Re: Reclaiming the chronology of Bharatam: Narahari Achar

From: koenraad_elst
Message: 59392
Date: 2008-06-23

--- In, "Kishore patnaik"
<kishorepatnaik09@...> wrote:
> Dear KE,
> I am yet to hear your comments on the articles I have posted from
> web.
> I am trying to find out about a) the skull that I have mentioned
> professional circles ,whether it was true or at least there is such
> rumor in their circles b) about the claimed excavations of 2800 bce

Dear Kishore,

I am under no obligation to comment on points on which I'm not
competent. About archaeology, being in the middle of the AIT debate
has unavoidably made me pick up a few elementary notions, but not to
the extent that my comment could be very useful let alone
authoritative. About that skull, the stuff of the latest Indiana
Jones movies, I have no idea at all. But frankly, as a paleface's
prejudiced opinion, I wouldn't take it seriously nor spend another
minute of my time on it.

> There are two more points I would want to make : There seems to be
> city of 7500 years old, the message on which I have posted some
time ago
> Secondly, that the astronomical readings of Mbh leads to the date of
> 3102 bce is an accepted fact by the scholars, a PhD was granted on
> hypothesis to a Sanskritist by an eminent university like Andhra
> University,Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, India. The scholar was an officer
> with Government.

With all due respect for the Indian education system, I am not overly
impressed with this argument of authority from your Sanskritist PhD
in Andhra. That "the astronomical readings of Mbh leads to the date
of 3102 bce is an accepted fact by the scholars", is simply not
true. Most scholars by far don't accept it, and even among the few
who have specifically studied the astronomical data (none of whom was
as well equipped for the job as Narahari Achar), there is a variety
of opinions.

As for Achar's evidence, I already stated I have my doubts about it.
But given the distortive effect of the infelicitous circumstance that
my first acquaintace with his evidence was through Dr. Kalyanaraman's
garbled account, and given the potential importance of this body of
evience, I do intend to give it another and closer look.

First of all, it remains to be seen whether Achar's reading is wrong
in that it yields contradictory astronomical data. There are many
little problems there, far from insurmountable though, about the
exact meaning of technical terms and astronomical names. If it is
found that he has made mistakes, these need also not invalidate the
core of his thesis. In the AIT debate, I often see people defend
correct positions with not-so-good arguments. What happens next is
that an opponent shoots them down by focusing on the flaws in their
arguments and then leaves it at that, satisfied at having won the
debate, when in fact he has not dealt with the central issue to which
the flawed argument was only tangential.

The worst instance is of course all the attribution of ulterior
motives (colonialism, racism, Hindu nationalism, Dravidian chauvinism
etc.), even where it is factually correct: the real story of what
happened in the Vedic age is not affected by the possible ideological
biases of a Max Mueller of an NS Rajaram. Of the same type are the
more individual attacks, such as the OIT attacks on the proverbial
Michael Witzel. Apart from being bad manners and awfully boring, its
worst flaw is that it is totally beside the point, it adds nothing
whatsoever to our reconstruction of what really happened at the dawn
of IE history.

But there are more innocent forms of this tendency to sidetrack the
debate, such as simply seeing a mistake in someone's argumentation,
immaterial to the main point but nonetheless an eyesore, so this
becomes the focus of a secondary debate. Recent case in point: when
on this list I wrote about this astronomical evidence, a few list
members tried to shoot me down by picking on my use of the
expression "by definition" when locating the winter solstice at ca.
21 December in the Gregorian calendar. Well, I don't mind dropping
that phrase if it makes them happy. What I find more annoying, is
that such quarrels are all badly beside the point. I never took time
off to write on this forum in order to make points about the
Gregorian calendar; whereas the point I did try to make is entirely
relevant to the basic purpose of this IE-centred forum.

Numerous people here have strong opinions on the Urheimat question;
Vedic chronology has a direct bearing on this. Indeed, the
astronomical data indicate a chronology that poses severe problems
for the Indian part of the dominant scenario of IE expansion, and may
force a rethinking of the reigning Urheimat hypothesis. So it will
not do to ignore it, as most AIT votaries choose to do.

I don't want to make that same mistake regarding Achar's specific
claims about the MBh astrodata. So when time permits, I intend to
take a close look at his presentation of evidence, and more
importantly, at the data themselves which he musters as evidence.
Any flaws that may have crept into his argumentation are of minor
importance next to the basis question what the MBh data are actually

A date of >3000 BC for a clearly post-Rg-Vedic episode like the MBh
(some of whose older characters are mentioned in the Yajur-Veda)
seems unacceptable to me. However, there may be a way of reconciling
that concern with Achar's thesis. This is where Francisco
Brighenti's claim comes in, viz. that the MBh battle is really the Rg-
Vedic Batle of the Ten Kings in disguise. For *that* battle, >3000
may be more acceptable, and would indeed fit the Rg-Vedic astro-
chronology as worked out by Wever, Jacobi, Umapada Sen et al.

Exciting times we live in. Cheers,