It’s come full circle, once again, with the US voting alongwith Russia and China to put off UN Security Council reform. India, more than any other nation, is the nation most affected by the development though, despite being a nationalist citizen, I do not write this with any sense of hope or despair. In fact, there are far too and far too many more substantial things this country of 1.25 billion needs to take care of, existential and long term.
But it’s important, more for the world or rather for the rest of what remains after we’ve crossed out the entrenched interests currently represented in the UN Security Council : US, EU, Russia and China. None of these are in the least concerned with how the interests they each respectively champion affect the rest of humanity left wide open to hunger, disease, respective economic and political challenges, religious wars, massively funded geo-political machinations, natural disasters, and local conflicts.
India is a big square peg to the nice rounded holes shaped to protect and further the historically determined positions of power entrenched US, MNC backing EU eyeing for continued colonial push by other means, Russian hunger for cold war parity and prestige despite loss of its ideological shenanigans, and China’s hegemonical thrust hither and thither about its neo-colonial predatory ambitions perfected in east Turkmenistan, Tibet, southern Mongolia and South China Sea.
How do these superpower fixations concern the rest of the world battling with legacy problems and modern world aspirations of the people ? They do not; not all the packaged information narratives driven by the first and second worlds contribute to the immediate and long term concerns of common citizens of the third world. Which is what India represents : hopes and aspirations of people who are subject to the interests of influential king and satraps enconsed on the high table in UN Security Council.
This volte face by US, Russia and ambiguously positioned China could be now understood in its current context : bringing India on-board would be terribly, uncontrollably disruptive to the status quo. The same powers were hard put countering its non-alignment non-ideology during the cold war decades, and the influence it had in keeping the rest of the world non-polarised is not forgotten !
In geo-political terms, India is a country that is hard to tame or deal with. With its power for peace and culture, pluralism and technological success, population and way of life, and empathy for every other nation and man in the street or farm, India has a ready goodwill which not anchored to mere financial, technological or military muscle. How does one counter an influence that is rooted in similarity, empathy, transparent sincerity, and visible readiness to help ? It is one country that shows up the others for what they are, that will not be neutralised because its declared national interest is tethered to the well-being of every other nation and people.
One other priority in which Russia and China are equal partners, but not for same reasons, could have also weighed heavily to start with : BRICS and SCO. India was one of four first-movers in setting up BRIC that later expanded to include South Africa. And it has accepted SCO invitation to full membership this year. It is likely that Russia and China calculate a dilution of India’s committment to BRICS and SCO goals, as instruments to usher in a new world order, after India is admitted to UNSC and begins to champion positions at the high table from within the existing order. It would then be not averse to working along with the first world nations of the West, than against it.
The US vote against UN reform only underscores the fact that it loathes the presence of an independent, unpredictable voice in the Council that happens to be of an unquestionably democratic regime representing one- sixth of humanity. The realisation that India could heed and lead the interests of the rest of the world will always give jitters to those with strictly self-serving national agenda, in what is supposed to be a world body !
India can and almost always will rise above its own. And that makes it a dangerous entity.
India’s republican politics began with social justice and managed economy, which soon degenerated into banana democracy and crony capitalism riding on corruption, red tapism and opaque governance, before it rebounded in early 1990s, consolidating through the turn of the century, worsening after 2005 and again jump- starting now in the middle of the second decade.
One marked feature in our current run is the confidence the country has shown in trusting its own particular basket of priorities, policies, institutional processes and governance structures, tuned to its very specific security, polity, energy, infra and consumption needs. It braced the transparency challenge and technologicall multipliers to appreciable effect, built grandly on democratic participation of its population, and has added flexibilities that have made for high responsiveness in real time.
Hence, today when I hear Noam Chomsky rail against the tyranny and subversions by the greedy and powerful, and for the vulnerable people, I gather that his concern is with how the situation is in the US, in particular, and wherever the US-style of capitalism has come to prevail. The crisis in Greece represents the same ‘colonialism by other means’ that US– backed IMF and Germany–led EU institutions pursue on behalf of their respective keepers and their MNC beneficiaries.
I specifically do not see the described problem relate to the ground situation in India, where the govt has rolled out a slew of food, education and health guarantee schemes for the poor, several public distribution channels operated or assured by the state, economic security, housing and small enterprise facilitation programs, etc.
The current NDA administration especially has been both people-centred and responsive in real time. And our participatory democracy couldn’t be better as of now, relatively speaking.
Which thought is sort of assuring and encouraging of the very tailored middle-way economic path India has chosen to follow, now with even greater strength and directed focus than ever before.
It spells goodness and virtuous polity when people trust their country and believe in its trajectory coming from before. The future is still unknown; but it wouldn’t be bad, we know.
The popular version of history of Medieval India was proposed by European scholars through the British Raj era and accepted by native understudies. Projected images of the medieval time period were subsequently reiterated through the Nehru years and later remained unchallenged in recommended educational texts, making the narration firm in the mind of generations of Indians.
It has been suspect before : the entire narrative had been reduced to successive foreign invasions and relative ease with which they occupied the land, subjecting a passive people to their respective authority… starting with Aryans, Iranians, Greeks, Parthians, Scythians, Kushanas, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Pathans, Mughals, Persians, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and ending with the British. The consistent impression was that India has always been a no-man’s land, which any armed bandit could come and occupy at any time; and, that Hindus have been a ‘meek people’ who have always bowed before the ‘superior’ occupying races.
For instance, Muslim clerics and scribes have led their co-religionists to believe that the conquest of India by Islam started with invasion of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 AD, resumed later by Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1000 AD, and was complete in the last decade of 12th Century with Muhammad Ghori’s victory over the Chauhans of Ajmer and over the Gahadvads of Kanauj. The sense, in particular, lends to generations of Muslims in present-day India a feeling of pride in themselves, as one belonging to the same community wedded to the same religious ideology of Islam that ‘won’ over Hindustan, over these Hindus who this day might have become their equal in democratic India post-1947, who have even excelled over them by far. That, through close to six centuries, it was they — their co-religionist emperors — who ruled over both the land and the people.
Consider how such a belief blows up in imagination, in combination with the community’s heightened sense of denial : one, the British rulers are looked upon as mere temporary intruders who cheated Islam of its Indian empire for a hundred years or so; two, the British interlude also saved them from being swamped over by Hindu domination through the Maratha resurgence years at end of 18th Century. That affinity with the British saw the Muslim League’s insistence for a separate nation in 1947; and it is the same sense Muslims continue to harbour in independent India, harangued as they are every day in every mosque and madrassa not to rest till they reestablish their sway over the land and the people… which dominant position, they are told, rightfully belongs to Islam.
In academe, the way historians have painted political events and described the Indian situation through the centuries only serves to reinforce the Muslim belief today : yes, they affirm, India was ruled by Muslim monarchs from the last decade of 12th Century to the end of the 18th. Standard textbooks narrate of Muslim imperial dynasties ruling from Delhi – the Mamluks (Slaves), Khaljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyids, Lodis, Surs, and the Mughals. In between, during periods of imperial decline, provincial Muslim dynasties fill in with seats at Srinagar, Lahore, Multan, Thatta, Ahmedabad, Mandu, Burhanpur, Daulatabad, Gulbarga, Bidar, Golconda, Bijapur, Madurai, Gaur, Jaunpur, and Lucknow.
In this version of medieval Indian history, the persistently recurring Hindu resistance to Islamic invaders, imperial as well as provincial, is made to look like a series of sporadic revolts occasioned by some minor grievances of purely local character, or led by some petty upstarts for purely personal gain. Repeated Rajput resurgence in Rajasthan, Bundelkhand and the Ganga-Yamuna Doab; renewed assertion of independence by Hindu princes at Devagiri, Warrangal, Dvarasamudra and Madurai; rise of Vijayanagara Empire; the fights offered by the Marathas; and the mighty movement of the Sikhs in Punjab – all these are then readily fitted into the framework of an enduring Muslim empire, with the Hindu heroes reduced to being ridiculous rebels who disturbed public peace at from time to time, place to place, but who were always swatted down with ease, as mosquitoes and flies !
It would take a much longer paper to establish that this version of medieval Indian history is, at its best, only an interpretation found on preconceived premises and highly selective summarisation, and even invention of facts. That, there are adequate premises to suggest an alternate interpretation based on known facts. What are the facts ? Do they establish that India was fully and finally conquered by Islam, that the Muslim empire in India was a finished fabric before the British stole it for themselves by fraudulent means ? Let us unravel a couple of instances.
01 Conquest of Sindh
Having tried a naval invasion of India through Thana, Broach, and Debal from 634 to 637 AD, the Arabs attempted the land route on the north-west during AD 650 – 711. They found the Khyber Pass blocked by Hindu princes of Kabul and Zabul, who inflicted several defeats and forced them to sign treaties of non-aggression. The Bolan pass was held by the Jats of Kikan. AI Biladuri writes in his Futûh-ul-Buldãn :
“At the end of 38 H. or the beginning of 39 H. (659 A.D.), in the Khilafat of Ali Harras, went with the sanction of the Khalif to the same frontier. He and those who were with him, saving a few, were slain in the land of Kikan in the year 42 H. (662 A.D.). In the year 44 H. (664 A.D) and in the days of Khalif Muawiya, Muhallab made war on the same frontier. The enemy opposed him and killed him and his followers. Muawiya sent Abdullah to the frontier of Hind. He fought in Kikan and captured booty. He stayed near the Khalif some time and then returned to Kikan, when the Turks (Hindus) called their forces together and slew him.
Next, the Arabs tried the third land route, via Makran. Al Biladuri continues : ‘In the reign of the same Muawiya, Chief Ziyad appointed Sinan. He proceeded to the frontier and having subdued Makran and its cities by force, he stayed there. Ziyad then appointed Rashid. He proceeded to Makran but he was slain fighting against the Meds (Hindus). Abbad, son of Ziyad, then made war on the frontier of Hind by way of Seistan. He fought the inhabitants but many Musulmans perished. Ziyad next appointed Al Manzar. Sinan had taken it but its inhabitants had been guilty of defection. He (Al Manzar) died there. When Hajjaj was governor of Iraq, Said was appointed to Makran and its frontiers. He was opposed and slain there. Hajjaj then appointed Mujja to the frontier. Mujja died in Makran after being there a year. Then Hajjaj sent Ubaidullah against Debal. Ubaidullah being killed, Hajjaj wrote to Budail, directing him to proceed to Debal. The enemy surrounded and killed him. Afterwards, Hajjaj during the Khilafat of Walid, appointed Mohammad, son of Qasim, to command at the Sindh frontier.’
That was in 712 AD.
Now compare this Arab record on the frontiers of India with their record elsewhere : within eight years of the Prophet’s death, they had conquered Persia, Syria, and Egypt; by 650 AD, they had advanced upto the Oxus and the Hindu Kush; between 640 and 709 AD, they had brought the whole of North Africa under their sway; and they had conquered Spain in 711 AD. But it took them 70 long years to secure their first foothold on the soil of India. No historian worth his salt should have the cheek to say that the Hindus have always been an easy game for invaders !
Muhammad bin Qasim succeeded in occupying some cities of Sindh. His successors led raids towards the Punjab, Rajasthan, and Saurashtra. But they were soon defeated and driven back. Arab historians admit that ‘a place of refuge to which the Muslims might flee was not to be found’. By the middle of the 8th century, they controlled only the highly garrisoned cities of Multan and Mansurah. Their plight in Multan is described by AI Kazwin in Asr-ul-Bilãd in the following words : ‘The infidels have a large temple there, and a great idol. The houses of the servants and devotees are around the temple, and there are no idol worshippers in Multan besides those who dwell in those precincts. The ruler of Multan does not abolish this idol because he takes the large offerings which are brought to it. When the Indians make an attack upon the town, the Muslims bring out the idol, and when the infidels see it about to be broken or burnt, they retire.’ So much for Islamic monotheism of the Arabs and their military might ! They, the world-conquerors, failed to accomplish anything in India except a short-lived raid.
