B. B. Lal
|B. B. Lal|
Braj Basi Lal|
2 May 1921
Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh
|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 2 May 1921), better known as B. B. Lal, is an 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. Lal also served on various UNESCO committees.
Early life and background
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, and later at sites such as Harappa and Sisupalgarh in Odisha. Lal went on to work as an archaeologist for more than fifty years.
In 1968, he was appointed the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India where he would remain until 1972. Thereafter, Lal served as Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.
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.
Between 1950-52, Lal worked on the archaeology of sites accounted for in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, including Hastinapura, the capital city of the Kurus. He made discoveries of many Painted Grey Ware (PGW) sites in the Indo‑Gangetic Divide and upper Yamuna‑Ganga doab.
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, where 109 graves would be located. Lal worked on Mesolithic site of Birbhanpur (West Bengal), Chalcolithic site of Gilund (Rajasthan) and Harappan site of Kalibangan (Rajasthan).
In 1975-76, Lal worked on the "Archaeology of Ramayana Sites" project funded by the ASI, which excavated five sites mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana - Ayodhya, Bharadwaj ashram, Nandigram, Chitrakoot and Shringaverapur. In the seven-page preliminary report submitted to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Lal disclosed the discovery by his team of "pillar bases", immediately south of the Babri mosque structure in Ayodhya.
Prof. B. B. Lal has published several books and over 150 research papers and articles in national and international scientific journals. In his 2002 book, The Saraswati Flows On, Lal criticised the earlier Aryan invasion/migration theory, arguing that the Rig Vedic description of the Sarasvati River (which dried up by 2000 BCE) as "overflowing" contradicts the claim made by certain previous historians that the Indo-Aryan migration occurred 300 years after they contend the Sarasvati River dried up (in 1500 BCE) and which they also contended had led to the end of the Indus Valley Civilization.
In Lal's 2008 book, Rāma, His Historicity, Mandir and Setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology and Other Sciences, he writes (that):
"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."
The British archaeologists Stuart Piggott and D.H. Gordon describe Copper Hoards of the Gangetic Basin and the Hastinapura Excavation Report, two of Lal's works published in the Journal of the Archaeological Survey of India, as models of research and excavation reporting.
- B.B. Lal (1952). New Light on the "dark Age" of Indian History: Recent Excavations at the Hastinapura Site, Near Delhi. Illustrated London news.
- B. B. Lal (1953). Studies in Early and Mediaeval Indian Ceramics: Some Glass and Glasslike Artefacts from Bellary, Kolhapur, Maski, Nasik and Maheshwar.
- Braj Basi Lal (1955). Excavations at Hastinapura and Other Explorations [in the Upper Gangā and Sutlej Basins], 1950-52.
- Shikaripur Ranganatha Rao; Braj Basi Lal (1960). Excavation at Rangpur and Other Explorations in Gujarat.
- B. B. Lal (1963). The Only Asian Expedition in Threatened Nubia: Work by an Indian Mission at Afyeh and Tumas..
- Jagat Pati Joshi; Braj Basi Lal (1963). Comparative Stratigraphy of the Protohistoric Cultures of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent. Ethnographic and Folk-Culture Society, U.P.
- Braj Basi Lal (1964). Indian Archaeology Since Independence. Motilal Banarsidass.
- B. B. Lal (1968). Indian Rock Paintings: Their Chronology, Technique and Preservation.
- B.B. Lal (1972). The Copper Hoard Culture of the Ganga Valley. Heffer.
- B. B. Lal (1977). On the Most Frequently Used Sign in the Indus Script.
- B. B. Lal (1978). Weathering and Preservation of Stone Monuments Under Tropical Conditions: Some Case Histories.
- B.B. Lal (1978). Scientific Examination of Works of Art and History. Indian Association for the Study of Conservation of Cultural Property.
- Special survey reports on selected towns: Dumka, 1981.
- Braj Basi Lal (1982). Has the Indus Script Been Deciphered?. Indian Inst. of Advanced Study.
- Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984.
- B. B. Lal (1993). Excavation at Śṛiṅgaverapura: (1977-86). Director General, Archaeological Survey of India. 
- Braj Basi Lal (1997). The Earliest civilization of South Asia: rise, maturity, and decline. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-107-4.
- Jagat Pati Joshi; D. K. Sinha; Braj Basi Lal (1997). Facets of Indian Civilization: Prehistory and rock-art, protohistory: Essays in Honour of Prof. B.B. Lal (Vol. 1). Aryan Books International. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- B. B. Lal (1998). India 1947-1997: New Light on the Indus Civilization. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-129-6.
- Braj Basi Lal (2002). The Sarasvatī flows on: the continuity of Indian culture. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-202-6.
- Braj Basi Lal (2003). Excavations at Kalibangan: The Early Harappans, 1960-1969. Director General, Archaeological Survey of India.
- A. S. Bisht; Surinder Pal Singh; B. B. Lal (2004). Studies in Art and Archaeological Conservation: Dr. B.B. Lal Commemoration Volume. Agam Kala Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-7320-059-5.
- B. B. Lal (2005). The Homeland of the Aryans. Evidence of Rigvedic Flora and Fauna & Archaeology. Aryan Books. ISBN 8173052832.
- Braj Basi Lal; R. Sengupta (2008). A Report on the Preservation of Buddhist Monuments at Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Islamic Wonders Bureau. ISBN 978-81-87763-66-6.
- B. B. Lal (2008). Rāma, His Historicity, Mandir, and Setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology, and Other Sciences. Aryan Books. ISBN 978-81-7305-345-0.
- B. B. Lal (2009). How Deep Are the Roots of Indian Civilization?: Archaeology Answers. Aryan Books. ISBN 8173053766.
- Braj Basi Lal (2011). Excavations at Bharadwaja Ashram: with a note on the exploration at Chitrakuta. Archaeological Survey of India.
- Braj Basi Lal (2011). Piecing Together: Memoirs of an Archaeologist. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-417-4.
- Braj Basi Lal (2015). The Rigvedic People: 'Invaders'?/'Immigrants'? or Indigenous?. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-535-5.
- "Invitation to the fifth chapter of Sanskriti Samvaad Shrinkhla" (PDF). Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- B. B. Lal Chair at IIT Kanpur Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur website.
- Coningham, Robin; Young, Ruth (31 August 2015). The Archaeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE–200 CE. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780521846974. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- 'Let not the 19th century paradigms continue to haunt us!' Archived 4 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Inaugural Address delivered at the 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology at University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy on 2–6 July 2007, online link, archaeologyonline.net
- "Archaeologist B.B. Lal talks about his book 'The Saraswati Flows On' : Books". India Today. 12 November 2001. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- 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)
- Archaeological endeavours abroad, Archaeological Survey of India Official website.
- Winters C. "A comparison of Fulani and Nadar HLA". Indian J Hum Genet. 18: 137–8. doi:10.4103/0971-6866.96686. PMC . PMID 22754242.
- "I found pillar bases back in mid-seventies: Prof Lal". Indian Express. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Ayodhya: High Court relies on ASI's 2003 report". Economic Times. Oct 1, 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Faculty Chairs". IIT Kanpur. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013.
- Memoirs, On Excavations, Indus Seals, Art, Structural and Chemical Conservation of Monumets, Archaeological Survey of India Official website.
- Dhaneshwar Mandal (2003). Ayodhya, Archaeology After Demolition: A Critique of the "new" and "fresh" Discoveries. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-250-2344-9.
- "Mahabharata Historicity by Prof. B B Lal".
- The Homeland of Indo-European Languages and Culture: Some Thoughts By Archaeologist B.B. Lal
- Let not the 19th century paradigms continue to haunt us! Inaugural Address, by Prof. Lal, delivered at the 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology, 2007
- List of publications at worldcat.org
| Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India
1968 - 1972
M. N. Deshpande