Prehistoric Meghs


PRE-HISTORIC MEGHS: By Mr. R.L. Gottra 

R. L. Gottra
We read history to know about our ancestors, their physical form, their culture, professions, thoughts, beliefs, and those matters of the past, which directly or indirectly enter into the present to effect our current life. The Indian history taught to us during schooling generally consisted of 'Ancient Period' containing of the history of Kshattriyas, Brahmans and Rajputs. Pre-historic ‘Casteless India’ gets insignificant coverage; because, evidence for it is stated to be much lacking. As per ‘Pro-Hindutva’ research scholars it is stated to be contained in poetic mythical stories derived from Vedic literature! However, poetic myths are often misleading and not verifiable from the writings of outside historical sources and the rational or scientific archaeological findings both in India and old historic writings in Asia. Moreover, ‘Caste-ism’ in fact, is the unique form of ‘Racialism’ that leads to prejudicial writings by them. For Indians the sole purpose of history has remained to explain Vedas and Puranas with the help of legends and mythology. And even that much depended mostly on what was created by the Aryans (Brahmans & Kshattriyas) or what they felt it to be in their best interest. Therefore, they do not actually present the correct picture about the Non-Aryan Moolnivasis that include aboriginals & pre-settlers/Pre-Aryans, who are now mostly known as SC/ST/OBCs (artisan classes, peasants, etc) and Minorities. The people engaged in agriculture were mostly descendants of the agriculturalists of the Indus Valley. Almost all of them now form part of 85% India’s population.

(A video on this subject can be seen here)

Foreign invader Aryans used to call SCs as 'Shudras'/’Ati-Shudras’ or ‘Mahashudras’, while the Adivasis (aboriginals), have been termed by as ‘Vanvasis’ by the by modern day ‘Hindutva’ zealots. It has been found that most among the Pre-Aryan Indus people were the founders of the Indus Valley Civilization, many of whom were also great soldiers killed in combat with Aryans. Scholars having colonial views oppose this concept and create obstacles in the powerful flow of history.

GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF INDUS CIVILIZATION MARKED IN PINK AS SAPTA-SINDHU IN VEDIC LITERATURE V/S: ORIGINAL HOME OF ARYANS AND THEIR CIVILIZATION:
As per examination of Aryan literature and study of “The History of Indigenous People of India” written by Dr. Naval Viyogi [National Award Winner (1986), Research Work], Director, Indian National Historical Research Council; the Aryans lived somewhere near the South-West Russia. Reference to Russia has also been made in Rigveda (V—30—12 to 15). They moved to Central Asia and settled in the region South of Russia, around the Caspian Sea. From there, they moved to South-East and further reached Swat valley (Pakistan).

According to Rapson and Isaac Tailor, the Nordic Aryans were semi-civilized savage shepherds. They lived in villages, in huts made of grass, etc. They were not aware of the pucca brick pieces. They were semi-nude and wore animal hides. They used the skulls of their enemies for drinking water. After coming and settling in India, the Aryans specialized in philosophical and intellectual studies, but did not develop inclination for manual professions or artisanship. Hence, industries and handicrafts remained in the hands of Non-Aryans or Pre-Aryan Meghs, whose technical skill was magical. Aryans did not establish urban life even after passage of 1000 years since their arrival in India. Though, blood groups are mixed up by now in India, and nothing can be proved with high precision, yet the blood group analysis (survey) by historians reveals that Aryans had high frequency of Blood Group-'A'. The indigenous people like Meghs belonged to the artisan castes of North and North-Western erstwhile India. Yet these classes reportedly possessed a high frequency of Blood Group ‘B’, as compared to the high frequency of Blood Group ‘A’ among the Aryans.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDINGS:

Archaeologically, sometimes around 6,000 B.C. the nomadic herding people, about whom some people think to be Dravidians or Mediterraneans, settled into villages in the Mountainous region along the Indus River. There they grew barley and wheat, harvesting it using sickles with flint blades. They lived in small houses built with adobe bricks. After about 5000 B.C. the climate in their region changed, bringing more rainfall, which apparently enabled them to grow more food, for they grew in population. They began domesticating sheep, goats and cows and then later buffalo. Then after 4000 B.C. they began to trade with distant areas in central Asia and areas west of the Khyber Pass. For industrial purpose they also began using cotton, bronze and other metals. In its mature time the total area of the Indus Civilization, became larger than that of the old kingdom of Egypt. Their cities were characterized by buildings of elaborate architecture, constructed of fired brick, with sewage systems and paved streets.


