The great faceless man

February 2, 2017

In the late Yajurvaidika upaniṣat, the Śvetāśvatara, which is the foundational text of the śaiva-śāsana, the god Rudra is described thus: na tasya pratimā asti yasya nāma mahad yaśaḥ। There is no o…

Source: The great faceless man

Mistry move to register FIR on dubious money deals in AirAsia provoked Tata

January 5, 2017

Did the AirAsia board resolution to move against ex-CEO provoke the firing of Mistry?

ītihāso vedaḥ so’yamiti –itihāsa is the veda: this it is, Veda & āgama

January 4, 2017
Access to Ritual & Knowledge in Hinduism: The case of veda and āgama

This essay will provide some insight into the particular traditions within the larger dharma framework and how these various systems gave access to one and all, as long as they were sincere aspirants.

Raids dig up empire of PC’s son — J Gopikrishnan, Daily Pioneer

January 4, 2017

Monday, 29 February 2016 | J Gopikrishnan | New Delhi

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti has built a huge empire for himself in different parts of the world by making investment in real estates and engaging in other business activities in London, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, France, USA, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. This came to light from the documents recovered during the recent joint raids of the Enforcement Directorate and Investigation Wing of Income Tax in the Aircel-Maxis scam.

The investigation team got the details of Karti’s wealth following raids on his company, Advantage Strategic Consulting, which is involved in the Aircel-Maxis deal for financial transactions with telecom beneficiaries.

Most of the transaction and purchases of properties and acquisition by Karti was executed through Advantage’s Singapore-based subsidiary Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pte Ltd. According to the investigators, the ED and I-T (Investigation Wing) are expected to contact their international counterparts to get more details from the 14 countries as per the United Nation’s Convention on prevention of money laundering.

The 2G Court had already issued Letter Rogatory to Singapore for getting transaction details of the Karti-controlled company in Singapore.

The probe details coming out of the recent raids expose massive wealth acquired by Karti during 2006 to 2014 when his father was Finance Minister and Home Minister at the Centre. Karti’s Singapore firm acquired 88 acres in September 2011 at Surridge Farm in Somerset in the UK for one million Pounds. The deal comprises four land titles, which were seized by joint probe team of ED and I-T. Karti’s company in Singapore also has investments in Artevea Digital Limited in Cambridge and has transactions with another London-based company Oppenheimer Investments (UK) Limited.

According to the details unearthed by investigators, Karti’s Singapore-based firm had acquired majority shares of a big resort in Sri Lanka, known as Lanka Fortune Residencies. This company owns the prestigious resorts ‘The Waterfront’, ‘Weligama Bay Resort’ and Emerald Bay Hotel. During the raid, the tax sleuths unearthed the acquisition agreement papers between Karti’s Singapore company and share holders of the Sri Lankan firm. Document of money trail of investments made in a Sri Lanka with a Lanka-based financial firm, Union Development & Investment Company Private Limited, were also seized in the December raids.

The probe details how Karti’s Singapore firm routed money via Dubai to acquire three farms and vineyards in South Africa, identified as Rowey Farm in Grabouw, Cape Orchards and Vineyards Private Limited, and Zandvliet Enterprises, a wine and stud farm in Ashton. The Karti-controlled Singapore firm also had money transactions with Nicholls Steyn and Associates in South Africa.

The Dubai-based Desert Dunes Properties Ltd has also investment in Karti’s Singapore-based company Advantage. The sleuths have unearthed a money trail of 1.7 million Singapore Dollars between these firms. Another Dubai-based company, Pearl Dubai FX LLC, also had financial transaction with the Advantage.

The Advantage’s Singapore subsidiary had entered into joint ventures with the Philippines-based companies to obtain a franchise team of International Premier Tennis League (Asia). The Philippine firms, which were engaged in joint ventures with the Karti-controlled company, are SM Arena Complex Corporation, Sports Entertainment Events Management Inc and two persons from Philippines – Juna Kevin and Haresh C Hiranand.

The Advantage had also had financial transactions with another real estate company in Singapore known as Real Beyond Pte Ltd having three subsidiaries in Malaysia. The investigation has unearthed that these transactions led to 16 land purchases in Thailand.

The Advantage’s Singapore unit has set up a firm in British Virgin Island (BVI), namely Somerset Surridge Ltd. The Advantage also invested 400,000 Singapore dollars in another BVI firm known as Full Innovations Ltd. It also has financial dealing with Geben Trading Limited in BVI and offices in Switzerland. This firm’s major transactions were through the famous Swiss Bank, namely UBS. The investigators got proofs of transactions in Dollars and Euro. The Advantage also has transaction of five million Singapore dollars with another firm in Singapore, namely Unison Global Investment Ltd.

The Karti-controlled company in Singapore has also entered into joint ventures with Gravitas Investments, Match Point International Tennis Events to buy a franchise Tennis team called ‘Manila Mavericks’.

The investigators unearthed that this deal was worth of 12 million US dollars and the money was paid in 10 installments.

The Advantage had also acquired a residential flat in Malaysia worth 1.9 million Malaysian Ringgits from a firm called Peninsular Smart. The probe team also found that the Advantage holds franchisees of Café’ Coffee Day in some areas of Malaysia. The investigators have found several transactions to Karti’s Singapore firm with Malaysian companies. Malaysia is the head quarters of telecom giant Maxis which acquired Aircel in 2006. The raids have seized some payment details amounting to more than Rs.30 crore in foreign currencies.

The Advantage in Singapore also opened a subsidiary firm in Barcelona in Spain known as Advantage Estrategia Esportiva SLU in August 2012. This is a sports academy having four acres with seven tennis courts. Karti-linked Singapore firm has also one million US dollar investments in a company in France known as Pampelonn Organisation. The Advantage also has transactions with a Greek firm known as Pisani John Sakellarios in Athens.

Karti’s Singapore company has also transferred 50,000 dollars to a Bank of America account in the name of “Chennai Reserve – Business Advantage Checking” and the beneficiary of this transaction was one company called Kitchen Inc, a Delaware Corporation company in New York engaged in issuance of Convertible Promissory Notes.

The Chennai-based Advantage also has transactions with Aircel Televenutres, DCB Client, Diageo Scotland Limited, Katra Group, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Unifi Wealth Management Ltd, VST Tillers Tractors, Carlton Trading Company, Claris Life Sciences’, ITC Centre, Best Land Realty Limited, Essar Steel Limited, Gokul Builders and Estates, S Kumar, INX Media, Reflections, Thiagarajar Mills Private Limited, Sak Soft, EL Forge Limited.

All these massive investments, transactions, acquisition of companies and properties abroad were executed by the Advantage after the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006. It is learned that ED and IT has dispatched all these information to Supreme Court, which is monitoring the probe on Aircel-Maxis scam in a sealed cover and also shared with their counterparts in CBI. Both CBI and the ED had said in their chargesheets that FIPB clearance given by then Finance Minister Chidambaram to Maxis to acquire Aircel was totally illegal.

अयस् ayas, अंशुः aṃśuḥ as iron pyrites of Sarasvati civilization & Veda ādhyātmikā tradition — tantra yukti principles in metalwork thesis explained: pratinidhi ‘substitution’ and apamiśraṇa ‘adulterant’

January 4, 2017



The monograph is presented in the following sections to track the validating parallels in Veda texts for metalwork evidenced in Sarasvati civilization as Veda tradition continuum (cf. Binjor a अष्टाश्रि yupa having eight corners). Examples of metalwork catalogues in two inscriptions of Harppa Script (out of over 8000 inscriptions) authenticate the metalwork thesis explaining the tantra yukti principles of pratinidhi ‘substitution’ and apamiśraṇa ‘adulterant’.

Section A. Ruśama evidence in Rigveda and in Sarasvati River Basin

Section B. RV. 10.177 Māyābheda

Section C. अयस् ayas, अंशुः aṃśuḥ  in Proto-Indo-European,Rigveda, and Meluhha Harappa Script hieroglyphs/hypertexts

Section D. Vedic vocabulary related to Māyābheda

Annex. The mayAbheda sUkta: a discursion (courtesy: Manasataramgini)

I gratefully acknowledge Manasataramgini for the elucidation of RV 10.177 which I cite in full for ready reference.


“The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, is an iron sulfide with the chemical formula FeS2. This mineral’s metallic luster and pale brass-yellow hue give it a superficial resemblance to gold, hence the well-known nickname of fool’s gold. The color has also led to the nicknames brassbrazzle, and Brazil, primarily used to refer to pyrite found in coal”

Vedic & Indo-European studies, Fallacies of Proto-Indo-European — Nicholas Kazanas

January 3, 2017

Book Review: Vedic and Indo-European Studies by Nicholas Kazanas


The book under review is a volume of erudite essays from the pen of Dr Nicholas Kazanas, the Director of Omilos Meleton Cultural Institute in Athens, Greece, on Vedic and Indo-European subjects. 