It was some two hundred years later, in 963 AD, that Alptigin the Turk was successful in seizing Ghazni, the capital of Zabul. It was his successor Subuktigin who seized Kabul from the Hindu Shahiyas shortly before he died in 997 AD. His son, Mahmud Ghaznavi, led many expeditions into India between 1000 and 1027 AD. The details of his destructive frenzy are too well-known to be repeated. What concerns us here is the facile supposition made by historians, in general, that Mahmud was not so much interested in establishing an empire in India as in demolishing temples, plundering treasures, capturing slaves, and killing the kãfirs. This supposition does not square with his seizure of the Punjab, west of River Ravi, and the whole of Sindh. The conclusion is unavoidable : though Mahmud went far into the heartland of Hindustan and won many victories, he had to beat a hasty retreat every time in the face of Hindu counterattacks. This point is proved by the peril in which he was placed by the Jats of the Punjab during his return from Somnath in 1026 AD.
After Mahmud’s death, the same Jats and Gakkhars troubled endlessly the Muslim occupants of Sindh and the Punjab region. After 150 years, another Islamic invader planned a conquest of India : Muhammad Ghori. His first attempt towards Gujarat in 1178 AD met with disaster, at the hands of the Chaulukyas, and he barely escaped with his life. And he was carried half-dead from the battlefield of Tarain in 1191 AD. It was only in 1192 AD that he won his first victory against the Hindus, by resorting to a mean stratagem that the chivalrous Rajputs failed to see through, largely because they were inheritors of a tradition in which even wars had inviolable rules for honour and against wanton destruction.
02 The Imperial Start
Muhammad Ghori conquered the Punjab, Sindh, Delhi, and the Doab upto Kanauj. His general Qutbuddin Aibak extended the conquest to Ajmer and Ranthambhor in Rajasthan, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Mahoba and Khajuraho in Bundelkhand, and Katehar and Badaun beyond the Ganges. His raid into Gujarat was a failure in the final round, though he succeeded in sacking and plundering Anahilwar Patan. Meanwhile, Bakhtyar Khalji had conquered Bihar and Bengal north and the region west of River Hooghly. He suffered a disastrous defeat when he tried to advance into Assam.
By that time however, Muhammad Ghori was assassinated by the Gakkhars… in 1206 AD. Aibak assumed power over the former’s domain in India : Kalinjar had been reconquered by the Chandellas; Ranthambhor had renounced vassalage to Delhi; Gwalior had been reoccupied by the Pratihars; the Doab was up in arms under the Gahadvad prince Harishchandra; and the Katehar Rajputs had reasserted their independence beyond the Ganges. The Yadavbhatti Rajputs around Alwar had cut off the imperial road to Ajmer.
Aibak was not able to reconquer any of these areas before he died in 1210 AD.
03 At The End
“Let us transcend the barren Deccan and conquer central India. The Mughals have become weak, insolent, womanisers and opium-addicts. The accumulated wealth of centuries, in the vaults of north, can be ours. It is time to drive from the holy land of Bharatvarsha the outcastes and the barbarians. Let us throw them back over the Himalayas, back to where they came from. The saffron flag must fly from the Krishna to the Indus. Hindustan is ours”. Thus did Peshwa Bajirao I declared.
Reviewed as a whole, the period between the last decade of the 12th century and the first quarter of the 18th – the period which is supposed to be the period of Muslim empire in India – is nothing more than a period of long-drawn-out war between Hindu freedom fighters and the Muslim invaders. The Hindus — Rajputs, Marathas, Sikhs, Jats, and chiefs in north and south, east and west — lost many battles, retreated, but they recovered every time and resumed the struggle untill the enemy was worn out, defeated and finally dispersed.
Browsing through the history of medieval India, we find Muslim historians cite many instances of how the Hindus burnt or killed their womenfolk, and then died fighting to the last man. In several encounters, Muslim forces were decisively defeated by heroic adversaries. Mostly, Muslim expeditions were of the nature of raids, the impact of which did not last, despite their brutality and rapaciousness. The accounts we have of the period from practically all over the country — Assam, Rajasthan, Bundelkhand, Orissa, Telingana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and the Punjab — describe successive waves of resistance and recovery, the like of which do not have many parallels in human history.
In conclusion, therefore, it would be a travesty of truth to say that Islam enjoyed an empire in India for six centuries. In fact, Islam struggled for six centuries to conquer India for good but finally failed in the face of stiff and continued Hindu resistance.
Hali was not wrong when he mourned that the invincible armada of Hijaz, which had swept over so many seas and across so many mighty rivers, met its watery grave in the Ganges.
Iqbal also wrote his Shikwah in sorrowful remembrance of the same failure. In fact, there is no dearth of Muslim poets and politicians who weep over the defeats of Islam in India in past and look forward to a reconquest of India in future.
Hindus have survived as a majority in their motherland not because Islam spared any effort to conquer and convert them but because Islamic brutality met more than its equal in Hindu tenacity for their tradition, values and love for freedom.
It was cool yesterday, the air comfortably crisp. I shut off the bedside fan but did not opt for the thin cover resting on the backrest of foldable chair. In the morning, even the overhead fan was unnecessary, with the tea cup steaming up its flavours. The problems of an older body had receded from my attention.
Why I do not stand with the communists, socialists and all those stridently on the left, is not as much of a mystery as my open empathy for much of what they call for would suggest. People on the margins, the poor and the weak, need those voices to champion their cause : for them to be heard in corridors of power and wealth, by men who could make a difference by their attitude, priority and decision.
However, for very personal values, I do not stand with the lot releasing those welcome notes : one, high in effect, is my pathological disagreement with making a career out of it, howsoever slight; secondly, far from endorsing their animosity for capital, I actually oppose their lack of appreciation of how businesses serve the very constituency leftists represent. And finally, not only do I find myself incapable of a definitive interpretation of history but am loathe at pre-empting it. History will be what it will be, only after we have put ourselves into its motions today.
I compulsorily oppose transgressions that ride on the power of wealth, emblemised in the american kind, but not the entrepreneurship that is universal, that all men and women have in their spirit to help themselves up at gathering capital, helping and taking the help of others along their way. Everybody appreciates labour and ability, and there’s no way an entrepreneur would not. To grudge the promoter’s disproportionate power and rights to decision-making is a non sequitur.
People who have taken the risk with their own money, who have paid others to engage them at their works where there was none, cannot be deprived of our trust just because they have made good ! I have issues with inheritance but there it is, entrenched and raised tall on laws that grant our freedoms. The issues with the inheritors however are more severe and statistically valid : they strut about more on the power of what they have than on the entrepreneurship which built it all up in the first place.
But, in summary, I am not pulling down anyone or anything except as the law allows. That I will beat upon the doors of politicians with my life, to change those laws, is another matter.
Thanks to democracy as we practise here, in India.
Prime Minister Modi’s ongoing visit to Japan is about a new partnership between the two countries. Japan is already a top investor in India, even if China is the leading bilateral trade partner. There are over 1000 Japanese companies in India, and a very significant surge in their number is sure to follow in coming months.
Both the prime ministers at the scheduled bilateral summit are unabashed nationalists and have a hard nose for filling their agenda with decisions that back their vision for their respective countries. Abe and Modi are expected to strengthen security ties and finalise a framework for defence coordination. Supply of US-2 amphibian search and rescue aircraft to India has been discussed since December last and the Abe administration has eased the nation’s long-held ban on weapons exports, including technology transfers, in April this year. The two leaders are expected to continue joint maritime drills in addition to trilateral ones with the United States, possibly on a regular basis.
But the calling of “two major maritime democracies in Asia” is expected to affirm their willingness to work in tandem at ensuring a “peaceful and stable maritime order” to curb Beijing’s increasing activity in the East and South China seas, as well as in the Indian Ocean. Effectively, it is to halt and displace the ambitious Russia – China strategy emerging over the region, largely through an aggressive and belligerent show of power than a genuine desire at cultural appreciation, economic and technological largesse and trade turnover.
It is a larger shared perspective for the East, South East and South Asia region at work between them. The summit itself coincides with much else : the just concluded visits of India’s Foreign Minister to Bangladesh and Myanmar, Indian President’s call on Vietnam later in September, and the coming visits by Prime Minister Abe to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. An agreement to meet Japan’s most crucial need for rare earth materials has already been signed with India, which is likely to ship over 2000 tonnes by February next year. It is to grow up to 4000 tonnes per year, a substantial bailout considering the intransigence shown by China — Japan’s major supplier — in recent months.
A nuclear deal will be discussed over the table, if not concluded, alongwith availability for huge funds by Japan for a whole array of India’s infrastructure projects, the scale of which is likely to arrest the global attention with surprise. The next week’s developments would also forge a convergence among all countries to the east of india and to the south of Japan.
The India – Japan summit could spell a remarkable momentum to peace and stability, growth and properity, in east, south and south-east Asia.
Anything can be covered with profanity, with surprising ease. A practice, a way of life that nurtures the sublimest of heart and intellect the world has known, with uncanny regularity, is routinely mocked at by protoganists of cultures that barely understand and have seldom practiced the fundamentals of the way with any rigour. Rajiv Malhotra’s comeback in response is not too soon.
The author writes : “… a powerful counterforce within the American Academy is systematically undermining core icons and ideals of Indic Culture and thought. For instance, scholars of this counterforce have disparaged the Bhagavad Gita as “a dishonest book”; declared Ganesha’s trunk a “limp phallus”; classified Devi as the “mother with a penis” and Shiva as “a notorious womanizer” who incites violence in India; pronounced Sri Ramakrishna a pedophile who sexually molested the young Swami Vivekananda; condemned Indian mothers as being less loving of their children than white women; and interpreted the bindi as a drop of menstrual fluid and the “ha” in sacred mantras as a woman’s sound during orgasm.”
The book deliberates upon pertinent issues : Are these isolated instances of ignorance or links in an institutionalized pattern of bias driven by certain civilizational worldviews ?
Are these academic pronouncements based on evidence, and how carefully is this evidence cross-examined? How do these images of India and Indians created in the American Academy influence public perceptions through the media, the education system, policymakers and popular culture ?
Adopting a politically impartial stance, the work unravels a well-researched response informing us of the invisible networks behind frequent instances of Hinduphobic behaviour in American academe and of challenges to Indian diaspora at responding to such well-publicised ‘ scholarship.’
The book hopes to provoke serious debate. For example : How current Hinduphobic works resemble earlier American literature depicting non-whites as dangerous savages needing to be civilized by the West ?
Are India’s internal social problems going to be managed by foreign interventions in the name of human rights ?
How do power imbalances and systemic biases affect the objectivity and quality of scholarship ?
What are the rights of practitioner-experts in “talking back” to academicians ?
What is the role of India’s intellectuals, policymakers and universities in fashioning an authentic and enduring response ?
Invading The Sacred can be downloaded from http://rajivmalhotra.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Invading-the-Sacred-Final.pdf for free …
This is an India-specific article, and political, that brings together some of the material I lately wrote from time to time on recent exciting developments precipitated by Delhi elections in December last.
AAP is the new political kid on the block — Aam Aadmi Party, translating as “The Common Man’s Party.” It rose rather spectacularly on “anti-corruption” plank and the promise of setting a new “people-centered” and participatory governance paradigm. Emerging as the second largest party in the State Assembly, it now forms a minority government with the help of Congress Party — the outfit AAP’s founder Arvind Kejriwal (AK) had denounced as the mother of corruption in the country and had declared never to have any truck with it before or after the election.
I have been happy with the political churn but have been critical of AAP and AK.
First, I believe that the political developments that have thrown up AAP is good for political evolution in our country … but I look upon it in a historical perspective and not in the way of salvation, a finality or hero worship.
Second, anybody who promises perfection, totality, claims all honesty for himself and damns everybody else, and stands up as a missionary … is obviously a fool or a top conman.
Third, I will anyday go along with mere sincerity and a collective with a sense of history, continuity and purpose, even if imperfect.
Perhaps, this will explain my stance to AAP and Arvind Kejriwal.
