2ndlook

1857: History & Propaganda

Posted in British Raj, European History, Gold Reserves, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on December 29, 2007

Between 1800 (death of Tipu Sultan) and 1857, the British got a grip on India. The real effect of the British Raj started after 1857. Looking back at 1857-India.

1857

With ‘official’ history as a guide, to many Indians, the Colonial Raj is a mix of clichés and propaganda.

India’s squalor, poverty, disease make many believe that India has always been a historically backward nation. Recent progress and successes make another group believe that we are on the thresh-hold of being a world power.

Both standpoints project current national status backward and forward. It may be instructive to take a dispassionate view of the Indian economy around the 1857, when hundreds of thousands of Indians rose as one against the British Raj.

India and Europe – study in contrasts

From 9th century to the 15th century, Europe was grappling with rampant Church persecution. The Bhakti and the Sufi movements were harmonising Indian belief systems. These movements led the Indian society to a forward-looking, integrative approach. Guru Nanak’s belief systems (Sikhism) and his approach to spreading the creed (make your eldest son my disciple) started making a difference.

While the Levant and the Occident were at each others throats, in the crusades, Islam and Hinduism had begun to acquire a critical balance with each other. Open hostility had receded at a social level (Kabir, Guru Nanak, Akbar, Tansen) and continued, intermittently, at a political level – for instance Aurangzeb.

The Vijaynagar kingdom (after the sacking in 1565, and the rump rulers) was the center of trade for India’s main exports – spices (from the South India and SE Asian archipelago), Wootz steel from the Deccan plateau, a multitude of silk centers from the Deccan and Southern coastal towns were the major exports. India’s biggest import was gold.

Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the trade route (May 20, 1498) expanded market for Indian goods and brought European buyers to India, laden with gold (looted from the New World). The monopoly of the Arab trade was broken. This started a gold rush to begin trade with India. Over the next 70 years, major European, formed chartered companies.

The Chartered Companies

Britain was the first off the mark – with the English East India Company formed in the 1600. The Dutch started soon after with the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Co.) in 1602. The Danish Opperhoved initially started in 1616 and was reborn in 1732, as Asiatisk Kompagni. The Portuguese organised themselves as chartered company in 1628. The French came with the French East India Co. in 1664. The Swedes joined the rat race in 1731 with Svenska Ostindiska Companiet. The Italians came in as the Genoa East India companies. The Hanseatic League had its own operations.

Slavery

The use of slave labour in huge quantities, the loot of gold from North and South Americas, Australia and Africa was exactly the opposite of trade based economy in India. For instance, slave produced cotton from America was cheaper than Indian cotton. During the American Civil War, when cotton production suffered, it set off a boom in India.

Indian Exports – 1700

Between 1707 (Death of Aurangzeb), and 1757, the Battle of Plassey, the Indian economy was booming. 3 significant sectors which contributed to this boom. Apart from significant agrarian output – spices, timber, Indigo, etc. Indian industrial output was a major item in our goods basket – fabric, gems and jewellery and metals. India was a technology leader in these industrial sectors.

Precision Cutting Tools

South India was the only source of diamonds till middle 18th century. Being the hardest, natural substance on Earth, diamond cutting was a high technology industry and India monopolized this business till the 14th century. From circa 6th century, we have the Buddha Bhatta’s text “Ratnapariksha” which served as a manual for Indian gemologists. The French traveller Tavernier reputedly (call it ancient industrial espionage) took that technology to Europe.

Brazilian diamond finds in 1725, the South African discovery in 1866-67 changed the supply equation. The auction of Napoleon III’s French Royal diamonds in 1871 brought diamonds in limelight. Boucheron, Bapst along with Tiffany and Co. cleaned up this auction. The Koh-i-noor continues to captivate the minds of people.

It is this skill and technology acquired over the centuries that makes India into a global hub for diamonds. The diamond cutting dominance by India is by now a 2500 year old phenomenon.

While on cutting tools, one cannot forget the role of lubricants. The finest lubricants is castor oil – which was identified, grown and a monopoly of India till 1950s. Only in the 1960′s did other synthetic fuels and lubricants start competing with castor oil. It has ‘incredible film strength’ – and can resist tremendous pressure. It’s superior ‘wetting ability’ makes it also very effective. One expert on extracting performance from go-kart vehicles says,

For consistently squeezing that last bit of performance out of your engine, it’s pretty hard to beat castor oil as the lubricant in your fuel.’

What special about castor oil: ‘Two words – IT WORKS.’

Metallurgy

As late as 1908, Indian metallurgical skills were known and acknowledged in Europe – the then economic and technological powerhouse of the world.

The high quality of the native-made iron, the early anticipation of the processes now employed in Europe for the manufacture of high-class steels, and the artistic products in copper and brass gave India at one time a prominent position in the metallurgical world.‎ (Page 128 – The Imperial Gazetteer of India: Vol Iii; Originally published in 1908. Author: The Indian Empire Language: English).

The Ashoka pillar made of steel, now in New Delhi, is a marvel of metallurgy. For more than 1600 years, it has stood in the rain, exposed to scorching sun, freezing winters and buried under the earth for a few years.

Still shining. No rust. And no deterioration. Estimated at 6-7 tons in weight, nearly 70 feet in height – and cast in a single block. There are reputedly other such pillars at Dhar and Kodachadri (Karnataka).

Konark Sun TempleKonark Sun Temple (related to Sun Temple at Karnak, Egypt?) used about 2000 tons of lodestone and iron clamps. No mortar, no bricks. Iron clamps helped to keep up parts of this structure in the air based on magnetic repulsion. The iron beams survived for more than 700 years. The Jagannath Puri temple has similar quality and vintage of steel.

As the source (for Konark temple) Dharmapad, recounts, Narasimha Dev, the ruling king, ordered the sculptors to complete construction earlier than the estimated time – with accompanying threats. The team could not keep up with the king’s schedule, and the Sutradhar (Chief Architect) Sri Sibei Samantaray was sidelined. Another architect was assigned the job of completing this work. The newly appointed Sutradhar did complete the work by the stipulated time – but since he did not have the plans, structural inconsistencies crept in.

Wootz steel, was the preferred input in the world, for swords, pistols and such. Known as Damascus steel, it went into Japanese Katanas, European guns. The famed Damascus steel swords, armour and pistols, used steel ingots imported from India as Wootz steel. Indian exports of Wootz was a big earner for India till British efforts killed this industry in India. Subsequent efforts to “reverse engineer” this technology in Europe during the 20th century, has been unsuccessful. Damascus was the trading centre over which the Battle of Kadesh, the biggest chariot battle, was fought between the Indo-Aryan Hittites and the Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses-II fought.