Typical of these large planned cities, is Mohenjo-Daro, which along with it's great buildings, had city streets laid out in a grid. The city is thought to have housed roughly 50,000 people, and had a granary, baths, assembly halls and towers. The city was divided into two parts; west of the city there stood a citadel surrounded by a wall. This citadel appears to have been a community center. The Citadel included an elaborate tank or bath, created with fine quality brickwork and sewer drains, this area was then surrounded by a verandah. Also located here were a giant granary, a large residential structure, and at least two aisled assembly halls. To the east of the citadel was the lower city, laid out in a grid pattern. The streets were straight and were drained to keep the area sanitary. Mohenjo-Daro had a building with an underground furnace and dressing rooms, suggesting bathing was done in heated pools - as in modern day by the wealthy. The people of the city used very little stone in their construction. They preferred bricks, two types of bricks mainly - fired bricks, and wood bricks - which were created by using burnt wood ash. They used timber to create the flat roofs of their buildings, there are brick stairways leading to the roofs of many houses, suggesting that roofs were used as recreational areas. Houses were of various sizes, some were small, and others were large with interior courtyards and indoor bathrooms. Several craftsman workshops have been found, such as metalworking, carpentry, weaving and shell-working. Defensively Mohenjo-daro was a well-fortified city. Though it did not have city walls, it did have towers to the west of the main settlement, and defensive fortifications to the south. These fortifications taken into consideration, as well as a comparison to the Harappa ruins to the northeast, lead to the conclusion that perhaps Mohenjo-daro was an administrative center. Both Harappa and Mohenjo-daro share relatively the same architectural layout (Harappa is less well preserved due to early site defilement), and were generally not heavily fortified like other Indus Valley sites. It is obvious from the identical city layouts of all Indus sites, that there was some kind of political or administrative centrality, however the extent and functioning (and even the placement and type) of an administrative center remains unclear. For trade through sea route, Lothal was situated at the head of the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat. Here archaeologists have found large warehouses ready to hold goods for export. The people of Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and the other cities, shared a sophisticated system of weights and measures, used arithmetic with decimals, and had a written language that was partly phonetic and partly ideographic. The Indus people also utilized seals for signatures and pictorial presentation, as did the people to the northwest in Elam and Sumer. The Indus valley people carried on active trade relations with the middle-east in gold, copper utensils, lapis lazuli, ivory, beads and semiprecious stones. Following development of Indus Valley, they had also established their Median Empire (around 1000 BCE to 600 BCE) in the Mediteranean Region. Archaeological discoveries of Median sites have been found only after 1960s. Early Territorial Map of an extension of Median City-states Empire, excluding some Sapta-Sindhu areas, as available from the ‘History of Iran’ is shown here in green color. Detailed information could have been available had there been natural flow of history that has been destroyed both by the Arians and the Islamic historians, who have viewed history as per their liking than to follow the truthfulness.


              MAP OF AN EXTENSION OF MEDIAN EMPIRE FROM 900 BCE TO 600 BCE:
The Indus Valley type human civilization was the largest of its time and it covered a vast territory. It effectively extended north to the Himalayas and east to what is now Vietnam. But because of the Aryan invasion or migrations, whichever, the subsequently Indus history was lost on similar lines. The latest 20th Century position about these Mediterraneans reveals that they were known as Medes, or Meds, and thereafter as 'Meghs', as figuring at many places in Rig Veda. Further they came to be known differently in different states of undivided India. In the North-West Frontier and Dera Ismail Khan (both in Pakistan), the word Bhagats was used for them and they were known as Kshatriyas (warriors). Some of these Bhagats had gradually adopted the profession of traders (Vaishyas). Further, a few of them were also converted into Sikhism. In the Rawalpindi area (Pakistan), they were known as 'Kasabis' (artisan-weaver). In Sialkot (Pakistan) and Jammu region, they were known as Meghs or Menghs. In Himachal Pradesh, they were a small agricultural clan. In Rajasthan, 'Bhagat' is a tribe, whose members were professionally expert in dancing. In Maharashtra, some of them came to be known as Brahmins.