Fallacies of Proto-Indo-European
Kazanas, December 2016
0.There was a P(roto)I(ndo-)E(uropean) language 10.000 years ago. Its reconstruction is impossible now despite enormous efforts by fanciful scholars. The closest extant language is (old) Sanskrit.
  1. I do not belong to the small circle of sanskritists, classicists and others who reject the existence of PIE. Admittedly there is no hard evidence for this language – no texts, no fragments anywhere. But the astonishing similarities that unmistakably exist between Sanskrit, Old Greek, Latin and other languages cannot be dismissed as chance events or borrowing or wave-influences. The languages involved starting in the East and moving westward are chiefly these: Sanskrit (or Vedic or Old Indic), Avestan (or Iranian in Ancient Persia/Iran), Tocharian (in Central Asia), Armenian, Hittite (Luvian, Palaic and few others in what is today Turkey), Slavic (branches in Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czechoslovakia, Poland and few other areas), Albanian, Greek, Latin (and few other dialects in today’s Italy, Spain, France and Rumania), Celtic (Old Irish/Welsh), Germanic (the largest family with Gothic, Old High German, Old Icelandic etc) and Baltic (=Latvian, Lithuanian and Old Prussian).
From these ancient languages various scholars have over almost two centuries now, starting around 1800, “reconstructed”, so they claim, the ancient PIE. I shall not cite any of these reconstructions, except on rare occasions as absurd examples, because they are all imaginary, having no true basis in reality, since no trace of PIE itself has survived. Some laws of change and interrelation between (some of) the extant languages are valid since they are based on actual lexemes (=forms of words). But as soon as one moves out of these few oases of rationality, one wallows in uncertainty and conjecture.
  1. Let me start by giving some examples of close similarities. I leave out Avestan (or Iranian) because in most case the lexeme is very similar to Sanskrit. But I deal with some Indo-Iranian affinities in §8, below.
belly : S(anskrit) udara , Gk hoderos, L(atin) (venter?) uterus, B(altic) vēderas .
flesh : S māṃsa, Toch(arian) misa, Arm(enian) mis, Sl(avic) mesa, Alb(anian) mish, G(er)m(anic) mimz/mensā, B mesa.
knee : S jānu , Gk gonu , L genu , Gm kniw.
molar(tooth): jamba, Toch keme, Sl zebn, Alb(anian) dhëmb, Gk gomphos.
Some human relations.
father : S pitṛ/pitar , Gk patēr, L pater, C athir (Celtic lost |p| almost everywhere), Gm fadar .
mother : is found in various forms in all except H(ittite)
son : sūnu , Toch soy, Sl synǔ, Gk hui-, Gm sunu(s), B sūnus.
Natural phenomena
dawn : S uṣās ,  Gk ēōs, L au[s]rora, Gm eostre, B  aušra.
fire : S agni , H agnis, Sl ognǔ, L ignis , B ugnis.
rainwater : S abhra, Arm amb, Gk ombro, L imber.
star : S star- , Toch śreñ/ścirye, Arm astl-, Gk astēr , L stella , C sterenn , Gm stairnō .
Man-made objects
awl : S ārā , Gm al/āla , Old Prussian ylo , B yla .
butter : S sarpis , Toch sälyp-e, Alb gjalp, Gk helpos, Gm salba.
house :  S dhāma, Sl domǔ, Gk dom-a/-o, L domus.
wheel :  S cakra , Toch kukäl, Gk kuklo-, Gm hwēol.
Some verbs
be : S asti, Gk esti, Gm ist etc etc.
beget : S jan-, Gk gen-, Lt gen-, C gen-a/i.
grab : S grabh, H karp, Sl grabi-, Gm gre(i)pan, B grābt.
put : S dhā- , Toch täs/tēs, H dai, Sl dĕ-ti,  Gk ti-thē-, C do-di, B détí.
think : S man, Sl mǐnĕ-, Gk mna-/main-, L me-min-, C de-moin-, Gm mun, B many.
There are hundreds more. But enough examples have been given to show that far too many lexemes have close resemblance to assume anything other than a genetic relation. That is to say, the languages mentioned descended from one original mother tongue and each retained many or few aspects according to the influences it received once they had split, when groups of people speaking the original PIE began to diverge and move to different distant areas.
  1. Apart from lexemes there are similarities in the declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs and in syntax. Moreover, there are similarities in themes and motifs in mythology and in several customs, laws and social practices.
Below are the 1st Sing, 1st and 3rd Plural persons of the verb to be:
  Sanskrit Hittite Greek Germanic(Gothic)
sing 1 asmi ēšmi eimi im
pl 1 smas ––– e-smen sijum
pl 3 santi ašanzi eisi/enti sind
Except for the Gothic sijum ‘we are’ the resemblances are so close as to need no further comment.
I shall close this section with one of the many mythologems that are common to three or more IE cultures. Versions of this are found in the Sanskrit, Greek, Celtic and Germanic (Scandinavian) cultures.
In the Vedic literature we find Saraṇyu, daughter of creator god Tvaṣṭṛ, marrying the Sungod Vivasvat. But soon afterward she disappeared leaving behind her a shadowy likeness and assumed the form of a mare. Vivasvat located her, assumed the form of a stallion and mated with her. As a result the twin horse deities Aśvins were born.
In Greece, goddess Demeter disappeared to escape the sexual harassment of seagod Poseidon. She assumed the form of a mare. Poseidon located her with the aid of Sungod, became a stallion and mated with her. As a result was born a noble horse Areion and a girl. Then the goddess was worshipped in Arcadia as Demeter Erinus (=Saraṇyu: a sure cognation).
In Scandinavia the gods asked a giant-mason to build for them a huge wall within a certain date and would win a goddess as reward. With the help of his horse Svadilfari, the mason worked very fast and would win the bet with the gods. So they sought the help of Loki, god of tricks and transformations. He became a mare and kept distracting the mason’s horse. Thus the gods won their bet as the mason was unable to finish on time. The mare became pregnant and bore the eight-legged horse Sleipnir, the fastest ever. This was given to kinggod Odin.
Again the similarities are quite extraordinary when one considers how far apart the three traditions were and how none of the intermediate IE or non-IE cultures had this legend. But the element of sex with a mare is found in other legends and the Irish should be mentioned here. In one tribe in Ulster, the future king had to mount a white mare before his coronation. Then the mare was slaughtered and cooked and all people involved in the ritual partook of the mare’s meat.
In some IE countries bestiality was forbidden except for mares and in some cases cows. Wherever Christianity was established all bestiality was  prohibited.
  1. It is an established fact that we scholars love conjectures, models, suppositions, theories, about all subjects. When the similar IE languages were discovered and explored in the 19th cent, the desire arose naturally to find the mother tongue PIE. This was not forthcoming and it is unlikely that it will be discovered. So linguists specialising in this area, comparativists, began to contrive this PIE on the basis of the facts in these extant languages. They thought then, and now many of them are certain, that PIE could be “reconstructed”. The early attempts in the 20th cent were not very satisfactory and one generation after another “improved”, as they thought, on the work of the previous. By the 1990’s they felt confident that their methods had been refined and become very exact and scientific. And soon thereafter followed several studies presenting the last word on comparative IE philology and the reconstructed mother tongue PIE. (E.g. B. Fortson 2004, N. Ritt 2004, J. Clackson 2006.)
The first fallacy is that the comparative method is “scientific” and can offer predictions.   And the comparativists are very proud of their “science” – although there are some few who dissent and consider all this a waste of time (e.g. Leach 1990; Angela Marcantonio 2009, 2013).
There are in fact no predictions outside observable phenomena in the fairly rich documentation of comparatively early languages like Sanskrit, Avestan, Greek and Latin. For instance, Sanskrit |ś| appears in Greek most frequently as |k|, as in S daśa = Gk deka for the number 10, and S śăta = Gk he-kato for the number 100. But S /ś/ appears in Greek as |p| also, as in S aśva = Gk hippos for horse. When Mycenaean Greek was deciphered in mid-20th cent., it was discovered that it had iqo-/iqe- for horse. So the equation S |ś| = Gk |k| held true if |k| = |q|.
This discovery is, of course, no prediction at all. Because the other Greek dialects do not conform to this rule and the causes for the disparity are totally unknown.
In any event, the scientific predictions and reconstructions should concern the PIE itself. But this cannot be verified. Thus we are asked to accept the results of a “scientific” method that can in no way be verified. And this proposition comes from scholars who are regarded as mature, serious and well-educated. Yet they disregard one of the most basic conditions of scientific investigation: the results must be amenable to independent verification.
  1. Closely related to the previous fallacy, is the fallacy that PIE can be reconstructed.
It cannot. Apart from the impossibility of verifying the reconstructions since we have no genuine, original PIE linguistic facts, the data available from the various IE extant tongues contain many variations and contradictions. It is acknowledged by the more sober, older scholars that the extant languages descend not from the PIE itself but from dialects that had descended from it.
  1. Burrow who wrote a study of Sanskrit (1955, revised 1973), that still remains a standard text, wrote: “In the case of Indo-European it is certain that there was no such unitary language which can be reached by means of comparison… In fact detailed comparison makes it clear that the Indo-European that we can reach… was already deeply split up into a series of varying dialects” (11: 1973).
  2. Szemerényi, an eminent comparativist in his day but now out of favour and fashion, writes on one page that “the first task of the Indo-Euroepanist is … the fullest possible reconstruction of the Indo-European” to be used as “a starting-point for the interpretation of the system and its prehistory” but on another page writes that we need the reconstructed forms for easier reference (one form rather that the many in the diverse IE tongues) and elsewhere cites other scholars who assert that “complete forms cannot be reconstructed at all” (1996: 33)!
Like Szemerényi and others, I think all indoeuropeanist comparativists are aware of the absurd side of the matter, that is of reconstructing a language that cannot be verified, that is spoken by nobody and has no texts whatever! Don Ringe also, a respected contemporary comparativist, mentions the difficulties of reconstruction (2004: 1117). Yet the indoeuropeanists continue their “scientific” reconstructions degrading every sense of science and scientific investigation. In 2000 Calvert Watkins published The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots , while others publish textbooks for students!!!
It is customary to place an asterisk initially on every reconstructed lexeme (e.g. *deiwos = S devas ‘god’) but Watkins has put no stars on his roots: anɘ ‘breathe’ (PIE *h2en-?!!?) = S angnō ‘know’= S jñā ; mē ‘measure’ = S  mā ;  stā ‘stand’ = S sthāyag ‘worship’ = S yaj ‘sacrifice’; etc. So readers uninformed in the subject may well think that these concoctions are actual roots of an actual language. This is a minor difficulty. Watkins indulges at length in misleading everybody by not providing adequate information or by providing only secondary inessential facts. E.g. root anɘ : he refers to L anima ‘soul’ and derivatives, to Gk anemo ‘wind’ and derivatives and the name ‘Enid’ from Welsh eneit ‘soul’. But he does not say that only S has the root (dhātu) itself √an and the conjugation of the verb ‘to breathe’!
The epidemic with proto-languages has spread to linguistic studies of other groups of languages, like Afro-Asiatic, Dravidian, Finno-Ugric, Kurtvelian etc. Even within IE family, the comparativists deal with Proto-Germanic, Proto-Celtic, Proto-Italic (i.e. Latin etc) and so on. R. Woodward edited, with the help of numerous other comparativists, in 2004, the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ancient Languages (Cambridge, Britain). Chapter 17, incidentally, describes briefly in 14 pages and in “scientific” terms, the IE Protolanguage admitting that it is not attested but “reconstructed”.
However, the mentality behind this reconstructed PIE is not all that different from the belief, current in St Augustine’s time in the 4th cent CE that all languages descended from Hebrew. It was Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609) who first challenged this mainstream inane notion.
  1. Another fallacy is very subtle: it is the tacit assumption that the reconstructed forms are actual and experts in this imaginary field discuss and argue among themselves as if they are realities.
If by some miracle a tablet should be discovered from say 10 000 BCE with a genuine (fragment of a) text of PIE, these experts would not recognise it as such because, I am sure, it would be vastly different from their reconstructions. I shall explain the reasons for my certitude below (§§ 7-11).
In an effort to convince others of the validity of the reconstructions, the IEnists use two analogies: one is the depiction of an animal, a drawing, in a biology textbook which is according to J. Clackson, “an idealised depiction”: the drawing corresponds to the creature (cat or caterpillar) but it is not the same as it (2013:270). Obviously the learned comparativist does not see the frightful fallacy here. The cat or caterpillar is drawn from real life; they are existing entities and the artist, or photographer in our days, has actually seen the animal itself and has not “reconstructed” it from scattered pieces, here and there, as philologists do!
The second analogy is the “map” of the sky and “constellations” like the Orion. These are presented in two dimensions whereas the actual positions of stars differ in depth and distance in space: some lie further away from earth than others (Clackson 2013:271). Here too our comparativist falls into the same fallacy. Sky-maps and constellations are real objects seen and photographed, not a concoction of pieces from different constellations in different areas of heaven as seen by us. The PIE tongue is not seen or photographed from real PIE elements: it is a new formation “reconstructed” with entities from different languages and projected as “real”. What has actual existence are the extant languages; the PIE is an imaginary collage, a conjectural projection without any real existence except in the linguistic books!
  1. The development of reconstruction has not been a straight line. At first Sanskrit was given prominence. Eventually a more “democratic” approach prevailed but one that regards Hittite as an older and closer descendant of the PIE. And since Hittite has a sound that came to be designated “laryngeal”, i.e. |h̯|, gradually this sound and variants were introduced to fill many gaps and solve difficulties met in comparisons. At one time these laryngeals were 10, now they have been reduced to 3. But they are wilfully introduced even in languages that do not have them, like Sanskrit and Avestan!
Sanskrit is not given the attention it deserves because it is regarded as more “modern” than Hittite, Iranian (=Avestan) etc.
This is due to the wretched AIT, the Aryan Invasion/Immigration Theory. This states that the Indoaryans (=ancient Indians/Aryans) came from Iran into N-W India c 1700 after spending some time in Iran with the Iranians and speaking a common Indo-Iranian protolanguage. They spread southward and eastward into the Gangetic plain driving the old natives south into the Dravidian area of India, or reducing them into the servile class.
This absurd Theory, like so many others, has become mainstream doctrine. It ignores glaring facts. The Avestan hymns say that the Iranians themselves wandered much before settling into South Iran and the first place they passed from was the Land of the Seven Rivers (in N-W India and Pakistan). A Sanskrit text, again, Baudhāyana’s Śrautasūtra (18.14) says that there was the Āmāvasa migration from Saptasindhu (Land of 7 rivers) westward and the Ṛgveda hymn 6.61.9,12 says that the 5 Aryan tribes spread beyond the seven sister-rivers!
However, I leave this fallacious theory as I have deconstructed it in my Vedic and Indo-European Studies (N. Delhi, 2015) and in numerous other publications.
According to my reading of anthropological, archaeological, genetic, linguistic and literary data, all expounded in detail in my two books (2009, 2015), the original IE homeland was in the larger area of Saptasindhu and covering Bactria. From there the various IE-speakers radiated to their northern and north-western and western migrations. The Avestan speakers are the last to leave and for this reason their tongue Old Iranian bears the greatest resemblance to Old Indic.
Baudhāyana’s ŚrautaSūtra 18.14 mentions two migrations: one eastward, the Āyava; one westward, the Āmāvasa producing the Gāndhāris, Parśus (=Persians) and Arāttas (=of Urartu and/or Ararat on the Caucausus).
  1. Another fallacy is the notion of uniform phonological change in the selfsame environment.
This does sound most reasonable. In fact, it is quite otherwise in the actual world of the texts. I shall take only one example from Sanskrit and Avestan, since they are such close relatives and neighbours, the sonorant vowel ||, which is by full consensus held to be PIE.
Observe please that this ||, remains in fact in all the Sanskrit words but changes variously in the corresponding Avestan!
S ṛṣṭi ‘spear’; amṛta ‘immortal’; vṛka ‘wolf’; vṛkṣa ‘tree’; ākṛti ‘form’
A aršti ;  amǝša ; vǝhrka ; varǝša ; ākǝrǝti
There are, in fact, more variations in Avestan – ōrǝ , ar , ra …
Writing on Kurylowitz’s ‘laws of change’, Heinrich Hock, one of the most eminent IE comparativists stated – “a prediction of when a change will or must occur is impossible” (1991:211).
  1. Another fallacy is the division into satem and centum languages: satem being Sanskrit, Avestan, Baltic etc; centum being Tocharian, Greek, Latin etc. As is generally known, the distinction is due to the appearance of palatals in satem (from Avestan ‘one hundred’ = S śata) and of velars (gutturals) in the centum (from L ‘one hundred’). However, this distinction is not so absolute as one might think. Palatals are found in some places in centum tongues and velars in satem.
The Baltic languages are three: Old Prussian, Latvian and Lithuanian. Well, in Lithuanian we find god Perkunas (and variants = Sl Perenu) who is cognate with S Parjanya. Thus S has the palatal |j| as is proper for satem but Lithuanian has the velar |k| which is proper to centum languages.
  1. The biggest fallacy and central to any discussion regarding the Protolanguage in IE studies is exposed by the presence of roots or more correctly dhātus ‘lexical seedforms’ in Sanskrit. When all the paraphernalia of PIE reconstructions are laid aside the investigator finds that, in plain fact, only Sanskrit and Avestan (to a much lesser degree) have roots! The other IE languages have verbs and nouns etc but not roots, as such, from which verbs and nouns etc are derived. Even Sanskrit has many words that cannot be analysed or traced back to a dhātu (apart from borrowed words): e.g. kakud ‘peak’, nṛ/nara ‘man’, putra ‘child/son’, balakṣa ‘white’, śūdra ‘servile’ etc. But it has 2000 dhātus all told and about 700 fully active in the early language.
In his Dictionary Walkins gives 5 roots ser, and of these he connects number 2 with S ̦√sṛ > sarati/sisarti ‘moves/flows/runs’ and then gets lost in the labyrinth of IE complexities. This |sṛ| is not found as an independent word noun or adjective, but is found in S as stem in sṛ-t ‘running’, sṛ-ta ‘having gone/passed’, sṛti ‘way’ etc. Then there are sara saraṇasaritsārasārin etc. This is found also in a cognate form in Tocharian salate, in Gk hallomai and L salio, all meaning ‘leap/rush’, but only as verbs, not as roots and with very few derivatives. The most curious fact is that its derivative saras ‘eddy, whirl, wave, lake’ is in the name of the ancient river saras-vatī. This is cognate with Avestan haraxvaiti, also a river’s name; but there is no root nor other word connected with this harah in Iranian, so it stands alone! The mainstream theory, that wants the common Indo-Iranian tongue and culture in Iran, says that the Indoaryans went to Saptasindhu and there gave their version of the name to a river to remind them of their former country. This of course is utter, wilful nonsense, because saras has a rich family of lexemes and a dhātu but the Iranian haraḥ is a lonely orphan! So the movement must have been the other way round and the Iranians just lost dhātu and derivatives retaining only the name and memory of the river in Saptasindhu. (See§7-8.) Otherwise, it is impossible that the Indoaryans left Iran with only harah/saras and once in their new habitat started developing other lexemes and the dhātu √sṛ.
  1. Of the 700 dhātus in the early Vedic texts, 200 are found in the root-form as nouns or adjectives and also stems for verbs. Thus Vedic has √īś (m) ‘lord’ and verb īś-e ‘I reign’; but also derivatives īśa, īśinīśvara etc. Similarly √ruc > ruc (f) ‘lustre’ and á-ru-ruc-at ‘one shone’ (in a past tense, called reduplicated aorist); but also derivatives ruk-maruca-karucinrocana etc. Similarly √sad > sad (adj) ‘sitting’ and verb á-sad-at (aorist) ‘one sat’. 200 such dhātus with their families of derivatives (nouns and verbs etc) form a very rich inheritance – considering that no other IE language has anything. Tatiana Elizarenkova, the renowned Russian vedicist, put it like this: “the verb-root [=dhātu] is basic to both inflexion and derivation…it is irrelevant that for some root as such nouns are not attested”(1995: 50). Sanskrit has organic coherence.
The most telling aspect for the antiquity and significance of Sanskrit is precisely this organic coherence arising from roots generating verbs, nouns etc. This functions with the regular use of suffixes, verbal and nominal. I shall give only two examples, but the instances are hundreds.
S has the stems pad/pād- (weak/strong) ‘foot’ and √pad > vb padyate ‘befalls, falls’. Since the foot is the bodily part that in movement constantly rises and “falls” we see semantic as well as phonetic agreement. Gk has pous (Gen podos) and L pes (Gen pedis); Armenian, Hittite and Tocharian have similar cognates for ‘foot’. But none has a cognate verb like S √pad- ! Gm does have ge-fetan ‘to fall’ (Old English) and has cognates fôt/fuoz ‘foot’. Slavic also has pada/pasti ‘falls’ but no other nominal cognates. Lithuanian has the verb peduoti but its padas is ‘sandal, shoe’ (not foot).
The IE cognates for “daughter” present a similar case. S duhitṛ for daughter is the √duh and the suffixes i-tṛ, as in pitṛ ‘father’, aritṛ ‘rower’, aśitṛ ‘eater’ etc. The verb is duḥ- > dogdhi ‘extracts, milks’ (hence duhitṛ = milkmaid!). Gk thugatēr, Gmc tohter, Sl dušti and Oscan (old Italic) futir , have no other plausible cognates in their total diction. Surprisingly neither Latin nor Hittite have any cognations for IE daughter! The others have the noun but not the verb.
  1. I could give dozens of more cases which show this organic coherence in Sanskrit, which is totally absent in other IE tongues (See my 2015: ch 2). In another paper, “Rigvedic All-comprehensiveness”, I show that most of the significant cultural and linguistic IE features common in the other IE cultures are found in the Ṛgveda. All other branches show enormous losses in all respects – except erosion.
Is this aspect known and studied in depth by IEean comparativists? Perhaps. But they do not draw the natural conclusion that Sanskrit alone should be the basis for PIE. The other languages are made up of highly eroded and fragmented materials. In my view all the mainstream academic publications on the subject of reconstructing PIE are worthless.
Edmund Leach, provost of King’s College Cambridge, wrote many years ago: “Because of their commitment to a unilateral segmentary history of language development that needed to be mapped onto the ground, the philologists took it for granted that proto-Indo-Iranian was a language that had originated outside India or Iran…. From this we derived the myth of the Aryan invasions”. But he went further: “Indo-European scholars should have scrapped their historical reconstructions and started again from scratch. But this is not what happened. Vested interests and academic posts were involved” (Leach 1990:238).
I am afraid that the edifice of IE linguistics and reconstructions continues to be based on those “vested interests”.
Burrow T.                 1973  The Sanskrit Language, London, Faber & Faber.
Clackson J.               2007  Indo-European Linguistics, Cambridge (Brit), CUP.
2013  The Origin of the Indic Languages… The Indo-European Model, in Marcantonio (ed) 2013, ch9.
Fortson B.                2004  Indo-European Language & Culture Oxford, Blackwell.
Hock H.                      1991 Principles of Historical Linguistics 2nd ed, Berlin, NY, de Gruyter.
Kazanas N.                 2009 Indo-Aryan Origins… N. Delhi, Aditya Prakashan.
2015 Vedic & Indo-European Studies N. Delhi, Aditya Prakashan.
Leach E .                    1990 “Aryan invasions over four millennia” in Culture through Time (ed) E. Ohnuki-Tierney, Stanford, Stanford University (227-245).
Marcantonio A.       2009  (ed) The Indo-European Language Family: Questions about its Status Washington, Journal of IE Studies Monograph Series No 55. «Most reconstructions are artefacts».
2013 (ed with Girish Nath Jha) Perspectives on the Origin of Indian Civilisation N. Delhi, D.K. Printworld; Center for Indic Studies, Univ. of Massachussets, Dartmouth (MA).
Ringe Don               2004 in Woodword R. (ed) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, Cambridge (Brit), CUP.
Ritt N.                     2004  Selfish Sounds & Linguistics… Cambridge (Brit), CUP
Szemerényi O.        1996  Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics (1990 transl from German) Oxford, OUP.
Watkins C.              2000  The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots Boston/NY, H. Mifflin Co.

