Artisans, craftsmen, mechanics, and industrial workers, worship Vishwakarma on this day and pray for a better future, safe working conditions and success in their respective fields. Workers also pray for the smooth functioning of various machines.
The festival is mainly celebrated in Eastern parts of Bharat such as Bengal, Orissa and Tripura. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, through its unions and federations, has successfully established this pooja in the traditionally left dominated labour field all over Bharat.
2. KASHMIR 'INTEGRAL PART' OF INDIA: P.P. SARSANGHCHALAKJI: Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Rao Bhagwat on August 23 said that Kashmir is an 'integral part' of Bharat and no power could take it away from the nation. He said the militancy and separatism once flourished in the state but with the strong will of the country, especially the Hindus, the militants are losing their strength.
Shri Bhagwat, who was on a three day visit to the state, addressing a citizens meeting said that the country is well aware of the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits and that their brethren are facing exile in their own land. He said return of Kashmiri Pandits is the top priority of RSS and the organization is working in this regard.
3. DR PRAKASH AND MANDAKINI AMTE WIN MAGSAYSAY AWARD: Renowned social activist Baba Amte’s son, Dr Prakash Amte and his wife Dr Mandakini Amte have been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership for the year 2008 in recognition to their path breaking work amongst the Madia Gond tribes.
Beginning in 1975 Prakash and Mandakini built a small hospital in remote interior tribal area of Chandrapur - Vidarbh and performed surgeries, treated malaria, tuberculosis and such other diseases. When they realized that illiteracy was making the Madia Gonds easy prey for corrupt forest officers and other greedy outsiders, they opened a school in 1976.The Amtes then introduced the Madia Gonds to agriculture-growing vegetables, fruits, organic farming and irrigation techniques and also encouraged them to conserve forest resources.
Today, the Amte's hospital has fifty beds, a staff of five doctors, and treats 40,000 patients a year free-of-charge. The school, meanwhile, has grown to five hundred students.
4. SIXTH DHANVANTARI SEWA YATRA TREATS OVER 7,700 PATIENTS IN NORTH-EAST: Sixth Dhanvantari Sewa Yatra, was successfully conducted by the Sewa Bharati Purbanchal, the National Medicos Organisation and the Sewa International in Northeastern states of Bharat to provide the best medical treatment to the needy people of remote areas, during July 5-12.
During the yatra, which is being conducted for the last six years, the doctors treated a total of 7,739 patients including 3,697 male, 4,242 female and 2,286 children. A total of 42 doctors including 24 from BHU, 16 from Guwahati Medical College and two from Meghalaya participated in the yatra. It visited 144 villages and organised 50 medical camps covering the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya.
5. IISC IS BHARAT'S NO. 1 TECH INSTITUTE: IISc at Banglore has been ranked the number one engineering/technology institute among top 67 science institutes in the country. IIT-Kanpur comes in at second place, followed by IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Kharagpur and Delhi at third, fourth and fifth position respectively.
The ranking, published in the Current Science, has been done by scholars Gangan Prathap and B M Gupta of the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources and National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi.
6. MAHA SANKIRTAN YATRA: Year 2010 is the 500th year of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Sanyas and Bharat Parikrama. A Maha Sankirtan Yatra has been planned from Katwa (Burdwan, W.Bengal) to Jagannath Puri during 19th January, to 14th February, 2010 traversing the path followed by Sri Krishna Chaitanya 500 years ago with His Sankirtan Mondalis.
Bhagwan Sri Krishna Chaitanya, popularly known as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his short sojourn of life, established himself as a visionary, a true religious teacher, and ardent devotee, a saviour of mankind and icon of humanity and a social reformer..
This Sankirtan Yatra will enthuse spirit in Hindus to stand united against the onslaught of alien faith today, will re-establish Mahanam Sankirtan Mandalies as preached by Sri Mahaprabhu, will publish books, booklets etc..
