Force-fitting of evidence in the making of Indian History

Even though we do not have a continuous written record of ancient Indian history, the historical characters had a chronological order that would be garbled by such a shift.

In the previous article, “Flawed Sheet Anchors of Indian History”, I discussed the implications of shifting the reign of the Imperial Guptas from fourth to second century BCE to fourth to sixth century CE. Even though we do not have a continuous written record of ancient Indian history, the historical characters had a chronological order that would be garbled by such a shift. If we consider the bits and pieces of information available to us from archaeological, epigraphical, literary, and numismatic sources as parts of a giant chronological puzzle, then historians are bound to force-fit the puzzle pieces into places where they don’t belong.

The biggest example of this force-fitting is in regard to the tradition related to the Emperor Vikramāditya. According to Indian tradition, Emperor Vikramāditya was the greatest hero of ancient India. He had crushed the Śakas, who had dared to invade India. He was a paragon of virtue, his generosity was legendary, and he was a great patron of the arts. There were nine gems, people with extraordinary skills in their field, in his court. Two of these gems were Varāhamihira, astronomer par excellence, and Kālidāsa, poet par excellence. The Vikrama era, still in use in India, was instituted to commemorate the death of Emperor Vikramāditya in 57 BCE. The love and respect that Emperor Vikramāditya commanded from Indians grew over time and he became the hero of a number of fables, as described in the Vetālapañchaviṃśati (popularly known as Vetāla Pachīsī), Siṃhāsana-dwātṛiṃśikā (popularly known as Siṃhāsana Battīsī), and Śuka-saptaśatī (popularly known as the story of a parrot and a mynah).

However, modern history denies the very existence of Emperor Vikramāditya in 57 BCE. Varāhamihira has been placed in early sixth century CE based on the misinterpretation of the Śaka era. While Varāhamihira counted his time from the Cyrus Śaka era beginning in 550 BCE (as his forefathers had migrated to India from Persia in the wake of the devastation brought to Persia by Alexander), historians have simply refused to accept the existence of a Śaka era older than the Śalivāhana Śaka era beginning in 78 CE. Kālidāsa has been made the court poet of Chandragupta II Vikramāditya, who ruled between 376-415 CE. In the astrological text, Jyotirvidābharaṇa, supposedly written by Kālidāsa, the time of writing of this text is given as 3068 Kali, which is 34/33 BCE. This makes Kālidāsa a junior contemporary of Emperor Vikramāditya. Since this piece of evidence does not fit into the narrative created by modern historians, they have conveniently labeled  Jyotirvidābharaṇa as a forgery. They have yet to explain why their Vikramāditya should be placed in the fourth-fifth century CE, while the Vikrama era counts its beginning from 57 BCE. Since they need to have someone in 57 BCE to account for the Vikrama era, they have forced on us an itsy-bitsy ruler named Azes as the founder of the Vikrama era [1]:

“Azes (Aya in Kharosthi) was another powerful Śaka ruler in the Northwest who initiated a dynastic era beginning in 58/57 B.C., which later became identified with the so-called Vikrama era still used in South Asia.”

Ironically, this petty ruler Azes was a Śaka ruler, whereas, according to Indian tradition, Emperor Vikramāditya, is known as Śakāri – the  enemy of the Śakas! We might as well ask our modern  historians why the era of Azes is not called the Azes era. Why would it be called the Vikrama era? This strange and inexplicable sleight of hand by historians has to be challenged and shown for it is: an untenable act of a deliberate manipulation of historical records. According to recent research by Falk and Bennet [2], the Azes era did not start in 57 BCE. This has created a strange situation for modern historians, as they have to come up with another ruler now to whom they can attribute the establishment of the Vikrama era.

Another major example of the force-fitting of evidence is that of the dating of Gautama Buddha. According to the Hindu Purāṇas, Gautama Buddha lived during the 19th century BCE as [3]. This is based on the assumption by the writers of the Purāṇas that Kaliyuga started in 3102 BCE. When colonial era historians started to piece together the history of India, they considered the date of birth of Buddha to be 1027 BCE as reported by Sir William Jones in 1788 CE [4]. This date was based on Chinese sources. The date of birth of Buddha was revised subsequent to the identification of the Indian king Sandrokottos from Greek accounts with Chandragupta Maurya by Sir William Jones in 1793 CE [5]. Most of the modern historians place the birth of Buddha in the sixth century BCE (sometime between 567-563 BCE) and his death in the fifth century BCE (sometime between 487-483 BCE). Since Indian and Chinese dates are too early, modern historians have argued that Ceylonese/Sri Lankan dates are more reliable. It goes against common sense that the place farthest from the birthplace of Buddha would have preserved the most authentic date of his birth! The fact is that the Ceylonese texts “Dīpavaṃśa” and “Mahāvaṃśa” were written in the fourth century and fifth to sixth century respectively. These texts, in turn, are based on texts that are no longer available. There is simply no reason for Ceylonese texts to be more reliable than Indian, Chinese, and Nepalese texts.

