Date of the Veda

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 25 17:39:31 UTC 2000

Writing about S. Farmer, S. Vidyasankar noted:
 >your methodology of making invalid general
 >inferences, does not imply that he is a fascist, or even that
 >he buys into other ill-formed theories about the date of the

After reading about Iron age in India from Possehl's article
(reference given by G. Thompson, I think), Farmer wrote:
"Chronologies re the first use of iron in Anatolia, in different
areas of India (and regional variations are *critical*) are
wholly independent of Egyptian and Assyrian chronologies. Same
for Central Asia and China. Even the use of terms like "Iron Age"
is, for good reasons, being widely challenged by people in the
field. In India - and this has deep implications for dating of
the RV and later Vedic literature - the dates have been pushed
well into the first millennium. For recent overviews and
extensive bibliography, see the studies in Vincent C. Pigott,
_The Archaeometallurgy of the Asian Old World_ (University
Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1999)."

Prof. Witzel usually dates the Rigveda to 1200 BCE based on the
fact that iron in India is creeping upward chronologically, and
the RV is pre-iron. But if the dates for iron are pushed
"well into the first millennium", 1200 BCE date sounds
too conservative. Is your take on the date of the RV very
different from these?

> From another thread, S. Vidyasankar noted about an Indologist:

>If you know of a Westerner
>who so much as views some of these things sympathetically, he
>is clearly "New Age" and not "mainstream", even if he is a
>retired professor from a Canadian university, even if his works
>have been published by an American university press with a South
>Asia specialization, and even if he has published in standard

>When I see a professor emeritus
>from the University of Manitoba described as not "mainstream", I
>wonder if Prof. Witzel's idea of the main stream is a very narrow
>stream after all.

Does this refer to Klaus Klostermaier? If so, he concurs
with N. Rajaram's "new" chronology. Not the mainstream
Indologists view. In a Hindutva critique on the AIT,
Klostermaier's chronolgy is given.

Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian History
By Klaus Klostermaier
A more detailed 'New Chronology' of Ancient India, locating names of kings
and tribes
mentioned in the Vedas and Puranas, according to Rajarama9 looks somewhat

     4500 BCE: Mandhatri's victory over the Drohyus, alluded to in the
     4000 BCE Rigveda (excepting books 1 and 10)
     3700 BCE Battle of Ten Kings (referred to in the Rigveda) Beginning of
     dynastic lists: Agastya, the messenger of Vedic religion in the Dravida
     Vasistha, his younger brother, author of Vedic works. Rama and
     3600 BCE Yajur-, Sama-, Atharvaveda: Completion of Vedic Canon.
     3100 BCE Age of Krishna and Vyasa. Mahabharata War. Early Mahabharata.
     3000 BCE Shatapathabrahmana, Shulvasutras, Yajnavalkyasutra, Panini,
author of
     the Ashtadhyayi, Yaska, author of the Nirukta.
     2900 BCE Rise of the civilisations of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and
     Indus-Sarasvati doab.
     2200 BCE beginning of large-scale drought: decline of Harappa.
     2000 BCE End of Vedic age.
     1900 BCE Saraswati completely dried out: end of Harappa.

     Texts like the Rigveda, the Shatapathabrahmana and others contain
     to eclipses as well as to sidereal markers of the beginning of seasons,
     allow us by backward calculation, to determine the time of their
     Experts assure us that to falsify these dates would have been
     before the computer age.

Old verses new? Or scientists verses philologists?

    We are left, at present, with two widely differing versions of Ancient
History, with two radically divergent sets of chronology and with a great
deal of
polemic from both sides. Those who defend the Aryan invasion theory and the
chronology associated with it accuse the proponents of the 'New Chronology'
indulging in Hindu chauvinism. The latter suspect the former of entertaining
'colonial-missionary' prejudices and denying originality to the indigenous
Indians. The new element that has entered the debate is scientific
While the older theory rested on exclusively philological arguments, the new
includes astronomical, geological, mathematical and archaeological evidence.
On the
whole, the latter seems to rest on better foundations. Not only were the
arguments from the very beginning based more on strong assertions and bold
civilizations both ancient and contemporary comprise more than literature
alone. In
addition, purely philologically trained scholars-namely grammarians-are not
able to
make sense of technical language and of scientific information contained
even in the
texts they study.

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