A GENERAL SURVEY OF ASKO PARPOLA'S LATEST STUDY:
"The Coming of the Aryans to Iran and India and the
Cultural and Ethnic Identity of the Dāsas"
This is the title of an article covering pp. 195-265 of Studia Orientalia, vol. 64, Helsinki, 1988. As soon as I heard of the thesis I wrote to its celebrated author, some of whose views expressed elsewhere I had already discussed. I requested an offprint. He was kind enough to post it at once. It was graciously inscribed "With best regards" and signed with his name. I thanked him for the personal touch as well as for the prompt dispatch, but while greatly appreciating his paper 1-hinted that with a different attitude to the same materials one might come to conclusions not quite the same as his. The article laid before me fascinating information of various kinds. Here is a remarkable piece of original research, a wide-sweeping scholarly synthesis of all the data appearing to bear at present on the theme. The most interesting, unexpected and significant of them are the latest archaeological findings in what Parpola terms 'Greater Iran' because the area concerned includes parts of Iran and most of the Iranian plateau.
The claim for Aryan entry in Baluchistan and Sind
Let us first, without passing any judgment, look at the picture presented by Parpola. French work and extensive Soviet excavations have brought to light in Greater Iran "a long continuous belt of many sites sharing a fairly uniform
* In finalizing this Supplement I have received very valuable help from my friend Richard Hartz, an expert Sanskritist and a keen as well as meticulous mind, from the Archives and Research Department of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
culture at the end of the third millennium B.C."1 Parpola2 calls it "the bronze Age culture of Greater Iran" or simply "Namazga V culture" after an important site which is representative of all the others. The people of the Namazga V phase have been conclusively proved by French archaeologists under the lead of Jean-François Jarrige to have colonized around 2000-1900 B.C. the Bolan Pass leading from
Baluchistan to the Kachi plain in the southern Indus valley,3 Among the diverse traits of the Namazga V phase "the number of weapons is conspicuous and there is evidence for horse and chariots, for transport of the entire cultural complex including intrusive necropoles, and for richly furnished aristocratic burials."4 As a result, "there is fair unanimity," says Parpola,5 "that 'Greater Iran' was in the Namazga V period controlled by a seminomadic military elite." Five golden and two silvery trumpets among the finds further confirm that the ruling class was engaged in chariot warfare.6 "The trumpet with its far-reaching sound was indispensable in directing horse-drawn chariots during battles. It was used also in training horses."7 As horse-drawn chariotry is the typical sign of the Aryans, the people who from Greater Iran colonized the Bolan Pass were Aryans.
So we have the arrival of Aryans in Baluchistan around 2000-1900 B.C. This means that the Namazga V phase "flourished, in part, simultaneously with the Indus civilization, and there is evidence of some contact between the two even during the third millennium".8 Through the Bolan Pass these people moved further east. The site of Pirak in the Kachi plain in Pakistan "from c. 1800 B.C. testifies to the rapid diffusion of the horse and the two-humped Bactrian camel in northwest India during the first quarter of the second millennium B.C. These animals brought about a major change in the economy of the area. It is obvious that
1. P. 203. 5. Ibid.
2. Ibid. 6. P. 206.
3. P. 202. 7. Ibid.
4. P. 204. 8. P. 204.
Sind served as a channel through which immigrants representing the Namazga V and shortly thereafter also the Namazga VI culture continued to other parts of the Indian subcontinent."9
Who were the Dāsas of the Rigveda?
In characterising these immigrants comes the startling originality of Parpola's picture. According to him, they are the people we know of through the Rigveda as the enemies of the Aryans: the
Dāsa-Dasyus of whom the Panis are one sect. These enemies, in Parpola's exposition, are neither the pastoral Dravidian aborigines they were once thought to be with their small palisades termed 'forts' in the Rigveda, nor the urban inhabitants of the Indus Civilization whom Wheeler and some others took to be the targets of the Rigvedic Aryans who repeatedly speak of attacking mighty forts - actually, in this perspective, the fortified Harappan cities like Mohenjo-daro. Parpola10 explains:
In Old Iranian, Proto-Aryan s has become h. In old Persian an ethnic name Doha- is attested, also as a proper noun in the administrative tablets found at Persepolis; the masculine plural is used as the name of a province of the Persian empire, placed before the similarly used name of the
Sakas in a Persepolis inscription of Xerxes (h 26). In the Greek sources Herodotus (1,125) is the first to mention the people called Dáoi, as a nomadic tribe of the Persians. More accurate information on them, however, is delivered by Alexander's historians. According to Q. Curtius Rufus (8,3) and Ptolemy's Geography (6,10,2), the Dahas lived on the lower course of the river Margos (modern Murghab) or in the northern steppe area of Margiana. Pomponius Mela (3,42), based on Eratosthenes, tells that the great bend of the river Oxus towards the
9. P. 206.
10. Pp. 220-21.
northwest begins near the Dahas (iuxta Dahas), Tacitus (Ann. 11,10) places the Dahae on the northern border of Areia, mentioning the river Sindes (modern Tejend) as the border. These placements agree neatly with that of Namazga V culture of Margiana and Bactria [in greater
The Dāsas of Rigvedic nomenclature are for Parpola the Dahas, and "Sanskrit dasyu- corresponds to Old Iranian dahyu- iand, (administrative) province, district (of a province)'",11 obviously turned by the Rigveda into a tribal designation.
The Panis are to Parpola12 the Párnoi said by Strabo (11,9,2), again one of Alexander's historians, to have belonged to the Da(h)as. They are reported to have lived previously in Margiana, from where they founded the Arsacid empire of Parthia. Parpola13 elaborates:
The Greek form of the name, Párnos< (from Iranian *Parna-), corresponds to Sanskrit Pani-, if it is assumed to be a "Prakritic" development of the reduced grade form *Prni-. The full grade seems to be found in the name Parṇáya- attested as an enemy of the king (Divodāsa) Atithigva in R[gveda] S[aṁhitā] 1,53,8 and 10,48,8. These names may go back to the same Aryan verbal root as the name of the
Dāsa king Pipru, namely pr- (present piparti, prnāti) 'to bring over, rescue, protect, excel, be able'. The ar:r variation reflects a dialectal difference within Indo-Iranian.
Some other proper names of the Dāsa chiefs are also clearly of Aryan origin, for example Varcin- 'possessed of
11. P. 222.
12. P. 223.
13. P. 224.
(vital) power' (cf. RS varcás = Avestan varǝčah 'vital power').
The etymologies of the names used by the Rgvedic Aryans of their enemies thus speak for their above suggested identification with the carriers of the Bronze Age culture of Greater Iran, and for the proposal that these were speakers of an Aryan language.
Hence, in Parpola's eyes, the ethnic identity of the Rigvedics' enemies is completely different from what it was formerly believed to be. Nor is this the only novelty he offers. But at the moment we shall not dwell on the subject. We shall just touch on his identification of the Rigvedics themselves.
The Rigvedics in the new perspective
Parpola writes: "As far as the Vedic Aryans are concerned, Sind is definitely a peripheral area, though the Vedic texts do refer to Sindhu as producing excellent horses. This fully agrees with the archaeological evidence, which is important in confirming the arrival of horsemen from the northern steppes c. 1800 B.C. ... The horsemen of Pirak constitute the earliest evidence for the use of the horse in the Indian subcontinent."14
Parpola's historical reconstruction implies "two separate early waves of Aryan speakers in Greater Iran and in India.... The Aryans of the earlier wave including the
Dāsas could be called 'proto-South Aryans'. Since the Rgveda clearly states that the
Dāsas did not offer Soma (<*Sauma), the main cultic drink of the Vedic and (as Haoma <*Sauma) the Zarathustrian ritual, the Aryans of the second wave
14. Pp. 238-39.
which brought the Soma religion to Iran can be called 'Sauma Aryans'."15
Here comes the role of the Andronovo culture which "came into being in the southern Urals" and "in the course of the second millennium spread over vast areas of the Eurasian steppes". How it connects with the Sauma Aryans we can gather from two subsequent passages:16
An important hint to the origin of the Sauma Aryans and their route of advance is supplied by the fact that [in the words of Gershevitch] "there was an Iranian people, additional to the Avestan, whom the Persians knew to be devoted to Hauma. These were the
Saka nomads whose name is given as Haumawarga in inscriptions of Darius and Xerxes. There is at present virtual agreement among scholars ... that the territories of the Haumawarga
Sakas extended from Tashkent to the Alei valley, including Ferghana as centre-piece." This is well in agreement with the hypothesis that the Sauma Aryans were Andronovo nomads.
The old hypothesis that the carriers of the Andronovo culture were ancestors of the later Iranians and Indo-Aryans is endorsed by many Soviet archaeologists. In recent years they have been arguing that the immigrants from the northern steppes were a partial cause of the collapse of the Bronze Age civilization of Greater Iran, and that they represented the arrival of the Aryans associated with the Rgveda and the A vest a. Deriving the Andronovo culture from the early Timber Grave culture [which evolved around 2000 B.C. in the south Russian steppes], they stress that these two cultures cover an area full of toponyms of Aryan etymology.
We may quote a few other remarks of Parpola's to bring more precision to his chronology:17
15. P. 230.
16. P. 232.
17. P. 236.
The Rgvedic language is connected with Old Iranian by some philological and morphological innovations, and the Rgveda also shares with the Avesta a number of identical phrases. Moreover, the Rgvedic Aryans called themselves "Aryas", as did the Avestan, Median and Old Persian speakers and at least a part of the "Iranian" speaking steppe nomads (the Ossetes of Transcaucasia). The Rgvedic Aryans, the pre-Zarathustrian Aryans and the Mitanni Aryans, therefore, should all belong to the same hypothetical first wave of Proto-Andronovo immigrants that are supposed to have submerged the late Namazga V culture; in their language the Iranian change s > h had not yet taken place.
Very recent archaeological discoveries from Margiana now enable us to view the situation from a new perspective. A huge rectangular building complex 130 x 100 m. excavated at Togolok-21 has been identified, undoubtedly correctly, as a temple "used by proto-Zoroastrians whose religious beliefs and rites became (in changed form) part of official Zoroastrianism" [in the words of Sarianidi]. The most spectacular discovery at Togolok-21 is the earliest evidence of Haoma cult. The old problem concerning the original identity of the plant called in Avesta Haoma and in the Rgveda Soma was ably reviewed in 1987 by Harry Falk, who convincingly opted for the identification with Ephedra [from the Moscow State University's Prof. N. Meir-Melikyan's examination of microscopic twigs contained in a row of vessels placed inside special brick platforms].
Parpola refers to the oath in the Mitanni document, dated to c. 1380 B.C., which mentions Vedic deities and he18 says that it "suggests that the decisive thrust of the Sauma Aryans took place in the 16th century at the latest". Such a date bringing "the Mitanni Aryans" to Mesopotamia leaves
18. P. 232.
room for their companion tribes to reach from the direction of the Russian steppes first the Namazga V culture in Greater Iran and then the Swat valley in
Afghanistan and finally India in approximate consonance with the upper limit of the time-bracket generally favoured: "Most authorities ... place the Rgveda between 1500 and 1000 B.C."19
Further precision to Parpola's vision may be brought from some other words of his:
The temple of Togolok-21 provides a most precious temporal and cultural indicator for the coming of the Sauma Aryans by testifying that their fusion with the
Dāsas took place between the late Namazga V and the late Namazga VI periods. This means that their arrival more or less coincided with the beginning of the Namazga VI period around 1800 B.C. This agrees very well with the fact that the relations of Margiana and Bactria with Syria developed in the 18th century B.C., while the Proto-Indo-Aryan' dynasty of Mitanni dates at least from the 16th century B.C. The Rgvedic hymns in their turn suggest that part of the Sauma Aryans did not stop in Margiana and Bactria, but continued immediately to northwest India. Such a short stay would well account for why the cultural assemblage of the Ghalegay IV period in Swat (c. 18th to 15th centuries B.C.) resembles that of Dashly in
Afghanistan, but is not identical with it.