I find AAP bumbling and blundering, insincere and easily compromising, though possibly well-meaning.
Frankly, after taking the support of #CongressParty
#AAP has lost all locus standii to crusade against corruption.
But there are enough emotional, “useful” idiots out there !
Some of their early proposals are outright Nehruvian that have kept the country scarcity bound, maximising taxation and incentivising poverty and riddling the society with vitually dozens of factions and fractions for meagre pie with the exchequer. The artificial measures have left the general public divided on account of being discriminated against for a variety of caste, region and language factors and not directly by the income criteria. The resulting angst and widespread heartburn has left the population mired in avoidable fraternal viciousness.
RT @BalakrishnanR Now Yogendra Yadav of AAP wants more reservations, quotas. Mate, you just lost AAP a huge block of votes.
So, with AAP’s new wave of reservations, quota and subsidies on way, I wrote :
IITian or not … #AAP
I would never ever place the affairs of our nation and our countrymen in the hands of inexperienced, insincere, good-for-nothing motley crowd of power-grabbers !
Then, there was this ridiculous insistence on public referendums on every matter however minor, technical or complicated…
Huh … it’s funny how people expect the harried and hurried masses, over 40% are still illiterate and over 70% do not have the breather from mere subsistence concerns, to know enough about factors and nuances of everything under the sun to have an informed and well-considered opinon !
The close proximity of AAP with the “most corrupt” Congress Party was getting too snug … and my fears of mutual co-option between the two rang clear when the latter declared that it would halt the oppostion’s juggernaut under Narendra Modi with the help of AAP. The partnership was an ominous distraction and put paid to all the anti-corruption crusade of the new political outfit.
I see the AAP becoming a side kick, then an affiliate of the corrupt and incapable Congress Party over time.
They have all launched themselves on a dream career, the country and countrymen be damned !
Which brings me to two off-the-cuff reasons why I do not trust AAP for now and the reason why I stand to oppose Arvind Kejriwal politically :
— Individuals can make a difference but only through leadership, capability and effecting change in the system and their processes. I have seen little of the character necessary to leadership, no evidence of capability nor of the calm and patience essential to bringing in any systemic change. There have been dream statements, clarion calls announcing pious intent … but nothing more. AK’s casual remark that “it is not rocket science” shows how little he knows about what he is stepping into. Transferring 800 DJB officers ! It already shows how far off they are from anything meaningful, long-term and substantial.– Meanwhile, the political dynamics has already overtaken them, with the “corrupt” party honchos, their allies and cliques digging into their capacity for the damage they can do if they are brought before courts of law and, conversely, of the help they can be if these AAP upstarts mind their ways and work along with them. And mind it, their capacity is mammoth, brutal and pervasive.
The anti-Modi, anti-BJP focus alone is purposeful to the AAP-Congress lot … for survival and for winning at the hustings. Under the circumstance, riding the “beat the opposition at all cost” tiger, whither the strength to stand their ground and retain their focus on anti-corruptioncrusade ? Whither any meaningful and substantial departure from business as usual ?
ON THE OTHER HAND, the opposition BJP did usher a departure when they came into power between 1999 and 2004. Its current Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi may not be perfect but has proven capabilities as an administrator and problem-solver, and as a leader of people. The party is no pushover; they can stand their ground without seeming radical. Its Chief Minister Parrikkar, in Goa, is doing it gradually : both at inflation control and effective governance. Nothing spectacular but good, which suummed up over time, would be great in the experience of the people. So are its other Chif Ministers … without promising perfection or announcing that they would change human nature itself or that they are angels and everyone with them are drawn from the land of the virtuous.Overall, I find it foolish to put much on AAP or AK. Already there is evidence that they are having to compromise and are getting sucked into the political quagmire. The task is admittedly difficult : there are hundreds of whorls and vortices clamouring for attention and ringing in challenges to capability and character.
But, of course, if AAP and AK still show the character and the moral fibre, and the ability to think on their feet … Godspeed to them. I’d be happy to be proved wrong !
I believe, it celebrates a transfer the “transfer of power,” from British colonials to Indian occupiers.
India is independent, more or less, depending entirely on how you as a family and as an individual have been able to milk the opportunities it threw up along its course through 66 years. An objective look is unconvincing : there are the Western nations who have leveraged their spoils from this country, and others, with their new found enterprise and apetite for more. They are the first world, with privileges to set the agenda and the terms. That renders other countries less than independent. Diversity and respect for it is more lip service than real; its preservation is more frowned upon than encouraged.
The second world, Russia et al, take their cues from first world’s leadership : the exploitative national interest. It works for them; not for others less fortunate, in might or economic endowment.
Then, in Indian context, is unhappy Pakistan and hegemonising China. They both deliver the “cuts” that makes this nation bleed and mired.
Most Indians are neither free nor empowered to be. All the international debilitents have their internal equivalent who betray the country’s interests, people welfare, development opportunities, social collation, cultural cohesion, political focus and centeredness.
I pray. The world wouldn’t be with much of its enablers and positive moderation without India.
The pic below is a metophor for how India is poised today. Let’s wish ourselves well … blooming tentatively.
Carried over from Facebook … A daring letter by an IIT’an to Rahul Gandhi. Plz read and SHARE .
From : NITIN GUPTA (RIVALDO), B. Tech, IIT Bombay
Reference : Rahul Gandhi – “I feel ashamed to call myself an INDIAN after seeing what has happened here in UP.”
YOU REALLY WANT TO FEEL ASHAMED ?
But don’t be disappointed, I would give you ample reasons to feel ashamed…
You really want to feel Ashamed..?
* First Ask Pranav Mukherjee, Why isn’t he giving the details of the account holders in the Swiss Banks.
* Ask your Mother, Who is impeding the Investigation against Hasan Ali ?
* Ask her, Who got 60% Kickbacks in the 2G Scam ?
* Kalamadi is accused of a Few hundred Crores, Who Pocketed the Rest in the Common Wealth Games ?
* Ask Praful Patel what he did to the Indian Airlines ? Why did Air India let go of the Profitable Routes ?
* Why should the Tax Payer pay for the Air India losses, when you intend to eventually DIVEST IT ANYWAY !!!
* Also, You People can’t run an Airline Properly. How can we expect you to run the Nation ?
* Ask Manmohan Singh. Why/What kept him quiet for so long ?
* Are Kalmadi and A Raja are Scapegoats to save Big Names, like Harshad Mehta was in the 1992 Stock Market Scandal ?
* Who let the BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY Accused go Scot Free ? (20,000 People died in that Tragedy)
* Who ordered the State Sponsored Massacre of SIKHS in 84 ?
* Please read more about, How Indira Gandhi pushed the Nation Under Emergency in 76-77, after the HC declared her election to Lok Sabha Void !
* WHY ONLY HIGHLIGHT THIS ARREST ?
Dear Rahul, to refresh your memory, you were arrested/detained by the FBI the BOSTON Airport in September 2001.
You were carrying with you $ 1,60,000 in Cash. You couldn’t explain why you were carrying so much Cash.
(Incidentally He was with his Columbian girlfriend Veronique Cartelli, ALLEGEDLY, the Daughter of Drug Mafia. 9 HOURS he was kept at the Airport. Later then freed on the intervention of the then Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee.. FBI filed an equivalent of an FIR in US and released him.)
When FBI was asked to divulge the information, by Right/Freedom to Information Activists about the reasons Rahul was arrested …
FBI asked for a NO OBJECTION CERTIFICATE from Rahul Gandhi.
So Subramaniyam Swami wrote a Letter to Rahul Gandhi, ” If you have NOTHING to HIDE, Give us the Permission”
HE NEVER REPLIED !
Why did that arrest not make Headlines, Rahul ? You could have gone to the Media and told, “I am ashamed to call myself an INDIAN ?”.
Or is it that, you only do like to highlight Symbolic Arrests (like in UP) and not Actual Arrests (In BOSTON)
Kindly Clarify…..In any case, you want to feel ashamed, Read Along…
YOUR MOTHER’S SO CALLED SACRIFICE OF GIVING UP PRIME MINISTERSHIP in 2004.
According to a Provision in the Citizenship Act, A Foreign National who becomes a Citizen of India, is bounded by the same restrictions, which an Indian would face, If he/she were to become a Citizen of Italy.
(Condition based on principle of reciprocity)
Now Since you can’t become a PM in Italy, Unless you are born there. Likewise an Italian Citizen can’t become Indian PM, unless He/She is not born here!
Dr. SUBRAMANIYAM SWAMI (The Man who Exposed the 2G Scam) sent a letter to the PRESIDENT OF INDIA bringing the same to his Notice. PRESIDENT OF INDIA sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi to this effect, 3:30 PM, May 17th, 2004.
Swearing Ceremony was scheduled for 5 PM the same Day. Manmohan Singh was brought in the Picture at the last moment to Save Face !!
Rest of the SACRIFICE DRAMA which she choreographed was an EYE WASH !!!
In fact Sonia Gandhi had sent, 340 letters, each signed by different MP to the PRESIDENT KALAM, supporting her candidacy for PM.
One of those letters read, “I Sonia Gandhi, elected Member from Rai Bareli, hereby propose Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister.”
So SHE was Pretty INTERESTED ! Until She came to know the Facts ! She didn’t make any Sacrifice, It so happens that SONIA GANDHI couldn’t have become the PM of INDIA that time.
You could be Ashamed about that, Dear Rahul !! One Credential Sonia G had, Even that was a HOAX !
THINK ABOUT YOURSELF.
You go to Harvard on Donation Quota. ( Hindujas Gave HARVARD 11 million dollars the same year, when Rajiv Gandhi was in Power)
Then you are expelled in 3 Months/ You Dropped out in 3 Months…. (Sadly Manmohan Singh wasn’t the Dean of Harvard that time, else you might have had a chance… Too Bad, there is only one Manmohan Singh !)
Then Why did you go about lying about being Masters in Economics from Harvard .. before finally taking it off your Resume upon questioning by Dr. SUBRAMANIYAM SWAMI (The Gentlemen who exposed the 2G Scam)
At St. Stephens.. You Fail the Hindi Exam. Hindi Exam !!! And you are representing the Biggest Hindi Speaking State of the Country ?
SONIA GANDHI’s EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
Sonia G gave a sworn affidavit as a Candidate that She Studied English at University of Cambridge
According to Cambridge University, there is no such Student EVER ! Upon a Case by Dr. Subramaniyam Swami filed against her, She subsequently Dropped the CAMBRIDGE CREDENTIAL from her Affidavit.
Sonia Gandhi didn’t even pass High School. She is just 5th class Pass ! In this sense, She shares a common Educational Background with her 2G Partner In Crime, Karunanidhi.
You Fake your Educational Degree, Your Mother Fakes her Educational Degree. And then you go out saying, ” We want Educated Youth into Politics !”
WHY LIE ABOUT EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS ?
Not that Education is a Prerequisite for being a great Leader, but then you shouldn’t have lied about your qualifications !
You could feel a little ashamed about Lying about your Educational Qualifications. You had your reasons I know, Because in India, WE RESPECT EDUCATION !
But who cares about Education, When you are a Youth Icon !!
You traveled in the Local Train for the first time at the Age of 38. You went to some Villages as a part of Election Campaign. And You won a Youth Icon!! … That’s why You are my Youth Icon.
For 25 Million People travel by Train Every day. You are the First Person to win a Youth Icon for boarding a Train.
Thousands of Postmen go to remotest of Villages. None of them have yet gotten a Youth Icon. You were neither YOUNG Nor ICONIC ! Still You became a Youth Icon beating Iconic and Younger Contenders like RAHUL DRAVID …
Shakespeare said, What’s in a Name ? Little did he knew, It’s all in the Name, Especially the Surname !
Speaking of Surname, Sir, DO YOU REALLY RESPECT GANDHI, OR IS IT JUST TO CASH IN ON THE GOODWILL OF MAHATMA ?
Because the Name on your Passport is RAUL VINCI. Not RAHUL GANDHI. May be if you wrote your Surname as Gandhi, you would have experienced, what Gandhi feels like, LITERALLY ( Pun Intended).