7. KEDARNATH SHRINE WAS UNDER GLACIER FOR 400 YRS: The devotees of the world-famous Kedarnath shrine have another astounding fact to revel in: The historical temple, believed to be built by the Pandavas, survived mammoth glacial pressure for at least 400 years. A team of scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun , while studying the effects of climatic change on the Chorabari glacier (source of the Mandakini) in the Kedarnath area, was surprised to find multiple evidence indicating that the temple remained completely submerged in colossal ice for as many as four centuries. Foremost among them were the striations found on the shrine’s walls and pillars. Lead researcher RK Chaujar explained that these patterns were formed when the ice body picked up sediments during its movement.
8. NARENDRA MODI CHOSEN AS THE fDi ERSONALITY - 2009: Narendra Modi, The Chief Minister of Gujarat has been chosen as The Asian Winner of the fDi Personality of the Year awards for 2009 by fDi Magazine, a premier publication and a leading title for the business of globalisation. The awards recognise the political and business leaders around the world who have been the most proactive, dynamic and innovative in securing foreign investment and improving the business environments of their jurisdictions.
Narendra Modi, is better known for his progressive skills in attracting domestic and international investment and for creating a conducive business environment for global investors. Last year, Gujarat attracted $2.8bn in FDI, 10.3% of all foreign investment inflows into the country and an increase of 57% on the previous year.
9. AMERICANS INCREASINGLY ADOPTING HINDU CONCEPTS’: 'Lets all say Om' seems to be the new American mantra with an increasing number of people subscribing to the essentially Hindu belief that there is no one way to salvation and that many religions could lead to eternal peace.
A piece in the Newsweek magazine titled ‘we are all Hindus now’ says that Americans are slowly becoming more like Hindus "conceptually" and less like traditional Christians in the ways they think about God and eternity. A poll in 2009 shows 30 per cent of Americans call themselves "spiritual, not religious," up from 24 per cent in 2005.
10. RAMSHANKAR AGNIHOTRI HONOURED: "There are only three countries in the world-England, America and Australia-where English is national language. Whereas majority of the developed nations like France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China have made tremendous progress with the help of their local languages. The rural talent of the country should be given a fair chance to flourish and we must see that they do not develop inferiority complex due to English," said former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan. He was presenting Manik Chandra Vajpayee Rashtriya Patrakarita Puraskar to noted Hindi columnist Ramshankar Agnihotri in Bhopal on August 23. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also present on the occasion. The Puraskar consists of a cheque of Rs one lakh, a shawl, coconut and a memento.
11. GIVE IMPORTANCE TO SANSKRIT-N GOPALSWAMY: "I am alone here who cannot speak in Sanskrit. But promise you that next year I will talk to you in Sanskrit. Now I am retired. I will attend the class for learning Geeta through Sanskrit. Our countrymen have given importance to English and French but not to the Sanskrit. This is a pathetic situation," said former Chief Election Commissioner of Bharat N Gopalswamy. He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of Sanskritotsava organised by the Samskrit Bharati in Chennai on August 15.
Senior Swamiji of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Muditavadananand inaugurated the Utsava which saw participation of IT professionals, IIT students, professors, teachers, students, housewives etc.
12. PROF. JS RAJPUT AWARDED THE JAN AMOS COMENIUS MEDAL: Five years after the UNESCO decided to honour Prof. J S Rajput, former Director, NCERT, with the prestigious Jan Amos Comenius Medal for his outstanding achievements in the fields of educational research and innovation in July 2004, the New Delhi office of UNESCO handed over the Jan Amos Comenius Medal to Prof. Rajput in a quiet ceremony.
The delay in the award of the medal to Prof. Rajput was due to an unprecedented move by the MHRD in 2004 which wrote to UNESCO in 2004 to keep the award to Prof. Rajput in abeyance and also withdrew the nomination of Prof. Rajput in January 2005.
On receipt of the award, Prof. Rajput expressed his gratitude to the UNESCO which continued to take his services after 2004 as well.
13. IIT-KGP LEADS THE WAY: The oldest Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur will be the first IIT to start a medical school two years from now. The 59-year-old institute has signed a deal with University of California, San Diego in the US, to set up a state-of-the-art 300-bed hospital. It can be expanded in future to 750 beds.The school will offer graduate, post-graduate and research programmes in medicine and bio-medical engineering.
