2ndlook

1857 – A Failed ‘Mutiny’?

Posted in British Raj, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on April 19, 2012

Getting into the details of the 1857 War reveals some interesting sidelights.

An elephant gun-battery in 1857, a wood engraving from the 1860's. These elephant guns were crucial to both sides.

An elephant gun-battery in 1857, a wood engraving from the 1860's. These elephant guns were crucial to both sides.

Guns vs bow & arrows?

When it comes to the 1857 War, popular impression is that Indian ‘mutineers’ fought with swords, bows and arrows, and the British had guns and cannons.

For at least 400 years before 1857, India was the largest producer of gunpowder elements – specially crucial nitrates. India was the largest producer of nitrates (main component in gunpowder) – and availability of explosive material was not the problem in the 1857 War.

Not for Indians. Not for the British, too.

The Indian Court at the Great Exhibition, Hyde Park, London 1851.  |  Painting by Joseph Nash  |  Click for image.

The Indian Court at the Great Exhibition, Hyde Park, London 1851. | Painting by Joseph Nash | Click for image.

Explosive power

Since nitrate-production was concentrated in the greater Bengal area (Bihar, West Bengal, East Bengal), the purbiyas (the Easterners) were also the explosive experts. Malwa’s rulers recruited  Purbias from Bengal and Bihar for their expertise in gunpowder. The British initially valued and later (after 1857) feared the Purbias for the same reason.

The purbiyas (the Easterners) were the main body in in Malwa and Mughal armies, in Sher Shah Suri and Ranjit Singh’s armies – and in the army of East India Company also. In fact, the main component of anti-British Indian soldiers in the 1857 War were the Bengal soldiers, the purbiyas (the Easterners).

Indian nitrate production was in the hands of the private sector – and the whole world bought its gunpowder from India. Indian rulers too, had to buy nitrates at near global prices.

But buying nitrates, hiring soldiers, buying guns was an expensive affair.

Note the damage to the structure. Soldiers of the 1st Madras Fusiliers seated amongst the remains of the British entrenchment de fences to barracks at Cawnpore which General Sir Hugh Massy Wheeler surrendered in June 1857.  |  Image by Felice Beato; source & courtesy - iwm.org.uk  |  Click for image.

Note the damage to the structure. Soldiers of the 1st Madras Fusiliers seated amongst the remains of the British entrenchment de fences to barracks at Cawnpore which General Sir Hugh Massy Wheeler surrendered in June 1857. | Image by Felice Beato; source & courtesy - iwm.org.uk | Click for image.

Slavery, narcotics & piracy

Indian rulers ‘hampered’ by Indian dharma systems had limited access to funds. Taxation across India was set at 16.67%. Only in dire emergencies could the king impose the chauth rate (25%) of taxation – used by Shivaji.

The British East India Company could easily buy nitrates – funded by the riches of slave-trade, sugar production (using slave-labour), piracy, narcotics trade (opium to China).

Capital formation in Britain also pushed the Industrial Revolution – fully underway in Britain.

A cargo of seventy elephants from Burma during the 1857 Mutiny; |  Image date: 1858–61; Albumen silver print; from Gilman Collection, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art  |  Click for image.

A cargo of seventy elephants from Burma during the 1857 Mutiny; |m Iage date: 1858–61; Albumen silver print; from Gilman Collection, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Click for image.

By 1857, production of armaments in Britain was the highest in the world. The Grand Expo of 1851 announced Britain’s industrial might and leadership to the world.

By 1857, steam engines were driving production in England. Indian armament industry was powered by manual power – instead of steam power in Britain.

But was industrial might the deciding factor?

Siege guns, 18-pounders were much used by the British to bombard Indian soldiers.

These guns drawn by elephants made a difference. But more than guns were elephants themselves.

Contemporary British accounts record capture of elephants from Indian armies.  At least at one time, the British resorted to ship elephants from Burma to supplement their armies in India.

But what was the main achievement of the 1857 War? Western views is

Kashmiri Gate after the pounding by cannons during the 1857 War  |  Albumen print by Felice Beato; source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk  |  Click for image.

Kashmiri Gate after the pounding by cannons during the 1857 War | Albumen print by Felice Beato; source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk | Click for image.

Indian Mutiny was a revolution which failed.

Except that it destroyed the East India Company as a quasi-government once and for all: when executive administration and military authority were restored in the Raj, both were firmly in the hands of the British Crown. And except that never again, in the 90 years which remained before Indian independence, would Britons stand so confidently astride the subcontinent. Its balance had been fatally shaken at Meerut and from that day onwards it was a matter of when, not if, the Raj would fall.

