Indian Civilization studies

What is often referred to as `Indus Script' has been an unresolved
enigma. The consensus among scholars is that the `script' has not
been deciphered so far despite over 100 claims made that the script
relates to Sanskrit or Tamil or even Sumerian language. The question
is a classic problem in cryptography.

Out of 2,600 archaeological sites discovered so far of what is
referred to as the `Harappan Civilization', as many as 2,000 (80%)
sites are found on the banks of Vedic River Sarasvati. My latest
book presents a comprehensive view of continuity of culture and
indigenous roots of Indian Civilization along the Indian coastline
and rivers. It was a maritime, riverine civilization which
established long-range contacts, traversing the Makran coast and
Persian Gulf, which extended upto the Tigris-Euphrates valley (even
beyond the present-day Baghdad in Iraq). Over 4,000 epigraphs of the
civilization are available in many museums around the world

Cracking the Code of Sarasvati Hieroglyphs

A cylinder seal in Akkadian cuneiform found in this valley, dated to
circa 4500 years Before Present, depicts a bearded Meluhhan merchant
accompanied by his wife, carrying a kamandalu and an interpreter.
The Meluhhan carries an antelope on his arms. This is a classic
hieroglyph, the antelope is a phonetic determinant of the
word, `Meluhha'. Unraveling the hieroglyph of this `Rosetta Stone',
the work elaborates hundreds of homonyms of lexemes from many

The code is unraveled in cultural contexts in which the civilization
prospered with the ups and downs in trade contacts over a period of
two millennia stretching from 3500 BCE (Before Common Era) to 1500
BCE as the civilization emerged from the chalcolithic (copper and
stone) ato bronze (alloy of copper and tin) phases in metallurgical

Structurally, an average of 5 glyphs (together with an animal or
ligatured animals) are adequate to convey a message. The hieroglyph
form is essentially pictographic depicting: tiger, rhinoceros,
elephant, three types of bulls, buffalo, three types of antelopes,
lizard, scorpion, snake. Often, a standard device is also presented
in front of a heifer, steer (bull). All these hieroglyphs are rebus
(lit. `sounds like') codes for minerals, metals and furnaces used by
metallurgists, braziers and lapidaries to create ingots of metals
and alloys, tools and weapons, artefacts (s'ankha, beads of gold,
silver and precious stones).

The hypothesis is that the lexemes (`dictionary entries') of present-
day languages of Bharat are derived from the substratum dialect of
Mleccha. This hypothesis is based on two evidences: 1. Yudhishthira
and Vidura spoke in Mleccha (concordant with `Meluhha') according to
the Great Epic Mahabharata; and 2. Mlecchita Vikalpa, one of 64
arts listed by Vatsyayana means `cipher writing'.

mlekh `goat' (Brahui); mleccha `copper' (Sanskrit)

ibha `elephant' (Sanskrit); ib `iron' (Santali)

kol `tiger' (Santali); kola `woman' (Nahali) kol `alloy of five
metals' (Tamil)

homa `bison' (Pengo) hom `gold' (Kannada); soma `electrum' (Vedic)

ranga `bufallo' (Santali); ranga `tin' (Santali)

naga `serpent' (Sanskrit); naga `lead' (Sanskrit)

adar dangra `brahmani bull' (Santali); aduru `unsmelted metal'
(Kannada) thakkura `blacksmith' (Bihari)

kudur dokke `lizard' (Konda); kuduru `portable gold furnace' (Telugu)

satthiya `svastika glyph' (Punjabi); satta, sattva `zinc' (Kannada);
jasta id. (Hindi)

kang `rhinoceros' (Gujarati); kangar `portable-furnace' (Kashmiri)

tamba `copper' (Gujarati); tamra id. (Sanskrit); damra `heifer'

kod `horn' (Kuwi); kod `artisan's workshop' (Gujarati)

tanga `pannier' (Telugu); tanka `mint' (Sanskrit)

sangada `lathe, gimlet' (Gujarati); sangada `jointed animals'
(Marathi); sangada `furnace' (Gujarati)

kanda kanka `rim of a short-necked jar' (Santali); kand `furnace,
altar' (Santali); kan `copper' (Tamil); kanaka `gold' (Sanskrit)

bata `rimless pot' (Kannada); bata `kiln, furnace' (Gujarati)

kuti `tree' (Telugu); kuti `water carrier' (Telugu); kuti `kiln,
furnace' (Santali)

bahula `pleiades' (Sanskrit); bangala `gold furnace' (Telugu)

Each cluster of words listed can also be found in other languages of
Bharat. [bharatiyo = caster of metals (Gujarati)] to explain almost
all 400 signs and over 100 pictorial motifs in epigraphs (some are
inscribed on weapons and on copper plates ). These examples are taken from
an encyclopaedic work compiled in 7 volumes (S. Kalyanaraman, 2003,
Sarasvati: Civilization, Rigveda, River, Bharati, Technology,
Language, Epigraphs, Bangalore, Babasaheb Apte Smarak Samiti).

The language of the civilization was mleccha representing the area
of Meluhha (Sarasvati-Sindhu river basins) as a linguistic area
(dialects absorbing grammatical and semantic features from each
other); present-day languages of the country are a dialectical
continuum. This calls for further linguistic analysis of the
influence of substratum words in the emergence of the language
streams of the country as the people moved out of Sarasvati River
Basin after the river started desiccating circa 1500 BCE caused by
plate tectonics and resultant river migrations. Sarasvati is not
myth or legend, the river is ground-truth as proved by multi-
disciplinary scientific investigations. Indian civilization emerged
on her banks.

It is no mere coincidence that Sarasvati is adored among bharatiya
as ambitame, a mother who nurtured the emergence of arts and crafts
on the banks of the river. The culture which is evidenced to over
5,500 years Before Present exemplified by hieroglyphs continue into
historical periods in the tradition of glyphs on punch-marked coins
and use of copper plates for property transactions.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman