Archive for March 11th, 2012

When Krittika was heaven …

March 11, 2012

Can the references in the ancient Indian texts say anything about the Aryan Invasion Theory? One of my colleagues and friend in the Department, Prof. TRS Prasanna believes that one can. Here is a quote from his homepage:

The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was proposed by 19th century European Sanskrit scholars based on the similarities between Sanskrit and European languages, now called Indo-European languages. According to AIT/AMT, Aryan tribes invaded/migrated to India about 1500 BC. The Rig Veda that is the oldest text is dated near this date. Later Vedic texts, Samhitas and Brahmanas, are dated to 800. AIT has always been controversial and many scholars have opposed it from the very beginning. Today, most archaeologists, geologists and scientists oppose AIT as the hard evidences point against it. Despite this, AIT remains a dominant theory and its legitimacy rests mostly on philological (comparative linguistics) scholarship.

The main reason most scientists don’t support AIT is that the astronomical references in the Samhita and Brahmana texts have been dated (from 1890s onwards) to 3000 BC. Western Sanskrit scholars have denied the interpretation and the dates of 3000 BC. We present comprehensive analyses of key astronomical references in the Samhita and Brahmana texts and show that they consistently lead to 3000 BC. They clearly show that AIT is an incorrect theory. Another finding is that Sanskrit scholars are unaware that they have correctly interpreted verses on ekastaka to 3000 BC for the last 80 years. That is, for the first time, we have shown that western Sanskrit scholars who proposed AIT have contradicted it themselves.

We have considered the evidences from physical sciences and established the criteria for scientists to form a professional opinion on AIT. We have proposed four questions that must be addressed satisfactorily in order for scientists to support AIT. On these grounds, we establish that there is no scientific basis for AIT.

Prof. Prasanna has published an article in the latest issue of Indian Journal of History of Science titled “Ancient Indian Astronomy and Aryan Invasion Theory”; you can download a the preprint version of the paper here (pdf). Here are some of the highlights of the paper:

  • A simple method to date the Brahmana period to about 3000 BC
  • The origin of Mahashivratri and its dating to about 3000 BC
  • Interpretation of Ekastaka verses and their relevance to dating the Vedic texts.
  • The position of Krittika during the Samhita period (which, sort of explains my title to this post!)

If you are interested in Aryan Invasion Theory or in the history of Indian science, here is a paper that is worth your while! Have fun!

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Writing and editing

March 11, 2012

Luc Sante tells how to become editor of your own writing:

Rereading not only ferrets out problems, but it also ensures continuity of voice, as well as that elusive quality dear to both writers and rappers: flow. Constant rereading, which can be done out loud if you don’t trust your inner ear, is especially important now that progress has eliminated the tiresome but useful drudgery of retyping. Sometimes a glaring error that you motored blithely past a dozen times will become apparent only on the 13th read.

There are many more tips in the piece; take a look. Link via Jenny at Light Reading.