Reconfirmation and Reinforcement of the Indus Script Thesis: A Logical Assessment and Inquiry as to the Elusive and Enigmatic Nature of This Script

The IUP Journal of History and Culture, Vol. V, No. 1, pp. 7-43, January 2011

Posted: 20 Mar 2011

Date Written: March 16, 2011

Abstract

The earliest known example of an Indus seal dates back to 1873 in the form of a drawing published by Alexander Cunningham. Since then thousands of examples of the Indus script have been discovered, and the Indus script has been subject to a very serious analysis by many scholars across the world and still continues to fascinate, enchant and frustrate innumerable researchers who have made many a vain attempt to understand its true nature and meaning. The nature of the Indus script remains elusive and there are currently many different schools of thought - some think it represented a Dravidian language, some think it represented an Indo-Aryan language, while some are convinced that it belongs to a third language group. Some argue that it represented a language while others argue it was only a complex 'symbol system', either with or without a linguistic content. In an earlier paper, "Syncretism and Acculturation in Ancient India; A New Nine Phase Acculturation Model Explaining the Process of Transfer of Power from the Harappans to the Indo-Aryans", which was published in two parts, a method was proposed to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans with 'smoking guns', and it was concluded that the Harappans spoke neither a Dravidian language nor Sanskrit but were multi-linguistic and spoke several languages which included remote ancestors of languages which much later came to be known as Prakrits. In this paper, a parsimonious approach has been taken with regard to the Indus script, an attempt has been made to understand its nature, to examine the logical flaws of current theories with regard to the Indus script and it is concluded that it is impossible to draw any hasty conclusions about the nature of the Indus script without building rock solid theoretical models and that the Indus script issue is probably less simple than the most simplistic of theories make it out to be. More importantly, we also refute 'Sproat's smoking gun' which cannot prove that the Indus writing system was not stable, that it was not a writing system or that it did not have a linguistic component.

Suggested Citation

Mandavilli, Sujay Rao, Reconfirmation and Reinforcement of the Indus Script Thesis: A Logical Assessment and Inquiry as to the Elusive and Enigmatic Nature of This Script (March 16, 2011). The IUP Journal of History and Culture, Vol. V, No. 1, pp. 7-43, January 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1787816

Sujay Rao Mandavilli (Contact Author)

IT Consultant, Bangalore ( email )

Bangalore

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