We are fortunate to have books. They are the real treasures. They hold so much within that sometimes we feel that it is not possible to absorb it in multiple lifetimes also.
Bharat, that is India, is the oldest civilization that exists and is functional even today.
Since our school days we know that civilizaitons seeded and grew over river banks. It is obvious. Water is our primary requirement that helps us achieving our secondary ones as well. Be it Chinese, Egyptian, Mesopotamian or any other civilizaiton, you will find them associated with famous rivers. In fact the role of Sindhu and Ganga (or Ganges) rivers (along with many other such lifelines of civilization) are prominent and well-known in Indian civilizaiton. In fact the chronology of words Sindhu-Hindu, Sindhu-Indus are well known.
The Bharatiya civilization is always nature lover.
Respecting the source of life or helper of its existence, is the core quality of Indian civilizaiton. That is why we worship Sun, Moon, Ocean, Rivers, Mountains and other natural elements.
We grew up reciting the following hymn when taking a bath.
गंगे च यमुने चैव गोदावरी सरस्वती |
नर्मदे सिंधु कावेरी जलेस्मिन संनिधिम कुरु ||
If you look closely to the above mentioned hymn you will find the mention of river “Sarasvati”. It was of course a great and gigantic river that was once the cradle of life for the species of this subcontinent. Today, however, we cannot find the river flowing! Some scholars even refute the claim of any such river even existed!
|Book Title||:||The Sarasvati Civilisation
A Paradigm Shift in Ancient Indian History
|Author||:||Maj. Gen. G D Bakshi|
|Published by||:||Garuda Prakashan ( 14 April 2020)|
|# of Pages||:||234 (Paperback) 234; 19143 KB (Kindle EBook)|
|# of Chapters||:||14|
So, since long we were looking for some authentic works talking about this river in logical and factual manner, based on analysis and proofs, and The Sarasvati Civilisation: A Paradigm Shift in Ancient Indian History by Major Gen. G. D. Bakshi was in our radar. Fortunately we found the time to go through this detailed source of fantastic information about the “Sarasvati” river. Its Kindle E-Book version is available to read for free under “Kindle Unlimited” program.
Being a gateway to an entire virtual world hold within, the book cover plays a really important role in making the first impression of the book and ultimate motivate a casual browser in picking up or explore the book.
The cover page shows the terrain of Indian subcontinent in a high resolution satellite view where the course of Sarasvati river is marked. The seal like background for the like “A Powerful New Treatise!’ adds the attribute of “authenticity” to the cover. The simple fonts used for the book title, tagline, author name and his decoration goes in sync with the rest of the elements.
Overall, a really impressive cover page that will urge you to pick the book..
The Book And What I Think Of It:
Usually we talk about a book in two distinguished segments, dedicated to the book story and our views for the same respectively. Based on the genre of this book, let us merge both these segments together.
The book elaborates the historical elements that are related to the Sarasvati river and the civilization that was developed on the banks of it and eventually grew beyond those limits in a very detailed manner.
Of course, some of the elements are repeated when the things are viewed from the geographical, historical, cultural and modern perspective. However, they are necessary to mention respective context.
You will be amazed by realizing the knowledge of the author, Maj. Gen. G D Bakshi who has earned doctorate and his very deep understanding of ancient Indian history and literature. His rational elaboration of all these elements and the latest data gathered from the most advanced scientific elements and satellite imagery is really remarkable.
In the foreword segment of the book, you can find the views of other scholars for this book, adding to the credibility of the book and the author. Here is one such segment:
“The book titled “The Sarasvati Civilization: A Paradigm Shift in Ancient Indian History” by Major General G.D. Bakshi is based on pure scientific research indicating truly a landmark shift in the history of the country. The river Sarasvati has played an important role in the origin and development of the Civilisation of this country.
The author mentions the reference of Nadi Sukta in the very beginning and it reiterates the fact the river Sarasvati is not a myth but an actual historical river that existed.
“अम्बितमे, नदीतमे, देमितमे सरसिती। अप्रशसतता इि सममस प्रशमसत्बि नस्कृ धीं।।”
“The greatest of all mothers, the greatest of all rivers, the greatest of all Devis. O’Mother we are ignorant. Grant us your knowledge and wisdom.”
(RV 2.41.16) The Nadi Sukta
The Rig Veda, the oldest religious text of mankind has 74 verses in praise of the mighty Sarasvati. It eulogizes her as the greatest of all rivers, roaring torrent, the mother of floods and worships it as the Goddess of Speech, Learning, Wisdom and Intuition.
While talking about the path of the river, the book refers “Kachchh” or “Kutch” as “Kuch”.
which runs down straight into the Kuch part of Gujarat before meeting the sea.
