Early Dates in Indian History

In this essay, I have attempted to perform a chronological analysis of the early history of North Indian sub-continent based on literary and archeological evidence. Many experts have tried and come up with with different dates - while the Nationalist historians have attributed abnormally old dates like 4000 B.C.E or even as early as 6000 B.C.E, American/ European Indologists and the vehemently anti-Hindu Marxist, Dalit, Dravidist, "secular" pro-Abrahamic historians and scholars of India have gone so far as labeling the events of Ramayana and Mahabharata as myths or assigning abnormally low dates like ~1000 B.C.E for the Rig Veda when it is clearly a pre Iron age text. Linguists again have their own models. I have briefly alluded to the various Indo-European linguistic models in one of my previous posts titled: "Some Musings on Indo-European Language Family".

Disclaimer: Experts in their fields have given their opinions and there is no consensus about the pre-Mahajanapadas period. I am no expert and hence am not giving any opinion. Rather I have tried to frame a likely scenario.

Before we start analysis we need to identify some known anchors in Indian history. They are:
a. Iron age in north India ~ 1500 B.C.E
b. Buddha ~ 500 B.C.E
c. Mahapadma Nanda ~ 400 B.C.E

A. Dating the Bharata War/ Mahabharata War:
a. Upper limit - Bharata War was a post Iron age event thus it could not have happened earlier than ~1500 B.C.E
b. Using the Puranas we get a date of ~ 1400 B.C.E given that ~1000 years were supposed to have elapsed between the Great War and Mahapadma Nanda.
c. Lower limit: Using Parikshitas accession (based on Gunakhyana Sankhayana's contemporaneity with the Buddha and Upanishadic student-teacher list) ~ 900 B.C.E

Thus an approximate date ~1000 B.C.E for the Bharata War does not seem unlikely.

B. Earliest Vedic Memory as retained by Hindu Indians:
There are about ~90 generations before the Bharata War, as per the Puranic texts. Assuming 20 to 30 years per generation or approximately ~2000 years for the ~90 generations we arrive at a date ~ 3000 B.C.E. This is the date from which Hindu records have been retained/ mentioned be it in terms of the earliest layers of Rig Veda or the much later Puranas.

C. From the yajur vedic and atharva vedic text we learn that Krittika was on Spring Equinox which would give us a date of ~2200 B.C.E or approximately ~ 2000 B.C.E to be conservative

Thus finally what we arrive at the following likely scenario:
a. Rig Veda alludes to events starting from ~3000 B.C.E onwards
b. Yajur Veda/ Atharva Veda were being composed around ~2000 B.C.E and onwards
c. Bharata War and accession of Parikshit ~ 1000 B.C.E

Geographically there seems to be almost ~2000 years of overlap (partial or otherwise) between the Vedic civilization and the Harappan civilization - there definitely is an overlap with the late phase of Harappan civilization.

A detailed chronological archeology map in terms of material culture of North India for this period from ~3000 B.C.E to ~1000 B.C.E would definitely be an interesting exercise, one which I am planing to undertake provided time permits. But again mapping material culture to literary ceremonial/ spiritual evidence is an ardous task fraught with the potential of mistakes at every step.


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