The valley of Swat occupies a strategic position in the archaeological identification of the early Rgvedic Aryans, because they must have passed through this area. This is clearly implied by the occurrence of the name of the Kabul river and its tributaries in the Rgveda....20
The Ghalegay IV-V periods in Swat are chalcolothic, except for a little iron towards the end. This tallies with the textual evidence, for references to iron are hard to find in the Rgveda, while the black metal was known to the
19. P. 198.
20. Pp. 240-41.
Atharvaveda (11,3,7). Inhumation and cremation occur side by side, as in the Rgveda. The Vedic texts of the later period speak of an earthen vessel, into which the bones of the dead were collected after the cremation. A link from the Ghalegay V culture to the Painted Grey Ware (PGW) is supplied by the urns with perforations near the neck (resembling the eyes and the mouth of the Ghalegay V 'face-urns') in the PGW layers of Ahicchatra and of Ghalegay V type terracotta human figurines in the PGW layer of Jakheran, U.P.
Thus the archaeological evidence allows the hypothesis that Rgvedic Aryans started moving from Swat to the plains of
Punjab during the latter half of the Ghalegay IV period, c.
1600-1400 B.C., and continued during the following
Ghalegay V period. After this, the northwest developed in relative isolation,
losing its contacts with the late Vedic culture of the plains, associated with
the early PGW.21
A caution against Parpola's time-gauge
for the Rigvedics
Now we have - minus several interesting but subordinate details, linguistic and archaeological, with which Parpola enriches his case - his broad picture of the Aryans in general and the Rigvedics in particular invading India. To make an assessment of it we shall have to bring in some further points that he makes. But before doing so let me essay one short cautionary remark.
Parpola has spoken of 'the Mitanni Aryans' along with those whom he enumerates as having called themselves 'Aryas'. But the fact is that neither in the document which is a treaty, nor in another document known as Kikkuli's manual of training chariot-horses, both of which have been found to have an affinity to the Rigvedic language and
21. P. 248.
culture, is there, as B.B. Lal22 noted long ago, "any reference to the name of the concerned people". The Mitan-nians do not call themselves 'Aryas'.
A second fact is a strange imbalance in the very formula of the Mitannians which introduces in Rigvedic language the Rigvedic religion. The formula runs: "Mitra-Varuṇa, Indra, Nāsatyā." Compare it with the Rigvedic phrase to which Parpola,23 without quoting it, directs us, saying that these deities "are all mentioned together in Rgveda 10,125,1". The phrase is "Mitra-Varuṇa, Indra-Agni, Aśvinā", in which "Aśvinā" is equivalent to "Nasatya". Parpola fails to note that the dvandva, the dual form, in which Agni accompanies Indra just as Varuṇa accompanies Mitra, is missing in the Mitanni formula. Evidently, Agni is not a Mitanni god whereas in the Rigveda he is the one most frequently hymned after Indra. Nor is that particular dvan-dva a freakish occurrence: it is a very prominent expression in the Rigveda. Whole hymns are devoted to Indra-Agni: e.g., 1,21 and 108; 5,86; 6,59 and 60; 7,93 and 94; 8,38 -besides the expression coming in hymns otherwise dedicated, as it does in 10,125. In view of the dissimilarity between the Mitanni formula and the Rigvedic, as well as because of the absence of the name 'Arya' for the people in both the treaty and Kikkuli's book, it may not at all be safe to take c. 1380 B.C. as a time-gauge for the Rigveda's epoch.
There is also the fact mentioned by Parpola:24 "The Indo-Aryan deities ... are invoked after 104 other deities at the end of a Mitannian treaty." Obviously, the Mitannian ruler gave prime importance to those numerous non-Aryan gods and the Agni-lacking Aryan ones formed just the fag-end of
22. "The IndoAryan hypothesis vis-à-vis Indian archaeology", cyclo-styled copy of the paper read at the Seminar on "Ethnic problems of the early history of the peoples of Central Asia and India in the second millennium B.C.", held at Dushanbe (USSR) from 17 to 22 October, 1977, p. 7.
23. P. 198.
his religious commitments. This is indeed a far cry from the mentality of the Rigveda. It is as if two different widely removed epochs were involved.
Another fact of high significance is a linguistic one. Dr. Satya Swarup Mishra, Head, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, at Banaras Hindu University, writes to me about the words in the Mitanni documents: "These words were first of all taken as Indo-Iranian. Then the western scholars themselves decided that they were Old Indo-Aryan and not Indo-Iranian. But I have shown that these words show the linguistic change of a very early Middle Indo-Aryan type. The assimilation of pt [of Sanskrit sapta] to tt in satta-vartana [in Kikkuli], the change of v to b in several words are some of the important Middle-Indic features in these loan words." Surely such features set a big gap between the epoch of the Rigveda and that of the Mitanni documents. Middle-Indic is substantially distant in time from the Rigveda's Sanskrit.