You People don’t seem to use Gandhi much, except when you are fighting Elections. ( There it makes complete sense).
Imagine fighting elections by the Name Raul Vinci… You use the name GANDHI at will and then say, ” Mujhe yeh YUVRAJ shabd Insulting lagta hai ! Kyonki aaj Hindustan mein Democracy hai, aur is shabd ka koi matlab nahin hai ! YUVRAJ, Itna hi Insulting lagta hai, to lad lo RAUL VINCI ke Naam se !!! Jin Kisano ke saath photo khinchate ho woh bhi isliye entertain karte hain ki GANDHI ho.. RAUL VINCI bol ke Jao… Ghar mein nahin ghusaenge !!!
You could feel ashamed for your Double Standards.
YOUTH INTO POLITICS.
Now You want Youth to Join Politics. I say First you Join Politics. Because you haven’t Joined Politics. You have Joined a Family Business.
First you Join Politics. Win an Election fighting as RAUL VINCI and Not Rahul Gandhi, then come and ask the youth and the Educated Brass for more involvement in Politics.
Also till then, Please don’t give me examples of Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora and Naveen Jindal as youth who have joined Politics. They are not Politicians. They Just happen to be Politicians. Much Like Abhishek Bachchan and other Star Sons are not Actors. They just happen to be Actors (For Obvious Reasons)
So, We would appreciate if you stop requesting the Youth to Join Politics till you establish your credentials…
WHY WE CAN’T JOIN POLITICS !
Rahul Baba, Please understand, Your Father had a lot of money in your Family account ( in Swiss Bank) when he died.
Ordinary Youth has to WORK FOR A LIVING. YOUR FAMILY just needs to NETWORK FOR A LIVING
If our Father had left thousands of Crores with us, We might consider doing the same. But we have to Work. Not just for ourselves. But also for you. So that we can pay 30% of our Income to the Govt. which can then be channelized to the Swiss Banks and your Personal Accounts under some Pseudo Names.
So Rahul, Please don’t mind If the Youth doesn’t Join Politics.
We are doing our best to fund your Election Campaigns and your Chopper Trips to the Villages. Somebody has to Earn the Money that Politicians Feed On.
NO WONDER YOU ARE NOT GANDHIs. YOU ARE SO CALLED GANDHIs !!
Air India, KG Gas Division, 2G, CWG, SWISS BANK Account Details… Hasan Ali, KGB., FBI Arrest..
You want to feel ashamed..?
Feel Ashamed for what the First Family of Politics has been reduced to… A Money Laundering Enterprise.
NO WONDER YOU ARE NOT GANDHI’S BY BLOOD. GANDHI is an adopted Name. For Indira didn’t marry Mahatma Gandhi’s Son.
For even if you had one GENE OF GANDHI JI in your DNA. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN PLAGUED BY SUCH ‘POVERTY OF AMBITION’
(Ambition of only EARNING MONEY)
You really want to feel Ashamed ?
Feel Ashamed for what you ‘ SO CALLED GANDHI’S’ have done to MAHATMA’S Legacy…
I so wish GANDHI JI had Copyrighted his Name !
Meanwhile, I would request Sonia Gandhi to change her name to $ONIA GANDHI, and you could replace the ‘R’ in RAHUL/RAUL by the New Rupee Symbol!!!
RAUL VINCI : I am ashamed to call myself an Indian.
Even we are ashamed to call you so !
P.S: Popular Media is either bought or blackmailed, controlled to Manufacture Consent ! My Guess is Social Media is still a Democratic Platform.
(Now they are trying to put legislations to censor that too!!).
Meanwhile, Let’s ask these questions, for we deserve some Answers.
The Vedic heritage of India has been grossly miscalculated, misunderstood, and under-appreciated. The light of Vedic knowledge burned brilliantly in Vedic India long before is spread into Iran, the middle-east, and Europe. It appears that Rig Vedic civilisation originated in northern India, definitely before 1,900, and probably before 3,000 BC. The Vedic tradition may have originated before 6,500 BC. Passed on from father to son in unbroken tradition of pundits who recited the Vedic verses, it is still sung by pundits in India today.
Imagine if Homeric bards were found today who could still chant the Iliad and Odyssey according to the oral tradition handed down from Homeric times! This would be heralded as a monumental event. Yet the Vedic tradition was possibly as ancient to Homer when he lived as Homer is to us today.
The Vedic tradition lives in the songs softly chanted by pundits today that may have originated ten thousand or more year ago, or even further remote in time. The Rig Veda and the Vedic literature were preserved by a tradition of chanting, with self-correcting feedback methods, always involving two pundits reciting the verses together. Other methods of self-correction were used, so the authenticity of the tradition is well preserved. The written Veda did not emerge until the Devanagri script was invented, and that was post-Indus-Saraswati civilisation.
The Vedic civilisation, far more ancient than the Greek, spread from India to Europe, via Anatolia, Thrace, and Greece, and from there into Western Europe. The direction of the flow was from India into Arabia and then to Europe. Evidence shows that the Vedic tradition entered into Europe sometime before the early fourteenth century BC. The Rig Vedic tradition and its literature almost certainly came into existence sometime long before the earliest civilisations of Mesopotamia, Sumeria, and Egypt.
These were relatively late events in the history of civilisation and probably owe their existence to the earlier civilisation of Vedic India. It is necessary to reiterate that the origins of the Vedic tradition are still obscured in the fog of time, but it is necessary to shift it much further back than Muller’s contingent of scholars put it. A more balanced view of the Vedic tradition might place it as follows :
1. Before 6,500 to around 3,000 BC—early Rig Veda to Itihasa Period.
2. 2600-1900 BC, Mature Harappa civilisation.
3. 1900-1000 BC, late Vedic and Brahmana period.
4. 500 BC, Shankara’s revival.
Because we don’t know yet how ancient the earliest verses of the Rig Veda are, we have to abstain from any dogmatic pronouncements, but we have seen reason to think that they are far more ancient than Europeans scholars previously estimated. The ancient Vedic tradition was indigenous to the land of India, possibly overlapping the Indus and Saraswati valley civilisations and extending into the Himalayas, where the tradition continued unbroken for perhaps tens of thousands of years.
The Rig Veda extols the Indus rivers in the oft repeated refrain, “Flow Indus to Indra”—a metaphor for the flow of individual awareness into unbounded universal awareness. The whole tradition, as we see in the following chapters, is about the experience of awakened consciousness, or enlightenment. The refrain, “flow Indus to Indra” is also a reference to the Indus civilisation that lived along the banks of the Indus river since 6,500 BC.
It was this awakening of consciousness that cradled the ancient Vedic civilisation of Vedic India—long before civilisation emerged in Europe. As the river of civilization flowed from India westward, one of its main tributaries was the civilisation of ancient Greece and Asia
Minor. Greek civilisation possibly resulted from the spread of techniques that passed on the enlightenment tradition from India into the Eastern Mediterranean basin.
Mesopotamian, Sumerian, and Egyptian civilizations cannot, according to traditional archeology, extend much past 3,300 BC. Recent research has suggested that the pyramids were constructed as early as 12,500 BC.
One of the great puzzles of early history is to understand why sometime around 500 BC a great awakening of knowledge occurred simultaneously in India, China, and Greece. Lao Tzu and Confucius in China, Buddha in India, and Heraclitus and Parmenides in Greece all flourished around that time. Lao Tzu as well as several early Greeks, according to legend, made a journey to India. The possibility exists that the awakening came from India, where the Vedic tradition flourished from thousands of years before.
This was also the time of a great re-awakening of the Vedic tradition in India. Shankara’s teaching of transcendental meditation in India began, according to ancient records, contrary to what is currently taught in Western scholarship, sometime in the late sixth century BC. Shankara did not live in the ninth century where he was misplaced by modern scholars unfamiliar with the Vedic tradition. Modern scholars have traditionally placed Shankara in the ninth century AD. This results from a confusion of an illustrious successor of Shankara with the original Shankara who lived about 500 BC.
“Shankara” had become a title, so in the long succession of Shankaracharyas, or masters of the Shankara tradition, there were many Shankaras. It was a natural confusion but the first Shankara lived in the mid to early sixth century BC. (See Maharishi’s discussion of this in his Bhagavad Gita, A New Translation and Commentary, Livingston Manor, NY: MIU Press, 1967, p. 186.) There are historical records of the Shankarcharya tradition that link it back to the original Shankara in the sixth century BC, mentioning each of the Shankaracharayas in the long succession.
The Vedic tradition gives a much deeper meaning to the word “tradition” than has been known before. Nothing in the West approximates it. For thousands of years, the Vedic tradition expanded, and grew richer in detail, commenting on itself and expanding by knowledge of itself. Each contributor built on what the previous had done, cumulating in a systematic exposition of the structure of pure consciousness. Techniques to gain enlightenment were developed, cultivated, and passed on generation after generation. The techniques sustained the tradition and gave it substance through making the experience available.
Vedic civilisation centered around the discovery of pure consciousness and the delineation of its structure. The Rig Veda and the Vedic literature gave a monumental depiction of this structure of eternal consciousness. These remarkable works give a prior to the battle of Troy, the event that marks the mythological beginning of the early Greek literary tradition, and 3,000 years before the earliest Pre-Socratic philosophers.
For a fuller discussion of this new wave of scholarship, see David Frawley and N.S. Rajaram Vedic “Aryans” and the Origins of Civilisation: A Literary and Scientific Perspective, 1995. See also George Feuresein, Subhash Kak, and David Frawley, In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India, 1995. Also, David Frawley, Gods, Sages Kings, (Morson Publishing, 1991). See also, N.S. Rajaram The Hindustan Times (Nov. 28, 1993).
Rajaram writes, “It is now recognised by scholars that the Aryan invasion theory of India is a myth that owes more to European politics than anything in Indian records or archaeology.”
Frawley writes. “the rationale behind the late date for the Vedic culture given by Muller was totally speculative. Max Muller, like many of the Christian scholars of his era, believed in Biblical chronology. This placed the beginning of the world at 400 BC and the flood around 2500 BC. Assuming to those two dates, it became difficult to get the Aryans in India before 1500 BC.”
See also Colin Renfrew, Professor of Archeology at Cambridge University, in his famous work, Archeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988). See also Mark Kenoyer, “Indus Valley: Secrets of a Civilization” in Wisconsin, Fall 1998 and Kenneth Kennedy, “Have Aryans Been Identified in the Prehistoric Skeletal Record from South Asia” appearing in The Indo-Aryans of South Asia (Walter de Gruyter, 1995)
Kennedy writes, “Assumptions that blondism, blue-grey eyes and light skin pigmentation are physical hallmarks of either ancient Aryans or of members of Brahmin and other social groups in modern south Asia, find their origins in the improper marriage of excerpts from Vedic texts with nineteenth century Germanic nationalistic writings.”
A Lighthouse for Scientific and Mathematical Discovery
India remained a lighthouse for the advance of civilisation long after the classical Vedic period. Our modern zero-based number system (the place-value number system) was first developed in India. Called ‘Arabic numerals’ in the West, they actually originated in India and were passed into Europe through Arabia, whence they derived their name in the West.
In Arabia, mathematics was called the “Indian Art,” and the numerals used in Arabia were called “Indian numerals.” Arabic scholars knew that mathematics had come into Arabia from India and not vise versa. It was also in India that the counting numbers were first invented. This inspired Albert Einstein to say, “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
The following chart shows the evolution of the numerals from the early Indus-Saraswati valley script to Devanagri to the Arabic to the present :
Evolution of the “numerals” which are mistakenly called “Arabic numerals” in the West. In fact they came into Arabia from India. In ancient Arabic, these numerals were called “Indian numerals” and mathematics was called the “Indian art.”
The value of “pi” was first calculated in India by Baudhayana (conservative scholars put him at least in the sixth century BC) long before it was known in Europe.
