I was looking into Keezhadi excavations and it looks as if the whole controversy created around it is just a controversy and nothing more. A quick reading tells that this is presented as a Brahminical conspiracy to suppress the glorious Tamil civilization and a whole narrative is built around it. First of all, a few important finds regarding Keezhadi
1. An advanced city dating to around 300 BC is unearthed at Keezhadi, raising the speculation that this is the Pandyan capital city. The finding of artifacts with Tamil Brahmi script on them further confirms the date as to be between 300 BC and 100 BC.
2. Idols are not found. That is contused by the Tamil lobby as that of something very different from Brahminic Aryan religions. However, the important point to note here is, idols of prayer that old are rare to find anywhere in India.
3. The argument that Tamil Civilization is as advanced as SSC/IVC and hence the Brahminic lobby doesn’t want the data to be revealed – SSC/IVC is not the only civilization in India. There are many contemporareous ones in India – Kashmir Valley, Painted Greyware in Ganga Belt, Ahir Culture in Rajasthan, Narmada Valley Civilization and others. Instead of seeing two civilizations separated by 2000 km, we are seeing urban/rural/pastoral agglomerations everywhere. How exactly is finding a fully developed city somewhere in Tamil Nadu harm the interests of someone? The only someones whose interests are harmed are the Leftist lobby of Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and the others whose careers depend on the legitimacy of Aryan Invasion Theory.
“The Hindu extremists currently in power portray India as the land of Vedas and Vedic culture as the Indian culture, shoving their Aryan brahmanical culture upon the people. But, prior to the Aryans there were Dravidians, who were more advanced as a society, in arts, literature and culture, living in this land. This is already well established from the linguistic research by Caldwell and others, from the Sangam literature and from Indus valley excavations.
Recently the ongoing excavations at Keezhadi has also given us proof for this statement, by confirming the existence of a pre-vedic urban civilization in Tamil Nadu as described in the Sangam literature. Trying to suppress this important finding which goes against the false stories spun by Hindu fundamentalists, the central government run by the RSS-BJP had tried to block this excavation. After this skulduggery by the central government was condemned by intellectuals, political parties, democratic forces and many others in Tamil Nadu, the centre backtracked saying that the excavation in Keezhadi will continue.”
All the court cases and everything is just publicity tomtoming BJP-RSS(not India) doesn’t want the glory of Tamil Civilization to be noticed by the world.
And here comes the ringleader in person.
“In the Indian History Congreess held last December at Thiruvananthapuram, a resolution was passed that the excavation at Keezhadi should continue. The renowned historian Romila Thapar who presided over that session has said that Keezhadi is a very important discovery in Tamil Nadu and that this excavation calls for a rewriting of Tamil Nadu’s history.”
And rhetoric with no proof.
“It is to be noted that none of the artefacts found at Keezhadi till now has any religious connection. The ancient Tamil culture was based on ancestor worship and Nadukal (hero stone) worship and religions were only a later phenomenon.” The earliest Hero Stone found is actually no older than 500-600 AD and is NOT a Tamil tradition. The earliest are seen in Kongunadu which was under the Ganga rule and not under any Tamil kingdoms.
And the blind hatred is seen again and again.
“While the saffron forces running the government spend crores and crores of money to find the non-existent Saraswati river claiming that it was the origin of Indus valley civilization, it looks at the scientifically happening excavations happening at Keezhadi with disregard. Whereas 151 crore rupeess is alloted for Ramayana museum at Ayodhi by the central government for its own political agenda, it allotted just 1 lakh rupees to spend on sending samples from Keezhadi for carbon dating.”
From a different article.
“Last September when the ASI decided to take Keeladi antiquities to Mysore, Progressive forces in Tamilnadu objected to it strongly. When they went to court to stop the shift to Mysore, the court allowed the shift to Dehradun. They asked the Tamilnadu government to safeguard them in Tamilnadu itself by creating a museum and protecting them, to continue the dig and thus spread the greatness of Tamil antiquity worldwide. But, the corrupt government of Jaya-Sasi-OPS-ADMK disregarded them. There is no doubt that the antiquities once taken to Dehradun or Mysore will be put aside unceremoniously and left to rot. The digs that were happening at the site were ground to halt by Modi’s government on purpose.”
But, this is what Mafoi Pandiarajan, Tamil Language Minister said.