Modern historians have calculated the date of the Buddha from the date of Aśoka Maurya. Since the date of coronation of Aśoka Maurya was fixed at ~268 BCE, based on his identification with Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī, historians searched for texts for the date of the Buddha that would be consistent with the date of Aśoka’s coronation. They found in Ceylonese texts that coronation of Piyadassi took place 218 years after the death of the Buddha. Working backwards, historians calculated the date of the death of Buddha at ~486 BCE and his birth 80 years earlier at ~566 BCE. However, the same Ceylonese texts that mention 218 years between the death of Buddha and coronation of Piyadassi also say that the Buddha died in 544/543 BCE. If we take that date as reliable, then the coronation of Aśoka Maurya took place 218 years later in 326/325 BCE, which is around the time of the invasion of India by Alexander. This will make Aśoka Maurya the contemporary of Alexander instead of his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya. So we are being told by historians that Ceylonese texts are the most reliable regarding the dating of Gautama Buddha while these texts give the dates of Buddha’s life and death that are completely irreconcilable.

Moving Gautama Buddha from the 12th century BCE to the sixth century BCE has resulted in a cascading effect that has resulted in the denial of many historical figures their rightful place in history. The most prominent name among these luminaries is Ādi Śankarāchārya, who was one of the greatest intellectuals India has produced. As we know, he was the greatest proponent of the Advaita Vedānta philosophy. According to traditional sources, Ādi Śankarāchārya lived between 509-477 BCE. However, according to modern historians, Ādi Śankarāchārya lived between 788-820 CE. This is based on Ādi Śankarāchārya quoting Buddhist logician Dharmakīrtti verbatim. The real reason the traditional date is not acceptable to modern historians is that Ādi Śankarāchārya could not be the contemporary of Gautama Buddha. If the time of Buddha was several centuries before the currently accepted date, then the objection to the traditional date of Ādi Śankarāchārya can be worked out.

buddhaAt this point, it will be reasonable to ask if the Imperial Guptas should be placed at a time when the Mauryas were said to be ruling, then who ruled at the time when the Imperial Guptas were said to be ruling? The Imperial Guptas have been force-fitted in their current place in history by shifting the Kuṣāṇas backward in time, and shifting the Vallabhī and Gurjara dynasties forward in time. History books since the colonial times have taught that the Kuṣāṇa emperor Kaniṣka-I was the founder of the Śalivāhana Śaka era, which started in 78 CE. However, Kaniṣka was a Kuṣāṇa and not a Śaka. Modern historians have justified this by saying that the term Śaka was used by Indians for any foreigner. However, Professor Harry Falk has recently shown that according to the text Yavanajātaka by Sphujidhvaja, the Kuṣāṇa era started 149 years after the Śaka era, i.e. in 227 CE [6]. This means that currently the Kuṣāṇas occupy a place 149 years before their actual time.

The time of the Gurjaras is currently calculated based on the assumption that they were using Kalchuri/Chedi era with a starting date of ~248 CE. However, there is documentary evidence of the existence of three inscriptions of the Gurjaras in which the Śaka era has been used. These inscriptions occur on three plates identified as Bagumrā, Ilāo, and Umetā plates by Bühler in a paper written in 1888 CE [7]. These inscriptions were declared forgeries by colonial era historians and now their existence itself has been erased. The two parts of Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Volume 4 [8-9] are supposed to list and present all inscriptions belonging to Early Gurjara rulers, whether considered genuine or forged, but the inscriptions of Bagumrā, Ilāo and Umetā plates are not found in this volume. When we take into account the evidence of Bagumrā, Ilāo and Umetā plates, we find that Gurjara rulers are shifted forward from their actual time by about 170 years.