The world’s first suspension bridge, at Menai Straits, in Britain, used Indian steel. Colonial geologists, Pataki Krishna Chaterjee and Thomas Henry Diggs La Touche, noticed that,

“….its (iron’s) superiority is so marked, that at the time when the Britannia tubular bridge across the Menai Straits was under construction preference was given to the use of iron produced in India”.

Was British reluctance and obstruction to Tata Steel plans in early 20th century a result of fear of Indian steel making prowess? Between the Mittals and the Tatas, Indians dominate the world of steel again.

Historical irony in the making?

Fiber, Fabric & Weaving

For 3000 years, Indian fibre and weaving ruled the world. King Cotton and Golden Fibre Jute. While the King cotton story is well-known, Dhaka muslin was till the 20th century the finest cloth you could buy.

Indian silks competed with the Chinese.

What is not so well-known is the cultivation of Jute. Jute, Indian Hemp, Hessian, Burlap, – different names for the same fibre, was the monopoly packing material, till the 1960s – as it was the best packing material for wide variety of goods. Western efforts at ‘beggar thy neighbour’, created some synthetic fiber alternatives that are more expensive – and not in the same class. A new application for Jute is its use in making car interiors and panels.

Model Of Vasco Da Gamas nau

Model Of Vasco Da Gama's nau

Shipbuilding

50 years before Independence, a 100 years ago, India was one of the largest ship building countries in the world. Indian shipbuilding was centered along the Western Coast in Kalyan, Bhivandi and Mumbai, in South India at Narsapurpeta (near Masulipatnam) and in Bengal at Chittagong and Hooghly. The “modern era” began with the building of a dry dock at Bombay about 1750; a second was erected in Calcutta about 1780. During the 19th century, the industry was in a period of expansion and prosperity. However, for the last 100 years, the yards have been in a general decline.

During Shivaji’s reign, as per estimates, more than 300 ships of 300 tons capacity were launched. The Wadias alone built more than 350 ships – during 1735-1863 170 war vessels for the East India Company, 34 man-of-war defence vessels for the British Navy, 87 merchant vessels for private firms, and three vessels for the Queen of Muscat at Bombay docks. After the Bombay Port Trust was formed in 1870, the shipbuilding on the Western Coast moved to Mumbai. In 1872, Jamshedji Wadia, from a Parsi ship-building family, constructed the “Cornwallis”, a frigate with 50 guns, bought by the East India Company. This led to several orders from the British Navy.

Bengal was the other major port where ship building was for global markets. Chittagong was the center for shipbuilding (now in Bangladesh). The Turkish Navy (a major world power till WWI) was a major customer. The Mughal and British navies were the other significant defence customers. Merchants cargo ships were in significant demand. Ma Huan, the famous chronicler and interpreter of Zheng He (also called Cheng Ho) voyages, during the Ming dynasty, studied boat building in Bengal during the early 15th century (1400-1410).

The third major center for ship building was Narsapurpeta (near Masulipatnam) port – which was a major center of exports of steel, diamonds, saltpetre (potassium nitrate, for gunpowder, to kill Indians, Negroes, Aborigines and Red Indians with) from the Deccan plateau.

These buyers preferred Indian ships, because of better jointing technology and elimination of metal sheeting. Indian shipbuilders had a special system where wood was seasoned in partial vacuum, with oils for timber improvement. British shipbuilders, colonialists ensured through tariff and other barriers, that Indian shipbuilding “was prevented from continuing to develop, even though it had a proven ability to adapt to changing technological needs” – and thus finally killing it. British naval superiority rested on Indian ships – and paid for by exploitation of Indian resources.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama’s ocean-going ship, the Sao Gabrielcame to India. The Portuguese caravel are well-known. But what do the Portuguese call their ocean-going ships? Nau. Yes, nau as in Hindi, for boat. Few of these Indian built ships have been recovered in various parts of the world. Indian shipbuilding expertise ruled the world – till colonialism killed it.

Public Health

During the 13th to 19th century, Europe, Britain and America suffered from many epidemics – plague, influenza, small pox, typhus, TB and others. Africa, China and Levant suffered – but lesser. In the history of epidemics, India’s name is missing – much like in the slavery roster. India joined the epidemics list after the start of colonial rule – the result of an ignorant and indifferent administration, to be generous.

What is it that Indians did, that eliminated their name from epidemics roster before the arrival of colonial rule?

Use of copper for storage of water, among many practices. (Taking a bath daily was another, for instance).

Recent tests have confirmed that copper has significant negative effect on e.coli organisms, when contaminated water is stored in copper vessels. Traditional copper vessels used for water storage, disinfected water naturally. Similarly the use of silver reduced infection rates.

Why did this stop?

With colonial exploitation, famines and scarcity increased. The marginal members of society had to sell their copper and start using earthen pots which have reduced effectiveness. Crime increased in colonial India – by the actions of the Raj itself. Post -colonial Indian society was ‘modernizing.’ So they decided to upgrade to stainless steel – which has no such properties. Hence, water-borne diseases continue to hit India.

Indians pioneered the use of ‘variolation’ to prevent small pox – and spread of this system to Africa and Middle East reduced small pox deaths. Lady Mary Wortly Montagu, wife a British ambassador, introduced variolation to England during early 1700s (estimated date 1717). Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur discovered vaccination more than 75 years after these practices started getting used in Europe.

After 1857 – a war of a different kind

Unable to gain military advantage, British armed forces used Indian human populations as human shield. For each military success of the Indian armies, the British armies exacted retribution on the local non-combatant populations. This reign of terror and brutality on Indian populations disarmed the Indian armies and they ended the war.

Rule Britannia

Rule Britannia

And Britain started a more insidious war – a propaganda war. History started getting twisted, perverted, mutilated – and over the next 100 years, Indian and world history was changed beyond recognition.

In fact, after 1857, racist propaganda and cultural baggage came covertly – to gain better traction at home and in the colonies. For instance, Priya Joshi, a researcher shows that after 1857, book shipments from Britain to India increased by a factor of three.

The most interesting bit is the cold-blooded murder of the historical Semiramis. You will find that Semiramis as an Assyrian Queen till the 1850-60 period histories. Suddenly, all books from 1860 onwards, treat Semiramis as a wanton, decadent, probably mythical, a perverted sluttish character.

