The book deals with some of the most important excavations carried out and researches done by the author during his long academic career. These include excavations at Kalibangan in the Sarasvati basin which have brought to light the earliest (2800 bce) agricultural field in the world, besides an excellent layout of streets and houses. Located in Allahabad District, Uttar Pradesh, is Sringaverapura where an over 200-metre long water-tank, with its multiple components, is a unique example of Indian hydraulic engineering 2000 years ago. And in the far east, in Odisha, is Sisupalgarh, where a fortified township ascribable to the Early Historical times has been laid bare. It is a delight to see its massive gateways and layout which, incidentally, corresponds to the norms laid down in Kautilya’s Arthasastra, a well know treatise of the 4th century bce.
But more important than the foregoing discoveries is the finding of solutions to certain highly debated issues, such as the historicity of the two Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. After exploring and excavating sites associated with the former, including the key site of Hastinapura, Professor Lal has found very compelling evidence which demonstrates that this epic has a basis in history. The archaeological evidence is duly corroborated by that from the Puranas. Similar is the outcome from the excavations of the Ramayana sites. We have a 2nd century bce terracotta from Kausambi which depicts the abduction of Sita by Ravana. Yet another terracotta, from Haryana, portrays the figure of Rama himself, inscribed with his name in letters of the 3rd century ce.
But the most important achievement of Professor Lal is that relating to the Aryan problem. In unequivocal terms he has shown the ‘Aryan Invasion’ is but a myth ever generated by Western academia. Also, putting together the evidence from archaeology, hydrology, geology, and 14C method of dating the past, and that from the Rigveda itself, Lal has established that the Vedas and Indus-Sarasvati (Harappan) Civilization are but two faces of the same coin and that the Vedic people are indigenous and neither invaders nor immigrants.
List of Illustrations
1. Lost & Found: Sites Yielding Pebble Tools of Early Stone Age
2. Gwalior Put on the Map of Indian Prehistory
3. 1961: SOS from Egypt
4. Some Major Contributions of Kalibangan to Our Knowledge of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization
5. The Rigvedic People were Indigenous and Not Invaders or Immigrants
6. A Review of the Theory that the Evidence of Flora Supports the ‘Aryan Immigration’ Thesis
7. Did Some Vedic People Emigrate Westwards, Out of India?
8. Let Not Preconceived Notions Blur Our Vision: The Case of Kalibangan ‘Fire-Altars’
9. Let Not the 19th Century Paradigms Continue to Haunt Us
10. Some Observations on the Harappan Script
11. Manu’s Flood: Myth or Reality
12. Historicity of the Mahabharata
13. Indraprastha: The Earliest and Longest-lived City of Delhi, Going Back to the Mahabharata Times
14. Historicity of the Ramayana
15. What are the Credentials of the Rama Setu?
16. The Sarasvati is Dead: Long Live the Sarasvati Culture
17. Sisupalgarh: An Early Historical Fort in Eastern India
18. When did Udayana Rule? In the 6th Century bce or 16th Century ce? An Assessment of the Dating of the Palace-complex at Kausambi
19. The So-called Syenachiti at Kausambi: A Fallen Brick-mass!
20. A Unique Example of Indian Hydraulic Engineering 2000 Years Ago: The Sringaverapura Tank
21. The Earliest Terracotta of Three-eyed Siva – An Example of Iconometric Perfection
22. On Excavating a House that was Never Built
23. Planned Cooperation between Archaeologists and Scholars of Ancient Literature – A Crying Need
24. Whisked Away by a Damsel
Appendix: Was There a Temple in the Janma-bhumi Area at Ayodhya Prior to the Construction of the Babari Masjid?