Consensus conclusions and recommendations of the Conference on Vedic River Sarasvati & Hindu civilization held at India International Centre between 24 to 26 October 2008.
Over 50 well-known scholars, scientists and researchers in the disciplines of glaciology, geology, remote sensing, earth sciences, life-sciences, archaeology, ancient texts and literature, civilization studies, hydrology and water management participated in the Conference organized by Aim for Seva and Sarasvati Research and Education Trust. The following is their consensus.
1. The River Sarasvati played a great role in the lives of the Vedic people of India for millenia. The achievements of the people of the Sarasvati region were extraordinary. The great Vedas, the Vedic Sanskrit language, and cultural symbols and practices that originated on the banks of the river Sarasvati have been indelibly associated with the collective consciousness of the people of India forming a Hindu civilizational continuum over thousands of years. This is exemplified by many cultural facets, namely for example, (i) discoveries of fire altars in sites such as Kalibangan and Lothal; (ii) discovery of shivalinga in Harappa and Kalibangan; and (iii) discovery of two terra cotta figurines of ladies wearing sindhur in the parting of their hair—all of which form even today part of our religious and cultural tradition.
2. The extensive research in the recent years done by a variety of scholars removes any lingering doubt on the reality of the great River Sarasvati and the associated civilization which constituted the roots of Hindu culture and abiding tradition. This research also conclusively establishes that the great and geographically vast civilization represented by the early Hakra ware communities, followed by the early, middle and mature Harappan phases of development and the highly evolved Sarasvati civilization are in fact one and the same.
3. Vedic River Sarasvati already stands rejuvenated above the ground in Haryana and in parts of Rajasthan. Those who take pride in their civilizational identity will indeed be happy when the river finally joins the sea waters on the west of our country, after traversing through Gujarat. This will require only a short extension of about 150 kms beyond Gedra road in Barmer district of Rajasthan. Millions of our countrymen look forward to this great day. The sacred Sarasvati flowing again will symbolize the heritage and historic continuity of the people of India. It will then once again acquire renewed significance in the memory and rituals of the people of the country.
4. The rejuvenation of River Sarasvati will benefit many millions of people of India in various States—Himacha Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
5. It is recommended that considerable impetus should be given to carry forward further archaeological explorations intensively along the Sarasvati River basin and in associated areas to its east. Inter-disciplinary study that investigates and explains the cultural artifacts found in these numerous Sarasvati river sites and elsewhere in the light of the literary evidence found in the Vedas must be encouraged. The entire area of the Sarasvati river basin must be developed as a national heritage site promoting pilgrimage and heritage tourism.
6. The Government of India must be requested to constitute a Sarasvati River Basin Development Authority to restore an effective drainage system in North-west India. This will remedy the disruptions caused by the desiccation of Vedic River Sarasvati due to plate tectonics and other causes. Many of the experts attending the Conference would be happy to associate themselves with the effort to prepare integrated development plans to promote National Water Grid with the impetus of revived Sarasvati, water management structures, solutions to problems of water-logging, integrated /sustainable ground-water/surface water utilization structures, afforestation, and appropriate farming techniques suitable for semi-arid lands.
7. Follow-up activities of the Conference shall also include production of documentaries, educational booklets and encouragement of heritage tours and organization of educational trips for school and college students. The multi-media portal on Sarasvati research on the Internet http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97, shall be suitably augmented with periodic updates.
A new page has been added. URL: http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/Conf-Presentations
Cultural continuum of Sarasvati-Hindu civilization
Civilization continuum: vemeration of ancestors
Stupa at Sanghol compared with rhomboid, funerary architecture discovered at Dholavira (cf. Bisht, Part I presentation below). The stupa architecture also uses rhomboid segments within a circle as at Dholavira -- a pointer to the reason why a stupa is also called dhatugarbha (dagoba) -- holding the relics of post-cremation ashes/bones to create the stupa as a temple in veneration of ancestors, pitrs. This is a stunning example of the Hindu civilization continuum from Sarasvati River Basin to the rest of Bharat represented by stupas almost all over the civilizational area spread over an extensive linguistic area from Takshashila to Amaravati.
Civilization continuum: Water management
Step-well tradition goes back to Dholavira of Sarasvati civilization.
Panna mia stepped pond; Vasantgarh stepped pond, Rajasthan; Rani-ki-vav, Patan, Gujarat; Hadi Rani well Toda Rajsingh, Rajasthan; Nimrana stepwell, Rajasthan; Stepped well in Shiva Vadi temple, Bikaner; Cistern, Nahgarh fort, Jaipur. Compared with Stepped well at Dholavira.