14. CABINET APPROVES SEVEN NEW IIMs: The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of seven new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) that will get operational in two phases.
Four IIMs would be set up in Trichy, Ranchi, Raipur and Rohtak in the first phase and the classes would start from the 2010-11 academic year. The other three in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan will get operational from 2011-12.
15. DR. HEDGEWAR HOSPITAL, AURANGABAD: Dr. Hedgewar Hospital, Aurangabad Maharashtra, was started by a group of young Medical graduates some 20 years back with the sole objective of ‘giving back’ to society and providing the needy patients best medical treatment at an affordable cost. This laudable initiative can now truly be called as ‘the healing touch’ as it successfully marches on its path of serving the needy populace of country. Year 2000 was a major leap in its journey when it shifted to the new hospital premises with special design, immaculate atmosphere, everything under one roof, enhanced scope of services, ultramodern equipments and highly affordable treatment. The hospital experienced huge influx of poor, rural & urban, patients leaving the hospital with immense satisfaction. Due to large premises, it could treat more than 2.7 million patients. The standards of quality of service have been raised to much higher level now including NABL Accreditation for the Pathology Laboratory’
But….the impact of expansion of hospital was much wider and deeper! A world class blood bank was created! The hospital is now treating 1 lakh free patients through 6 centres; 3 in slums, 2 rural & a mobile clinic! 5000 adolescent girls are under comprehensive empowerment training! During an animal disease outbreak in 100 villages, no animal death was reported in 25 villages covered under Pashu Aarogya sathi Project! 450 slum women have started earning 3 times more by starting their own business. The list of accomplishments will go on!
Yet… there was a concern that who will continue this work? And whether it will spread in other parts of the country where there is need?
As a spin off effect of Hedgewar Hospital, a team of new young specialist doctors have committed to take on similar mission for life time. This small group has started similar hospital in Nashik; with same spirit & dedication! The team comprises of An Anesthetist, Gynecologist, Ophthalmic Surgeon, Radiotherapist, pathologist, ayurveda specialist, Orthopedic Surgeon and pediatrician! In spite of coming from different cultural backgrounds, all have created unique culture of team work, service and humanity within this hospital. A year back, this was inaugurated by Man. Shri. Mohan ji Bhagwat! In a year since commencement, this hospital in Nashik has been successful in creating similar image like Hedgewar Hospital in line with the name it has got- Shree Guruji Rugnalaya, Nashik!
16. NW ARKANSAS SHAKHA CELEBRATES UNIVERSAL ONENESS DAY WITH MAYOR OF ROGERS: As a part of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) celebrating ‘Universal Oneness’ as the basic tenet of Hindu Dharma, throughout August, Northwest Arkansas shakha observed Raksha Bandhan with the Mayor of Rogers, Arkansas.
The evening of August 24th 2009 was marked with volunteers visiting Hon. Mayor Steve Womack’s office and getting introduced to him. This was followed by a visual presentation covering HSS objectives, background of Raksha Bandhan and motive of service to community. Youngest of all, Vishva tied Rakhi to the Mayor. The root message of Hindu Dharma – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the whole world is a family) and Sarve api Sukhina Santu (may all live happily) were conveyed to the Mayor.
17. HSS CANADA VARGA AT ONTARIO: Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada, successfully held its Sangh Shiksha Varg 19-26 July at Blue Spring Scouts Camp, Milton, Ontario almost after a gap of 6 years. There were totally 23 shiksharthis 9 Sevikas and 14 Swayamsevaks; mostly all kishors and yuva. There were 6 shikshaks from US.
18. BANGLADESHI INFILTRATION BIGGEST THREAT: NE CMS --Cutting across party lines, Chief Ministers from North-eastern States raised strong concerns on the infiltration threat from Bangladesh. They were speaking at the Chief Ministers’ conference called by the Centre to discuss security issues facing the country.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio expressed fears over the increasing influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into Nagaland. “The decadal population growth rate between 1991-2001 was 64.41 per cent — the highest in the country. Further, it is worrying that number of masjids and madrassas has increased from 27 to 48 between 2007 and 2008 in the State,” he said.