Book Review: Harappa Script & Language by S. Kalyanaraman (2016) — Dr. Shrinivas Tilak

January 2, 2017

‘Harappa’ is an inclusive and integrative approach providing a comprehensive account of the major concerns surrounding the Harappa script and language within the wide expanse of Indic civilization.


In a speech organized by the Indian Council for Historical Research and delivered in Delhi on November 11, 2016, Professor Shivaji Singh referred to the prevalence, until recent times, of two separate versions of the early history of India. One based on literary sources (primarily the Ŗgveda) talks about the Ārya and non-Ārya (Dāsa) peoples. The other, based on archaeological record, throws light on mainly the material culture of various communities and groups of communities distinguished as the Harappans, Hakrans, the Kot Dijians, etc. No one-to-one correspondence between these two versions of history was entertained even though they relate to one and the same peoples within broadly the same space-time contexts (see Singh 2016).

Since the Harappan Civilization was thought to precede the Vedic Civilization, the history books described it first and the Vedic Civilization afterwards in different subsequent chapters. Professor Singh went on to observe that thanks to the scholarship of Professor B. B. Lal, an internationally recognized archaeologist, many scholars, who earlier believed in Vedic-Harappan dichotomy and shared the view of Aryan arrival in India from outside, now, accept Vedic-Harappan identity. Later, in a private communication to Dr Kalyanaraman, Professor Singh acknowledged that he considered the latter’s work “extremely important” because Dr Kalyanaraman had “broken the myth that Bharatiya tradition has downgraded the status of the artisans and placed them with the Shudras. In fact, it is this myth on which the entire structure of Subaltern history is based” (Kalyanaraman 2016A: 65).

I wish Professor Singh had publicly recognized the sterling contribution of Dr Kalyanaraman (hereafter K) to the field of Vedic civilization (also known as Indus/Harappa/Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization). In a previous review of K’s works, I have discussed at length what the reader stands to learn from his more than twenty published monographs about the remarkable treasure-house of jñāna discovered/recovered from the Harappa script corpora in many fields and disciplines ranging from art and music to mathematics and metallurgy. Equally important is K’s recovery of the significant contributions made to that treasure-house by simple Meluhha artisans whose descendants today follow Khandoba, Vithoba, and other popular folk deities and who today are consigned to the so-named ‘backward and deprived classes’(anusūcita janajātis)(see Tilak 2014).

The hypothesis of “Harappa Script & Language: Data mining of Corpora, tantra yukti & knowledge discovery of a civilization,” (hereafter ‘Harappa’), is premised on the definition of Mleccha (Meluhha) as the spoken forms of ‘Pre-Sanskrit’ or ‘Proto-Indo-European’ (PIE) language that may have been spoken as a single language (before divergence began) around 3500 BCE. Borrowings have occurred among Dravidian, Munda and IE language-families making India a Sprachbund (language union or linguistic area) from the Bronze Age where the people of India speaking over twenty five distinct languages have continued to absorb language features from one another and making them their own.

In ‘Harappa’ K continues his life-long mission of decoding the Harappa script and language that have remained an enigma to scholars, academics, archaeologists, and historians. Claims of decipherment number in hundreds, though none has found consensus or acceptance among scholars. In 1996, Gregory L. Poesshl, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, surveyed over thirty extant claims and concluded that the script is likely to remain undeciphered. But K does not share in Poesshl’s pessimism. Back in 1822, Jean Francois Champollion had deciphered the Egyptian writing system (hieroglyphs) as a combination of phonetic and ideographic glyphs. Then, John Hubert Marshall, who was Director-General of Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1908 indicated that the Indus inscriptions resemble the Egyptian hieroglyphs far more than they do the Sumerian linear and cuneiform system. Taking his cue from Champollion and Marshall, K began his studies in the assumption that a solution to the Indus script puzzle is to be found in the trade and commercial activities of the Harappan people, their script, and their language.

Since the days of Marshall in 1920s, archaeologists have identified over two thousand archaeological sites on the Sarasvati River Basin. Explorations and excavations in about twenty other sites have now taken the Harappa script corpora to over eight thousand inscriptions that have constituted K’s research base for his cryptographic analyses and delineation of the courses of the River Sarasvati in North-western India.

K’s analysis of the data led him to argue that the Harappans, who produced the seals, were mostly artisans of all sorts, from lapidaries (workers in gem stones), masons, miners, to smiths, who worked on stones, ivory, shell, minerals, metals, and alloys of metals. They created the Indus script and writing system in order to record the details of their professional activities. They used a code and a code key (known as the rebus) to transform and transfer information and messages that were deliberately obscured so that the messages could not be read or understood even if they were intercepted. A cipher is a secret language invented to conceal the meaning of a message. Artisans and traders of the Indus area created the cipher and included it with the goods that were shipped (like including a font that you may have used to generate a file?). Their trade associates in other parts of the world who received the messages were able to securely decipher the text of the coded message by performing an inverse substitution using the code keys (rebus; see Tilak 2010 for more details).

I Harappa script corpora

‘Harappa’ features the story of a civilization documenting the nature of work performed as people moved from rural to urban living coping with the industrial society formed in the wake of the Bronze Age Revolution and conduct of guilds as incipient economic forms of states that were known as janapadas. Will Durant observed that history is “an industry, an art and a philosophy — a search for perspective and enlightenment.” ‘Harappa’ similarly is a search for a civilization enfolding in two domains of knowledge: (1) Archaeo-metallurgical advances made during the Bronze Age Revolution; and (2) Invention of a writing system to document, in Meluhha (Harappan) language these advances required. Another objective of this treatise is to unravel the semantics of Dharma saṁjñā to be recovered through hieroglyphs using a method of data mining of Harappa script corpora numbering over eight thousand inscriptions based on the principles of tantra yukti, which provides a scientific basis for reconstructing the lexis of an ancient Bharata language that K insists was Meluhha (Mleccha). K hopes that his narrated history will inspire the youth to regain the high status in the world that India (that is Bharat) enjoyed in ancient times (Kalyanaraman 2016: 3).

II Data mining of corpora: rebus and tantrayukti too


An abiding feature of K’s scholarship on the Harappa script and language has been his constant upgrading/updating of the methodology used in his scholarly pursuit. K pioneered the use of the rebus method to decipher the Harappa script. His inspiration for deciphering the Harappa script originated in the well-known dictum of Tolkappiyam (a work on the grammar of the Tamil language): all words are semantic indicators (ellaac collum porul kur-ittanave), which led him to incorporate elements of the method known as the Rebus. Rebus (in Latin ablative plural of res = things) means ‘of or by things’ and by extension ‘not by words, but by things. In ‘Harappa,’ he has also added the more traditional method known as tantrayukti to make his analyses of data more comprehensive.
K initially employed the Rebus method that had already been in practice with Egyptian hieroglyphs using existing symbols (such as pictograms) for their sounds regardless of their meaning to represent new words. The rebus method uses existing well known symbols, such as pictograms, purely for their sounds (regardless of their meaning) to represent new words. Many ancient writing systems used the Rebus principle to represent abstract words, which otherwise would be hard to be represented by pictures (pictograms). An example that illustrates the Rebus principle is the representation of the sentence “I can see you” by using the sequence of pictures “eye—can—sea—ewe.” Rebus also uses words pronounced alike (homophones) but having different meanings: the word ‘club’ for instance, which may have the meaning of a weapon or a group depending upon the context. Similarly, wavy lines may be drawn suggesting the motif of ‘sea’ for writing the word ‘see.’ Some linguists believe that the Chinese developed their writing system according to the rebus principle.
In Rebus method used today, it is common to find the use of the numeral 8 to stand for the verbal form ‘ate’ or a syllable with that sound; the numeral 4 as a stand in for ‘for;’ and the numeral 2 for ‘to or too.’ So, we can have: gr + 8 = great; 4 + T = fort; 2 + L = tool. The ancient rebus method, to that extent, has some common ground with the contemporary texting language known as ‘txt’ or ‘txtspk.’
K argues that almost every single glyph or glyphic element of the Meluhha script may be read rebus using the repertoire of artisans (lapidaries working with precious shell, ivory, stones, and terracotta, mine workers, metal smiths working with a variety of minerals, furnaces, and other tools), who created the inscribed objects and used many of them to authenticate their trade transactions. Many of the inscribed objects were used as calling cards of the professional artisans, listing their professional skills and/or repertoire of karni, supercargo for a boat shipment (Kalyanaraman 2016: 86).

Rebus reinterpretation of a man seated in a yoga like posture

An Indus seal showing a horned male person seated in yoga like posture figures in many text books assigned to courses on Indian religions, history, and civilization. A three-leaved branch of the Pipal tree appears on his crown with a star on either side. Two stars adorn the curved buffalo horns of the seated person who wears a scarf on pigtail. Seven bangles are depicted on the left arm and six on the right, with the hands resting on the knees. The heels are pressed together under the groin and the feet project beyond the edge of the throne (see figure below). In the considered opinion of the scholarly community, the person in the seal represents (a) a yogi or an ascetic practicing meditation or engaged in austerities or penance; (b) a proto-Rudra/Śiva or (c) Agni, the god of fire.


Without disputing this line of interpretation, K has attempted a Rebus reinterpretation of this pictograph on a seal. He suggests that the seal may have additional information to communicate regarding the field of metallurgy. The word in Prakrit for penance is kamandha, which is homonymous with the Tamil word kampattam meaning ‘mint. The word for large horns with sweeping upward curve as applied to buffalos is dabe in Santali. The words dab, dhimba, dhombo meaning a lump (clot) are homonyms for dabe. The word for twig in the Atharvaveda (5:19.12) is kudi. A Santali word kuthi meaning ‘smelting furnace’ would be a homonym for kudi. Another Santali word kote meaning ‘forged’ [metal] is also relevant here. After analyzing other glyptic elements on the seal, K concludes that the person on the seal is a lapidary scribe working in a mint (Kalyanaraman 2016: 432-433; also based on personal communication with Dr Kalyanaraman).

