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Rannites: Creators of Sanskrit?

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By Hugh & Colleen Gantzer

Sudhir Mario Chowfin’s article (GP 9 Sep) has raised a red flag. He questions the need to ‘develop’ the pristine Nanda Devi wilderness area. ‘Development’ has acquired evil undertones. In July 1998, the official Carrying Capacity of Mussoorie study said “most sections of the resident population believed that the Development Agencies must be kept out of the city limits”.

Our politicians have a five-year life cycle. History and climate change have longer and far more durable wave-lengths. This was brought out in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch, 2,500 years ago. The seafaring Rannite technocrats established their cities, factories and dry-dock in the Rann of Kutch. Climate change set in and they migrated northwards. Along the way they encountered groups of herdsmen who had established stockade cattle-camps called gotras. These were male-dominated communities, and with machismo pride thy called themselves the Overlords, or Aryans. The inevitable happened. Aryan men married comely Rannite women. The children of these unions would be raised by their mothers in their native language, or Mother Tongue. They would also refer to their mothers’ homeland as their Motherland. Later, as they neared adolescence they would be admitted into their fathers’ masculine society. Together they created a new culture. Asanskriti, based on a phonetically accurate international traders tongue called Sanskrit. The priests of the herdsmen resisted the new-fangled development of writing, at first. Herdsmen do not need to write, traders do.

This is a proto-historical theory. Its truth, or otherwise could be established when an accurate analysis of the DNA of the bones of the skeletons found in Haryana’s Rakhi Garhi are made. Rakhi Garhi was a Rannite settlement.

We must, however, guard against socio-political prejudices interfering with Truth.

Three recent events have highlighted the great danger of this happening.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is being mourned by many; and rightly so. She was a gentle, gracious, elegant woman with an unflinching dedication to her duty. But her uncle, Edward VIII, was not allowed to marry a divorcee so the “Queen Consort” title sounds odd. Or is this further evidence of “Rule Britannia. Britannia Waives the Rules!’?

We listened with avid interest to Srinivasan Jain’s interview of Donald Trump. Jain was his usual, incisive self. Trump was his larger-than-life persona. The contrast was a delight to watch. But since people are known by the friends they keep, it is time that image-conscious folk find other hands  to hold; at least in public displays of  affection!

Then there was the commissioning of INS Vikrant. We have a special affection for the Old Vik: We were the only civilian couple to sail and live in her at sea.  For the Indian Navy, the commissioning of the new Vikrant was a historic moment. But it was hyped as if it was a luxury cruise liner with wings! Perhaps the sarkar’s Spin Doctors were misguided. The eaves-droppers aboard the spy ship berthed in Sri Lanka must have been gnashing their teeth in frustration! But, frankly, Vikrant did not tip any security scales in the maritime strategy to the ‘contain China’ bid. It was too little, too late since the dragon has the largest navy globally. Our grand strategists should have read Admiral MK Roy’s India and the Indian Ocean. Vikrant may have boosted egos sagging after the salami slicing operations in Ladakh. But, in terms of sea power it really makes little difference to the oceanic might of the dragon.

The Chinese dragon was no threat to ancient India. At that distant time, the Rannites                     traded with the known world so they could have needed the globe’s most phonetic script to accurately express the sounds of foreign words. Their colleagues, the Aryans, were so suspicious of writing that they refused to write their sacred scriptures, preferring to transmit them by rote. Speculation based on early DNA samples taken from Rakhi Garhi hint to their being of Mediterranean stock, resembling the Spanish, Portuguese and Italians.

Could these good-looking descendants of southern Europeans have established mineral harvesting centres in the Himalayas? They would have called them garhs. Then what would they have named the permanent garrisons in those garhs?

(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first-person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.)