Horseplay in Harappa

Steve Farmer, Ph.D.

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The following will take you to PDF files of the main published materials on M. Witzel and S. Farmer, Horseplay in Harappa (1.2 Meg PDF file), the cover story on the September 30 - October 13, 2000 issue of FRONTLINE, the Indian news magazine. Part of the materials available below now also exist in a Hindi translation in a book published in New Delhi in 2001. The original English article and the Hindi translation are accompanied by Romila Thapar's editorial on our article.

The story describes the links between far-right Hindutva propaganda in India and N.S. Rajaram's claimed decipherment of the so-called Indus script - backed by his forgery of a Harappan "horse seal." The article provides background on the ways that Hindutva propagandists distort ancient Indian history.

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Additional files on the controversy that followed publication of Horseplay in Harappa :

1. Follow-up articles in the November 11 - 24, 2000 issue of FRONTLINE, collectively entitled A Tale of Two Horses. The articles discuss Rajaram's second Indus Valley "horse" - which he claims to have found on the cover of the issue of FRONTLINE that his work. Includes M. Witzel & S. Farmer, "Further Evidence on the 'Piltdown Horse' Hoax," comments by Asko Parpola and Iravatham Mahadevan, and a bizarre interview with N.S. Rajaram himself.

2. A broader discussion of Hindutva falsifications of history, including our work on Rajaram, are found in an important review by K.N. Panikkar: Outsider as Enemy: The Politics of Rewriting History in India (January 6 - 19, 2001 issue of FRONTLINE).

3. HTML link to Letters Column from the October 14 - 27, 2000 issue of FRONTLINE, containing supporting letters for our original article by Richard Meadow, Director of the Harappa Archaeological Project, Harvard University, and from Iravatham Mahadevan (scroll down for Mahadevan's letter, accompanied by his cartoon).

4. HTML link to Letters Column from the October 28 - November 10, 2000 issue of FRONTLINE, containing further comments on the article.

5. Further letters in FRONTLINE from the December 9 - December 22, 2000 issue. Includes a letter from Malati J. Shendge and our response. For the letters, scroll down the page to the subsection labeled "Horseplay in Harappa."