December 03, 2005

THE ANDAMAN’S MYSTERY: A NOTE OF CAUTION

Scientific American, India

September 2005
THE ANDAMAN’S MYSTERY: A NOTE OF CAUTION

I was glad to read in “The Andaman’s Mystery” (News Scan, July) about the recent genetic findings related to the early inhabitants of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The findings by the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology seem to fit in with other recent discoveries, especially by Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, emeritus professor at Stanford, and his team, as well as by Stephen Oppenheimer, member of Green College, Oxford University. It is now generally agreed that all non-Africans have descended from South Asians, which means people living south of the line running from Yemen to the Himalayas.

The Andamans fall in this belt, but may not represent the oldest Indian population. Isolated groups like those on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are subject to a phenomenon known as genetic drift. While some early traits are preserved, others are lost over time. As a result, such groups are usually not representative of the original population.

It is also necessary to look at the genetic diversity of any population group. The older the population, the greater the diversity. Africa is genetically the most diverse and hence has the oldest population. India is more diverse than Europe and thus older, though both carry the M17, or the so-called Caucasian genetic marker. What we have so far is preliminary. We should not jump to conclusions till we have more data and analysis, otherwise a promising line of research may acquire a bad name.

N.S. Rajaram

Bangalore

HARAPPAN HORSE: POLEMICS AND PROPAGANDA

Controversy



Editorial comment

As the Aryan invasion version of history has begun to crumble, there are parties in Indian and Western academic circles that have a special interest in preserving it. It is unnecessary to go into reasons behind this beyond noting that considerations of politics and careers have much to do with it. This is not unusual in any field: whenever there is a paradigm shift, as is now the case with the Vedic-Harappan convergence today, the old order suddenly finds the ground shifting under its feet. A debate, at times acrimonious is natural and inevitable in the circumstances. But what was unusual in this case was the tactics adopted by a few of the participants, notably Michael Witzel, the Prince of Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard. He went beyond criticizing the work of N. Jha and N.S. Rajaram, to charging that they, in their book The Deciphered Indus Script had fabricated the image of a horse in order to show that the Harappan civilization was Vedic.

In all this, Witzel’s central claim was that the horse was unknown in ancient India prior to the coming of the Aryan invaders who brought it with them. Thus, the Harappans had no horses. Further, the spoke-wheel was also unknown to the Harappans. But Witzel went further: he insisted that any data that suggested otherwise must perforce be a fabrication. This was the charge he leveled against N. Jha and N.S. Rajaram in the summer of 2000 when the book The Deciphered Indus Script reached the United States. He chose to ignore however that comments on the ‘Harappan Horse’ was limited to two partial footnotes in their book, which was about the decipherment and in no way dependent on the Harappan horse. Jha and Rajaram chose to ignore these charges other than issuing a press release that refuted Witzel’s charge with the help of photographs. (Witzel was assisted in his work by one Steve Farmer with no credentials in the field other than making extravagant claims. He seems to have disappeared from the scene.)

The situation reached a climax when Rajaram, in an article that appeared in the national daily The Hindu (February 19, 2002) produced evidence from well-known sources showing that horse remains had been identified at Harappan sites going back several decades; he also highlighted other important evidence like the Vedic river Sarasvati that connect the Vedic and Harappan civilizations. This seemed to put Witzel in an awkward situation. First, it showed that his claim of “No Harappan horse,” had no basis in fact. More seriously, it cast a cloud on his tactics, suggesting that he was indulging in suppression of evidence while simultaneously launching a personal attack on those who disagreed with him. In all this the assumption seemed to be that his position as an academic at a well-known university combined with aggressive propaganda carried out at a high decibel level was enough to override facts and logic. This predicament that Witzel found himself in—the collapse of his scholarly reputation together with the exposure of his unsavory tactics—may explain the ferocious tone of his article given in this section. This was noted by the distinguished archaeologist R. Nagaswamy who went on to systematically refute Witzel’s claims and method—calling the latter an example of reductio ad absurdum.

While the Aryan invasion is dead, and the Vedic-Harappan connection all but a reality, the series of articles that appeared in The Hindu gives an idea of the ‘debate’ that is likely to be the last ditch effort to save the Aryan invasion. We begin with Rajaram’s article that set the cat among the pigeons, followed by Witzel’s response, culminating in Nagaswamy’s refutation of Witzel’s claims and methods.

THEORY AND EVIDENCE

A historical theory must account for all the evidence and not selectively accept and ignore data. Further, a man-made theory cannot substitute for primary data.
N.S. Rajaram

Albert Einstein once said: “A theory must not contradict empirical facts.” He was speaking in the context of science, especially how historians of science often lacked proper understanding of the scientific process. As he saw it the problem was: “Nearly all historians of science are philologists [linguists] and do not comprehend what physicists were aiming at, how they thought and wrestled with these problems.” When such is the situation in physics where problems are clear-cut, it is not surprising to see issues in a subject like history being much more contentious. This is particularly the case when trying to understand the records of people far removed from us in time like the creators of the Vedic and Harappan civilizations. As a result of some recent historical developments like European colonization and Western interest in Sanskrit language and linguistics, several myths and conjectures, through the force of repetition, have come to acquire the status of historical facts. It is time to re-evaluate these in the light of new evidence and more scientific approaches.

When we come to these myths, none is more persistent than the one about “No horse at Harappa.” This has now been supplemented by another claim that the spoke-wheel was unknown to the Harappans. The point of these claims is that without the horse and the spoke-wheel the Harappans were militarily vulnerable to the invading Aryan hordes who moved on speedy, horse-drawn chariots with spoke-wheels. This claim is not supported by facts: an examination of the evidence shows that both the spoke-wheel and the horse were widely used by the Harappans. (The idea seems to be borrowed from the destruction of Native American civilizations by the Spanish and Portuguese ‘Conquistadors’. The Conquistadors though never used chariots.)

As far as the spoke-wheel is concerned, B.B. Lal, former Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India records finding terracotta wheels at various Harappan sites. In his words: “The painted lines [spokes] converge at the central hub, and thus leave no doubt about their representing the spokes of the wheel. …another example is reproduced from Kalibangan, a well-known Harappan site in Rajasthan, in which too the painted lines converge at the hub. …two examples from Banawali [another Harappan site], in which the spokes are not painted but are shown in low relief.” (The Sarasvati Keeps Flowing, Aryan Books, Delhi, pages 72-3). It is also worth noting that the depiction of the spoke-wheel is quite common on Harappan seals.

Horse and Vedic symbolism

The horse and the cow are mentioned often in the Rigveda, though they commonly carry symbolic rather than physical meaning. There is widespread misconception that the absence of the horse at Harappan sites shows that horses were unknown in India until the invading Aryans brought them. Such ‘argument by absence’ is hazardous at best. To take an example, the bull is quite common on the seals, but the cow is never represented. We cannot from this conclude that the Harappans raised bulls but were ignorant of the cow. In any event, depictions of the horse are known at Harappan sites, though rare. It is possible that there was some kind of religious taboo that prevented the Harappans from using cows and horses in their art. More fundamentally, it is incorrect to say that horses were unknown to the Harappans. The recently released encyclopedia The Dawn of Indian Civilization, Volume 1, Part 1 observes (pages 344 – 5): “… the horse was widely domesticated and used in India during the third millennium BC over most of the area covered by the Indus-Sarasvati [or Harappan] Civilization. Archaeologically this is most significant since the evidence is widespread and not isolated.”

This is not the full story. Sir John Marshall, Director General of the Archaeological Survey when Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were being excavated, recorded the presence of what he called the ‘Mohenjo-daro horse’. Giving salient measurements, comparing it to other known specimens, he wrote: “It will be seen that there is a considerable degree of similarity between these various examples, and it is probable the Anau horse, the Mohenjo-daro horse, and the example of Equus caballus of the Zoological Survey of India, are all of the type of the ‘Indian country bred’, a small breed of horse, the Anau horse being slightly smaller than the others.” (Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization, volume II, page 654.) It is important to recognize that this is much stronger evidence than mere artifacts, which are artists’ reproductions and not anatomical specimens that can be subjected to scientific examination.

Actually, the Harappans not only knew the horse, the whole issue of the ‘Harappan horse’ is irrelevant. In order to prove that the Vedas are of foreign origin, (and the horse came from Central Asia) one must produce positive evidence: it should be possible to show that the horse described in the Rigveda was brought from Central Asia. This is contradicted by the Rigveda itself. In verse I.162.18, the Rigveda describes the horse as having 34 ribs (17 pairs), while the Central Asian horse has 18 pairs (36) of ribs. We find a similar description in the Yajurveda also.

This means that the horse described in the Vedas is the native Indian breed (with 34 ribs) and not the Central Asian variety. Fossil remains of Equus Sivalensis (the ‘Siwalik horse’) show that the 34-ribbed horse has been known in India going back tens of thousands of years. This makes the whole argument based on “No horse at Harappa” irrelevant. The Vedic horse is a native Indian breed and not the Central Asian horse. As a result, far from supporting any Aryan invasion, the horse evidence furnishes one of its strongest refutations.

Man-made theories

All this suggests that man-made theories (like “No Harappan horse”) and those in linguistics cannot be used to override primary evidence like the Vedic Sarasvati (described below) and the dominant oceanic symbolism found in the Vedas. To see this we may note that South Indian languages like Kannada and Tamil have indigenous (desi) word for the horse—kudurai—suggesting that the horse has long been native to the region. The same is true of the tiger (puli and huli) and the elephant (aaney). Contrast this with the word for the lion—simha and singam—that are borrowed from Sanskrit, indicating that the lion was not native to the South. A man-made theory in linguistics, because it is not bound by laws of nature, can be made to cut both ways. It cannot take the place of evidence.

In any field it is important to take into account all the evidence, especially evidence of a fundamental nature. This can be illustrated with the help of what we now know about the Vedic river known as the Sarasvati. The Rigveda describes the Sarasvati as the greatest and the holiest of rivers— as ambitame, naditame, devitame (best of mothers, best of rivers, best goddess). Satellite photographs as well as field explorations by archaeologists, notably the great expedition led by the late V.S. Wakankar, have shown that a great river answering to the description of the Sarasvati in the Rigveda (flowing ‘from the mountains to the sea’) did indeed exist thousands of years ago. After many vicissitudes due to tectonic and other changes, it dried up completely by 1900 BC. This raises a fundamental question: how could the Aryans who are supposed to have arrived in India only in 1500 BC, and composed their Vedic hymns c. 1200 BC, have described and extolled a river that had disappeared five hundred years earlier? In addition, numerous Harappan sites have been found along the course of the now dry Sarasvati, which further strengthens the Vedic-Harappan connection. As a result, the Indus (or Harappan) civilization is more properly called the Indus-Sarasvati civilization.

