Tag Archives: Hinduism

Exploration of Historical Uncertainty at Annigeri


There is some charm and Beauty in Uncertainty – and yeah I am not referring to Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (this isn’t that beautiful as romanticists make it out to be).

I am talking of constructing a story of our history based on a few hints that have been left behind – in a scientifically correct language these hints would be called archaeological remains.

Every time an archaeological remain is excavated & if it doesn’t fit anywhere in the known line of history – there is always an explanation. if you do not know what it is, it has something to do with religion. Check this post out; explains it all with examples – The First Law of Archaeology.

And yet again – we have now hit an out-of-the-line piece of archaeological remains. And this is pretty close to my home (close as in about 350+ kms).

About 600+ human skulls were excavated at the small town of Annigeri (near Hubli, Karnataka). This has been a place which has seen a good amount of colorful history with its various kings and some of them from mighty and high dynasties (like the Hoysalas).

Within a week (since the news was online) two theories have been proposed with varying levels of proofs and confidence – in explaining the new finds.

  • As per one of them – Ahmed Shah, a ruler under the Adil Shahi dynasty (these folks were initially governors of the Bahmani Kingdom – the ones who ruled erstwhile Bijapur), invaded many parts along the Tungabhadra river bed and massacred about 20000 people. The date of this incident sits fairly fine with the Carbon-14 dating of the excavated human skulls.

However, on further examination it was found that there were no injury marks on any of these skulls (and body parts) and this gives rise to another theory (based on “The First Law of Archaeology”:))

  • The other theory is as gruesome and scary – especially for people who haven’t heard or are unaware of such scary acts in the history of Hinduism. It is a known history that there was a time in India’s history (especially the south) when people from different sects of the Hindu dharma saw each other with disdain. A case of this is between the sect of Shaivites (followers of God Shiva – there was none by Shiva) and Vaishnavites (followers of God Vishnu – there was none but Vishnu). The face-offs (from about 10th to almost 18th century A.D) have been majorly documented with Kings following one of these sects acting in horrific manner against the followers of other sects. Anyways, the theory I was referring to doesn’t have anything to do with the conflict of sects. Members of one of the sub-sect of Shaivites – the ‘Veera Maaheshwaras’ used this place to sacrifice their lives in an age-old practice termed Atmahuti. They used to chop off their body parts one by one (and this was a place with religious sanctity).

As gruesome as it sounds today (where are the human rights activists) – but were probably part of the belief system then (I am aware of such or similar beliefs to exist even today – especially amongst the Aghori babas). What we think to have been unchanging – Religion – the one which the believers believe to have been maintained without a change since the beginning of it – changes knowingly/unknowingly or intentionally/unintentionally.

Which of the 2 theories will gain weight  – only time will tell. Or may be some other new theory will show up – something like some deadly disease spread through the place Annigeri during the 15th century A.D and washed away a huge population.

Let me make an effort to merge all of the above theories 😉 (I now feel like an expert in archaeology :D). The death of people living at Annigeri was due to a water borne disease (a deadly virus spread through the water). The water was mainly consumed from Tungabhadra river. The water was contaminated due to two contributing factors – (1) Due to the dirt/impurities left over from the Atmahuti flowing into the river and the other (2) at about the same time the ruler Ahmed Shah and his men ransacked villages killing scores of men (around Annigeri) and all of the filth from here flowing into Tungabhadra river. Remember this was during the monsoon season (I take this liberty of season). That explains it all. Only if someone would listen to me.