An inconsistency about the horse
Before we arrive at some idea of the Rigvedic epoch I should like to dwell a little more on Parpola's account of the Namazga V people in India. Their "arrival... seems to have disrupted the political and cultural unity of the Indus valley soon after 2000 B.C. The urban system of the
Harappans and the processes of city life, such as centralized government with the collection of taxes and organization of trade, ceased to function. The thousands of countryside villages, however, persisted. In peripheral regions, especially in Gujerat, mature
Harappan traits, mixed with new elements, lingered longer, until 1750 B.C. The newcomers did not stop in the
Harappan area, however, but pushed on further into the Deccan and towards the Gangetic valley."25
Then Parpola refers to - among some other cultures - the Rajasthani chalcolithic culture of the Banas valley, c. 1800
25. P. 206.
B.C. and the Malwa culture of Navdatoli I-II in the Deccan, dated to c. 1700-1400 B.C. These cultures "have produced bowls ('wine-cups'), channel-spouted cups and other ceramics as well as copper objects resembling those of the Bronze Age culture of Greater Iran. The Malwa culture evolved into the 'Jorwe culture' (c. 1400-1100 B.C.). From a Jorwe stratum at Daimabad in Maharashtra comes a cylinder seal with a horse motif. I am now inclined to think that in Rajasthan, Gujerat and the Deccan the originally Aryan-speaking nomads of Namazga V-VI derivation fairly soon adopted the local language, namely, the Proto-Dravidian, derived from the
Harappan language spoken in this southern extension of the Indus civilization."26
Here is Parpola's second allusion in his new article to his own theory that the
Harappans spoke a proto-Dravidian language. His first allusion comes near the start of the article:27
A major reason against assuming that the Harappans spoke an Indo-European language is that the horse is not represented among the many realistically depicted animals of the Harappan seals and figurines. Comprehensive bone analyses by one of the best experts, Richard Meadow, have yielded the conclusion that there is no clear osteological evidence of the horse (Equus caballus) in the Indian subcontinent prior to c. 2000 B.C. Obviously the Aryans are not likely to have been present in India in large numbers before about 2000 B.C., if the horse played a central role in their life.
In an earlier Supplement I have dealt in great detail with the bearing of Harappan evidence on the horse-question and shown that Parpola's negative conclusion omits to take into account the complexity of the case. Now I shall draw attention to some other facts.
26. Pp. 206-07.
27. P. 196.
Lal,28 after examining the full material in his search for the earliest culture in India which could qualify for Aryanism, rules out Aryanism at both the Malwa and the Banas sites. He ends his comment on the Malwa culture thus: "Lastly, the Aryan animal par excellence, viz. the horse, is conspicuous by its absence from all the Malwa sites excavated so far." On the Banas culture he has a similar remark: "the most significant animal associated with the Aryans, viz. the horse, is conspicuously absent from all the sites of the Banas Culture, either by way of its skeletal remains or even terracotta representations." Thus Parpola is inconsistent in Aryanizing these two cultures while Dravidianizing the Indus Valley Civilization for its lack of direct archaeological signs of Equus caballus during its most characteristic phase -namely, before c. 2000 B.C. The cylinder seal at Daimabad of the 'Jorwe Culture' (c. 1400-1100 B.C.) which evolved from the Malwa culture makes no odds to the observed absence of the horse from the latter and to the inconsistency Parpola has committed.
Horse-evidence from both outside and inside the Indus Valley
Richard Meadow seems to have overshot the mark in the matter of equine evidence. Lai, though unwilling to believe that the
Harappa Culture knew the horse, was not so dogmatic. He29 refers to an area outside the
Punjab as being "known for having had its own indigenous variety of the horse." Dr. K.R. Alur, a veterinary surgeon, has some pertinent information detailing a faunal report on the excavation at Hallur, a border village in Mirekerur taluka of Dharwad district in Karnataka. His paper of 16.6.1990, Aryans and Indian History: an archaeo-zoological approach, says:
This site was excavated by Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao during
28. Op. cit., pp. 18 & 22.
29. Op. cit., p. 29.
February-March 1965. Excavation of two trenches showed that the occupation of the site was during the neolithic period circa 1800 B.C. The excavator has distinguished two cultural phases.