Such things could have been taken care of.
This book is definitely worth reading for all those who want to explore the history of humankind’s oldest civilization and richest culture in an authentic way.
The author talks about the fact that a large number of scholars are looking towards west for the approval / disapproval of a theory, rather than logically evaluating the stuff and following the trail of resources and proofs. In one such reference he mentions that Sarasvati river is not a myth, with a proof that most such scholar cannot deny.
In the 1970s however the US sent up its Landsat satellite that beamed back pictures of the dried- out course of a once mighty river in North Western India. The river was not a myth anymore. It was now an empirical fact.
The author brings in some amazing facts about this lost river:
It was no seasonal river. It was a mighty perennial stream that flowed over 4600kms. The satellite pictures vividly reveal the dried out river bed of a once mighty river that was 6-8 kms in width. South of Patiala—where there was apparently a confluence with Yamuna and later the Satluj—it was almost 20 km in width.
The author talks about various theories focused on possible reasons for disappearance of Sarasvati like The Weakening of the Monsoons, the changing path of source rivers, earthquakes and others.
He also mentions:
More than 60% of the sites of the so- called Indus Valley civilisation were located along the dried- out course of the Sarasvati and not the Indus.
Carbon dating of Rakhigiri and Bhirhana townships on the dried-out banks of the Sarasvati river—part of the so-called Indus Valley Civilisation—puts their age over 8,000 years and earlier.
It was an amazing civilisation spread over a vast landmass of some 2 million sq. kms. What has been remarkable is the degree of homogeneity of this vast civilisation.
Though the Indus Valley script has still not been deciphered, there were a whole host of terracotta figurines recovered from the Indus- Sarasvati valley sites, that depicted Yoga postures, meditating priests, a Proto Shiva Linga and yoni symbolisms; and the vermilion in the median parting of hair, bindis and bangles and other accoutrements worn by Hindu women even today.
He also elaborates some unique characteristics of this civilization:
Archaeologists have recovered terracotta figurines in classical Yoga postures. We have priest kings and proto Shivas in deep meditation.
It was an egalitarian civilisation. There were no armies of slave labour used to build massive Pyramids and Sphinxes, palaces, tombs or mausoleums for dead despots and kings.
This civilisation may not have given us the Pyramids, the Sphinxes, grand tombs or mausoleums, but it has certainly given the world the grand metaphysical heights of the mystical philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads and the meditative culture of Yoga—the key characteristic of the Indic civilisation that have continued in an unbroken tradition from that ancient era to the present day.
They did not create opulent palaces and monumental architecture. Instead the wealth was used to provide public amenities and cater for the welfare of the citizens via civic amenities like
baths, drainage and water harvesting systems.
They created very meticulously planned clean and hygienic cities with excellent civic amenities That would be the envy of even the current civilisation in India.
In line with Samuel Huntington’s construct of a clash of civilisations, American postmodernist liberal scholars have undertaken a campaign to decree Indian Scriptural texts like Ramayana and Mahabharata as toxic in terms of seeking to perpetuate Brahmanical or Aryan supremacy over the subaltern castes, tribals and women. There is a disconcerting attempt to vilify Hinduism as a religion and downplay any meaningful contribution to human thought and civilisation.
The author talks about Aryan Invasion Myth and busts it with various proofs.
This is reflected in both the cultural as well genetic data. The research has clearly
demonstrated that the so called Aryan Invasion Theory is a hoax and has no substance. In last 10,000 years there is no mass migration into the South Asia.
Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). Propagated by the likes of Max Müller and Mortimer Wheeler (largely the latter)
He also mentions about “out of India” theory and talks about the famous “Das Rajan ” war.
And he reiterates:
Anil Suri has rightly said—“Education and academics must deal in knowledge, notnarratives.”
When the author busts some myths, he takes care of mentioning references to some other remarkable research works also. In fact, there is a bibliography section that is not to be missed. Some of the works mentioned include:
- Prof. Vasant Shinde Vice- Chancellor Deccan College Post- Graduate and Research Institute Deemed to be University Pune – 411 006
- In 2009, David Reich along with Lalji Singh (former Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad) wrote a seminal paper entitled “Reconstructing Indian Population History”
- Samuel Huntington has spelt out this thesis in his magnum opus “The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of the World Order.”
- Tamany J and Thangaraj in their paper (“Genomic View of the Peopling of India”, 2009)…
- Swarkar Sharma, Ekta Raj, and Mamta Jena entitled “The Indian origin of Paternal Haplogroup R1a* Substantiates Autochthonous Origin of Brahmins and Caste System.”