The basic point of all this: we cannot construct a theory focusing on a few relatively minor details like the spoke-wheel while ignoring important, even monumental evidence like the Sarasvati River and the oceanic symbolism that dominates the Rigveda. (This shows that the Vedic people could not have come from a land-locked region like Afghanistan or Central Asia.) A historical theory, no less than a scientific theory, must take into account all available evidence. No less important, a man-made theory cannot take the place of primary evidence like the Sarasvati River or the oceanic descriptions in the Rigveda. This brings us back to Einstein— “A theory must not contradict empirical facts.” Nor can it ignore primary evidence.

[This article, which supplied evidence that demolished Witzel’s claims once and for all, drew the following response from Witzel. It is not hard to see that Witzel was concerned mainly with negating all evidence—from equine data to the Sarasvati River! He also failed to note that the possible presence of the ‘Siwalik horse’ for millions of years is further evidence against his thesis of the horse as a late arrival in India. Further, contrary to his claim, the 34 ribs of Indian, Southeast Asian and some Arab horses is a genetically inherited trait that cannot be wished away. Also, it is not just the Rigveda that mentions the 34-ribbed horse, but the Yajurveda as well. Editor]

HARAPPAN HORSE MYTHS AND THE SCIENCES

The horses found in the early excavations at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa do not come from secure levels and such `horse' bones, in most cases, found their way into deposits through erosional cutting and refilling, disturbing the archaeological layers.

Michael Witzel

In the Open Page of February 19, N.S. Rajaram posits a truism "A theory must not contradict empirical facts," but he then does not deliver on the `empirical facts.' As a scientist, he must suffer to be corrected, bluntly this time, by a mere philologist and Indologist. Philology, incidentally, is not the same as linguistics, as he says, but the study of a civilisation based on its texts. In order to understand such texts, one must acquire the necessary knowledge in all relevant fields, from astronomy to zoology. It is precisely a proper background in zoology, particularly in palaeontology, that is badly lacking in Rajaram's, the scientist's, account. Instead, it is he, and not his favorite straw man, the Indologist, who has created some new "myths and conjectures ... through the force of repetition." Let us deconstruct them one by one.

Harappan horses?

To begin with, he claims that "both the spoke-wheel and the horse were widely used by the Harappans." He quotes S.P. Gupta, without naming him, from a recent book (The Dawn of Indian Civilisation, ed. by G.C. Pande, 1999). According to Gupta the horse (Equus caballus) "was widely domesticated and used in India during the third millennium BC over most of the area covered by the Indus-Sarasvati (or Harappan) Civilisation. Archaeologically this is most significant since the evidence is widespread and not isolated." Nothing in this assertion is correct, even if — or rather because — it comes from an archaeologist and inventive rewriter of history, S.P. Gupta. For example, the horses found in the early excavations at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa do not come from secure levels and such `horse' bones, in most cases, found their way into deposits through erosional cutting and refilling, disturbing the archaeological layers.

Indeed, not one clear example of horse bones exists in the Indus excavations and elsewhere in North India before c. 1800 BCE (R. Meadow and A. Patel 1997, Meadow 1996: 405, 1998). Such `horse' skeletons have not been properly reported from distinct and secure archaeological layers, and worse, they have not been compared with relevant collections of ancient skeletons and modern horses (Meadow 1996: 392). Instead, well recorded and stratified finds of horse figures and later on, of horse bones (along with the imported camel and donkey), first occur in the Kachi plain on the border of Sindh/E. Baluchistan (c. 1800-1500 BCE), when the mature Indus Civilisation had already disintegrated.

Even more importantly, the only true native equid of South Asia is the untamable khur (Equus hemionus, onager/half-ass) that still tenuously survives in the Rann of Kutch. Both share a common ancestor which is now put at ca. 1.72 million years ago (while the first Equus specimen is attested already 3.7 mya.). The differences between a half-ass skeleton and that of a horse are so small that one needs a trained specialist plus the lucky find of the lower forelegs of a horse/onager to determine which is which, for "bones of a larger khur will overlap in size with those of a small horse, and bones of a small khur will overlap in size with those of a donkey." (Meadow 1996: 406).

To merely compare sizes, as Rajaram does following the dubious decades old Harappan data of Marshall, and then to connect the long gone "Equus Sivalensis" with the so-called "Anau horse", resulting in the "Indian country" type, is just another blunder, but Rajaram, the scientist, is not aware of it.

Proper judgment is not possible as long as none of the above precautions are taken, and when — as is often done — just incomplete skeletons or teeth are compared, all of which is done without the benefit of a suitable collection of standard sets of onager, donkey and horse skeletons. Rajaram and his fellow rewriters of history thus are free to turn any local half-ass into a Harappan horse, just as he has already done (see Frontline, Oct./Nov. 2000) with his half-bull.

Further, the archaeologists claiming to have found horses in Indus sites are not trained zoologists or palaeontologists. When I need to get my teeth fixed I do not go to a veterinarian or a beauty salon. Typically, S.P. Gupta (1999) does not add any new evidence, and just repeats palaeontologically unsubstantiated claims that are, to quote Rajaram, "myths and conjectures... through the force of repetition."

The Siwalik equid

In addition, Rajaram conjures up another phantom, the Siwalik horse: "fossil remains of Equus Sivalensis (the `Siwalik horse') show that the 34-ribbed horse has been known in India going back tens of thousands of years." Standard palaeontology handbooks (B.J. MacFadden, Fossil Horses, 1992) would have told him that the Siwalik horse, first found in the northern hills of Pakistan, is not just "going back tens of thousands of years" but is in fact 2.6 million years old. However, it has long died out during the last Ice Age, as part of the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction of about 10,000 years ago (i.e. at the end of the Late Upper Pleistocene, 75-10,000 y.a.: it is reportedly found in middle to late Pleistocene locations in the Siwaliks and in Tamil Nadu, and recently, as a "Great Indian horse" in Andhra, 75,000 y.a.). But there is, to my knowledge, no account of a Siwalik horse that even remotely approaches the date of the Indus Civilisation — nor does Rajaram quote any authority to this effect.

Nevertheless, in order to bolster his claim for the antiquity of the "Vedic horse (as) a native Indian breed", he connects this dead horse with the Rigvedic one, which is described as having 34 ribs (Rigveda 1.162.18). But, while horses (Equus caballus) generally have 18 ribs on each side, this can individually vary with 17 on just one or on both sides. This is not a genetically inherited trait. Such is also the case with the equally variable (5 instead of 6) lumbar vertebrae, as found in some early domestic horses in Egypt (2nd. mill. BCE) and in the closely related modern Central Asian Przewalski horse (which shares the same ancestor, 620-320,000 years ago, with the domestic horse/Equus ferus).

As for the number 34, numeral symbolism may play a role in this Rigveda passage dealing with a horse sacrificed for the gods. The number of gods in the Rigveda is 33 or 33+1, which obviously corresponds to the 34 ribs of the horse, that in turn is speculatively brought into connection with all the gods, many of whom are mentioned by name (Rigveda 1.162-3). But this is mere philology, not worthy of "scientific" study...

In sum, even S. Bokonyi, the palaeontologist who sought to identify a horse skeleton at the Surkotada site of the Indus Civilisation, stated that "horses reached the Indian subcontinent in an already domesticated form coming from the Inner Asiatic horse domestication centers" — just as they were imported into the ancient Near East about 2000 BCE. Any zoological handbook would have told the scientist Rajaram the same (MacFadden 1992).

In addition, the identification the Surkotada equid as horse by S. Bokonyi is disputed by R. Meadow and A. Patel (1997). Even if this were indeed the only archaeologically and palaeontologically secure Indus horse available so far, it would not turn the Indus Civilisation into one teeming with horses (as the Rigveda indeed is, a few hundred years later). A tiger skeleton in the Roman Colosseum does not make this Asian predator a natural inhabitant of Italy. In short, to state that the "Vedic horse is a native Indian breed and not the Central Asian horse" is just another fantasy of the current rewriters of Indian history.

Nevertheless, Rajaram even repeats some of his own "myths and conjectures, (which) through the force of repetition, have come to acquire the status of historical facts," namely the old canard that "depictions of the horse are known at Harappan sites, though rare" — a case of fraud and fantasy that has been exploded more than a year ago in Frontline (Oct./Nov. 2000). Apparently, he thinks, along with other politicians, that repeating an untruth long enough will turn it into a fact.

Spoke-wheeled chariots

Rajaram, in dire need of `Rigvedic' horse-drawn chariots for the Harappan period, then introduces spoked wheels into the Indus Civilisation: "terracotta wheels at various Harappan sites. ... The painted lines (spokes) converge at the central hub, and thus leave no doubt about their representing the spokes of the wheel."

The handful existing specimens of such terracotta disks may indeed look, even to a trained archaeologist, like a spoked wheel — especially when he wants to find Aryan chariots, just like Aryan fire altars, all over the Indus area. But, they may just as well have been simple spindle whorls, used in spinning very real yarn, not wild Aryan tales. Further, "spoked wheel patterns" occur in cultures that never had the wheel, such as pre-Columbian North American civilisations. In other words, all of this proves nothing as long as we do not find a pair of these "spoked wheels" in situ, along with a Harappan toy cart. Normally, the wheels of such toy carts are of the heavy, full wheel type (that is made of three interlocked wood blocks).

Rajaram then asserts, for good measure, that the "depiction of the spoke-wheel is quite common on Harappan seals." This refers to the wheel-like signs in Harappan script. Unfortunately, these "wheels" can easily be explained as unrelated artistic designs (like in the N. American case). Worse, they mostly are oblong ovals, not circles. A Harappan businessman using a cart with such wheels would have gotten seasick pretty soon. They are unfit for travel — and for the discerning reader's consumption.

Instead, the rich Rigvedic materials dealing with the horse-drawn chariot and chariot races do not fit at all with Indus dates (2600-1900 BCE) and rather put this text and its chariots well after c. 2000 BCE, the archaeologically accepted timeframe of the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot in the northern steppes and in the Near East. Again, Rajaram's fantasised "Late Vedic" Indus people have scored a "first": they invented the chariot long before archaeologists can find it anywhere on the planet!

