Living Pre-Rigvedic and Early Rigvedic Traditions of Himalayas (An Old and Rare Book)


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About the Book

History of a people is the story of their culture. Traditions are as relevant to it as any inscribed or excavated testimony. India's ancient past is seen, exclusively in relation to Indo-Gangetic plains and Himalaya is dismissed as an inconsequential borderland. Dr. Kashyap's study shows that it is precisely this great mountain that has been the cradle and the most creative workshop of Indian culture. Preserved in its hoary fairs and rituals are pre-Rigvedic and early-Rigvedic traditions which open up an entirely new vista for a reappraisal of ancient India. In them we find history unfold itself and culture evolve over countless years into a great urban civilisation. They bring us face to face with living proof of continuity of Indian culture, help outline .its chronology and sort out Vedic-Harappan tangle. The author leads us to an amazing panorama. We see Indra and Vrtra in mortal conflict over possession of fire and control over water and also the birth of a multi-dimensional universal myth. We meet people called Sisnadevah and the ones deified as Maruts. We witness Purusamedha performed in settlements of Harappan immigrants. We come across gods responding to polite invitations and urgent summons of their devotees; join them in Sura Soma drinking sessions and sumptuous feasts. We enjoy their company on hazardous journeys along banks of the Saptsindhus to reach (Arabian) sea and across high ridges and passes to shake hands with neighbours in Iran and Central Asia.

"Living Pre-Rigvedic and Early Rigvedic Traditions in Himalayas" with its wealth of fascinating documentation will be of interest to every reader with a sense of Indian antiquity and some curiosity about its identity.

About the Author

Dr .. P.C. Kashyap, noted ethnoarchaeologist, folklorist, journalist is' a student of ancient India. He specialises in life and culture of the Himalaya.

He discovered a cluster of living Harappan settlements along the Satluj banks upstream Ropar. His work "Surviving Harappan Civilisation" was described as "a sensational book (which) opens up a hitherto neglected line of ethno-archaeological investigations."

Dr. Kashyap pioneered scientific studies of Himalayan culture and folklore. His Ph.D thesis "Kulvi Lok Sahitya" was adjudged "a brilliant piece of research". He has also authored "Himalaya - Aitihasik Aur Pauranik Kaihain"; "Himachal Pradesh - Aitihasik Aur Sanskritik Adhyayan"; and "Himachali Sanskriti Ka Itihas".

He has been a member of Indian Information Service and of National Academy of Letters (Sahitya Akademy).


After the tragic partition of India in 1947, due to which 5000 years old sites of' Harappa and Mohenjodaro of the Harappan or the Indus-Saraswati Civilization remained in Pakistan, Indian archaeologists started looking for other similarly old sites within the new boundaries of India. Their search led to not only the discoveries of such monumental sites as Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira, etc. but also reopened some old polemics of ancient Indian history, the foremost being the birth and continuity of the Vedic Aryan tradition and relationship of the Vedic Aryan tradition with the Harappan tradition.

Many issues concerning the Vedic Aryan and Harappan association and dichotomy have been discussed by Indian and foreign scholars and it is now generally agreed that there has never been any substance in the theory of Aryan Invasion of Harappan towns. In fact, it now stands completely rejected. However, the problem of Vedic-Harappan dichotomy still looms large in the minds of many scholars mainly because of the Max Muller's interpretation of the Vedas, the Vedic hymns and the Vedic people and John Marshall's picture of the Harappan Civilization - the former was projected as semi-nomadic and war-like while the latter as urban and peaceful. Normally in the evolutionary model of the development of civilization the 'nomadic pastoral' stage should precede the 'urban' stage but in that case the 'Aryan Invasion of the Harappan towns' theory of Mortimer Wheeler had to face a rough weather. Thus, the Evolutionary Model was not used by the Westerners to understand the first phase of the Indian Civilization. It was easy to do that because although Max Muller felt that it was impossible to date the Vedas, whether to 5000 B.C. or 3000 B.C. or 2000 B.c. yet at least once he talked about 1200-1000 B.C. as the date of the Rigveda. Wheeler, on the other hand, had put 1500 B.C. as the end date of the Harappan or Indus-Saraswati Civilization which left a clear-cut 300 years of gap in which Wheeler easily pushed in the Aryan Invasion.

In recent years scholars in India started looking at the Vedic hymns afresh making statistical data on the occurrence of cow, horse, chariot etc. and also the various contexts in which they occur. Bhagwan Singh questioned many of the meanings attributed by Max Muller to the hymns. He has been the one person after Max Muller who studied for more than a decade each and every hymn of the Rigveda and other Vedic hymns, including Brahmanas in the 'economic' model, because Max Muller's studies were also made in this model when he declared to an unsuspecting Indian scholarship that Vedic India was the India of semi-nomadic pastoral people occasionally with limited or marginal agriculture, and semi-permanent settlements of mud houses award with Thatch Bhagwan Singh studies have shown just the opposite, that the Vedic hymns throw a flood of light on metals and metallurgy, minerals and semi-precious stones, trade and commerce, industry and merchant, boats and navigation, islands and bases' in islands, houses of around a dozen varieties, including double storeyed brick houses. This work has, therefore, finally shattered the Max Mullerian semi-nomadic pastoral picture of the Vedic economy and replaced it by an early urban economy in which trade and commerce played as much an important role as agriculture and pastoralism. Max Muller stands guilty. He knowingly and purposefully with a sinister design, as his personal letters also show, misled not one but several generations of human beings on this earth.

Once that is settled, we find that the Vedic society is represented archaeologically by the 3rd millennium B.C. scenario of north-western India of the Indus-Saraswati Divide when the Early and Mature phases of the Harappan or the Indus-Saraswati Civilization prevailed. It, therefore, removes the dichotomy between the Harappan and the Vedic civilizations and present them as the two sides of the same culture-complex - cities and villages existed side by side. It is common knowledge that pre-industrial cities de- pended largely on the produce and the labour support of the villages. There has always been many times more villages than cities at a given point of time, in present-day India as well.

The learned author of this monograph, Dr. P.c. Kashyap, adopts this model of early Indian history and then not only poses a very vital question but also throws absolutely new light by way of its answer. His approach is framed within Oral History and Cultural anthropology, sometimes called 'ethno-Archaeology'.

It is common knowledge that the Vedas employ highly sophisticated language, extremely standardised with a very complex system of grammar, phonetics and lexicon, in Padapathas, Niruktas and Nighantu. Hence it presents a picture of considerably developed society. It, therefore, pre-supposes

Item Code: NAP905
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 2000
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan
ISBN: 8177020048
Language: English
Size: 9.5 inch X 7.5 inch
Pages: 235
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 615 gms