CSIS

Centre for South Indian Studies

Prof. Brij Basi Lal (1921- 2022)

Veteran Archeologist of India

 

Center for South Indian Studies (CSIS)-Telangana Chapter joins the Nation paying Homage to Prof. BB. Lal.

 

Prof. Lal will continue to be a source of inspiration in our pursuit of Indic Studies, the CSIS Press Release said.

 

Prof. BB. Lal, the veteran Archeologist, a specialist on Harappa Civilization and former Director General of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) during 1968-72 passed away on Saturday (10th September) at the ripe age of 101 years at New Delhi. He was recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan Awards for his original contribution to the field of Indian Archeology. He worked as the Director of Indian Institute of advanced Studies at Shimla.

 

Prof. Lal was born on 2nd May 1921 at Jhansi of present day Uttar Pradesh State. He had done MA in Sanskrit from Allahabad University and later shown interest in Archeology. He received training from well-known authority on India Archeology and joined the ASI where he served for 40 years. He headed the Projects on Epics of Ramayana and Mahabharatam. The Apex Court while delivering the verdict on Rama Janma Bhoomi, took notice of his research findings. His second son Vrajesh Lal established Prof. BB. Lal Chair at IIT-Kanpur in order to encourage Research Work in Science and Technology related to Archeology.

 

A senior official said, “At ASI, we are all saddened by his departure. He mentored more than four generations of scholars and produced outstanding work in the discipline.”

 

The ASI in a tweet said the contribution of Lal in archaeology is “beyond measure”. “A doyen in his field, he devoted his entire 101-year life to the subject. He may be gone but his work lives on and will continue to teach and influence generations to come,” it said.

 

His notable works included excavation of Historical and Pre-Historic sites of Taxila, Harappa, Hastinapur, Kalibangan and Puran Quila at Delhi.

 

He also authored over 50 books and 150 research papers published in national and international journals. Some of his most notable books include, ‘The Saraswati Flows On: The Continuity of Indian Culture’ published in 2002, and ‘Rama, His Historicity, Mandir and Sethu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology and Other Sciences’ published in 2008.

 

He served as one of the youngest Director General of ASI and left the extraordinary imprint on the minds of his successors at ASI. He was known to the friends and officials alike as Prof. Lal and undertaken the archeological excavations near the most controversial Babri Masjid at Ayodhya to find out the evidence of in existence of Ram Temple.

 

Prof. BB. Lal Proposed the Pillar theory of Babri Masjid based on sound evidence clearly indicative of the existence of a Hindu Temple which debunked the arguments of critics who said, there was no History of Ayodhya before 850 BC.

 

Prof Lal’s work “Earliest Civilization of South Asia “published two decades ago outrightly rejected the theory of Aryan Invasion. Asko Parpola (from Finland, a known Indologist) “Deciphering the Indus Script” (1994) listed 23 Papers of Prof. BB. Lal and a decade later in the same revised book, not quoted a single reference of his works under the pressure from the Left-wing Intellectuals, it was reported. He rejected the theory of Aryan Invasion as proposed by Marxist Historian Prof. RS. Sharma with evidence for which he was labelled for ‘Archeological Jingoism’. “The climate of the time would suggest that I’m saffronising history. That is a great tragedy. I only ask everyone to look at the facts”, he retorted back at his detractors.

 

Noted Western Scholars debated about the Aryan Invasion theory and the Media there covered it extensively. Sadly, this did not get any priority or importance in our left dominated academia and media too.

 

Likewise, on the issue of River Saraswati or Dhristavati (in Rig Veda), these closed minds (elements of Left wing) sidetracked every connecting dot, alleged a former colleague of Prof. Lal.

 

Prof. Michel Danino, former colleague and friend of Prof. Lal says that his work on Harappan Civilization 2 decades ago had shaken the myth of Arya Invasion. He more productive after retirement and literally published widely quoted 9 books including Autobiography.

 

His son Rajesh Lal, who is a retired Air Vice Marshal told the Media, his latest book on Rig Veda due for release in a couple of days. Lal’s last rites were held at the Lodi Road crematorium on Saturday evening and attended by his former colleagues, officials and family friends.

Notable Honors and Awards:

  • Awarded the title of Vidyā Vāridhi by the Nava Nālandā Mahāvihāra, Nālandā University in 1979.
  • Awarded the title of Mahāhopādhyāya by Mithila Vishwavidyalaya in 1982
  • Honorary Fellowship for Life, Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1991
  • Litt. (Honoris Causa) by St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, Russia, 1994
  • Awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 2000
  • Litt. (Honoris Causa) by the Deccan college, 2014
  • Padma Vibhushan in 2021

 

Some Important Publications:

 

  • B. Lal (1952). New Light on the “dark Age” of Indian History: Recent Excavations at the Hastinapura Site, Near Delhi
  • Braj Basi Lal (1955). Excavations at Hastinapura and Other Explorations [in the Upper Gangā and Sutlej Basins], 1950–52
  • Braj Basi Lal (1997). The Earliest civilization of South Asia: rise, maturity, and decline.
  • B. Lal (2008). Rāma, His Historicity, Mandir, and Setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology, and Other Sciences. Aryan Books.
  • Braj Basi Lal (2002). The Sarasvatī flows on: the continuity of Indian culture.
  • B. Lal (2009). How Deep Are the Roots of Indian Civilization?: Archaeology Answers..

 

Sources:

 

  • Prof BB Lal Dug Up Distorted Past, Provided Archaeological Evidence On Ayodhya’s Ram Temple And The Historicity Of Epics in https://www.firstpost.com
  • Archaeologist B B Lal who led excavation at Ramjanmabhoomi site dies at 101 in https://indianexpress.com
  • Felicitating a Legendary Archaeologist: Prof. B.B. Lal’, edited by BR Mani, Rajesh Lal, Neera Misra and Vinay Kumar (B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, 2018, Vol. 1)
  • Archaeologist B.B. Lal Passes Away in https://thewire.in
  • Archaeologist B.B. Lal passes away in https://www.thehindu.com
  • I found pillar bases back in mid-seventies: Prof Lal”. Indian Express. 6 March 2003. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  • David Rohde (27 August 2003, Excavation’s Finding at Mosque Site in India Could Fuel Dispute, New York Times.
  • Archaeologist B.B. Lal talks about his book ‘The Saraswati Flows On’: Books”. India Today. 12 November 2001
  • Witzel, Michael E. J. (2001). “Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts” (PDF). Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies. 7 (3): 1–115
  • Veteran Archaeologist BB Lal Dies At 101 in https://www.ndtv.com
  • B B Lal: Doyen Of Indian Archaeology Who Excavated In Ayodhya, Purana Quila in https://www.republicworld.com
  • B. Lal—first archaeologist who showed proof that Ayodhya was no mythology in https:// www.theprint.in
  • Veteran Archaeologist BB Lal, Who Unearthed Remains of Temple Under Babri Mosque, Dies at 101; PM Modi Condoles Demise in https://www.news18.com
  • Who was B B Lal, the Padma Vibhushan awardee behind excavation at Ramjanmabhoomi site? In https://indianexpress.com

 

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