Justice is the beauty of people to be human, to remain humane.
What else can a human be ? He can be subhuman, beastly; perhaps, out of anger or outrage at first and then because of a certain inability to control oneself, check the momentum and rise back to regain the ground of trust, love and compassion.
Justice does not just lie in the beauty of loving and trusting people; it is the beauty itself, of man. It is rooted in that beauty and takes all its justification from it, both in all that needs to be done to create a just environment, so that men are not pushed into becoming beasts, and all that must be avoided, its excesses and its dicatates to serve itself regardless of the beauty it is meant to protect and serve. The lines it must scrupulously contain itself within set up justice for what it is, as an essential means at serving the beauty our humanity could rise or evolve into.
Beauty is the truth of man and justice the goal of our polity. It is not a thesis and has less to do with philosophy than with peace in our hearts. Justice is more of a spiritual pursuit than a legal argument. It is the truth that laws try to sketch; the latter rarely come close to delivering the beauty in our maker’s intent.
Beauty is the maker’s program for man.
Justice is dharma, the adjunct within that encompassing truth of man.
The daily I read is a Congress Party mouthpiece, spiritedly in opposition to the ruling National Democratic Alliance. However, going through it today left me palpably happy at how remakably well this country is now governed, thanks to the people of India who chose Narendra Modi to lead the nation’s affairs. The marked degree of difference, compared to how it was during the preceeding decade under the UPA regime, was underscored by an observation of the Supreme Court headlined even by the avowedly antagonistic news and reports the Times Of India routinely carries … ” Stop acting like UPA on Ganga : SC to govt “. To mimick the media, I visualise “sources” reporting Manmohan Singh, the previous captive Prime Minister : “I am delighted and the country is relieved with my (and my Party’s) removal from power …” As I am, and vast majority of people are !
Let me sum up some of the other news that fills me with an euphoric state of well-being :
On his first visit to Kargil as PM, Modi minced no words in stating that Pakistan continues to sponsor terror missions in India, even while emphasising that the neighbour has finally lost the capacity and will for facing a frontal war. Our neighbour has launched four since 1947 and has been soundly, humiliatingly beaten in every one of them. Expectedly, the editorial faults the plain-speak saying, “Modi chiding Pakistan for pursuing a proxy war does nothing to improve bilateral relations.” It would prefer the Indian Prime Minister to adopt a gentler approach, the one which has done nothing to arrest the violence triggered from across our borders and which the people are frankly tired of !
It comforts me that the Govt is now redressing a wrong perpetuated by successive previous regimes that never found it worthwhile to award the country’s highest honour to Dhyan Chand, the hockey wizard who kept India on the top in the game for over two decades. However the cause of my delight is not limited to the person but to the overarching question : What kind of a country do we want ? What national values must we reinforce with our day-to-day decisions ? It rankles that the UPA govt had the great man, the nation’s pride, in its last year’s honours list but went for a promoted candidate instead — the little master of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, who is reported to have gained enough from brand equity garnered from his exploits in the field.
The removal of Gandhi-Nehru name from our national schemes and projects is as a much a matter of my happiness as the hashtags #CongressMuktaBharat and #CorruptionFreeIndia I have actively supported and promoted. A country that has largely shunned such personality intense and cult promotions, the practice reminds me that horribly misplaced slogan coined during the infamous Emergency days : Indira is India — India is Indira … reducing a nation to a person and blowing up a person to equal the oldest nation on earth !
Today, the country premier crime and corruption investigating agency has dared to move a note regarding ‘irregularities’ public sector bank appointments at senior levels and, consequently, the Govt will review several of the suspicious ones. The action would be symbolic of the clean-up this country sorely needs to stem this pervasive corruption that has come to characterise our affairs. The President has given the nod for review of 12 university vice-chancellor appointees, several during the very last days of the previous regime.
Now even the senior-most founding leader of the much promising and even more abysmally disappointing Aam Aadmi Party has aired his despair of its undemocratic working, inviting all manner ‘sad’ whisperings and lamenting advisories. But the development is exactly along the lines I have viewed the fakeness built into outfit from the start. I am looking forward to its early demise, especially since Delhi has been far better managed since the Party’s govt led by its ‘national convenor’ resigned after merely 49 days at its helm. Look at some of them here below :
ON FAST TRACK – Govt sets deadline for 245 services
Chasing neighbourhood cops to get a no-objection certificate for a passport won’t be necessary now as Delhi Police has committed to a 20-day deadline for it.
This and 244 more services by various state departments, civic agencies and Delhi Police have been brought under the Delhi Time-bound Service Delivery Act as an Independence Day gift. Already , 116 services by 24 departments are covered by the Act.
Delhi Police has committed to issuing copies of FIRs to complainants within a day, and complete verification of tenants and servants in 20 days.
NDMC has promised to remove obstructions from roads in one day . It will sanction building plans in one day and complete mutation of property in seven days. Even the corporations have agreed to sanction building plans for residential development within 30 days.
Bus passes for students, the physically disabled and senior citizens will be issued in a day . The higher education department may agree to issue provisional certificates within 15 days.
The department of women and child development has committed to sanction pension to widows and women in distress within 45 days.
The notification of these is likely by the end of this week. The law governing time-bound delivery of services prescribes penalties for officers who harass the public with delays.
There is much else to commend the New India : Happy India today. Old boys have now come to join hands to boost infrastructure and the image of govt schools. The judiciary has become extra conscious of their intervention powers : The High Court demanded a report status of kids’ parks by Oct 29. Tourist arrivals remain on the up despite much negative publicity the country has received over the past decade …
On political front in the states, the mindless ‘minority appeasement’ for vote-bank is coming apart. A quiet campaign to cut the Samajvadi Party leader Azam Khan down to size appears to be at work in Uttar Pradesh. The casteist Bahujan Party’s Mayawati has refused to have any truck with SP, in the latter’s bid to form a joint front against the nationalist BJP. The other ‘joint front’ in Bihar saw a mere few hundred listeners, when the buildup was for hundreds of thousands !
Prime Minister might dare to continue with his habit of speaking extempore while addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, after his Govt launches state-of-the-art warships INS Kolkata and INS Kamorta. The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in June this year. There are 44 warships currently on order in Indian shipyards valued at over Rs 2000 billion, These are part of the plan to steadily build a three-dimensional blue-water Navy capable of taking care of India’s huge strategic interests in the region stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait.
Beti (daughter) … drive in 100 dists with worst sex ratio. The Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has set a 2-year deadline for Implementation. It is one of highest national priority : Save Our Daughters – Educate Our Daughters. It assures stringent action against erring medical practitioners and monitoring of health clinics. The government had allotted Rs 100 crore for the scheme in the Union Budget. India has one of the worst sex ratios, earning the dubious title of “country with missing girls“.
The Govt has stood by its declared intent of not allowing FDI in multi-brand retail … But you get the streaming causes behind my delight, right ? !
It is in the midst of the monsoon season and yet in the second month after the new NDA Govt was sworn in. Both have been deficient, by measures comparable — about 35 %. But the direction from which the measures now stands are opposite to each other : the monsoon has travelled from amost 60 % deficiency towards a marked improvement while the NDA deficiency has risen from about mere 10 % in public skepticism or outright distrust to 35 % today. The clean sweep by Congress Party in Uttarakhand bye-elections may be seen as minor but, I believe, could be loaded with significance. It takes just a little while for public disenchantment towards a political party to tip over into electorally risky domain.
There are those who suggest that we must reign in our impatience which, in other words, means that we moderate our expectations from what has been promised by the BJP, which leads the current NDA Govt. The risk with this line is two-fold, the two mutually inflating each other : one, as suggested, the tip over into becoming an object of public displeasure could be far too swift to stage a real comback in time for elections in several other states; and, two, but for regular loud enough protests, the BJP leadership is likely to remain uninformed of the representative public mood towards their policies and performance, and never enter into constant relooping, reviewing and reappraising, necessary to keep itself in tune with the need, sentiments and opinions, of the people who it claims to represent.
The Govt’s vote for Hamas, and against Israel saw massive outcry in social media. Significantly, the regular media was pretty much sanguine about it … it being in line with how the previous UPA Govt would have gone. That, of course does not negate the well-received decisions in the Budget, on bring black money into light, reinstatement of marginalised but capable officers in the Govt, bringing our stranded home from abroad, etc. But there is an immediate trust deficit on account of NDA Govt’s apathy towards this huge geo-political problem around our neighbourhood and contrarian forces within, caused by Muslim community leaders who sympathise with fundamentalist al-Quaida, Hamas, and now ISIS, and severely undermine India’s security and its nationhood. This latter section of population are loyal to pan-Sunni-Islamic Caliphate, a program funded by Turkey and Qatar among others, whose forces are joined in by community youthfuls from all over the world – 10 % of Muslims in UK, US, EU, several countries in Africa, Middle East, China, Indian subcontinent and S-E Asia.
There is evidence of all non-Muslim countries now being in various stages of destabilisation wrought about by rabid fundamentalism, uprisings, riots and terror attacks. This is to be pre-empted … a task that is neither easy nor brooking an hour’s delay. There is much to be done in law provisions, getting an empowered and pro-actively effective task force in place and working hard, and placing a judicial vertical of special courts to adjudicate. Above all, the Govt needs to share with the public broad contours of what it has on its mind on the matter.
The time to start up on the issue is now. But, even if the political leadership were willing, the ambiguous and conservative economic policy mandates reflecting in the budget and the Geneva vote against Israel are proof of a bureaucracy weighted by inertia or devotion to misplaced continuity, or by plain mischief as beneficiary stooges of the previous government !
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The season saw friendly visits by Langda and Chausa mangoes, including the latter’s small juicy types, and the sickening sweet Dushehri I have never really liked. The boils at some places on the body were familiar routine too, drying up in 3-5 days time, like virals. More rains are expected from today : tempreatures are moderate and pleasant if there is breeze over the body, natural or fan propelled.
This entry cannot end without mention of those tradition colocasia leaf preparation … ummhh. And today we bought an item each from every stall that line up the roundabout circle, 50 yards to our right. Shared among three of us, they made for a very pleasing meal.
I might shoot an email to Telecom Secretary about issues residents are facing … and yes, I need to finally decide if I’ll replace my internet security suite and demand a refund from eScan suppliers …
For the rest, it’s fine. Rum is cool and whisky, divine !
Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, was accused in 1971 of violating the Espionage Act and of theft and conspiracy, for copying the so-called Pentagon Papers. The judgment was overturned in 1971 after he presented evidence to the court of the U.S. government misconduct, including illegal wiretapping.
Many people compare Edward Snowden unfavorablytome, for leaving the country and seeking asylum rather than face trial as I did. The country in which I stayed was a different America, long ago.
After the New York Times was prevented from publishing the Pentagon Papers – on June 15, 1971, the first of a newspaper censorship in American history – and I had given a copy to the Washington Post (which was also prohibited from publishing it), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for thirteen days. My goal (quite similar to Snowden’s travel to Hong Kong) was to elude the vigilance while preparing – with the crucial help of a number of people yet unknown to the FBI – for the sequential distribution of the Pentagon Papers among 17 other newspapers, given the two prohibitions. The last three days of the period passed in defiance of a warrant. LikeSnowden today, I was a “fugitive from justice”.
