Saraswati Myth - RIP

Feb 2015
2,038
UK
No where in the world is history more distorted in the interest of politics then in South Asia. Mountains can be moved literally to fit in with revisionist history. One famous example of this is -

Source > HORSEPLAY IN HARAPPA


However there is another one. This is on continental scale. Have a look at the map below of Indus River and it's tributaries. Even a superficial glance will show that Indus flows along axis of Pakistan into the Arabian Sea. It was the centre of what has been called the Indus Valley Civilization with major centres like Harappa and Mohenjo Daro adjacent to or on the banks of the the mighty Indus.





This geographic reality has placed the right wing groups in India in a bind. They claim the IVC as the fountain of Indian civilization however the axis of this, the Indus River is in their arch nemesis - Pakistan. This has been major source of their frustration.

This problem has been resolved by massive distortion of facts on the ground. The axis of the IVC has been shifted east toward India or inside India. Map below.





This has been done by imagining a intermittent stream - the Ghagger-Hakra as a raging river to match mighty Indus and then tracing a line east of the Indus as the route of this river. All this was supported by Hindu myth which spoke of a giant Saraswati River. Thus the Saraswati came alive.

Map below. The intermittent Ghaggar-Hakra (1) marked red. Then the imaginery course of the raging "Saraswati" in black (2) emptying into the Arabian sea.






The final product of this enterprise is the coming to life of the Saraswati River straight from ancient Hindu text which conveniently shifts the axis toward India and loads of non significant IVC sites can be declared as "major" all nicely dotted along this new axis off the IVC far east from the Indus River itself. The centre of gravity has been shifted nicely east away from the arch nemesis. This is the historical version of the "if Mohammed won't come to the mountain, we will bring mountain to Mohammed". In this case "if the river is not in India we will bring the river to India".





So prevalent is this myth that increasingly Indus Valley Civilization is being hypenated with Saraswati with some even give it the "Saraswati" prefix. S-IVC or even Saraswati Valley Civilization reflecting the shifting of the gravity of the IVC from the west to east as shown in the map above. Example below of Saraswati myth.






The myth being peddled below in Wiki

Source > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghaggar-Hakra_River

More rubbish being put forth as factual history.





It never made any sense because whilst climate has changed in that time but nothing as profound as this could have happened. Such a huge river could not possibly just vanish in the time frame in question. Other rivers in the region like Indus have been remarkably stable over this time frame. Furthermore even a causal check on the topography will show that this river could not have traversed the line given unless water ran contra gravity 4000 years ago.

The myth though has now been so to say "busted". A multi-disciplinary, multi-national team of experts from various universities and institutes independantly funded has reported that such a river as advocated by the Saraswati lobby could not have existed. Instead the team say in the past the Ghagger-Hakra was a perennial river fed by monsoon rains which were more abundant then today. However even at it's height it was just a minor tributary of the Indus which flowed into Indus River. It still does but because of the drier climate it is now mostly dry bed although occasionally turns into torrent with heavy rainfall.


Fluvial landscapes of the Harappan civilization

Giosan, L; Clift, PD; Macklin, MG; Fuller, DQ; Constantinescu, S; Durcan, JA; Stevens, T; (2012) Fluvial landscapes of the Harappan civilization

Source > Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Quote

"The collapse of the Bronze Age Harappan, one of the earliest urban civilizations, remains an enigma. Urbanism flourished in the western region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain for approximately 600 y, but since approximately 3,900 y ago, the total settled area and settlement sizes declined, many sites were abandoned, and a significant shift in site numbers and density towards the east is recorded. We report morphologic and chronologic evidence indicating that fluvial landscapes in Harappan territory became remarkably stable during the late Holocene as aridification intensified in the region after approximately 5,000 BP. Upstream on the alluvial plain, the large Himalayan rivers in Punjab stopped incising, while downstream, sedimentation slowed on the distinctive mega-fluvial ridge, which the Indus built in Sindh. This fluvial quiescence suggests a gradual decrease in flood intensity that probably stimulated intensive agriculture initially and encouraged urbanization around 4,500 BP. However, further decline in monsoon precipitation led to conditions adverse to both inundation- and rain-based farming. Contrary to earlier assumptions that a large glacier-fed Himalayan river, identified by some with the mythical Sarasvati, watered the Harappan heartland on the interfluve between the Indus and Ganges basins, we show that only monsoonal-fed riverswere active there during the Holocene. As the monsoon weakened, monsoonal rivers gradually dried or became seasonal, affecting habitability along their courses. Hydroclimatic stress increased the vulnerability of agricultural production supporting Harappan urbanism, leading to settlement downsizing, diversification of crops, and a drastic increase in settlements in the moister monsoon regions of the upper Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh."