"Aryan" chariots

There is no need to go deeply into his building up the straw man of Aryan invasions (i.e. immigration of speakers of Indo-Aryan), involving a need to "prove that the Vedas are of foreign origin." No one today maintains such a theory anyhow. Instead, the Rigveda is a text of the Greater Punjab, indicating a lot of local acculturation but using a language and poetics that go back to the earlier Indo-Iranian period in Central Asia (c. 2000 BCE).

Equally misleading is his caricature: "without the horse and the spoke-wheel the Harappans were militarily vulnerable to the invading Aryan hordes who moved on speedy, horse-drawn chariots with spoke-wheels." As has been mentioned here a few weeks ago, nobody today claims that the Indo-Aryan speakers arrived on the scene when the mature Indus Civilisation still was flourishing and destroyed it, it in whatever fashion. Instead, there is a gap of some centuries between the two cultures, as the descriptions of ruins and simple mud wall/palisade forts (pur) in the Rigveda indicate. Vedic texts tell us that the pastoralist Indo-Aryan nobility fought from chariots, and the commoners on horseback and on foot, with the local people (dasyu) of the small, post-Harappan settlements who, like the Kikata, are said not even to understand "the use of cows." Next to warfare there also was peaceful acculturation of the various peoples in the Greater Punjab, as is shown by the Rigveda itself.

As for a chariot use, a brief study of ancient Near Eastern warfare would have done the `historian' Rajaram some good. It is clear to even a superficial reader that after c. 1600 BCE the Hyksos, Hittites, etc., used such chariots, not just for show and sport but also in battle, such as in the famous battle of Kadesh between the Hittites and Egyptians in 1300 BCE. Chariots were in fact used as late as in Alexander's battle with Poros (Paurava) in the Punjab, or by the contemporary Magadha army with its 3,000 elephants and 2,000 chariots. Why then all this diatribe about the "Aryan" use of chariots in favorable, flat terrain? (Not, of course, while "thundering down the Khyber Pass"!)

Foray into linguistics

Mercifully, Rajaram has spared us, this time, his usual assaults on the "pseudo-science" of linguistics, and instead tries his own hand at it, and teaches us some Dravidian: kudirai `horse,' which should prove that the horse has been native to South India forever. However, his foray into linguistics is incomplete and misleading.

First, Tamil kutirai, Kannada kudire, Telugu kudira, etc. have been compared by linguists, decades ago, with ancient Near Eastern words: Elamite kutira `bearer', kuti `to bear.' The Drav. words Brahui (h)ullii `horse' and Tam. ivuLi are derived from `half-ass, hemion' (T. Burrow in 1972). Both words, far from being `native South Indian', thus were coming in from the northwest.

Second, other Indian language families have such `foreign' words as seen in Munda (Koraput) kurtag, (Korku) gurgi, kurki, (Sabara/Sora) kurtaa, (Gadaba) krutaa, which are all derived from Tibeto-Burmese, for example Tsangla (Bhutan) kurtaa, Tib. rta. We know that Himalayan ponies have always been brought southwards by salt traders and with them, of course, their names. There also is the independent and isolated Burushaski (in N. Pakistan) with ha-ghur, cf. Drav. gur- in Telugu guRRamu, Gondi gurram, etc., and the Austro-Asiatic Khasi (in Shillong) kulai, Amwi kurwa', etc., — all of which again point to a northern origin. (For details see: EJVS 5-1, Aug. 1999, http://users.primushost.com/india/ejvs, or: International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, 2001).

Far from magically proving, with one Dravidian word, that the "native Indian horse" has been found in the South since times immemorial, the "man made theory" of linguistics --just as the hard facts of palaeontological science — rather indicate that the words for `horse' were imported, along with the animal, from the (north)western (Iranian) and northern (Tibetan) areas. Genetics now add another facet. The domesticated horse seems to have several (steppe) maternal DNA lines (Science 291, 2001, 474-477; Science 291, 2001, 412; cf. Conservation Genetics 1, 2000, 341-355), which fits in very well with the several northern Eurasian words for it mentioned above. The Eastern Central Asian words must be added; they all probably derive from Proto-Altaic *mori (as in Mongolian morin, Chinese ma, Japanese uma, and as surprisingly also found in Irish marc, English mare).

The Harappan Sarasvati

The case of the Vedic Sarasvati river (the modern Sarsuti-Ghagghar-Hakra) is complex and cannot be dealt with in detail (see, rather, EJVS 7-3, section 25). It must be pointed out, however, that the Rigvedic Sarasvati is a river on earth, a `river' in the sky (Milky Way), and a goddess, and as such Sarasvati is described in superlative terms, once as flowing `from the mountains to the sea' (samudra). However, this word has several meanings that must be kept apart: `confluence, lake, mythical ocean surrounding the earth'; the sky, too, is called a `pond'! To commingle all of this as samudra `Indian Ocean' is bad philology.

In addition, far from emptying into the Rann of Kutch then, the Harappan Sarasvati (`having lakes'), disappears as Hakra in the dunes around and beyond Ft. Derawar in Bahawalpur, after showing signs of a delta (playa) and of terminal lakes, just like its Iranian namesake in the Afghani desert, the Haraxvaiti (Helmand) with its Hamun lakes.

Further, simple satellite photographs also do not show when a river dried up, as the Ghagghar-Hakra has indeed done several times in its different sections in recent millennia. This was shown in detail for the Indus and Vedic periods by the former director of Pakistani archaeology, Rafique Mughal, in his book Ancient Cholistan (1997). Rajaram again is simply wrong as a scientist in asserting that the river conveniently "dried up completely by 1900 BC." Reality is much more complex.

Actually, much of this has been known since Oldham and Raverty (1886, 1892). (Thus, I myself have printed a Sarasvati map, based on a lecture of 1983, before the overquoted satellite photos of Yash Pal et al. were published in 1984). However, we need many more close observations such as Mughal's, with archaeologically vouched dates for the individual settlements along the various sections and several courses of the river.

Finally, the "oceanic descriptions" of the Rigveda imagined by Rajaram and many other rewriters of history (such as S.P. Gupta, Bh. Singh, D. Frawley) are based, again, on bad philology: their "data" are taken from Vedic mythology, floating in the night time sky, and the like! Or was Bhujyu abducted on another first, a Vedic airship?

[Witzel’s article drew the following response from Nagaswamy, former Director of Archaeology in Tamil Nadu. It appeared in The Hindu, March 12, 2002. Particular attention is to be paid to the section ‘Problems are Complex’ where Mr. Nagaswamy dissects Witzel’s methodology of trying to negate evidence, and shifting arguments. Editor]

HARAPPAN HORSE

There is an urgent need to jettison from our textbooks the unproved statements on Indian civilisation and consign them to academic polemics, and keep the power mongering self-seeking Taliban politicians out of educational field.

R. Nagaswamy

THE READERS have been following closely the debate on Harappan civilisation, published in The Hindu in its Open Page. The latest article by Michael Witzel (March 5) seems to be taking a partisan view. Archaeologists have found certain artefacts and scholars are trying to infer the meaning of the findings and in the process express divergent views. Such debates are welcome to advance our knowledge academically, no matter where it comes from. Unfortunately, Witzel's present article reads personal rather than an academic presentation. For example, he ridicules the other writer N.S. Rajaram personally by repeating his name time and again, with personal digs in every mention. Witzel is not free from the same fault that he attributes to Rajaram, as in the example of horse in Harappan sites. He states the horse bones found in the early excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harappa do not come from secure levels, and such horse bones "found their way into deposits through erosion cutting and refilling, disturbing the archaeological layers." Neither does he say how he arrived at this conclusion nor has he cited any report in support of his view.

Whatever the case may be, it only shows that horse bones were actually found in the excavations at Harappan sites. In order to justify his stand he writes that Marshal's Harappan data are "dubious and decades old." One cannot throw away the data presented by Marshal as it is the earliest available archaeological report and it is not possible at this point of time to say suddenly that Marshal has not reported that layers that were eroded and disturbed in places where horse bones have been found. One may ask Witzel to state on what basis he says that the layers that yielded horse bones in more than one site as at Mohenjodaro and Harappa were eroded and disturbed and the bones got mixed up? Does he want us to believe that in both the sites, the same layers yielding horse bones got mixed up in eroded layers? There are three major excavations conducted at Mohenjodaro and Harappa namely by Marshal, Mackey and Mortimer Wheeler.

Reports of excavations

George F Dales, who was the last in the series to investigate the sites, published his findings "Some unpublished, forgotten or misinterpreted features on Mohenjodaro" in the book Harappan Civilisation, published by the American Institute of Indian Studies, 1982. He has stated that the reports of all the three great excavations including that of Wheeler are "incomplete and suffer from serious losses." Dales states that there is "no end to speculation that these claims have aroused but it is impossible to reach objective conclusions with the published details." It is not at all possible to assess that the layers were disturbed unless other factual evidences are shown to approve the disturbed conditions.

Michael Witzel also states that conclusions cannot be arrived at with incomplete bones. Yes. However there cannot be two sets of standards in dealing with the matter. For example, he questions the views of Rajaram, but does not show whether R. Meadow, whose conclusions he supports, based his views on "a full skeleton or full sets of onager, donkey, or horse skeletons." Further it is known that there are very rare examples where the full skeletons of animals have been found in excavations. Are we not aware that most of the reconstructions of dinosaurs are based not on full skeletons? Archaeologists reconstruct several cultures with broken pottery. At one place he admits that clear examples of horse bones are found in Harappan civilisation after 1800 BCE, which still falls in the late Harappan period. Witzel has a dig at archaeologists that they are not zoologists or palaeontologists to comment on animal bones. This would apply equally to Witzel who is not a trained archaeologist to comment on this science. No archaeologist is expert in all fields but certainly consults experts before expressing his comments on which he has no expertise.

Problems are complex

To sum up Witzel's arguments proceed on the following lines: (1) No horse bone has been found in Harappan sites. (2) When pointed out that they are found in some instances, it is said they are only fragments and not full skeletons. (3) When pointed out they were found in more than one site it is said the layers in which they were found ought to have been eroded ones or disturbed. (4) When pointed out that the reports of horse bones were not by present day archaeologists but by the early pioneers it is said that those are dubious and decades old. (5) When pointed out they were reported by archaeological excavators then comes the argument that archaeologists are not trained zoologists and palaeontologists to comment on horse bones (though by the same argument no credence can be placed on Witzel's opinion as he is neither an archaeologist nor a palaeontologist). Such arguments are brought under reductio ad absurdum by logicians. More examples of willful rejections of points can be cited throughout the article but suffice to say that for an unbiased reader, the whole article reads purely a personal attack on an individual writer and exhibits certain amount of impatience to listen to other view. This does not mean that I agree with either of the views on the Aryan problem except stating that we are yet not in a position to go with either of the views for lack of evidence and would prefer to wait for further discoveries.

