Two major floods caused by monsoon pattern anomalies, which inundated large parts of the subcontinent approximately 800 and 700 years ago, might have wiped out powerful dynasties across what is now known as India. Evidence of this has been unearthed by a group of geology experts from IIT-Kharagpur. The group’s findings were published in ‘Elsevier’, a reputable Dutch journal specialising in scientific, technical and medical content.
The findings are based on years of study of oxygen isotopes on ancient stalagmites in Meghalaya’s Wah Shikar caves. Oxygen isotopes are the traces left behind by precipitation or rainfall over a period, called time slide by scientists. The stalagmites are thousands of years old, but the group studied the history of precipitation for a little over 900 years — between 1100 and 2012 — considering the fact that three major climatic events took place in the subcontinent during this phase — Medieval Climate Anomaly, between 1100-1300; the Little Ice Age, roughly between 1300-1750; and the current warm period between 1750 to the present.
The two major floods that have been indicated by the geologists occurred roughly around 1210 and 1320 respectively. “It rained heavily for months, inundating large parts of what we know as India today. The floods were so severe that they wiped out dynasties, killing common people and forcing them to leave their homes and turn into nomads. It also ruined the agrarian economy of the era,” said Anil Gupta, the group’s lead scientist.
Among the dynasties that were finished around this time were Sena in Bengal, Solanki in the west and Paramar, Yadav and Pandyan in the south. “We are working closely with historians and archaeologists to corroborate our period details with theirs,” Gupta told TOI.
The stalagmites were drilled at an interval of every half millimetre, following a process of dating where every half millimetre stands for two years of real time experience of the rock. “The two floods were never recorded in history. There is little documented history during the 13th and 14th centuries that have come down to us. Most of the time, wars were considered to be the reasons for downfall, but the discovery of the two mega floods will now add better value to earlier explanations. One can allude to the flood theory that perhaps ended the Indus Valley civilisation,” Gupta said.
Scholars who deal with ancient Indian history feel that these findings will be of immense use in pinpointing antiquities of known events. “The flood theory will help put certain endings and migrations in perspective,” said historian Ramkrishna Chatterjee, the publications secretary of Asiatic Society.
Historian Arun Bandyopadhyay felt such geological study of Indian history had been necessary for a long time.
Source: Times of India