However, when I gave myself to be held in Boston, after having given out the last copies of the papers in my possession the night before, I was released on bail the same day. Later, when the accusations were compounded against me, from three to a dozen initial charges, which carried a possible sentence of 115 years, my bail increased to $ 50,000. But during the two years that I was tried, I was free to talk to the press and public, at rallies and conferences. At the end of the day, I was part of a movement against a war that is still going on. Helping to end the war was my outstanding concern, which I could not have done from abroad, and it never entered my head to leave the country.
There is not the slightest possibility that this experience will be repeated today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by revealing actions of the White House against a criminal defendant, as it clearly was in Richard Nixon era.
I have the hope that the revelations of Snowden will trigger a movement that rescues our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is null chance that he might be released on bail, as I was. On the other hand, he would be in a prison cell as Bradley Manning, in solitary confinement.
Snowden would be confined in total isolation, even longer than that suffered by Manning during his three years in prison before recentstart of his trial. The Special Rapporteur on Torture of United Nations on Manning described the conditions as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” (this would be realistic foundation in most countries to grant on Snowden’s request for asylum, if they could resist the intimidation and bribery by United States).
Snowden believes he has done nothing wrong. I absolutely agree. More than 40 years after the publicationof of the Pentagon Paperswithout permissionon my part, these leaks are still the lifeblood of a free press and our republic.
One of the lessons of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden leaks is simple : secrecy corrupts, as does power.
Daniel Ellsberg (1931), legendary civil rights activist, became famous for leaking in 1971 the New York Times called Pentagon Papers, which revealed the involvement of the U.S. in Vietnam. PhD in Economics from Harvard, is also known for the “Ellsberg paradox” in the field of mathematical theory of decision.
This is actually an adaptation of the response I posted to a critical blogpost, on the aggressive partisan reviews a recent Malayalam movie was panned with … Left, Right, Left. Yes, that’s the name of the movie. It apparently takes up the cause of India’s right … the conservatives who hold sacred both the land and its values — social, religious, cultural and spiriual. Events in the movie allude to Communist and Muslim League group practices since playing out in real-time Kerala society…
Manya, first, I felt that you have expressed what you wanted to … rather well. I was without a doubt on that score. Thank you for that.
But I, who never watch TV tu-tu-mai-mai ever, also have a sense that your outpouring is basically highlighting the current context that prevails in Kerala : Hinduism and the Sanatan way, which made Kerala “God’s own country,” is no more the hallmark of life in the State. That open, embracing culture, which welcomed the Muslims, Christians and Communists, has been displaced and vitiated by communal identities of the very same communities. All with vehement political upmanship.
The reception the movie “Left, Right, Left” received is a consequence, not the cause, of what is happening in the State, in general with Arab money and in particular with this race among Saud Wahabi, the Vatican and the Communists for grabbing and rash-powering their respective followers.
So, the movie is making religious and political statements alright that people are reading into it. Saying, it is just a film, is to shy away from its context.
The battle with propaganda-ideology critics can only be taken forward on their premises, not backwards … to the days of our innocence.
What are some objective metrics for quality of governance ?
01 Number and Effectiveness of autonomous institutions directly accessible to public to lodge grievances, complaints, suggestions… pertaining to public admn personnel, machinery, policy and performance.
02 The Ratio of what it costs to avail basic necessities – food, clothes, shelter, health care, transportation – to what is the avg per capita GDP.
03 True Unemployment ratio to employable pool available in different skill, education, age groups.
04 Price rise year -on-year compared to rise in income strata wise.
05 Satisfaction Level of the poorest strata with public welfare and distribution system.
06 Number of health care personnel per 1000 population nationally and region, area, locality wise.
07 Availability and Cost of justice … to common populace.
08 Period it takes to dispose judicial cases.
09 Backlog of cases pending in law courts.
10 Ease of filing FIR with police, its disposal period and rate of conviction.
There is no doubt about the Persian influence in Middle East and Central Asia region. It flows from history. Nothing that the West has in mind will change that.
Reza Pahlavi’s views comes across as sensible, sane and insightful, over the noises orchestrated in the media for a while now. He calls upon Israel to help the Iranian people in toppling the current regime instead of launching military attacks against the country to stop its nuclear program. Any misadventure on part of Israel and US – a war on Iran now – will cause a tension with Jewish people worse than it already is with. In fact, it would regress by milleniums, back to how it was during the reign of Cyrus the Great.
Besides, a war against Iran will not achieve the end… because the nuclear program will not really stop. It will only be delayed for a while, Reza says. The only real solution lies in overthrowing the present “Ayatollah” regime. I believe no one in the world would disagree with that.
The programme to waylay the current establishment does not pass through economic sanctions, but is best routed through standing by the Iranian people. People uprisings in recent past has reflected the public apathy for their government… but they are unarmed and know that violence would only bring out the regime’s superiority, its arms and massive cadres schooled by the regime and paid to serve their masters with dedication.
Civil disobedience is the more viable option. When diplomacy fails and war is an unfavorable option, only the Iranian people weigh upon the regime from inside, Reza suggests. Taking the regime’s “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity would also be in order, for best effect… a proposal that would require the Security Council’s recommendation since Iran was not a signatory to the Rome Statute, as was done to bring the former president of Ivory Coast on trial. The Ayatollah aides could then be indicted by the reformed justice system within Iran.
Admitting to plaints of the Shah regime’s several drawbacks, Reza stresses that it was not as bad for the people of Iran as the present one. He slams the Iranian establishment for discriminating against minorities and wished making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the foundation for Iran’s new constitution. The diversity prevailing in Iran could be protected through decentralisation, he feels, by granting a measure of autonomy to each of the provinces, which would then be able to safeguard the rights of minorities and guarantee equality among all citizens. The ethnic groups could have the right to keep their language and further their respective culture.
The response of people on the Al Arabiya web page have been encouraging. A reader lists the three groups of people who would oppose Reza Pahlavi’s suggestions : the Mojahedin, the Fadayain and the Republic’s Ayatollah regime :
” Apart from this minority, over 80% of the Iranian people support Reza Pahlavi or are neutral !” He remains a key political figure popular among the people of Iran.
A Parsi representative of the pre-Islamic people of Iran points out that there was no other country he knew of with as extreme a chasm between the people and their government. The Iranian people were cultured, fairly well educated, tolerant, hospitable, hard working and enterprising. In contrast, he lambasts, “these scum bags” have taken the people of Iran to Arbestan of 1400 years ago and have left a legacy of widespread poverty, high unemployment, total lack of respect for women and human rights, an oppressive judiciary as practiced in the seventh century, prostitution through poverty, six million drug addicts and corruption galore. The Iranian people have nothing against anyone except the mullahs and their ways.
Another reader lauds the Shah leadership while castigating the brutality of the ruling clerics. He says, the Shah brought modernity into Iran. He encouraged liberal education both at home and abroad, had social programs and policies to help women… while the Islamists were committing acts of violence across the country and blaming the Shah for cracking down on their brutality. These sub-humans are doing the same…now.
A reader in the West compares Reza Pahlavi with Nelson Mandela, which seems a stretch. But more fair on the balance, he adds, ” Though I cannot agree with everything Mr. Pahlavi says, the important point is that the people of Iran know his love for the country. He is seeking a better life for all Iranians, much like his father did. We had a very good life back during the Shah’s reign. I was young and don’t remember much but I would want Shahzadah Reza Pahlavi back in Iran and back in power….”
Of course, at the head of a democratic government, the reader adds.
Perhaps he is informed of the disconnect the Pahlavis developed with their own people while catering to Western interests, taking to their ways, and pushing the country with unacceptable fait accompli.
The colossal calamity due Nature’s fury in Uttarakhand is heart wrenching and the global despair I read in outpourings of minds aware dumps me in darkness. In the celestial underground, Sisyphus eyes the rock before starting to heave against it, in order to roll it back up to the top of the hill.
“The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP),
which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards,
was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners
(to date, active permanent modifications number about 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment.”
Six former employees and one contractor say Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit consistently lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications and offered bonuses to staff for intentionally pushing people into foreclosure.
The allegations were made in sworn statements added to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
Have we evolved as yet
to having severely punishing laws
against Corporate lies and fraudulent behaviour ?
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Call 1098, if you have after-party food that is likely to be wasted !
It’s the Child Helpline in India. They will come and collect the food. It’ll nourish the starved and the half-hungry; and, perhaps, inform him of how the more advantaged in society, in his very own country, live it off.
Capitalism channelises bothe the strengths and failures of humanity. Unfortunately, the strengths are few; failures more severe and far too many.
But humanity’s misfortune does not end there. It quadruples with capitalist success; for then, they have concentrated the resources and the means of Surround Propaganda, to beat the dead horse to wonderful tunes of intoxicating music !
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In my country …
Several Thousands have been killed.
Hundreds of Thousands are stranded for days …
‘I watched my wife being swept away by the torrent’ …
The Muslim notion that the Arabs were originally monotheists during Abraham’s time and had later degenerated into polythesitic paganism is more a propagated untruth than a fact. That Kaaba was the ordained house of God of Abraham’s religion has no historical or archaelogical basis. Rather, the patriarchs may have worshipped El at stone bethels just as the pre-Islamic Arabians did at theirs.
Let us obtain an overview of pre-islamic history in north arabia, in order to dispel this deliberately broadcast Islamic impression that the new religion was totally “different”, as if its vision and tenets grew in a vacuum.The pre-historic to Iron Age period saw several civilisations, starting with the Ubaid culture, 5300-4000 BCE, in which people lived in large village settlements, with multi-roomed rectangular mud-brick houses. The first temples of public architecture in Mesopotamia appeared during this period, as also the first movement towards urbanisation. According to Prof. Susan Pollock, “Agriculture and domesticated animal husbandry was widely practiced in sedentary communities.”
The Nabatean tombs at Mada’in Saleh were carved by the Thamud civilisation, which comprised either a tribe or a group of tribes that created a large kingdom and flourished from 3000 to 200 BCE. Recent archaeological work has revealed numerous Thamudic rock writings and pictures not only in Yemen but also throughout central Arabia. They are mentioned in sources such as the Qur’an, old Arabian poetry, Assyrian annals (Tamudi), in a Greek temple inscription from the northwest Hejaz of 169 CE, in a 5th-century Byzantine source and in Old North Arabian graffiti around Tayma.
The Umm an-Nar culture, 2600–2000 BCE, have left behind circular tombs with well fitted stones in the outer wall and multiple human remains within. Magan is attested as the name of a trading partner of the Sumerians. It is often assumed to have been located in Oman. The A’adids established themselves in South Arabia, modern-day Yemen, settling to the east of the Qahtan tribe. They established the Kingdom of ʿĀd from the 10th century BCE to the 3rd century CE. The ʿĀd nation were known to the Greeks and Egyptians. Claudius Ptolemy’s Geographos (2nd century CE) refers to the place by a Hellenised version of the inhabitants of the capital Ubar.
The Qedarites, of Kingdom of Qedar (8th century BCE – 2nd century CE) were a largely nomadic, ancient Arab tribal confederation. Described as “the most organised of the Northern Arabian tribes”, at the peak of its power in the 6th century BC it controlled a large region between the Persian Gulf and the Sinai Peninsula. It is unclear when the Qedarites ceased to exist as a separately defined confederation or people. Allies with the Nabataeans, it is likely that they were subsumed into the Nabataean state around the 2nd century AD.