Mired in legend and prejudice, Semiramis is discredited in modern Western history – especially starting from 1853-1857. Her very existence denied, accused of incest, Semiramis has been tarred and condemned to the rubbish heap of modern history – and the Bible. Semiramis established an empire that lasted, practically till WW1. Some 300 years, after the reign of Semiramis, the Assyrian Empire passed into Persian hands. From the Persians, into Alexander’s lap.

Alexander’s raid of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, finally turned out to be an overthrow of the Achaemenid dynasty, usurpers of the Assyrian Empire. Unable to make headway into India, as the Indian Brahmins who had influenced Indian princes to organize and support the Indian war against Alexander. Greek sources cite, after this realization, at ‘The City of Brahmans’, Alexander massacred an estimated 8000-10,000 of these non-combatant Brahmans.

Alexander’s massacres in India, a colonial historian informs us (without naming a source), earned him an “epithet … assigned (to) him by the Brahmins of India, The Mighty Murderer.” This Indian Brahmanic characterization of Alexander, commonly taught to English schoolchildren and present in English college texts, as The Mighty Murderer, curiously disappeared from Western-English texts soon after 1860 – and instead now “a positive rose-tinted aura surrounds Alexander” … !

Behind this propaganda

A man who is much (wrongly) admired in India today – Max Mueller. For instance in Max Muller’s colonial propagandist history, when it comes to Indian triumphs over Semiramis, she becomes half-legendary. Yet in another book, the same Semiramis becomes one of ‘the great conquerors of antiquity.’ In a matter of a few pages, he dismisses Indian history completely, in a half-Hegelian manner.

Aiding Max Mueller, English poets were press ganged into this propaganda war. Matthew Arnold wrote how, India, a ‘philosopher’s nation’, from

“The East bowed low before the blast
In patient, deep disdain,
She let the legions thunder past,
And plunged in thought again.”

Matthew Arnold’s influence in Indian education can be gauged by Indian-English language poetry, that was for long derisively called as Matthew Arnold in a Saree”. Just before 1857 War, the writing of another ‘influential’ poet, John Keats, became popular. In a hubristic haze, Keats wrote how,

The kings of Ind their jewel-sceptres vail,
And from their treasures scatter pearled hail;
Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans,
And all his priesthood moans,
Before young Bacchus’ eye-wink turning pale.

Much of modern history’s debates and questions were born during this time – verily created to wage a propaganda war against India – and the world. India’s cultural stature in the pantheon of world’s societies was reduced to a minimal role – and the Greek Miracle was born.

This propaganda war continued well for another 100 years. In the middle of WW2, Britain pulled out a general from the Italian theatre of war and sent him to India – to head colonial India archaeological operations.

One evening in early August 1943, Brigadier General Mortimer Wheeler was resting in his tent after a long day of poring over maps, drawing up plans for invasion of Siciliy. Mortimer Wheeler was invited to become the director general of archaeology by the India Office of the British government in its last years of rule in South Asia … Summoning a general from the battlefields of Europe was an extraordinary measure, an admission both of the desperate condition of Indian archaeology and an acknowledgment of its vital importance. (from The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture … – Google Books).

Amazing!

Why would the glorious British Empire, on which the sun never set, struggling for its very existence, in the middle of WW2, suddenly pull a general back from the battlefield – and put him into archaeology! Especially, when it was clear that they would be departing from India – sooner than later.

Considering what theories came from Mortimer Wheeler’s rather fertile ‘imagination’ and his rigourous archaeological process, raises even more questions. There may be the facile answer that the British were after all ‘searching for history and truth’.

And it led Mortimer Wheeler to remark,

“They demonstrate with astonishing clarity the extent to which the brief transit of Alexander did in fact Hellenize almost instantly vast tracts of Asia populated previously by nomads or semi-nomads and villagers”

It is this one incident which possibly has answers to many unanswered questions like: -

  1. The amount of energy expended by the West in defending the Aryan Invasion /Migration Theory,
  2. The lack of access to Indian scholars of the archaeological sites in Pakistan,
  3. The many myths in Indian history,
  4. The clues to the partition of India
  5. The dating problems

et al.

Just why did the world’s foremost imperial power, struggling for its very existence, suddenly pull a general from the battle field, in the middle of WW2 – and put him on the job of digging dirt.

Only one explanation fits – it had to be a struggle for its own existence at a higher level!

5000 Years Of Poverty

By the end of the 19th century, Colonial India was de-urbanising. Populations in Indian agrarian network was increasing. Agricultural taxes were high. Hence, food production declined. Famines had become a regular feature. Industrial production was a distant memory. British colonial rule – especially from 1925 onwards, drastically changed the economic situation in India. From the richest to the poorest in a short period of a 100 years.

Tragically, our illustrious Finance Minister, P.Chidambaram says “I want to end 5000 years of poverty” in the Parliament and the media. In contrast, at various fora, there are discussions about how India will become a super power in this century.

While Chidambaram is factually incorrect, Indophiles are unrealistic. They fondly hope and believe that India is a one step away from being a super power. At best, we have a unique history. To improve the outlook on India’s uncertain future, a better understanding of our situation and more investments (not only money) are required.

Recent macro-economic research and modeling gives an interesting perspective on Indian economy through the last 1000 years. This shows that for much of the last 1000 years, India has been a significant economic power till the 1900 or so.

Rush for credit

Now that India is no longer a ‘basket case’ there are people lining up to take credit for India’s success. Fronting the queue are some from the Indian Diaspora – the likes of Lord Meghnad Desai and Jagdish Bhagwati. Or from the West. For instance, Angus Maddison, writes, in The Economic and Social Impact of Colonial Rule in India

“British imperialism was more pragmatic than that of other colonial powers. Its motivation was economic, not evangelical. There was none of the dedicated Christian fanaticism which the Portuguese and Spanish demonstrated in Latin America and less enthusiasm for cultural diffusion than the French (or the Americans) showed in their colonies. For this reason they westernized India only to a limited degree.”

Mr.Maddison, British ‘pragmatism’ sprang from the fierceness of the 1857 War. It was the Indian backlash to cultural imperialism, that made British rulers change their policy. The implied enlightenment, modernism of the British, by Shri Maddison, is entirely misplaced.

Initially, in matters of religious conversions the English copied the Spanish. The Chairman of the Directors of the East India Company, Ross Donnelly Mangles, piously declared in the British House Of Commons–

“Providence has entrusted the extensive empire of Hindustan to England, in order that the banner of Christ should wave triumphant from one end of India to the other. Everyone must exert all his strength that there may be no dilatoriness on any account in continuing in the country the grand work of making India Christian.”.