“Over 39 excavations have been done in Tamil Nadu post independence. There is no substance to the claim that the Centre is withholding funds”
The linking of Pattinam(which was supposed to be identified with Muziris) and Keezhadi was supposed to serve the purpose of a sea based civilization which is not a part of Indian narrative. It is interested to note that the lobby which tried to stop the transfer of Amarnath Ramakrishna, which is nothing more than an administrative exercise also demanded that the artifacts found in Keezhadi shouldn’t be taken out of Tamil Nadu in spite of the fact that report writing facilities are available only at Bangalore.
The below snippet summarizes the whole issue succinctly.
” In 2015, a team of archeologists from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), a body under the culture ministry in the central government, began excavations at a coconut-tree farm at Keezhadi, near Madurai, in southern Tamil Nadu. Over the subsequent two years, the archeologists found over 5,500 artefacts. The team found upon investigation that the artefacts were dated to the Sangam era—a period between 400 BCE and 200 CE, which is widely as the crowning point of Tamil art and literature. The discoveries were the first-ever evidence of an urban civilisation from the Sangam era. But the project has been mired in controversy—at first, a tussle between the ASI and political parties in the state took place, with the latter demanding that the former not take any objects from the site to Karnataka for observation, as they belonged to the state. Then, in October 2016, when approvals and funding for the upcoming year was expected to be granted, the central government withheld approval for a third season of excavation at the Keezhadi site. This prompted severe criticism from within Tamil Nadu. Members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam raised the issue in parliament, and G Ramakrishnan, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state, alleged that the move was a result of “political design”—that it was in the interest of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and favourable to the ideology it espouses to prevent details of an independent Tamil culture from surfacing. The excavation was subsequently given the green light in February 2017.
In late March 2017, a few weeks before the third phase was due to begin, the ASI issued a transfer order to Amarnath Ramakrishna, the superintendent archeologist at the site. The transfer did not find favour with experts and politicians in Tamil Nadu, who expressed concern that the order would affect the work at the site. “Such transfers are not generally made during ongoing excavations, particularly in the initial phases,” an archeologist told The Hindu.”
From an interview given by Amarnath Ramakrishna
“The existence of burnt brick structures is an important factor to define an urban civilisation. Here in Keezhadi, we have found continuous constructed walls of 10 to 15 metres in length. We haven’t found such lengthy walls in any other site in Tamil Nadu. We have also found structures of open and closed drainage network, which are clear indications of the prevalence of an urban civilisation. Also present at the site were six furnaces, which indicate the possibility of an industrial site—again an evidence to prove urban civilisation. We have also found square and rectangle tanks for which no inlets and outlets can be seen. More excavations will help us find out more evidences. The carbon dating of samples collected from the site has placed it at 200 BC. Only two out of the 20 samples selected were sent to US for carbon dating, though I have written numerous times [to the central government] seeking approval for all 20 samples.”
Why were the samples sent to America when National Physical Laboratory, Ahmedabad is considered one of the top most radio carbon labs in South Asia?
“I wrote for the extension of the excavation even during the month of May . The approval was expected in October, along with the approval of other sites [in India] where excavation was being carried out simultaneously. But Keezhadi wasn’t [approved]. I met the director general [of the ASI] in November, seeking extension, and explaining the importance of the site. But I was asked to submit a report on the site [to the ASI]. Usually, a report on a site is submitted only at the end of excavation or when substantial work has been done. Anyway, I submitted a preliminary report in the month of January . But I was told the report didn’t have enough details. So, I gave an interim report in February. The approval was given in March, and a fund of Rs 50 lakh has been alloted. But no such report was warranted for the other sites for which permission was granted in October. “
This is no case basis for a conspiracy. But it is considered as such.
“Twenty-five officers including me were transferred according to a newly introduced policy—which said that field officers who have been working for more than two years need to be transferred. But even that policy was not adhered to strictly. There are officers [working on the site] with less than two years’ experience who have been transferred, and also there are those working in a site for more than two years who have not been transferred. We are a research team and not an administrative team.”
Again, this is no conspiracy. Why exactly should centre create an elaborate country level policy to suppress a single excavation?
The article below presents a background over the people and what happened with regard to KCHR’s excavations at Pattanam and why the conduct of both Amarnath Ramakrishna and R Sivanantham who headed Keezhadi excavations is subject to discussion.