The time of Vallabhī rulers is currently calculated based on the assumption that they were using the Vallabhī era with a starting date of 319 CE. The Alina copper plate inscription of Śilāditya VII was written in the year 447, which places the last Vallabhī ruler Śilāditya VII in 766 CE using the Vallabhī era [10]. According to numerous Rajput genealogies, the great Bappa Rawal was a direct descendant of Śilāditya VII and was separated from him by eight generations. This will make the great Bappa Rawal roughly 200 years posterior to Śilāditya VII. Showing scant regard to native accounts, current historians place Śilāditya VII chronologically after Bappa Rawal. This has completely muddied the well-preserved traditions of Mewar and the genealogies maintained by the Rajputs. When we date Vallabhī rulers using the Śaka era, we find that they have been shifted forward from their actual time by about 240 years. Dating the Vallabhī and Gurjara rulers using the Śaka era not only does justice to the Rajput traditions maintained under extremely trying conditions, but also provides the background for the epic battle of Korūr, a battle that has been currently erased from the history books.

References

  1. Srinivasan, D. M. (2007). On the Cusp of an Era. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, page 71.
  2. Falk, H. and Bennett, C. (2009). Macedonian Intercalary Months and the Era of Azes. Acta Orientalia, Vol. 70, pages 197-216.
  3. Venkatachelam, K. (1956). Age of Buddha, Milinda & Amtiyoka and Yugapurana. Ghandhinagara/Vijayawada, India: Bharata Charitra Bhaskara, page 17.
  4. Jones, W. (1807 reprint). On the Chronology of the Hindus. Asiatick Researches or Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, Vol. 2, pages 111-147. (Article was written in January 1788.)
  5. Jones, W. (1793). The Tenth Anniversary Discourse. Asiatick Researches or Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, Vol. 4, pages xii-xiv.
  6. Falk, H. (2001). The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣāṇas. Silk Road Art and Archaeology, Vol. 7, pages 121-136.
  7. Bühler, G. (1888). Gurjara Inscriptions, No. III: A New Grant of Dadda II or Prasantaraga. The Indian Antiquary, Vol. 17: pages 183-201.
  8. Mirashi, V.V. (editor). (1955a). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. IV: Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi era. Part 1. New Delhi, India: Archaeological Survey of India.
  9. Mirashi, V.V. (editor). (1955b). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. IV: Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi era. Part 2. New Delhi, India: Archaeological Survey of India.
  10. Fleet, J. F. (1888). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. III: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Calcutta, India: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, pages 171-191.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

royrajaram@gmail.com'

Dr. Raja Ram Mohan Roy earned his B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from The Ohio State University, USA. He has worked as a Research Scientist and Project Manager for over 20 years in Canada. He has written four pathbreaking books on Indian civilization titled “Vedic Physics: Scientific Origin of Hinduism”, “India before Alexander: A New Chronology”, “India after Alexander: The Age of Vikramādityas”, and “India after Vikramāditya: The Melting Pot”. He is currently working on his fourth book on Indian history titled “India before Buddha: Vedic Kingdoms in 2nd Millennium BCE”.

  • sanch

    It seems strange to think that if Adi Shankara was a great Hindu intellectual and revived Hinduism and we also know the Gupta Empire revived Hinduism. Now the problem with the modern historians is if Guptas ruled all of India and was a Hindu kingdom then what was the point of Adi Shankara in reviving Hinduism. It seems that the Golden Age was always Hindu. This can only mean one thing. Adi Shankara was before the Gupta age at a time when Buddhism was prevalent all over North India and deccan regions as well. This would mean the Guptas has to go up to 350 BCE because Megasthenes mention nothing about Buddhism in their court. He mentions about Heracles. In fact he too was critiqued by later historians of Greece stating Hindus believed in multiple arms and legs. So clearly that period had Hindus flourishing which is contradicting to modern historians who says Adi Shankara came to revive Hinduism. This makes Buddha older than Adi Shankara around 1000 BC. The Mauryans around 800 BCE and if the Shankara date is around 450 BCE, then it fits well with the Guptas coming on 350-320 BCE. That would make a better fiy than the current self contradicting historic model by Thapar and his family.

  • Ankit Khemka

    This is a most promising article. This needs to be main streamed as soon as possible.. Kudos!

  • AChakra

    You are doing a yeoman’s job. It heartens me to find people trained in science and technology finally coming to rescue Indian history from centuries old distortion.

    And to think of the root cause of this distortion of ancient history across the world – everything looks pathetically comical.
    Why Budhha could not be in 1900 BC ? Because it could happen only after Krishna.
    But why Mahabharat could not happen in 4th millenia BC ? Because that could happen only after Vedic period.

    But why Vedic period could not happen before that ? BECAUSE VEDIC PERIOD COULD COME ONLY AFTER GOD CTEATED UNIVERSE IN THE YEAR ACCORDING TO BIBLE. !!!