It took a revolution in the Haiti to start the end of the Spanish Empire – and the 1857 War Of Independence in India to end the English campaign to ‘convert the heathen’ and ‘civilize the pagan Hindoos’. After the 1857 War Of Independence, the Colonial India Government printed leaflets in tens and thousands confirming the British policy had changed. One commentator noted, these leaflets informed the local Indian population that “that she (Queen Victoria) would not interfere with the religion of the native, or countenance any favoritism in matters of faith.” (bold letters mine).

In all this congratulations about the Rise of India, what is forgotten, ignored, at least never mentioned is the decline of Great Britain. Ironically, in various debates, Churchill who so well represented British attitudes, saw little future for India, after British departure. Events forced the British hand.

India, led by “men of straw,” has moved from being a ship-to-mouth’ basket-case, to a significant economic and political success. Even though, Indians were after led by ‘men of straw … of whom no trace will be found after a few years’.

And the chief among them was ahalf naked fakir‘.


3 That Changed The World – Boghazkoi Clay Tablets

Posted in Current Affairs, History, India, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on December 25, 2007
Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, Southern Egypt. (Photograph by David S. Boyer, Courtesy - National Geographic).

Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, Southern Egypt. (Photograph by David S. Boyer, Courtesy - National Geographic). Click for larger photograph.

Ramesses-II goes to war

1301 BC. An Egyptian land army, numbering more than 20,000, (divided in 4 divisions), set out on a campaign, lead by Pharoah Ramesses-II of the XIX Dynasty.

Ramesses-II, lived for more than 90 years, was probably the Pharaoh at the time of Exodus of Hebrews under Moses.

Ramesses-II is known in history for the construction during his reign. Most notably, the Temple Of Abu Simbel, Temple Of Nefertari. How would Abu Simbel read in Sanskrit – ‘abu’ is elephant, ‘simba’ is sinh i.e. lion and ‘bal’ is strength.

Cause of War Of Kadesh

Of the two warring sides, one was the Egyptian Pharoah RamessesII (1279-1212 BCE). With a land army of 20,000, and a naval Egyptian force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement. Ramesses-II set out to punish a small kingdom. Of Hittites, for trying to lure the Amurrus, Egyptian vassals, to the Hittite side.

Bedoiun Slaves Being Beaten - Battle Of Kadesh

Bedouin Slaves Being Beaten - Battle Of Kadesh

A lesser known (to modern history) element, were the Hittites led by Muwutalli-II, who had cobbled an alliance of small kingdoms.

Both these kingdoms were interested in the Syria and Palestine areas through which trade was carried out with India. Syriac and Palestinian lands were controlled by the Amurru – who were Egyptian vassals. The Hittites were a liberalising element in the Middle East /West Asia and possibly the Amurrus had defected to protect their political identity.

The campaign

During the march, leading to the Kadesh battle, the Egyptian army captured two Bedouin “spies”. These “spies”, after being sufficiently beaten, “revealed” to the Pharoah important information – giving confidence to the Pharoah that the Hittites feared the approaching Egyptian army. The truth was the opposite.

Battle Of Kadesh

Battle Of Kadesh

The Greatest Chariot Battle In History

What followed was a historic chariot battle.

The awaiting Hittites ambushed the Egyptian army. These spies, in fact, were Hittites – sent to misinform the Egyptians!! An estimated 2500 Hittite (Ramesses’ estimate) chariots saw action. For two days the battle of Kadesh raged. Fought on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria.

The Egyptian king was saved at the last minute by the appearance of his reserve troops.

The Historic Treaty

After this battle, the Egyptians and the Hittites sat down and wrote their versions of this battle – which makes it rather unique. One of the few times in ancient history, where we get both versions of the battle. Two copies of the treaty were made. One, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other, in Hittite-Akaddian, and both survived. Only one difference in both the copies – the Egyptian version (recorded on a silver plaque) states that the Hittite king who wanted peace. In the Hittite copy, it was Ramesses-II who sent emissaries.

Queen Nefertari (Photograph by Kenneth Garrett 1997, NGM, From Treasures of Egypt, 2003.).

Queen Nefertari (Photograph by Kenneth Garrett 1997, NGM, From Treasures of Egypt, 2003.).

The two queens – critical factor

Peace broke when the queens of Hatti and Egypt, Puduhepa and Nefertari, sent one another congratulatory gifts and letters. Over the next 15 years, they arrived at modus vivendi and drafted a peace treaty. Puduhepa continued to be an active diplomat, co-signatory to the treaty of  Ulmi-Teshub treaty.

This peace treaty is the first in recorded history. A replica of this peace pact, in cuneiform tablet, found at Hattusas, Boghazkoi, hangs above the Security Council Chamber, United Nations, in New York, – a demonstration to modern nations the power of peace through international treaties. At Boghazkoi other Hiitite treaties have been found.

Another Treaty

The second discovery in the West Asian history, is the Treaty between the Mitannis and Hittites. In 1450 BC, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites entered into a treaty with the Mitannis. The Mittanis of the Amarna Tablets fame were linked to the significant power in the region – Egypt. As already outlined, the Mittanis were the closely associated with the Egyptian Pharaohs by marriage. And the Mittanis were also Indo-Aryans.Treaty Of Kadesh

What Is Special About This Treaty

In this treaty, Vedic Gods like Indra, Varuna, The Ashwini twins were invoked to bless and witness the treaty. The Hittites who had become past masters at treaties did not invoke these Gods with any other kingdom – except the Mitannis. Hittites and Mitannis were Indo- Aryan kingdoms – in full presence, with their Vedic Gods and culture.

The Zannanzas Puzzle

The 3rd interesting link between the Mitannis and the Hittites was the Zannanzas affair. After the death of Tutankhamen, (The Boy King) the XVIIIth Dynasty of Egypt was without a ruler. Tutankhamen’s queen, Ankhesenamun, a princess of Mitanni descent, needed a husband to continue the dynasty and protect the throne. She sent some urgent missives to the Hittite King, Suppiluliuma – asking him to send his son, to her as a husband, and become the King Of Egypt. The suspicious Hittite king ignored the missive. A second missive followed – and then a young prince was sent to Thebes (the capital was moved from Amarna back to Thebes).

The young prince never reached Egypt. He was possibly killed en route. And Tutankhamen’s Queen? Never been heard of since then.