- published in 2015 by Lucette G ( The Major Y Chromosome haplogroup Type XI Haplogroup R1a in Eurasia, Heredity Gennet 4:150 dir ;10.4172/2161)
- Major earthquakes in Northwest India and Neo-tectonic events related to them (by Valdia, 2002)
Maj Gen G D Bakshi also refers to the research work done by the following scholars (including but not limited to):
- Prof Shinde
- Prof Damle
- Srikant Telagiri
- David Frawley
- Dr Neeraj Rai
- Michael Danino
- Rajiv Malhotra
You may think, but why discussing about a river is such a necessity?
Of course, knowing the correct history help us better understanding the way nature behave and we can plan our future accordingly.
The vicissitudes in the life and death of a river, almost sound like a mythological war between the forces of life and destruction, between the forces of darkness and light—the mythical Devasur sangram.
The author talks about the features of Harappan town planning, double cropping system, the naming of Bharat – India, the word Hindu and other stuff in quite a logical and factual manner. He talks about archeological sites like:Bhirrana, Banawali, Kalibangan, Lothal and Rakhigiri and others. He also talks about Pyrotechnology, Non-pyrotechnology and many other unknown research technologies. Here are some quotes from the book in the same regards:
The core civilisational area between the Sarasvati and Drisahdvati is called the land of the Bhartas in the Rig Veda and is possibly the origin of the very idea of India or more accurately—Bharat.
As per Prof Damle, this evidence of witnessing such dramatic geological phenomenon, could stretch the age of the Rig Veda to over 10,500 years B.P. Previously such postulates used to draw derision from colonial historians and leftist scholars.
In fact the very name India is derived from the Greek Indica, which in turn was taken from the river Indus or Sindhu. The Arabs wrongly pronounced the name Sindhu as Hindu and that is how the majority of the indigenous Indian population has since been called Hindu or dwellers of the Sindhu ever since. The Arabs thus named India as Hindustan—the land of the Hindus, itself derived from the cradle Sindhu River. The simple fact is that by the time the Greeks and Arabs reached India, the Sarasvati River had long since disappeared. The invaders had no knowledge whatsoever of this once mighty river and they assumed that the Indus River was the cradle and source of this ancient Indian civilisation. This was at best a half truth and an error of perception.
In the 1920s the famous Indus Valley Civilisation was discovered in the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro. This greatly strengthened the idea of the Indus as the cradle river of the Indian civilisation. The world was in fact surprised by the size, scale and sophistication of this civilisation and its considerable accomplishments. Conventional, colonial historiography had till then designated the Middle East as the cradle of global civilisation. Christianity, Judaism and Islam—all monotheistic religions—had originated from there. It was then blasphemy to consider any other civilisation that was even contemporaneous with or older than the Mesopotamian. The discovery of the vast civilisational area of the Harappan or the Indus Valley civilisation has however, seriously challenged this Eurocentric notion. The Indus Valley Civilisation was accidentally discovered when the Lahore-Multan Railway was being constructed by the British.
So this rather grand Aryan Invasion Theory failed to pass muster. The colonial historiographers however seemed determined to prove that the Indo-Aryan population was of foreign stock and not the natives of India. Perhaps this was designed to mitigate the foreignness and illegitimacy of the British colonial rule in India and establish a narrative that the Aryan population itself had come from outside and as such had little to complain about the alien aspects of British Rule in India.
There are terracotta female figurines with the application of red (vermilion) to the median parting line of the hair (Sindoor). They have red circular dots or prominent Bindis on the centre of their foreheads. The continuity with the current cultural context is so obvious and apparent. ● Bangles of copper and other materials are prominently visible…
There is the sculpture of a bearded man with half-closed eyes; apparently a Priest King in meditative state.
The Indian traditional gesture of greeting with folded hands (Namaste) is frozen in small terracotta dolls. This is the classical Anjali mudra still being used in India..
A most remarkable feature is the representations of the Peepul tree and Leaves on Harappan seals and pottery. The Peepul tree is still one of the most sacred trees of India and is still revered all over the country.
It is delightful to see the author mentioning the way all the rituals starts with a sankalp an din that sankalp we use to mention the time/location so precisely as:
श्री श्वेत वाराहकल्पे – भूलोके – जम्बूद्वीपे – भारतवर्षे – भरतखण्डे – आर्यावर्ते – कलियुगे – कलि प्रथम चरणे – गतैकदेशे …
The discussion about Soma and many other stuff makes book quite enrich with references and knowledge. The quotes mentioned above are just a fraction of what is found in the book.
It is not just a book, it is a research paper or thesis on the river Sarasvati and the the civilization which developed around it and is still in existence. It takes a multi-disciplinary approach for all the points and makes the reader overwhelmed. A highly recommended book for really curious readers.
Around 8.5 stars out of 10.
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