The debate has undoubtedly focused on one aspect of Harappan civilisation: the problems are complex and the data available are inadequate to come to any conclusion. The vital question that is not in the debate by the general reader is that in the past 50 years of India's independence, the unproved inferential views of these scholars, some of which have been proved totally wrong as in the case of "the total massacre of the Harappans by the invading barbaric Aryans", are fully incorporated in our school textbooks, right from the third or fourth standards. Wheeler dramatised this theory vehemently that invading Aryans destroyed the Harappan civilisation and within ten years he was proved totally wrong by new finds of several Harappan sites spread in space and time. And yet millions of children of India have been indoctrinated and brainwashed with these views for the past five decades, and that has caused immense damage to scientific knowledge. Is there any one party in India today which will repent for this incalculable damage? Are we justified in continuing to brainwash our generations of children? Is it not time that we remove these from school books and confine such debates to post-graduate community of the country and our children are told only the factual history. A perusal of the books would show enormous imbalances in representing regional and dynastic histories. It may be seen, for example, that South Indian history receives inadequate representation. The rule of the Pallavas, Cholas or Chalukyas that lasted for over four hundred years each and had glorious achievements in all fields gets summary representation, when compared with Mughal rule and the Colonial rule that did not last even half that period. South India has witnessed exemplary democratic institutions at the village level for several centuries in the medieval period that is yet to be brought to the notice of the children. Surely there is no proportionate representation.

While the Western history gets exalted position in all fields, the history of South East Asia like Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and even China does not even get a cursory mention. There is clearly an urgent need to jettison from the books the unproved statements on Indian civilisation and consign them to academic polemics, keep the power-mongering self-seeking Taliban politicians out of educational field, and seek a proportionate place for Indian civilisation in our textbooks. In fact Witzel has agreed to the need to revise Indian history in his earlier article, which should be entrusted to a body of unbiased and balanced academic body free from racial, religious or political bias.

[What Witzel has to do with this is unclear. His record so far does not inspire confidence in his unbaisedness. His scholarly contribution is also negligible— he is known more for his personal attacks on Indian scholars, especially Rajaram than any substantial contribution. Also, are there not enough Indian scholars capable of writing Indian history? Is it necessary to go to someone who struggling to save what is left of his reputation, both as a scholar and as a human being? Editor]

CLOSING THE CHAPTER ON THE ‘ARYAN PROBLEM’

Recent findings combined with the British admission of its complicity in propagating the Aryan invasion as an imperial tool should put an end to the debate.

Navaratna Rajaram
Background

No single aspect of ancient Indian history and historiography has so dominated historical discourse as the so-called ‘Aryan problem.’ There is the Aryan invasion that is supposed to have brought the Vedic civilization and the ‘Aryan’ language (Sanskrit), the Aryan race, and even an Aryan nation thousands of years later, of all places in Germany! Even archaeology has not escaped the Aryan assault, with scholars claiming that the Harappan civilization was non-Aryan, destroyed by the invading Aryans, who, of all things are supposed to have introduced the horse into India, ignoring the fact that horse fossils in India are over a million years old.

Recent findings in population genetics, literary studies and official British admission regarding the ‘special conditions’ (as Huxley called it) that led to its being foisted as the central dogma of ancient Indian historiography allow us to close the sorry chapter on the so-called Aryan problem. These ‘special conditions’ grew out of nineteenth- and twentieth century political currents— of German nationalism and British imperial needs.

We will close the article by presenting in one place a summary of the basic scientific facts that will put an end to all Aryan theories. This will give this pernicious myth its long overdue burial.

Aryan myth fostered in ‘special conditions’

The notion that Indians are one branch of a common stock of people who lived originally in Central Asia or in the Eurasian steppes arose in the late eighteenth century. It began as a linguistic theory to account for similarities between Sanskrit and classical European languages like Greek and Latin. From this modest beginning it soon acquired a life of its own when scholars, especially in Germany, concluded that Europeans and ancient Indians were two branches of a people they called Aryans and later as Indo-Europeans. A whole new academic discipline called Indo-European studies came into existence whose very survival is now at stake.

The Aryan theory, which began life as a linguistic theory soon acquired a biological form. Scholars, mostly linguists, began to talk about not just Aryan languages, but also an Aryan race. Since Indology had its greatest flowering in nineteenth century Germany, it is not surprising that racial ideas that shaped German nationalism should have found their way into scholarly discourse on India. The Indo-European hypothesis and its offshoot of the Aryan invasion (or migration) theory came to dominate this discourse for over a century. The German born Oxford linguist Friederich Max Müller was the most influential proponent of this theory. 1

It is important to recognize that the people who created this theory were linguists, and even theologians like Bishop Caldwell— not biologists. Scientists, including German scientists had little use for it. As far back as 1939, Sir Julian Huxley, one of the great natural scientists of the twentieth century observed: 2

In 1848, the young German scholar Friederich Max Müller (1823 – 1900) settled in Oxford…. About 1853 he introduced into the English language the unlucky term Aryan as applied to a large group of languages. …

Moreover, Max Müller threw another apple of discord. He introduced a proposition that is demonstrably false. He spoke not only of a definite Aryan language and its descendants, but also of a corresponding ‘Aryan race’. The idea was rapidly taken up both in Germany and in England. (Ibid.)

Here is what Huxley had to say regarding the scientific view at the time (1939):

In England and America the phrase ‘Aryan race’ has quite ceased to be used by writers with scientific knowledge, though it appears occasionally in political and propagandist literature…. In Germany, the idea of the ‘Aryan race’ received no more scientific support than in England. Nevertheless, it found able and very persistent literary advocates who made it appear very flattering to local vanity. It therefore steadily spread, fostered by special conditions. (Ibid)

These ‘special conditions’ were the rise of Nazism in Germany and British imperial interests in India. While both Germany and Britain took to the idea of the Aryan race, its fate in the two countries was somewhat different. Its perversion in Germany leading eventually to Nazism and its horrors is too well known to be repeated here. The British, however, put it to more creative use for imperial purposes, especially as a tool in making their rule acceptable to Indians. A recent BBC report admitted (October 6, 2005):

It [the Aryan invasion theory] gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier. 3

That is to say, the British presented themselves as a ‘new and improved brand of Aryans’ who were only completing the work left undone by their ancestors in the hoary past. This is how the British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin put it in the House of Commons in 1929:

Now, after ages, …the two branches of the great Aryan ancestry have again been brought together by Providence… By establishing British rule in India, God said to the British, “I have brought you and the Indians together after a long separation, …it is your duty to raise them to their own level as quickly as possible …brothers as you are…”

This leaves little to the imagination. Today it is sustained by other ‘special conditions’, like political chauvinism in India, and vested interests in the survival of Indo-European studies in Western academia. It is only a matter of time before this vestige of colonial politics disappears from the scene making way for a more rational approach to the study of ancient India. This is already happening. What follows is a brief summary of the different aspects of this aberration of scholarship.

Language and literature: tail wags the dog

In the whole of the Rigveda, consisting of ten books containing more than a thousand hymns, the word ‘Arya’ appears fewer than 40 times. It may occur as many times in a single page of a modern European work, like for example, in Hitler’s Mein Kampf. As a result, any modern book or even discussion on the ‘Aryan problem’ is likely to be a commentary on the voluminous 19th and 20th century European literature on the Aryans that may have little or no relevance to ancient India. This is simply a matter of the sources: not only the Rigveda, but also the whole body of ancient literature that followed it have precious little to say about Aryans and Aryanism. It was simply an honorific, which the ancient Sanskrit lexicon known as the Amarakosha identifies as one of the synonyms for honorable or decent conduct. There is no reference to any ‘Aryan’ type.

A remarkable aspect of this vast “Aryanology” is that after two hundred years and at least as many books on the subject scholars are still not clear about the Aryan identity. At first they were supposed to be a race distinguished by some physical traits, but ancient texts know nothing of it. Scientists too have no use for the ‘Aryan race.’ As we already noted, as far back as 1939, Julian Huxley, one of the great biologists of the 20th century, dismissed it as part of “political and propagandist” literature.

Recently, there have been attempts to revive racial arguments in the name of genome research, but eminent geneticists like L. Cavalli-Sforza and Stephen Oppenheimer have rejected it. The M17 genetic marker, which is supposed to distinguish the ‘Caucasian’ type (politically correct for Aryan), occurs with the highest frequency and diversity in India, showing that among its carriers, the Indian population is the oldest. (More of this later.)

It is a similar situation with the Aryans as a linguistic group, which is what some scholars, sensitive to the disrepute that race theories have fallen into are proposing. The vast body of Indian literature on linguistics, the richest in the world going back at least to Yaska and Panini, knows nothing of any Aryan language.

The German-born Friedrich Max Müller made his celebrated switch from Aryan race to Aryan language only to save his career in England following German unification, when the British began to see Germany as a major threat. The ‘Aryan nation’ was the battle cry of German nationalists. It was German nationalists, not ancient Indians who were obsessed with their Aryan ancestry.

All this means that the ‘Aryan problem’ is a non-problem— little more than an aberration of historiography. It has been kept alive by a school of historians with careers and reputations at stake. According to its advocates, the Vedic language and literature are of non-Indian origin, brought into India by invading (or migrating) Aryans. In other words, Aryans are needed because without them there can be no Aryan invasion (or migration). Invasion is the tail that wags the Aryan dog.
Linguistic theory fails scientific tests

The human species is unique in its ability to transmit what it has acquired in one generation to succeeding generations non-biologically. Other animal species depend on biological processes like natural selection and mutation—the main creative forces in evolution—to pass on their traits to their offspring and beyond. For example, a dog or a horse that has been taught to do tricks in a circus does not produce offspring that are born with the same skill; nor does it have the means or the tools to train them. Humans on the other hand have evolved the tools to pass on what they have learnt to succeeding generations. This important tool is language and its offshoots like mathematics.

The importance of language, by which we mean spoken language, to the evolution of culture and civilization can hardly be exaggerated. This fact has been recognized from the earliest time. All civilizations, the Vedas perhaps more so than other sources, accord the highest importance to speech.

At the same time it is important to distinguish between language and writing. Since written records go back only some 5,000 years, trying to reconstruct ancient, long disappeared languages on the basis of inscriptions and other records is bound to lead to errors. But this is what linguists have set out to do in constructing what are called proto-languages like proto-Indo European, proto-Dravidian and the like. They have compounded the confusion by assigning dates to their largely imaginary events like the branching of splitting of a real language (like Sanskrit) from a hypothetical language like Indo-Iranian of which there is no record.

