River Sarasvati: Atomic scientists reconfirm location

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Mar 8 13:23:44 UTC 2000

>Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK> wrote:

>>I'm afraid that I neither trust nor believe anything said by atomic
>>scientists about humanistic subjects (or most other subjects).  Let's try
>>to keep this list scholarly, shall we!

I agree: In this connection, and in line with the original post, I suggest
to read the 1999 volume:

Vedic Sarasvati--Evolutionary History of a Lost River of Northwestern
India, eds. B.P.Radhakrishna and S.S.Merh, Memoir 42 of the Geological
Society of India, PB 1922, Gavipuram, P.O., Bangalore 560019.

While the contributors of first 1/3 of the book --  almost all Indian
Sanskritists  -- know *exactly* where and what the Vedic Sarasvati was;
the contributors of the second 2/3  -- almost all Indian natural scientists
-- are much more circumspect, stress the MANY "Sarasvati" palaeo-channels
of the past few ten thousand years, and also indicate the MANY
incertainties connected with the problem, for example the --so far--
missing long section between the end of the visible Hakra-Ghagghar-Sarsuti
(Sarasvati) channel near Derawar Fort (east of Khanpur, Pak., eg. p. 127)
and the channel paralleling the Indus and continuing as Nara/Wahind etc.
down to the Rann of Cutch.

Also, the archaeological data have not been sorted  out. Moh. Rafique
Mughal, Cholistan, Rawalpindi 1997, can help for the Pakistani side.  For
example, how can one have an Indus settlement in the MIDDLE of the flood
plain of a mighty  active river? This question has not even been raised by
the proponents of the "Indus-Sarasavati culture" (which should  be renamed,
if at all, to something like *Sende-*Vishambazh culture", -- that at least
comes close to what the rivers were called by Indus Civ. people).

What we need, is a close correlation not just between linguists/textual
scholars and natural sciencists, attempted but not yet solved at all in the
above volume, but *also* with  archaeologists.

As I always say, LANDSAT photos do not deliver *absolute* historical dates...
There is a lot of uncritical belief in science here. One sees what one
wants to see...

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138

ph. 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:     www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm

Elect. Journ. of Vedic Studies:         www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list