Biblical tradition holds that the Qedarites are named for Qedar, the second son of Ishmael, mentioned in the Bible’s books of Genesis (25:13) and Chronicles (1:29), where there are also frequent references to Qedar as a tribe. The earliest extra-biblical inscriptions discovered by archaeologists that mention the Qedarites are from the Neo-Assyrian Empire. There are also Aramaic and Old South Arabian inscriptions recalling the Qedarites, who further appear briefly in the writings of Classical Greek and Roman historians, such as Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Diodorus.
Achaemenid Arabia corresponded to the lands between Egypt and Mesopotamia, later known as Arabia Petraea. According to Herodotus, king Cambyses II of the Achaemenid Empire did not subdue the Arabs when he attacked Egypt in 525 BCE. His successor, Darius the Great, does not mention the Arabs in the Behistun Inscription from the first years of his reign, but mentions them in later texts. This suggests that Darius conquered this part of Arabia.
Interestingly, Arabs were not considered as subjects to the Achaemenids as other peoples were, and were exempt from taxation. Instead, they simply provided 1000 talents of frankincense a year. They also helped the Achaemenids invade Egypt by providing water skins to the troops crossing the desert.
Meanwhile Nabataeans, the ancient people of North Arabia, whose oasis settlements in 37 – c. 100 CE gave the name of Nabatene to the borderland between Arabia and Syria, were spread over the land between the Euphrates and the Red Sea. Their loosely-controlled trading network was centered on strings of oases and the routes that linked them, which they controlled, where agriculture was intensively practiced. They did not have secure and defined boundaries in the surrounding desert. Roman Emperor Trajan conquered the Nabataean kingdom and created the province of Arabia Petraea. But the Nabateans could be easily identified by their distinct culture, especially their characteristic finely-made painted ceramics. Eventually, however, they were dispersed in the general Greco-Roman realm and were gradually absorbed within it.
There is evidence of Roman intervention in northern Arabia dating to the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE). During the reign of Tiberius (14–37 CE), the already wealthy and elegant north Arabian city of Palmyra, located along the caravan routes linking Persia with the Mediterranean ports of Roman Syria and Phoenicia, was made part of the Roman province of Syria. The area steadily grew further in importance as a trade route linking Persia, India, China, and the Roman Empire. During the following period of great prosperity, the Arab citizens of Palmyra adopted customs and modes of dress from both the Iranian Parthian world to the east and the Graeco-Roman in the west. In 129 AD, Hadrian visited the city and was so enthralled by it that he proclaimed it a free city and renamed it Palmyra Hadriana.
Remember that the Roman province of Arabia Petraea was created at the beginning of the 2nd century by emperor Trajan. It was centered on Petra but included areas of northern Arabia, then under Nabatean control. Evidence has recently been discovered pointing to Roman legions having occupied Mada’in Saleh in the Hijaz mountains area of northwestern Arabia. The desert frontier of Arabia Petraea was called Limes Arabicus. As a frontier province, it included a desert area of northeastern Arabia populated by the nomadic Saraceni.
In the 6th century CE, Arabia Petraea was a border province between the Roman and Persian empires, and from the early centuries CE was increasingly affected by South Arabian Qahtanite influence, notably with the Ghassanids, Lakhmids and Kindites migrating north from the 3rd century. This was the last major migration of non-Muslims out of Yemen to the north and southwestern borders.
Greeks and Romans referred to all the nomadic population of the desert in the Near East as Arabi. The Greeks called Yemen “Arabia Felix” (Happy Arabia). The Romans called the vassal nomadic states within the Roman Empire “Arabia Petraea” and referred to the unconquered deserts, bordering the empire to the south and east, as Arabia Magna (Larger Arabia).
The Bedouin tribes consisted of major clans within tribes that were nomadic and patriarchal. The lineage followed through males, since the tribes were named after their males ancestors. Thus, much of the information available relating to the early lineages of the predominantly desert-dwelling Bedouin Arabs is based on biblical genealogy. The different Bedouin tribes throughout Arabian history are regarded as having emerged from two main branches: the Rabi`ah, from which amongst others the Banu Hanifa emerged, and the Mudhar, from which amongst others the Banu Kinanah (and later Muhammad’s own tribe, the Quraysh) emerged.
Today, one out of every seven people in America receive taxpayer-funded food stamps.
However, in what is society’s attempt to meet subsistence needs of people in dire situation, JP Morgan’s Christopher Paton told Bloomberg News that “food stamps are big business” for the big bank. Of course, without a hint of shame.
In an environment of welfare inefficiency and lucrative abuse, the poverty industry has a potentially toxic brew of corporate cronyism and government inefficiency that lets food stamp abuse enforcement slip through the bureaucratic cracks.
But how did EBT processors like JP Morgan land its lucrative half-billion dollars worth of contracts ? The GAI report, Profits From Poverty: How Food Stamps Make Corporations Money, says JP Morgan’s political donations to members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees (who oversee the food stamp program) skyrocketed once the bank entered the EBT market !
A convenient club of abusers, profiteers and corrupts, that apparently is above board.
Medication Drugs Kill …
Prescription opioid painkillers are responsible for more fatal overdoses in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined, according to a new study out of Brandeis University.
Opioid painkillers include prescription narcotics such as like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone) and methodone.
“An epidemic of prescription drug abuse is devastating American families and draining state and federal time, money and manpower,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a press release.
In one such interaction on Facebook that covered Left extremists and Sustainability issues, I found his views worthy of reiteration here, on my blog. He expresses well …
Compassion and respect, not extremism …
” One could be a tribal sympathiser, critical of Capitalism (not liberal democracy, mind you, which unfortunately has come to be associated with capitalism) and its rapacious destruction of the environment and society, especially that of the tribals, but sympathising with the poor and being critical of those who exploit and oppress them does not mean being sympathetic to the Maoists.
Rapacious Capitalism is a zero sum game …
“There are farmers who have become millionnaires in indore too, and in the vicinity of most cities, but these are still few in number compared to the total number of farmers in and around these cities. The statement holds good for India entire, where farming has become a loss making profession. Even America, which has become 95% urban by looting the whole world, will find it impossible to survive if it stops doing so. Its a zero sum game – urban prosperity for a few is built on misery for the many across the world. It’s an unpalatable truth that cannot be wished away by resorting to sophistry. Gurgaon is sinking under its own load and the day is not far when it will collapse !!
Yes, it’s a zero sum …
“We are going over the same ground again and again. The zero sum game is a very correct depiction of the natural world because it is based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics. I would advise you to do a deep study of those before suggesting me to read more sophistry based on neo-classical economics, which itself is based on unscientific assumptions. Simon’s book is dated and current exorbitantly rising prices of metals in particular, and commodities and food in general, have taken the bottom out of his reasoning. Anyway there is no point in continuing this debate because it is endless. We can debate with each other endlessly without agreeing, but we cannot do so with nature. The time is not far when nature will hit back with a vengeance… The present selfish mode of development is going to lead to disaster then there will be a reversion to communitarian, unselfish and egalitarian modes. If not, we will all perish !!
Tribal rights with self-rule …
“Not just tribal rights but tribal self-rule of a new kind, in which there is equality and justice for women; because the traditional tribal societies are highly patriarchal. Regarding Maoists, the best thing to do is to ignore them altogether. Their locus and modus operandi ensures they will remain peripheral to both the tribal and the country’s future. It is the Indian State, which continually mismanages its responses, that has led to the Maoists being able to do what they are doing.
Churchill’s Secret War, through wreaking famine …
“To understand this one will have to digress first a bit. Madhusree Mukerjee has written an excellent book called “Churchill’s Secret War”, in which she details on the basis of original historiography how the British Government, led by Churchill, deliberately caused the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 in which, according to conservative estimates, 3 million people were killed.
The Just Rebels, possessed and ruthless …
“What is more interesting in this book is her history of the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar. When the Quit India
Movement was announced on 9th August 1942, the Gandhians in south Bengal region of Tamluk, led by Matangini Hazra, came out onto the streets in large numbers. The British response was to fire on them. Hazra and others died; many were arrested. Those who escaped their fate felt that there was only one way to respond to the British : set aside non-violent methods and take to an underground armed struggle.
“But the only way they could, with their rudimentary arms, was to fight a guerrilla war while ensuring that their movements were not reported to the British. So they conducted a hugely efficient programme of annihilating all the informers. So efficient was this programme that not only were all the informers eliminated but a pervasive fear was created among the people. Effectively, all information flow to the British stopped and the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar or Tamralipta “national government” was able to rule over their small region for three years. It was only after Gandhi came out of jail and admonished them for what they had done that they gave up their armed struggle and surrendered to the police in 1946.
Recent Darbha Ghati attack by Maoists …
“The important point that comes out of this story is that, for any guerrilla struggle to survive, the rebels
must eliminate all informers, present and potential. And this is what the Maoists have done very efficiently in rural areas; there is little information flow to the Indian State about their local movements. It is inconceivable that, in the recent attack, 200 heavily armed Maoists could have gathered in the Darbha Ghati just 30 kilometers from Jagdalpur without the local people knowing about it. But such is the fear of reprisal on informers by the Maoists that no information of this build up leaked to the police. All they had was an alert from the Centre that Maoist cadre were collecting in Bastar in large numbers for a strike, but nothing about where exactly this was to be executed. Saddled with this information blindness, the team that went to Sukma failed to follow Standard Operating Procedures yet again and came back along the same route, all in one group, and got annihilated. One is left wondering whether the security establishment dealing with the Maoists is a professional institution or a bunch of fools.
How the Maoists succeed …
“That the Maoists do not have an urban connection is a myth. Many politbureau members like Kobad Gandhi have been arrested from urban areas and are now in jail. It is impossible in the present day to conduct an armed struggle in a remote rural area without urban support of various kinds. There is an active urban network of the Maoists that secretly works to provide them with arms and ammunitions, funds, and technical and medical support. While the State may find it difficult to get informers in the rural areas, it is not so in urban areas where the population is too vast and the Maoists operate too secretly for them to be able to eliminate all informers. The State, in its efforts to curtail the Maoists, will obviously crackdown on their urban support lines and in this it has gained considerable success even if tailors, merchants and doctors like Binayak Sen have had to suffer in the process.
Our concern …
“I repeat, the conflict between the State and the Maoists is none of our concern; but for the tribals who die in it, due to operations from both sides, are. We should condemn the murder of tribals regardless of whether it is the State or the Maoists who are killing them, even if it is that of a killer like Mahendra Karma. We should leave both parties to their shenanigans and concentrate on our own struggles.
The immutable laws of thermodynamics …
“I had asked you to study the laws of thermodynamics and not Georgescu Rogen’s suspect attempt at conflating thermodynamics with economics, which has been rightly critiqued by many. That is why I did not mention his name or the later Marxist extensions of his theories or give links to the voluminous literature along these lines. I will now try to show from first principles, in a simple way, that a lay person can also understand how an “anarchist” interpretation can be done of these laws !!
“The first law says that energy is conserved and, due to the fact that energy and matter are interchangeable, matter too is conserved. So the total energy (including matter) in a closed system like the earth is constant and cannot be increased or decreased. Actually, the earth is an open system because meteorites crash into it from time to time, delivering matter, and the sun continually pumps energy into it; but the meteorite contribution is minimal and the sun’s energy is difficult to convert usefully, for machines to do our work.