This has had a two-fold and largely negative effect in the study of ancient texts. First they have shifted the field of study of ancient Indian records from India to Europe and Eurasia, while largely ignoring Southeast Asia. Next, by adopting a time scale based on written records that go back only about 5,000 years, they imposed a chronology on languages that go back at least ten times that long. As a specific example, scholars assigned a date of 1500 B.C. to the Rigveda, while archaeological and astronomical evidence shows that much of the Rigveda had been completed at least 2000 years earlier.

(It is not widely known that this was driven partly by Biblical beliefs, in particular the superstition that the world was created on 23 October 4004 B.C.E.!)

Chronology is not the only problem with linguistics as a tool in history. They fail scientific tests also. When mathematicians Kruksal, Dyen and Black applied statistical tests to the languages that make up the Indo-European family, they found extraordinary results that completely contradicted the most basic assumption of linguists— that they form a language family. The most important member is of course Sanskrit, but their analysis threw up a major contradiction: Indian and Iranian languages failed the grouping test! This is a bombshell, for according to Indo European linguistics, Indo-Iranian is the lynchpin of the whole discipline, but the one quantitative test that was applied to the hypothesis discredited it. 4

Struck by this, Cavalli-Sforza highlighted that the Kruksal, Dyen and Black study “…found no similarity at all between Italic and Celtic languages, nor between Indian and Iranian ones… The non-identification of an Indo-Iranian group by Dyen, et al. is the major departure from the conclusions accepted by the majority of traditional linguists.” 5

The result is so devastating to linguistics that linguists rarely mention it. In addition to its scientific unsoundness, linguistic theories and their conclusions cannot be crosschecked with other sources and empirical data. It is usually a question of accepting one theory or other, neither of which may be scientifically valid. Since Indian and Iranian languages are obviously related, this can only mean that the methodology developed by comparative linguists must be wrong.

When we turn to science the picture we obtain is dramatically different. The emergence of molecular biology and the growth of population genetics in the second half of the twentieth century have delivered the coup de grace to this pseudo-discipline. The story which science has to tell us is very different from what had been believed for well over a century. What follows is a summing up of the current state of knowledge of human populations and their movements, beginning with an elementary discussion of population genetics.

Inherited and acquired traits

The Aryan invasion (or migration) theory is only one of several theories created during the European colonial period. Most of them start with the belief that civilizations in different parts of the world began with a massive migration from a central homeland. This belief is usually presented in terms of arguments based on the physical appearance of different population groups. Skin, hair and eye color get extraordinary attention and importance in this ‘science’. The emergence of genetics, which is the study of inheritance, has discredited the whole approach.

Two key concepts play a fundamental role in the scientific study of populations, including human populations: genotype and phenotype. Genotype is what we inherit and phenotype is what is observable. The most common error is to confuse the phenotype, or an observable feature like skin color for an inherited trait (genotype) without taking note of the environment in which it evolved.

Here is the key issue: any phenotype (observable feature) is the result of the interaction between the genotype (inherited factors) and the environment. The same genotype can produce different phenotypes in different environments, or even if the environment changes over time as almost all environments do. This is why people in different parts of the world look different even though all of us are descended from Africans. By ‘environment’ we mean external factors that include food habits and diseases that result in adaptation as well as the elimination of those unfit to survive. (This is called natural selection, but can also be called natural elimination.)

Most changes brought on by the interaction between inherited features (genotype) and the environment take thousands to tens of thousands of years, if not more. A phenotype (like skin color) that we observe in an individual or a group today is the result of this long evolutionary history. To disentangle a specific original trait from features observed today is next to impossible since the environment has also changed with the phenotype. For example, Europeans today, whose ancestors came from South Asia perhaps 40,000 years ago, look quite different from what their ancestors did when they first arrived in Europe.

To compound the difficulty, differences between individuals within a group are always greater than the differences between different groups. That is to say, human beings now inhabiting the world are extraordinarily close, genetically speaking, though they exhibit great variability in observable traits (phenotypes) like physical appearance. They are a complex mix of inheritance and environment.

Although all of us share a common origin, the contribution of the environments in which we have evolved is what accounts for the extraordinary diversity in appearance of humans that we see today.

This fact makes it virtually impossible to trace the origin of any population based purely on physical appearance since the environment in which it evolved cannot be recreated. This means we have to find some inherited traits that have been preserved over very long periods and are independent across environments. This is never easy. 6

Harvard geneticist Lewontin puts it this way: “Reconstructing the evolutionary past of the human species is almost as difficult as predicting the future, although both are common exercises that biologists engage in, especially when they address a nonscientific public.” 7

In using genetic data to study ancient populations and their migrations, all we can do at this time is to look at some traits that are not affected by the environment and study their distribution among different human groups. It is important to note that this cannot be a phenotype or a superficially observable feature like skin color, which is the result of interaction between what is inherited and the environment. 8

A particular trait that we choose as characterizing a population group is called a genetic marker. One such marker that has proven useful is the M17 genetic marker. It is common in India and in adjacent regions but becomes increasingly rare as we move westward into Europe. This, combined with the fact that Indian carriers of M17 are genetically more diverse than European carriers shows that the Indian population is older than the European. 9

Space, time and genes

Population geneticists have identified two objects that carry genetic information that is passed on from generation to generation. They are the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the Y-chromosome. mtDNA is inherited through the female line (or from mother to daughter) while the Y-chromosome is transmitted through the male line. There are individual quirks in these cells that are specific to regions like Africa, India, Southeast Asia and so forth. These are the genetic markers we look for. Mapping them allows us to study the possible origins of different population groups now inhabiting the globe. For example, we know that all humans living in the world today are descended from a relatively small African population because Africa contains almost all the genetic markers found in other parts of the world, but the reverse is not true. 10

Following more than a century of research in genetics, especially molecular genetics, it is becoming possible to trace the origins of different population groups in the world. It is important however to approach it with care and avoid pitfalls. In particular, since all humans living in the world today have 99.98 percent of their genes in common, almost any two groups can be found to be genetically similar. Failing to recognize this has led to absurd conclusions like the claim that upper caste Indians are of European origin, who “imposed the oppressive caste system” on the indigenous population. (There is no oppressor gene.)

The error here was in assigning biological causes to a man-made classification like caste. Nature, however, does not recognize man-made boundaries. Similar claims can be made for religion— like finding a genetic basis for Christianity. Taking this a step further, one may identify Catholic genes, Protestant genes, and presumably even Mormon genes in Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of the Mormon Church, where the claim about genes and caste was first made. 11

Similar demonstrably false claims have been made about language, social habits and the like that can have no biological basis. The error lies in confusing the phenotype for a genotype. In addition, some workers have tried to use genetics to justify their own beliefs and pet theories like the Aryan invasion. This has led to absurdities like one group claiming that only males migrated (more of which later) while another claimed only females did! Obviously both cannot be true, but both can be false.

After some initial hiccups, the definitive statement about the genetic composition of the Indian population was summarized as follows by researchers led by Luigi Cavalli-Sforza: 12

Taken together, these results show that Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene. The phylogeography [neighboring branches] of the primal mtDNA and Y-chromosome founders suggests that these southern Asian Pleistocene coastal settlers from Africa would have provided the inocula for the subsequent differentiation of the distinctive eastern and western Eurasian gene pools.” (Italics added.)

Noting that mtDNA is carried by the female line, while Y-chromosome is passed on through the male line, what this means is that the Indian population is largely indigenous in origin and has received negligible external input (gene flow) since the end of the last Ice Age (Holocene). This means that various migration theories like the Aryan invasion in 1500 B.C.E. simply cannot be true.

The Oxford geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer is more specific and also more emphatic, focusing on the M17 or the so-called ‘Caucasoid’ (politically correct for ‘Aryan’) genetic marker: 13

…South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17 and his [Sic] ancestors; and sure enough we find highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17 line in Pakistan, India and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 is not only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia, but diversity characterizes its presence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a marker of a ‘male Aryan invasion’ of India. [Italics added.]

So there was no Aryan invasion— of males or of females. This also means that the tribal or the so-called ‘indigenous’ populations of India are not any different from the people making up the bulk of the Indian population, which is what Cavalli-Sforza and his colleagues also found. As Oppenheimer observes, genetics is quite specific on this point.

One age estimate for the origin of this line in India is as much as 51,000 years. All this suggests that M17 could have found his [Sic] way initially from India or Pakistan, through Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming to Europe. (Ibid)

It is worth noting that this is the exact reverse of the scenario postulated by various invasion/migration theories including the Aryan invasion theory. This is not by any means the last word on population genetics, but new findings are unlikely to salvage these 19th centuries theories or their modern incarnations founded on beliefs and political needs.

This is not the whole story. As Oppenheimer and others have noted, while gene exchange between India and Europe in the Holocene (post Ice Age) and earlier is negligible to non-existent, the people of India — both North and South — and of Southeast Asia are genetically extremely close.

All this forces us to accept the following basic scientific fact: outside of Africa, South Asia contains the world’s oldest populations, and modern Europeans are themselves among the peoples descended from migrants from India, going back more than 40,000 years. This should be the starting point for studying history in the Holocene or the post Ice Age period.

Notes and References

1. He later repudiated the racial aspect of the Aryan theory insisting that it was entirely linguistic. This though was due to political developments in Europe, notably German unification following the Franco-Prussian War and the emergence of Germany as Britain’s greatest rival. Max Müller, originally a staunch German nationalist, had to renounce his Aryan race theory to save his position at Oxford. For details see Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization by Rajaram and Frawley (2001), New Delhi: voice of India.

2. Oxford Pamphlet No. 5, OUP: p 9. See also Rajaram and Frawley Op. Cit. p 37.

3. Available on the Internet at Click.

4. The Vocabulary and Method of Reconstructing Language Trees: Innovations and Large Scale Applications by J.B. Kruksal, I. Dyen and P. Black, in Mathematics in the Archaeological and Historical Sciences (1971) edited by F.R. Hodson, D.G. Kendall, and P. Tatu, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

5. Great Human Diasporas, Addison-Wesley, 1995: page 190.

6. There are further complicating factors like mutation and genetic drift that need not concern us here.

7. Human Diversity by Richard Lewontin (2000), New York: Scientific American Library, p 163.

8. Skin color tends to get darker as we move closer to the equator and lighter as we move towards the poles. This is the result of natural selection. Human pigmentation has evolved to be dark enough to prevent sunlight from destroying the nutrient called folate but light enough to foster the production of vitamin D. The fact that we see wide variation in skin color in India and Europe is evidence that they have lived there long enough for natural selection to work and therefore not recent migrants.

