River Saraswati: Historical facts, scientific proof – Kumar Chellappan

Kumar Chellappan“Mr Habib’s apprehension is that the Indus valley civilisation, whose two major cities, Mohenjo Daro and Harappa now lie in Pakistan, could be renamed as Saraswati civilisation. Mr Habib must know that the moment Saraswati river’s existence was proved, both Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were gone. Since blood is thicker than water, Mr Habib is sad that Pakistan lost its significance.” – Kumar Chellappan

Prof Yellapragada Sudershan RaoWhenever there is a change of Government at the Centre and the BJP comes to power, it is not the Congress or the factions of the Janata Dal who get upset and create panic. Instead, it is the self-styled intellectuals, especially a section of historians and their political masters, the Leftists, who are not at ease. What concerns them is the fear of losing control over the Indian Council of Historical Research and related organisations, which has been monopolised by them for a long time now. The ICHR takes care of their material needs.

This was proved by the apprehensions expressed by the Leftist historians and their puppeteers when the Union Government, appointed Mr Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, as the Chairperson of the ICHR. The Leftists wanted the ICHR to be governed by a person of their choice. The fact that Mr Rao has been a professor of history for more than four decades and has authored acclaimed articles in international journals has not cut ice with them. To be acceptable to them, the historian had to publish research papers in peer-reviewed journals. All of these peer-reviewed journals in India are controlled by the same Leftist historians who act as a coterie. But there is no need to go in-depth into this subject. A reading of Eminent Historians by Mr Arun Shourie will throw light on the modus operandi and intentions.

Marxist Historian Prof Irfan HabibIrfan Habib, the octogenarian Left historian who is a former ICHR Chairperson, has questioned the claims of Hindutva forces that there was a river by the name of Saraswati. What provoked Mr Habib was the BJP-led Haryana Government’s move to re-create the Saraswati river, an issue which is of great sentimental value for the Hindus because this river finds a mention in the Vedas as well as in the great epics. In an article published in a leading South Indian daily [The Chindu], more known for its CPI(M) leanings, Mr Habib rules out the theory that there was a river by the name of Saraswati. Mr Habib, known more as a Marxist historian, describes those who believe in the existence of Saraswati river as Sangh parivar intellectuals.

For Mr Habib, what matters is the observations of Rudolf von Roth, a German professor of Oriental languages, and Heinrich Zimmer, a German-born historian of South Asian art, who were not convinced about the river Saraswati. The octogenarian professor quotes Ms Marie-Agnes Courty of the European Centre for Prehistoric Research, who rules out the presence of any large river coming down from the Himalayas. But Ms Courty told this author that she does not rule out the existence of seasonal water streams originating from the Siwalik Hills. Advancements in science and technology, along with geology and hydrology, have proved that there was a river by the name of Saraswati.

Dr. S. KalyanaramanScholars in Sanskrit who have read all the great works related to Indian heritage, strongly believe that the river Saraswati meandered from the Himalayas through the north Indian States and joined the Arabian Sea at the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. These scholars include S. Kalyanaraman whose comprehensive volume Sarasvati is rated as a landmark work, K. S. Valdiya, an archaeologist of international repute, and internationally acclaimed scientists like S. M. Rao and K. M. Kulkarni (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay).

Mr Rao is not a specialist in any Oriental language but a physicist who is an authority on radio isotopes, materials known for testing the origin of elements, materials, mountains, rivers, seas, soil and what not. In addition to these experts, remote sensing scientists like J. R. Sharma and B. K. Bhadra of the Indian Space Research Organisation have proved, beyond doubt, that the Saraswati flowed through the Indian sub-continent.

Mr Habib must know, one can manipulate history and literature to a certain extent, but scientific findings cannot be defeated. He should read the archaeological findings of Mr Rafique Mughal, an archaeologist from Pakistan, who discovered hundreds of sites in Cholistan and referred to Sutlej, Ghaggar-Hakra and also Saraswati. For Mr Mughal (now a professor in Boston University), the Saraswati is not a myth.

Michel DaninoIn addition, Mr Michel Danino, an Indian author, originally from France has written The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati. What Mr Habib missed in his article was the scientific research done by the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay and the Geological Survey of India.

Messers J. R. Sharma and B. K. Bhadra of ISRO’s Regional Remote Sensing Centre, Jodhpur, discovered the paleochannels of the vedic river using Remote Sensing and Global Information System techniques. “Data from the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite was used to delineate the buried palaeochannels through image processing techniques in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The discovered river course has been validated with ground information like historical maps, archaeological sites, hydrogeology, sedimentology, drilling (litholog) and geochronological data,” said Mr Bhadra about the work he and Mr Sharma did to prove the existence of Saraswati.

Mr Habib got annoyed when the Haryana Government decided to drill tubewells along the course of the Saraswati traced by Mr Bhadra and Mr Sharma. “Drilling of tubewells on the palaeochannels shows the availability of large quantity of potable water which may be tapped as groundwater source in the water striven Thar desert,” said Mr Bhadra. Mr Habib’s anger is understandable as his political masters, though irrelevant in Indian politics, do not subscribe to the theory that perennial water shortage in India can be resolved by reviving the Saraswati.

Messrs S. M. Rao and K. M. Kulkarni, two senior scientists of the Isotope Chemistry Division of the BARC too proved by radio isotope studies that there was a river named Saraswati which flowed through the Indian sub-continent about 10,000 years ago. Along with Messrs A. K. Gupta and G. Sreenivasan, their colleagues in RRSC, Mr Sharma and Mr Bhadra have found that the river disappeared in 3,000 BC due to climatic and tectonic changes. 