Period I, which is designated as neolithic, has been subdivided into two phases.... The earlier phase is neolithic characterised by the hand-made pottery and a few ground stone-tools.
Phase 2 has been called neolithic-chalcolithic. It is distinguished by the occurrence of hand-made pottery, a large number of stone-tools and a new stone-blade industry with tools of copper.
Period II ... is called the early iron-age although some of the earlier elements continue. The new elements ... are the typical highly burnished black and red ware pottery with white painted variety, and iron implements.
Carbon-14 determination for the latter period showed that the iron age could be ascribed to circa 1000 B.C. and, according to the excavator, the earlier phase of the neolothic chronologically falls to circa 1800 B.C. and the second to about 1500 B.C.
After this introduction Dr. Alur reports on the faunal collection, evidently covering the dates just mentioned:
From this collection I identified the following bones of Horse:
S no. 212. Small metacarpal (splint bone).
S no. 467. Proximal extremity of small metacarpal.
S no. 497. Molar (from the middle series).
S no. 517. Second phalanx.
When I wrote this report, I least expected that it might spark off a controversy and land me in the witness box before the Indian historians' jury.... I was apprised of the gravity of the situation when I began to get letters asking me for clarification of the situation against the prevalent belief that the horse is a non-indigenous species and was
introduced into India only by [invading] Aryans....
To make my position clear, I wrote in my article "Archaeological remains of Animals" that "whatever may be the opinion expressed by archaeologists, it cannot either deny or alter the find of a scientific fact that the horse was present at Hallur before the [presumed] period of Aryan invasion...."
The find of this fact put the Indian archaeologists and historians in a predicament in which they could not deny a scientific fact, yet could not accept it. So those on whom the responsibility lay made a reasonable approach and ordered a second excavation near the original site to avoid a probable introduction of an artifact. I examined the faunal collection of this excavation also and found the presence of some more bones of the Horse.
After some reflections on how "foreign scholars, who came to India with the advent of British rule, built up the theory of Aryan invasion on the findings of excavations conducted on the so-called migratory route, where remnants of horse and chariots were traced", Dr. Alur touches on how the Indian
tradition, which knew nothing of an invasion and took the horse's presence in India to be natural from the beginning, got flouted further by "the report written by S. Sewell and B. PRasād on the faunal study from Mohenjo-daro and Harappa". This report declared "that there is no evidence of the presence of the horse in the Indus valley" though "they declared that they had recovered a few metacarpals of the domestic Ass".
Then Dr. Alur brings to light a little-known riposte to that report: "Dr. J.C. George of the M.S. University of Baroda stated that the study of the above table of comparative measurements shows beyond doubt that the metacarpals recorded by Prasad are definitely not of the domestic Ass and it is therefore possible to conclude that the smaller size horse did exist in Harappa. He further states: 'It is rather incredible that in a great civilisation like India, the horse
alone should be conspicuous by its absence, while allied species like that of the Ass have been identified. It is equally unbelievable that the domestication of the prehistoric horse has been established in all the neighbouring countries such as
Turkestan (Durest 1908) and Palestine (Garrod and Bate 1937) but not so in
A little later, Dr. Alur refers appreciatively to the opinion expressed by R.S. Panchmukhi, chairman and editor of the Diamond Jubilee Volume of the Karnataka Historical Society, to which Dr. Alur contributed an article on "Horse in the Prehistoric period in India and its Aryan Affinities". Panchmukhi, after taking Dr. Alur to have proved the horse indigenous in India, suggests that whatever remnants of horse and chariot are claimed to be pointers to an Aryan immigration into India may really be signs of an Aryan emigration from India. "India," says Panchmukhi, "has a history of migration to all its neighbouring countries, both for trade and spread of religion." Towards the end of his paper, Dr. Alur agrees that the Aryans were the original inhabitants of India, some of whom migrated out of their country "to popularise their faith".
