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Extensive Content but could have been lot better......, falls short of my expectation
on 10 February 2008
I appreciate the effort, since not many in India would care to take such documentaries. However, I am not fully satisified with this DVD. Lot more useful information could have been shown in this duration of the documentary instead of several of the stuffs that I felt were really un-necessary. For example, they could have avoided the long search for the SOMA drink and attempting to taste and describe how it is... Instead they could have spent more time on explaining the content of the Vedas. The Vedas have good amount of philosophies, universal outlook and indirect historical data embedded, that could have all been explained instead of dramatizing how vedas would have been written.
While describing Indus Valley they could have shown details on how Indus cities were planned, the excavated seals, religion etc. There were some contradiciting information such as describing that Indus people were traders and used ships and boats to trade with Iraq and later in the episode of spice trade the author tells that Indians were not capable of ship building and just sold goods to merchants from Rome and Greeks.
Another contradiction occurs when the author travels all the way to Turkmenistan to investiage the roots of Aryans. The archaelogist over there concludes that the people who lived there migrated west after rivers dried. Soon after this, the author gives his conclusion that people fromt there migrated further south to Indian subcontinen. The author explains that there is enough evidence in Rig Veda that Aryans came from outside of India, but does not really spell out any direct evidence from Rig Veda itself. He gives just examples like Horse sacrifice, Soma worship to proove that Sanskrit came from outside India, which I feel did not proove his point. He tells that Rig Veda talks about a river in Afghanistan as a proof for foreign origin of Aryans and does not talk about the very important river that Rig Veda speaks out so many times - River Saraswati. When he shows proof that Indus Valley existed on a dry river bed using satellite image, why should he not explain the possibility that this is the Saraswati river and Indus Valley is nothing but an extension of the Ancient Vedic Socieity.
I have to say that still not many historians want to explore the possibilty that Aryans went out of India at one point in history due to the same climatic change that the author explains here. On their way they stayed in Central Asia, migrated further to West Asia and further on. How can we explain the Mittani people of West Asia speaking Sanskrit and following precisely the Vedic gods?
RigVeda talks so much about Saraswati river and we can imagine how ancient RigVeda is if Saraswati River dried up long before 1500BC, the theoretical date that most historians place for migration of Aryans into India. All this could easily point out to the fact that Vedic civilization is indigineous to India and so is it's precious language, Sanskrit. Most western historians would say that this point is very Indo-centric view, but the question is why not explore the possibilites...?
The DVD sometimes passes from one era to another without showing concrete data. Sadly, one of the main aspect of India, Hinduism, was never dealt in any detail at all. The essence of Hinduism and its philosphy were not dealt at all. Many of the sophisticated Indian arts such as the Indian Classical Music and Dance forms were not described at all except for few minutes of explanation of Bharatanatyam. The Indian classical music and dance are so much sophisticated and deserve lot more attention.
India's contribution in field of mathematics, science, astronomy and yoga could have been explained in lot more details. More time could have been spent describing how ancient temples were built. India's influence on South East Asia could have been described as well, since there was a tremendous influence by Indian culture on countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia.
The extensive Indian literature in the fields of mythology, poetry, drama, science, technology, astronomy, mathematics were not dealt clearly, except for considering the major epics.
I have to appreciate one thing definitely though. I have seen several other programmes on India and none of them deal with South India. Usually it is just as if south India doesnt exist. This DVD does walk through South India a lot. But again, the author missed to show in detail the majestic south Indian temples and the architecture. The camera did not attempt to give a better glimpse of the beautiful temples. There were no mention of the abundant Tamil literature, the sophisticated Carnatic music and details of Bharthanatyam dance. Details of the major tamil kingdoms (except that Cholas were included) and other south Indian kingdoms such as Vijayanagar empire were not included when so much of the DVD goes in detailing foreign kings.
I might have put in lot of expectations in here, but a 6 hour DVD show could have easily been more informative instead of providing some of the unnecessary information. There were several instances in the documentary which just contained people walking on roads and trains moving, which could have all been replaced with some better informative scenes.
Finally I do appreciate the effort since no one in India makes such documentaries for Indian TV channels, which are filled with only commercial stuffs. But when there is an ability to make such extensive documentary, lot more research could have been done on the contents and could have included much more about India.