“Therefore, if one form of energy or matter, especially non renewable energy or matter source, is depleted then it will be converted into another form, limiting the possibilities of its use in future. If soils are exhausted of their natural nutrients and, after some time, artificial nutrients are also exhausted, then it will not be possible to grow food anymore. Similarly, if fresh water sources are exhausted, we will face a more serious crisis. This can be extended to innumerable more examples that are today creating serious problems of sustainability.
“Theoretically, it is possible to convert any form of matter into any other form; there is substitutability potential for energy from matter. But, in practice, this is difficult and requires huge centralised systems which, even if invented, may create their own unforeseen problems. This is why, for all practical purposes, life on earth is a zero sum game.
“Now coming to the more difficult second law : any form of work converts some amount of energy expended into heat energy, which dissipates into the environment increasing disorder due to the increase in temperature within a closed system.
“Fortunately, the earth is not a closed system; it can release the added energy into space. Also, through photo synthesis, plants continually convert solar energy into bound energy we have in wood and food they sythesise. Animals eat this bound energy and do work, producing heat energy in the process. Some of these plant and animal remains have been transformed into fossil fuels, which too have bound energy. However, when we burn these fuels, their energy becomes unbound and contribute heat to the environment.
“Normally, due to the fact that the earth is an open system, the exponentially increasing production of heat energy would not have been a problem because it is miniscule compared to the solar energy added to the earth’s biosphere. But now, due to the increasing concentration of green house gases, especially carbon dioxide, we are slowly converting the earth into a closed system. The pathways to dissipation of heat into space is getting increasingly choked. Simultaneously, we are decimating plant life that convert unbound energy into bound energy. Climate change is a serious reality because of the twin factors we have just described.
The anarchist suggestion …
“We all must pause and seriously ponder over this transition of earth from being an open system it was to being a closed system it is now turning into. The world is experiencing a dangerous rise in temperatures on account of non-dissipation of heat we are adding to our biosphere. Yes, what I am saying is that there is a serious problem and not that there is no solution to it. Since the solution is not yet known, many people are working on it.
“As an anarchist, I feel the solution is in moderating our consumption. Mindful use of matter and energy would regulate the rate of our approach to ecological catastrophy. Ever since the neolithic revolution ten thousand years ago, humans have continually increased their exploitation of nature and it has now reached a crescendo. We need to have a relook at what we are doing. I may be wrong but that is my preference. It is still possible to have a high level of development with environmentally clean technologies, if implemented in a decentralised and egalitarian manner.
“The first ever, and possibly the most succinct, anarchist statement is :
Ishavasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam jagat
Tena tyaktena bhunjitha maa gridha kasvid dhanam
“Even though this is from the famoust spiritual text Ishavasya Upanishad, as an atheistic anarchist I translate it thus –
All of these in the universe
Belong to Nature;
Partake of it with moderation.
Do do not covet but ponder –
Who do these riches belong to !
“Let us all heed the rational view : There is a severe crisis, of apocalyptic scale, we are building up through our own doing, through the capitalist greed we have allowed for ourselves and the consumerist lifestyle they propagate globally, repeatedly, day in and day out, for their own profit.”
In conversation … I have the highest of regard for my elder and friend, Sh Basudeb Sen, a learned soul, a tall human being and an independent director for decades. We have agreed on much and differed occasionally on matters that concerns us as individuals, as people and part of global community. This little conversation took place lately on the ruins of Nalanda !
It started with my observation to a pic you can view down below :
How #Islam was advanced … Terribly sad event in 1193 AD, when Nalanda University was ransacked, burnt and thousands of Buddhists beheaded by the #Muslim fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji , a Turk …
The picture of the ruins of Nalanda University was accompanied with a small introduction …
In 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by the fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji , a Turk. The event is seen by scholars as a late milestone through the decline of Buddhism in India.
The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj , in his chronicle Tabaqat-I-Nasiri , reported that many of the monks there were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism and plant Islam by the sword. The library continued to burn for several months and “smoke from smouldering manuscripts hung for days, like a dark pall over the low hills.”
Nalanda was reknowned far and wide … one of the world’s first, perhaps the only residential university then. It had dormitories for students. In its prime, the institution accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers, and was considered an architectural masterpiece. It was marked by a lofty wall and a gate that led to eight separate compounds, ten temples, many meditation halls and classrooms. Within it were were lakes and parks, and a library housed in a nine-storied building that had long rows of books of knowledge and several sections for producing meticulous copies of texts globally in demand.
The subjects taught at Nalanda University covered every field of knowledge, and its portals attracted students and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. During the period of Harsha, the monastery is reported to have owned 200 villages, given as grants for its upkeep.
The Tang Dynasty Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang has left for us detailed accounts of the university, as it was in the 7th Century. He described how the regularly laid-out towers, forest of pavilions, harmikas and temples, seemed to “soar above the mists in the sky” so that, from their cells, the monks “might witness the birth of the winds and the clouds.”
The pilgrim states, “An azure pool winds around the monasteries, adorned with full-blown cups of the blue lotus; dazzling red flowers of the lovely kanaka hang here and there; and outside, groves of mango trees offer the inhabitants their dense and protective shade.”
* * *
Sh Sen wrote in his comment on my observation :
“Why look at the past ?
“(Today) Terrorists and religious fundamentalists have become much more commercially organised in the business of large scale destruction and killing. We have many many Khiljis and their networks operationg all over the World now.”
Though the thought was very pertinent, I found in it a tiresomeness about our history, those events in our past that “dead and gone.”
I believe looking at the past, as it was, is to look at the truth – our own truth.
Proliferation of terrorists and fundamentalists today is, to a great extent, a consequence of us, and the world, having satisfied ourselves with little understanding of our historical truths. As a result, we are without crucial information to orient and strategise our collective steps through a complicated present, and to create a preferred future for ourselves.
We have even gone about laying a thick layer of fake and fabricated narrative over the facts in our past … a monumental error that keeps us, as a people and as a nation, in the darkness of mere emotional ding-dongs, without the clarity of evidence and data backed knowledge of how we are placed in the present, and why.
That leaves us with little idea of our real strengths, weaknesses and threats, with an entirely dissipated orientation to opportunities and diffused attention to what could have been certain steps to our desired future.
The word to us – in India – reads thus :
My countrymen, the reason we are very poor at identifying our national projects and strategies rests in great measure to our inability to look squarely into the face of our historical truths ?
I may assure you that if we had been good at driving ourselves with a sense of purpose and direction, our land would have been largely free of these puny but bloated identities – liguistic, regional and religious – we carry to war amongst ourselves …
I do not know what fate the 2014 elections will usher. In my own hope however, it is certain that the reins of the country’s administration pass into your hands. Hence in addressing this letter to you, I write to the future Prime Minister of India.
All that is wrong in this country today is well known : people are desperate, frustrated, unhappy and are without any inspiration or hope of an improved life. A perverse reversal of behavior pervades the nation everywhere : national interest, public welfare and the intent of alleviating the wretched lot of the people is singularly absent; mutual goodwill and respect among citizens has largely evaporated. Devotion to duty is a matter of the past.
The condition of people connected with land is deplorable; men are without work and have little opportunity to earn an honest livelihood, women find it extremely difficult to keep the family together. Alcohol is cheap, corrupt schemes to handout doles abound, yet managing food, education, health needs is impossible for most. Some workcan be had in the city, but life is hell … people are treated like dogs, without a helpful hand or considerate terms, in dirtiest of cubby-holes. Not much is left after fending off the land sharks, children’s education is often an impossible dream, the water is usually not potable enough, sanitation is lacking, and ailments are treated by dangerous quacks.
This describes the lot of sixty per cent of our country’s population. The next thirty per cent are a little better and in somewhat improved situation. But rarely is anyone in a position to help the needy; most cannot and the few who can have their conscience turned upon their selves.
Socially, we are a divided people, accentuated by the politics about us over past some decades. Justice is too formal, costly and captive to well-oiled speech, legal brokers and money in our pocket. The populace suffers from inferior life-views and values system of mind-catchers with alien religious texts and wads of charity; the insensitivity of people with any status to speak of only reopens their wounds. Each on his mustache, while others sleep with their misery.
These are not conditions that foster hope and pride. Far astrayed from the Sanatan way of this land, selfishness rules and meanness pays, corrupt ways are rewarded, our young girls humiliated and women dishonoured. There is contempt for nature and its bounty is routinely degraded; widespread environmental damage is reduced to departmental sagacity; contaminated water bodies have stopped being the collosal loss they signify … all under the very noses of people charged with responsibility. In such a disappointing dispensation and dysfunctional system, what else could be expected ? Brazen murders, rape, theft, robbery, chaos and disorder, waste, inaction, loss ? Cost overuns by 10,000 % have been heard of but mean nothing to men who matter; inflation is just a number game; and corruption of our most sacrosanct of offices is passed off as characterstic of the times.
I believe that solutions package for the problems cited above is also well known. Yes, our financial market and institutions must be equipped to differentiate between honest savings and dishonest wealth, capital for the eddies and that with nationalist intent. Our country’s interest would not be served by chugging along with US policy and falling in line with its laws. Quits as, a compilation of our nation’s history will never be effected by scholars of the West or historians closed to our literary records.
Sir, this country needs a powerful center and our citizens’ interests will be served by decentralised governance. But, in today’s context, how will it happen without you aspiring single-mindedly for that one position, from where the urgently desired changes can caused to flow ?
For us, the nation, and alternate order the world is waiting for.
मैं नही जानता २०१४ के चुनाव इस देश की किस्मत में क्या लायेंगे। किन्तु स्वयं अपनी आशा – अभिलाषा में यह तय है की देश के प्रशाशन की बागडोर आपके हाथ में हो। अतः यह पत्र मैं आपको, भारत के भावी प्रधान मंत्री को, लिख रहा हूँ ।
इस देश और आम जनता की स्थिति सर्वविदित है। लोग हताश हैं, निराश हैं, दुखी और मानहीन हैं। एक अजीब विपरीत व्यवहार सर्वत्र व्याप्त है : देशहित, लोक कल्याण, पारस्परिक सौहाद्र और जनता की कठिनाई का निवारण किसी की निगाह मैं नहीं है। कर्तव्य परायणता तो बीते समय की बात है। वह परिवार जो भूमि से जुड़े हैं, उनकी अवस्था शोचनीय है; पुरुष के लिए काम व आमदनी का साधन नहीं, स्त्रियों को परिवार को बांधे रखने का रास्ता नही। शराब सस्ती है, भोजन दुर्लभ। शहर में काम की कुछ संभावना है, लेकिन जीवन नरक है … जैसे लोग न हों, निम्न प्राणी हों — रहने की व्यवस्था नहीं, खर्च इतना की किराया के बाद कुछ बचता नहीं, बच्चों की पढाई प्रायः असम्भव है, पीने को स्वच्छ जल नहीं, डाक्टर और इलाज का व्यय तो दूर की बात है।
ये हालात देश के साठ फीसदी लोगों का है। तीस फीसदी थोड़े बेहतर और थोडे ज्यादा बेहतर स्थिति में हैं। लेकिनशायद ही कोई जरूरतमंद की मदद करने की अवस्था में हो; कुछ जो हैं, उनकी जमीर ही मुड चुकी है। इस त्रस्त जीवन समुद्र में बाकी के दस फीसदी लोगों की एक अलग दुनिया है … द्वीप प्राय, कटे हुए, सत्ता और सत्ता की राजनीती से जुड़े लोग जो अपने ही धन और सत्ता के विस्तार में व्यस्त हैं।
इधर सामाजिक – न्यायिक – राजनैतिक व्यवस्था ऐसी की बंटी – बांटी, हीन विचारों से आघातित, संवेदनहीनता से प्रताड़ित … अपनी–अपनी मूछें, अपना अपना दुख। सनातन पथ से कोसों दूर ! स्वार्थ, अधर्म, कन्याओं का अपमान, प्रकृति की अवमानना, वनों की कटाई, दूषित जल निधियां … शाशनस्थ लोगों के नाक के नीचे। ऐसी व्यवस्था में निराशा, निर्लज्जता, चोरी, लूट और अकर्मण्यता न हो तो कैसे ? निम्न धर्म, दूषित संस्कार और ओछे विचार उसी के अनुरूप व्यवस्था को जन्म देंगे । इन्फ्लेशन मात्र एक संख्या बन रह जाएगी, करप्शन केवल समय का गर्भित संकेत।
मेरी समझ में कोई ऐसा हल नहीं है जो सर्वविदित न हो। हाँ, Financial Market और संस्थाओं को ईमान की पूँजी और बेइमान के धन में फर्क करने के “संस्कार” तो होने ही चहिये। हमारे देश का हित अमेरिका की नीति व कानून से नहीं होगा। न ही हमारे राष्ट्र के इतिहास का सही आंकलन पश्चिम के विद्वान कर पायेंगे।
एक परिष्कृत व शक्तिशाली केंद्र हमारे देश की आवश्यकता है और शासन का विकेंद्रीकरण हम नागरिकों की जरूरत। किन्तु, आज के सन्दर्भ में, यह पूरी तो तब होगी जब आप शीर्षस्थ पद पर आसीन होने का ध्यानस्थ प्रयास करेंगे :
The task of synthesising convergence of several propositions to visualise the sum event spread out on space and time is more challenging than what most modern historians have so far been capable of. I have been adapting the studies and conclusions of exceptional minds on this blog, for the love of truth.