9. It is a basic law of population genetics that older a population group, more genetically diverse it is. Africa is genetically the most diverse continent because it contains the oldest humans. In contrast, Native Americans are the least diverse because they are more recent comers to the region. (This does not apply to countries like the United States and Australia that are composed for the most part of recent immigrants. They have not lived long enough for evolution to work.)

10. This means that the genotype responsible for fair skin and light eyes that is common in Europe is present in Africa but does not come into play because of the tropical environment.

11. Genetic Evidence on the Origin of Indian Caste Populations by M. Bamshad, T. Kivisild, W.S. Watkins, M.E. Dixon, C.E. Ricker, B.B. Rao, J.M. Naidu, B.V.R. Prasad, P.G. Reddy, A. Rasanagam, et al. 2001, Genome Research 11, pp 994 – 1004. (This article has a checkered history. When Rajaram pointed out the fallacies in the article to the editor of Genome Research, he responded that he was not the one responsible for its publication!)

12. The Genetic Heritage of the Earliest Settlers Persist Both in Indian Tribal and Caste Populations: by T. Kisilvid, S. Rootsi, M. Metspahi, S. Mastana, K. Kaldma, J. Parik, E. Metspalu, M. Adojan, H.-V. Tolk, V. Stepanov, M. Gölge, E. Usanga, S.S. Papiha, C. Cinniğolu, R. King, L. Cavalli-Sforza, P.A. Unterhill and R. Villems. 2003. American Journal of Human Genetics, 72: pp 313 – 332.

13. Out of Eden: The peopling of the world by Stephen Oppenheimer (2003): London: Constable, page 152.

Joint Statement of the India - U. S. Defense Policy Group

December 04, 2001
New Delhi

The third meeting of the India-U. S. Defense Policy Group (DPG) was held in New Delhi on December 3-4, 2001. The meeting was co-Chaired by Dr. Yogendra Narain, Defense Secretary to the Government of India and Mr. Douglas Feith, Under Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Defense. During his visit to New Delhi, Mr. Feith called on Defense Minister George Fernandes, Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh, Principal Secretary to PM and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and Chief of Army Staff.

During their meeting on 9 November 2001 in Washington D.C., Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Bush reiterated their commitment to transform India-U. S. relations. The common democratic traditions of our countries remain the bedrock of their relationship and the foundation for long-term strategic cooperation. Collaboration within the community of democratic states constitutes the best strategy for preserving the security, the liberty, and the prosperity of open, pluralistic and multi-ethnic societies. India and the United States agree that they share strategic interests in Asia and beyond and that their defense and security cooperation can promote freedom, global peace, economic progress, and security. A strengthened bilateral relationship will assist both countries to counter threats such as the spread of weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism, narcotic trafficking and piracy. They discussed the contribution that missile defenses could make to enhance strategic stability and to discourage the proliferation of ballistic missiles with weapons of mass destruction.

The two sides exchanged views on the global campaign against international terrorism. They emphasized that the military operation against the Taliban and the Al-Qaida network in Afghanistan is an important step in the global war against terrorism and its sponsors everywhere in the world. They expressed satisfaction at the cooperation between the two countries in the ongoing campaign in Afghanistan. Noting that both India and the United States have been targets of terrorism, the two sides agreed to add a new emphasis in their defense cooperation on counter- terrorism initiatives, including expanding mutual support in this area. The two sides also recognized the importance of joint counter-proliferation efforts to achieve the goals of their defense cooperation.

Both delegations reviewed the on-going defense cooperation between India and the United States. They committed themselves to increasing substantially the pace of the high- level policy dialogue, military-to-military exchanges and other joint activities. As part of this effort, the DPG’s next meeting will convene on an accelerated schedule in May 2002, preceded by a meeting of the Military Cooperation Group.

India and the United States have agreed that the Executive Steering Group of the three Services of the two countries would meet before the end of February 2002, to plan and review military-to-military cooperation and oversee implementation of the visits, exercises, and training programs:

Training for combined humanitarian airlift.
Combined special operations training.
Small unit ground / air exercises.
Naval joint personnel exchange and familiarization.
Combined training exercises between U.S. Marines and corresponding Indian forces.
The two sides underscored the importance of a stable, long- term defense supply relationship as part of the overall strategic cooperation between India and the United States. Since the waiver of sanctions, a number of applications for export licenses have been approved by the U.S. Departments of State and Defense and are in the process of notification to Congress. These include licenses such as that related to weapon locating radars. The U.S. also agreed to expeditious review of India’s acquisition priorities, including Engines and Systems for Light Combat Aircraft, radars, multi-mission maritime aircraft, components for jet trainers and high performance jet engines. To assist this licensing and sales process in the future, the two sides have resolved to establish a separate Security Cooperation Group to manage the defense supply relationship between India and the United States. This Group will meet in February-March 2002.

The two sides also agreed:

That the Joint Technical Group under the DPG would meet in February-March 2002 to discuss the promotion of bilateral ties in the field of defense production and research.
That the U.S. Joint Staff and the Indian Chief of Integrated Defense Staff will meet in the spring of 2002, before the next DPG, and regularly thereafter to discuss tri-service institutions, military planning, and tri- service doctrine.
That a new structured dialogue between the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment and its Indian counterpart will develop exchanges between the defense research and analyses communities in both countries.
Both countries expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved at the third meeting of the DPG. They acknowledged that the meeting had imparted a new momentum to the work of creating a comprehensive, deep and mutually beneficial defense relationship between the countries.

---------------------------

By GOPAL RATNAM


New Delhi’s interest in the advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and other sensitive military technologies topped the agenda at the Nov. 23 meeting of the India-U.S. Defense Policy Group in Washington.

U.S. officials promised to consider an Indian request to buy the advanced radar, which is more sensitive, reliable and flexible than New Delhi’s current sensors, said sources familiar with the meeting.

Chaired by Shekar Dutt, India’s defense secretary, and Eric Edelman, the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy, the meeting marked the seventh gathering of the policy group and the first for its Defense Production and Procurement Group, Indian Embassy officials said Nov. 23.



The new group’s members “discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the field of defense supplies as well as industrial and technological cooperation between USA and India,” the statement said.

Washington’s AESA decision could guide the Indian Air Force as it contemplates an $8.5 billion purchase of up to 200 multirole combat aircraft, an Air Force official said.

New Delhi has issued an international request for information for the contest, which has drawn responses from Lockheed Martin about its F-16 and Boeing about its F/A-18. Both firms cleared their initial submissions with the U.S. government. France’s Mirage fighter, Sweden’s Gripen and Russia’s MiG also are competing.

New Delhi is expected to announce a formal request for proposals by late December. U.S. sources said India might buy two different aircraft to fulfill its needs.

One version of the AESA radar, made by Raytheon, Waltham, Mass., is just entering the American arsenal aboard U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The F/A-18 radar has not been mass-produced or approved for export, Raytheon spokeswoman Faith Jennings said.

But the Pentagon has approved the export of a version of the F-15 that has interested air forces in the Middle East and Asia that fly the fighter, said Raytheon executive Arnie Victor.

The discussions followed landmark agreements between New Delhi and Washington.

In June, Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed a 10-year defense cooperation framework agreement. In July, U.S. President George W. Bush agreed to give U.S. civilian nuclear technology to energy-hungry India.

The latter agreement, which would require amending U.S. laws, raised a furor in Congress. But some key lawmakers who once strongly opposed Indian access to nuclear technology and fuel are now signaling their support.

Among them is Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., a key member of the U.S. House International Relations Committee and co-chair of the House Pakistan caucus. Burton recently told India Abroad, a weekly newspaper that covers the Indian diaspora in the United States, that he was “leaning very strongly towards supporting the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal right now.”

U.S. and Indian officials expect the agreement to be blessed by Congress before Bush’s planned visit to India early next year.

Officials at the Pentagon and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees U.S. arms transfers, were unavailable to comment by press time. DSCA officials and Indian Embassy officials in Washington involved in the discussion were away in India.

Volcker and cover-up

By Prof. M.D. Nalapat

The Congress president has sacrificed one of her most loyal followers, Natwar Singh, in order to provide a diversionary screen behind which a captive UPA government can collude with the Swiss authorities and certain tainted UN officials to prevent the facts brought out by Paul Volcker from becoming the basis for a criminal investigation that traces the individual(s) responsible for bartering the national interest.

Of course, our hapless PM knows the consequences of full disclosure. An unseen hand prodded the otherwise lethargic Sitaram Kesri into withdrawing Congress support to H D Deve Gowda, once CBI Director Joginder Singh began tackling the Bofors scam honestly. After Deve Gowda fell, so did the effective prosecution of that arms deal. During the NDA regime, even Ottavio Quatrocchi was enabled to escape to Kuala Lumpur, taking with him all hopes of recovering the money paid by the Swedish arms manufacturer to certain quarters. Deve Gowda had 15 MPs supporting him,while our PM has just one, a Rajya Sabha MP named Manmohan Singh. Small wonder that he has chosen two superannuated individuals, Virendra Dayal and Justice R.S. Pathak, to “investigate” a matter that only the criminal detection and enforcement agencies of the country have the expertise to do.

PM knows the consequences of full disclosure. An unseen hand prodded the otherwise lethargic Sitaram Kesri into withdrawing Congress support to H D Deve Gowda, once CBI Director Joginder Singh began tackling the Bofors scam honestly.