Similar concerns were expressed by Chief Ministers of other states viz. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya etc.
19. UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD DAY IN MUMBAI: was organized by Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra (VAK-Mumbai) on Friday 7th August.
Chief Guest Mr. Alexey Redkin, Consul at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Mumbai in his short speech thanked VAK for conducting the function at the Cultural Centre of Russia. “Rakshabandhan, in fact, has a much broader perspective and a universal outlook. Efforts like observing Universal Brotherhood Day will make an important contribution in creating better appreciation of peace, cooperation and harmony in the world, particularly among the increasingly influential and extremely talented younger generation.”
The Keynote Address was given by Dr. B. K. Modi – an eminent industrialist and a global visionary. He said “We are all brought up hearing the verses vasudhaiva kutumbakam. We all earnestly look forward to the day when the world will understand the meaning of these verses and start living like a family”.
A Paper Presentation Competition (PPC) was also held among students of Technology, Management and International Studies from 20 institutions of Mumbai on the topic ‘India in centre stage of emerging i2i nations’. Dr. B. K. Modi distributed certificates and cash prizes to the winners of PPC.
20. IF DAIRY FOOD GIVEN IN CHILDHOOD CHANCES OF LIVING LONG INCREASE: Researchers in Bristol and Queensland in UK after a study of 4,374 children revealed that children who eat plenty of dairy foods such as milk and cheese can expect to live longer.
A higher daily intake of calcium, of at least 400 mg as found in just over half a pint of milk, cut the chance of dying from stroke by as much as 60 percent. Three servings of dairy foods - for example, a 200 ml glass of milk, a pot of yogurt and a small piece of cheese - will provide all the calcium most people need each day.
Dairy consumption may also influence heart and circulation health through a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), say the researchers. In adults, high circulating levels of IGF-1 are linked with reduced cases of heart failure and heart disease deaths.
21. PAKISTAN TEXTBOOKS WELCOME BHARATIYA HISTORIANS: Pakistan is rewriting history. From a parochial view of the subcontinent's past, it is shifting towards a more inclusive reading.
From an exclusive focus on Islam, college history books have come to include Buddhism and Hinduism. Once barred from textbooks, Mohenjodaro and Harappa now appear in them telling students how a large part of Pakistan formed the bedrock of the Indus Valley civilisation. Moreover, once unthinkable, the work of Bharatiya historians is at present part of the curriculum, said Tahir Kamran, chairman, department of history, Government College University, Lahore.
22. HOUSTON OFFERS SHELTER FOR EXILES: After a long and harrowing journey from horrific camps when over 100,000 Bhutanese were exiled to Nepalese refugee camps by their own government ; Bhutanese refugees have found a haven in Houston through Sewa International.
Sewa International public relations intern Melissa Ramdass said. “We help them with computer skills, resumes and job interview etiquette.”Refugees attend English and computer classes to study grammar and spelling as well as how to make resumes. The organization is also starting a buddy program that will match refugees with high school students, according to common interests.
23. TRIBUTE TO SARDAR RULDA SINGH: Punjab Prant president of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, Sardar Rulda Singh passed away on August 15 in PGI Chandigarh. He had been shot by two unidentified armed persons on July 28 and a separatist organisation owned the responsibility of the attack by sending e-mails to newspapers offices.
24. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Sh. Kumar Parthasarathy from Ireland. Pravas: Dr. Shankar Tatwawadi, Samyojak – Vishwa Vibhag will be in Bharat after Sept 14; Sh Ravikumar, sah samyojak will tour Carribean countries of Suriname, Trinidad and Guyana in Sept. Sh Shyam Parande, Secretary Sewa International is in US for a month long tour.
25. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The essence of spiritual practice is your attitude towards others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude towards others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect. – Poojya Dalai Lama
JAI SHREE RAM
YESTERDAY ONCE MORESince the turn of this century, the southern part of the Indian peninsula is emerging as a repository of pre-historic study with many of the unearthed sites giving evidence of Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Iron Age civilizations dating back to much over 10,000 years.
