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Academic/Cultural Series

Indian Studies through Comprehensive Structural Studies

[Great Transition in India Series 9] The Roots of Hinduism: The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization

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Publication Date : 2020-05-30

Author : Kim Hyung Jun, Choe Ji Yeon (Co-translator)


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he Roots of Hinduism: The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization is a 2015 work by expert Indus edict decoder Asko Papola, Finnish academic of Indian Studies and an honorary professor of Indology and South Asian Studies at  University of Helsinki. The book is an invaluable research paper exploring how Ancient Indus civilization of Dravidians and Brahmanism of Vedic Aryans, mainly based on ancient language and linguistics.  

We commonly speak of Veda when we discuss the root of Hinduism while we mention Indus civilization of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro when we discuss the history and civilization of India. It is clear that Indus civilization and Vedic civilization are different. It is not to deny Vedic civilization by Indo-Aryans form a part in Indus civilization. In other words, Indus civilization was founded by Dravidians, whose history goes back to 7000 B.C.E. while Vedic civilization is Brahmanism founded by Indo-Aryans who moved to India and became ruling class around 1500 B.C.E.. Therefore, mentioning Veda as the origin of India may lead to equating Brahmanism of Indo-Aryan as the starting point. Then, Indus civilization can be seen as unrelated to India. 

This is why finding the link between Indus civilization and Vedic civilization in Indian Studies. However, the work to find the link is difficult as decoding Indus scripts is impossible. The author tries to trace the meaning of Indus scripts with his research on ancient languages, and not only study a correlation of Sanskrit on Veda and ancient Dravidian language, but also conduct comparative study on Western and South Asian ancient languages to light the link between two civilizations. He also studies the correlation between artifacts of Mohenjo Daro remains and those of Greece, Sumer, Mesopotamia, and Central Asia and compare them to Vedic culture of Indo-Aryans.

It is significant that the book introduces a professional research paper on not only religion and ideology but also cultural characteristics of Indus civilization as the amount of work on Indus civilization in Korea is rare. 


Kim Hyung Jun: Ph.D. in Philosophy at University of Delhi. Current HK research professor at Institute of Indian Studies, HUFS, and lecturer at Konkuk Universtiy and Wongwang Universty. His research focuses on Indian Philosophies and Religions. Major publications include Indian Ideologies of Different Schools, Yoga Traditions, Indian Mythology, Indian History Stories. 


Choe Ji Yeon: Ph.D. in Philosophy and Dongguk University. Current HK research professor at Institute of Indian Studies, HUFS and lecturer at Dongguk University. Former posts at Kasan Institute of Buddhist Culture and Dongguk University Academy of Buddhism. Main areas of study were Indian religion including Jainism and Indian Buddhism.