The series continues …
The Mahabharata is an encyclopaedia of early Indian culture and history, including the Sindhu-Sarasvati (SS) tradition. For example, the Mahabharata and the Puranas call Visnu and Siva by the name Ekasrnga, the “onehorned one,” or the unicorn, which is one of the most striking images from the mature phase of the SS Tradition. The Santi-Parva (chapter 343) of the Mahabharata speaks of the one-tusked boar (Varaha) who saves the earth as Visnu’s incarnation. Here Varaha is described as being triple-humped, a figure that we see in the Harappan iconography.
There is other continuity of motif and style between the SS Tradition and the classical Indian culture. Geologists tell us that the river Sutudri braided into several channels after its course changed from being a tributary of the Sarasvati to that of the Sindhu. The Epic remembers this in the legend that sage Vasistha wanted to kill himself by jumping into the Haimavati, but the river saved him by breaking up into a hundred shallow channels, hence its ancient name Satadru (Caitraratha Parva, chapter 179). This is example of an event in the Epic that occurred in the 4th or the 3rd millennium BC.
The change in the focus of the civilization from the Sarasvati river to the Ganga is not only implicit in the Puranic story of the descent of Ganga but also in the statement in the Mahabharata (Vana Parva, chapter 85) that in the Treta Puskara was the holiest tirtha, in Dvapara it was Kurukshetra, and in the Kaliyuga it is Prayaga.
The Mahabharata telescopes early genealogical history. The Puranic king-lists provide useful clues to the sequence of events. Some of the main events are: Generation 45, Bhagiratha, Ganga changes course; Generation 65, Rama Dasarathi, Dvapara begins; Generation 94, Mahabharata War. Given that the Mahabharata War took place several centuries before the Buddha, it is clear that even if we allocate only 20 years to each generation, the Puranic king-lists reach back into the early phases of the SS Tradition. The astronomical references in the Vedic texts reach back to the 4th and 5th millennia BC.
The Mahabharata, in turn, describes events that belong to the earliest layers of the Vedic lore. For example, there is much material in the Adi Parva on Yayati, one of the first kings in the Puranic lists. There is also description of the westward emigration of Aryan tribes through the device of Yayati expelling his sons. Such emigration stories are part of the Rgvedic narrative.
The Greek historians inform us that the Indians during the time of the Mauryas remembered more than 150 generations of kings spanning over 6,000 years. (We assume that these lists remember the prominent kings only.) The earliest calendar in India was centennial, with a cycle of 2,700 years. Called the Saptarsi calendar, it is still in use in several parts of India. Its current beginning is taken to be 3076 BC. Notices by the Greek historians Pliny and Arrian suggest that, during the Mauryan times, the calendar used in India began in 6676 BC. It is very likely that this was the Saptarsi calendar with a beginning of 6676 BC.
The SS Tradition has been traced to about 7000 or 8000 BC in Mehrgarh in northwest India. It is seen to have evolved in four distinct stages as follows :
1. Early Agriculture Economy Era 8000 BC – 5500 BC ; Mehrgarh, Period I ; Aceramic, Neolithic
2. Regional Growth Era 5500 BC – 2600 BC
Mehrgarh, Period II, 5500 – 4800 BC
Mehrgarh, Period III, 4800 – 3500 BC
Harappa, Period I, 3500 –2800 BC
Harappa, Period II, 2800 – 2600 BC
3. Integration Era 2600 BC – 1900 BC
Harappan Period, 3C, Final, 2200 – 1900 BC
4. Localization Era 1900 BC – 1300 BC
Late Harappan Phase, 1900 – 1300 BC
Harappa, Periods 4 and 5, 1900 – 1700 BC
Beginnings of the Ganga Phase, upto 1300 BC
The Early Agriculture Economy Era (ca. 8000-5500 BC) witnessed the beginnings and maturation of the early agriculture economy. In the Regional Growth Era, (5500-2600 BC) we see regional styles and different phases of evolution. Although uniformity begins to emerge in 2800 BC (or a couple of centuries earlier), the Harappan state with numerous cities and towns emerges in the Integration Era (2600-1900 BC). The uniformity is seen in the writing, system of weights and styles of pottery. The uniformity across a very wide area emphasizes social classes and considerable trade.
In the Localization Era (1900-1300 BC) we witness unbroken continuity in several cultural expressions but we don’t see writing and the use of standardized weights. Evidently, this was a consequence of a breakdown of long distance trade. By the end of this Era, a new integration is seen in a geographical area across the entire north Indian plains.
If one juxtaposes these phases with the events of the Mahabharata Epic, it appears that at the end of the War the region changed from a period of several isolated, independent kingdoms to that of a larger state. The unification created at the end might have provided the climate in which epic poetry was patronized by the king. This idea supports the view that the growth of the Epic from its original form took place during the transition to the Integration Era or perhaps at the end of the Localization Era.
The Date of the Mahabharata
Let’s consider the epoch for the Mahabharata War. By popular tradition, the Kali Age started with the death of Krishna, 35 years after the War. The Kali calendar has a beginning of 3102 BC, therefore it is thought that the Mahabharata War took place in 3137 BC. The Kali age is supposed to have begun with a grand planetary conjunction. The first mention of the Kali calendar is by the astronomer Aryabhata in his treatise on astronomy with an internal date of 500 AD. The earliest epigraphical reference is in the 5th Century inscription of King Devasena where it is alluded to indirectly, and in the Aihole inscription of 3735 Kali (634 AD). Because of these late references, some scholars have suggested that the Kali calendar was started at a late period with an assumed conjunction at the beginning of the era for convenience of calculations, and, therefore, the Aihole inscription cannot be taken as proof of the date of the War.
Modern studies using powerful software that can reconstruct the ancient skies indicates that there was actually an approximate conjunction of the planets on Feb 17, 3102 BC as taken by Aryabhata. This may only be a coincidence. Even if the Kali calendar is as old as its starting date, its connections with the Mahabharata War do not appear to be equally ancient. There are also other traditions related to the War. Some of them are old, some new. The most prominent competing theories may be gathered into the following four classes :
1. The date of around 1000 BC. This is the date popularized by Western Indologists as being most “reasonable” based on archaeological data. Repeated in numerous school texts, it has achieved a certain kind of canonicity. This date was first proposed within the framework of the Aryan invasion theory. Although that theory has been discredited, this date has taken independent life of its own.
2. The date of 1924 BC. Based on Puranic genealogies that see a gap of 1000 years or so between the War and the rule of the Nandas (424 BC) we get the date of 1424 BC. But Pargiter, while editing these accounts from the various Puranas, suggested that the original number was 1,500 which was wrongly copied in various texts as 1000, 1015, or 1050. Accepting the arguments, therefore, we consider the Puranic tradition to support the date of 1924 BC. Furthermore, the date of 1424 BC sits in the middle of an obscure period, and it is hard to see how the events of that age would not have left markers in the archaeological record.
3. The date of 2449 BC. This is based on a statement by Varahamihira in 505 AD in chapter 13 of the Brihat Samhita, where it is claimed that the commencement of the Saka era took place 2,526 years after the rule of the king Yudhisthira. If the Saka era meant here is the Salivahana era (78 AD), then the date follows. Some scholars have suggested that this Saka era refers to the one started by an earlier Saka king in Central Asia and that this date is not at variance with the Kali date of Aryabhata.
4. The date of 3137 BC. The traditional value, mentioned by Aryabhata and in the Aihole inscription of 634 AD.
Let us examine these three different dates while considering the evidence from the Mahabharata, the Puranas, archaeology and astronomy.
The Mahabharata Epic and Archaeology
Is the Mahabharata epic — the text of 100,000 verses — which is a source for the events of the War to be taken as history? The epic itself claims to have been originally just 8,800 verses composed by Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa and called the Jaya. Later, it became 24,000 verses, called the Bharata, when it was recited by Vaisampayana. Finally, it was recited as the 100,000 versed epic (the Mahabharata) by Ugrasravas, the son of Lomaharsana.
Thus the tradition acknowledges that the Mahabharata grew in stages. The core of the story is very ancient and there is astronomical evidence in it related to the Asvamedha rite that indicates a period before the 3rd millennium BC. The details of the final version may very well include episodes that are poetic exaggerations or imagined material. We see such poetic imagination at work by comparing the Ramayanas of Valmiki and Tulasidas. We may also compare the story of Radha, who does not appear in the Mahabharata or the Bhagavata Purana, who has become a part of the Krsna legend due to later texts.
Many of the characters of the Mahabharata are mentioned in the Vedic texts that, on account of being considered sacred, have not suffered interpolations and should thus represent historical persons. Krsna, for example, is mentioned in the Chandogya Upanisad. Other names occurring elsewhere include Vicitravirya, Santanu, Dhrtarastra, Janamejaya, and Pariksit.
Due to its expansion over several centuries, the Epic includes late material. This means that dating the events of the Epic based on archaeological finds could be misleading. Some scholars have correlated the painted grey ware (PGW) pottery of the period of 1100-900 BC found in Hastinapur (modern Hathipur) to the Kauravas. But there is no basis for such correlation. The Kurukshetra site itself has structures that go back to about 3000 BC.
Panini’s grammar (c. 400 BC) knows the Mahabharata. In the sutra 6.2.38, it mentions both the Bharata and the Mahabharata. Also, the Epic, in its long descriptions of the religions of the day, describes the Vedic, Sankhya, Yoga, Pasupata, and the Bhagavata traditions. There is no mention of Buddhism, so we can be certain that it was substantially complete prior to 400 or 500 BC. The language of the Epic does not always follow Paninian constructions which also indicates that it is prior to 500 BC.
