the project. With a change in government at the centre in May 2004, funds were withdrawn and the project was officially abandoned.


But the ASI funded the project from its own resources. “We wanted to bring the search to a logical conclusion,” RS Bisht, former joint director, ASI, who coordinated the project during the NDA regime, told DNA. 

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