Full article here > http://www.pnas.org/content/109/26/E1688.full.pdf






Quote

"Once extending more than 1 million square kilometers across the plains of the Indus River from the Arabian Sea to the Himalayas and the Ganges, over what is now Pakistan, northwest India and eastern Afghanistan, the Indus civilization was the largest—but least known—of the first great urban cultures that also included Egypt and Mesopotamia. Named for one of their largest cities, the Harappans relied on river floods to fuel their agricultural surpluses. Today, numerous remains of the Harappan settlements are located in a vast desert region far from any flowing river.

Credit: Liviu Giosan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Stefan Constantinescu, University of Bucharest; James P.M. Syvitski, University of Colorado.

Quote

"A new study combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization almost 4000 years ago. The study also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology"


Link > http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154943.htm



Context map. With Indus River system (mostly in Pakistan) blue flowing south into the Arabian Sea and entirely separate Ganges River System in India flowing east into the Bay of Bengal.


 
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Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,983
India
Nowhere in your comment I could find any refutation but denial. Moreover, although Saraswati was a Monsoon fed rivers originating at Adibadri in Himachal Pradesh but many of the tributaries of Saraswati were snow fed rivers including major tributary Satluj(Shutudri) originating in Mansarovar Lake in Tibet and later Satluj changing its course when a powerful earthquake came in 1900BC. Satelitte imaging discoving an entire river bed existing until 1900BC are million times authentic than someone anti-Hindu nationalistic fantasies.
 
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Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
3,579
USA
Nowhere in your comment I could find any refutation but denial. Moreover, although Saraswati was a Monsoon fed rivers originating at Adibadri in Himachal Pradesh but many of the tributaries of Saraswati were snow fed rivers including major tributary Satluj(Shutudri) originating in Mansarovar Lake in Tibet and later Satluj changing its course when a powerful earthquake came in 1900BC. Satelitte imaging discoving an entire river bed existing until 1900BC are million times authentic than someone anti-Hindu nationalistic fantasies.
This OP is such a joke that it seems like the poster is in an eternal delusion. The quoted research papers are from 2012 and there is nothing new about such differed opinions. I thought there was something new that came out recently but alas, it is the same rhetoric:confused:

Whether or not Saraswati was a glacier fed river, the excavated sites amply suggest that most of the Harappan sites were on the banks of Saraswati. One should be really deluded not to see such concrete evidences.
 
Mar 2014
475
Canada
Wow! You have completely destroyed the entire notion of this mythical Saraswati River.

I shall email your work to distinguished academics in Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and others. If they are as impressed with your work as I am than you surely will receive numerous plaudits and appraisals.
You have shook the grounds of history to its core with your intensive research and have shattered the egos of these Hindutvas myth propagators!
 
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Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
Since this thread is about busting "Saraswati myth" let me also make some relevant comments to burst this comic myths propagated in the OP.

When it comes to the issue of Saraswati river in context of Harappan civilization there are two major themes which even though releated to each other are completely separate issues. 1) Identification of dried up Saraswati river with river bed known in various parts of India and Pakistan as Gaggar/ Hakra/ Nara and 2) Scientific studies regarding the Saraswati river.