How Do We Know All This

In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist , Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (now identified as the ancient city of Hattusas) in Cappadocia, 150-200 kms from Ankara, Turkey. The name of the Hittite city, Hattusas, is possibly derived from the Sanskrit word, hutashan, हुताशन meaning ‘”sacred sacrificial fire.”

He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which proved to be of tremendous interest. A Czech cryptographer, born in Poland, working in Germany, Friedrich (or Bedrich) Hrozny, working in Germany cracked this code over the next 15 years – and that set off a furore amongst archaeologists.

What do the Boghaz koi tablets show

Deciphered cuneiform tablets show Hittite worship of Varuna, Mitra and Indra – Gods worshipped by Indo-Aryans. Rulers and Kings had names likes Shutruk (Shatrughna), Tushrutta meaning “of splendid chariots” (similar to Dashratha; Master of Ten Chariots) Rama-Sin (Assyrian Moon Good was Sin; in Hindi Ramachandra), Warad (Bharat). One of the Hittite allies against Ramesses II was Rimisharrinaa, रामशरण the King of Aleppo. (One of my grand uncles is also named as रामशरण – a common Indian name 4000 years later, 4000 kilometers apart).

These Hittites ruled immediately before and after Hammurabi – the much proclaimed western world’s first law giver. Hammurabi’s legal concepts of vengeful laws and retributive justice are the basis of laws in the 3 ‘desert religions.’

The Elam culture had a language which is similar to Dravidian languages. The Mitannite, Kikkuli, wrote on how to manage chariot horses. Egyptian king, Amenhotep I, married a Mittanite princesses. Elamites were founders of the first kingdom in the Iranian geography.

Some archaeologists await the discovery of tombs to establish the identity of kings. They may never find them. In Vedic cultures, there are no tombs – like the Pyramids, or the Catacombs, or Mausoluems. Vedic Indo Aryans cremate their dead. They do not build memorials or mausoluems.

Religious freedom

The Hittite kingdom came to be known as the “kingdom of thousands of gods.” Like the Mittani, the Hittites too, added the gods of the conquered people to their own list of gods – instead of imposing the Hittite religion on the conquered peoples.

Why does this sound familiar?

This is significant as the Western concept of slavery was to deprive the captured of their religions (for instance, The Wends and their religion). This is another display of slave reform by Indics 3000 years ago.

Valued 3000 years later

These inscriptions were held sacred by the locals, 3000 years later and William Wright, an European investigator, had difficulty in noting these inscriptions. In 1870 The Hittites were named, by William Wright and Oxford University linguist A. H. Saycebased on Biblical short references, as one of the tribes of Palestine in the first millennium BC. It was a “son of Heth—a Hittite—who sold the Prophet Abraham the land to bury his much-loved wife, Sarah”. Modern view is Hattusas-Hittites (Yazilikaya/Boghazkoi/Carchemish) have nothing to do with the Biblical Hittites.

The Boghazkoi tablets changed modern history. From a completely Greco-Roman (read Euro-centric) history, the pendulum had swung to the other end. Boghazkoi showed Indian presence in the thick of West Asia in the year 2000BC with their culture and technology. This has pushed Indian history back by at least by 2000 years – to 4000 BC.

The Amarna letters and the Boghazkoi tablets have given archaeological proof of the Indo Aryan spread. Earlier, theories were retro-fitted, based on Biblical dates (Max Mueller’s, (specialist in “Compartive Theology”); main aim – “save” Indian pagans; make them see “the light” of Christian belief), colonial propaganda (Max Mueller, though a German, was a British employee) and racism. Hazy systems like philology, linguistics, comparative linguistics were used to define history. Now hard archaeological proof shows something else. Written texts, deciphered and decrpyted give us a new theory.

These discoveries and their implications have been buried under a mound of silence. Although well known in academic circles, these discoveries have not been used to update popular history. In the next (and last instalment of this series) I will trace how DNA testing is the third major tool used to reveal history!

PS – One of the big hits in Japan is the manga comic series “Red River” by Chie Shinohara. The entire series is based on this interaction between the Hittites and The Egyptians. The Red River is a work of fiction – so it cannot be taken as history – but the intrigue, silence, drama obviously inspired the author.

Another Egyptian force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement.
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3 That Changed History – The Amarna Letters

Posted in Current Affairs, History, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on December 23, 2007

A Thousand Miles up the Nile

A hundred and twenty years ago, in 1887 AD, a peasant woman of Tell el-Amarna, now a small village on the Nile and midway between Cairo and Luxor, was digging for sebakh (a form of natural, domestic fertiliser). Instead, what she came up with were 380 clay tablets from beneath the floor of a ruined mudbrick house. These were the “Amarna” letters – a treasure trove of clay tablets. These clay tablets, that survived, are now divided between the British Museum, the Berlin Museum, and Cairo Museum.

Tushrutta Letter to Egyptian PharoahWhat were these letters

These were later identified as part of Tutankhamen’s lost “The Place of the Letters of the Pharaoh” or ‘Pharoah’s House of Correspondence’. These letters were from notables of the Levant or Pharaoh’s record copies of replies – including letters to both Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti. These letters were seemingly “lost” when Amarna was abandoned early in the reign of Tutankhamun. What these clay tablet letters showed was a significant Indo Aryan connection.

Enter The Mittanis

One series are letters written by a Mittani king named Tushratta (meaning ” of splendid chariots”, similar to Dashratha meaning ” of ten chariots”) writes to his son-in-law, Amenhotep III, the king of Egypt ( the letter reads much like an Indian father-in-law’s letter will). Amenhotep married Tadukhepa, Tushratta’s daughter.

In these letters Tushrutta reminds Amenhotep, how his father, Thutmose IV had sought marriage seven times, with Tushrutta’s daughter, before this marriage to, Tadukhipa, was agreed upon. Similarly, in order to marry Hattusil II’s daughter, the Amorite King Putakhi agreed, in the treaty of alliance for a specific clause “to the effect that the sovereignty over the Amorite should belong to the son and descendants of his daughter for evermore”.

What is it, about these Indic princesses, that made them so sought after?

Tushrutta’s (was an Indo-Aryan king) ‘grandson’ (son of his son-in-law) became Akhenathen (ऐकःनाथें, 1352-1336 B.C) – who formed a new monotheistic religion (apart from Sanskrit, in current Hindi also, one God is एकनाथ). He was one of the first few kings who differentiated between his kingliness and the Godliness of Aten (The One). His chief wife was Nefertiti – who was given an important position – much against the male centred kingdoms and religions that were to follow. He founded the city of Akhetaten (The Horizon of the Aten), at the modern Amarna – where these tablets were found. His mother was Tiye. And the name of their eldest daughter – Sita (full name Sita-amen; Sitamen's Nameamen after the Sun god Amen Ra).

