“Journey of a Civilization: Indus to Vaigai” R. Balakrishnan

About the Book

“Journey of a Civilization: Indus toVaigai” seeks to establish commongrounds and connecting threads thatlink the riddles of Indology, namely theauthorship and language of the IndusValley Civilization and the origins ofDravidian language speaking people ingeneral and Old Tamil traditions inparticular. Balakrishnan considers theseissues to be not only interconnectedbut two sides of the same coin.

This book aims to place new evidenceabout the Dravidian affiliation with thelanguage of the Indus people andpositions the ancient Sangam Tamilcorpus as a proto-document that isrelevant for understanding Tamilpre-history which had probableconnections to the Indus Civilization.The spatial and temporal distancesbetween the Indus Valley Civilizationand ancient Tamilakamcannot be arestricting factor to tracing remnantsof the Dravidian in the northwesterngeographies and its legacy markers inthe Sangam texts.

Using technological tools such asGeographic Information System (GIS),the author has analyzed what he calls the‘Journey of a Civilization’ and argues thatplace-names are reliable markers to trackancient migrations.The book celebrates the plural foundationsof Indian culture and prefers a narrativeof the ‘Rain Forest’ instead of the popular‘melting pot’ metaphor. As P. J. Cherianobserves, Balakrishnan has provided aroad map for future research withfar-reaching consequences.

About the Author

Balakrishnan is a postgraduate in Tamil Literature. He is the firststudent of Tamil literature to clear the Civil Services exam. He joinedthe Indian Administrative Service in 1984. His initial postings in the Tribal areas of Odisha triggered his interest in Indology, Anthropologyand Place-name Studies. It was IravathamMahadevan who ledBalakrishnan into the area of Indus Studies. Balakrishnan has published several research papers on Place-name Studies, Odisha’s history, and it’splural culture.

Using Geographical Information System tools he formulated the‘Korkai-Vanji-Tondi Complex’, a place name complex in the Indusgeography which was formally announced in 2010. His paper onHigh-West:Low-East Dichotomy of Indus Cities and it’s linguisticparadigm gained wide attention. His Tamil book on the Dravidianfoundations of Indus Civilization received accolades from IravathamMahadevan as the best book written in Tamil on the subject.

Balakrishnan is an author, poet and has published several books inTamil. After thirty-four years of service with the Government of Odishaand the Government of India, he retired from the Civil Services in 2018.He is currently the Honorary Consultant of the Indus Research Centreof the RojaMuthiah Research Library, Chennai.