Even the political life described in the Mahabharata does not correspond to the imperial ages of 400 BC – 400 AD that has sometimes been assigned to it in the West. Cattle raids occur prominently in it, not imperial conquest. There is no reference to the Sisunaga kings, the Nandas, the Mauryas, or the Sungas. On the other hand, the Buddhist Jatakas, that were written during the times of these dynasties, are aware of the characters of the Epic. One Jataka, for example, speaks disparagingly of Draupadi for having four husbands.
Dion Chrysostom, Greek Sophist (40-105 AD) mentions that the Indians possess an Iliad of 100,000 verses. Together with its appendix, the Harivamsa, the Epic does add up to this total.
Recent archaeological discoveries indicate that the Sarasvati river dried up around 1900 BC, leading to the collapse of the Harappan civilization that was principally located in the Sarasvati region (accounting for about 70 percent of all the Harappan sites). The Rigveda celebrates the Sarasvati as the greatest river of its day, going from the mountains to the sea (giribhya asamudrat in RV 7.95.2).
There are two schools of thought related to the drying up of the Sarasvati river. According to the first one, the Sarasvati ceased to be a seagoing river about 3000 BC, explaining why the 3rd millennium settlements on the banks of the Sarasvati river end in the Bahawalpur region of the Punjab and do not reach the sea; there was a further shrinking of the river in about 1900 BC due to an earthquake that made its two principal tributaries to be captured by the Sindhu and the Ganga river systems. According to the second view, the Sarasvati flowed to the sea until 1900 BC when it dried up. The first view explains the geographical situation related to the Harappan sites more convincingly.
Given the understanding of the drying up of Sarasvati, with its preeminent status during the Rigvedic times, it follows that the Rigvedic hymns are generally anterior to 1900 BC. If one accepts the theory that the Sarasvati stopped reaching the sea in 3000 BC, then the Rigvedic hymns are prior to 3000 BC. If the tradition that Vyasa was the arranger of the Vedas is correct, the latter explanation would mean that the Mahabharata War could indeed have occurred in 3137 BC.
The Puranic Tradition
The Puranic lists come down to the 4th or the 5th century AD and they are quite accurate in their details for the post-Mauryan period for which independent inscriptional evidence is available. One would expect that they would be accurate for the period prior to the Mauryas also. The regnal years are given in the Puranas only for the post-War kings.
The king-list for Magadha has the following dynasties in the post-Bharata War period :
1. Brhadrathas (32 kings) 967 yeats
2. Pradyotas of Avanti (5 kings) 173 years
3. Sisunagas (10 kings) 360 years
4. Nandas (Mahapadma + sons) 100 years
5. Mauryas (9 kings) 137 years
6. Sungas (10 kings) 112 years
7. Kanvas (4 kings) 45 years
8. Andhras (30 kings) 460 years
One may question the reliability of the earlier parts of this list since the average span of reign for the pre-Nanda kings is more than twice as much for the post-Nanda ones. The explanation appears to be that it was during the imperial Maurya age that comprehensive king-lists were made and, consequently, only the better-known names of the earlier period were included. The centennial counting system, named after the naksatras, made certain that the count of the dynastic totals was accurate. The length of the Brhadratha dynasty may also be questioned. But, it may represent the cumulative sum of several early dynasties.
During the pre-Nanda period, the lists also provide for 24 Aiksavakus, 27 Pancalas, 24 kings of Kasi, 28 Haihayas, 32 Kalingas, 25 Asmakas, 36 Kurus, 28 Maithilas, and 23 Surasenas.
We know that Candragupta Maurya started his reign in 324 BC. Therefore, if we were to accept these periods, the dynastic eras for the post-Bharata age will be :
1. Brhadrathas 1924-957 BC
2. Pradyotas 957-784 BC
3. Shishunagas 784-424 BC
4. Nandas 424-324 BC
5. Mauryas 324-187 BC and so on.
It is most significant that the Puranic king-lists imply 1924 BC as the epoch of the Mahabharata War. Since this epoch is virtually identical to the rough date of 1900 BC for the catastrophic drying up of the Sarasvati river, it suggests that the two might be linked if they are not the same. The disruption due to the earthquake may have been a contributing factor to the Mahabharata War, or the War could have served as a metaphor for the geological catastrophe.
Around 500 CE, a major review of the Indian calendar was attempted. The astronomers Aryabhata, Varahamihira and others used the naksatra references that the Saptarsi were in Magha at the time of the Mahabharata war to determine its epoch. Aryabhata declared the war to have occurred in 3137 BC, and Varahamihira assigned it 2449 BC. This discrepancy arose perhaps from the different assumpptions regarding the naksatras (27 or 28) in the calculations of the two astronomers.
It is likely that the fame of the Kaliyuga era with its beginning assigned to 3102 BCE prompted a change in the beginning of the Saptarshi era to about the same time, that is to 3076 BC.
The Puranic memory of the Mahabharata war having occurred in 1924 BC may represent the transference of a much earlier event to the cataclysmic event at the end of the Harappan period. The memory of the War in popular imagination may represent the conflation of two different actual events.
The date of 1000 BC or so is just not possible because it is at variance with the astronomical facts related to the period. Furthermore, it is at variance with the Puranic genealogies which, we know, are quite accurate in the post-Mauryan period and are likely to have been accurate earlier as well. Then there are various remembered lines of teachers that show up in various texts. Specifically, the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad remembers a line of 60 teachers. We don’t know how many years should be assigned to each teacher but this line could span substantially more than a thousand years. Given that this Upanishad is about 800-600 BC in the most conservative reckoning, this long list makes it impossible for the Rigvedic period to end in 1000 BC, as required by the War in that epoch.
This leaves us with the dates of 1924 BC and 3137 BC. I don’t think we have evidence at this time to pick one of these two as the more likely one. If one gives credence to the Puranic genealogies, then 1924 BC would be the time for the War; if, on the other hand, we go by the astronomical evidence related to the Vedas and the subsequent literature, then 3137 BC remains a plausible date. If the pre-Nanda Puranic lists are not accurate for the regnal periods, then the War will have occurred a few centuries later than 1924 BC.
The Indic Kings of the West
Mahabharata mentions that of the five descendents of Yayati, two became Yavanas and the Mlecchas. This seems to remember a westward emigration. This particular migration may have occurred in a very early period in the Vedic world that spanned Jambudvipa and the trans-Himalayan region of Uttara Kuru. We have a later evidence for another westward movement to the lands ranging from Babylonia to Turkey.
The Mitanni, who worshiped Vedic gods, were an Indic kingdom that had bonds of marriage across several generations with the Egyptian 18th dynasty to which Akhenaten belonged. The Mitanni were known to the Egyptians as the Naharin, connected to the river (nahar), very probably referring to the Euphrates. At its peak, the Mitanni empire stretched from Kirkuk (ancient Arrapkha) and the Zagros mountains in western Iran in the east, through Assyria to the Mediterranean sea in the west. Its center was in the region of the Khabur River, where its capital, Wassukkani (Vasukhani, “a mine of wealth”) was probably located.
The first Mitanni king was Sutarna I (good sun). He was followed by Baratarna I (Paratarna, great sun), Parasuksatra (ruler with axe), Saustatar (Sauksatra, son of Suksatra, the good ruler), Paratarna II, Artadama (Rtadhaman, abiding in cosmic law), Sutarna II, Tushratta (Dasaratha), and finally Matiwazza (Mativaja, whose wealth is thought) during whose lifetime the Mitanni state appears to have become a vassal to Assyria.
The early years of the Mitanni empire were occupied in the struggle with Egypt for control of Syria. The greatest Mitanni king was Sauksatra who reigned during the time of Tuthmose III. He was said to have looted the Assyrian palace at Ashur. Under the reign of Tuthmose IV, more friendly relations were established between the Egyptians and the Mitanni.
The daughter of King Artadama was married to Tuthmose IV, Akhenaten’s grandfather, and the daughter of Sutarna II (Gilukhipa) was married to his father, Amenhotep III, the great builder of temples who ruled during 1390-1352 BC (“khipa” of these names is the Sanskrit ksipa, night). In his old age, Amenhotep wrote to Tushratta many times wishing to marry his daughter, Tadukhipa. It appears that by the time she arrived Amenhotep III was dead. Tadukhipa was now married to the new king Akhenaten, becoming famous as the queen Kiya (short for Khipa).
The Egyptian kings had other wives as well. Akhenaten’s mother, Tiye, was the daughter of Yuya, who was a Mitanni married to a Nubian. It appears that Nefertiti was the daughter of Tiye’s brother Ay, who was to become king himself. The 18th dynasty had a liberal dose of Indic blood.
But how could an Indic kingdom be so far from India, near Egypt ? A plausible scenario is that after catastrophic earthquakes dried up the Sarasvati river around 1900 BC, many groups of Indic people started moving West. We see Kassites, a somewhat shadowy aristocracy with Indic names and worshiping Surya and the Maruts, in Western Iran about 1800 BC. They captured power in Babylon in 1600 BC, which they were to rule for over 500 years. The Mitanni ruled northern Mesopotamia (including Syria) for about 300 years, starting 1600 BC, out of their capital of Vasukhani. Their warriors were called marya, which is the proper Sanskrit term for it.
In a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni, Indic deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya (Asvins) are invoked. A text by a Mitannian named Kikkuli uses words such as 8aika (eka, one), tera ( tri, three), panza (panca, five), satta (sapta, seven), na (nava, nine), vartana (vartana}, round). Another text has babru (babhru, brown), parita (palita, grey), and pinkara (pingala, red). Their chief festival was the celebration of visuva} (solstice) very much like in India.
It is not only the kings who had Sanskrit names; a large number of other Sanskrit names have been unearthed in the records from the area. Documents and contract agreements in Syria mention a warrior caste that constituted the elite in the cities. The ownership of land appears to have been inalienable. Consequently, no documents on the selling of landed property are to be found in the great archives of Akkadian documents and letters discovered in Nuzi. The prohibition against selling landed property was dodged with the stratagem of “adopting” a willing buyer against an appropriate sum of money.
Information of the mythology of the Hurrians of the Mitanni is known from related Hittite and Ugaritic myths. The king of the gods was the weather god Teshub who had violently deposed Kumarbi paralleling the killing of Vrtra by Indra. Major sanctuaries of Teshub were located at Arrapkha (modern Kirkuk) and at Halab (modern Aleppo) in Syria. Like Indra, Teshub also had a solar aspect. In the east his consort was the goddess of love and war Shaushka (Venus), and in the west the goddess Hebat (Hepat). In addition, a considerable importance was attributed to impersonal gods such as heaven and earth as well as to deities of mountains and rivers. Temple monuments of modest dimensions have been unearthed.
The general Indic influence in the area may also be seen in the comprehensiveness of the god lists. The most “official” god list, in two Ugaritic copies and one Akkadian translation, consists of 33 items, exactly as is true of the count of Vedic gods. These gods are categorized into three classes, somewhat like the three classes of the Vedic gods, although there are difference in details.
The main Semitic gods are Yahvah and El or (Il or al-Il, as Allah) The Rgveda mentions Yahvah in 21 different hymns. Ila is the deity for the Rgvedic Apri hymns and it represents Agni in Yajurveda (VS) 2.3, whereas Ilaa represents Earth, speech, and flow.