Baudhayana was also first to introduce a mathematical way to calculate the hypotenuse of a right triangle. The Shulba Sutra (the Baudhayana) written prior to the eighth century BC in India, used the theorem about two centuries before it was introduced by Pythagoras into Greece in the sixth century BC.
The wording of the theorem in the Shulba Sutras is exact :
“The diagonal chord of the rectangle makes both the squares that the horizontal and vertical sides make separately.”
The Shulba Sutra are among the most ancient of mathematical texts known to man. In the valley of the Indus River of India, the world’s oldest civilisation had developed its own system of mathematics. The Vedic Shulba Sutras (fifth to eighth century BC), meaning “codes of the rope,” show that the earliest geometrical and mathematical investigations among the Indians arose from certain requirements of their religious rituals. When the poetic vision of the Vedic seers was externalized in symbols, rituals requiring altars and precise measurement became manifest, providing a means to the attainment of the unmanifest world of consciousness. “Shulba Sutras” is the name given to those portions or supplements of the Kalpa sutras, which deal with the measurement and construction of the different altars for religious rites.
The word shulba refers to the ropes used to make these measurements. Although Vedic mathematicians are known primarily for their computational genius in arithmetic and algebra, the basis and inspiration for the whole of Indian mathematics is geometry. Evidence of geometrical drawing instruments from as early as 2,500 BC. has been found in the Indus Valley. The beginnings of algebra can be traced to the constructional geometry of the Vedic priests, which are preserved in the Shulba Sutras. Exact measurements, orientations, and different geometrical shapes for the altars and arenas used for the religious functions (yagyas), which occupy and important part of the Vedic religious culture, are described the Shulba Sutras. Many of these calculations employ the geometrical formula known as the Pythagorean theorem. This theorem (c. 540 BC.), equating the square of the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle with the sum of the squares of the other two sides, was utilized in the earliest Shulba Sutra (the Baudhayana) prior to the eighth century BC. Thus, widespread use of this famous mathematical theorem in India several centuries before it being popularised by Pythagoras has been documented.
The proof of this fundamentally important theorem is well known from Euclid’s time until the present for its excessively tedious and cumbersome nature; yet the Vedas present five different extremely simple proofs for this theorem. One historian, Needham, has stated, “Future research on the history of science and technology in Asia will in fact reveal that the achievements of these peoples contribute far more in all pre-Renaissance periods to the development of world science than has yet been realised.”
The Shulba Sutras have preserved only that part of Vedic mathematics which was used for constructing the altars and for computing the calendar to regulate the performance of religious rituals. After the Shulba Sutra period, the main developments in Vedic mathematics arose from needs in the field of astronomy.
Jyotisha, the science of the planets, utilizes all branches of mathematics. The need to determine the right time for their religious rituals gave the first impetus for astronomical observations. With this desire in mind, the priests would spend night after night watching the advance of the moon through the circle of the nakshatras (lunar mansions), and day after day the alternate progress of the sun towards the north and the south. However, the priests were interested in mathematical rules only as far as they were of practical use. These truths were therefore expressed in the simplest and most practical manner. Elaborate proofs were not presented, nor were they desired.
Major centers of learning operated in ancient India. The World’s first major university and trade school was in Taxila (Takshila) then in northwestern India, around 700 BC (some scholars estimate). It boasted a thousand students from all over the known world who studied 60 disciplines taught there. The University of Nalanda, established in the forth century BC, was also a major center of learning in the ancient world.
The Indian astronomer and mathematician Bhaskaracharya in the 5th century BC (this is an estimated date that may be too recent), calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun to nine decimal places. Algebra, trigonometry, and calculus were first set forth in ancient India.
Aryabhata the Elder (476-550 AD) gave a summary of Indian mathematics that covers astronomy, spherical trigonometry, arithmetic, algebra and plane trigonometry. Aryabhata also gives a formula for finding the areas of a triangle and a circle. His main work, the Aryabhatiya, contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums of power series and a table of sines. Aryabhata gave an accurate approximation for “pi” of up to 3.1416 and was one of the first to use algebra. His most important achievement was the invention of the “0,” which enabled the development of the place number system. Aryabhata also wrote a text on astronomy, the Siddhanta, which taught that the apparent rotation of the heavens was due to the rotation of the Earth on it axis.
Aryabhata gives the radius of the planetary orbits in terms of the radius of the Earth/Sun orbit as essentially their periods of rotation around the Sun. He believed that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight, and he taught, incredible though it may seem, that the orbits of the planets around the sun are ellipses. This was over a thousand years before Copernicus and Kepler came up with the same discovery in Europe. He also correctly explained the causes of the eclipses of the Sun and the Moon and calculated the value for the length of the year at 365 days 6 hours 12 minutes 30 seconds. This is a slight overestimate since the true value is less than 365 days 6 hours. His work, written in 121 stanzas, gives a remarkably accurate view of the structure of the solar system.
Brahmagupta (598-670 AD, again an estimated date that may off), head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain, the foremost mathematical center of ancient India, developed algebraic notation and gave remarkable formulas for finding the area of a cyclic quadrilateral and for the lengths of the diagonals in terms of the sides.
According to Bhaskaracharya’s calculations, which were made in the 5th century BC, the time taken by earth to orbit the sun is 365.258756484 days (slightly larger than the correct time).
Aryabhata also introduced the versine (versin = 1-cos) into trigonometry.
Brahmagupta also studied arithmetic progressions, quadratic equations, theorems on right-angled triangles, surfaces and volumes, and calculated the length of the year at 365 days 6 hours 12 minutes 36 seconds.
Quadratic equations were first discovered by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. Then Bhaskara (1114-1185 AD) reached an understanding of the number systems that solved equations which were not solved in Europe until several centuries later. Like Brahmagupta before him, Bhaskara was head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain, where he developed a sophisticated understanding of 0 and the negative numbers.
The art of navigation was invented 6,000 years ago by navigators of the Indus river. The English word navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Navgatih’ and the word navy from the Sanskrit ‘Nou.’ The first known reservoirs and dams for irrigation were also built in India.
Ayur-Veda, the earliest known system of medicine and surgery, was developed in the Vedic period in India. Sushrut, the father of surgery, developed surgical procedures including cesareans, cataract removals, setting fractures, removing urinary stones and even plastic and brain surgery. Over 125 surgical tools are named in the ancient Sushrut medical texts. Anesthesia was also well known. Detailed texts on anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics, and immunity date from Vedic times.
Sometime around 444 BC, Empedocles introduced a medical system into Greece modeled on the then ancient Ayurvedic system of India. Empedocles’ book on Purification gives, as we saw, the same definition of health as the Charaka Samhita. It bears repeating: health is the balance of the fundamental elements (earth, air, fire and water) in all parts of the body, each part having the proper proportion of each that is right for it. Empedocles adopts this definition from the Vedic tradition. Plato’s Timaeus defines health in the same way.
India’s most substantial gift to world civilization was, however, the discovery of pure consciousness and the mapping out of the architectonic structure of pure knowledge. All other achievements derive from this great awakening of knowledge that took place in ancient Vedic India.
The european scholars who postulated the aryan invasion theory were biased, unscientific—and ultimately wrong. The Rig Veda was cognised by a people indigenous to India, probably sometime long before 3,000 BC.
So we move on to the next question. How did the Vedic Civilisation of India influence the civilisations of the Middle-East, Egypt, and Europe ? Evidence from a variety of sources shows that an influence of Vedic civilisation flowed west to the continent of Europe. As we will see, science and mathematics originated in India and came to Greece centuries later. Science and mathematics were probably introduced into Europe and Egypt from India, mainly through Persia, Arabia, and Mesopotamia.
Vedic and Indic Influences on Persian and Greek Civilisation
The Zend-Avesta of Persia took many names of deities from the Rig Veda, most notably Indra, and included Vedic deities in its pantheon. An archeological excavation in 1907 found clay tablets from early fourteenth century BC in Boghazköi, near the site of the ancient city of Troy on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, in what is now northwest Turkey. These tablets invoke the names of four Vedic deities—Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Nasatyau—in sealing a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitani. A Vedic influence was definitely in eastern Mediterranean prior to the Trojan war, which occurred about a century later. This site is just up the coast from the Greek city states where the Pre-Socratic philosophers of Greece sprang up about eight hundred years later.
Indications of Vedic influence in the Zend-Avesta in Persia are found earlier than 1,600 BC, and in Greece as early as 1,400 BC. But there is much evidence of a link between the early Greeks and the more ancient Vedic civilisation of India, suggesting that Vedic culture flowed west to Persia and Europe.
* * * Maurice Winternitz, A History of Vedic Literature, Vol. 1, pp. 282-283.
Many of the Greek gods and goddesses are similar to those of the Vedic people, suggesting a strong historical connection. Both Vedic Indra and the Greek Zeus, called king of the gods, were associated with the unbounded power and called by the appellation “Thunderbolt.” Saraswati and Athena, female goddesses of sacred knowledge, both had similar roles as representing wisdom and nurturers of the creative arts. The Vedic Pushan and Greek Dionysus were both associated with youth, goats, and wine. Pushan was described as “goat-born,” Bacchus “half-goat.” The tenth Mandala of the Rig Veda relates that the young god Pushan stole the cattle of Indra, herded them backwards into a cave, and hid them somewhere inside in a mountain. Homeric hymns from the ninth century BC attribute exactly the same feat to the young god Dionysus, who put false feet on the cows, pointed backwards, and then herded them into a mountain cave, so the gods could not find them.
The Katha Upanishad of the Vedic tradition relates a metaphor in which the self is the lord of the chariot, the intellect the charioteer, the body the chariot, the horses, and the senses. “He who has no understanding…” the Upanishad say, “his senses are out of control, as wicked horses are for a charioteer.” Exactly same metaphor is found in Plato’s Phaedrus, which uses the image of a chariot moving through heaven and falling to earth when the self, the charioteer, allows the horses, representing sense and appetite, to get out of control.
The Vedic practice of performing sacrificial rites also has echoes in the religious practices of Greece and Israel. In the Odyssey, Odysseus makes sacrificial offerings of a bull to the gods, and in Israel, in the Old Testament, there are many descriptions of burnt offerings of animals to the gods. These practices have their roots in more ancient Vedic rites.
Fragments from Empedocles’ book on Purification give the same definition of health that the Charaka Samhita of the Vedic tradition did more than two thousand years earlier. Heraclitus defines “health” as a balance of the fundamental elements. There is also a link between the “angirasas” of the Rig Veda, who were higher beings – intermediates between gods and men and attendants of Agni, who is often described as a messenger between heaven and earth. They personify flames of fire as messenger to heaven. This view is borne out by the etymological connection of Sanskrit “angiras” with the Greek “angelos” (messenger).
Ancient legends in Greece speak of the early Pre-Socratics as traveling to India. Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato were all fabled to have made the journey (although the legends are rarely given credibility). Commentators on the early Greeks from around the first and second century passed BC on these legends. While these journeys may or may not have taken place, it is not unthinkable, for there were well established commercial routes between India and Greece along the Silk Road, protected by Persian king, as well as between ports on the Red Sea that linked Greece with India in a thriving spice trade.
Plotinus in the third century AD set out from Alexandria (a city famed for its esoteric knowledge) on an expedition to India to gain more experiential knowledge of the transcendent. The expedition never completed the journey, so that Plotinus never arrived in India, but Plotinus believed that it was the place to learn about the transcendental unity of Being. It was not ideas or concepts from India but Vedic practices which brought to the Greek awakening of early sixth century BC a unique technique of transcending to experience pure consciousness. Plato writes about a “fair word” that a physician of Thrace gave to Socrates to enable him to become immortal and gain self-knowledge.
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.
From the similarity of many words of Sanskrit and other Indian languages with Latin and the relatively fair complexion of some of the upper caste Indians the early indologists liked to believe (or rather propagate the believe) that they are of the same racial stock as the Anglo Saxons and just as the Anglo-Saxons had migrated to Britain from the European mainland the ancestors of the fair complexioned upper caste Indians had migrated from Europe. This racial stock was named as Indo-Aryan and it was theorized that they had displaced or subjugated the original inhabitants of the land. The degenerate caste system of India was a handy tool to fit this hypothesis.
