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B. B. Lal
Born Braj Basi Lal
(1921-05-02) May 2, 1921 (age 93)
Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh
Nationality Indian
Occupation archaeologist, Director-General Archaeological Survey of India (1968 - 1972)
Known for Work on Indus Valley Civilization sites, Mahabharat sites, Kalibangan

Braj Basi Lal (born May 2, 1921 [1]), better known as B. B. Lal, is a renowned Indian archaeologist. He was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from 1968 to 1972, and has served as Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. He also worked in for UNESCO committees.[2]

He received the Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India in 2000.[2]

Early life and background[edit]

Born in Jhansi, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, India,[1] Lal obtained his Master's Degree in Sanskrit, including the Vedas, with a First class degree from Allahabad University, India.[3][4]

Career[edit]

After his studies, Lal developed interest in archaeology and in 1943, became a trainee in excavation under a veteran British archaeologist, Mortimer Wheeler starting with Taxila,[4] and later at sites such as Harappa and Sisupalgarh in Odisha.[5] Lal went on to work as an archaeologist for more than 50 years.

The Archaeological Survey of India had performed conservation and restoration of Buddhas of Bamiyan, Khwaj Parsa’s Mosque at Balkh and the shrine of Khwaja Abu Naser under R. Sen Gupta and Lal in Afghanistan.[6]

During 1950-52 he worked on archaeology of Mahabharata sites, including Hastinapura, the capital city of the The Kurus. He made discoveries of many Painted Grey Ware (PGW) sites in the Indo‑Gangetic Divide and upper YamunaGanga doab.[5]

In Nubia, the Archaeological Survey of India, Lal and his team discovered middle and late stone age tools in the terraces of the river Nile near Afyeh. The team excavated a few sites at Afyeh and cemetery of C-group people having 109 graves.[6][7] Lal worked on Mesolithic site of Birbhanpur (West Bengal), Chalcolithic site of Gilund (Rajasthan) and Harappan site of Kalibangan (Rajasthan). In 1975-76, he worked on a project "Archaeology of Ramayana sites" funded by ASI, which excavated five Ramayana-related sites of Ayodhya, Bharadwaj Ashram, Nandigram, Chitrakoot and Shringaverapur. Subsequently, he submitted a seven-page preliminary report to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which mentioned discovery of "pillar bases", immediately south of the Babri mosque structure in Ayodhya.[5][8] Subsequently, in his 2008 book, Rama: His Historicity Mandir and Setu, he wrote, "Attached to the piers of the Babri Masjid, there were twelve stone pillars, which carried not only typical Hindu motifs and mouldings, but also figures of Hindu deities. It was self-evident that these pillars were not an integral part of the Masjid, but were foreign to it."[9]

In 1968, he became the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India and remained till 1972. Thereafter, he also remained Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.[2]

Prof B. B. Lal has published several books and over 150 research papers & articles in prestigious national and international scientific journals.[2][5] In his 2002 book, The Saraswati Flows on, he refutes the earlier Aryan invasion theory, stating that the Rig Veda repeatedly mentioned Sarasvati River as "overflowing", since the river suggest that the river dried up 2000 BCE. This contradicts the claims by previous historians that Aryan invasion happened 300 after the drying up in 1500 BC, which also led to the end of the Indus Valley Civilization.[4]

Legacy[edit]

At Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT, Kanpur), a faculty chair, known as "B. B. Lal Chair" has been established.[10]

Two British archaeologists Stuart Piggott and D.H. Gordon described Lal’s published works on the Copper Hoards of the Gangetic basin and his Hastinapura excavation report, published in journal of the Archaeological Survey of India, as models of research and excavation reporting.[5]

Honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Lal continues to live in Delhi.[4] His son Vrajesh Lal is a businessman based in USA.[2]

Works[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b B. B. Lal
  2. ^ a b c d e f B. B. Lal Chair at IIT Kanpur, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur website.
  3. ^ 'Let not the 19th century paradigms continue to haunt us!', Inaugural Address delivered at the 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology at University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy on July 2–6, 2007, online link, archaeologyonline.net
  4. ^ a b c d "Archaeologist B.B. Lal talks about his book 'The Saraswati Flows On' : Books". India Today. November 12, 2001. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Book review by Dr. V. N. Misra, Book review of The Saraswati Flows on: the Continuity of Indian Culture, by Chairman of Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies journal Man and Environment; (vol. XXVI, No. 2, July–December 2001)
  6. ^ a b Archaeological endeavours abroad, Archaeological Survey of India Official website.
  7. ^ a b Abstract, A comparison of Fulani and Nadar HLA, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  8. ^ "I found pillar bases back in mid-seventies: Prof Lal". Indian Express. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Ayodhya: High Court relies on ASI's 2003 report". Economic Times. Oct 1, 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  10. ^ "Faculty Chairs". IIT Kanpur. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  11. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)". Ministry of Home Affairs. 
  12. ^ a b Memoirs, On Excavations, Indus Seals, Art, Structural and Chemical Conservation of Monumets, Archaeological Survey of India Official website.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]


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3 news items

 
Huffington Post (blog)
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:06:12 -0700

There are some interesting exposés. For instance, the fascinating interview with the Hindu archaeologist of international renown, Prof. B.B. Lal, who specializes in ancient sites associated with and referred to in the poem-epic, Mahabharata. He ...
 
Times of India
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:32:59 -0700

I still believe the government should have created a basement to preserve it, which would have turned it into a tourist attraction," recalled B B Lal, noted archaeologist and Padma Bhushan recipient, who was in the city to attend a seminar on Harappan ...
 
Times of India
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 20:05:19 -0700

The first excavation of the site was conducted by famous historian B B Lal in 1948-49, which brought to light traces of an impressive fort, which, according to historians, was built over several centuries with additions, alterations and various ...
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