The Vedic Yahvah is, as an epithet, associated with movement, activity, heaven and earth; it means the sacrificer and Agni, the chief terrestrial god. It is associated with energy like the Yahvah of the Semites. It may be compared to Shivah, an epithet for auspiciousness in the Rigveda, that later is applied regularly to Rudra. It is plausible that the Vedic Ila and Yahvah were adopted by the Semites through the mediating agency of the Mitanni.
Greek accounts tell us that the Ugaritic believed in a cosmic egg out of which the earth emerged which is reminiscent of brahmanda of the Vedic view.How do we know that the Mitanni were Indic and not Iranian? There are several reasons, but to be brief, we shall only give three :
1. the deities Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Nasatya are Indian deities and not Iranian ones, because in Iran Varuna is unknown and Indra and Nasatya appear as demons;
2. the name Vasukhani makes sense in Sanskrit as a “mine of wealth” whereas in Iranian it means “good mine” which is much less likely;
3. satta, or sapta, for seven, rather than the Iranian word hapta, where the initial `s’ has been changed to `h’.
Why could not the Mitanni be the descendents of a pre-Vedic people as in the Gimbutas model of the spread of the Indo-Iranian people from the Kurgan culture of the steppes of Central Asia ? They would then have had no particular affinity for Indic deities. If the pre-Vedic people in Central Asia already had Indin deities, how would these small bands of people impose their culture and language over what was perhaps the most densely
populated region of the ancient world.
Furthermore, that view does not square with our knowledge of the astronomical tradition within India. The Vedic Samhitas have very early astronomical and its geography is squarely within India. The Vedanga Jyotisa, a late Vedic text, already belongs to the middle of the second millennium BC. The earlier texts remember events within the Indic geographical area going back to the third and the fourth millennia BC. The theory of a proto-Indo-Aryan people in Iran from whom the Aryans of India descended in the second millennium BC does not work for the same reasons.
The idea of invasion or large-scale immigration of outsiders into India displacing the original population in the middle of the second millennium BC has been rejected since it is not in accord with archaeological facts, skeletal records, and the continuity of the cultural tradition.
The Indian textual tradition also does not permit us to accept the Gimbutas model because of the length of time required for the rise of the voluminous Indian literature. Over fifty years ago, Roger T. O’Callaghan and W.F. Albright published in Analecta Orientalia of Rome a list of 81 names (13 from the Mitanni, 23 from the Nuzi, and 45 from the Syrian documents) with Indic etymologies. Out of this list, Dumont has provided the etymology of 45 names.
Analyzing the names, Dumont concludes that the names are clearly Indic and not Iranian. The initial s is maintained and the group s’v is represented by the similar sounding sw and not the Avestan aspo. Also, most of the names are bahuvrihi or tatpurusa compounds.
Considering the language, it is clearly an Indic dialect because the initial v is replaced by b, while medial v becomes the semivowel w. Like Middle Indic (Prakrit) dialects, the medial pt transforms into tt, as in sapta becoming satta. Dumont stresses its relationship to Sanskrit in the characteristic patronymic names with the vrddhi-strengthening of the first syllable, like in Saumati (the son of Sumati) or Sausapti (the son of Susapti). The worship of the Vedic gods like Indra, Vayu, Svar, Soma, Rta, Vasus has already been noted.
The fact the the Mitanni names suggest a Middle Indic dialect is supportive of the thesis that the emigration of the various groups from India took place after the early Vedic period had come to an end. Our argument actually goes beyond the presence of people in West Asia whose languages were Indic, as was the case with the Mitanni. There is evidence that Indic religion and culture had adherents even outside of groups with Indic speech.
The Avesta speaks of the struggle between the worshipers of Ahura Mazda and the daevas. Zarathustra nowhere names the daevas and it is only in the later texts that Indra and the Nasatyas are so labeled. Many of the Vedic devas (such as Mitra, Bhaga, Agni, Vayu, and Indra as Vrtraghna) continue to be counted amongst the good ahuras. It appears that the triple division of deva/asura/raksasa corresponding to sattva/rajas/tamas was divided into the dichotomy deva versus asura/raksasa in India and that of deva/asura versus daeva (raksasa) in Iran. The term daeva as synonym with raksasa and distinct from deva survives in Kashmir.
The ahura-daeva opposition in the Zoroastrian texts is expressed as one between the Mazdayasnas and the Daevayasnas. It is a conflict in which Zoroaster wished to defeat and convert the worshipers of the daeva religion. The Yasts speak of legendary heroes and kings who participated in this struggle. The wars against the Daevayasnas by Vistaspa (Yt. 5.109, 113; 9.30-31), Jamaspa (Yt. 5.68-70), and Vistaru of the Naotara family (Yt. 5.76-77) represent this ongoing conflict in the historical period.
In Vendidad, the Zoroastrians are encouraged to take possession of the lands, waters, and harvests of the daeva worshipers (Vd. 19.26). Elsewhere (Vd. 7.36-40), it is recommended that the art of medicine should be first tried on the daeva-worshipers and if they survive then it should be attempted on the Mazdayasnians.
Although the Zoroastrian heresy triumphed in Iran and the great Persian kings of the middle of first millennium BC followed the religion of Ahura Mazda, the daeva worshipers survived, especially in the West, in the Mesopotamian religion.
The devas as well as daevas survived for a pretty long time in corners of Iran. The evidence of the survival of the devas comes from the daiva- inscription of Xerxes (ruled 486-465 BC). The revolt by the daeva worshipers in West Iran is directly referred to :
Proclaims Xerxes the King : When I became king, there is among these countries one which was in rebellion. Afterwards Ahuramazda bore me aid. By the favor of Ahuramazda I smote that country and put it down in its place.
And among these countries there was a place where previously daiva were worshiped. Afterwards, by the favor of Ahuramazda I destroyed that sanctuary of daiva, and I made proclamation: ‘The daiva shall not be worshiped!’ Where previously the daiva were worshiped, there I worshiped Ahuramazda at the proper time and in the proper manner. And there was other business that had been done ill. That I made good. That which I did, all did by the favor of Ahuramazda. Ahuramazda bore me aid until I completed the work.
The analysis of early Persian history has shown that the Mazandaran, the region south of the Caspian sea and the Alburz mountain range, remained for long a centre of daeva worship. There were also the successors to the deva worshipers of the Mitanni kingdom.
It has been suggested that the Xerxes inscription refers to the suppression of these people. Burrow takes the daeva worshiping people to be proto-Indoaryans and sees them as the remnants of a population that stretched from West Asia to India. The Iranians coming down from the northeast drove a wedge between this belt, leading to the eventual assimilation of the western daeva worshipers in the course of centuries.
Irrespective of what the original movement of the Indo-Aryans was before the fourth or fifth millennium BC, it is clear that since their Indian branch recognizes the geography of only their region, it is either necessary to push back the proto-Indoaryan phase to the fourth or the fifth millennium BC or to postulate their movement out of India as is suggested in the Puranas.
The material from the Mahabharata and the Puranas provides us many tangled hints. Given the extensive nature of the king-lists and the teacher-lists it is impossible that the origin of the Mahabharata-Purana tradition could be brought down to the beginning of the second millennium BC as espoused by the proponents of the theories of Aryan invasion and migration. The Mahabharata War occurs at the 94th generation in these lists, and even if one were to assign just 20 years for each generation and assume that the lists were exhaustive, one would have to account for nearly 2,000 years before the War which, even in the most conservative dating for the War, takes us square into the beginnings of the Integration Era of the SS Tradition.
The Epic and Puranic evidence on the geographical situation supports the notion of the shifting of the centre of the Vedic world from the Sarasvati to the Ganga region in early second millennium BC. O.P. Bharadwaj’s excellent study of the Vedic Sarasvati using textual evidence12 supports the theory that the Rgveda is to be dated about 3000 BC and the Mahabharata War must have occurred about that time.
The Mahabharata clearly belongs to a heroic age, prior to the rise of the complexity of urban life. The weapons used are mythical or clubs. The narrative of chariots could be a later gloss added in the first millennium BC. The pre-urban core events of the Epic would fit the 3137 BC date much better than the 1924 BC. But this would suggest that the Puranic tradition at a later time conflated earlier events with the destructive earthquakes of 1924 BC and remembered the later event accurately using the centennial Saptarsi calendar.
The Indic kings of West Asia are descendents of Vedic people who moved West after the catastrophe of 1924 BC.
Quote : “… a for-profit enterprise lives and breaths profit…its their oxygen… again its not the objective of a for-profit private enterprise to save the world or help the poor…”
Precisely, my point. It describes their world succinctly.
On the other hand, our world and our people
have nothing to do with it; we are not served
in the least by a capitalist’s profit.
We are served by enterprise, inventions,
innovations … not by private profits.
And “for-profit” capitalists are far from being
the only agents for change or at shooting
a new trail for us to take : Marx, Gandhi,
Luther King and Mandela were not.
Dr Norman Borlaug too was not one,
nor were the Curies.
In fact, the capitalist (and their profit) is redundant to our world and the people : it matters little whether they are there or not. They do employ people but most of it is exploitative; it yields money but leaves our people more physically sick, mentally choked and spiritually unhappy than they otherwise would have been.
Haven’t we heard of NikolaTesla ? Nobody has served the world and our people more than his inventions and
innovations in modern times.
And he did not give a damn to profits or creating wealth
You may read up Edison’s bio, for the contrast.
Similar is the story of the inventor of polio vaccine…
* * *
You say, you are shocked …
Well, it’s good if you are shocked into a glimpse of alternate reality — humanism, for us commoners amounting to 6 billion odd !
Rather than us not getting it, you seem pretty much history-blind and perspective-dumb. Let me explain :
1) Profit is not a bad word for me … it’s a necessity but not connected to the megalomania of the “capitalist.” It’s a business or organisation need, to pay for the cost of funding and operation partnerships, and to remain in business in future. That’s about it; nothing more … and surely not all that wealth accumulation romance that is driving more and aspirants crazy.
2) I don’t see why foregoing his royalty on intellectuall property from the least and less developed eonomies isn’t a much better, more efficient and direct proposition for Bill Gates than depriving them of its free use, collecting the royalty on a shrunk base, piling (hoarding) it up, and then issuing it in accord with his will and fancy as charity !
By foregoing his steep fees in perpetuity, the economies will be able to afford early tech-empowerment and surge faster into managing themselves better, usher in transparent governance and, in addition, enabling its people with all manner of direct and indirect spin-off products and services.
As for Gates, he’ll still be richer than 99.9% of earth’s population with returns from North America, Europe, Far East and sundry other economies with the ability to pay.
3) A compelling reason for foregoing tall piles of concentrated wealth in few hands is that it makes them unduly powerful, with their capacity to influence and make governments in accord with their wishes, and not for what govts are supposed to do — taking care of their land, resources and their people. These render democracies with oligarchical character, or to being subverted into the same plutocracy the world has overtly emerged out of.
That vulgar display of earthquake-proof Antila Mansion by Mukesh Ambani – 27 storeys for 5 people, is a case in point.
Did you notice how our Parliament and Legislatures have already been cast in their very image – 70% odd are crorepatis !
No, Parag, I will accept that it takes all kinds to make up this world, and the capitalist too has a place in it. But he isn’t someone who is aligned with what this world and its people need.