    All the hoopola that historians taught in colonies of western empires had anchored to the date of creation of earth in accordance with their holy bible.

    Then to defend their stands, they kept on twisting the historical time line of colonies as per their convenience. Curse be on archaeologists physicists who discovered and dated fossils millions of years old. They punctured the historical time line approved by vatican. Then suddenly the professional historians started telling that none other than they themselves are the authority to tell anything about past. Hence rubbish geological evidence of and rely only on eminent historians to say Saraswati was just a mythical river.
    Rubbish metallurgists if historians declare the iron pillar of Mahrauli to be a non descrip technological feat which required no profeciency in metallurgy.

    Rubbish the writers of Upanishadas who saw high end philolosophy in Vedas instead of stories of some tribal chieftaints fighting for cows !!

    The eminent historians require us to do all these only to defend what their precursors had taught ( Remember – if one proves that their precursors taught only cocks and bulls , then their own degrees in history would be worthless and they jobless ) . And the predecessors of our eminent historians said those things because vatican won’t have agreed to otherwise.

    That explains why your articles would face stiff opposition from the established historians .

  • BTW I am still not convinced by these recent articles that it would change my perspective on Indian history.

    And coming to the topic of Present day Indian “eminent” historians, mostly if not all, are products of humanities/arts field, filled with communists and muslims and the love for nehru and the hate for hindus being the common factors uniting them against Indians to put down, humiliate, ridicule Indian History.

    One Example of Eminent Historians is of romila thapar who refers to muslims like irfan habib on questions about Ramayana, a Sanskrit text where both the historians mentioned cant even read nor understand Sanskrit to begin with, yet have the audacity to pass judgement on it.

    • Shubhangi Raykar

      Because she herself does not know it. Is the name Romila a Hindu name? Just out of curiosity. Many North Indians with convent school background were not only anglophiles but were confusing this with being highly cultured . In reality it was just the basking in the western gaze

      • #MIMAAP

        Rohilla is RoP version of Romila 😆

    • Lalitaditya Muktapida

      Is that a “middle finger” or a “cock and balls” on your name?

      • both.

        • Lalitaditya Muktapida

          Hahahahaha! Welcome my friend, welcome. The Hindus need more people like you in their ranks. We need more people who disrespect the status quo. We need more saboteurs, we need more humorists. Love your tongue in cheek humor. The Brilliance of your subversive humor still has me speechless. Were you trying to make some sort of subversive statement with that symbol? I wonder if even you understand the significance of what you just did! Are you an artist?

  • Sujata Srinath

    So if Devanampriya Priyadarsi is not the great emperor Ashoka then perhaps we need to explore who this Ashoka really was and whether he did exist at all. If he was such a great emperor then why did the British have to discover him for us?

    • sanch

      Kumaragupta

  • JagatguruDas
  • Rabinder Koul

    The Ashoka of Kashmir of the Gonanda dynasty was born 100 years after Buddha Nirvana. And Rjatarangni says that Ashokas was about 2034 BC, when we correct for the Saka-Salivahana confusion. And buddha in 2214-2213 BCE

  • Rabinder Koul

    There are plenty of the Epigraphic evidence to show that the Saka era started in %23 BC or a little earlier. And are there epigraphical evidences to show that Sahlivahana era started in 78CE or so. But out Eminent historians are ready coking history in Politburos.

  • Rabinder Koul

    There seem to be more than a few Vikramadityas in Indian History. And all those have been confused or lumped together.

  • Bihari

    You are the second guy in a month who has said this (to me). I recently attended a talk on the same issue by a professor in UBC. There seems to be a fantastic opportunity here. Finally tech guys to the rescue of even history. Shame on our eminent historians.

    • Krispy K

      Those from STEM fields are trained to deal with empirical evidence, and are strongly conditioned to practice academic rigour and honesty in their endeavours. So-called “historians”, especially ones focusing on India, are largely trained in the art of bullshit, and strongly conditioned towards satisfying political conveniences at all costs. So it’s not surprising that “tech guys” are at the forefront of trying to correct our mutilated history.

      • Denny crane

        Can’t believe people are buying this guys nonsensical crap

        • Krispy K

          Whether or not he is right or wrong can be debated, but instead of whining about it “being crap”, perhaps you can come up with a cogent counterargument? And mental/intellectual inertia, or meek deference to Western “scholars”, or heartburn because some pet theories that your or your colleagues’ careers have been built on are being questioned, or being pissed off because whatever lifelong beliefs you have held onto are being brought into the spotlight, are not excuses for shooting and scooting. Indians should learn to be tired of such behaviour by now.