Gopalaswami ParthasarathiMr Habib’s apprehension is that the Indus valley civilisation, whose two major cities, Mohenjo Daro and Harappa now lie in Pakistan, could be renamed as Saraswati civilisation. Mr Habib must know that the moment Saraswati river’s existence was proved, both Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were gone. Since blood is thicker than water, Mr Habib is sad that Pakistan lost its significance.

These ‘eminent historians’, with the active help of their Communist masters have succeeded in distorting Indian history. It all began with Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister, enlisting the services of Gopalaswami Parthasarathi, a diplomat-turned-advisor to the Nehru-Gandhi family to bring on board historians and social scientists who would go on to distort the country’s past history to suit her political convenience. – The Pioneer, 6 May 2015

» Kumar Chellappan is a senior journalist with The Pioneer based in Chennai.

Saraswati River

9 Responses

  1. Sarasvati at Prabhasa Tirtha ( Somanath Jyotirlinga ) :

    it is clearly explained , in the accompanying map , how Sarasvati forms a Triven’i Sangam at Prayaga ;

    i request learned scholars to clarify the following :

    at Somanath Jyotirlinga in gujarat , there is a Triveni Sangam ,
    confluence of three rivers Hiranya , Kapila , and Sarasvati which
    together meet the sea , forming the Holy Prabhasa Tirtha ;

    Bhagavan S’ri Kr.shna is said to have left the mortal remains here , after walking for a few hundred meters to the river bank from bhaluka tirtha ( the place where He was hit by an arrow of a bhil hunter ) ;

    two rivers , Hiranya and Kapila , are seen and Sarasvati is believed to be an ‘antarvaahini’ , flowing through a probable subterranean path ;

    did the same Sarasvati that originated in the Himalayas , or a branch of It , probably , emptied into the sea at Somanath during those days ?

    it may be relevant to note that there are Indus-Sarasvati sites in the districts quite near to Somanath .

    • Mouths of the Ganges

      All the data including satellite images of the river bed, indicate that the Saraswati was a very big river. Some scholars say it was 15-20 kms wide in places. Its widest point would have been its mouth, where it emptied into the Arabian Sea through many channels and streams (just as the Ganga empties into the Bay of Bengal through many streams, some even having independent names). Therefore it is reasonable to infer that one of the streams of the Saraswati joined the sea at Prabhasa Tirtha along with the Hiranya and Kapila rivers.

      This is a non-expert’s opinion (with comparative reference to the Ganga).

      We must also take into consideration that the location of pilgrimage sites sometimes changes due to civil or natural disruption. The memory of the holy place remains with the community but its actual location may be lost. So a near approximate site to the lost actual holy site is made on some authority or other and the pilgrimage continues, the pilgrim believing he is visiting the original tirtha.

      For example, the Dwarka we visit today is probably not Sri Krishna’s capital which has gone into the sea. But geographically it probably is very close to the original Dwarka.

      Hindus have very long memories. They revere the actual physical places where the Gods appear and have appeared and do not forget them very easily. But considering the various invasions over the last 1000 years and the destruction that ensued, and natural catastrophes, the real location of holy sites gets lost and later new, approximate sites are identified from memory.

      The real location of the Somnath Temple has always been known—Pagan Arabs also used to visit the famous Shiva temple (Prabhas Patan is a very ancient port), as Hindus used to visit the pre-Islamic Kaaba when it was a temple to the Mesopotamian (sun) deity Hubal.

      It is the exact courses of the mouths of the Saraswati that are yet to be established and officially recorded.

  2. The answer to “How it reached Allahabad” is ambiguous. Saying it was part of Yamuna is one thing and claiming “it flowed independently” is another! That graphic needs fix🙂

  3. Why these so-called historians of Marxist leanings are unable to plumb the true essence of ancient Indian history? Why they are still adamant to negate their own glorious past?
    I am a Pakistani living in Pakistan and I am proud of being a part of Sarasvati Civilization. It was our fascinating achievement. It is my dream when we will be able to discover a Rosetta Stone for our Indus Script? I wish I could decipher it in my life time.

    • Rosetta Stone (RS) for the Indus Script do not exist.

      A Priestly Decree, issued in 197 BC, was engraved on a stone slab found at a village Rosetta in Egypt, inscribed in three scrips in two languages, one being the Greek for the Coptics and two Egyptian, Hieratic Script for the priests and Demotic Script for the common men.

      Even though, the linguists were hard at work to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphic script since 1556, it became only possible when Napoleon Bonaparte came along and conquered Egypt in 1779, brought home the RS. With one known script, the Greek, the French Egyptologist, Jean Francois Champollion, managed to decipher the scripts on the RS.

      Dr S R Rao, Jha and Rajaram had no such luck, however, with their far-sighted and hard input, have managed to decipher the Indus Script (IS), and the output has been accepted, among others by the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. I am sure Dr Mansoor Qasim would find the detailed info else where, however it pleases me a lot knowing his interest.

  4. I have never understood this desire to make Saraswathi a mythical river. The other rivers mentioned in the Vedas , such as the Ganga and Yamuna, have been accepted as actual rivers. Why would Saraswathi then be mythical? Just because it can’t be found on the surface now doesn’t mean it never existed. Unless of course, denying Saraswathi is part of a larger conspiracy to deny Hindus their heritage.

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