New Delhi, June 28: An IIT-Kharagpur alumnus has claimed to have deciphered the Indus Valley Script and its language and termed it ‘Proto Brahmi’.
Rajat Rakesh, who has worked in one of the top positions in the companies related to the oil and gas industry in Dubai for nearly 20 years, made the claims in his research that he started in 2003.
In an interview with UNI, he said that the seals and the marks engraved at other places can be easily read and understood.
He said, “Typically, a script is a rule-based writing system in which, based on set rules, one can read a word or sentence in the same manner as the prepositions. Once the rules are made there is no need for motion interference, and anyone is able to read using those rules. I am confident because I have made specific rules by looking at the pattern of the markings on the pieces, and anyone can use those rules and read the same as I am studying. My research is scientific.”
Rakesh said, “The analysis of seals are yielding amazing results which can shed new light on the history of our country, religion and culture.”
His claims, if found true, could change the history of the Indian subcontinent and give us an insight into various aspects of our civilization.
He said, “102 years ago, archaeological excavations began in Harappa, a soaring village on an old dead-forgotten stream of the Ravi river. No one had the slightest idea of what lies under the dunes of this village, but it all came to the fore through excavation. The form of an ancient urban structure emerged in Harappa, which was equipped with basic civic and administrative facilities.
“It was grand and modern unlike any other contemporary historical places in the world. After this incident, excavation started at Mohenjo-Daro in 1924-25 and this site also turned out to be similar to Harappa. Since then, archaeologists have excavated around 1500 sites over the past 100 years, mainly through Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab in Pakistan and India’s Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The items found in these excavations have been carefully examined.”
Rakesh said that while analyzing these discoveries, he has concluded that all these sites belong to a wider civilization spread over about one million square kilometres. This city-based civilization, which developed mainly on the banks of major rivers, their tributaries, or any other water bodies, was essentially uniform despite being spread over such a vast area.
”Radiocarbon dating has provided us with some clues about the duration of this civilization, and archaeologists have marked it between 3100 BC and 1300 BC. “Associating this new information with our known history, which begins in the 6th century BCE in history books, was a difficult task, and thus sparked many controversies,” he said.
He said, “These disputes gave rise to popular myths such as the Aryan invasion theory, the Indus Valley homeland of the Dravidians, and the barbaric invading Aryans who defeated the Dravidians, occupied their lands and pushed them to the south. There was support for this group or that group for political reasons.
“The materials found in the excavation were as lifeless as they were dumb. Still, there was hope, as excavations at these IVC sites had some engraved marks on seals and pot fragments. But all these hopes were shattered when we realized that we did not have any bilingual or trilingual keys like the rosetta stone available in the case of Egyptian hieroglyphs.”
Rakesh said, “Despite several attempts, claims and counter-claims by various groups and lobbies, we have not been able to make progress in deciphering this script. Hundred years have passed, still no one has been able to understand this script till date.”
To a question as to why he claims to be scientific in his research, he said, ”As you know, language and scripts do not change overnight. They develop. We have seen in the case of Egyptian hieroglyphs that, in spite of many invasions and upheavals, Egyptian hieroglyphs, hieratic, demotic and Coptic have all been interrelated scripts and their gradual evolution can be traced through comparative study.
“It is worth noting that Egyptian hieroglyphs originated around 3000 BC and Coptic was in vogue around 3rd century AD. Similarly, the letters of the North Indian scripts can be seen as the culmination of the gradual development of the Indus script.
“I worked on the development of the known Brahmi script and its letters and compared them with the marks available on seals and pottery pieces. The result was unexpected. In my attempt I found that many Indus-Valley dishes either exactly Brahmi dishes are found or modified in a minor way. Thus successfully identified the letters of the Indus script.”
He said, “It has eighteen consonants (including two semi-vowels) and twelve full vowels. Anyone knowing the Brahmi script can verify this very easily. I have no hesitation in calling this Indus script Proto-Brahmi. Not there. Some words are written vertically, as in Brahmi and modern Devanagari scripts to write composite sounds.
“The images on the seals are made of nothing but letters. Characters, words and sentences are based on sound, and although the fixed letters available in Proto-Brahmi do not represent certain sounds, those sounds do exist and appear by modifying the corresponding letters. The direction of reading is immaterial because these lessons are reversible, that is, you can read from right to left and from left to right. Vertical words can also be read from top to bottom and bottom to top.
“Thus each reading gives rise to four or more sentences. No one has ever worked on it. Until now, in the name of research on the subject, researchers have used personal imaginations and assumptions and have no idea what an authentic script or writing is on a drawing board. What would the language look like?”
Asked if there is a way to test your readings, he said, “As I mentioned earlier, we are yet to find any form of bilingual or trilingual reading. Key not found, in which at least one language is known. However, if one can easily recognize the letters of the Indus script and generate readings using the rules and the results are logical, scientific and relevant to our civilization, I see no problem.
“Fortunately, we have some additional test points to check our readings. The seals were found from excavations at Balakot in Pakistan’s Lasbela district, and one of the seals has the place name Rasbela (the change between l and r is common) as mentioned. Similarly, a seal has been excavated from Aladdino which is in Malir district of Pakistan which mentions the name Malir.
“In both the places we have got less than 10 seals in total. Another place in Gujarat is Kheersar and two of the three seals found there mention the name Kshirsar. Kheer and kheer are acceptable changes.
“Thus, we see that by using our rules, our specific modus operandi is to get some of the place names in the pieces. Which are the modern names of the place itself. This may be because these places were small and unimportant. And there was not much political instability in those places, so the name did not change even after five thousand years.
“Although in ancient scriptures such as the Rigveda. The river Ravi was known as Parushni, on the seals of the Indus Valley its name was Ravi. It is related to the word Ravi used for the sun. Harappa has been the capital of Abhir kings for many periods. And this place is also called Ravi after the name of Ravi river. Sindh is known by the names Sint, Sindh, Sindhu etc. The word Neel is often used for the Indus river and Mohenjo-daro is called Neel. The name of Chandigarh is Pradar-desh and Kalibanga was called Laap-Van.”
Asked if he could share some important findings from his reading of the seals, he said. “There is a worship of fire. But there is no mention of the ‘Soma ritual’. Some kings call themselves Aryas, while Dasas are also kings.
“Parallel to those who worship fire, there is a pantheon of gods and goddesses. Which is the basis of modern Hinduism. I have identified the names of more than 12 deities and almost the same number of deities. The script is called Pali Lip, which means script of kings. At one place it is also called Vakri lip i.e. script of crooked writing. This is the era of Kshatriyas, and people take pride in calling themselves so. Power is not yet divided and a king, king cum priest cum businessman is.
“There were Brahmins, but they were powerless. Unless they were in the role of king, as in the case of Shunga and Vashishtha. Nag, Aabhir, Vanar, Saka, Maratha, Malla and Awadh are some of the castes that dominated this period.
“I have identified more than 100 names of castes or groups of people present in the Indus Valley. Who have in one way or another been in the role of rulers. Similarly, I have identified more than 130 new place names on Mohar. That we have not yet discovered and which could be potential Indus Valley sites. And excavations at these places may give us good results.”
Rakesh said that he has tried to compile this research into a book. And it will probably be available in the market by the mid of July. He has also urged the Centre to set up a committee of archaeologists, historians. And other experts to get their research claims checked.