Queen NefertitiAkhenathen died in his seventeenth year on the throne and his reforms did not survive for much longer. His co-regent and successor Smenkhare, died after a short reign and power passed to the boy king, Tutankhamun (originally Tutankhaten).

Tutankhamen – The Boy King

During his reign the city of Akhetaten (modern Amarna) was abandoned and Amun and the other gods were reinstated. In Western terms, the “Atenist heresy” was overturned, Akhenaten´s image and names were chiseled from his monuments and his sun temples were dismantled. Modern Amarna, till then a glorious city, crumbled back into the desert and his name (and that of his two immediate successors) was left out of the Kings lists produced shortly after.

After Tutankhamen

Akhenathen’s successor for a short while was Tutankhamen (yes, of the Howard Carter fame). Tutankhamen was Akhenathen son (not by Nefertiti) by Kiya (possibly the mother of Smenkhare and Tutankhamun).

Tutankhamen (1336-1327 BC) ruled for a short while, and there are numerous theories swirling regarding his death. His widow, Queen Ankhesenamen, was widowed at an early age. The Kingdom was adrift. Akhenathen had cut away the rulers from the powerful nobles and priests with his new religion. And the Queen Ankhesenamen, sent an emissary to another Indo Aryan kingdom in that area.

And that is another story. And another nail in the old history coffin.

Tutankhamen’s dynasty (18th dynasty) was succeeded by Ramesses of the 19th dynasty. Ramesses name can also be transcribed as RaMeSein. We also know that Sin was the Assyrian moon goddess, popular in that area, hence Ramesses actually will be translated to Ramachandra in Sanskrit!

Who were the Mittanis

Were some Egyptian dynasties possibly related to the various Indian ‘chandravanshis’ ruler families?

The Mittanis, one of the at least three Indo Aryan groups (the other two were the Hittites and Elamites) were major players in West Asia sphere. The Mitanni worshiped Vedic gods, were connected by marriage across several generations to the Egyptian 18th dynasty – the most prominent dynasty during whose rule Egyptian power, prosperity and culture peaked – and to which Akhenaten belonged.

The first Mitanni king was Sutarna I (Sanskrit meaning “good sun”). Mitanni kings were named (who followed Sutarna-I) Paratarna I (Sanskritic meaning “great sun”), Parashukshatra (the Egyptian Parashurama, “ruler with axe”), Saukshatra (“son of Sukshatra, the good ruler”), Artatama or Ritadhama (“abiding in cosmic law”), Tushratta, (Dasharatha), and finally Matiwazza (Mativaja, “whose wealth is prayer”) during whose lifetime the Mitanni state was subordinated to Assyria.

The daughter of King Artatama was married to Tuthmose IV, Akhenaten’s grandfather, and the daughter of Sutarna II (Gilukhipa, – “khipa” of these names is the Sanskrit “kshipa,” night) was married to his father, Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC), the great temple builder (alike the focus on temple construction in South East Asia 1000 years later).

Queen SitamenIn his old age, Amenhotep wrote to Dasharatha many (7 requests are documented and evidenced) times wishing to marry his daughter, Tadukhipa. It appears that by the time she arrived Amenhotep III was dead. Tadukhipa married the new king Akhenaten and she became famous as the queen Kiya (short for Khipa).

The Egyptian kings had other wives as well. Akhenaten’s mother, Tiye, was the daughter of Yuya, a Mitanni married to a Nubian. Nefertiti was, possibly, the daughter of Tiye’s brother Ay, who was to become king himself. The 18th dynasty had a liberal dose of Indic blood.

Other Linkages

There was a Sun Temple at Karnak in Egypt – and there is a sun temple at Konark in Orissa even today. There are many Pharaohs named Sheshonk /Sheshenq under various dynasties. Shashank शशांक (meaning moon) is common name in India even today – which ties in with the many names that Pharoahs took . This name also is also similar to Sheshnag, शेषनाग, the infinite serpent on whom Vishnu rests – and Egyptians revered snakes.

RenenutetApart from these archaeological finds, there is huge supporting body of philological and linguistic evidence (based on which most modern historical theories have been postulated) which point to significant presence and influence in the Middle East – between Turkey to Syria and Iran; right upto the borders of modern sub-continental India.

The Loyal Black Rat

Who is a witness to these path breaking adventures and long, lonely journeys across Asia, by these interpid Indians?

The Black Rat (Rattus rattus).

As per a new report by an Australian researcher, the Indian rat migration began 20,000 years – a corollary of human travel, and not natural migration. The route of this spread is through the Middle East – and later to Europe.

Speculatively speaking

When enterprising Indian traders set out from India and slowly spread across the Middle East to Turkey – spreading their languages, religion and social systems, travelling in caravans of bullock-carts. And ships of the fabled land of Ophir, from South India, known as Oviyarnadu, came to West Asia, carrying ivory, peacocks, monkeys, sandalwood (says the Bible).

These loyal rats travelled with the interpid Indian traders, on their ships and bullock carts, is how I think these rats spread. This is yet another part of the jigsaw – in which the Amarna letters, the Boghazkoi tablets and the DNA sampling of Indians (and Indian rats) disprove the AMT /AIT theory. These incidents point to another version of history.

History Re-write

Ancient history as we know it today is at the cusp of a major re-writing, Three independent developments, in the last 100 years completely invalidate existing versions of history – and will clear the way for a major re-write.

Current (euro-centric) history basically starts from: -

  • Sumeria and Babylon (current day Syria, Iraq) where the world’s first civilisations were born.
  • From there the action moved to Egypt. The Rise of the Egyptian civilisation thereafter.
  • Meanwhile, Aryans from Siberia and Central Asia came to Iran and split in two directions. One came to India, defeated the Dravidians, set up the Vedic civilisation. Indians did not count much for much. (After all, they were not interested in massacres, killings, loot, plunder, persecution).
  • The other branch went to Europe. Greece and Rome were the other Aryan civilisations. The Greeks and Romans learnt a few things from the Egyptians – but were generally great people and the rest is history.
  • The Chinese civilisation started in 1000 BC and were also great guys.
  • But the best were the Greeks and Romans – and modern Europe is the successor of Rome and Greece.
  • Red Indians, Africans also have some history – but generally nothing much about these guys.

Some parts of this history are false. New history based more on archaeology and modern science is definitely getting re-written – especially about India, Middle East and Europe.