What is the main finding of the meticulously-researched Volcker Report? It is that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq allegedly gave vouchers for the purchase of millions of barrels of oil at below-market-price to Natwar Singh and to the Congress party. Volcker found that these vouchers were subsequently converted to cash through oil traders who paid a commission (in fact, a kickback) to both Saddam Hussein as well as to the favoured individuals who got the vouchers, a list that Volcker says includes Natwar Singh and the Congress party. In total, the IIC (referred to as the Volcker Committee for its head Paul Volcker) has documented $1.8 billion in illicit income within the $64 billion oil sales from 2000 to 2002, and the sale of $39 billion of humanitarian goods to Iraq (Report on the Manipulation of the Oil-for-Food Programme dated 27 October 2005. IIC. United Nations). Thus, while some of the proof exists with the UN’s now disbanded IIC, especially concerning Andaleeb Sehgal, a close family friend of Natwar’s, who sold the oil vouchers to the oil-trading company Masefield that in turn sold the vouchers or barrels of oil to major oil companies, most of the evidence remains hidden in Swiss banks, which is where the illicit income was deposited. Another group involved in the cover-up are the Swiss oil traders and companies that managed the transactions. It is here that the Indian Parliament should concentrate. Because, the way the investigations have been constructed so far, with a few months time given to a hyper-annuated Justice Pathak and a few months for the equally dated former UN bureaucrat Dayal, the entire “enquiry” has been designed to elicit the response “We do not have evidence” or “We have not found evidence.” Had Manmohan Singh entrusted the job of investigation to the CBI, the DRI and the ED, they would have been able to make the stupendous effort needed to penetrate Swiss banking secrecy laws. Neither Dayal nor Pathak can do likewise, even assuming that they wish to. The reason is that such transactions involve a complex and secretive web of financial flows. Only experienced oil traders can handle the task of moving 1.9 million barrels of oil. These individuals and entities would be more than happy to give cover to the recipient of the oil vouchers, allegedly Natwar Singh and the Congress party, to claim that they have never “seen or touched a barrel of oil”. This is precisely the nature of the transaction that enables deniability. Even the oil traders sitting in land-locked Switzerland, specifically in Zug, a quiet suburb of the bustling Swiss financial center Zurich, do not need to see or touch a barrel of oil. They too sell the oil through a dense network of specially-created shell companies to giant oil companies like Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Thus the giant oil majors too can technically state that they have not bought oil from Iraq. Instead, they can claim to have bought oil from the oil traders’ shell companies registered in secretive places such as Switzerland or the Cayman Islands

According to the Volcker Report,those in India who were allegedly given oil vouchers by Saddam Hussein had expert help to convert these into cash.The most prominent oil and other commodities trader frequently in the news for sanctions-busting is Marc Rich, a billionaire trader who lives in Zug, Switzerland. Mr. Rich fled the US in 1983 just before a 51-count indictment was handed down for various alleged financial crimes. Mr. Rich has also spawned a whole generation of protégées in commodities trading, many of who are based in Zug. The company, Masefield, mentioned in the Volcker Report as having managed the transactions for Natwar Singh and the Congress, is a Zug-based oil-trading company controlled by protégés of Marc Rich.

Marc Rich has immense influence in the US, and his many friends there can be expected to help ensure that the facts in the Volcker Report be covered up the way several transgressions of Indian VIPs have been in the past,the better to blackmail them with later. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-ater. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-th later. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-ater. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-th ater. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-tater. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-th later. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-ater. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-thater. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the indicted now former Chief-of-thry homes in several European countries. Libby is reported to have been paid over $2 million in fees by Mr. Rich. Libby was recently indicted by the US Justice Department in the CIA leak case concerning agent Valerie Plame. Unfortunately for those wishing to discover and punish the guilty,the Swiss banking authorities have become accomplices of several individuals guilty of fraud and worse.Indeed,Switzerland can almost be described as a Rogue State,so blatant is the protection it gives to international criminals,many of whom have offices there. The Swiss have made it almost impossible to recover ill-gotten money,once they are given charge of it. The absence of the “principle of discovery” — the process of fact-finding using subpoena power — within Switzerland’s court system makes it easy for criminals to maintain secrecy. Indeed, it is a crime in Switzerland to report financial wrong-doing done by one’s boss to the provincial/Cantonal or Federal authorities ! Investigations are particularly difficult, especially when the target is someone who is favoured by the Swiss government. Marc Rich is one of Switzerland’s wealthiest residents, and is one of its largest taxpayers.He is discreetly protected by the Swiss police and security apparatus, as many journalists seeking information have found out.

These individuals and entities would be more than happy to give cover to the recipient of the oil vouchers, allegedly Natwar Singh and the Congress party, to claim that they have never “seen or touched a barrel of oil”.

In practice, there is little genuine separation of powers in Switzerland, and the judiciary there has a very limited role,especially in financial matters. Only by establishing that this is a criminal case IN SWITZERLAND need Swiss private banks provide any information on Masefield, or on bank accounts of representatives of the receipients of Saddam Hussein’s oil vouchers.Proving criminality to the satisfaction of the Swiss authorities is an immensely difficult task. Most civil or criminal cases are handled within the Canton or Province, and since the major taxpayer of the tiny Canton of Zug is Marc Rich, India should not expect any real cooperation or evidence from that Canton or Switzerland. This is also why merely sending a letter from the MEA or from Justice Pathak to the Government of Switzerland will produce Bofors-like results. Such bogus efforts at finding out the facts have been a tried and tested way to waste time and wear down the demands for evidence.

In this case, the kickbacks engineered by the now defunct Iraqi regime allegedly to Natwar Singh and the Congress were to encourage support for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. The outright purchase of a dominant Indian political party’s policy position by foreigners is the issue here. Because the crime occurred in Switzerland, Iraq and perhaps elsewhere, where would the jurisdiction be for any prosecution, and who would bother to prosecute? And technically from the perspective of the minutiae of law, would the alleged crime be restricted to taxes evaded by those involved in an oil-trading deal? Even with the involvement of the CBI,ED and DRI a kickbacks-for-influence scheme is hard to pin down in terms of a specific legal indictment, since the selling of a country’s leading political party’s policy positions may not technically be a crime, but constitutes a national shame and security risk. In the case of Bofors, following allegations made among others by former prime minister V.P. Singh of kickbacks paid in the large Swedish-India arms deal, the government of India made lukewarm efforts, such as “writing to the Swiss government.” Various inquiry committees unearthed little. Relentless international pressure on Switzerland for the Swiss police and investigators to get details of financial transactions of Masefield, Marc Rich, and his protégés are the minimum necessary to make any progress. Official Indian government agencies such as the enforcement directorate, the CBI, etc. along with Interpol should be authorised and properly funded to pursue the individuals and companies concerned in Zug. If the Swiss government resists, the Indian Parliament should take strident steps to expose Switzerland’s complicity in many international financial crimes such as enabling kickbacks and corruption, sanctions-busting or sanctions-distorting, some of which are documented in the Volcker Report. These agencies need to move quickly and the Indian Parliament will have to take the initiative in the matter, as the UPA government will be hesitant to investigate its key component political party (Congess party) . Every refusal by Switzerland to grant access to Masefield traders who are linked to Marc Rich should be publicised widely by the Indian Parliament. The glare of international publicity on Switzerland concerning the criminality of erstwhile Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha led to the unearthing and returning to Nigeria of 730 million US dollars that were looted and stored by the dictator in Swiss banks. Only a similar concerted effort will get to the bottom of the alleged involvement of Congress party oil-vouchers-for-influence kickbacks affair.The question is,whose interests will the Prime Minister of India be faithful to,those of his political boss or those of the billion-plus people of this Republic?

Sonia Volcker-gate: decimation of the Congress Party and putting nation's foreign policy on sale

Sonia Volcker-gate: decimation of the Congress Party and putting nation's foreign policy on sale



Section 1. All President's men, Volcker-Antonia, financial crimes and national security



This has all the makings of a best-seller and a gripping movie from Bollywood involving princely families, Italian and Swiss companies, international wheeler-dealers and high stakes in geopolitics. But the tragedy is that, apart from glaring indications of criminal wrong-doing which the criminal justice system of India should deal with in due course, the nation's financial security and foreign policy has been compromised by the transformation of the Congress Party under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi (aka Antonia Maino) into a multi-national trading enterprise.



What has happened with all the money acquired? Business expansion and diversification. Sources alleged that just after the deal, Jagat Singh began making several investments, like in the liquor business in Punjab. What was formerly Masefield Coal became Pragma Energy SA of Italy with an office in Madras (Chennai); ENEL.IT obtained 51% share in Pragma Energy SA, in June 2001. (Kapital CHF 4 million).



Sonia Gandhi (aka Antonia Maino) was not alone in the Volcker-Congress Party scandal which is developing into a criminal case. She was the sutradhari who (1) initiated the transaction with the first conversations with former Iraqi vice-president Taha Ramadan who visited India on November 27, 2000, and Natwar Singh accompanied Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the meeting with him. After this there was talk that during the delegation's visit, the oil minister met Natwar separately; (2) approved the travel of a Congress Party delegation led by Natwar Singh whose travel costs were borne by the Congress Party; and (3) also wrote a letter to Saddam Hussain which was delivered by Natwar Singh. Now, Congress Party is named as a non-contracting beneficiary of oil voucher coupons. The initition of deal and involvement through the entire transaction are continuous and complete.



Fifty-three years ago, in 1952, when I attended Jawaharlal Nehru's election meeting in Penukonda, for the first general elections of the Republic of India, I had the feeling, as an 8th grade student, that he represented a Congress Party which actively participated in the freedom struggle inspired by stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Aurobindo Ghose and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. There was an aura about the Party which fought against the foreign colonial regime and asked for swarajyam. Swarajyam meant an end to the colonial loot. Is Republic of Bharat (Bharatiya Ganatantra) now being subjected to loot through means other than colonization?



Today, after fifty-three years, if these great leaders return to Bharatam, they wouldn't be able to recognize the Congress Party.



It is no longer a Party working for the people and for governance in swarajyam. It has been led into abyss by a lady called Antonia Maino (aka Sonia Gandhi) transforming the Party into a multi-national business enterprise and putting the nation's foreign policy for sale in foreign exchange currency (US Dollars).



Nation's foreign policy, nation's financial integrity, nation's security has been seriously compromised by a Congress Party led by Antonia Maino.



This should be a cause for deep concern not merely to those who are members of this political party but to all bharatiya who believe that they have achieved swarajyam and can live with swaabhimaan in this great, free nation. How could the Party compromise the nation's independent foreign policy for the sake of the crumbs offered by a foreign state? Thus the key issues are NOT whether Volcker's report is tainted, whether the UN oil-for-food programme is tainted, or whether there is the hand of the big super-cop behind all this. The issue is: has the Congress Party transformed itself into a foreign-policy dealer and oil-dealer through a set of smart operatives? Talks about Natwar Singh are mere diversions, making him a scapegoat to protect, from charges of criminal misdemeanor, some other entity, namely the Congress Party.



This is a special case of corruption; normally corruption cases point to speed-moneys for achieving favourable decisions on contracts. In this Volcker-Antonia case, the corruption case places the nation's foreign policy on the trading table.



The company she keeps also constitutes a national security risk. The support taken by the Congress Party from CPI-M which is trying to shield Sonia Gandhi from the Volcker charges of financial impropriety, is ominous since the functionaries of this Party travel for guidance to China, giving the impressions that their loyalties are trans-national. In a nation governed by laws, long arm of criminal justice system should reach out,apprehend and bring to book, the financial criminals who have violated the laws of the land. (Criminal breach of trust, corruption, violation of Foreign Currency Management Act and Foreign Currencies Regulation Act).