Tantra yukti

In a welcome gesture, K has introduced in ‘Harappa’ the traditional method of documenting and presenting research called tantrayukti (also known as yuktibhāṣā in the context of mathematical and astronomical researches). The Sanskrit compound ‘tantrayukti’ is made of two words –’tantra’ and ‘yukti’ where ‘tan’ (to spread) is the verbal root in ‘tantra,’ which means science (śāstra) and yukti is a derivative of the verbal root ‘yuj’ (to unite/concentrate). Tantra then can be understood as that which discusses and details subjects and concepts and yukti is that which removes blemishes like impropriety, contradiction, etc. from the intended meaning and efficiently joins such meanings together. The expression tantrayukti thus denotes those devices that aid the composition of a text in a systematic manner to convey intended ideas clearly. Cakrapāṇi in his commentary on the Carakasamhita lists forty such distinct devices of tantra, many of which are exemplified in the treatises of Suśruta, Caraka, Vāgbhaṭa, Kauţilya, and Pāņini on knowledge domains of Āyurveda, Arthaśāstra, and Sanskrit grammar, respectively (Kalyanaraman 2016: 63). Select items from the forty or so strong repertoire of tantrayukti, accordingly, were habitually employed in the tradition while composing a treatise.

Mlecchita vikalpa and tantrayukti

The term ‘mlecchita’ means ‘made by Mleccha’ and the expression Mlecchita vikalpa refers to a distinct or specific option or alternative (vikalpa) associated with the Mlecchas. Mlecchita vikalpa is an expression used as the fifty-second item in the list of sixty-four arts to be learnt by youth in Vātsyāyana’s Kāmasūtra (Chapter 3, Part 1). Translators of the Kāmasūtra (including Richard Burton, Bhagavanlal Indrajit, and Shivaram Parashuram Bhide) explain the expression Mlecchita vikalpa as ‘the art of understanding writing in cipher’ or cryptography or, simply, encryption. In ‘Harappa,’ K argues that Mlecchita vikalpa recognizes the usefulness of tantrayukti possibly because of its ‘sūtra’ style of composition. Since a characteristic feature of the structure and form of Harappa script similarly is crispness of expression, K speculates that this feature may have been governed by the cardinal principle of tantrayukti (the average number of ‘text signs’ being five with or without pictorial motifs or field symbols on seals and tablets). Additionally, crispness of an expression is not obliterated by verbosity, nor is the depth of meaning that is intended to be conveyed compromised (to attain crispness).

Some typical tantrayukti devices that K proposes to use in the narratives of Harappa script corpora include: upamāna (or dŗşţānta = analogy), vākyaviśeşa (completion of a sentence meaningfully even in the absence of a word which is implied), pūrvapakṣa (objections, prima facie or provisional view), uttarapakṣa (correct view or answers), hetvārtha ((extension of argument), vidhāna (right interpretation), nirvacana (definition or derivation or etymology of terms (Kalyanaraman 2016: 5-10). K also reasons that tantrayukti doctrine would be useful in linguistic analyses and in delineating the origin and formation of ancient languages of India. To that extent it would be more directly relevant to increasing the knowledge base of Indology than the ‘Aryan Invasion Theory’ (AIT), which is more an article of faith subjected to polemics than theory. AIT has been treated as a ‘linguistic doctrine’ by many linguists and researchers of the civilization of India though it has yielded limited or no success in deciphering the Harappa Script.

III Knowledge discovery

K’s preliminary decipherment of Harappa script cipher as metalwork catalogues recorded in Meluhha language(s) resulted in two unique discoveries: (1) A three-sided tablet with Harappa script inscription showing a boat loaded with ox-hide ingots found in Mohenjodaro and (2) three pure tin ingots found with Harappa Script inscriptions from a shipwreck in Haifa, Israel. They also signified the Bronze Age Revolution that was brought about via (1) Cire perdue lost-wax technique for creating metal sculptures of exquisite beauty and artistry (e.g. dancing girl bronze statue of Mohenjodaro); (2) Techniques of alloying of minerals to create hard alloys necessary to forge useful tools, implements, weapons, pots and pans; and (3) Organization of guilds of artisans and merchants as corporate forms to control the works-in-process (e.g. circular platforms of Harappa) and shipment of cargo of metalwork merchandise using dhows, seafaring vessels.

The discovery of another object, described as ‘Susa pot’ containing metal implements, confirmed for K the function of the Harappa script: documenting trade transactions related to metalwork of Meluhha artisans. On this basis K further speculates that these three discoveries also point to the contributions made by seafaring merchants from ancient India for transactions in tin trade that stretched from Hanoi in present Vietnam to Haifa in Israel. Since the world’s major source of tin is the Mekong River delta of Ancient Far East, K hypothesizes existence of a Maritime Tin Route from Hanoi to Haifa that predated the more famous ‘Silk Route’(Kalynaraman 2016: 61-62).

K subsequently extended ‘data mining techniques’ he had developed over decades of research to almost eight thousand inscriptions of the Harappa script corpora that revealed literary/ritual and the trade and commercial activities of Harappans, who called themselves Bhāratam Janam (i.e. metal caster folk = Mleccha/Meluhha) and who catalogued their life-activities in (1) ten thousand eight hundred richas compiled in the Ŗgveda and (2) in Harappa script corpora, which now number about eight thousand inscriptions of cipher text (Kalyanaraman 2016: 60). Interestingly, K informs us, they were also poets and philosophers of sacred fire (agni) as well as workers in smithy and forge and these two activities were conveyed by one and same word (kole.l). Harappa/Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization, accordingly, produced creative works that employed recurring (1) literary and rhetorical devices (chanda = prosody) as well as (2) pictorial motifs that were linked to spoken forms of Mleccha/Meluhha language words. K posits that these constitute two sides of the trope: one is literary/musical side that used the prosody; the other is life-activity side (mlechhita vikalpa) which used the ‘metalwork catalogues’ to create the Harappa script corpora.

Annex B of ‘Harappa’ discusses the Harappa script as a knowledge system with reference to a number of stoneware ceramic bangles that were found at Harappa and that K describes as ‘dharma samjñā, ‘badges of responsibility.’ Socio-cultural framework of a workshop (smithy-forge as a temple) for a cluster of Vedic villages unravels organization of artisanal-seafaring merchant society as a corporation with ancient guilds.’ K further adds:

‘[E]ach functionary in the guild had a recognizable paṭa ‘badge’ (Corporate badge of dharma, of responsibility assigned in a socio-cultural organization of the samajam).’ A Bronze Age village of Bhāratam Janam or a cluster of such villages was a janapada, a Corporation of artisan guilds.’ This active life-doctrine provides a significant lesson of history of a civilization: work results in creation of wealth and a person’s conduct changes in relation to the Supreme Divinity, metaphorized as Naţarāja: the Cosmic Dancer. The imperative of trade necessitated the invention of a writing system preserved in the seals that K deems to be ‘tokens of dharma-dhamma saṁjñā – Corporate badges of responsibility.’ They served, K explains, as veritable reminders of the wearer’s responsibilities for abhyudaya, ‘social welfare’ coupled with his or her own life imperative moving from being to becoming, to attain nihsreyas, union of aatman with paramaatman (Kalyanaraman 2016: 3, KalyanaramanA 2016: 305ff).

Only a reader seeped deeply in the ‘Bharatiya samskriti’ or a reader, who is familiar with K’s previous monographs, will be able to understand this somewhat ambiguous and disconcerting passage as well as the subject matter of Annex B in general. Hopefully, in the next edition of ‘Harappa’, K will revise the above passage as well as Annex B so that its contents and the subject matter become clearer to the average reader.

Concluding observations

K’s choice of using a dozen or so Annexes (from A to L) instead of individual chapters to cover the most important topics and questions concerning the Harappa script and language is unusual. On the other hand, his addition of the explanatory tool of tantrayukti to bring the narrative of Harappan civilization, philosophy, and spirituality to the reader in a more efficient and comprehensive manner warrants further investigation. He offers timely and useful articulations (though prolix on some occasions) of the core dynamics at play in the debates surrounding the Harappa script corpora. Many of K’s strengths and merits as a scholar were discussed at length in my previous reviews of his published monographs (see Tilak 2010, 2014A, and 2014B). Here, I would merely reiterate that ‘Harappa’ has an appropriate blend of description and analysis and is philosophically and philologically sophisticated.

Professor Singh’s advice to the historians of ancient India to keep the Veda in one hand and the [digging] shovel in the other is consistent with the vision of integrated history and culture of India that Dr. Kalyanaraman, too, frames on the Veda and Archaeology (or rather, archaeo-metallurgy). More recently (in April 2015), K’s integrative vision has been dramatically endorsed by a discovery reported by the Students of the Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi of a yajña kuņḑa [sacrificial altar] and an octagonal yūpa [sacrificial post], which were found in Binjor together with a Harappa Script Seal. The decipherment has shown that a ‘Soma Saṁstha Yāga’ was performed, which is relevant in establishing the Vedic culture continuum in the Sarasvati Basin (see Kalyanaraman 2016 A: 66).

My only concern with ‘Harappa’ has to do with K’s choice and assertion of tantrayukti as a distinct methodology and its presence in the title of the monograph under review. In fact however, his application of yukti is rather sketchy and ambivalent to support its presence in the title. After a brief discussion in the introductory section that stretches to about two hundred pages, yukti does not figure in the remaining five hundred pages of ‘Harappa.’ Caraka himself equates inference and yukti at a different point and Cakrapāņi (commentator of the Carakasaṁhitā) questions the status of yukti as a separate means of attaining knowledge. He argues that it is properly subsumed under the more general case of inference (see Carakasaṁhitā Vimāna sthāna 4:4).

Leaving this concern aside, K’s ‘Harappa’ is a sterling example of an inclusive and integrative approach providing a comprehensive account of the major concerns, debates, and philosophical positions surrounding the Harappa script and language within the wide expanse of Indic civilization and Sprachbund. As befitting the work of a scholar with the comfortable authority born of deep, lasting familiarity with the subject, ‘Harappa’ is—and this should be underscored—very persuasive. This is a rarity for scholarly literature on Indic civilization, science, and spirituality.


Kalyanaraman, S. 2016. Harappa Script & Language: Data mining of Corpora, tantra yukti & knowledge discovery of a civilization.

Kalyanaraman, S. 2016A. Harappa Script – background, methodology, decipherment and significance. Accessed December 11, 2016.

Singh, Shivaji. 2016. With Veda in One Hand and Spade in the Other: Writing Early History of India Afresh. 9th Maulana Azad Memorial Lecture delivered in New Delhi on November 11, 2016.

Tilak, Shrinivas. 2010.

Tilak, Shrinivas. 2014. A

Tilak, Shrinivas. 2014. B

Dr Shrinivas Tilak (Ph.D. History of religions, McGill University, Montreal, Canada) is an independent researcher based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. His publications include The Myth of Sarvodaya: A study in Vinoba’s concept (New Delhi: Breakthrough Communications 1984); Religion and Aging in the Indian Tradition (Albany, N. Y.: State University of New York Press, 1989), Understanding karma in light of Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical anthropology and hermeneutics (Charleston, SC: BookSurge, revised, paperback edition, 2007), and Reawakening to a secular Hindu nation: M. S. Golwalkar’s vision of a Dharmasāpekşa Hindurāşţra (Charleston, SC: BookSurge, 2009).

Copper anthropomorphs are dharma saṃjñā, संज्ञा (Samskrtam), dhamma sañña, सञ्ञा ‎(Pali) ‘responsibility badges’ in Bhārata Rāṣṭram

January 2, 2017

Copper anthropomorphs are dharma saṃjñā, संज्ञा (Samskrtam), dhamma sañña, सञ्ञा ‎(Pali) ‘responsibility badges’ in Bhārata Rāṣṭram 

–Of helmsman-metals-artificer श्रेणि guild in Harappa Script Bronze Age revolution who contributed to the nation’s wealth

In Harappa (Indus) Script Corpora of data archives of Tin-Bronze Age Revolution, 46 copper anthropomorphs are evidenced from copper hoard culture sites of Bharata, Lothal, Haryana, Bihar, Sheorajpur (Uttar Pradesh), Madarpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Oman. Sheorajpur also has evidence of a Shiva temple with a metal roof, an archaeological heritage monument on the banks of River Ganga.

Could this be the work of dhokra kamar? this is an amazing structure by any standards as a ceiling of a S’iva temple called Kereshwar in Shivrajpur, a village on the banks of Ganga.

Executive Summary All four types of anthropomorphs of Copper Hoard Culture are dharma saṁjñā ‘metalwork signifiers of responsibilities in guild or professional calling cards’

Most anthropomorphs are shown of a person standing with spread legs. Some are in sitting posture. Anthropomorphs may be categorized in four types and all are Harappa script hypertexts:

  1. Ram with curved horns (without any other text or hieroglyph), in standing or sitting posture (Steersman, helmsman)
  2. Ram with curved horns PLUS fish hieroglyph (Steersman, helmsman PLUS metal worker)  अयोगवअयोगू  xxx , 5 ‘carpenter’
  3. Ram with curved horns with one arm lifted up (Steersman, helmsman PLUS erako ‘moltencast copper’, i.e. cire perdue metal artificer.
  4. Ram with curved horns PLUS ‘one-horned young bull’ PLUS ‘boar’ PLUS text message (Steersman, helmsman PLUS supercargo — a representative of the ship’s owner on board a merchant ship, responsible for overseeing the cargo and its sale.PLUS turner (goldsmith), worker in wood and iron, alloys, cire perdue metal artificer)

Type 1. miṇḍāl markhor (Tor.wali) meḍho a ram, a sheep (Gujarati)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ (Ho.Munda.Santali), mRdu ‘iron’ (Samskrtam), med ‘copper’ (Slavic)

  1. Standing person with spread legs: Hieroglyph:कर्णक  karṇaka m. du. the twolegs spread out AV. xx,133,3 karaNika ‘spread legs‘ Rebus: कारणिक [p= 274,3] (g. काश्य्-ादि) ” investigating , ascertaining the cause ” , a judge Pan5cat. a teacher MBh. ii , 167. कर्णिक [p= 257,2] m. a steersman W.  karṇadhāra m. ʻhelmsman’
  2. Seated person: Hieroglyph: kamaDha ‘penance’ rebus: kammaTa ‘mint, coiner, coinage’

Type 2. Type 1 rebus readings PLUS ayo‘fish’ Rebus: ayo ‘iron’ ayas, ‘metal’ (Gujarati.Rgveda)

Type 3. Type 1 rebus readings PLUS eraka ‘upraised arm’ rebus: erako ‘moltencast, copper’

Type 4. Type 1 rebus readings PLUS PLUS  कोंद kōnda ‘young bull‘ rebus:  kōnda ‘turner’ PLUS baḍhia = a castrated boar, a hog; rebus:baḍhi ‘a caste who work both in iron and wood’.PLUS text message:

Top Line: Sign 409-Sign342-Sign326 (Alternative Sign47)

Second Line from top:Illegible*-Sign182-Sign162-Sign373

Third line Sign 155-Illegible*-Sign336

The hieroglyphs are Meluhha rebus renderings:

Top Line:

‘two cartwheels and axle rod of the cartframe‘sal ‘wedge joining the parts of a solid cart wheel’ (Santali) Rebus: sal ‘workshop’ (Santali)

karNIka ‘rim of jar’ (Samskritam); kanka ‘rim of jar’ (Santali) rebus:karNI ‘supercargo’

loa ‘ficus religiosa’ Rebus: loh ‘copper’ Alternate reading: Sign47 baraḍo = spine; backbone (Tulu) Rebus: baran, bharat ‘mixed alloys’ (5 copper, 4 zinc and 1 tin) (Punjabi)

Thus, together, the sequence of three hieroglyphs signify: loh, ‘copper’; karNI, ‘supercargo’; sal ‘workshop’.

