ASI Keeladi Report: Sangam Age pushed to 800 BCE
Keeladi is a hamlet located near Madurai city in Tamil Nadu. It is along the banks of River Vaigai. The ASI started its excavations in Keeladi in 2014. Evidence was found that the civilization at Keeladi, that is, the Sangam Age civilization is older than thought before. Earlier it was believed that Sangam Era was 300 BCE. But the excavations at Keeladi revealed that Sangam Era was older and dated 800 BCE. Controversies arose with the new findings. Today, the ASI has put an end to the controversies finalizing that Sangam Age dates from 800 BCE.
What is the issue?
ASI conducts excavations in four to five phases. During the Keeladi excavations, consecutive phases did not receive funds on time. Also, the Tamil archaeologists working with ASI performing the excavations were transferred to Assam and other states. This created controversies. The issue was politicized. Criticisms were made that the BJP government is doing Hindutva politics. If the excavations proved that the Sangam era dated 800 BCE, there is an established fact that the civilization in the south was secular and modern. And the modernization occurred earlier than in other parts of India. The Sangam era had excellent trade connections with the world. The women’s literacy rate of the era was high and equal to men.
The criticism made: Hindutva politicians associated with the central government are not liking the fact that Tamil culture was older than thought before.