May 17, 2014 - In a startling development Mahesh Keshavam, Gangadhar Yadav and Akbar Patel have announced that they've deciphered the Indus Valley script. Their task was made simple by the discovery of an Indian equivalent of the Rosetta Stone. For those who don't know, the Rosetta Stone, an ancient Pharaonic-Egypt decree discovered in the 18th century, helped decipher the ancient Egyptian script.The Indian equivalent of the Rosetta Stone, called the Naga Stone by the trio who discovered it, has a message from a king who lived many millennia ago, inscribed in three different scripts. One of these is the ancient Brahmi script, which as we all know, has been deciphered already.
"We discovered the Naga Stone in Nagaland, and hence the name,â€� explained Mahesh. "It appears to be a message from a local ruler, prescribing that a certain festival celebration be followed strictly. It has the same message in three different scripts, one of which is Brahmi, which we can read. Since the message is the same across the other scripts, it was a simple job of matching words to decipher the other scripts.â€�
Interestingly, all three scripts including Brahmi can be identified as Indus Valley scripts since they contain symbols commonly found in Indus Valley seals. The Indus script (which is a hieroglyphic script, like that of Mandarin) has largely been found to be inscribed on small seals that were probably used for trade and, some say, for inspirational quotes as well.
Akbar said, "What we have discovered is that there was not one uniform Indus Valley script. There were many, each differing from the other quite a degree, even if some of the symbols were similar. In fact, one of the scripts is even written right to left!â€�
It is a common view among linguistic experts that there should be one standard Indus Valley script. It seemed logical as everything within the Indus Valley civilisation seemed to be rigidly standardised, from the dimensions of the bricks used in construction to the broad layouts for cities. It appears that the linguistic experts were wrong. Different regions did use different scripts. But was the language common?
"Yes, the language was common even though the scripts were different,â€� said Mahesh. "And the language was Sanskrit.â€� At the look of surprise on my face, Gangadhar stepped in. "You know,â€� explained Gangadhar, "the practice of using the Devanagiri script for the Sanskrit language is a relatively recent phenomenon. In ancient times, many other scripts were used, including the Brahmi script. In fact, ancient manuscripts have been found in Kerala wherein Sanskrit had been written in the Malayalam script. So the idea of using different scripts for the same language is not new in India. Of course, originally, Sanskrit had no native script and was primarily an oral language.â€�
But this obviously raises questions about the version of history taught to us.