Second line:

ranku ‘antelope’ rebus: ranku ‘tin’

kolom ‘rice-plant’ rebus: kolimi ‘smithy, forge’

mũh, mũhe ingot‘.Alternative:  goṭā ʻ seed, bean, wholeʼ goṭa ’roundish pebble’ rebus:  goṭa ‘ferrite ore, laterite’ rebus 2: goṭa m. ʻedging of gold braidʼ (Kashmiri)

Third line:

khaNDa ‘arrow’ rebus: khaNDa ‘implements’

muka ‘ladle‘ PLUS baTa ‘rimless pot’ Rebus: mũh, mũhe ingot‘.PLUS bhaTa ‘furnace’

Thus, the inscription text reading is: loh, ‘copper’; karNI, ‘supercargo’; sal ‘workshop’.PLUS ranku ‘tin’ kolimi ‘smithy, forge’, goṭa m. ʻedging of gold braidʼ PLUS furnace (for) ingots.


All four types of anthropomorphs of Copper Hoard Culture are dharma saṁjñā ‘metalwork signifiers of responsibilities in guild or professional calling cards’

Anthropomorphs with Indus Script hieroglyphs (as orthographic forms) are dharma saṁjñā, signifiers of corporate metalwork responsibilities of boatmen, the holders of the metal tokens

With the discovery of 31 anthropomorphs in Madarpur, Uttar Pradesh, the total number of such anthropomorphs in India and in Sultanate of Oman has crossed 46 artefacts.

Four of these have been found in Lothal, Haryana, Bihar and Oman. Most artefacts which belong to the prehistoric copper hoard culture dated to earlier than ca. 2nd millennium BCE, have been found in the Ganga-Sarasvati doab.The significance of these anthropomorphs has been debated (See Anthropomorph Bibligraphy appended).

TypeI Type II (Indus Script ‘fish’ hieroglyph)Type III (Seated,with right arm upraised)

Type IV (Indus Script ‘boar’ ligature & ‘yong bull’ hieroglyh inscribed)                  

Paul Yule had identified Type I and Type II artefacts from among the Copper Hoard Culture finds as anthropomorph types based on orthographic features. With the discovery of new artefacts of the Copper Hoard Culture, the typology can now be extended to four types of anthropomorphs. The types are: Type I semi-circular headed, curved arms signifying ram’s horns, standing with pread legs; Type II similar to Type I but with Indus script incription of ‘fish’ hieroglyph; Type III similar to Type I but with variants of ‘seated posture’ and one right arm lift upwards; and Type IV similar to Type I but with Indus Script inscriptions/ligatures of boar’s head and hieroglyph of one-horned young bull.

The findspot of Type II anthropomorph (with ‘fish’ hieroglyph) is Sheorajpur where an ancient Shiva temple has been discovered. The temple ceiling is decorated with metalwork plates of sculptural friezes attesting to the metalwork tradition of the site during the Bronze Age (See appended note with photographs: About a temple in Sheorajpur with metal ceiling).

Apart from the insribed or ligatured anthropomorphs with Indus Script hieroglyphs, the link to Indus Script tradition is validated by the finds of anthropomorphs in Sultanate of Oman dated to ca. 1900 BCe and to the find of an anthropomorph in Lothal (2500 BCE?). Thus, the Copper Hoard Culture can be seen as a continuum of the Bronze Age Revolution evidenced by the Indus Script Corpora of over 7000 inscriptions, all related to metalwork catalogues or data archives.

It is submitted, that the anthropomorphs of Copper Hoard Culture are a reinforcement of the Indus Script decipherent as metalwork cataloguing in Prakrtam (Indian sprachbund), a cipher system mentioned by Vatsyayana as mlecchita vikalpa ‘lit.cipher of mleccha/meluhha, ‘copper workers’).

While many anthropomorph examples are of small size which led Paul Yule to infer that they did not have utilitarian value as ‘metal’, some examples ahve been reported from Metmuseum of anthropomorphs of  sizes 4 1/2 x 3 15/16 in. and 6 1/8 x 4 7/8 in. which have led to their identification as axe-heads or ax celts or copper ingots.


I suggest that all the anthropomorphs are orthographic form hieroglyphs of Indus Script to signify metalwork dharma saṁjñā ‘signifiers of resonsibilities (in guild — as artisans/seafaring merchants) or professional calling cards’.


Such  dharma saṁjñā may have been disseminated as badges to herald or proclaim the holders’ professional competence in metalwork.

RV 1.10.1 indicates ‘worshippers held aloft as it were (on) a pole’ during INdra dhvaja festivals. It is possible that such anthropomorphs were held aloft on poles as exhibits during festivals to proclaim to the people, the new competence in metalwork.

Ax in Anthropomorphic Shape



1500–500 B.C.






4 1/2 x 3 15/16 in. (11.4 x 10.0 cm)



Credit Line:

Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Bequest of Samuel Eilenberg, 1998

Accession Number:



Anthropomorphic Celt


1500–500 B.C.






6 1/8 x 4 7/8 in. (15.6 x 12.4 cm)



Credit Line:

Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Bequest of Samuel Eilenberg, 1998

Accession Number:




Anthropomorphic figures of Type I (Left: from Bisauli; right: unknown provenance; scale 1:3; drawn by Petra Thalmeier after Yule 1985, pl. 11, No. 239 and Yule 1989, Fig. 10, No. 1123)(After Fig. 1 in Jürgen W. Frembgen, 1996, 0p. 178)


Fish sign incised on  copper anthropomorph, Sheorajpur, upper Ganges valley,   ca. 2nd millennium BCE,   4 kg; 47.7 X 39 X 2.1 cm. State Museum,   Lucknow (O.37) Typical find of Gangetic Copper Hoards. Sheorajpur anthropomorph with ‘fish’ hieroglyph and ‘markhor’ horns hieroglyph. ayo‘fish’ Rebus: ayo ‘iron, metal’ (Gujarati) miṇḍāl markhor (Tor.wali) meḍho a ram, a sheep (Gujarati)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ (Ho.) karNaka ‘spread legs’ rebus:karNI ‘supercargo’.


Anthropomorphic figure of Type II from Sheorajpur (Inv. No. O 37a, State Museum of Lucknow). The remarkable feature of this type is that a ‘fish’ hieroglyph of Indus Script is incised on the chest of the anthropomorph which stands with spread legs. ayo, aya ‘fish’ rebus: aya ‘iron’ ayas ‘metal’ PLUS karNaka ‘spread legs’ (Atharvaveda) rebus: karNI ‘supercargo, a representative of the ship’s owner on board a merchant ship, responsible for overseeing the cargo and its sale.) The shape of all three types is patterned like the horns of a ram: miṇḍāl ‘markhor’ (Tōrwālī) Rebus: mẽṛhẽt, meḍ ‘iron’ (Mu.Ho.) med ‘copper’ (Slavic)

miṇḍāl ‘markhor’ (Tōrwālī) meḍho a ram, a sheep (Gujarati)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: mẽṛhẽt, meḍ ‘iron’ (Mu.Ho.) Meluhha glosses are annexed which indicate association with cire perdue (or lost wax) method of casting metals using beeswax, particularly in the glosses for miedź, med’  ‘copper’ in Northern Slavic and Altaic languages.

Markhor (Capra falconeri)Punjabi. mẽḍhā m. ‘markhor’.(CDIAL 10310)Rebus: mẽḍh ‘iron’ (Mu.) An exact rebus match is provided in two lexemic groups denoting a ‘ram’, and ‘iron’. It is notable that ‘ram’ is a vividly orthographed Indus script glyph with wavy horns:


[Allographs: 1. Or. meṭṭā ʻ hillock ʼ. 2. Or. meṇḍā ʻ lump, clot ʼ.(CDIAL 10308)M. meḍ(h), meḍhī f., meḍhā m. ʻ post, forked stake ʼ.(CDIAL 10317) S. mī˜ḍhī f., °ḍho m. ʻ braid in a woman’s hair ʼ, L. mē̃ḍhī f.; G. mĩḍlɔ, miḍ° m. ʻ braid of hair on a girl’s forehead ʼ; M. meḍhā m. ʻ curl, snarl, twist or tangle in cord or thread ʼ.मेढा [ mēḍhā ] meṇḍa A twist or tangle arising in thread or cord, a curl or snarl. (Marathi) (CDIAL 10312). meḍhi, miḍhī, meṇḍhī = a plait in a woman’s hair; a plaited or twisted strand of hair (P.)(CDIAL 10312)].


  1. semantics ‘iron’: meḍ ‘iron’ (Ho)meṛed (Mundari);mẽṛed iron; enga meṛed soft iron; sanḍi meṛed hard iron; ispāt meṛed steel; dul meṛed cast iron; i meṛed rusty iron, also the iron of which weights are cast; bica meṛed iron extracted from stone ore; bali meṛed iron extracted from sand ore; meṛed-bica = iron stone ore, in contrast to bali-bica, iron sand ore (Mu.lex.)


  1. semantics ‘ram or markhor’: A variety of forms एड, ēḍa, mēḍa, mēṣá — point to collision with Aryn mḗḍhra (providing a form bhēḍra), Austro-Asiatic mēḍa and Dravidian ēḍa:


menda(A) {N} “^sheep”. *Des.menda(GM) `sheep’. #21810. me~Da o~?-Doi {N} “^lamb”. |me~Da `^sheep’. @N0747. #6052. gadra me~Da {N} “^ram, ^male ^sheep”. |me~Da `sheep’. @N0745. #7240. me~Da {N} “^sheep”. *De. menda (GM). @N0744. #14741.

me~Da o?~-Doi {N} “^lamb”. |o~?-Doi `young of an animal’. @N0747. #14750.

gadra me~Da {N} “^ram”. |gadra `male of sheep or goat’. @N0745. #14762.

peti me~Da {N} “^ewe (without young)”. |peti `young female of sheep or goat’. @N0746. o~?-Doi {N} “^lamb”. |me~Da `^sheep’. @N0747. #6053.peti me~Da {N} “^ewe (without young)”. |me~Da `sheep’. @N0746. #14773. menda(KMP) {N} “^sheep [MP], ewe [K], ram, ^wether [P]”. Cf. merom `goat’, boda `??’. *O.menda, B.mera, H.merha, Sk.lex, ~medhra, ~mendha, Sa.bheda `ram’, ~bhidi `sheep’, MuNbhera, MuHbera `ram’, Mu., Kh bheri(AB) `sheep’, H., O. bhera `ram’, H. bhera `sheep’. %21781. #21611.

menda kOnOn (P) {N} “^lamb”. | konon `child’. *$Ho mindi hon . %21790. #21620.

mendi (P) {N} “^sheep”. *$Mu., Ho, Bh. mindi . %21800. #21630. meram (P),, merom (KMP) {N} “^goat [MP], she-goat [K]”. Cf. menda `sheep’. *Kh., Sa., Mu., Ho merom , So. k+mmEd/-mEd , Nic. me ; cf. O., Bh. mera `goat’. %21821. #21651. meram kOnOn (P),, merom kOnOn (P) {N} “^kid”. | konon `child’. merom (KMP),, meram (P) {N} “^goat [MP], she-goat [K]”. Cf. menda `sheep’. *Kh., Sa., Mu., Ho merom , So. k+mmEd/-mEd , Nic. me ; cf. O., Bh. mera `goat’. %21851. #21681. bheri (D),, bheri (AB) {NA} “^sheep [ABD]; ^bear [D]”. *@. ??VAR. #3251. menda ,, mendi {N} “^sheep”. @7906. ??M|F masc|fem #19501. menda (B)F {N(M)} “(male) ^sheep”. Fem. mendi . *Loan. @B21460,N760. #22531.Ju menda (KMP) {N} “^sheep [MP], ewe [K], ram, ^wether [P]”. Cf. merom `goat’, boda `??’. *O. menda , B. mera , H. merha , Sk. lex , ~ medhra , ~ mendha , Sa. bheda `ram’, ~ bhidi `sheep’, MuN bhera , MuH bera `ram’, Mu., Kh. bheri (AB) `sheep’, H., O. bhera `ram’, H. bhera `sheep’.Ju meram (P),, merom (KMP) {N} “^goat [MP], she-goat [K]”. Cf. menda `sheep’. *Kh., Sa., Mu., Ho merom , So. k+mmEd/-mEd , Nic. me ; cf. O., Bh. mera `goat’.Ju merego (P),, mergo (P),, mirigo (M) {N} “^deer”. *Sa. mirgi jel `a certain kind of deer’, H. mrgo `deer’, antelope, O. mrgo , Sk. mrga . Ju merom (KMP),, meram (P) {N} “^goat [MP], she-goat [K]”. Cf. menda `sheep’. *Kh., Sa., Mu., Ho merom , So. k+mmEd/-mEd , Nic. me ; cf. O., Bh. mera `goat’.Go menda (A) {N} “^sheep”. *Des. menda (GM) `sheep’.Gu me~Da {N} “^sheep”. *Des. menda (GM).Re menda (B)F {N(M)} “(male) ^sheep”. Fem. mendi . *Loan.(Munda etyma. STAMPE-DM–MP.NEW.84, 20-Jun-85 13:32:53, Edit by STAMPE-D Pinnow Versuch and Munda’s thesis combined).


mēṭam (Ta.);[← Austro — as. J. Przyluski BSL xxx 200: perh. Austro — as. *mēḍra ~ bhēḍra collides with Aryan mḗḍhra — 1 in mēṇḍhra — m. ʻ penis ʼ BhP., ʻ ram ʼ lex. — See also bhēḍa — 1, mēṣá — , ēḍa — . — The similarity between bhēḍa — 1, bhēḍra — , bhēṇḍa — ʻ ram ʼ and *bhēḍa — 2 ʻ defective ʼ is paralleled by that between mḗḍhra — 1, mēṇḍha — 1 ʻ ram ʼ and *mēṇḍa — 1, *mēṇḍha — 2 (s.v. *miḍḍa — ) ʻ defective ʼ]


ऐड coming from the sheep एड MBh. viii. इडिक्क [p= 164, Monier-Williams] A wild goat. इडविडा 1 A species of she-goat. mother of कुवेर VP. BhP. [Kuvera, Kubera is king of the yakshas and god of wealth (buried treasure, nidhi]. -2 The bleating of a goat; सो$पि चानुगतः स्त्रैणं कृपणस्तां प्रसादितुम् । कुर्वन्निडविडा- कारं नाशक्नोत्पथि सन्धितुम् ॥ Bhāg.9.19.9. इडा iḍā ला lā 3 An offering, libation (coming between प्रयाज and अनुयाज); अग्निश्चते योनिरिडा च देहः Mb.3.114.28. -4 Refreshing draught. -5 (Hence) Food. -6 (Fig.) Stream or flow of praise or worship personified as the goddess of sacred speech; इडोपहूताः क्रोशन्ति कुञ्जरास्त्वङ्कुशेरिताः Mb.12.98.26.(Apte lex.)


