Steve Farmer

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Steve Farmer  and others:

                    The other group interested in deciphering Indus script consists of Steve Farmer (Director of The Cultural Modelling Research Group, Palo Alto, California); Richard Sproat and Michael Witzel (Prof.Harvard University).      In the year 2004, S. Farmer came out with a theory (collapse of Indus-script thesis)   ( that Indus scripts are something like  heraldic signs on coat of arms of Medieval European  Knights (blazons) and do not carry any phonetic value and symbols did not evolve in linguistic direction even after in use for 600 years. He further suggested that the Indus symbols were used as non-linguistic symbol system that served key religious, political and social functions without encoding speech or serving as formal memory aids.

                         This opinion is in contrast to the opinion of Parpola and Mahadevan who believe that the script carries some alphabetic or phonetic value. One point should be clear that just because Indus people used symbols, does not mean that they were barbarians. The symbols carried astronomical values, but might not have carried any phonetic value. It does not make modern day astronomer an illiterate person just because he uses some common symbols. In fact modern astronomers are still using same old constellation symbols to describe the star constellations. 

                           Even though the argument of Steve Farmer could be accepted to certain extent, there are still some exceptions to his conclusion. For example, the fish symbol and the ‘U’ symbol does carry some phonetic value as being discussed in the following paragraphs, which shows that there was some phonetic value to the Indus symbol and only problem is that it has not yet been deciphered properly.