However, in Bihar, Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and MP, they are known as Bhaktas or Bhagats, and are included among the Other Backward Classes. Most of the Pre-Aryan Meghs, after having been defeated in war with the Aryans during the Vedic period, had settled in Rajasthan, Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra and were known as Meghwal (Hindi Meaning: Meghon Ka Samooh) or Meghowal, Maheshwaris, Blais, etc. In Rigveda, the term 'Megh' was used to denote 'Daitya' or 'Asura' or 'Rakshas'. Though the word 'Rakshas' is actually derived from 'Rakshak', which means the 'Defender' or 'Protector', the Aryans used it in the derogatory sense as a bad person inimical to them. The original inhabitants of 'Sapta-Sindhu' region were the Pre-Aryan Meghs who were the great protectors of environment. They believed in harmony between man and the nature. They were against animal or human sacrifice at the time of 'Yagya' performed by the Aryans. As mentioned in the Rig-Veda, the Meghs used to oppose such sacrificial acts of 'Yagya' by the then Aryans. Meghs were also against the use of intoxicants or the taking of liquor, while Aryans were much found of it. Among other reasons, of enmity was said to be use of river water, the flow of which used to be disrupted through ‘Dams’ for irrigation purposes by Meghs, while its free flow suited the cattle-grazer Aryans. These were the starting points of causes of tiffs between the Meghs and the Aryans. As revealed by the research scholars, many of the Meghs were later on influenced by the principles of 'Ahimsa' preached by Gautama Buddha, and subsequently by the emperor Ashoka. 

The Pre-Aryan people followed or supported the ‘Megh Rishi’, called as 'Vritra' in the Rig-Veda hymns. Vritra became the emperor of 'Sapta Sindhu', as the minor kings in that geographical region stretching from Kabul (Afghanistan) in the North to Narbada River in the South appeared to have accepted his suzerainty. From East to the West, this region extended mostly over the area commanded by seven rivers viz. the Sindh, Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum, and Yamuna. A careful analysis of Vedic literature and its rationalization with events connected with Aryans amply helps us to arrive at the correct picture. Slowly and gradually, the Aryans belonging to the Black Sea area and the Central Asia gradually started (about 1500 BCE onward) migrating in to the Sapta-Sindhu area in small groups, but later on for some centuries after 1000 BCE in large numbers, presumably due to climatic change or disease, etc in Central Asia. On one pretext or the other, when after they had migrated in sufficient numbers, the Aryans quarreled with the Pre-Aryan Meghs and Moolnivasis (aboriginals) already settled in Indus area for some generations' together. The major battles were fought between Vritra, and Indira (Aryan war-hero, later on called as Indira Devta). Earlier, Indira was defeated twice by Vritra. Initially, Vritra and his soldiers, due to better numerical strength, used to surround the enemy like the clouds. Hence, Vritra was named by the Aryans as 'Megh' i.e. the cloud. Due to his being the emperor, he was also called as 'Pratham Megh' by the Aryans. The people belonging to various tribes or communities under his rule came to be gradually known as Meghs. After about 500 to 600 years, the Aryans were successful in containing the Meghs in many areas, mainly because of disunity among the Moolnivasis at later stages. Ultimately, the Meghs were defeated in war; because of the reason that the Yadu Vanshis (Yadvas), as well as some other tribes who previously used to align themselves with the Meghs were won over by Indira to fight against them. He killed Vritra (Pratham Megh) and paved the way for an Aryan rule in the Sapta-Sindhu region. 

By analyzing the figures given in the Rig-Veda, we can roughly find out that during this long-drawn war between them for more than 500 years, more than Eight Lac Meghs (including some others who associated with Vritra i.e. Meghs) were killed by the Aryans. This information of killings, at various times and places, find mention in Sayan's "Bhashya" on Rigveda (translated by Dr. Ganga Sahai Sharma, Phd. & Vyakaranacharya), as well as in "The History of Indigenous People of India" by Dr. Naval Viyogi, Director, Indian National Historical Reserch Council [National Award Winner in Research Work, 1986]. Sayan remained Minister under King Harihar of Vijaypur in the Fourteenth Century. Detailed information available at Meghs of India

COLLAPSE OF INDUS CIVILIZATION: 

There are only unsubstantiated theories about the downfall of Sapta-Sindhu civilization. However, what really caused the people to leave, and abandon the cities can be analysed through modern sources of information. After people’s desertion from these cities, Aryans inhabited some of the abandoned places. As such, a careful note should be made, that only the Pre-Aryan people and their culture vanished and nothing happened to Aryans! Additionally, we should keep in mind that Rig Veda was written 600 years after Aryans had arrived, but the knowledge of Mohenjo-Daro civilization remained buried, until archaeologists discovered evidence of this civilization in the twentieth century.

