“Journey of a Civilization: Indus to Vaigai” seeks to establish common grounds and connecting threads that link the riddles of Indology, namely the authorship and language of the Indus Valley Civilization and the origins of Dravidian language speaking people in general and Old Tamil traditions in particular. Balakrishnan considers these issues to be not only interconnected but two sides of the same coin.
This book aims to place new evidence about the Dravidian affiliation with the language of the Indus people and positions the ancient Sangam Tamilcorpus as a proto-document that is relevant for understanding Tamilpre-history which had probable connections to the Indus Civilization. The spatial and temporal distances between the Indus Valley Civilization and ancient Tamilakam cannot be are stricting factor to tracing remnants of the Dravidian in the northwestern geographies and its legacy markers in the Sangam texts.
Using technological tools such as Geographic Information System (GIS), the author has analyzed what he calls the journey of a Civilization’ and argues that place-names are reliable markers to track ancient migrations. The book celebrates the plural foundations of Indian culture and prefers a narrative of the ‘Rain Forest’ instead of the popular‘melting pot’ metaphor. As P. J. Cherian observes, Balakrishnan has provided a road map for future research with far-reaching consequences.
Balakrishnan is a postgraduate in Tamil Literature. He is the first student of Tamil literature to clear the Civil Services exam. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1984. His initial postings in the Tribal areas of Odisha triggered his interest in Indology, Anthropology and Place-name Studies. It was Iravatham Mahadevan who led Balakrishnan into the area of Indus Studies. Balakrishnan has published several research papers on Place-name Studies, Odisha’s history, and it’s plural culture.
Using Geographical Information System tools he formulated the‘Korkai-Vanji-Tondi Complex’, a place name complex in the Indusgeography which was formally announced in 2010. His paper on High-West: Low-East Dichotomy of Indus Cities and it’s linguistic paradigm gained wide attention. His Tamil book on the Dravidianfoundations of Indus Civilization received accolades from Iravatham Mahadevan as the best book written in Tamil on the subject.
Balakrishnan is an author, poet and has published several books in Tamil. After thirty-four years of service with the Government of Odisha and the Government of India, he retired from the Civil Services in 2018. He is currently the Honorary Consultant of the Indus Research Centre of the Roja Muthiah Research Library, Chennai.