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Ancient Indian Writing System2

The main corpus of writing dates back tothe Indus Civilization. This writing is in the form of some two thousand inscribed seals in good, legible conditions. (In case you don't know what seals are, they are used to make impressions on malleable material like clay.)

These seals and samples of Indus writing have been floating around the scholastic world for close to 70 years. However, little progress has been made on deciphering this elegant script. Lack of progress for this was due to some major impediments to decipherment:

1. Very short and brief texts. The average number of symbols on the seals is 5, and the longest is only 26.

2. The language underneath is unknown.

3. Lack of bilingual texts.

After the fall of the Indus civilization, the victorious Aryans were believed to have learnt the art of writing from the native population. As early as the tenth century B.C., cultural and commercial connections between Greece and India existed.

Eminent European Ideologists and scholars have time and again pointed to one fact. The fact was that in succeeding centuries both Indian sages and Greek philosophers used to assemble in the courts of Asia Minor and Persia. The purpose of this meeting was the interchange of ideas on medicine, astrology, religion, philosophy and science.

The art of writing had already reached maturity in India by the time the Greeks became acquainted with the Phoenician alphabet. This was somewhere in the middle of the sixth century. There is sufficient proof to believe this as well. Contracts could be drawn up, and also navigational instructions for the guidance of sailors.

India went through a similar phase after the Aryan invasion which destroyed the Indus civilization. Perhaps, during the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., the pictographic script was employed side by side with the syllabic script. This was done for the purpose of recording commercial activities and issuing royal commands.

Most of the European Ideologists are of the opinion that the alphabet was introduced to India by the non-Aryan Dravidian merchants. These merchants had maritime trade with Babylon and various ports on the coast of South Arabia. According to some scholars many of the letters in the Northern Semitic alphabet are quite similar to the oldest letters used in India during that period.

The oldest form of alphabet in India is called the Brahmi Lipi. In fact it may be rightly regarded as the cradle of all the Indian alphabets, both Aryan as well as non-Aryan. Some experts believe that the Indian system of letters originated in India itself. In this, possibly a few letters were borrowed from the Akkadians.

Further extensive researches have also convinced that the Aryans migrated to India in different periods between the tenth and the second millennia B.C. These Aryans may well have inherited a system of writing based on the marks of their Cro-Magnon forebears.


This site covers all areas for Ancient Indian History for kids. There are several essays to refer to for your school history study. We start off with ancient India timeline, various ancinet empires like the Mauryan empire and the Gupta empire. You will find information about ancient Indian society and culture, rulers, wars, costumes and several such facinating subjects. History of ancient India for kids is quite fascinating and long.