It appears that also might have been some impact of changing weather cycles over a long period of time. A per one guess, there seemed to be one possibility that some of the Indus Valley people went to the north, into Elam and Sumer to re-join their former groups. This scenario is explained by somewhat “Sudden Re-appearance” of the Medes and Persians in Elam, as well as others associated with them, and also similar groups in eastern Anatolia. However, many of them also surely went to the high reaches in Jammu & Kashmir and downwards to Southern India, as well as towards the East. Investigations carried out in the last eight/nine decades have revealed that there existed Median city states governed by Meds/Meghs in Indus area prior to 600 BC. But with large scale migration of Aryan tribes into India, their numerical strength increased. Consequently, two distinct cultural traditions Non-Aryan/Pre-Aryan and Aryan came to exist side by side in North India. There are various stories for the collapse of Indus Civilization. But the most forceful and persuasive story is that before the Indus collapse, the Helmand Civilization, which existed in the present-day Afghanistan, came to a sudden end, with evidence of arson and violence in the historical record after 1300 BC. 
A little later, there started the inflow of a new people (Aryans) in Swat, Kab, NWFP, and thereafter in Northern Punjab and the Bolan region in Pakistan. These new people had no genetic relationship with the Harappan, late Harappan or the later Chalcolithic cultures. Thus, after first overwhelming the Helmand cities, then the Kor-Diji culture, the Aryans finally took control of the Indus cities. As per Archaeological findings, human skeletons found in unnatural situations suggest that there were signs of violence in the later stages of Mohenjo-Daro. An examination of post-Indus scenario reveals that there was slide-back from the achievements of the Indus Culture. Cities and towns practically disappeared. The archaeological evidence showed - heaps of skeletons - signs of disarray and sudden death. Some cities showed signs of disrepair followed by abandonment. The figures of deities, sacred animals, and writing on seals disappeared. There were changes in burial practices. The change was then so complete as to bring about a withering of commerce, much onset of illiteracy, and alteration of religious practices. The pre-Aryans were adept in some crafts that also largely vanished. It suggests some sort of brutal invasions, with the advent of hordes of Aryan nomads who earlier lived somewhere in Russia. They came to Punjab via Hindu-Kush Mountains. In fact, North India was colonized by successive migrations by people with different cultural identities. 

SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: 

After they had achieved sufficient victories and domination over the people of Sapta-Sindhu, the Aryans evolved the caste system. Originally, in Sapta Sindhu Region, there used to be migration of labor from one profession to another and there were no caste distinctions. But, the Aryans divided people on the basis of their professions and created caste (racial) hierarchy in which they placed themselves on the top and the defeated or subjugated tribes (farmers/working classes) below them. As the main fight occurred in the cities, wherein the working classes had fiercely fought with them, they had been enslaved and placed in the lowest category (Shudras) to severally punish them. 

Thus, the victors were in a strong powerful position to strengthen the social system best suited to them economically, politically and socially. With passing of time, the Hindu city states created Vedic literature describing this social system as sanctified ‘will of God’. Later on they transformed it to depend on birth. After many generations together, Pro-Aryan Indian historians falsely started propagating that the caste system already existed among the natives, and Aryans just only adapted to it. However, with deep study of Buddhist and Jain literature (unadulterated or devoid of alterations, etc.), we find this claim to be false. During the 6th century BC, Buddhism and Jainism had emerged in India. These two religions preached non-violence, tolerance, self-discipline and right conduct leading to humanitarianism. Buddha had even questioned the religious traditions practiced by the Aryans. Though, the rise of these two rival religions, were not suitable to the Indo-Aryans, who practiced social stratification, yet they perpetuated caste system in the ‘Janapadas’ ruled by them. These Janapadas were semi-nomadic tribal states, which often used to fight among themselves, as well as with other Non-Aryan tribes for cows, sheep and green pastures. Thereafter, emerged the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BC), during which Buddhism spread far and east. However, peace in the North India was disrupted with the assassination of Buddhist King Brhadrath (last Maurya Emperor) by his own Senapati Pushyamitra


Shunga (General) in 185 BCE during an army review. Pushyamitra proclaimed himself King and then performed the Ashwamedh Yajya. He brought much of Northern ‘Bharatvarsha’ under his rule. He was the first Brahmin emperor and is believed by some historians to have persecuted Buddhists and contributed to a resurgence of Brahmanism . Those Buddhists who failed to do so were declared as ‘Ati-Shudras’ i.e. ‘untouchables’ (Antajyas) in order to give more punishment to them. However, as per provisions in the ‘Manusmariti’, Antajyas could be admitted into the Hindu fold if they deserved so by virtue their devotion (Bhagati) towards the Aryan’s ‘Brahmanism’. Later on, under this background, the medieval saints like Namdev, Kabir, Ravidass, etc were also called as ‘Bhagats’ in order to assimilate their philosophy into that of Sanatan-Aryan’s.

