The Indian Council of Historical Research has published a research paper in its Hindi journal Itihaas that claims that the “Dancing Girl” figurine from Mohenjo-daro is Hindu Goddess Parvati, The Indian Express reported on Monday. Thakur Prasad Verma, in a paper titled “Vedic Sabhyata Ka Puratatva (Archaeology of Vedic Civilisation)“, argued for the possibility of Vedic connections to the Indus Valley civilisation. Right-wing historians have long held that the Hindu god Shiva was worshipped by citizens of the Indus Valley civilisation.

Verma claimed that the “Dancing Girl” has to be Parvati because “where there is Shiva, there should be Shakti”, a manifestation of the Goddess, though “till date, no one has identified any idol or statue of Parvati in the Harappan Civilisation”.

Verma, a retired professor of Banaras Hindu University, has claimed that several artefacts have been found among the ruins of the civilisation that prove that its citizens worshipped Shiva, among them “Seal 420”. The seal shows a horned figure sitting in yogic posture surrounded by animals. While some historians support this theory, others have contended that the seal shows a woman, not a man.

Verma claim said that the trefoil pattern on the shawl of the “Priest King” sculpture, also excavated from the region, was evidence of Shiva worship because the pattern, according to him, is like the “vilva” or “bilva” leaves that are used to worship the Hindu god.

Historian and Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Supriya Verma said this was the first time anyone has made such a claim that the ‘Dancing girl’ was Parvati. “This particular artefact has always been seen as the sculpture of a young girl. It is difficult to say anything more than that. The elaborate terracotta female figurines were described by Marshall as mother goddesses, although he categorised some of the other terracotta female figurines as either toys or as being associated with magic,” she told the English daily. The issue was published last month.