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Re: To counteract the anti-Sanskritism...

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Sunday, December 7, 2003, 6:57
On Sun, 07 Dec 2003 01:09:27 -0500, Roger Mills <romilly@...> wrote:

> Sometime back in the 80s there was an article in Sci.American claiming to > have deciphered the Indus script-- as a Dravidian language. The > reasoning > and evidence appeared to be sound, but one has heard little of it since.
The evidence seems moderately plausible that Maluhhan/Harappan/Indus is indeed a Dravidian language, at least this seems to be the mainstream view. It's based on various accounts and interpretations of the ... erm ... ethnic prehistory of the area. What is certainly commonly accepted is that Dravidian people were in the Indian subcontinent before the Indo-Aryans arrived and subsequently arose to some kind of cultural dominance over the thousand years following their arrival, with at least one major war along the way. The script lacks glyphs that are obviously horses or chariots, which certainly seems against the grain if the culture and language are suspected to be Indo-European. What peeves me is that the name of the culture is known to be |maluhha| from several Sumerian sources, yet there seem to be no Sumerian records of the names of Maluhhan kings or gods, nor of the Maluhhan names of the goods that were traded with the Sumerians. Nor is it clear how pious the Maluhhan people were. With that sort of information, a decipherment could progress on much more firm feet, at least in regards to the lineage of the language represented. The (on the face of it) most plausible partial decipherment interprets almost all the texts as religious dedications, and while the liguistics seems sound, I fear the sociology is flawed. Seals of the kind found, embossed onto packages of goods for transport, would (in my mind) be more likely marked with the type of goods, or the name (and title?) of the sender or recipient, rather than a devotion to one or more gods. There is apparently Sumerian evidence that a people to the east of Sumer were such skilled boatmen that a common appelation was "fish", and that, to me, seems to jive quite distinctly with the high prevalence of the {fish} glyph among the seal texts. I forget the exact details, but some kind of computer analysis has detected what looks like two separate dialect of Indus, a Western and an Eastern, which given the huge ranges of time and space involved, is hardly unlikely. My conclusion? I have none. Paul