Ta. yāṭu, āṭu goat, sheep; āṭṭ-āḷ shepherd. Ma. āṭu goat, sheep; āṭṭukāran shepherd. Ko. a·ṛ (obl. a·ṭ-) goat. To. o·ḍ id. Ka. āḍu id. Koḍ. a·ḍï id. Tu. ēḍů id. Te. ēḍika, (B.) ēṭa ram. Go. (Tr. Ph. W.) yēṭī, (Mu. S.) ēṭi she-goat (Voc. 376). Pe. ōḍa goat. Manḍ. ūḍe id. Kui ōḍa id. Kuwi (Mah. p. 110) o’ḍā, (Ḍ.) ōḍa id. Kur. ēṛā she-goat. Malt. éṛe id. Br. hēṭ id. / Cf. Skt. eḍa-, eḍaka-, eḍī- a kind of sheep(DEDR 5152)ēḍa m. ʻ a kind of sheep ʼ KātyŚr., ēḍī — f., ēḍaka — 1 m. ʻ a sheep or goat ʼ, aiḍa — ʻ ovine ʼ MBh., aiḍaká m. ʻ a kind of sheep ʼ ŚBr., iḍikka — f. ʻ wild goat ʼ lex. [← Drav. EWA i 126 with lit.]Pa. eḷaka — m. ʻ ram, wild goat ʼ, °akā — , °ikā — , °ikī — f.; Aś. eḍaka — m. ʻ ram ʼ, °kā — f. ʻ ewe ʼ, NiDoc. heḍ’i ʻ sheep (?) ʼ Burrow KharDoc 10 (cf. h — in Brahui hēṭ ʻ she — goat ʼ); Pk. ēla — , °aya — m. ʻ ram ʼ, ēliyā — f., ēḍayā — f., ēḍakka — m., Paš. weg. ēṛāˊ, kuṛ. e_ṛṓ, ar. yeṛó, že° m. ʻ ram ʼ, weg. ēṛī, kuṛ. e_°, ar. ye° f. ʻ ewe ʼ; Shum. yēṛə, yeṛṓlik m. ʻ sheep ʼ, yeṛélik f., Gaw. ēṛa, yē° m., ēṛī, yē° f., Bshk. īr f., Tor. öi f. (less likely < ávi — ), Mai. “‘ī” Barth NTS xviii 123, Sv. yeṛo m., ēṛia f., Phal. yīṛo m., °ṛi f., Sh. jij. ḗṛi; S. eli — pavharu m. ʻ goatherd ʼ; Si. eḷuvā ʻ goat ʼ; <-> X bhēḍra — q.v.*kaiḍikā — .(CDIAL 2512).


*mēṇḍharūpa ʻ like a ram ʼ. [mēṇḍha — 2, rūpá — ]Bi. mẽṛhwā ʻ a bullock with curved horns like a ram’s ʼ; M. mẽḍhrū̃ n. ʻ sheep ʼ.(CDIAL 10311)mēṣá m. ʻ ram ʼ, °ṣīˊ — f. ʻ ewe ʼ RV. 2. mēha — 2, miha- m. lex. [mēha — 2 infl. by mḗhati ʻ emits semen ʼ as poss. mēḍhra — 2 ʻ ram ʼ (~ mēṇḍha — 2) by mḗḍhra — 1 ʻ penis ʼ?]1. Pk. mēsa — m. ʻ sheep ʼ, Ash. mišalá; Kt. məṣe/l ʻ ram ʼ; Pr. məṣé ʻ ram, oorial ʼ; Kal. meṣ, meṣalák ʻ ram ʼ, H. mes m.; — X bhēḍra — q.v.

  1. K. myã̄ — pūtu m. ʻ the young of sheep or goats ʼ; WPah.bhal. me\i f. ʻ wild goat ʼ; H. meh m. ʻ ram ʼ. (CDIAL 10334)*mēṣakuṭī — ʻ hut for sheep ʼ [mēṣá — , kuṭī — ] or †*mēṣamaṭha — ʻ fold for sheep ʼ. [mēṣá — , maṭha — 1]WPah.kṭg. mhōˋṛ m. ʻ shed for sheep at high altitudes ʼ or poss. rather < maṭha — (CDIAL 10334a) meṣam (Skt.) miṇḍāl ‘markhor’ (Tōrwālī) meḍho a ram, a sheep (G.)(CDIAL 10120) miṇḍ ‘ram’ (Pktl.); mẽḍha (G.) cf. mēṣa = goat (Skt.lex.) மேடம்¹ mēṭam, n. < mēṣa. 1. Sheep, ram; ஆடு. (பிங்.) 2. Aries of the zodiac; ராசிமண்டலத்தின் முதற்பகுதி. (பிங்.) 3. The first solar month. See சித்திரை¹, 2. மேடமாமதி (கம்பரா. திருவவதா. 110) ēḍika. [Tel. of Tam ఆడు.] n. A ram (Telugu) मेंढा [ mēṇḍhā ] m (मेष S through H) A male sheep, a ram or tup. (Marathi) meṇḍa The Ved. (Sk.) word for ram is meṣa] 1. a ram D i.9; J iv.250, 353 (˚visāṇa — dhanu, a bow consisting of a ram’s horn). — ˚patha Npl. “ram’s road” Nd1 155=415. — ˚yuddha ram fight D i.6. — मेष [p= 833, Monier-Williams]m. ( √2. मिष्) a ram , sheep (in the older language applied also to a fleece or anything woollen) RV. &c. मेढ्रः [मिह्-ष्ट्रन्], मेढ्रकः mēḍhrakḥ, मेण्ढः mēṇḍhḥ मेण्ढकः mēṇḍhakḥ A ram (Apte.lexicon)bhēḍa1 m. ʻ sheep ʼ, bhaiḍaka — ʻ of sheep ʼ lex. [bhēḍra- X ēḍa — ?] Ash. biar ʻ she — goat ʼ, Pr. byär, Bshk. bür; Tor. birāṭh ʻ he — goat ʼ, Phal. bhīṛo: all with AO viii 300 doubtful. (CDIAL 9604). bhēḍra — , bhēṇḍa — m. ʻ ram ʼ lex. Ḍ. bēḍa f. ʻ sheep ʼ, K.ḍoḍ. bhĕḍă pl., L. bheḍ̠ f., awāṇ. bheḍ, bhiḍ, P. bheḍ, °ḍī f., °ḍā m.; WPah.bhal. (LSI) ḍhleḍḍ, (S. Varma) bheṛ, pl. °ṛã f. ʻ sheep and goats ʼ, bhad. bheḍḍ, cur. bhraḍḍ, bhēḍḍū, cam. bhēṛ, khaś. bhiḍṛu n. ʻ lamb ʼ; Ku. N. bheṛo ʻ ram ʼ, bheṛi ʻ ewe ʼ; A. bherā, bhẽrā ʻ sheep ʼ; B. bheṛ ʻ ram ʼ, °ṛā ʻ sheep ʼ, °ṛi ʻ ewe ʼ, Or. bheṛā, °ṛi, bhẽṛi; Bi. bhẽṛ ʻ sheep ʼ, °ṛā ʻ ram ʼ; Mth. bhẽṛo, °ṛī; Bhoj. bheṛā ʻ ram ʼ; Aw.lakh. bhẽṛī ʻ sheep ʼ; H. bheṛ, °ṛī f., °ṛā m., G. bheṛi f.; — X mēṣá — : Kho. beṣ ʻ young ewe ʼ BelvalkarVol 88. bhēḍra — : WPah.kṭg. (kc.) bhèṛ m. ʻ sheep ʼ, bhèṛi f., J. bheḍ m. (CDIAL 9606) Note: It may not be mere coincidence that a temple of the ram-god was found in Mendes (ca. 4th millennium BCE). The word, Mendes is read as: mend + ayo (ram + fish) rebus: iron (metal) merchant. Worshipping ancestors, the Mendes might have signified the memory of the metalwork and trade in metalwork of ancestors. See more on Mendes:

A third type which may be called Type III is found from the hoard of 31 anthropomorphs discovered in Madarpur. This type shows the anthropomorph in a seated posture (NOT standing with spread legs). One of these 31 artifacts also has a variant shape of ‘arms’; the right arm in one artifacts is lifted upwards which is also an Indus Script hieroglyph: eraka ‘upraised hand’ rebus: eraka ‘copper’.

Six of the 31 anthropormphs discovered in Madarpur, Uttr Pradesh. The artefact on the left on the top line may be seen as Type III anthropomorph since it has a seated posture and has its rightg arm upraised.

20 of the 31 anthropomorphs discovered in Madarpur, Uttar Pradesh.


A fourth type Type IV anthropomorph has been reported from Haryana (unprovenanced). It is an anthropomorph which extends the Indus script hieroglyph mode seen on Sheorajpur anthropomorph to ligature the head of the anthropomorph with the head of a boar PLUS incise a hieroglyph of one-horned young bull on the chest. Two examples of this Type IV anthropomorph have been cited.

  1. Anthropomorph reported by Art Curator,Naman Ahuja in 2014. R. Anthropomorph reported bySanjay Manjul, Director, Institute of Archaeology, Delhi Museum, ASI in August 2015. “A composite copper Anthropomorphic figure along with a copper sword was found by the speaker at the Central Antiquity Section, ASI, Purana Qila in 2005. This composite copper Anthropomorph is a solitary example in the copper hoard depicting a Varah head. The Anthropomorphic figure, its inscription and animal motif that it bears, illustrate the continuity between the Harappan and Early Historical period.” An animal-headed anthropomorph

“These are very abstract figures, which were published in various articles, have common characteristics, namely a semicircular head directly restingon the shoulders, volute-like scrolled arms on both sides, and pointed open legs. Paul Yule distinguishes two types: Type I has thinner legs, which are extremely spread: ‘Fashioned from thick metal sheeting, these artifacts have stocky proportion and are patterned on both sides with elongated gouges or dents which usually are lengthwise oriented. Type II anthropomorphs are proportionately longer than those of type I and show a curious and distinctive thickening of the metal on the upper margin of the ‘head’. In section the ‘arms’are triangular, the most acute angle being outward. The ‘legs’ and ‘trunk’ are rectangular in cross section […] The artifacts are morphologically homogenous except for No…. (Yule, 1985: 52.)’”

In an ethnological interpretation, Jurgen W. Frembigen suggested: “To sum up the hypothesis, one can say that – in the light of comparative ethnographical and ethological data – the North Indian copper age anthropomorphs most probably represent fmale fertility figures of a specific dominnt and provocative type.” (Jürgen W. Frembgen, 1996, On Copper Age Anthropomorphic Figures from North India An Ethnological Interpretation, in: East and West

Vol. 46, No. 1/2 (June 1996), pp. 177-182, p.181) Published by: Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO)

Stable URL:

About a temple in Sheorajpur with metal ceiling 

Many bronze artifacts are also venerated in the temple.


I hope some researcher will find out the sources for these bronze/brass marvels which echoe the anthropomorph of ancient India?

Sheorajpur anthropomorph with ‘fish’ hieroglyph and ‘markhor’ horns hieroglyph. ayo‘fish’ Rebus: ayo ‘iron, metal’ (Gujarati) miṇḍāl markhor (Tor.wali) meḍho a ram, a sheep (Gujarati)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ (Ho.)

Prima facie, it appears that these are products of dhokra kamar

NB: Some historical notes:

Pratihara emperor, Mihir Bhoja, has ruled in nearby Kanpur since nearby Kannuaj was the capital of Parihar. At Shivrajpur, 20 km from the Kanpur Central railway station, there is an ancient temple built by Chandel Raja Sati Prasad. The history of the temple and architecture needs further investigations and researches.

Fish-fin incised on the chest of the anthropomorph from Sheorajpur. Two types of inscribed anthropomorphs with hieroglyphs have been discovered in the copperwork areas of Bharatam, in particular the regions classified as copper complexes such as Ahar-Banas region of Rajasthan (close to the Khetri copper belt). 

A brilliant exposition on the etymology of the word  Varāha is provided by वाचस्पत्यम् Vācaspatyam: वराय अभीष्ठाय मुस्तादिलाभाय आहन्ति खनति भूमिम्  To represent a boon, (to obtain) wished, desired products (including species of grass) mined from the earth, by striking, hitting. Thus, Varāha is a hieroglyph metaphor to represent, signify mining for minerals.

Both anthropomorphs are shaped like a standing person with spread legs and with the horns of a markhor or ram. 

Type 1 Anthropomorph: metalworker (mintworker), merchant

On one type of anthropomorph, an additional hieroglyph is incised. That of ‘fish with fins’. The reading of hieroglyphs in Indus Script cipher: ayo ‘fish’ rebus: aya ‘iron’ ayas ‘metal’ PLUS 
miṇḍāl markhor (Tor.wali) meḍho a ram, a sheep (G.)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: meḍh ‘helper of merchant’ (Gujarati) mẽṛhẽt, meḍ ‘iron’ (Mu.Ho.) med ‘copper’ (Slavic) meṛed-bica = iron stone ore, in contrast to bali-bica, iron sand ore (Munda) ayo ‘fish’ Rebus: ayo, ‘iron’, ayas ‘metal. Thus, together read rebus: ayo meḍh  ‘iron stone ore, metal merchant.’ Hieroglyph: Spread legs: कर्णक m. du. the two legs spread out AV. xx , 133 ‘spread legs’; (semantic determinant) Rebus: karNa ‘helmsman’, karNI ‘scribe, account’ ‘supercargo’. Thus, the hieroglyphs on the anthropomorph Type 2 signify a helmsman, engraver who works with alloys of metals to produce supercargo of mined products.

