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Harappan-Vedic links of Dholavira possible - The Hindustan Times

Kumkum Chadha ()
1 February 1997

Title : Harappan-Vedic links of Dholavira possible
Author : Kumkum Chadha
Publication : The Hindustan Times
Date : February 1, 1997

Dholavira is a village with a population of 1200 odd people, which
has experienced intermittent drought for over 30 years and a
successive one for the last seven years now.

Situated in the isolated region in Khadir in Gujarat's Great Rann
of Kutch, it has, since January 1990, been "invaded: by the
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which has been carrying out
extensive excavations there.

Considered to be a site of national importance, the Archaeological
Survey is also processing papers to declare it as a 'Protected
Monument' under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and
Remains Act, 1958. The ASI also intends to open a site museum to
not only conserve these excavations but also inform the people
about the ancient heritage unearthed in Dholavira.

The settlement of Dholavira started in the first quarter of the
third millennium B.C. and came to an end around 1500 B.C. The
full-fledged city of Dholavira is unique in being a proportionately
resolved multidimensional settlement with a citadel, a stadium, a
middle town and a lower town. These are all surrounded by water
reservoirs within a massive fortification, While it has emerged as
one of the five largest cities of the Harappans, ASI director
general Ajay Shankar told The Hindustan Times that several
archaeologists are "zeroing in" on the view that this settlement
might have links with the Vedic civilisation. One of the reasons
for this theory is that, for the first time, a large stone statue
was discovered at a Harappan site.

The possibility of the two civilisations, viz, the Harappans and
the Vedic, having "links" also gains credence on the ground that
while the Rig Veda does not mention any cities by recognisable
names, it does talk of 100 'forts'. Interestingly, the Harappan
civilisation is the form of fortresses. The Vedas also talk of the
north and northwest regions of India and Dholavira is situated
around the same area. "There were loose ends and archaeologists are
finding ways to connect these," Mr Shankar said.

Another possible "link" archaeologists feel might have existed is
that though the stamp seals, weight and many typical pottery forms
as well as decorative motifs which have been discovered conform to
the Harappan standards of form, craftsmanship and art work, most
significantly the inscriptions are missing on the figurative
motifs. One of them depicts a developed mythological scene which
related to a deity, wearing a horned headgear and standing between
two branches of a peepal three. Alongside there is a devotee
wearing an identical headdress kneeling before the deity. An
oversized ibex is shown standing behind the latter with his face to
the deity.

While the theme is a repitition of the scene on a Mohenjo-daro
seal, the inscriptions s missing from the Dholavira find. It may be
recalled that the Vedic civilisation was based on the oral
tradition, but was written about much later after the advent of the
Sanskrit language.

The ASI proposes to carry out excavations at Dholavira during the
field season this year. While it intends to carry out the work with
the help of locally available materials except lime, cement and
scaffolding materials which will be bought from outside, the total
expenditure expected to be incurred will be to the tune of Rs 2.50
lakh.


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