The first major re-write happened quietly. In this post, I will lay out the first major re-write.

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Half The World …

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, Feminist Issues, History, language, Media by Anuraag Sanghi on December 21, 2007

Bodhisattva - Ajanta Cave PaintingEvolutionary vs. Revolutionary

Belief systems in the world can clearly be classified into 3 kinds.

First , are the pagan practices like Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian et al. These were eclectic and evolutionary religions with many layers and differences. Of all these evolutionary religions, none exist today.

Then came the second layer of religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These religions had an individual agent of change – and these religions trace their birth, growth and existence to that one individual (and his followers). These were reform religions – a response to oppression and exploitation in the respective societies. I am not including Zoroastrianism and Baha’i religions as these have minor followings (mostly in India).

Third is the dharmic system of India. Unlike the Desert Bloc, India did not have religions. What the West recognizes as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are non-unitary systems. Jains recognize 24 Tirthankaras and the Buddhists have more than a 100 Bodhisattva. These more than 100 preachers were at the forefront of anti-slavery crusade between 2000BC and 500BC. Indic rulers (like The Hittites, Mittanis and the Elamites) confronted and had to compete with slave owning Asura societies – especially in the Middle East.

The Problem With Religions

The problem with religions

Religion

Historically, India had no religions. Modern religions are a construct of the Middle East – and given birth to the 3 major religions of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In India, the belief structure centres around Dharma – धर्म.

The difference between dharma and religion? Major!

For one, religion is about worship. There are many other differences also – in method of worship (how you worship), object of worship (what you worship), frequency of worship (e.g. every Sabbath; five times a day), language of worship (what you say, in which language), etc.

The cornerstones of modern religions from the Desert Bloc are One God, One Book, One Holy Day, One Prophet (Messiah), One Race, One People, One Country, One Authority, One Law, One Currency, One Set of Festival are the root of most problems in the world. From this Oneness, we get the One Currency, One Language logic  – a fallacious syllogism. Once you accept One, you will accept all others.

Indian worship practices are infinite. Even non-worship to is acceptable - for instance, the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy was atheistic and did not prescribe worship. Structure and deviation from worship practices are a non-issue in Indian dharmic structure. Dharma has no equivalent in the ‘Desert Bloc’ vocabulary of religions. Dharma is the path of righteousness, defined by a matrix of the contextual, existential, moral, pragmatic, professional, position, etc. Dharma is more than moral and ethics.

The really big difference is the holy books – Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one Holy Book each. No deviations. Indian dharma tradition has thousands which are more than 1000 years old – at last count.

The Desert Religions

Judaism, Christianity, Islam were all born within 500 miles of each other and share a common culture and history. Judaism can be said to have been born when Moses led the Hebrew slaves from the Pharoah (across the Red Sea) – to ‘freedom’, that is ‘free’ to enslave other peoples. This possibly happened around 500 BC at the latest to 1500 BC at the earliest. His earliest followers were the Hebrews and they were a significant part of the Middle Eastern history all through till today. The very same Hebrews and Jews continued with slavery.

The next major religious reformer in the Middle East was Jesus Christ. For the first 300 years, Roman slaves were the major believers in his teachings. Emperor Constantine earned the loyalty of his Christian troops and won the war for Roman throne by his win over Maxentius at Milvan Bridge. Prior to Maxentius, for the previous 30-40 years, Christians had been persecuted by “rule of four’ Tetrarchy reformists in Rome, headed by Diocletan. Hence, the Christian slave soldiers of Constantine were eager for victory – as the persecution under Maxentius would have been worse. Yet the biggest users of slaves in history has been the Western Christian world – especially from 1500-1900.King Constatine

Liberated slaves were the founders and rulers of Islamic dynasties, (in India, the Slave dynasty – builders of Qutub minar). Thus all the three “desert religions” were first adopted by the slaves and only after gaining significant numbers of adherents, these religions became mainstream and commenced militant proselytising, conversions – and enslavement.

Slave Religions Promote Slavery

The 3 ‘desert religions’ instead of reforming slave societies, just enabled the transfer of slave titles. Freedom meant old slaves became the new slave masters. Slavery (capture, kidnap, sequestration, transport, trade and transfer, re-capture of human beings) continued in the “desert bloc” till the 20th century.

When the followers of Mani (a teacher of Buddhist and Christian teachings) were encouraging the slaves to revolt and declare themselves free, administrators of the teachings of the “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” (Revelation 17: 14) at the Council Of Gangra, 325 AD, approved of slavery. Arabs slave traders were active in Congo – till they were replaced by Europeans.

Whats Going On Here

‘Caste systems’ (by different names) are prevalent all over the world, in all societies, based on colour, race, income, wealth, education, social status, political position, et al. Most such ‘caste systems’ have no force of the state behind it or are legal. They are the burakumin in Japan today and the African Americans in Europe and USA.

The most ‘respected’ caste system is the British nobility which exists even today – a caste system, approved by law. In India, colonial administration encouraged and increased divisions within society.British Lords Stole From The World

In order to ‘whitewash’ their own ‘dark’ history, the West is now (speciously) equating the Indian caste system with slavery. In 1919, under the Treaty Of Versailles, Western Nations set up the ILO – along with the League Of Nations. Post WW2, it was co-opted as a specialized agency of the UN in 1946. Western propaganda efforts using the ILO, have seen some success. This leading light of Dalit Christians blindly accepts Western propaganda that slavery was abolished 200 years ago in the West – and casteism is equal to slavery!

Slavery (capture, kidnap, sequestration, transport, trade and transfer, re-capture of human beings) continued in the “desert bloc” till the 20th century with the legal backing and the full might of the of the State.

In Indic territories, slavery was an inherited institution – and last seen in the Hittite rule around 1000BC. There is no record of sale and purchase of human beings in the last 3000 years in the Indic Bloc. Faced with West Asian reluctance to give up slavery, Indo Aryan rulers disengaged politically from West Asia and Middle East from around 1000 BC. Possibly, the slave revolt of Egypt by Moses itself was a result of the liberalising laws of the Hittites. Hence the fade out of the Indic rule from the Middle East – but the continuation of Buddhist influences, trade and peoples contact.

Competing With Slave Societies

After the slave revolts in the Middle East, India spearheaded major anti-slavery movements – like Buddhism Manicheanism, etc. More than a 100 Bodhisatvas and 24 Jain Tirthankaras were major figures in India’s anti-slavery reforms in the Middle East. Modern history, influenced by Western historiography, recognizes only the “ahimsa twins” – Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira. Both of these were princes of royal blood – Prince Siddharth and Prince Mahavira.

