Sarasvati Sindhu Civilization

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman MDSAAA48 at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Jan 20 02:59:57 UTC 1997

We owe our deepest thanks to Joe Bernstein for re-focussing on the archaeological perspective of ancient India (cf. Review of Dr. Rafique Mughal's Ancient Cholistan). The locus and dates of the Cholistan settlements are of great significance. An earlier report of Rafique Mughal (cf. Gregory Possehl (ed.), Harappan civilization, 1982) will be of interest and complements my reviews on the Sarasvati river:

"On the Pakistan side (cholistan which is an extension of Marusthali or Thar desert), archaeological
evidence now available overwhelmingly affirms that the Hakra was a perennial river through all its course in Bahawalpur during the fourth millennium B.C. and the early third millennium B.C... About the end of the second, or not later than the beginning of the first millennium B.C. the entire course of the Hakra seems to have dried up... This forced the people to abandon most of the Hakra flood plain..."

Hakra is the ancient Sarasvati> Based on geological observations, it is possible to establish that the river extended upto the Gulf of Khambat and near Lothal (Arabian sea). It is also possible to establish that the mighty river was carrying the waters from the Himalayan glaciers from two massifs: the Mt. Kailas (which is now the source of the Sutlej) and Har-ki-dun glacier (which is now the source of the Yamuna, a tributary of the Ganges). Early third millennium B.C., it should certainly have been possible for Balarama to travel along the Sarasvati river from Dwaraka to Mathura visiting the pilgrimage sites. Yamuna captured, at Paonta sahab, the waters of the Tons river (from Har-ki-dun) flowing into the Sarasvati; and the aandhi phenomenon (sandstorms) quickened the pace of the drying up of this river which was massive enough to carry the waters now flowing into both the Sutlej and the Yamuna. (cf. Kalyanaraman, Information studies, March, 1996; Valdiya, Resonance, May 199!
6; Kal
yanaraman, Xth World Sanskrit Conference, 1997) The ancient Sutlej drained into the Sarasvati at Shatrana. If Rigved is ecstatic about any river, it is the Sarasvati. Kalibangan, also on Sarasvati, has yielded radiocarbon samples dated to circa. 2920 to 2550 B.C. More on this on

Combined with the work of Ghosh, 1950-51 along the Ghaggar (or Hakra or Saagara), Mughal's work  in Cholistan enables us to redefine the locus of the civilization as a maritime civilization nurtured on the banks of two rivers (the Sarasvati and the Sindhu).

It would appear that the Sarasvati nourished the substantial number of settlements of the civilization (of both ancient Cholistan and ancient Marusthal; i.e. 1200 of the 1600 Harappan vintage). As the river dried up, settlements advanced eastward into the Ganga-Yamuna doab and along the coastline (cf. Pravara river (an estuary of Godavari) settlement of Daimabad).

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman,
19 Temple Avenue #4, Srinagar Colony Saidapet, Chennai 600015
Tel.+91 44 2354640; email:mdsaaa48 at

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