          • Denny crane

            This man’s theories are but a rehash of what people like Kota Venkateshwara and P N Oak have been saying for a long time. This theory is wholly bizarre and doesn’t deserve to be discussed, but the fact that so many Hindus seem to buy it makes a rebuttal necessary. I shall just give a few examples of the massive evidence against these theories. The First piece of evidence against these conspiracy theories are the numerous antiquities which can now be carbon dated. A most vital piece of evidence is from Patanjali whose date can be corellated with that of menander the indo greek king (he says arunadyavanH sAketaM refering to his capture of Saketa), he also uses the sentence iha pushyamitram yAjayAmaH (we sacrifice for Pushyamitra, the Shunga) illustrating the use of the present tense. He also seems to be familliar with the Mauryas as rulers in the recent past. All this dates him to 150 BC . Yavana derives from old persian Yauna itself from ionia. To deny that the Yavanas were greeks requires a whole lot of pleading.

          • Maha Vairagi

            The euro-centric theories of dating everything non-euro origin as later has been going on for many years by historians and dismissing all original or opposing views as craps. In fact the current historical theories and dating are a real crap and do not agree to many historical evidences and also the original historical understanding of the natives. It has been too long these craps are imposed on the natives and the time has come to re-establish the true history of man kind.

          • Denny crane

            Unfortunately the authors view is ridiculous. How then do we account for the contemporary nature of Pushyamitra, Patanjali and Menander ? How do we account for the correspondence between the Mauryas and Sangam Tamil Nadu. How do we account for radio-carbon dating of thousands of inscriptions? How do we account for the patterns in coinage. It is fashionable among westerners to deny the antiquity of our civillisation, but also ridiculous for us to claim unreasonale antiquity not supported by any evidence archaeological, linguistic or literary

          • Krispy K

            I’ll reiterate what I said about “mental inertia”. And the fact you are conditioned to find it “bizarre” and hold the opinion that it “does not deserve to be discussed” is not sufficient.

            I’d also suggest that one hastily put together paragraph of a few statements which are neither fleshed out properly nor furnished with references is not an adequate counterargument. I would suggest that you write an article that rebuts the author point by point, and then maybe Indiafacts can publish it.

            From the point of view of someone who is STEM trained (not an archaeologist/anthropologist etc), it seems to me that one of the things about the endeavour to reorient the mutilated history of Bharat is that one must be on their guard to check at the door all the numerous shaky (and motivated) assumptions that formed the foundation of said mutilated history. It’s easy to unwittingly filter everything through those assumptions when one has become steeped in them.

    • कृ

      Aklujkar ?

      • Bihari

        Yes. Found it quite interesting. Raised a number of important points. He came prepared with handouts and all. Although he was suggesting that Ashoka (and hence Buddha) be backdated by a 1000 yrs. So his hypothesis is slightly different.

        • कृ

          Actually, backdating Buddha completely dismantles the usual racist theories of “chariot-riding Aryans”.

          • Denny crane

            But back dating the Buddha is nonsensical

          • Krispy K

            Because…?

          • कृ

            …. probably because we idiot “pagans” don’t imbibe “Protestant Enlightenment” values.

          • Denny crane

            Try reading HC Raychaudhuri’s political history of ancient India from the accession of Parikshit to the extinction of the Gupta dynasty

          • Denny crane

            This man’s theories are but a rehash of what people like Kota Venkateshwara and P N Oak have been saying for a long time. This theory is wholly bizarre and doesn’t deserve to be discussed, but the fact that so many Hindus seem to buy it makes a rebuttal necessary. I shall just give a few examples of the massive evidence against these theories. The First piece of evidence against these conspiracy theories are the numerous antiquities which can now be carbon dated. A most vital piece of evidence is from Patanjali whose date can be corellated with that of menander the indo greek king (he says arunadyavanH sAketaM refering to his capture of Saketa), he also uses the sentence iha pushyamitram yAjayAmaH (we sacrifice for Pushyamitra, the Shunga) illustrating the use of the present tense. He also seems to be familliar with the Mauryas as rulers in the recent past. All this dates him to 150 BC . Yavana derives from old persian Yauna itself from ionia. To deny that the Yavanas were greeks requires a whole lot of pleading.

    • Lalitaditya Muktapida

      It is because almost all intellectuals in the Arts and Social studies have been bought by powerful interests to help them solidify their grip on power. This biggest impact is in Economics, Media, Sanskrit and history. There is probably no one in these fields who has any integrity and is not bought. That is why it is now up to Technical guys to do authentic research on this topic.