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Aliens in Protohistoric India?

The "experts" mocked Heinrich Schliemann, the German merchant who less than a century ago claimed to search for ancient Troy based on the accounts of the Iliad and the Odyssey, which scholars considered a mixture of myths and legends without foundation. But it was precisely Schliemann, the "amateur," who discovered Troy.

Perhaps that is indeed the right approach: conducting research with ancient texts in mind, and striving to take them seriously even when what they narrate seems implausible. This is what a Sanskrit scholar, David Davenport, a British citizen born in India, and the Italian journalist Ettore Vincenti did in 1978 after reading the Ramayana.

An epic poem and simultaneously a sacred Hindu text of a hundred thousand verses (the most extensive existing poetry book), the Ramayana, like the other national poem, the Mahabharata, is a confused account of wars and battles that took place in an indefinite and legendary antiquity along the Indus Valley.

"One striking thing in the reading is that these battles are not fought with spears and swords," says Ettore Vincenti.

Here's an example from the Mahabharata:

"The valorous Aswatthaman (a character), resolute, touched the water and invoked the Agneya weapon (from Agni, 'fire'). Pointing it towards his enemies visible and invisible, he shot an explosive column that opened in all directions and caused a brilliant light like smokeless fire, followed by a shower of sparks that completely surrounded the Partha army."

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And here are the effects of the weapon:

"The four cardinal points were covered in darkness..., a violent and evil wind began to blow. The sun seemed to move in the opposite direction, and the universe appeared feverish. Elephants, scorched by the heat, began to run in terror."

Even the water began to "boil, and aquatic creatures showed intense suffering."

A few hundred verses further, the Mahabharata describes the effects of another weapon, the "Narayana":

"The warriors... were seen removing their armor and washing it in the water." "These descriptions," say Davenport and Vincenti, "strikingly evoke the effects of atomic explosions and phosphorus bombs."

"In reality," explains David Davenport, "the Ramayana describes several weapons that, however fantastic they may seem, resemble modern weapons closely. The glossary of weapons from the Mahabharata compiled by the distinguished Sanskrit scholar Hari Prasad Shastri mentions, for example, the Kamaruchi weapon, 'the intelligent arrow that goes where it wants,' which one can easily interpret as a guided missile. Or the Murchchdhana, 'the weapon that causes temporary suspension of all sensations'; perhaps a nerve gas?

And the weapon Nadana, 'which produces joy,' could it not be an exhilarating gas? And the Shabdaveditva, 'arrow that follows sounds and is capable of hitting hidden objects,' does it not resemble a missile capable of automatically orienting itself behind the sound waves of enemy aircraft?"

Yes, because Hindu texts extensively mention aircraft. "The Sanskrit term is vimana," explains Davenport, "which literally means 'artificial bird inhabited.' The sacred books say vimanas can fly and describe them as actual machines. It is also said that inside them 'it is neither too hot nor too cold, the air is temperate in every season': it's impossible not to think of the air conditioning in our aircraft cabins."

Skeptics may shake their heads. David Davenport and Ettore Vincenti did something more constructive. In the Ramayana (Uttara Kanda, chapter 81), there is talk of a rishi (a 'sage') who, angry with the inhabitants of a city called Lanka, gave a warning of seven days; at the end of which he promised "a calamity, which will fall like fire from the sky." Well: armed with the sacred text, the two went to India to identify this Eastern Sodom.

Davenport and Vincenti believe, for linguistic-geographical reasons that would be too lengthy to explain, that they have identified ancient Lanka ('island') in the city of Mohenjo-Daro, center of the 'Harappan civilization', which flourished (and suddenly became extinct) around 2000 BC. Mohenjo-Daro, a modern name (meaning 'place of death'), was called 'Island' (Lanka) a few centuries ago because it was surrounded by a secondary arm of the Indus River, now dried up. Archaeological excavations, mainly conducted by the British about thirty years ago, have revealed a mysterious and unsettling reality.

"The last inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro perished in a sudden and violent death," wrote archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler. In the city's ruins, 43 skeletons were found (evidently most of the population had time to evacuate): these were people who met an instant death while going about their business. A family composed of a father, mother, and child was found in a street, crushed to the ground while walking peacefully. "These are not regular burials," wrote anthropologist John Marshall, "but probably the result of a tragedy whose exact nature will never be known." An enemy incursion is ruled out because the bodies do not bear wounds from edged weapons. On the other hand, as Indian anthropologist Guha wrote, "there are signs of calcination on some of the skeletons. It is difficult to explain this calcination...". Especially since the calcined skeletons appear better preserved than others.

It is a mystery for which Davenport and Vincenti ventured an explanation, which they detailed in a book they wrote together: "2000 BC: Atomic Destruction" (Sugarco publisher, Milan).

"Ancient Lanka," they argue, "was wiped out by an explosion akin to a nuclear blast." The evidence? "We clearly identified the epicenter of the explosion on site," explains Davenport. "It is an area covered with blackened debris, remains of clay artifacts. We had some of these debris examined at the Mineralogy Institute of the University of Rome: it turns out the clay was subjected to a very high temperature, over 1,500 degrees, for a fraction of a second. There was an incipient melting that was immediately interrupted. It is excluded that a normal fire or the heat of a furnace could produce this effect.

Moreover, the houses of the ancient city were damaged with less severity the farther they were from the epicenter. Near the blast, buildings (brick with upper wooden floors that were completely destroyed) were leveled to the ground. Further away, there are walls standing one and a half meters high; in the farthest points of the city, the remaining walls exceed three meters."

It is the unmistakable effect of an explosion that occurred a few meters above the ground. "The hypothesis that the disaster was caused by a nuclear-type explosion," says Ettore Vincenti, "is reinforced by a legend we collected from a local resident. He told us that 'the lords of the sky', angered by the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom where now there is a desert, annihilated the city with a light that shone like a thousand suns and sent the roar of ten thousand thunders. Since then, anyone who ventures into the destroyed places is attacked by evil spirits that make them die."

David Davenport and Ettore Vincenti do not claim their hypothesis to be plausible. "It's hard to believe," they say, "that a civilization from four thousand years ago, capable of building missiles, 'flying machines,' and atomic bombs, disappeared without leaving a trace. A technological civilization would also be an industrial civilization: hence a civilization that leaves mountains of waste and scrap. Even in four thousand years, the remains of our current technological culture should be visible: if only because of the large amount of debris, concrete ruins, and various garbage. None of this is found in the city of Mohenjo-Daro: which was a prosperous and advanced city, with wells laid out rationally and an advanced sewer system, but certainly not integrated into a technological system comparable to ours. The few weapons found are spears and swords, certainly not rifles and pistols."

So what then? "The extraterrestrial hypothesis is compelling," says Vincenti. "The 'lords of the sky' who destroyed ancient Lanka were perhaps beings who came from 'elsewhere'. Space colonizers who behaved like all colonizers: with brutality and arrogance. Perhaps, attacked by the inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro, they wanted to inflict exemplary punishment on them. With atomic bombs."

Feel free not to trust this hypothesis.
But the clues gathered by Davenport and Vincenti are numerous and impressive.

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