As far as Identification of dried up Saraswati with Gaggar Hakra Nara bed is concerned it is based almost entirely on the study of literary sources ranging from Vedic literature to Puranic and epic literature and going even further in time to medieval literary sources (including some Islamic sources). Further more this identification hadn't been made by the Indians in first place least we talk about radical right wing Indians nor the discovery of the river bed and its identification with Saraswati is recent one. The dried up river bed and its archaeological potential was first discovered by the British expedition seeking alternate route to Sindh from Gangetic plains in early 19th century.* The earliest known identification of that river bed with Saraswati was made by French geographer L.Vivien de Saint-Martin around 1850s which was published in his book on the study of Vedic geography. Subsequent studies by both European and Indian (IIRC one of whom would become Pakistani nationale after the partition of 1947) scholars further affirmed that identification and delineated the course of the river in some more detail. Please do note It would take another century before discovery of Harappan civilization in 1930s and 40s. The controversial issue of the Aryans migration and relationship between Vedic and Harappan civilization would take even more time to surface. As such extremely ridiculous assertion that identification of Saraswati with Gagghar Hakra has been made and popularized by the right wing groups of India to serve their agenda, itself is nothing but an agenda and big lie. Since Saraswati has been identified with Gaggar Hakra since early 19th century by a French scholar and acknowledged by other scholars, some 100 years before the Harappan civilization was even discovered.


That brings us to the second issue of various scientific studies related to the Saraswati river. Simple logic and common sense is more than enough to realize that no scientific study can affirm or reject the identification of Saraswati river with Gaggar Hakra bed unless or until someone invents time machine which can go back in the past. They are mainly utilized for the purposes like tracing the precise path of the river including source of its origin or the time period during which it dried up or started drying up, causes for the drying up of river and so .

These scientific studies however created major problem for another unrelated theory ie Aryan invasion theory in creation of which identification of Saraswati river played no role at all. However dating of the Saraswati river created major problem in acceptance of the theory. I won't go in detail of that problem since everybody already knows about it. (If somebody is unaware about it then point it out so that me or some other person can explain it in some detail). It was that issue that suddenly brought Saraswati into limelight for everybody. Since it was impossible to refute Scientific dating the Marxists historians were left with no other option but to reject the identification of Saraswati with Gaggar Hakra itself - an identification which has been acknowledged for more than 150 years and still being acknowledged by most of the scholars (both Indian and western) by now without any problem except for mostly Indian Marxist historians. Another group that rejected this identification is confused Pakistani nationalists mostly living in western countries who have to face humiliation thanks to the barbaric ideology on which the existence of their country is justified. And as such they are now trying to seek the alternate roots for the existence of that country and their identity. It isn't the right wing Hindu nationalist groups but this two aforementioned groups that are working with their vulgar and low quality ideological agenda and label anyone who doesn't agree with their agenda which is devoid of any sort of facts, evidence or history, as right wing Hindu radical. Otherwise even the scholars like B.N. Datta - one of the foreruners of communist movement in India linked Harappan civilization with Vedic people in past.

So yes lets discard that myth which is OP and add some sense and facts to the issue.

*In context of the great game of Central Asia, it was necessary for British to control Afghanistan to protect their assets in South Asia from Russia. However the main route from Gangetic plains to Afghanistan passing through Punjab was unavailable to British since Punjab was yet to be conquered. Hence it was decided to use alternate route of access to Afghanistan via Quetta which could be easily reached via Sindh. However the main route to Sindh from Gangetic plains also passed through Punjab and hence it became necessity to find alternate route to Sindh for military expedition. Soon after the report of that expedition however they managed to conquer Punjab and as such no such alternate route was ever developed.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,983
India
This OP is such a joke that it seems like the poster is in an eternal delusion. The quoted research papers are from 2012 and there is nothing new about such differed opinions. I thought there was something new that came out recently but alas, it is the same rhetoric:confused:

Whether or not Saraswati was a glacier fed river, the excavated sites amply suggest that most of the Harappan sites were on the banks of Saraswati. One should be really deluded not to see such concrete evidences.
Hatred against Hindus is the foundation stone of Pakistani nationalism and identitu and if their favorite IVC is getting linked to the most revered river of Rigvedic Hindus, it is obvious that open denial will come with it. Don't be surprised if all those British explorers of 19th 20th century who linked Ghaggar-Hakra to Saraswati would be bashed as Hindu right winger.
 

greatstreetwarrior

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
3,871
One question though. The Triveni Sangam in Allahabad in UP is considered the place where Saraswati, Ganga and Yamuna come together. If Gaggar Hakra is Saraswati how does it go to Allahabad???Just a question I had to ask. I am sure river courses can change but can it change that much???Someone please help me understand Saraswati river with the Triveni Sangam concept?