Saraswati (Dr. Witzel)

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 11 14:54:01 UTC 2000

Vishal HAD said:
>one mainstream Indologists from India complimented this work as
>"one of the best from India in recent years" while a Western
Dr. Witzel remarked:One track reasoning, comme l'habitude.
Why can a word (sarasvatii 'the female one having ponds/lakes') refer
(a) only to  *one* certain river?
(b) not also to a goddess?  (rivers are female in India....),
(c) and/or to a celestial phenomenon?
In this case to all the three.

Vishal comments: True. Never have I said that Saraswati in RV always refers
to an earthly river. My post #224 in December 1999 archives might give you
the wrong impression (well, not really) but I normally do not think of a
river while reciting verses like say Rigveda 1.3.12
I find the following work extremely useful:
Airi, Raghunath; Concept of Sarasvati (in Vedic Literature); 1977

The book is written within AIT pradigms and it is easy to see how AIT/AMT
notions can lead people to distort certain verses or introduce forced
interpretations. The mongraph is by and large very good. No maps though, the
lacuna is fulfilled by 'Vedic Saraswati; 1999 (Mehr et al); Bangalore.
Of course you have derisively referred to the last work, probably because of
your incapability of comprehending some articles of a scientific nature in
the book. The editors have certainly not hidden the fact that the
dessication of 'Saraswati' was not a discrete cataclysmic event but was a
progressive phenomenon/process, probably aided by periodic tectonic
movements and accompanied by a gradual dislocation of the river beds towards
the west. Therefore, one cannot expect a 'description' of this extremely
slow process in the ancient texts, it can only be inferred by scanning the
texts in chronological order. Neverthelss, the various paleochannels remain
to be dated precesely, and in particular, the pre-historic drainage patterns
east of the Arravalis are yet to be investigated. This is acknowledged in
the book itself, which though remains the best update on the issue and your
dismissal of the book is indicative of your own lack of proficiency in
matters pertaining to science.
It is therefore irrelevant whether there was ONE Saraswati or more as rivers
have frequently changed their courses. Just 250 years back, the Beas changed
its course drastically after a flood. The phenomenon is not well recorded in
history but is livid in the memories of many people in the Jallandhar Doaba.
This shifting of the course of Beas (and numerous other shifts in history
(it used to meet Ravi and not Satlaj in olden days) does not mean that there
is 'no single Beas'.
For that matter, there are numerous Gangas. The Muslim J and K region still
has a Kishen Ganga, Rama Ganga, Bana Ganga (I have actully seen these
rivulets) and so do we have Sarsuti in Haryana and Saraswati in Gujarat and
so on. But at a given time, there is one Beas, one Ganga (which might still
be called Jumna in Bangladesh) and so on.
Dr. Witzel asks:
(As for the above statement, suddenly afraid to name names?  Looking
forward to another slew of 'panzer corps generals'...)

Vishal comments: The names are irrelevant. You still have not answered my
question on Dr. Rajesh Kochar's book. Note that I never referred to the
'Aryan Panzers' as such (prove it if you can) but merely demonstrated your
self contradictory invasionist views by quoting your own work (Post # 132 in
February 2000 archives). Nevertheless, this citation, straight from the
Azva's mouth like the mighty Brahmaputra, does wash out your cover ups on
this issue following the expose of your views by others as well. Rather than
covering up your faults, have the grace to accept them.

>The various postings under the thread .... will  publicize them in various
>forums of the
Dr. Witzel: (And, of course, I will collect these data for future historical
study... )

Vishal: I hope you take care not to misquote me.
Dr. Witzel: As a footnote, since now I believe that VA wants to classify me,
by all means, as Eurocentric,

Vishal replies: I never said or implied that. Presumably your guilt
consience is at work. Anyway, others sometimes infer such things when they
read words in your works like "Why is it that it is Non Indians
always...."(To paraphrase from the Preface of 'Inside the texts..'). Anyway,
I draw your attention to the appendix specifically devoted to you and
illustrative of the sad depths to which Indology has sunk (according to the
author) in the book "Rigveda- A Historical Analysis; Shrikant Talageri;
Aditya Prakashan; Delhi; 2000"
On my part, I publicly acknowledge your contributions to the studies on the
Kathaka, Paippalada, Vadhula schools of the YV/AV and you are aware of that.
And this will be clear when my own work on the Vedic schools is published.
Dr. Witzel asked: "is it Eurocentric if I maintain that (small) groups of
local "BACTRIANS" or "Afghans" of the Hindukush area, speaking [..]And
became the *catalyst* of ensuing changes...(cf. also Ehret, Mallory). This
is not an 'invasion', hardly a migration, and NOT one by EUROPEANS but by
"Afghans'" (before their time) --to put it facetiously: some tribals got
lost, took the wrong turn, and there you have your 'Aryan invasion'...

Vishal comments: Not an invasion and neither a migration but successive and
numerous successive instances of 'loosing their way' !!!(Shireen Ratnagar
will recoil in horror if she reads this)--This 'anirvachaniya' character of
the 'advent' is but a collection of several compelling scenarios. As you say
'Think about it'.

VA: Please decide whether you want to propose migrations or invasions or
wanderings because the instances **below** certainly come close to
invasions. In any case, they were not catalysts for any monumental changes
like (magnitude of) the ones that are attributed to the advent of IA
speakers after 1700 BCE

MW wrote: They were not the first and haMW: ve not been the last (Persians,
Yue-ji/Tukhara/Kushana, Saka, 'Pahlava', Abhira?, Hephtalite Huns (huuNa),

Dr. Witzel wrote: The really interesting question here is:
Why is it that of all of these and the ensuing movements, just one, the
"Aryan"one (=Indo-Aryan, proto-Vedic), is NOT allowed these days?

VA responds: No body states that human beings originated in India. As I
understand, the 'non mainstream' view is simply that the IVC was IA in
nature and the RV was compiled after the IA speakers were resident in India
for several millenia and that it is an Indian text through and through. A
version of this view is that the various IE speakers were initially present
in N India. And then there are a few other varieties. BTW, Dr. Parpola
thinks that IVC was Dravidian whereas you have pointed links with another
language family. You must have met Dr. Parpola in Japan in November 1999.
What transpired then? Who withdrew his hypothesis? He or you? In a private
email (in September 1999), you stated that you will ask him these questions.

Best wishes

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