Skip to comments.Interview [with Iravatham Mahadevan,] the Madras Indus scholar
Posted on 03/31/2007 7:44:03 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
[Q:] There are periodic reports of Indus script being deciphered. Are there standard methods to test the validity of claimed decipherments?
[A:] The best summary and evaluation of the work done so far is Gregory Possehlâs book, The Indus Age: Its writing. I myself have reviewed five claims to decipherment â two based on Sanskrit, two on Tamil and one claiming that the script is merely a collection of numbers. My conclusion is negative â that none of the decipherments has been successful... There is very little interest in the Indus script in the West â there are very few people working on the Indus script around the world. The one exception is India, but research in India has gotten inextricably mixed up with politics: the Hindu nationalistic scholars claim the language is Sanskrit, while the Tamil nationalistic scholars claim it to be a form of Dravidian. Both claims have become suspect because of their political background. Any claim from an Indian scholar becomes suspect because one immediately asks what is the mother tongue or political affiliation of the scholar. A scholar from another country is happily free of this problem. I envy that freedom, but I too have an advantage: I am a son of the soil. The traditions of India, its mythology, its religions, its culture, its art, are in my blood, and therefore I may have insights which people who are not the inheritors of this culture may not have. This is a subjective reaction, but such resources as we have must be put to best use.
(Excerpt) Read more at himalmag.com ...
"Discovery of a century" in Tamil NaduAccording 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.
by T.S. Subramanian
Monday, May 01, 2006
Parpula's two volumes of photographs covering the collections of India and Pakistan, which appeared in 1987 and 1991... and his 1994 sign list, containing 386 signs (as against Mahadevan's 419 signs), are generally recognized as fine achievements, not least by Mahadevan... This is a significant figure. It is too high for a syllabary like Linear B... and too low for a highly logographic script like Chinese. the nearest comparison... are probably the Hittite hieroglyphs with about 500 signs and Sumerian cuneiform with perhaps 600+ signs... Most scholars therefore agree that the Indus script is likely to be a logosyllabic script like its west Asian contemporaries. [pp 281-284]
These Dravidian speakers are presumably remnants of a once-widespread Dravidian culture submerged by encroaching Indo-Aryans in the 2nd millennium BC... The Indo-Aryan hymns, the Vedas... recount tales of conquest of the forts of the dark-skinned Dasa or Dasyu... the Vedas repeatedly mention the horse in their descriptions of warfare and sacrifice, and this animal was clearly a vital part of Indo-Aryan society... But there is not horse imagery at all in the Indus Valley civilization and virtually no horse remains have been found by archaeologists. Hence the Indus civilizations is unlikely to have been Indo-Aryan. [pp 290-291]
The Enigma Of The World's Undeciphered Scripts
by Andrew Robinson
Uncracked Ancient CodesSanskrit and early Dravidian, the ancient languages of India, seem to be the keys to deciphering the highly challenging script of the Indus Valley civilization of the third millennium b.c. in what is now Pakistan and northwest India. As with other languages, a photographic corpus of drawings, a sign list and a concordance must be compiled before decipherment will be possible. Work has proceeded along these lines for inscriptions on some 3,700 objects from the Indus Valley, most of them seal stones with very brief inscriptions (the longest has only 26 characters)... Robinson's descriptions of such analysis, and his accounts of both successful and unsuccessful decoding attempts, are clear, provocative and stimulating.
(Lost Languages reviewed)
by William C. WestOne sees what one wants toI agree with Rajaram that it is time we put this 'horse business' behind us and look at the decipherment itself. I have done so. The Jha-Rajaram 'decipherment' is completely invalid. It is, in fact, a non-starter for the simple reason that the direction of reading adopted by the authors is wrong, as demonstrated by Witzel and Farmer (Frontline, October 13, box item at p.12). The 'decipherment' makes as much sense as you would get out of this page if you try to read it from a mirror reflection.
by Iravatham MahadevanOf Rajaram's 'Horses', 'decipherment', and civilisational issuesIt is sad that in South Asia, as elsewhere in the world, linguistic and religious controversies are the cause of so much injustice and suffering. We should remember that from the very beginning, Aryan and non-Aryan languages and associated cultures, religions and peoples have intermingled and have become inextricably mixed. Every element of the population has contributed to the creation of Indian civilisation, and every one of them deserves credit for it.
by Asko Parpola
Deciphering the Indus Script
by Asko Parpola
Early Tamil Epigraphy
from the Earliest Times
to the Sixth Century A.D.
by Iravatham Mahadevan
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German Indologist claims to have decoded Indus scripts
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'Indus Valley Civilization Was More Varied And Wider'
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Can the monkey god save Rama's underwater bridge?
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Speaking of India, the article on this page:
has some photos from NASA that purport to show a submerged land bridge or passage from India to Sri Lanka. It's worth a look.
Now I could get lost for hours investigating that....
I have a cousin with that name...I thought he was just using a internet handle until I got to know him better... LOL
That is a good one!
That didn't work. The server must only spit out the results tailored to the customer, because I got text the second time, clicked "acknowledge", and wound up in a screen explaining the steps etc.
I expected that they wouldn't allow others to see it. BTW, 90% of the people of Ireland have the same Y-chromosome DNA as myself.
I have submitted a sample to check my mtDNA now.
Heh... I'm not touchin' that line with a twenty foot caber.
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