By the time the archeological remains of Mohenjodaro and Harappa were discovered in the late nineteenth century the biblical chronology as well as the theory of Aryan migration had been accepted as a proven fact. The discovery of these archeological remains indicated an extinct civilization which neatly fitted the theory of an earlier civilization vanquished by the invading Indo-Aryans. Thus no systematic or serious effort was made to explore the possibility that the Harappan remains could be post Mahabharata or post Vedic.
A critical examination of the Puranic chronology along with the Harappan remains clearly indicates that it belongs to the civilization that prospered during the long period of peace after the battle of Kurukshetra under the reign of the descendants of King Parikshit.
An objective and critical study of the original sources of Indian history shows that the correct chronology of ancient Indian history, confirmed by archeology, astronomical evidences and Greek history is as follows.
1. Kurukhetra battle of Mahabharata took place in the fourth millennium B.C.
2. The Harappan civilization was post-Mahabharata.
3. Lord Buddha lived in the Nineteenth century B.C.
4. Chandragupta Mourya succeeded Mahapadmananda in sixteenth century B.C.
5. Adi Shankara was born towards the end of the sixth century B.C.
6. The last Satavahana Emperor of Magadha was the contemporary of Alexander.
7. The last Satavahana Emperor Chandrabij was known to the Greeks as Xandramese
8. Chandragupta I of Gupta dynasty was known to the Greeks as Sandrocottus.
9. Samudragupta of Gupta dynasty was known to the Greeks as Sandrocyptus.
10. Sandrocyptus who married the daughter of Selucus was Samudragupta.
It is high time that the modern scholars discard the biblical chronology of Indian history and re-examine all sources in the light of modern science.
Appendix – I
Chronological Table Of Sir William Jones … from “The complete Works of Sir William Jones (in 13 volumes) Volume IV, 1807 edition, Page 47 … quoted by Pandit Kota Venkatachelam on page 19 of his book “The Plot in Indian Chronology” published in 1953.
Events Years before 1788 of our era …
Adam Menu I age I 5794 4006 BC
Noah Menu II 4747 2959 BC
Deluge 4138 2350 BC
Nimord Hiranyakasipu Age II 4006 2218 BC
Bel Bali 3892 2104 BC
Rama Rama Age III 3817 2029 BC
Noah’s death 3787 1999 BC
Pradyota 2817 1029 BC
Buddha Age IV 2815 1027 BC
Nanda 2487 699 BC
Balin 1937 149 BC
Vikramaditya 1844 66 BC
Devapala 1811 23 BC
Christ 1787 1 AD
Narayanapala 1721 67 AD
Saka 1709 79 AD
Walid 1080 708 AD
Muhmud 786 1002 AD
Chengiz 548 1240 AD
Timur 391 1397 AD
Babur 276 1512 AD
Nadirshah 49 1739 AD
Appendix – II
Sandrocottus And Chandragupta
If Sandrocottus of Greek history is identified as Chandragupta Mourya we run into a number of difficulties which the modern historians have not yet been able to explain.
1. The name of the predecessor of Mourya Chandragupta, i.e. Nanda does not at all resemble the name Xandramese of Greek history. Similarly the name of his successor Bindusara does not resemble Sandrocyptus of Greek history.
2. The Greek accounts describe a vast empire and army under the command of Xandramese and Sandrocottus; though the Puranas state that the empire of Nanda was very extensive it is categorically stated that the kingdom of the Mouryas was rather small not including even Kalinga, the state just to the south of Magadha.
3. Greek accounts describe Palibothra as the capital of Sandrocottus. But the Puranas are specific about the fact that the capital of the Mouryas was at Giribraja. The capital was shifted to Pataliputra (Palibothra) only during the rule of the Satavahan dynasty.
4. No Indian account of Mahapadmananda or Chandragupta Mourya is complete without the description of Koutilya and Arthashastra. There is no direct or indirect reference in any Greek account to Koutilya or his Arthashastra.
5. The description of the society given in the Greek accounts does not even remotely resemble the description of the society given in Arthashastra. For example, Koutilya has given elaborate rules about slavery and punishments prescribed for those connected with it. But from the Greek accounts it appears slavery was unknown in India.
6. The Greek accounts describe Sandrocottus as a usurper who had treacherously killed King Xandramese after having won the confidence of the Queen. In contrast Chandragupta Mourya, guided by Chanakya, had overthrown the Nandas after a civil war.
7. According to the Puranas at the time of the establishment of Mourya dynasty Buddhism was spreading fast but the Greeks make no mention of Lord Buddha or Ashoka (either Ashokavardhana, or Dharmasoka).
Thus it is clear that the Sandrocottus was not Chandragupta of Mourya dynasty. If Sandrocottus is identified as Chandragupta I of Gupta dynasty the following correspondences are obtained between the Greek and Indian names.
Greek Name Indian Name
Xandramese Chandrabij (last Satavahan king)
Sandrocottus Chandragupta (first Gupta king)
Appendix – III
Dates Of Some Of The Important Historic Events As Mentioned In The Puranas …
Event Year in B.C.
Kurukshetra battle of Mahabharata
and coronation of King Parikshit 3138
End of Brihadratha dynasty (of Jarasandha)
and start of Pradyota dynasty 2132
in Magadha (capital Giribraja)
End of Pradyota dynasty
and start of Shishunag dynasty of Magadha 1995
Birth of Lord Buddha 1887
Nirvana of Lord Buddha 1807
End of Shishunag dynasty
and cornation of Mahapadmanand 1634
End of Nanda dynasty
and coronation of Chandragupta Mourya 1534
Coronation of Ashoka (Ashokavardhana) 1472
End of Mourya dynasty
and coronation of Pushyamitra Sunga 1218
End of Sunga dynasty
and start of Kanwa dynasty 918
(Coronation of Vasudeva)
End of Kanwa dynasty
and start of Andhra dynasty 833
Coronation of Shrimukha (capital Giribraja)
Birth of Adi Shankaracharya (in South India) 509
Establishment of Dwaraka Shankarcharya Pitha 491
Establishment of Kanchi Kamokoti Pitha 482
End of Andhra dynasty
with assassination of King Chandarbij
(Xandramese of Greek history) 327
and coronation of Chandragupta
(Sandrocottus or Androcottus of Greek history)
Capital Pataliputra (Palibothra)
Coronation of Samudragupta
(Sandrocyptus of Greek history) 320
End of Gupta dynasty
and decline of Magadha empire 82
Establishment of the suzerainty
of Emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain 58
(Born in 101 B.C. and coronated in 86 B.C. at Ujjain)
over the whole of India and start of Vikram Sambat
Professor Max Muller improved upon the work of Sir William Jones by trying to correlate the Indian history with Greek history. One ancient event the date of which is well known in the Christian era is the invasion of Alexander. However, there is no mention whatsoever of Alexander or anything connected with his invasion in any Purana or any other ancient Indian account including the Buddhist Chronicles.
Professor Max Muller then searched the Greek accounts and the narrations of the other classical European writers for the name of any Indian ruler who could be located. One such name is Sandrocottus. He is said to have succeeded Xandramese who was a contemporary of Alexander. Sir William Jones had suggested that Chandragupta of Mudra Rakshasa could be the Sandrocottus of Greek history. Professor Max Muller confirmed this identification. His main purpose was to arrive at a chronology acceptable to the intellectuals of the nineteenth century. In fact his motives and methods are best described in his own words. In his “History of Ancient
Sanskrit Literature (Allahabad Edition 1859 A.D)” Professor Max Muller writes as follows …
“There is but one means through which history of India can be connected with that of Greece, and its chronology be reduced to its proper limits. Although we look in vain in the literature of the Brahmanas or Buddhists for any allusion to Alexander’s conquest, and although it is impossible to identify any of the historical events, related by Alexander’s companions, with the historical traditions of India, one name has fortunately been preserved by classical writers who describe the events immediately following Alexander’s conquest, to form a connecting link between the history of the East and the West. This is the name of Sandrocottus or Sandrocyptus, the Sanskrit Chandragupta.
“We learn from classical writers Justin, Arrian, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Quintus Curtius and Plutarch, that in Alexander’s time, there was on the Ganges a powerful king of the name of Xandramese, and that soon after Alexander’s invasion, a new empire was founded there by Sandrocottus who was succeeded by Sandrocyptus. These accounts of the classical writers contain a number of distinct statements which could leave very little doubt as to the king to whom they referred.
“Indian historians, it is true, are generally so vague and so much given to exaggeration, that their kings are all very much alike, either all black or all bright. But nevertheless, if there ever was such a king of the Prasii, a usurper, residing at Pataliputra, called Sandrocottus; it is hardly possible that he should not be recognized in the historical traditions of India. The name of Chandragupta and the resemblance of this name with the name of Sandrocottus was first, I believe, pointed out by Sir William Jones. Dr.Wilford, Professor Wilson and Professor Lassen have afterwards added further evidence in confirmation of Sir William Jone’s conjecture; and although other scholars and particularly M.Troyer, in his edition of the Rajatarangini, have raised objections, we shall see that the evidence in favor of the identity of Chandragupta and Sandrocyptus is such as to admit of no reasonable doubt.”
From this identification, the coronation of Mourya Chandragupta around the year 327 B.C. was taken as the sheet anchor date for Indian chronology. Though most of the modern scholars of Indian history do not know it all the dates of ancient Indian history have been arrived at by calculating backward and forward from this sheet anchor date. For example Lord Buddha (according to some of the Buddhist chronicles) was born nearly 340 years before the coronation of Mourya Chandragupta. Accordingly his year of birth was fixed as 567 B.C.
Errors In Dating
Later as more and more Puranic and Buddhist documents were discovered those which did not confirm to the aforesaid chronology were either ignored or stated to be unreliable. For example among the different documents on Lord Buddha the Ceylonese chronicles have been accepted as most reliable though those were written much later in the Christian era in Pali language. The orientalists who have continued the research after Professor Max Muller have only tried to add to the earlier chronology without questioning its validity. Certain observations about the sheet anchor date are given in Appendix II.
Having worked out a chronology acceptable to the Europeans, the indologists started looking for archeological and other evidence to confirm it and this they thought they found in plenty in the form of stone inscriptions attributed to emperor Ashoka (and some other kings such as Kharabela). Here it must be emphasized that the European indologists deserve all the credit for their efforts to work out a detailed history of ancient India. Their failure to arrive at the correct dates and details of the events was only due to the firm belief among the intellectuals of their time that the universe is less than 6000 years old. Unfortunately, in the process they have altered certain verses and otherwise mutilated the texts of the Puranas in their editions, such as Wilson’s Vishnu Purana, which are today most widely read.
The Christian missionaries have also been unintentionally guilty of such vandalism as they have often destroyed some of the manuscripts of Puranas which fell in their hands. They were doing so with the firm belief that by such destruction they are saving the posterity from these sin provoking documents. However, sufficient number of the different versions of the different Puranas is still available in the monasteries in India, as well as the libraries in Great Britain, Germany, America and other countries for a complete and correct chronology of Indian history to be worked out.
In calculating the dates from the Puranas the following procedure should be adopted to rectify the errors and discrepancies.
1. Proper distinction should be made between the Puranas and the other ancient texts. For example, Abhigyana Shakuntalam, Mudra Rakshasa, Raghu Vansa, Harsha Charita etc. are magnificent literary works and not historical documents.
2. In some Puranas the dates are given in more than one era. In such cases comparison should be made to detect any possible error. Possible grammatical errors as well as the consistency and continuity of the verses should be carefully checked.
3 The dates of events worked out from different Puranas should be tallied and compared with the dates worked out from astronomical data.