These finds span most parts of Tamil Nadu and the adjoining areas of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
As recent as early July, a huge megalithic tomb with an urn burial was unearthed in Sambandhanur village in Tiruvannamalai district when a foundation for a temple was being laid. The Kallarai (tomb made of stone) seem to belong to a village head or a chieftain. The capstone (covering portion) of the tomb was 15 feet wide. The inner portion was six feet high, eight feet wide and 10 feet long. A small opening atop the tomb was big enough for a person to slip in and out.
It is meant for a person to enter the tomb to perform rituals for the deceased. The presence of two iron swords, three daggers and two axes only confirms the ancient practice of burying the dead with the things used by them when alive, with the belief that their spirits might use them later.
Vellore Government Museum curator Saravana who inspected the site, estimated it to be between 350-260 BC. Polished thick red and black ware pottery was also found with graffiti which is typical of the pottery of the 3rd and 4th centuries BC. Human bones were also found. Unfortunately, villagers had broken all the four urns found looking for treasures. Two pots with mud and ash were spared.
Earlier this year, excavations by Prof K Rajan, Pondicherry University’s History department head, in Porunthal near Palani in Dindigal district at the foot of the Western Ghats revealed an Iron Age burial area and a bead making factory that indicated bead manufacturing prevailed in different periods of time.
Prehistoric human existence was found in Thanjavur area early May, following excavations by the Tamil University inside the university campus itself. The excavations were done under the UGC funded project Landscape Archaeology of Prehistoric Cultures of Southern Tamil Nadu and clear evidence of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic human settlements were found. The excavation was directed by Prof V Selvakumar of the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology and this is the first time such evidence has been found in the Thanjavur region.
Interestingly, two cultural phases of Palaeolithic and Microlithic (Mesolithic) eras were found. The Palaeolithic articles were scrapers and flake tools. According to a release from the university, these were found in the laterite rock surface below a sterile layer that underlies the layer which produced Mesolithic artefacts. This signified the chronological gap between these two cultures.
The microlith implements included tiny stone tools like scrapers, triangles and points made of quartz. Apparently, Masolithic people were hunters, with no knowledge of metal implements or pottery. Though stratigraphic evidence indicates that the two cultural phases could go back to well over 10,000 years, a scientific dating is in process.
What has taken experts by surprise is the finding of a narrow channel for water harvesting in the Mesolithic phase.
The Vallam area of Thanjavur is rich in Palaeolithic finds, similar to the findings in Sri Lanka (Horton Plains), where evidence of a prehistoric occupation dates back to tens of thousands of years. Palaeolithic evidences were earlier found around Chennai. But the Thanjavur Palaeolithic culture is of a later period, according to topological analysis. Excavations done under Prof Rajan unearthed Palaeolithic sites in Dharmapuri area (north-west Tamil Nadu bordering Karnataka).
Evidence of Mesolithic culture was also found by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department in Mangudi (near Kumbakonam) and Teriruveli (Ramanathapuram district). Surveys done for over a year indicated more than 100 Microlithic sites and five Palaeolithic sites in Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thuthukudi (Tuticorin) districts.
Another excavation in May by the Geo-Heritage Archaeological Research Centre in the Palakkad region of Kerala, bordering Tamil Nadu, unearthed three Palaeolithic, 27 Microlithic and 26 Megalithic sites in the Thenmala valley in Kollengode. This is the first find of a pre-historic habitation in Kerala.
The excavation, led by the centre’s director V Sanal Kumar, yielded postholes and sockets and rock engravings. He was assisted by Prof Selvakumar in analysing these findings. While the postholes, in various shapes, indicate Neolithic residences, the rock engravings dates back to the Palaeolithic age.
The area spreads across Kollengode, Muthalamada, Elavancherry and Pallasena – between the Ikshumadi and Gayathri streams. According to Sanal Kumar’s research paper, the centre has located the ancient Chera capital of Vanji (Vanchi) or Porainadu (land of granite), taking into account physical and cultural evidences of the study area.