This reads like a big-business spy thriller. Since the polity in Bharatam has been substantially criminalized, many law-makers will comprehend, with ease, the impressive nature of the operations masterminded by the Congress Party. A detailed dossier is attached with references and URLs which will call for very careful reading to unravel the Congress Party as an efficient and also effective business enterprise. (Efficient, because of the clock-like precisions of the delegation work; effective because Masefield AG did lift the oil using a Letter of Credit of M/s Vitol Financers (with an office in Mumbai) to enable Masefield Holding Company to lift the oil. Masefield holding lifts the oil. Natwar Singh and Congress Party get the oil voucher coupons as non-contracting beneficiaries.)



Congress Party parades itself as peoples' party and Sonia Gandhi is the President of the Party. Citizens of India, that is Bharat, are entitled to ask for public accountability of both the Party and the President of the Party.



Congress Party is an old Party and naturally has a number of collaborators. Hence, this account will drop a series of names with very impressive business acumen. After all, the oil-for-food programme was not about giving food to Iraqi people but about making business contracts happen. The remarkable part of the account which has been pieced together from an array of sources is that Congress Party has proved its credentials as a business concern with impressive credentials of and services provided by the operatives.



Sonia Gandhi (aka Antonia Maino) reported that she was extremely angry. Naturally. She had unleashed a train of events which show the workings of Congress Party as a money-making (preferably greenbacks) entity with business people with impeccable track records for effective delivery of contracts (and money). But, why was she 'extremely' angry? Was there any choking up of the oil-for-food (also known as greenbacks non-contractual beneficiaty) pipeline?


Jamil Saidi who was with Rajasthan Youth Congress has now been threatened with dire consequences: Jamil Saidi denied that he was in Baghdad. "I met them in Jordan and that's about it. Some people are trying to fix me. I have been threatened with dire consequences," he told India Today. Saidi says Andaleeb Sehgal wanted him to rope in an MNC instead of Masefield. Andaleeb Sehgal counters blaming Jamil Saidi, saying that given the kind of resources and contacts Jamil had in Iraq, he could have used the Hamdan letterhead. "I have travelled to Iraq many times. I was there during the oil-for-food programme. I was a consultant with several companies," Jamil Saidi said. Jamil Saidi met Andaleeb Sehgal in Jordan and had also met Jagat Singh. (Aniel Matheran reported that he spotted Jamil Saidi in the lobby of the same Ba'athist Party (Al Rashid) hotel where the Natwar Singh led Congress Party delegation was staying). He has reportedly confirmed, however, that the Swiss Masefield AG was used by Mr Sehgal and Mr Jagat Singh as he had been told by the former that he would be picking up the oil through a British company.


Section 2. It is all in the family, Congress Party is a big family, a big kulam



There is a remarkable Kashmiri connection through the likes of Vikas Dhar and Bhim Singh of Panthers' Party (which was also named in Volcker papers as a non-contractual beneficiary of oil voucher coupons). The Kashmir link comes through the Dhar kulam.

Andaleeb Sehgal apparently introduced to Masefield AG, reported contractor for Natwar and the Congress, by an Indian company linked to a big arms dealer. Andaleeb is said to have an account in Jordan Bank. He has allegedly been trying to get the account records destroyed. Hamdan Exports is run by Andaleeb Sehgal and Vikash Dhar. Vikash's brother Vishal Dhar owns Vinayak Consultant. CBI had registered a case against Hamdan Exports and Vinayak Consultant in 2000 for setting up an illegal phone exchange and making several foreign calls during 2000-01, the period Andaleeb and his company was getting into the UN-sanctioned oil-for-food programme.



Andaleeb launched the Hamdan Exports with schoolmate Vikas Dhar, son of Vijay Dhar, a businessman from Srinagar. Vijay is the son of DP Dhar. Vikas Dhar, who happens to be the grandson of D P Dhar, a close friend and Principal advisor to Indira Gandhi. Andy later married Suhani Kumari of Nalagarh who is also Jagat's cousin. Suhani's father, Vijendra Singh has been a Congress old timer and was also elected MLA from Nalagarh many times.


Andaleeb Sehgal, 35, paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, says Volcker Report. Sehgal, son of Delhi businessman Suman Sehgal, studied at Lawrence School, Sanawar, and St Stephen's College, Delhi. He married Suhani Kumari, daughter of Vijendra and Raymon Singh. Vijendra's mother was the princess of Patiala and is the aunt of Natwar Singh's wife. Vijendra has been a Congress MLA from Nalagarh.

Asad Khan, is alleged to have played a crucial role in the entire scam. He is suspected to have even used Hamdan Exports' visiting card during his travels with Andaleeb to Iraq. Asad is said to be a close friend of Andaleeb, Jagat and Vikas Dhar, partner in Hamdan Exports. Andaleeb confirmed that Asad is a friend, but denied any business links with him. He refused further comment, citing the ongoing investigations. Tehelka's calls and smses to Asad didn't elicit any response.


The Congress party purchased tickets for the four-member delegation (Natwar Singh, Jagat Singh, AR Antulay and Shivshankar) on the Royal Jordanian Airlines and gifts were also purchased. A letter was drafted on behalf of the Congress president by Natwar for Saddam Hussein.



Natwar Singh led the delegation to Iraq in January 2001 (with four congress party representatives – AR Antulay, Shivshankar, Mathrani, Subodh Kant Sahay and two of his relatives: his son Jagat Singh; Jagat Singh's cousin, Andaleeb Sehgal of Hamdan Exports, a company in Amman, Jordan). [Note that Arvind Khanna is also a cousin of Jagat Singh.] By a remarkable coincidence, Jalil Saidi


Jagat Singh, is a Congress MLA from Lachmangarh in Alwar district. Sources alleged that just after the deal, Jagat Singh began making several investments, like in the liquor business in Punjab. Jagat Singh, 36, is the son of Natwar Singh, whose father was a high-ranking official of the Bharatpur royal family. Jagat went to Doon School and later went to the United Kingdom to pursue higher studies. Jagat married Natasha, whose father was a Jordanian and mother an Indian. Natasha committed suicide in 2002. Her father was later found dead under mysterious circumstances at a Kathmandu hotel. Jagat's mother is the elder sister of Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh.

Ahmed Patel, was Congress Treasurer at the time of the Iraq Oil-For-Food Programme.

Union Minister of State for Food Processing (Independent charge) is Subodh Kant Sahay. ED raided a company believed to be close to Sahay. Subodh Kant Sahay, who was also going to Iraq, was present during the reception hosted by the then Indian Ambassador to Jordan. He hung around us and wanted to be a part of the delegation. Jagat Singh and Andaleeb Sehgal were also present during the reception. (However, Sahay told India Today that he had nothing to do with the oil vouches and never wanted to get on board the Congress delegation.) As of Dec. 2001, Sahay was an AICC Secretary and was actively involved in election campaigns of the Congress Party. Sahay was fighting for election to the Lok Sabha from Punjab, a State where he had played a key role in covert dialogue with Khalistan terrorists.

UP Congress President, Salman Khursheed is believed to have been close to Jamil Ajmal Saidi, an oil trader who was grilled for many hours by ed officials.

Vipin Khanna is an arms dealer. Vipin Khanna runs a company called TSL Defence Technologies. He is very close to Natwar Singh. When the Prime Minister of Luxembourg called on Sonia Gandhi in 1999-2000, Natwar brought Vipin Khanna to 10 Janpath. This guy need not have been present at that meeting as he was honorary consul-general, not an ambassador.


His sons are: Arvind Khanna (cousin of Jagat Singh who is son of Natwar Singh), and Aditya Khanna. Arvind Khanna is Congress MLA from Sangroor in Punjab. Aditya Khanna is a London-based businessman. Aditya Khanna is Managing Director of DSSI Group and is an expert on offshore out-sourcing. DSSI Group, a New Delhi, India-based company specialising in helping companies establish a presence in India . Aditya Khanna was a key speaker on June 2, 2003 in a dinner by invitation (with limited seats) in the Tamarind Restaurant of London, organized to discuss: "Offshore Outsourcing in India "Next Generation" Approaches". Tamarind is London 's Michelin-star rated Indian restaurant.



Jamil Saidi is now an oil exploration consultant. He was a general secretary in the Rajasthan Youth Congress. Saidi's main associate in the youth wing was Natwar Singh's son Jagat Singh. Jamil Saidi acted as consultant to several companies that were part of the oil-for-food programme in Iraq. "I have travelled to Iraq many times. I was there during the oil-for-food programme. I was a consultant with several companies," he said.



Investigating agencies know that:


Saidi was in Jordan at the same time as Jagat Singh and Andaleeb Sehgal.
Andaleeb is said to have an account in Jordan Bank.
He has allegedly been trying to get the account records destroyed.
Andaleeb was apparently introduced to Masefield AG, reported contractor for Natwar and the Congress, by an Indian company linked to a big arms dealer.
A report in International Herald Tribune said that Jamil Saidi is certain of Natwar Singh's role which resulted in oil voucher coupons not only in the name of Natwar Singh but also in the name of Congress Party. This confirms Aniel Mathrani's statement: He said that "one was given to him (Natwar Singh) by name" for his "personal services" and the other "the Iraqis kept for the friendly Congress Party." According to the Volcker report, Masefield AG lifted 1.936 million barrels out of the four million that were allotted to it. The report adds that in Phase 10 of the oil-for-food programme, Masefield AG lifted 1.001 million barrels out of the four million barrels allotted to the Congress party.

In a remarkable finale, Masfield Coal becomes Prima Energy of Italy and another Italian company ENEL.IT acquires 51% stake in Prima Energy SA of Italy. Jagat Singh acquires more liquor businesses.

The Italian connection gets solidified with the Swiss connection and oil-for-food. In this narrative, the food for the Iraqi people doesn't seem to have been anyone's concern, not even that of Saddam Hussein, not even that of the philanthropic United Nations or of pro-people United States of America, the only super-cop of the world. It is after all whose money? The moneys which should have been credited into the Consolidated Fund of India or the Bharatiya kos's or Indian Treasury.



[Note: It has not been easy piecing together the narrative since the year 2000, authenticating each sentence and each piece of evidence. The pseudo-secular media, the mainstream dailies, in particular have failed in their responsibility to unravel what has turned out to be the greatest scandal of independent Bharatam. The threading together has been done based on excellent reports through second and third-rung media. These resources are presented in the annexed document. Since attachments are not permitted on some yahoogroups, the attachment can be sent through email for those interested.]