Pushyamitra died after ruling for 36 years (187–151 BCE). He was succeeded by son Agnimitra. It is said that there were ten Sunga emperors, and the Brahmins had spread from the North to the Southern areas by then, and thenceforth, they continued their campaign for the spread of Aryan social system. It is believed by rational thinking writers that some of the mythical stories or poetic books like ‘Ramayana’, Mahabharta, etc. were created by the ‘Brahmins’ during the rule of Sunga Dynasty to enslave the minds of Pre-Aryans, aboriginals, etc (All Moolnivasis), and this process went on during the later Hindu period of History. As ‘Brahmins’ were supposed to be repositories of knowledge, their writings were believed by all in the absence of no education for others. Even education for Kshatriyas used to be limited by them only for learning warfare and use of their weapons, it practically resulted in weakening India militarily. Even when Kalhana (12th century CE), a Kashmiri Brahmin, wrote ‘Rajatarangini’, (considered to be the First among historical books written by Indians), he deliberately omitted details about the rule of Non-Aryans Buddhists, Mediterraneons or Megh kings of ancient periods, and said that the poets knew the better history. Whatever he or the other writers of Hindu rule expressed was very vague, dubious and contained imaginary stories, suited to promote the Sanatan (everlasting) Aryan culture.

CONSEQUENCES OF ARYAN RULE:

Brahmins had become so much dominant in the Aryan Social System that under the intoxication of power, for themselves they even did not feel the necessity of seeking justice from the sovereign king. It is illustrative from Manusmariti Chapter-11, Shaloka-261-262, which states that even if any Brahmin happens to kill human-beings belonging to ‘Teen Lok’ (Prithvi, Akaash, Pataal i.e. Earth, Sky, & Under-world), he can be salvaged or forgiven of all the his sins by his thrice chanting of Rigveda, Yajurveda, or Somaveda alonwith Upnishdas.
The Aryan Effect
ANALYSES OF MANUSMARITI REVEALS THAT:-
1. It gave to Brahmins the right to govern and resort to ‘Raj-Hatya’, as is evident from the case of Pushyamitra Shung. 2. It made Brahmins a class possessing vast special privileges. 3. It converted the concept of ‘Class’ into a sanctified ‘Caste’ that is tantamount to ‘Racialism’. 4. It created conflicts or struggles among the different castes, and lead to anti-social tendencies. 5. It considered ‘Shudras’ and ‘Women’ as low and hateful. 6. It imposed inequality within the ‘Varnavyavastha’. 7. The earlier social system before this ‘Brahmanised’ code of conduct was traditional, but at the same time very flexible as well. However, ‘Manusmariti’ legalized it very rigidly, without any scope for change or reformation.

[PLEASE ALSO SEE: Writings and speeches of Dr. Ambedkar, Mumbai 1990, Part-7, Page: 373].

OTHER CONSEQUENCES:
1. Enslavement of indigenous people by the Aryans took away from them the most basic of human rights like the right to education, right to choose a life-work of one’s own choice, right to property, right to education, right to take up arms against injustice, right to conscience, etc. Slavery takes away the hope of betterment; it beats the human soul into a submission of all physical choice. It allows one human to exercise limitless control over another. The master of a slave is allowed to beat him, to kill him, and demoralize him. This is what we find by reading the code of conduct in Manusmariti that remained enforced during the rule of Hindu Kings in India. Though, it is no more prevalent in modern India, and most educated people admit that slavery was an ugly spot in Indian history, yet remnants of it are still being felt even today. Its consequences particularly resulted into blurred and divided identity of present day indigenous people. Some of its effects are as under:-

(1) Sense of unequal social status among the indigenous people. (2) Inferiority feelings inherited by the erstwhile socially deprived people out of old oppression. (3) Mental slavery duly imbibed and accepted by them through the Aryanisation or Hinduisation process. (4) The lack of revolt against this Aryanisation process, because of the Ignorance about their having been victimized through this process. (5) Belief in the concept of fate, as imprinted on their minds by the Aryan Mythical/imaginary theories of ‘Atma’ (soul), 'Karma' (deeds) and 'Rebirth'(re-incarnation of soul), and exploitation such religious sentiments by political groups or their front organizations on the pretext of imaginary foreign threat or danger to their traditional culture. (6) Continued centuries old inherited ignorance, and blind faith particularly when Free Quality Education is still lacking, because of its commercialization, and un-affordability due to wide-spread poverty. (7) Religion, and caste have very adversely affected the Indian political system and have even given rise to corrupt behavior.

R.L. Gottra
(Writer of a research article - Meghs of India)

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