Porainadu/Vanji finds mention in various Sangam and post-Sangam literatures like Periyar, Muchiriyar, Porunai, Kottambalam, Kudalur, Venkundram, Imayam, Erakam, Vencatam, Kollimala and Parambumala. All the geographical names mentioned in these works have been identified.
What really has been a gateway to such finds is the unearthing of a prehistoric burial ground on a mound in Adhichanalur village 24 km from Tirunelveli in April 2003. The urn burial site on the Thambraparani river bank indicated settlement and subsequent surveys led the ASI to an Iron Age settlement. Though Iron Age burials were found in Chengalpet near Chennai earlier, Adichanalur was the first evidence of settlement.
The Adichanalur burial site (Tuticorin district) was first discovered by Dr Jagor of Berlin Museum in 1876. Some excavations were done in 1910 which brought out some burial urns. Gold diadems with parallels from Mycenae, bronze objects like lids with exquisite finials depicting animal forms, iron objects and potsherds were also recovered. The excavation was resumed by the ASI in 2003, and
subsequently a township was discovered. A town was discovered with a fortification wall with potters’ quarters in the town. There were three potters’ kilns with ash, charcoal and
The excavation was resumed by the ASI in 2003,
and broken pots in wet and baked forms, iron knife, beads of carnelian, terracotta and couex, bone implements and potsherds with graffiti.
The then ASI Superintending Archaeologist, Chennai circle T Satyamurthy had said that the findings indicated that it was a busy urban centre. On one side of the town was the burial mound and on the other, the kilns. A smith’s shop was also found within the town. The civilisation has been dated back to 1000 BC.
The burial urns contained Tamil Brahmi engravings. Tamil-Brahmi is the term for usage of Brahmi script in Tamil language. Brahmi is a Prakrit form of script used during the Mauryan period. This script was brought to the Tamil country in 3 BC by the Jains and Buddhists in the post-Ashokan period.
Skeletal remains were found in 15 of the urns, along with miniature pots, paddy and husk, ritual pots and iron implements like daggers, broken swords, spearhead and celts. Husks indicate an agrarian life. The skeletal remains in the urns are in crouched position. There was evidence of primary and secondary burials. A potsherd had appliqué narrative scene – a slim woman standing beside a banana tree. An egret is sitting on the tree with a fish in its beak. Near the woman is an alligator and a deer.
Studies on skeletal remains in Adichanalur claim that the pre-historic humans on the south east coast of Tamil Nadu were Caucasoids, Mongoloids, Negroids and Australoids. This was concluded from a dental anthropological study of more than 1,000 teeth found in Adichanalur’s harbour site and these date back to 2500 BC. The study also listed the pathological ailments of the people then!
The perpetual cityPre-Adichanalur sites included Mangadu in Kerala and Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu. Burial stones called Topikals (hat shaped stones) or Kudikals (umbrella shaped stones) in Mangadu, date back to 1,000 to 100 BC. The stones used for these megaliths were laterite. The topikals were prepared by first digging a pit and placing four stones vertically in it and then covering it with a circular stone, thus making it look like a cap or hat.
The golden age of Tamil country evolved from the Sangam period during
the ancient Chola dynasty between the third century BC and third century AD and
its capital was the prosperous international port city of Kaveripoompattinam,
now the town of Poompuhar in Nagapattinam. It was also known by various other
names, including Kaveripattinam and Puhar (river estuary in the sea). It is
situated at the mouth of the Cauvery, where the river meets the bay. Scientists
believe that this city was destroyed possibly by a tsunami, perhaps following
the Krakatoa earthquake in 416 AD. Most part of the port city is now submerged
in the Bay of Bengal. Kaveripoompattinam was part of the ancient maritime silk
route, with traders from Rome and China alighting on this land with rich
merchandise. Several poets of the Sangam period had sung praises of this capital
port, including great works like Silapadikaram and Manimekalai. It was a city of
peace, prosperity, honesty and justice. Buddhism flourished and
Kaveripoompattinam is mentioned in Buddhist literature in Pali language. The own finds mention in Periplus of Erythraean Sea and is also mentioned by Ptolemy and Plini. Underwater explorations carried out by the State archaeology department and the National Institute of Oceanography found ruins of walls and ells.
