Michel Danino

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Michel Danino
File:Michel Danino.png
Michel Danino taking a lecture at IIT Kanpur
Born (1956-06-04)June 4, 1956
Honfleur, France
Occupation Writer, Researcher, Historian
Nationality Indian
Notable awards Padma Shri (2017)

Michel Danino (born June 4, 1956) is an Indian author, originally from France.[1]

He participated in the translation and publication of the works of Sri Aurobindo and of The Mother. Danino also edited India's Rebirth (a selection from Sri Aurobindo's works about India, first published in 1993) and India the Mother (a selection from the Mother's works about India). He engaged himself also for the preservation of tropical rainforest in the Nilgiri Hills. In 2001, he convened the International Forum for India's Heritage (IFIH) with the mission of promoting the essential values of India's heritage in every field of life.[2]

At present, he's a guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar and a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research.[3] On 25 January 2017, Government of India announced "Padma Shri" award for his contribution towards Literature & Education.[4]

Birth and early life[edit]

Michel Danino was born in 1956 at Honfleur (France) into a family which had emigrated from Morocco. He was attracted to India from an early age. Yogis of India, Sri Aurobindo and The Mother particularly attracted him. In 1977, dissatisfied after four years of higher scientific studies, he left France for India, where he has since been living.[5]

In The Invasion that Never Was (2000), he criticized the "Aryan invasion theory" and its proponents, instead opting for the notion of "Indigenous Aryans". Danino asserts that Aryans are indigenous to India. Danino is a guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, where he is assisting the setting up of an Archaeological Sciences Centre.[6]

Life in India[edit]

He spent a few years in Auroville, Tamil Nadu. Later, he lived in the Nilgiri mountains for two decades. In 2003 he settled near Coimbatore and adopted Indian citizenship.[1]

While in the Nilgiris he fought against the daily destruction of Shola or evergreen montane rainforests of the Western Ghats and turned into a nature conservationist. His work prompted the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in 1998 to invite a committee of local citizens to assist in protecting Longwood Shola near Kotagiri. He said about the incident, "It shows that public's participation is the key and that the government alone, even when it has goodwill, is simply not geared to face today's challenges, but it is important that people get involved.".[7]


  • The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati
  • Sri Aurobindo and Indian Civilization (1999)
  • The Invasion that Never Was (2000)
  • The Indian Mind Then and Now (2000)
  • Is Indian Culture Obsolete? (2000)
  • Kali Yuga or the Age of Confusion (2001)
  • L'Inde et l'invasion de nulle part: le dernier repaire du mythe aryen (2006) Les Belles Lettres. ISBN 2-251-72010-3
  • Indian Culture and India's Future (DK Printworld, 2011)

The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati[edit]

The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati, published in 2010, presents numerous arguments from topographic exploration, geological and climatological studies, satellite imagery, and isotope analyses, to support the view that the dried up riverbed of the Ghaggar-Hakra was the legendary Sarasvati River mentioned in Rigveda. The Ghaggar-Hakra river once sustained the great Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished between 3500 and 1900 BC.[8]

He also regularly writes for Pragyata

See also[edit]


  • The Hindu mind works in such a way that continuity of worship is more important than physical fact. When the Harappans migrated eastward towards the Gangetic region, they carried with them their memories of the Sarasvati. The myths and sanctity were transferred to Prayag.
  • When I was 15 or so, I stumbled on literature related to Indian spirituality, and instantly felt that there was something that held essential keys. I read several of the great masters, something of India's ancient literature, and finally decided that Sri Aurobindo's view of life and the world was what I was looking for. It was not a passing craze or a 'New Age' fad; it not only satisfied the intellect but also touched the core of the being.
  • If in the nineteenth century most scholars identified the Ghaggar-Hakra's course with the Vedic Sarasvati, it is basically for three reasons. The Rig-Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, mentions various rivers but praises the Sarasvati above all others: it was a "mighty river" flowing "from the mountain to the sea", and one hymn listed it between the Yamuna and the Sutlej - precisely the location of the Ghaggar-Hakra. Secondly, the local traditions regarding the "lost river" of the Indian desert matched those in the post-Vedic literature (including the Mahabharata), which recorded the gradual disappearance of the Sarasvati. Thirdly, scholars noticed a minor tributary of the Ghaggar called "Sarsuti", an obvious corruption of "Sarasvati": it rises in the Sirmur hills that are part of the Shivaliks and was marked on British maps as early as in 1788. Putting these three lines of evidence together, they concluded that the lost Sarasvati could only have flowed in the Ghaggar's bed.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Pande Daniel, Vaihayasi. "'The Sarasvati was more sacred than Ganga'". Rediff.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011. Technically, I am not a 'foreigner': I adopted Indian citizenship some years ago.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. IFIH's Founder Members
  3. Danino, Michel. "The public ignoramus". mydigitalfc.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "PadmaAwards-2017" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://micheldanino.bharatvani.org/
  6. http://www.iitgn.ac.in/faculty/humanities/michel.htm
  7. "Rousing the invisible" by Sapna Gopal, Planet Earth, vol. 2, issue 8, September 2010 , pp. 39–41.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Times of India (23 May 2010). "NON-FICTION The Lost River". Times of India Crest. Retrieved 4 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]