The story which began in 1857 has never quite been resolved. Not all of its million sub-plots found so neat an ending as the tale of Margaret Wheeler. More representative by far is the legend of Wheeler’s nemesis, Nana Sahib, the enigmatic rebel leader who oversaw the massacres at Cawnpore. Despite being the most wanted man in the British Empire, Nana Sahib was never captured. Long after his probable death, sightings continued to be reported. The last came in Gujarat in 1895 when a young British officer detained an elderly sadhu and excitedly cabled Calcutta: “Have arrested the Nana Sahib. Wire instructions.”

Calcutta’s reply, subtly redolent of exasperation at the power of myth and mirage under the Indian sun, read: “Release at once”. (via Bounty from a mutiny – Books – Scotsman.com).

If … But … Why …

If the 1857 War was such a failure, why was the East India disbanded? Why did Christian missionary program start taking a back seat? Added to this, after the 1857 War in India, Christian proselytism too had to take a back seat.

Victoria Regina’s Colonial India Government printed leaflets in tens and thousands to proclaim that the British Crown had no intentions to dictate faith to its Indian ‘subjects’. The 1857 War also forced the British to change the war. Instead of military means, the British mounted an intellectual war on India. Euro-centric historians to change the entire drift of world history.

Less than ninety years after the 1857 War, in February 1946 Indian sepoys raised the Indian flag of independence – again.

This time around the British decided to walk.

Away.


How British Raj Ended Thugee in India

Posted in British Raj, History, India, Media, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on July 5, 2011

 

Thugs in Hindi means trickster – definitely, not a violent, killer-robber. From a trickster to a violent criminal, was British colonial miracle. To hang around 400 ‘thugs’, British prosecutors built a bank of nearly 500 ‘approvers’ to ‘identify’ members of alleged ‘thugee’ groups.

Prison population of Britain (Image source and courtesy - bbc.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Prison population of Britain (Image source and courtesy – bbc.co.uk). Click for larger image.

The truth behind ‘Thugee’

Soon after Pindari Wars (1820), from Indian Independence (1947), till now, for nearly 200 years, one resounding claim of British achievements in India was an end to ‘thugee’.

The British myth of The End of Thugee has survived for nearly 200 years now. Every aspect of the ‘thugee’ myth is unreal.

A cursory examination will reveal how hollow the ‘thugee’ claim is.

The ‘hunters’

Set up by William Bentinck, (British Governor-General; 1827-1835), the Thuggee and Dacoity Department, started with William Sleeman as Superintendent in 1835.

William Sleeman wrote a few books on ‘thugs’, ‘thugee’ and their language. It is Sleeman’s accounts that significantly define the ‘thugee’ chapter of colonial history, even today. From Sleeman’s beginning, the Thugee Story spread.

From the many that ‘agreed with the Thagi and Dacoity officer who noted that thags possessed ‘nobility and chivalrous instincts’, and entire villages ‘coming out to defend an accused Thug against British capture’, in the next 50 years,  Sleeman made ‘thugs’ into a ‘fiend in human form’.

Britain and Europe, was fascinated by ‘thugs’ – a creature of their own imagination and invention. Queen Victoria called for loose, proof-read pages of a book on ‘thugee’. Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days (‘Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours’, 1873) turned Feringhea into “le chef Thugs, le rois des Etrangleurs,” ‘The Chief of Thuggee, King of Stranglers’.

The numbers

William Sleeman’s grandson, James Sleeman added to this ‘thugee’ hysteria and his book Thug, Or A Million Murders in 1920 made out ‘thugee’ into a religion and a cult. Certain Anglophiles claim that ‘thugs were killing 40,000-50,000 people every year – yet only 1000 bodies were recovered in the nearly 20 years of anti-‘thugee’ operations. James Sleeman published his book Thug, Or A Million Murders in 1920.

A supposed gang of 'thugs'. A 19th century image.

A supposed gang of ‘thugs’. A 19th century image.

It has been estimated that some 30-50 gangs were in operation – at the height of the ‘thugee’ menace. Using a bell-shaped, distribution curve, it would mean that 7-8 gangs were killing 20,000-35,000 of these victims every year. That would mean between 10-20 murders each day – every day, every year.

Yet when some of these monsters were apprehended, like Feringhea (called firangee, meaning foreigner), turned out to be all too human. Feringhea surrendered to obtain release for his wife, children and family, detained by the British, as hostages, till Feringhea surrendered. When the British executed his innocent nephew, Jarhu, Feringhea wept.

Final tally – The British captured no more than 3,000 ‘thugs’ – of whom only 400 could be executed. In nearly a decade!

Was that the problem? 3,000 ‘thugs’ in a nation of 25 crores?

Assuming that all the 3,000 accused ‘thugs’, were ‘guilty’, going by modern imprisonment standards, India was a non-crime society country.

Then, as it is now.

Modern parallels

For instance, in modern Britain, there are nearly 17,000 prisoners for violent crime, in a population of little over, 6 crores (60 million). 3 people per thousand in Britain are criminally violent and in prison.