However, the explorations are not complete yet.Another popular centre of Roman
trade was Arikamedu (current fishing village of Veerampattinam) just south of
Puducherry which was discovered in 1930. It was a centre for making stone and
glass beads (Indo-Pacific) and rouletted ware. It is the largest and
longest-lived glass bead industry ever, according to experts. The stone beads
are of megalith origin. Two dyeing vats were found here. This was the first
discovery of Roman connection in south India. The lowest layer of this
excavation goes back to second century BC, much before the Romans came. In the
second and third centuries BC, Arikamedu was a Buddhist Mauryan empire capital.
In the later period, Jain figurines were excavated. Finding of Chola coins,
Chinese Celadon pottery and East Asian glassy ceramics indicate that Arikamedu
was a Medieval East-West maritime trade centre.Further up north, between
Puducherry and Chennai was another seventh century Pallava dynasty port city of Mamallapuram, now a UNESCO heritage site. This beautiful port city, also called the Land of the Seven Pagodas, flourished till the ninth century. Shore temple is the only pagoda that has survived, while the other six are submerged under the sea. It was a city sculpted out of granite rock face with several bas
reliefs in open air. The architecture is a blend of Dravidian and Buddhist
styles.Fishermen often said that they have seen other pagodas glittering through
he water. The 2004 tsunami has washed away some of the sand on the shore,
exposing relics buried under. The ASI carried out underwater exploration
ollowing the tsunami and found the walled portions of the city whose layout
resembled a Pallava-era painting of the ancient city that hangs in Hotel
Mamalla. The earliest European visitor to have marked the Seven Pagodas was
Marco Polo in his Catalan map in 1275.
The burial urns were kept beneath in an underground hole. The kudikals were also made in a similar manner, but with the slight difference that the stone kept on top was big, resulting in an umbrella-like appearance.
There were other structures found in Mangadu too, including cluster burials with several capstones. Apart from Stone Age burials, handmade and wheel-made earthenware and iron implements like sickles and knives were found. Iron slag indicated manufacturing of iron.
Kodumanal village is located near the iron-rich hill of Chennimalai in Erode bordering Kerala on the banks of the Noyyal, a tributary of the Cauvery. Megalithic burials have been found here. Kodumanal was an important trade centre on the Indo-Roman trade (300 BC-300 AD) corridor between Mussiri on the Malabar Coast and Kaveripoompattinam (a flourishing trade centre of Sangam period, now lies submerged in the Bay of Bengal off Nagapattinam coast) on Coromandel Coast. Interestingly, the recent historical findings in Tamil Nadu and Kerala find its links with Sri Lanka which was part of Indian land mass, at least 8,00,000 years ago, until the sea level rose to separate the island from the mainland (except for an umbilical link comprising shoals called Adams Bridge). Dr SU Deraniyagala, former D-G, Archaeological Survey Department and consultant to Sri Lanka Archaeological Survey Department, who was in India in 2004, talked about pre-historic burials, settlements and Brahmi-scripts found in caves and especially in Horton Plains. They bear resemblance to findings in Adichanalur, Chennai region and Western Ghats.
The findings in Sri Lanka, including human and animal bones, charcoal, stone implements etc date back to beyond 30,000 years.
In an interview to a leading daily, Dr Deraniyagala suggested that wet parts like Kerala, Western Ghats and Assam are rich pre-historic depositories. “The discovery of cultivation of oats and barley, and herding about 10,000 years ago (initially at 17,000 BC) in the Horton Plains has given a totally new dimension to what has been known about the origin of farming and herding in the world. So far, it has been assumed that it was West Asia, South-East Asia and East Asia which formed separate cradles of revolution in the subsistence strategy. But now we have yet another nucleus - South Asia,” he said.
( Pioneer 23/ 8/2009 )