Now we consider the Devanagri script in which Vedic Sanskrit is written. For years after Mohenjo-Daro and other settlements of the Indus valley were excavated, the only evidence of a writing script were a few artifacts that were inscribed with characters that appeared to be pre-Devanagri. Devanagri is the language in which both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit are written, so if the script of the Indus valley was indeed an earlier and more primitive script, as it appears to be, this led many archeologists to speculate that the Vedic tradition belongs to a post-Indus valley civilization and that the period came after the end of the Indus-Saraswati civilization. Thus some scholars felt that the Vedic tradition must belong to a period more recent than 1900 BC, when the peoples of Indus and Saraswati settlements apparently abandoned their homelands and migrated east to the Ganges river valley.
This speculation, it turns out, is completely unfounded. Recent digs in western India have unearthed stone inscriptions in Devanagri, that date from 3,000 BC. This is an extremely important finding. For one thing, we know that the Vedic tradition began as an oral tradition. Recitation of the Vedic hymns employed, as we mentioned, elaborate methods to perpetuate the oral tradition. The Vedic tradition existed before the advent of a written script, and was passed on in an oral tradition long before the advent of a written script.
The Rig Veda was memorised by heart and recited in teams of two pundits, who sang in unison to preserve its purity, precisely because there was no script in which to write it down and preserve it over time. Preservation depended on memorisation and passing it on in a formal method of oral recitation.
Since the oral tradition of recitation was a phenomenon that belonged to the period before the advent of a written script, and, since the Devanagri script existed in the Indus-Saraswati valley by 3,000 BC, this would place the origins of the Vedic tradition long before 3,000 BC. The Vedic literature in its entirety is a body of oral literature, passed on first in recited songs, and only later written down, after the advent of a script. If we take Winternitz’s estimated time for the incubation of the Vedic period, which is 1,900 years, this would put the beginnings of the Vedic oral tradition sometime before 4,900 BC.
New Light on the “Cradle of Civilisation”
Textbooks on the origins of civilisation commonly state, even today, that the “cradle of civilisation” was in Mesopotamia, in the flood plane between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamian artifacts have been dated as far back possibly as 4,500 BC, and Egyptian, Assyrian, and other ancient civilizations extend back possibly as far as the early fourth millennium BC.
The discovery of cities such as Mehrgarh in the Indus valley, which dates from 6,500 to 7,000 BC, puts the Indus valley settlements much further back in time. Exactly how long ago the Rig Vedic tradition began remains unfathomable, but there are far more ancient cities in the Indus-Saraswati valley than have been found in the middle-eastern civilisations of Mesopotamia.
How long ago did urban civilisation begin in India ? The most reliable answer is that we don’t know. More importantly, the Vedic tradition may have begun before the advent of the written languages and the building of brick towns and cities. The appearance of a written script and building of cities may have come after the decline of the oral Vedic tradition. Moreover, there is evidence of a long period of human activity in India long before the earliest appearance of towns in the Indus-Saraswati valley around 7,000 BC.
Archeological evidence shows that at 40,000 BC, during the last ice age, groups of hunter-gatherers lived in central India in painted shelters of stacked rocks. There are also sites with rock windbreaks in northern Punjab in India dating from this time.
As early as 100,000 BC, there were humans with 20th-century man’s brain size (1,450 cc), and as early as 300,000 BC, Homo Sapiens roamed from Africa to Asia. Evidence of human use of fire dates to 360,000 BC. There is also evidence that hominids occupied the Punjab region of northern India as early as 470,000 BC. Stone hand axes and other primitive chopping tools found in northern India have been dated to 500,000 BC. Other stone artifacts found in India have been found dating from two million years ago. Remains of the genius “Homo” were found in Africa that are dated between two and a half to three million years ago.
How far back in time, then, does the Vedic tradition go ? The most sure answer is still at this point in time that we simply do not know. At present there is not enough evidence to determine, except we can venture that it is far more ancient than has been commonly supposed. The Rig Vedic civilization almost certainly dates from long before 3,000 BC, and possibly before 6,000 BC.
However, in dating the Rig Veda, the range of possibilities must not be considered too narrowly. We must not arbitrarily assume that Vedic tradition originated at any given date. Its origins may go back in time tens of thousands of years, or even longer. Since it is an oral tradition, it left no footprints in stone. What is certain is that the Aryan invasion myths and the dates given by Muller and other nineteenth century scholars came from wild speculations that served nationalist, religious, and racist agendas, not from scientific considerations.
It may be surprising to learn that the first pioneer in indology was the 12th Century Pope, Honorius IV. The Holy Father encouraged the learning of oriental languages in order to preach Christianity amongst the pagans. Soon after this, in 1312, the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican decided that …
“The Holy Church should have an abundant number of Catholics well versed in the languages, especially in those of the infidels, so as to be able to instruct them in the sacred doctrine.”
Consequently, chairs of Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldean were created at the Universities of Bologna, Oxford, Paris and Salamanca. A century later in 1434, the General Council of Basel returned to this theme and decreed that …
“All Bishops must sometimes each year send men well-grounded in the divine word to those parts where Jews and other infidels live, to preach and explain the truth of the Catholic faith in such a way that the infidels who hear them may come to recognise their errors. Let them compel them to hear their preaching.”
Centuries later in 1870, during the First Vatican Council, Hinduism was condemned in the “five anathemas against pantheism,” according to the Jesuit priest John Hardon in the Church-authorized book, The Catholic Catechism. However, interests in indology only took shape when the British came to India.
Astronomical References in the Rig Veda and Other Evidence
Evidence from other sources known since the late nineteenth century also tends to confirm the great antiquity of the Vedic tradition. Certain Vedic texts, for example, refer to astronomical events that took place in ancient astronomical time. By calculating the astronomical dates of these events, we thus gain another source of evidence that can be used to place the Rig Veda in a calculable time-frame.
A German scholar and an Indian scholar simultaneously discovered in 1889 that the Vedic Brahmana texts describe the Pleiades coinciding with the spring equinox. Older texts describe the spring equinox as falling in the constellation Orion. From a calculation of the precision of the equinoxes, it has been shown that the spring equinox lay in Orion around 4,500 BC.
The German scholar, H. Jacobi, came to the conclusion that the Brahmanas are from a period around or older than 4,500 BC. Jacobi concludes that “the Rig Vedic period of culture lies anterior to the third pre-Christian millennium.”
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, using similar astronomical calculations, estimates the time of the Rig Veda at 6,000 BC.
More recently, Frawley has cited references in the Rig Veda to the winter solstice beginning in Aries. On this basis, he estimates that the antiquity of these verses of the Veda must go back at least to 6,500 BC. The dates Frawley gives for Vedic civilisation are :
Period 1. 6500-3100 BC, Pre-Harappan, early Rig Vedic
Period 2. 3100-1900 BC, Mature Harappan 3100-1900, period of the Four Vedas
Period 3. 1900-1000 BC, Late Harappan, late Vedic and Brahmana period.
Professor Dinesh Agrawal of Penn State University reviewed the evidence from a variety of sources and estimated the dates as follows:
• Rig Vedic Age – 7000-4000 BC
• End of Rig Vedic Age – 3 750 BC
• End of Ramayana-Mahabharat Period – 3000 BC
• Development of Saraswati-Indus Civilization – 3000-2200 BC
• Decline of Indus and Saraswati Civilization – 2200-1900 BC
• Period of chaos and migration – 2000-1500 BC
• Period of evolution of syncretic Hindu culture – 1400-250 BC.
The Taittiriya Samhita (6.5.3) places the constellation Pleiades at the winter solstice, which correlates with astronomical events that took place in 8,500 BC at the earliest.
The Taittiriya Brahmana (3.1.2) refers to the Purvabhadrapada nakshatra as rising due east—an event that occurred no later than 10,000 BC, according to Dr. B.G. Siddharth of India’s Birla Science Institute. Since the Rig Veda is more ancient than the Brahmanas, this would put the Rig Veda before 10,000 BC.
Attempts to date the Rig Veda based on astronomical evidence have some merit, but the conclusions are hotly debated, and probably not entirely free of conjecture. Some contemporary scholars take them quite seriously as a method of dating the Rig Veda, but the evidence is inconclusive at present.
Evidence from Sthapatya Veda Architecture
Perhaps the most interesting evidence for the antiquity of the Vedic tradition comes from architectural remains of towns and cities of the ancient Indus-Saraswati civilisation. The Indus Valley Civilisation flourished, according to the most reliable current scientific estimates, between 2,600 and 1,900 BC—but there are cities, such as Mehrgarh, that date back to 6,500-7,000 BC. These dates are based on archeological field-work using standard methods that are commonly recognised in the scientific community today. Over 1600 settlements have been found in the vast Indus/Saraswati region that extended over 25,000 square miles.
The most well known cities of the Indus valley civilisation, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, were built of kiln-fired brick and laid out on an exact north-south axis. This means that the main streets of the city ran north-south, and the entrance of the homes and public buildings faced east. The cities were also built to the west of the rivers, so that they were on land that sloped east to the river.
These facts, which may seem trivial on first glance, turn out to be highly significant. The ancient architectural system of Sthapatya Veda prescribes detailed principles of construction of homes and cities. One of the main principles of Sthapatya Veda is that cities be laid out on an exact north-south grid, with all houses facing due east. Another is that the buildings be oriented to the east with a slope to the east and any body of water on the east. Most of the cities of the Saraswati and Indus valley followed these principles exactly.
These early cities were planned and constructed according to exact principles that align the microcosm of human dwelling to the larger cosmos. They applied laws of nature that are set out in Sthapatya Vedic architecture. When the principles were codified into a system is open to question, but since the building and city planning were done according to Sthapatya Vedic principles, it is reasonable to conclude that Sthapatya Veda was known and practiced during the ancient period of Indus-Saraswati valley civilisations. The system called Sthapatya Veda architecture may have preceded this period, or may have been codified later, but the cities were built according to Sthapatya Vedic architecture.
Since these cities were constructed as early as 6,500 to 7,000 BC, this would suggest that Sthapatya Veda may have been known as early as that. This gives another reason to put the origins of Rig Vedic tradition even before that time. This is another bit of evidence, which is not noted in previous literature, that may establish the great antiquity of the Rig Vedic tradition.
Archeological research has shown Indus Valley civilization was an outgrowth of an earlier agrarian civilisation. Richard H. Meadow of Harvard University has shown for instance a gradual shift from the hunting of game to the raising of sheep, goats, and cattle called the humped zebu, which were apparently domesticated in the Indus valley.
* * * The city of Mehrgarh, lying to the West of the Indus river near the Bolan Pass, between ancient India and Afghanistan, was first inhabited from 6,500 BC to 7,000 BC by a largely agrarian people who cultivated barley and cattle.
* * * The Rig Veda frequently mentions barley and milk cattle, and may have come from this agrarian period that was precursor to the Indus-Saraswati valley civilisation.
Yoga in the Ancient Indus Valley
There are still other reasons to think that the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro was home to a civilisation that knew the Vedic tradition. One artifact from Mohenjo-daro is a seal with a figure of a seated deity, in lotus posture. Mark Kenoyer describes this figure as “seated in a yogic posture.” Kenoyer characterises it as a deity with three faces, his feet in a yogic posture extending beyond the throne, with seven bangles on each arm, and a pipili plant adorning his head.
Here is further evidence that the Indus valley civilisation was not pre-Vedic. Rather than being overrun by “Indo-Europeans” who composed the Rig Veda, the Indus valley was apparently intimately linked to the Vedic tradition, and its kings practiced yoga. If the practice of yoga was known at the time of Indus valley civilisation, yoga must have been practiced in India before 1,900 when the Indus Valley settlements were withered by drought.
If the Indus valley civilisations practiced Sthapatya Veda architecture and Yoga, then the Vedic tradition was well established in India during the Indus valley civilisation which flourished, archeologists think, around 2,600 BC. The Indus Valley civilisation is thus either contemporaneous with the Vedic tradition, or the Vedic tradition was its predecessor; but in no case was the vast Indus Valley civilisation, extending over 2,500 square miles and 1,600 settlements, destroyed by outside invaders. The Indus-Saraswati civilisation may have been a successor to, or late remnant of, an earlier Vedic civilisation, which built their towns and cities on Sthapatya Vedic principles in the Indus valley and introduced yoga. It was the drying up of the Saraswati in around 1900 BC that ended Indus-Saraswati civilisation, not Aryan invaders.