However, I wouldn’t want them to go extinct. But that’s only on account of my love for diversity !
Of Religion, Enlightenment and Liberation (Moksha) …
” It’s great to be born into religion but terrible to die in one.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
Religion has connotations :
To the historically aware in the West, it is dogmatic …
and has led to cramping of man’s urge for freedom, Inquisition, Crusades,
social hold to power by the clergy, priviledged heirarchy
of self-proclaimed God representativess … That’s a lot of history to beware of !
In India, on the #Sanatan way, religion has aimed for liberation, of absolute kind …
to freeing the individual of all books, limiting religious practices,
and every other hold on man’s spiritual expansion.
It’s all that man needs for his spiritual, mental and physical well-being !
Hence, “secularism” has a meaning in the Western context,
and our West inspired members of Constituent Assembly included it our constitution.
Indian courts of law have consistently deemed Hinduism to be non-religious, to being a way of life.
The word “secularism” has hence no meaning, no context in the #Sanatan way.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures (forms) of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl Jung
Secular enlightenment sets the human being up with knowledge,
intellectual insight – with humanity and humanism.
Spiritual enlightenment is the next level,
where the entire life and the whole existence is embraced.
Liberation, the summum bonum, is quite quite another …
– where the discrimination between mtl form and ego being is absolute and permanent.
– where the discrimination between mental form and witness being is absolute and permanent.
– where discrimination between spiritual form and pure consciousness is absolute and permanent.
* * *
I’m back to challenge this namby-pamby-ness … (in the Buddhist way of constant prayer to save oneself from the rough impacts of life on our being, cycles of peace and discontentment, agitation and calm, etc.)
One, the mind is agitated not only because of discontentment. Sometimes, life throws up a situation when we have fight for what seems just, or an event is rolling in to harm all that is dear to us … but this love for fake peace will forever throw us into a paralysis, when the need of the hour is that we deliberately allow power to flow into the mind and vitality, and wield it.
Two, even in the case of discontentment, when the mind is agitated, it is good … for that is how it will exhast itself. We only need to be awake while it happens. That capacity to remain wakeful is important, not a constant call for some imagined calm.
Life is … face it with strength, embrace it with love. Come what agitation, we must remain awake to make deliberate choices, love even the enemy we are fighting against, and live through the experience mindfully as it happens.
With that strength and capacity to discriminate, love and struggle, perhaps, life itself will sue for peace that we will gratefully accept with honour, while putting aside our guard and allowing relief to take over. One day … life itself will open the way to peace and contentment — in reality, not just in our wailing imagination.
That is the Sanatan way … as distinct from the Buddhist one.
Bhagwad Gita – The most sacred Hindu text propagates sexism and casteism. Texts like these led to complete neglect of women (50% of the society) and segregated a section of society belonging to a particular caste (another 20% of the society). Should this not offend us, that 70% of Indian society was neglected and ostracized because of religious texts?
My reply :
Try interpreting it from memes of those times 5000 years ago, and not from our current colonialised “garbage” …
Women – is the principle, not gender. Men can equally vested with it. Its rooted in the things material, the earth, home, belongings … Focused on adding, increasing, nuturing … Attached.Caste – As population divider, derived from its Portugese root. In Gita, the term is “jati,” which is more a person qualifier or descriptive of psyche and life interest …
Vaishya are into material production, commerce and profit-taking;
Shudras are still more coiled in lower tendencies, anchored in the body – food, sex and subsistence – unmindful of what is electable and what is not.
What are the specifics ? Has the fellow visited Gujarat ? Is he looking for perfection in a land of chaos that has seen 100s of riots of all kinds and manner ? Did this person outrage in 1984 … a progrom and genocide proper, with over 20,000 killed ? What does he have to say about scores of people locked in the train at Godhra and burned with deliberation ?
Generics and fluff … But even the imagined can build emotions and generate outrage, isn’t it ?
* * *
India can do better than Modi or Rahul
Anti – Modi outpourings in uncouched and couched terms …
My reply :
X , Y … You wish ! Talking is one thing … and articulation is of special relevance – the gab of those who’ve done little otherwise except earn their bread for their exclusive selves ! Of course, they all have an opinion about someone who has learnt to articulate because he had to, not because he wanted to. And Bongs especially … how dare someone rises above the filth we are submerged in !
To clarify, I have little hope from politicians in general. But I have no axe to grind when I see a phenomenon… which Modi is. Not all our fathers, friends and relatives are equal to it : do I therefore have to box him in ? That’s not my case.
India will arise from what it has, not from people settled in other cultures ! You have views and opinions we have no need of. Frankly, I doubt your management antecedents … especially in Indian context that you have little idea about.
I am grateful … that we have a Modi and the BJP, who might be full of faults but have that one thing that this nation needs : Continuity and the courage to disregard the “foreigner,” who’ve nothing but an ignorance to grind at our expense.
* * *
Foreigners … Why the hell should they be included in what India is. They’ll come if they find it profitable, money or otherwise. And take away, as it avails. That’s it.
In fact, that’s the bane that needs to be nicked and snuffed : Foreigners in our affairs !
* * *
He he … right wing goondas (as the Hindutva protagonist is perceived) ! How many of them have you faced or those who you know have actually experienced their doings ? If you can’t specify, it would be pointer to how imaginary are your emotions and intellectual build up on the matter.
West Bengal has just been “emancipated” from actual Left wing goondas. There are 1000s of stories ppl actually have to tell. I refer you to Basudeb Sen‘s FB TL … he wud be 75, a 60’s graduate, Harvard alumnus and an independent Director on Company boards for long.
Interestingly, did you notice Utsav Mitra’s announcement : He’ll quit his comfy IT job and join the BJP to actively participate and campaign in the run up to 2014 elections ? Then wonder why …
No, you are an Indian, and that needs no certification from anyone. But this being in the cloud, the “tower,” without any real idea of what is happening on the ground, would give you false material to start your ruminations about India, its situation, its trajectory through its present and future.
I am not holding my breath on any expectation of what would happen … who would proved right or wrong. That just isn’t my business. My call is a position I take on matters that matter to our people :
– Islamic belief system that simply manufacture sub-humans,
– Maoists that are lost in the yawning chasm between what they want and what they do,
– Left scums who only have empty heads around figuring out “Party strategies” for their people-be-damned-ideology,
– the scamming scamsters and subversives of the #Congress and its self-coiled allies …
all of these I oppose actively, as far as I can.
Finally, I do not have much expectation from politics, much less from politicians !
So, we can still be friends … My brotherhood however admits only those who have sensed the unbroken continuity that our country represents, who can smell its culture and taste its traditions, and who know that it is the only evolved way to universal love and peace in our midst !
The world capitalises on our need to be happy in a variety of ways : by the economic order in which food is available to those who either have land and money for inputs to grow and harvest or have the money to buy it in the marketplace; it keeps billions on our planet hungry and deprived, and enslaved. There are regions where water is sold by owners of fresh water bodies and clean air to breathe can be had only in costly air-conditioned areas. Governments and oligarchs big and small buy up natural resources held untill then in common and, as “property owners,” do as they please untill the environment is too polluted and is no longer self-generating, leaving the “public” more in want of fish, firewood and animals, even air and water that was earlier consumable and freely available till then.
Then, there is the ubiquitous media and “urban” advancements – food, gadgets, civic amenities, security, transport, communication, entertainment, lifestyle – that get propagated to multiply people’s needs, create where there was not, which again ropes in a much larger population that perpetually feel disatisfied, constantly aspires to enter the set graded channels and end up either enslaving, being enslaved, or becoming mediates in between.
The apparent priviledges of the masters too is less real than it seems : they might have more than they need, but the needs multiply, with real risks to their wealth and income; that it all might disappear in a jiffy or diminish alarmingly for any number of causes, leaving them rather poor. If not enslaved by bigger cats in business, there would be robbers and killers on the prowl, or taxmen and politicians who may or may not be humoured unless the stakes are met on the high. Money itself begins to enslave the masters and dangerously too, like a man astride a tiger !
Apart from material causes, rather as perceived material causes, images or impressions in memory, or imagination, trigger the same persistent emotional distress – pain, want, anger or despair, nowhere thoughts, darkness in awareness and inadequacy of being. Every craving that issues of recall and takes us over, everytime we are lost in the maze of thought or are unable to extend it to light, we suffer the same smallness of the slave, of being a mere for-other distressed robot under remote control. Occasionally, some of us meet a guide or chance on our own the ability to hold the dissatisfaction in our very hand and summon the intuitive will to take the grapple on to the next level, where our purity of being fills us with manifold more moral strength and intellectual acuity required to wring the truth out of matters in our subconscious and those thrown up by out mental ground.
Few are fortunate and sagacious enough to remove themselves from this worldly game of being in the master-slave trap, of ensnaring and entrapping others into it. But it continues blatantly for the billions in every secular and religious walk of life; yes, every ‘faith’ plays by it, more or less.
In the Sanatan way, its varnashrama society codifies the “householder” period of life during which the man is expected to fulfill two goals : acquire income and wealth and attain physical pleasures and sensuous joys. The period covers approximately 25 years, one-fourth of the total, after he has gone through the rigours of leading a celibate life and educating himself in a whole range of disciplines including dharma, which equips him with moral clarity, ethical norms, and a well-etched perspective of matters in truth and the ability to discriminate between right and wrong.
Unlike the contracted souls of bleak, colder climes in the West with fewer hands, less sunshine and deficient resources, which conditions tethered them to survival-induced barbary amongst themselves and compelled them to colonise faraway lands and its populations, the agriculturally rich energy-surplus tropical lands fostered far more expansive and embracing ways of life in the Indian subcontinent. The Sanatan way evolved with the refinement of the thread of thought from Vedic antiquity, its culmination in the Upanishad era and popularisation through the Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Puranas and, above all, the Bhagavad Gita.
Though there were codified norms laid out by various authorities for public behaviour and conduct in private, the evolution of both the community and the individual was more an integrated and inherited affair, with rules and values perspective even the unlettered were aware of. The elite and the laity grew into the Sanatan way without an elaborate enforcement bureaucracy or judicial vertical, and fell in step in accord with their nature and station. The community was responsible for the welfare of its people; and individuals for themselves, for each other and the community.
A community of people that lives responsibly must have collective institutions and agreed processes to educate and skill its people in diverse arts and sciences. It must also value truth : as God to theists and as pure knowledge to atheists. The truth is self-evident to the man unified with himself, his day and his environment, his people and his time. How the man’s being expands with thought and action issuing from the unified self, and contracts of segregagtion or alienation, also yields his moral and ethical values. The book merely records them and makes it formal.
The Sanatan way, and the Hindu country, produces scriptures and saints. Untill history began with kings and monuments, and truth was no longer evident : it only remained in debates and arguments. People were no more responsible for their karma, for living out the consequences in their awareness in order to learn, know and remember, and transcend with their awakening. Instead, men and women came to be seized by concerns of wealth and power, slave and enslave !
Karma is the thread vibrating between our immortality and now, over the seen and unseen. It spans the five sheaths of our being across the three great spaces, in our life and death and beyond through umpteen iteration of forms gross, making or unmaking the subtle untill its unity with the causal and ultimate turning away for liberation absolute. Our preoccupation with the body, with material possessions and worldly station only distracts us from the primary task here and now : of attending to the karma pulsating in the unseen. The shrink is of no help … for he only takes his norm and references from the mundane.