Type 2 Anthropomorph: miner (worker in wood and iron), merchant

On the second type of anthropomorph, a Varāha head is ligatured to the top of the anthropomorph and an additional hieroglyph is incised on the chest: That of a ‘one-horned young bull’ which accounts for nearly 80% of pictorial motifs on Indus Script seals. 
miṇḍāl markhor (Tor.wali) meḍho a ram, a sheep (G.)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: meḍh ‘helper of merchant’ (Gujarati) mẽṛhẽt, meḍ ‘iron’ (Mu.Ho.) med ‘copper’ (Slavic) meṛed-bica = iron stone ore, in contrast to bali-bica, iron sand ore (Munda) Hieorglyph of one-horned bull inscribed on chest: khoṇḍ, kõda ‘young bull-calf’ Rebus: kũdār ‘turner’. कोंद kōnda ‘engraver, lapidary setting or infixing gems’ (Marathi) Hieorglyph: boar: baḍhia = a castrated boar, a hog; rebus: baḍhi ‘a caste who work both in iron and wood’; baḍhoe ‘a carpenter, worker in wood’; badhoria ‘expert in working in wood’(Santali) ‘Rebus: bari ‘merchant’.barea ‘merchant’ (Santali)বরাহ barāha ‘boar’Rebus: bāṛaï ‘carpenter’ (Bengali) bari ‘merchant’ barea ‘merchant’ (Santali) Varāha is explained by वाचस्पत्यम् Vācaspatyam: वराय अभीष्ठाय मुस्तादिलाभाय आहन्ति खनति भूमिम्  To represent a boon, (to obtain) wished, desired products (including species of grass) mined from the earth, by striking, hitting. Hieroglyph: Spread legs: कर्णक m. du. the two legs spread out AV. xx , 133 ‘spread legs’; (semantic determinant) Rebus: karNa ‘helmsman’, karNI ‘scribe, account’ ‘supercargo’. Thus, the hieroglyphs on the anthropomorph Type 2 signify a helmsman, engraver who works with metals and mines to produce supercargo of mined products. (Note: I had suggested that the head ligature on the anthropomorph signifies a crocodile, but Dr. Sanjay Manjul’s suggestion that it signifies head of a boar is consistent with the Vedic metaphor and tradition of Varāha. I correct my identification and read the Anthropomorph head as signifier of Varāha.)

A composite copper Anthropomorphic figure along with a copper sword was found by Dr. Sanjay Manjul, Director, Institute of Archaeology at the Central Antiquity Section, ASI, Purana Qila in 2005. This composite copper Anthropomorph is a solitary example in the copper hoard depicting aVarah head. The Anthropomorphic figure, its inscription and animal motif that it bears, illustrate the continuity between the Harappan and Early Historical period

Chalcolitique du bassin Gange-Yamuna. 2800 – 1500 avant notre ère. Provenance : Bisauli (212 km de New Delhi), district de Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi. Inv. n° 94620 et 94621

Anthropomorphic figures, formed from copper/bronze. Northern India, Doab region, circa 1500.-1200 BCE. Anthropomorph is a signature tune of copper hoard culture.

Composite copper alloy anthropomorphic Meluhha hieroglyphs of Haryana and Sheorajpur: fish, markhor, crocodile, one-horned young bull




Oxford English Dictionary defines anthropomorphic: “a. treating the deity as anthropomorphous, or as having a human form and character; b. attributing a human personality to anything impersonal or irrational.”

The copper anthropomorph of Haryana is comparable to and an elaboration of a copper anthropomorph of Sheorajpur, Uttar Pradesh. Both deploy Meluhha hieroglyphs using rebus-metonymy layered cipher of Indus writing.

The hieroglyhs of the anthropomorphs are a remarkable archaeological evidence attesting to the evidence of an ancient Samskritam text, Baudhāyana śrautasūtra.

Baudhāyana śrautasūtra 18.44 which documents migrations of Āyu and Amavasu from a central region:

pran Ayuh pravavraja. tasyaite Kuru-Pancalah Kasi-Videha ity. etad Ayavam pravrajam. pratyan amavasus. tasyaite Gandharvarayas Parsavo ‘ratta ity. etad Amavasavam

Trans. Ayu went east, his is the Yamuna-Ganga region (Kuru-Pancala, Kasi-Videha). Amavasu went west, his is Gandhara, Parsu and Araṭṭa.

Ayu went east from Kurukshetra to Kuru-Pancala, Kasi-Videha. The  migratory path of Meluhha artisand in the lineage of Ayu of the Rigvedic tradition, to Kasi-Videha certainly included the very ancient temple town of Sheorajpur of Dist. Etawah (Kanpur), Uttar Pradesh.

Haryana anthropormorph (in the Kurukshetra region on the banks of Vedic River Sarasvati) deploys hieroglyphs of markhor (horns), crocodile and one-horned young bull together with an inscription text using Indus Script hieroglyphs. The Sheorajpur anthropomorph deploys hieroglyphs of markhor (horns) and fish. The astonishing continuity of archaeo-metallurgical tradition of Sarasvati-Sindhu (Hindu) civilization is evident from a temple in Sheorajpur on the banks of Sacred River Ganga. This temple dedicated to Siva has metalwork ceilings !!!

Both anthropomorph artefacts in copper alloy are metalwork catalogs of dhokara kamar ‘cire perdue(lost-wax) metal casters’.

Hieroglyhph: eraka ‘wing’ Rebus: eraka, arka ‘copper’.In 2003, Paul Yule wrote a remarkable article on metallic anthropomorphic figures derived from Magan/Makkan, i.e. from an Umm an-Nar period context in al-Aqir/Bahla’ in the south-western piedmont of the western Hajjar chain. “These artefacts are compared with those from northern Indian in terms of their origin and/or dating. They are particularly interesting owing to a secure provenance in middle Oman…The anthropomorphic artefacts dealt with…are all the more interesting as documents of an ever-growing body of information on prehistoric international contact/influence bridging the void between south-eastern Arabia and South Asia…Gerd Weisgerber recounts that in winter of 1983/4…al-Aqir near Bahla’ in the al-Zahirah Wilaya delivered prehistoric planoconvex ‘bun’ ingots and other metallic artefacts from the same find complex…”

In the following plate, Figs. 1 to 5 are anthropomorphs, with ‘winged’ attributes. The metal finds from the al-Aqir wall include ingots, figures, an axe blade, a hoe, and a cleaver (see fig. 1, 1-8), all in copper alloy.


Title / Object:  anthropomorphic sheorajpur

Fund context:  Saipai, Dist. Kanpur

Time of admission:     1981

Pool:    SAI South Asian Archaeology


Image ID:        213 101

Copyright:       Dr Paul Yule, Heidelberg

Photo credit:    Yule, Metalwork of the Bronze in India, Pl 23 348 (dwg)

Saipal, Dist. Etawah, UP. Anthropomorph, type I. 24.1×27.04×0.76 cm., 1270 gm., both sides show a chevron patterning, left arm broken off (Pl. 22, 337). Purana Qila Coll. Delhi (74.12/4) — Lal, BB, 1972, 285 fig. 2d pl. 43d

Fig. 1: Prehistoric metallic artefacts from the Sultanate of Oman: 1-8  al-Aqir/Bahla’; 9 Ra’s al-Jins 2, building vii, room 2, period 3 (DA 11961) “The cleaver no. 8 is unparalleled in the prehistory of the entire Near East. Its form resembles an iron coco-nut knife from a reportedly subrecent context in Gudevella (near Kharligarh, Dist. Balangir, Orissa) which the author examined some years ago in India…The dating of the figures, which command our immediate attention, depends on two strands of thought. First, the Umm an-Nar Period/Culture dating mentioned above, en-compasses a time-space from 2500 to 1800 BC. In any case, the presence of “bun“ ingots among the finds by nomeans contradicts a dating for the anthropomorphic figures toward the end of the second millennium BC. Since these are a product of a simple form of copper production, they existed with the beginning of smelting in Oman. The earliest dated examples predate this, i.e. the Umm an-NarPeriod. Thereafter, copper continues to be produced intothe medieval period. Anthropomorphic figures from the Ganges-Yamuna Doab which resemble significantly the al-Aqir artefacts (fig. 2,10-15) form a second line of evidence for the dating. To date, some 21 anthropomorphs from northern India have been published.” (p. 539; cf. Yule, 1985, 128: Yule et al. 1989 (1992) 274: Yule et al 2002. More are known to exist, particularly from a large hoard deriving from Madarpur.)

Fig. 2: Anthropomorphic figures from the Indian Subcontinent. 10 type I, Saipai, Dist. Etawah, U.P.; 11 type I, Lothal, Dist. Ahmedabad,Guj.; 12 type I variant, Madarpur, Dist. Moradabad, U.P.; 13 type II, Sheorajpur, Dist. Kanpur, U.P.; 14 miscellaneous type, Fathgarh,Dist. Farrukhabad, U.P.; 15 miscellaneous type, Dist. Manbhum, Bihar.

The anthropomorph from Lothal/Gujarat (fig. 2,11), from a layer which its excavator dates to the 19 th century BCE. Lothal, phase 4 of period A, type 1. Some anthropomorphs were found stratified together with Ochre-Coloured Pottery, dated to ca. 2nd millennium BCE. Anthropomorph of Ra’s al-Jins (Fig. 1,9) clearly reinforces the fact that South Asians travelled to and stayed at the site of Ra’s al-Jins. “The excavators date the context from which the Ra’s al-Jins copper artefact derived to their period III, i.e. 2300-2200 BCE (Cleuziou & Tosi 1997, 57), which falls within thesame time as at least some of the copper ingots which are represented at al-Aqir, and for example also in contextfrom al-Maysar site M01…the Franco-Italian teamhas emphasized the presence of a settled Harappan-Peri-od population and lively trade with South Asia at Ra’s al-Jins in coastal Arabia. (Cleuziou, S. & Tosi, M., 1997, Evidence for the use of aromatics in the early Bronze Age of Oman, in: A. Avanzini, ed., Profumi d’Arabia, Rome 57-81).”

“In the late third-early second millennium, given the presence of a textually documented ‘Meluhha village’ in Lagash (southern Mesopotamia), one cannot be too surprised that such colonies existed ‘east of Eden’ in south-eastern Arabia juxtaposed with South Asia. In any case, here we encounter yet again evidence for contact between the two regions — a contact of greater intimacy and importance than for the other areas of the Gulf.”(Paul Yule, 2003, Beyond the pale of near Eastern Archaeology: Anthropomorphic figures from al-Aqir near Bahla’ In: Stöllner, T. (Hrsg.): Mensch und Bergbau Studies in Honour of Gerd Weisgerber on Occasion of his 65th Birthday. Bochum 2003, pp. 537-542). )

See: Weisgerber, G., 1988, Oman: A bronze-producing centre during the 1st half of the 1st millennium BCE, in: J. Curtis, ed., Bronze-working centres of western Asia, c. 1000-539 BCE, London, 285-295.

With curved horns, the ’anthropomorph’ is a ligature of a mountain goat or markhor (makara) and a fish incised between the horns. Typical find of Gangetic Copper Hoards.  At Sheorajpur, three anthropomorphs in metal were found. (Sheorajpur, Dt. Kanpur. Three anthropomorphic figures of copper. AI, 7, 1951, pp. 20, 29).

One anthropomorph had fish hieroglyph incised on the chest of  the copper object, Sheorajpur, upper Ganges valley,   ca. 2nd millennium BCE,   4 kg; 47.7 X 39 X 2.1 cm. State Museum,   Lucknow (O.37) Typical find of Gangetic Copper Hoards. miṇḍāl markhor (Tor.wali) meḍho a ram, a sheep (G.)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: meḍh ‘helper of merchant’ (Gujarati) meḍ iron (Ho.) meṛed-bica = iron stone ore, in contrast to bali-bica, iron sand ore (Munda) ayo ‘fish’ Rebus: ayo, ayas ‘metal. Thus, together read rebus: ayo meḍh ‘iron stone ore, metal merchant.’

A remarkable legacy of the civilization occurs in the use of ‘fish‘ sign on a copper anthropomorph found in a copper hoard. This is an apparent link of the ‘fish’ broadly with the profession of ‘metal-work’. The ‘fish’ sign is apparently related to the copper object which seems to depict a ‘fighting ram’ symbolized by its in-curving horns. The ‘fish’ sign may relate to a copper furnace. The underlying imagery defined by the style of the copper casting is the pair of curving horns of a fighting ram ligatured into the outspread legs (of a warrior).

The center-piece of the makara symbolism is that it is a big jhasa, big fish, but with ligatured components (alligator snout, elephant trunk, elephant legs and antelope face). Each of these components can be explained (alligator: manger; elephant trunk: sunda; elephant: ibha; antelope: ranku; rebus: mangar ‘smith’; sunda ‘furnace’; ib ‘iron’; ranku ‘tin’); thus the makara jhasa or the big composite fish is a complex of metallurgical repertoire.)

One nidhi was makara (syn. Kohl, antimony); the second was makara (or, jhasa, fish) [bed.a hako (ayo)(syn. bhed.a ‘furnace’; med. ‘iron’; ayas ‘metal’)]; the third was kharva (syn. karba, iron).


From Lothal was reported a fragmentary Type 1 anthropomorph (13.0 pres. X 12.8 pres. X c. 0.08 cm, Cu 97.27%, Pb 2.51% (Rao), surface ptterning runs lengthwise, lower portion slightly thicker than the edge of the head, ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ broken off (Pl. 1, 22)– ASI Ahmedabad (10918 — Rao, SR, 1958, 13 pl. 21A)


The extraordinary presence of a Lothal anthropomorph of the type found on the banks of River Ganga in Sheorajpur (Uttar Pradesh) makes it apposite to discuss the anthropomorph as a Meluhha hieroglyph, since Lothal is reportedly a mature site of the civilization which has produced nearly 7000 inscriptions (what may be called Meluhha almost all

“Anthropomorphs occur in a variety of shapes and sizes (Plate A). The two basic types dominate, as defined by the proportions in combination with certain morphological features. All show processes suggestive of a human head, arms and legs. With one exception (no. 539) all are highly geometricising and flat. Fashioned from thick metal sheeting, these artifacts have stocky proportions and are patterned on both sides with elongated gouches or dents which usually are lengthwise oriented. Sometimes, however, the patterning is chevroned or cross-hatched. Significantly, the upper edge of the ‘head’ shows no thickening, as is the case of type H anthropomorphs. Examples have come to light at mid doab and a broken anthropomorph from distant Lothal as well. The only stratified example derives from Lothal, level IV. height range. 23.2-24.1cm; L/W: 0.65 – 0.88: 1; weight mean: 1260 gm.” (Yule, Paul, pp.51-52).