In an article entitled, “Birth of a Civilization,” in Archeology, January/February 1998, anthropologist Mark Kenoyer sums up decades of scientific research on the archeology of India and argues that the Rig Veda verses were known on the subcontinent sometime before 1500 BC, by communities in the northwest area of the subcontinent. This is, again, a minimal date, not an attempt to fix the time of the Vedic period at 1,500 BC.
Maurice Winternitz, a German scholar and author of the two volume History of Indian Literature, extensively re-examined the evidence for Muller’s dates in 1981, a decade before the movement to push back the dates of Vedic civilisation that started in the 1990s. Winternitz estimated how long it would have taken for the vast body of Vedic literature to form and develop before the Buddhist revival in 500 BC. He considered each of the major periods of Vedic literature and estimated a bare minimal time for the incubation of each. His estimate of 1900 years put the beginning of the Vedic tradition at sometime before 2,400 BC as a bare minimum.
The vast literature of the Rig Veda, the Brahmanans, the Aranyakas, the Upanishads, the Vedangas, the Upangas, the Puranans, the Itihasa, the systems of Ayur-Veda, Winternitz argued—each a huge body of literature—required a sustained incubation period that must have taken an extended period of time. Winternitz could not imagine that this had taken place in the short span of time that had been assigned for it to happen between 1,500 BC and 500 BC when Buddha lived. This, it must be emphasised again, was Winternitz’s estimate of a minimum time, and was not meant to fix the date of the Rig Vedic beginning.
The City Under the Sea : Dwarka
Undersea exploration of an ancient city about half a mile off the coast of Gujarat in India, in 1981, lead to the discovery a city that had been submerged since 1,600 BC. The city is well established to be Dwarka, an ancient city mentioned in the Mahabharata, the great epic of the late Vedic period of Itihasa. The Mahabharata describes Dwarka as built on land reclaimed from the sea. Boulders have been found under the fortified city walls, showing that it was the result of land reclamation. The Mahabharata also mentions that Krishna warned the residents of Dwarka that the city would be reclaimed by the sea. The discovery of a seal engraved with a three-headed animal at the Dwarka site corroborates a reference made in the Mahabharata that such a seal was given to the city. Seven nearby islands described in the Mahabharata have also been discovered.
Since archeological research shows that the city was submerged around 1,600 BC, this would date the Mahabharata at least before 1,600 BC. Again this is a minimum time.
Pottery found at the site, inscribed with the script of the Indus valley civilisation, has been established by thermo-luminescene tests to be about 3,530 years old.
The Mahabharata was written toward the end of the classical Vedic period. If we accept Winternitz’s estimates a minimum of 1,500 years lapsed from the beginning of the Vedic period to the Mahabharata, then since Dwarka was submerged by 1,600, this would set the date of the Rig Veda back to before 3,100 BC. This again marks the minimum date of the Rig Veda, and should not be construed as a fixed date.
The body of literature produced by Greece and Rome from Homer to Proclus spans roughly 1,300 years. The Vedic tradition produced an even larger body of literature from the beginning of the Rig Veda to the end of the classical period; so it would probably require at least 1,300 years for the Vedic tradition to generate a larger amount of literature. If we take 1,600 BC as the minimum date of the Mahabharata, this would put the beginning of the Vedic tradition sometime before 2,900 BC. If we take Wintenitz’s estimate of at least 1,900 years, this would put the beginning of the Rig Veda before 3,500 BC.
Frawley and Rajaram, as well as many others, now put the date of the Mahabharata war at about 3,000 BC (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi also gives this date in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita). If we add 1,900 years incubation time as Winternitz estimates, this would put the dates of the Rig Veda back before 4,900 BC.
The Talmud relates that the dove brought the first olive branch to Noah from Mount Moriah. And Mount Moriah and the mountain Meru both lie in Asia. Here is the beginning of all things. Here is the source for all travelers and all searchers. Here is raised the first image of the Blessed Maitreya—Messiah—Muntazar, the Messiah now awaited by the Mohammedans. Thrice powerful M ! Here, above all disputes, the teachings have raised up the olive branch of the new world. Here is ordained the universal commune.
Some one voluntarily approached and touched our tent ! Who is this man, with his long black braid and a turquoise earring in his ear, and garbed in a white kaftan ? It is the Lama, Pema Don-dub, the local ikon painter. We ask, “Can you paint for us the Blessed Maitreya, exactly like the one in Tashi-lhunpo ?” He consents and now he sits on a tiny rug in the corner of the white gallery, and with various pigments, paints the Image full of symbols. He prepares the fabric for the painting and covers it with levkas (a mixture of chalk on glue), and irons it with a shell. He works exactly like Russian ikon painters. In the same way does he grind his colors, heat them on a coal pan; and thus does he keep an additional brush in his thick black hair. His Tibetan wife helps him to prepare his colors.
And so, in the corner of the white gallery is being conceived the ingenious image, many-colored. And each symbol upon it more clearly defines the Blessed One. Here is the frightful bird-like Garuda and wise Magi and Ganeshi, elephant of happiness, and Chintamani, the Steed, bearing on its back the miraculous stone, Treasure of the World. A sacred cycle of chosen symbols. And upon the image and the hands is laid pure gold.
Like our ikon painters, the artist lama chants hymns as he labors. The chants become more fervent; this means he is beginning upon the Image itself.
And another wonder occurs, only possible in this land. In the deep twilight when the waxing moon possesses all things, one hears through the house the silvery tones of a handmade flute. In the darkness, the artist lama is sitting upon his rug, playing with rapture before the image of Maitreya-Messiah-Muntazar.
The Strings of the Earth !
Where have passed the hordes of the great Mongols ?
Where has the lost tribe of Israel concealed itself ?
Where stands the “Throne of Solomon” ?
Where lie the paths of Christ the Wanderer ?
Where glow the bonfires of the Shamans, Bon-po, of the religion of demons ?
Where is Shalimar, the gardens of Jehangir ?
Where are the roads of Pamir, Lhasa, Khotan ?
Where is the mysterious cave, Amarnath ?
Where is the path of Alexander the Great to forgotten Taxila ?
Where are the walls of Akbar ?
Where did Ashvagosha teach ?
Where did Avan-tisvamin create ?
Where are the citadels of Chandragupta-Maurya ?
Where are the stones of wisdom of King Asoka ? . . .
All have passed by way of Kashmir. Here lie the ancient ways of Asia. And each caravan flashes by as a connecting link in the great body of the East. Here are the sandy deserts on the way to Peshawar; and the blue peaks of Sonamarg; and the white slopes of Zoji-La. And in the flight of the eagles is the same untiring spirit; in the fleet steed is the same unalterable motion. Nor does the world of roses and shawls of Kashmir resemble that forgotten and hidden world of Kashmiri blades.
“Sacre du Printemps“— when we composed it together with Stravinsky, we could not conceive that Kashmir would greet us with its very setting. In Ghari, camping out by night, when the vivid spring sky became afire with stars and the mountains were azured, we observed rows of fires upon the mountains. The fires started into motion, separated and strangely circled about. Then the mountain slopes became aglow with these fiery processions. And in the village below, dark silhouettes began to whirl about brandishing resin torches on long staffs. The flaming circles proclaimed the end of winter frosts. And the songs proclaimed the Sacred Spring. This is the festival of the Ninth of March.
“Bulbul,” the nightingale, sings on the apple tree. The cuckoo reckons out a long life. White linens are spread on the meadow and a samovar is boiling. Red and yellow apples and sweet cakes are passed around to those seated upon the spring grass. The eyes of the violets and the white and yellow narcissus are woven into a many-hued carpet. At evening, flocks of ducks and geese completely cover the tiny islands over the lakes. Small bears steal out on the spring glades. But none fears them—unless the mother-bear is with her cubs. . . .
The river banks are sloping. A line of boatsmen steer their canopied boats. . . . Upon a broad road the oxen drag themselves and the wheels grind along. Three-hundred-year-old plantains and tall poplars guard the ways. And the teeth of the encountered travelers gleam often in the smile of greeting.
In the sheds lie the sleighs—veritable Moscow sleighs. In the yard, a crane screeches above the well. The straw roof is overgrown with green moss. Along the road are gnarled willow trees. And the greetings of the children are noisy. But where is this ? Is it in Schuya or Kolomna? It is in Srinagar, in the “City of the Sun.”
Tiny, big-bellied pillars—small ornamental designs—steep little steps of stone—the gilded roofs of the temple—creaking, ornamented window-shutters—rusty locks—low little doors with their “curtesy”—carved balustrades—slanting tiles on stony floors—the odor of old lacquer—small windows with diminutive panes. Where are we then ? Is this the Kremlin of Rostov ? Are these the monasteries of Suzdal ? Are they the temples of Yaroslavl ? And what of the endless flocks of daws ? What of the naked branches behind the windows ? This is the chief palace of the Maharajah of Kashmir. How curious is everything which remains from antiquity. But the modern additions are hideous.
Upon the road are many Fords. In the hotel dining room one sees the faces of Americans. In the jewelry shop, side-by-side, hang two paintings—one of the view of Delhi, the other the view of the Moscow Kremlin. Among the crystals into which one gazes for destiny; among the sapphires of Kashmir and the Tibetan turquoises, are shimmering green Chinese jadaites—and like a garden, many-colored are the borders of the embroidered kaftans. Like precious shawls, the rooms of the museum are strewn with minute Iran-designs and “Gandhara,” belabored by destiny, unifies the cleft branches of West and East.
In the styles of the temples and mosques; in the angular carved dragons; in the tentlike, sloping hexagonal tower, is seen an unexpected combination of the old wooden churches of Norway and the Chinese pagodas. Out of one well is drawn the Romanesque Chimera, the animal ornaments of Altai and the tiny animals of Chinese Turkestan and China. The Siberian paths of the nations have carried afar the same meaning of adornment.
The fort of Akbar stands firmly planted. But after you have climbed the steepnesses and flights, you may perceive that the old bricks and the claybeaten cement barely hold together. The arches are ready to give way.
Nishad, the garden of Akbar, occupies the site from the lake to the hill—a high place. The structures are modest and upon the corners are the little towers so beloved by him. They are characterized by simplicity and brightness.
Shalimar—the garden of Jehangir—is also in character with its possessor, standing “for itself.” There is less of outward show, but more of luxury—of that luxury which brought the descendants of the Moguls to poverty. The last Mogul, in Delhi, secretly sold furniture out of the palace and destroyed the valuable facings of the walls of Shah Jehan and Aurungzeb. Thus ended the great dynasty.
The weaver of Kashmir accompanied the making of each of his designs with a special chant. Such a searching for rhythm reminds us of the great harmony of labor.
No song relates why the mountain “Throne of Solomon” bears this name. This is a place of such antiquity. Janaka, son of Asoka, had already dedicated here one of the first Buddhist temples. Seven centuries later the temple was rebuilt and consecrated to Mahadeva. . . . But whence comes the name of Solomon? The mountain received the name of Solomon from a legend that Solomon, desiring a respite from the conventions of a sovereign’s life and from the burdens of his court, transported himself upon a flying carpet to this mountain with his favorite wife. Here, again, we come upon the mention of that “flying apparatus” possessed by Solomon. A similar mountain is in Turkestan and in Persia.
It is not alone the mountain “Throne of Solomon” which transports the consciousness into biblical spheres. In the valley of Sindh the prophet Elijah is reverenced in a special manner. Most stirring are the legends; how the prophet sitting in his cave saves fishermen and travelers. Under various aspects, at times benevolent, at times stormy, the prophet appears to defend the works of justice and piety. Mohammedans and Hindus, divided by many differences, equally reverence the prophet Elijah.
Purple iris will always recall Moslem cemeteries. They are covered with these flowers. But there is also joy. The lilacs have blossomed, lilies of the valley are nodding and the wild cherry tree glistens.