There have been concerted efforts in mainstream media to deny the existence, or even a possibility of the existence of the Saraswati river. The zeal to label Saraswati river as a mythical river has been on top of the agenda of leftists and Marxist historians of India.
The river Saraswati is called naditama (most sacred river in Sanskrit) in the Rig Veda. The Saraswati river is mentioned some fifty times in the hymns of the Rig Veda. It is closely related to the ancient Rig Vedic society and Hinduism. Calling it mythical, in their opinion, would considerably hit the credibility of Vedic texts which are still a part of Hindu faith.
On 5th January 2018, Scroll.in reported the formation of a permanent panel to study the mythical Saraswati river. The concluding paragraph of the article, as usual, casts aspersions on the existence of the river itself.
This has been the subject of a great deal of debate for decades. While some Hindu groups and historians believe the “lost river” once flowed through the region that is now Haryana, other historians say the Vedas themselves have not been validated, and therefore, the river only exists in myth.
Death of Rivers in Recent Past : An Example From Canada
Before going in to the answer given by ISRO to Parliament, we need to answer a simple question : can rivers be lost? Are there any recent examples of dead rivers? The answer is yes. In April 2017 a river named ‘Slims’ in Canada, disappeared due to a receding glacier. The report by The Guardian on the same incident gave a map of the change in direction. The phenomenon observed in this case is called river piracy or stream capture .
If rivers can disappear in 2017, why can’t the same phenomenon have occurred in the Vedic age ?
Answer to the Parliament Question on Saraswati River by ISRO
An unstarred question was asked by Harish Chaudhary in Lok Sabha about Saraswati River. Since ISRO functions directly under PMO, the answer was addressed to the Prime Minister. The answer to it is available on the ISRO website at this link. So, here is a in toto reproduction of the question asked and the answer given by ISRO (emphasis added) .
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
DEPARTMENT OF SPACE
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.3722
TO BE ANSWERED ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 20, 2013
MYTHICAL SARASWATI RIVER
3722. SHRI HARISH CHAUDHARY:
Will the PRIME MINISTER be pleased to state:
(a) whether the Government has made efforts to trace the origin of Saraswati river and has also constituted a committee for this purpose;
(b) if so, the details thereof;
(c) whether satellite images are of any help in this regard;
(d) if so, the details thereof?
MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PG & PENSIONS AND IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE (SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY):
(a) Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has studied the palaeochannels in North West India and related them to the channels of River Saraswati. ISRO has not constituted any committee for this purpose.
(b) An integrated palaeochannel map of River Saraswati has been prepared from the origin in Himalayas to Rann of Kutchch. The origin of the mapped course of the River Saraswati palaeochannel in North West India was linked to Himalayan perennial source through Sutlej and Yamuna Rivers.
(c) Yes, Madam.
(d) The work on delineation of entire course of river ‘Saraswati’ in North West India was carried out using Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data along with digital elevation model. Satellite images are multi spectral, multitemporal and have advantages of synoptic view, which are useful to detect palaeochannels. The palaeochannels are validated using historical maps, archaeological sites, hydro-geological and drilling data. It was observed that major Harappan sites of Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Banawali and Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Dholavira and Lothal (Gujarat) lie along the River Saraswati.
This evidence suggests that the Harappan civilisation could have ended due to the death of Saraswati river. The people who lived in those cities might have moved eastwards to the Gangetic plains after the death of Saraswati river. None of the textbooks published by CBSE give information about this possibility. Recent excavations support this theory.
The same hypothesis has been well presented in Sanjeev Sanyal’s book “The Land of Seven Rivers“ with a map, that shows the possible course of the Saraswati River. He also comments that tectonic shifts may have played a role in the shift of the river’s course. The site Dholavira (Gujarat) is located in Rann of Kutch. Surely, no civilisation could have built a city and lived there if there was no water source nearby.
Let us stop calling Saraswati a ‘Mythical’ River
Whenever the discussion of Saraswati River is carried out in pseudo – secular media, there is a strong attempt to brand it as a mythical river. The evidence supporting its existence, which comes from ISRO is often hidden under the carpet. Otherwise how can they peddle the lies of a mythical Saraswati River?
There is nothing wrong in conducting more research on Saraswati River and its link to the Harappan and Vedic cultures. Awareness about the evidence available on the ancient river is the need of the hour. For starters, we can stop calling it a mythical river and start using the phrase ‘dead-river’ when talking about Saraswati. After all, Vedic Rishis were not foolish to include the name of a mythical river in their sacred hymns.