Their first adherents were the rulers and their methods of proselytising was also aimed at the ruling class. Ashoka, The Great, sent missions with his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka – where Buddhism was established.Guru Nanak - First Sikh Guru

Guru Nanak Dev came from from the upper caste family and his focus was to end feuding on the basis of caste and creed. His first converts were from upper class families – cutting across religions (hence the opposition from some of the Mughal Kings).

Gandhiji was from the upper caste and the first item on his reform agenda was end to the “bhangis” carrying faecal refuse on their heads. His initial focus was social reform and less of anti-British activities.

Yet, from the time of Hittites to now, for 4000 years, Indic culture did not accept slavery.

The Two Halfs

There is a major difference in the Indic reform idiom compared to the Desert Bloc. Half the world today follows Indic dharmic systems and culture. The other half follows the “desert religions”. Our future lies in understanding both the halves. The development trajectories of these two halves has been significantly different. The motivations, behavioural and acceptable civilizational norms for these blocs are different – and mostly opposite.

Do we understand this adequately?

Softpower! India?

Posted in America, China, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, Media by Anuraag Sanghi on December 20, 2007

As US newspapers struggle, while China tries keeping its film industry afloat, Indian cultural output is gaining in strength.

Arjuna Wijaya - Jakarta

Despite its problems, it is a safe bet that India’s hard and soft powers are likely to rise in the coming times. If India can combine the two successfully, it will be a “smart power”.Springing Tiger by Joseph Nye

India Stacks Up

Half the world follows Indian religion and culture – China (Buddhism), Indonesia (considering that Mahabharata is their national epic and their use of Sanskritic names), entire South East Asia (except Philippines, which was first Spanished and then Americanised) and of course, India. What makes the Indian success remarkable as a major soft power centre is that this status has been acquired without significant military cost or economic expenditure.

Archaeological artifacts have turned up in at Altyn Tepe (in modern Turkestan), in Babylon and Turkey (Boghazkoi) – in the period of 2000BC. This pulls back the date of the Indo-Aryan civilization to 3000-4000 BC – which Euro centric historians are reluctantly agreeing to. These new dates show the spread of Indian culture, 2000-3000 years before the rise of Rome.

Which country has the largest number of universities?

University & Higher Education

USA stands at No.2. with 5000 universities and colleges. India at 8000 universities and colleges is way ahead. This becomes remarkable when you consider the time frame. Much like the Indian ramp up in software (from a software minnow to leadership status in a short span of 10 years).

This huge infrastructure has been built up in a short span of 60 years of post colonial existence. In this build up, quality has suffered. The Indian challenge in the next 25 years is to further build on this size – and importantly to build on the lack of qualitative edge. These challenges are relatively easily addressed – and the cost implications are minimal.

My estimate – a US$ 2 billion investment will do the trick.

Ekta Kapoor - Writing Indian Media Rules

Ekta Kapoor - Writing Indian Media Rules

TV Programming

Bruce Springsteen released a song some time back – 57 channels and nothing on! 57 seemed like a good number then and India had 6 channels. Today the Indian TV industry supports more than 600 channels and there are 400 more channels in the offing – awaiting governmental clearances.

Indian TV studios churn out news in more than 10 languages, with an entertainment library which is now more than 10,00,000 hours of programming. With all these new channels and expansion, in 2007 FY, an estimated 5,00,000 hours of programming will be produced. India is global leader by a vast stretch. Europe by comparison is a toddler – and the only other comparison with India is USA.

And the interesting thing is the divergence from the Western business model - and the lack of success of Western content.

The World’s Largest Movie Industry

It is not Mumbai. No, it is not even Hollywood. Telugu film industry catering to a small market makes more films in a year than Mumbai or Hollywood does.

Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh is India’s largest city – without a history of colonial rule. The Nizam state was not ruled by the British India – and had its own currency, legal and administrative set up. The three biggest administrative reforms were initiated by leaders who originated from this state. The pre-1950 ruler of the Hyderabad State was the Nizam of Hyderabad – HEH Osman Ali Badshah. Reputedly, at one time the richest man in the world, very frugal, he wore repaired sherwanis and re-lit half smoked cigarettes. While decadent nawabs made a mess in London and Paris – the Nizam worked at making his state an economic front-runner in India.

Indian Movie Masala Fare

Indian Movie Masala Fare

The World’s Largest Music Industry

India has the world’s oldest living tradition in music.

India releases more music, in more languages, than any other country in the world. Compared to India’s music tradition of 3000+ years (at least), Western Music is about 400-500 years old. Most are aware of modern music – but the scene in classical music is still very vibrant.

Bhajans from Mirabai, Tulsidas, Surdas of 500 years ago, continue to sell in volumes and are in demand. Thyagaraja’s and Dikshitaar’s compositions in Telugu, 300 years old are still mainstream music. Compare this to the Western classical music, itself originating from the Romany Gypsy music. Western classical music has become a fringe music tradition,  while India’s Bhakti geet is alive and vibrant.

The Largest Publishing Industry In The World

India again has more newspapers, books and magazines than any other country in the world – in more languages. Our closest contender is USA.

The Power Of Indian Music

The Power Of Indian Music

Softpower

A few years ago, an American writer, Joseph Nye (Dean, Kennedy School, Harvard; former Assistant Secretary of Defense) created a new term – Softpower. This term has become quite popular and has earned itself a place in Wikipedia. His book (Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics; by Joseph S. Nye) was a success and today that term is used often and easily. A Google search throws up more than 18 million items under soft power.

Nye says (I wonder if he realises his cynicism) -

“Soft power is the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals. It differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will. Both hard and soft powers are important in the war on terrorism, but attraction is much cheaper than coercion and an asset that needs to be nourished”.

Nye says that the USA is world’s largest soft power – based on its attraction to outsiders due to its movies, music, books, TV, education, et al. Analysts worry about the rise of the Chinese soft power.

India has long been a soft power!

Without the cynical use of soft power (because it is cheaper); without wanting to make others follow our will and the ability to use carrot and sticks! Will they ever change? Will we ever learn!

Points Of Interest

  1. Indian prowess as a soft power – A small change in the regulatory environment – and poof! We achieve global scale.
  2. All these scales and volumes have been achieved without Government subsidies and support.
  3. These strengths flow from centuries of tradition.
  4. External influences and aggression has not dimmed these instincts and abilities.

Not in the manner that the West has used it – India can use its soft-power as a humanizing element.

Will India wake up.

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