Dr. Alur has certainly provided evidence that the 'Aryans' whom Parpola brings into India in c. 1600-1400 B.C. from the Swat valley could not have introduced the horse into Hallur between c. 1800 and 1500 B.C. Even as a location, Hallur would be too far. Can we conceive as a likely candidate the first wave posited by Parpola in c. 1800 B.C. into Sind through the Bolan Pass in Central
Baluchistan? Sind, again, is too distant from Hallur. The closer cultures - those of Rajasthani Banas and of Deccan Malwa (c. 1800 and c 1700-1400 B.C.) as well as others adjacent to them - which Parpola is inclined to trace to the advance and spread of this wave - are themselves not close enough to Karnataka. Besides, as we have shown on the authority of Lal, they had no equus. The Jorwe culture (c. 1400-1100 B.C.) which has a stratum at Daimabad in Maharashtra evincing a cylinder seal with a horse motif is not only
sufficiently removed from Hallur in space but also too late in time to account for Hallur's horse-bones dating between about 1800 and 1500 B.C.
From every point of view Parpola-cwm-Meadow stand faulted by Dr. Alur's information.
Still more devastating is the report published in 1980 by the Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, University of Allahabad: History to Prehistory: Archaeology of the Vindhyas and the Ganga Valley by G.R. Sharma. Co-workers with Sharma were not only Indian archaeologists but also Dr. M.A.J. Williams and Keith Royce, who were members of the team led by Professor J. Desmond Clark of Allahabad University. The following passages from Sharma are well worth study:
The explorations in the valley of the Belan and Son have resulted in discoveries of thousands of animal fossils. From the Belan section these fossils have been obtained from four Gravels as well as from the red silt overlying Gravel II. Most of the fossils, however, have been obtained from Gravels I & II. The species include bos-nomadicus, bos-bubalis, gavialis, sus, elephas, antelope, bos-elephas, stag, deer, equus, chelonia (tortoise) and unio....30
The excavations of neolithic sites of Koldihwa and Mahagara have brought to light evidence of domestication of animals and cultivation of plants. The domesticated animals include cattle, sheep, goat and horse....31
Mahagara and Koldihwa have yielded evidence of both wild and domesticated cattle, thus presenting an interesting picture of transition from wild variety to domesticated ones. The change in size and bone structure attest to nature's law of selection. Evidence of wild sheep/goat and equus has also been found from Cemented Gravels III and IV in the Belan valley. They are still wild at Mahadaha
30. P. 98.
31. P. 110.
and Sarai-Nahar-Rai, the Mesolithic sites of the Ganga valley. The Neolithic Mahagara offers evidence of their domestication, suggesting a natural selection and domestication of these animals almost parallel to that of cattle. Swine is present in wild condition both at the Mesolithic lake settlements in the Ganga valley and in the Neolithic Mahagara in the Belan valley.
With the help of a number of radiocarbon dates obtained from the Belan and the Ganga valley, Stone Age Cultures from Upper Palaeolithic to Mesolithic have been dated. The Cemented Gravel III which has yielded the Upper Palaeolithic tools has also yielded the C-14 dates -23840 B.C. and 17765 B.C. As the earliest date is not from the lowest horizon, the Upper Palaeolithic in this area had possibly still an earlier antiquity.
For the pre-pottery Geometric Mesolithic we have two dates, one from the Belan valley and the other from the Ganga valley. The date obtained from Shari-Nahar-Rai is 8395±110 B.C., while that of Mahagara reads 8080±115 B.C. We have two dates from the Neolithic levels of Koldihwa reading 5440±240 B.C. and 4530±185 B.C.
Within the chronological framework provided by C-14 dates for terminal Upper Palaeolithic reading 17765 ±340 and for the pre-Neolithic 8080±115 and the early Neolithic levels reading 6570±210 and 5540±240 B.C., the totality of evidence furnished by these excavations and explorations ... presents a continuous story of human achievements....32
In the face of Sharma's report, how shall we judge Parpola's contention, on the basis of Meadow, that the horse was introduced in 2000 B.C. by his 'Aryans' from outside India and therefore could not have existed in the Indus Valley Civilization?