“Conclusions…”To the west at Harappa Lothal in Gujarat the presence of a fragmentary import type I anthropomorph suggests contact with the doab.” “(p.92)

From Lothal was reported a fragmentary Type 1 anthropomorph (13.0 pres. X 12.8 pres. X c. 0.08 cm, Cu 97.27%, Pb 2.51% (Rao), surface ptterning runs lengthwise, lower portion slightly thicker than the edge of the head, ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ broken off (Pl. 1, 22)– ASI Ahmedabad (10918 — Rao, SR, 1958, 13 pl. 21A)

The extraordinary presence of a Lothal anthropomorph of the type found on the banks of River Ganga in Sheorajpur (Uttar Pradesh) makes it apposite to discuss the anthropomorph as a Meluhha hieroglyph, since Lothal is reportedly a mature site of the civilization which has produced nearly 7000 inscriptions (what may be called Meluhha epigraphs, almost all of which are relatable to the bronze age metalwork of India).

The Sheorajpur anthropomorph (348 on Plate A)  has a ‘fish’ Indus Script hieroglyph incised on the chest.



Some illustrations of anthropomorphs of various types

Chalcolitique du bassin Gange-Yamuna. 2800 – 1500 avant notre ère. Provenance : Bisauli (212 km de New Delhi), district de Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi. Inv. n° 94620 et 94621

anthropomorphic copper figure (ACCN 93-51) found at Shahabad, UP, now at Government Museum, Mathura.



Anthropomorph Bibliography

  1. Balasubramaniam, MN Mungole, VN Prabhakar, DV Sharma and D.Banerjee, 2002, Studies on Ancient Indian OCP Period Copper, in: Indian Journal of History of Science, 37.1 (2002), pp. 1-15

BB Lal, ‘Further copper hoards from Gangetic basin and a review of the problem’, Ancient India, 7 (1951), pp. 20-30

BB Lal, “A not on the excavation at Saipai,’ Puratattva 5 (1971-72), pp. 46-49

Dikshit, KN, ‘The Ochre Coloured Ware settlements in Ganga-Yamuna Doab,’ in: DP Agrawal and DK Chakraborty, ed., Essays in Indian Protohistory,New Delhi, 1979, pp. 285-299.

Kumar, K. ‘The beginnings of the Brahmanical iconography in the Ganga Valley’, Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, New Series, XXII and XXIII (2000), pp,. 27-68.

Ghosh, A., ed., Copper Hoard, Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology, Vol. I, New Delhi, 1989, p. 91

Agrawal, DP, Krishnamurthy RV and Kusumgar, S., ‘New data on the copper hoards and the Daimabad bronzes’, Man and Environment, 2 (1978), pp. 41-46.

Nautiyal, V., Agrawal DP, and Krishnamurthy, RV ‘Some new analysis on the protohistoric copperarts’, Man and Environment,5 (1981),pp. 48-51.

Ball, V. ‘On the ancient coppermines of Singhbhum, Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1869, pp. 170-175.

Smith, VA, 1905, The Copper Age and Prehistoric Bronze Implements of India, The Indian Antiquary, 34, pp. 229-44, pl. II, Fig.5

Piggott, S., 1944, Prehistoric Copper Hoards in the Ganges Basin, Antiquity, 18/72, pp. 173-82.

Agrawala,BC, 1984, A unique copper anthropomorph from Sheorajpur, Kanpur, Bulletin of Museums & Archaelogy, 33-34, pp. 9-10

Yule, PA, 1985, Metalwork of the Bronze Age in India,Munchen, 51-52, pl. A, E (No. 239), 1

0 (No. 241), 11, 15 (No. 255), 22 (No. 337), 23 (No. 348), 24 (No. 345), 25 (No. 350), 47, (No. 336), 48 (No. 537)

Trivedi, SD,1989, Copper Implement (Anthropomorph). In SD Trivedi, Masterpieces in the State Museum, Lucknow, p. 26, Lucknow.

Yule, PA, 1989, The Copper Hoards of the Indian Subcontinent. Preliminaries for an Interpretation, in: Juhrbuch des Romisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum, Mainz, 36 (Part 1): 201 (No. 1105), 202 (No. 1121-1123), 203 (No. 1128)

Joshi, MP, 1990, New Horizon of the Ganga Valley copper hoard archaeology, Bulletin of Museums & Archaeology, 43-46, pp. 1-7.

Yule, PA, 1993, Uberlegungen zu den frhen Metallarbeiten in Indien, in C.Mallebrein, ed., Die anderen Goiter, Volks- and Stammensbronzen ans Indien, Koln: 56, 59 (ill. P.20)

Mode, H., 1959, Das fruhe Indien, Stuttgart: 108-9, pl. 76


Paul Yule, Addenda to “The Copper Hoards of the Indian Subcontinent: Preliminaries for an Interpretation”, Man and Environment 26.2, 2002, 117–120

Paul Yule, Beyond the Pale of Near Eastern Archaeology: Anthropomorphic Figures from al-Aqir near Baḥlāʾ, Sultanate of Oman, Man and Mining – T. Stöllner et al. (eds.) Mensch und Bergbau Studies in Honour of Gerd Weisgerber on Occasion of his 65th Birthday, Bochum, 2003, 537–542 also under the same title in Pragdhara 14, 2004, 231–239; A New Prehistoric Anthropomorphic Figure from the Sharqiyah, Oman, in: ‘My Life is like the Summer Rose’ Maurizio Tosi e l’Archeologia come modo de vivere, Papers in Honour of Maurizio Tosi on his 70th Birthday, C. Lamberg-Karlovsky‒B. Genito‒B. Cerasetti (eds.), BAR Intern. Series 2690, Oxford, 2014, 759–60, ISBN 978 1 4073 1326 9;


B.B. Lal, Further Copper Hoards from the Gangetic Basin and a Review of the Problem, Ancient India 7, 1951, 20-39

Tapan Kumar Das Gupta, Die Anthropomorphen Figuren der Kupferhortfunde aus Indien, Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz, 56, 2009, 39-80.

D.P. Agrawal, The Copper-Bronze Age in India (Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal1971) 200; Harry Falk, Copper Hoard Weapons and the Vedic Vajra, South Asian Archaeology 1993 (Helsinki 1994) 193-206.

Monika Zin, Vajrapāṇi in the Narrative Reliefs, in: Migration, Trade and Peoples, Part 2: Gandharan Art, ed. C. Fröhlich, The British Association for South Asian Studies, (Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of the European Association of South Asian Archaeologists in London 2005) 73-83

Manjul SK and Arvin Manjul, 2012, Composite Copper anthropomorphs Figure from Haryana: A Re-appraisal. In Proceedings of Indian Art History Congress XX Session, 2011, Patna, pp. 14-19.

  1. Kalyanaraman Sarasvati Research Center July 29, 2016



Some images from Copper Hoard Culture and related sites

From Lothal was reported a fragmentary Type 1 anthropomorph (13.0 pres. X 12.8 pres. X c. 0.08 cm, Cu 97.27%, Pb 2.51% (Rao).


[quote] Deo Prakash Sharma published a work called Newly Discovered

Carlos Aramayo notes: [quote]Copper Hoard, Weapons of South Asia, Delhi, 2002 in which he establishes a time between 2800 and 1500 BC for copper hoards based on analysis of copper implemets in the National Museum, New Delhi: “Till today around 5031 copper hoard implements have been reported from 197 sites mostly from Gangetic plains among which 193 are in National Museum collection. We have fixed date of copper hoards from circa 2800 to 1500 B.C. and these could be divided into two groups as follows (A) North Eastern Indian (B) Ganga-Yamuna doab and Western India. The technology of western group B is of a distinctive and advanced type and is influenced by the Harappans…The anthropomorphic figure of copper hoard is a cult object and a symbol of good omen. The lugged shouldered axes and weed chisels are a new type in copper hoard implements. The   shouldered axes show their origin from South East Asia via North-East India and Middle Ganga plain. The copper hoard implements and OCP ceramic are present in stratified deposits of Ganeshwar, Jodhpura, Mithathal, Madarpur, Saipai and Khatoli…Copper hoard implements of western group show genetic relationship with Harappans” (Deo Prakash Sharma 2002). [unquote]]




S. Kalyanaraman

Sarasvati Research Center January 2, 2017

Harappa Script inscription on anthropomorph with boar, young bull & ram hieroglyphs

January 1, 2017


Hieroglyph: कर्णक  karṇaka m. du. the twolegs spread out AV. xx,133,3 karaNika ‘spread legs‘ Rebus: कारणिक [p= 274,3] mfn. (g. काश्य्ादि) ” investigating , ascertaining the cause ” , a judge Pan5cat. a teacher MBh. ii , 167. कर्णिक [p= 257,2] m. a steersman W.  karṇadhāra m. ʻhelmsman’ anthropomorphboar

Thanks to Seshadri Sridharan who posted on Facebook this sharper image of the Anthropomorph of Sarasvati Civilization. It appears that there are three lines of inscription in Harappa Script — on the body of the boar and the head of the ram with curved horns, just above the one-horned young bull. The possible readings of hieroglyphs on the text of the inscription are:

Top Line: sign409342sign326Sign 409-Sign342-Sign326 (Alternative 47Sign47)

Second Line from top:sign182sign162sign373Illegible*-Sign182-Sign162-Sign373

Third line sign155sign336Sign 155-Illegible*-Sign336

The hieroglyphs are Meluhha rebus renderings:

Top Line:

‘two cartwheels and axle rod of the cartframe‘sal ‘wedge joining the parts of a solid cart wheel’ (Santali) Rebus: sal ‘workshop’ (Santali)

karNIka ‘rim of jar’ (Samskritam); kanka ‘rim of jar’ (Santali) rebus:karNI ‘supercargo’

loa ‘ficus religiosa’ Rebus: loh ‘copper’ Alternate reading: 47Sign47 baraḍo = spine; backbone (Tulu) Rebus: baran, bharat ‘mixed alloys’ (5 copper, 4 zinc and 1 tin) (Punjabi)

Thus, together, the sequence of three hieroglyphs signify: loh, ‘copper’; karNI, ‘supercargo’; sal ‘workshop’.

Second line:

ranku ‘antelope’ rebus: ranku ‘tin’

kolom ‘rice-plant’ rebus: kolimi ‘smithy, forge’

mũh, mũhe ingot‘.Alternative:  goṭā ʻ seed, bean, wholeʼ goṭa ’roundish pebble’ rebus:  goṭa ‘ferrite ore, laterite’ rebus 2: goṭa m. ʻedging of gold braidʼ (Kashmiri)

Third line:

khaNDa ‘arrow’ rebus: khaNDa ‘implements’

muka ‘ladle‘ PLUS baTa ‘rimless pot’ Rebus: mũh, mũhe ingot‘.PLUS bhaTa ‘furnace’

Thus, the inscription text reading is: loh, ‘copper’; karNI, ‘supercargo’; sal ‘workshop’.PLUS ranku ‘tin’ kolimi ‘smithy, forge’, goṭa m. ʻedging of gold braidʼ PLUS furnace (for) ingots.

meḍho ‘ram’ rebus 1: मेधा a form of yajna; rebus 2:meḍh ‘helper of merchant‘ (Pkt.)

The ram:meDha ‘ram’ rebus: meD ‘iron’ med ‘copper’ (Slavic) PLUS  कोंद kōnda ‘young bull‘ rebus:  kōnda ‘turner’ PLUS baḍhia = a castrated boar, a hog; rebus:baḍhi ‘a caste who work both in iron and wood’.

Thus, the unique anthropomorph ligatured with boar’s head and incised with one-horned young bull PLUS a text message reads: meḍh ‘merchant’s helper’ PLUS baḍhi ‘worker in wood and iron’ PLUS kōnda ‘turner’ WORKING WITH THE RESOURCES RELATED TO METALWORK: tin smithy/forge, edging of gold braid, furnace ingots, metal implements, copper supercargo workshop.

S. Kalyanaraman

Sarasvati Research Center January 1, 2017

rim2Variants of Sign 342 (Rim-of-jar)anVariants of Sign 326 (Ficus)

Gujarat Coastal sites (44) of Sarasvati civilization and seafaring merchants of Meluhha

January 1, 2017

The essay by Yadhubirsingh Rawat of Garhwal University provides a lucid account of the role played by 44 coastal sites in Gujarat of Sarasvati Civilization for trade transactions by seafaring merchants of Meluhha who interacted across the Persian Gulf and with Ancient Near East sites. A figure of sea level simulation shows that sea-level was possibly higher during the period from 8th millennium to 2nd millennium BCE by about 1 metre thus explaining the navigable channels in Rann of Kutch and Saurashtra along the Indian Ocean coastline, linking with Persian Gulf. Rawat notes that 550 of the 2000 sites of the Sarasvati Civilization are in Gujarat and as many as 44 ancient sites are on the coastline of the Indian Ocean. (Source: Yadhubirsingh Rawat, 2015, Coastal Sites: Possible Port Towns Of Harappan time in Gujarat , in: Sarah Keller and Michael Pearson, eds., 2015, Port Towns of Gujarat, Delhi, Primus Books, pp. 187-215).

Rawat demonstrates in a vivid figure, the possible sea routes during Harappan times. The possibility that Lothal and Surkotada were linked through the Nal Sarovar in a sealane should not also be ruled out.

There is a possibility that seafaring merchants from Ancient Far East had also carried tin (cassiterite ore) from the largest Tin Belt of the Globe in the Irrawaddy, Salween and Mekong river deltas to be delivered to the trade intermediaries in these Gujarat coastal sites for onward transmission to the Ancient Near East through the Persian Gulf. This requires further researches and identification of possible ancient shipwrecks in the Indian Ocean which may throw further light on the Ancient Maritime Tin Route which preceded the Silk Route by 2 millennia.

S. Kalyanaraman, Sarasvati Research Center, January 1, 2017


Sea level simulation +1m ASL (After Indus Project Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto).

Distribution of Harappan sites (550) in Gujarat (After SV Rajesh, 2011)

Coastal sites of Gujarat and possible sea routes during Harappan times (After YS 2015)

List of 44 Harappan sites on Gujarat coast (Locality index)