Surely the horse of this report can never be connected
32. Pp. 111-12.
with those argued entrants from abroad? It is far too ancient for them. Even apart from its much earlier date and its location outside the Indus Valley we can say: "Whatever may have been brought from Parpola's Greater Iran was a domesticated and not a wild animal. How shall we account for Sharma's wild equus no less than his domesticated one? Prior to the stage of domestication, there was the wild stage which particularly stamps the creature as having been native to the Indian soil. Meadow's findings are very limited and cannot suffice to rule out the theoretical possibility of equine presence in the Indus Valley Civilization."
Furthermore, if the domesticated horse specially distinguishes the Aryan, we have the Aryan in India long before Parpola's intruders from outside India and far earlier than even the Indus Valley Civilization. But such antiquity of the Aryans in an area sufficiently close to the Indus Valley would render not at all fantastic the notion of Aryanism at least colouring substantially enough the civilization flourishing in that locality in c. 2500-1500 B.C.*
Parpola's insufficient appraisal of
Actually a valid ground for this notion - quite independently of Sharma - we may underline from an observation by Parpola himself. He33 writes about two sites of the Mature Harappan:
The fire-altars of Kalibangan and Lothal are so far without parallels at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. Indeed, it has been asked [by Raymond and Bridget Allchin]: "Fire-worship being considered a distinctly Indo-Aryan trait, do these [ritual hearths of Kalibangan] carry with them an indication of an Indo-Aryan presence even from so early a date?" This hypothesis now seems quite plausible to me, if "Indo-Aryan" here is understood to refer to carriers of
* For further horse-evidence see Appendix 2, pp. 419-420.
33. P. 238.
the Bronze Age culture of Greater Iran, who had become quickly absorbed into the Indus Civilization, culturally and linguistically. It is supported further by the cylinder shape of the famous Kalibangan seal showing a Durga-like goddess of war, who is associated with the tiger. The goddess on the Kalibangan cylinder seal is said to be similar in style, especially the headdress, to one depicted on a cylinder seal from Shahdad [in Kerman on the desert of Lut in Iran, a major centre of the Bronze Age cultural
tradition]. Seated lions attend to a goddess of fertility on a metal flag found at Shahdad.
While the Indo-Aryan presence in the Indus Civilization cannot be doubted, Parpola appears to play down its basic significance, as if in its cultural and linguistic milieu it hardly counted for much. Putting aside the assumption that the Harappan language was Proto-Dravidian, is there any reason to talk of this presence as having been "quickly absorbed" into that milieu? The milieu itself might have been sufficiently in tune with Indo-Aryan speech. As for cultural absorption, can we say that the presence of so fundamental, so typical a trait of Indo-Aryanism should not be regarded as a natural expression of the Harappa Culture?
H.D. Sankalia34 has some words which might mitigate the positive assertion by Parpola that the fire-altars of Kalibangan and Lothal are so far without parallel at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. After writing that "such a 'fire-altar' has also been noticed by Casal at Amri", he adds: "Perhaps such fire-altars also existed at
Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, but were missed in mass diggings, and have only been revealed in a slow, careful excavation."
Sankalia's words strike us as quite pertinent when we realise the importance of Kalibangan. He35 has observed that
34. Prehistory and Protohistory of India and Pakistan
(Deccan College, Poona, 1947), p. 350.
this site was "perhaps a third capital in Rajasthan". Furthermore, not only Kalibangan but also Rakhigarhi, a site 190 kms east of Kalibangan, has revealed fire-altars. And about it O.P. Bharadwaj36, on the authority of Suraj Bhan's Excavation at Mitathal and Other Explorations in the Sutlej Yamuna Divide,37 writes: "Rakhigarhi ... is supposed to be the most extensive of the known
Harappan sites in India and deemed worthy of being considered as a possible easternmost capital of the Harappans."
Along with the apparent parity of these sites with Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, there is the question of their date. In the query Parpola quotes from the Allchins, the general phrase - "at so early a date" - occurs in relation to Kalibangan. This would suggest a substantial antiquity on a par with that of those two sites. Bharadwaj38 supplies a chronological table. Lai gives the span of
Harappan Kalibangan as 2200-1700 B.C., while Thapar's figure is 2300-1750 B.C. George F. Dales39 corrects the former to 2700-1900 and the latter to 2850-1950 B.C. E.