Were ‘thugs’ a bigger proportion of violent criminals in India. Going by modern British ‘norm’ of 3 per thousand, criminally violent Indians should have been close to 75,000 criminals. Just 3,000 ‘thugs’ out of the possible 75,000 criminally violent Indians?

In a population of an estimated 25 crores.

The ‘law’

To control ‘thugee’, a draconian law, Act XXX was passed by the British Raj. To convict the accused, all that the courts of the British Raj needed was identification by any ‘approver’, that the accused was a ‘thug’. Accusation by the British Raj and identification by anyone that the accused belonged to a ‘thugee’ group was enough to get the person hanged. One approver’s name that appears repeatedly, was a man called Bukhtawar who ‘identified’ many ‘thugs’. This legal manoeuvre left some officials cold.

As by Kim Wagnerwho has written on the thugee subject, reports that “the government went as far as removing a judge from his post because he claimed thuggee did not exist and refused to cooperate in the operations against them.”

How many innocents were killed on trumped up charges, I will not estimate!

British imagination and invention is passed off as history today.

British imagination and invention is passed off as history today.

The ‘collaborators’

The Act XXX did not identify any criminal activity. Instead it specified that members of ‘thugee’ groups, were ‘criminals’. The act did specify any ‘activity’ as a crime.

British prosecutors built a bank of nearly 500 ‘approvers’, who would ‘identify’ members of alleged ‘thugee’ groups. One source says the British had recruited 483 approvers exactly.

Even after these legal inventions by Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, from the 3,000 arrests, only some 400 could be executed by the British.

In nearly 20 years.

The ‘people’

One more curious aspect of this entire ‘chapter’ was about religion. ‘Thugs’ were supposedly worshippers of Kali. Yet, many of the ‘alleged’ thugs were Muslims. Muslims worshipping Kali? This worship pattern points towards Pindaris being mis-declared as ‘thugs’.

Some of the most infamous ‘thugs’, like Behram was attributed to have committed more than 900 murders – for which he never faced any trial, for murders he confessed to, even after being captured.

The probable story

Most of these ‘thugs’ were possibly rebel peasants, waging war against the dispossession of the lands – like the Muslim, Santhals, Bhils, Gujjars, etc. A prior story, were the Anglo-Pindari Wars (1815-1820).

Publicity material for a Introduction Lecture by Prof. Dr. Harald Fischer Tiné  titled - "War on Terror" in colonial India: The Thuggee Campaign in the early 19th Century and the demonization of a world religion.  Friday 27 Feburary 2009, 17.15 clock, ETH Zurich, Rämistrasse 101, Main Building, F 30

Publicity material for a Introduction Lecture by Prof. Dr. Harald Fischer Tiné titled – “War on Terror” in colonial India: The Thuggee Campaign in the early 19th Century and the demonization of a world religion. Friday 27 Feburary 2009, 17.15 clock, ETH Zurich, Rämistrasse 101, Main Building, F 30

Many of Pindari leaders, close allies of Maratha chiefs, were mostly Rohillas (for bulk), Pathans (for horses) and general Muslims. Many leaders were Muslims, like Hiru and Barun, sons of Shahbaz Khan. Barun’s son, Muhammad Husein, was allegedly murdered by another Pindari leader’s people. Karim Khan, a wealthy Pindari ruler from MP region, was most famous, whose nephew, Namdar Khan continued to lead a major Pindari faction. Chito, and Wasil and Dost Muhammad are the other names that occur frequently.

Interestingly, annual Pindari conferences of various factions were scheduled for Dusshera, known as Kaali Puja in Bengal, Orissa, etc. These so called ‘thugs’ were probably Pindari stragglers who were led small factions that targetted the British and their Indian allies. And in turn were the focus of British efforts.

The ‘problem’ of ‘thugee’ was recognized and ‘rooted out’ first by Warren Hastings’ administration (1773–85). Subsequent, administrations seized on this ‘creation’ and built an edifice of imagination and invention.

As Maratha power declined in central India, the ‘thugee’ phenomenon reared its head. Similarly, in Punjab also, as the Sikh Empire withered, disbanded soldiers, attacked. More than 552 ‘thugs’ and arrested and some 328 were executed.

The turn in the tale

The mechanics of British propaganda, called modern history, were crafted during the impeachment of Warren Hastings, who did not defend himself, unlike Clive. Instead, Hastings and his team created a narrative of how Hastings and the British Empire were doing ‘Good for India.’

A narrative that survives till today.

Leading By Example?

No analysis examined the effect of British soldiers’ loot of India on Indian soldiers. Is it that Indians soldiers, disbanded and unemployed, emulated British soldiers?

After all, British armies from Plassey (1757), to 1947, were made up of Indian soldiers. However, the loot and wealth from British conquests, went to the British soldiers. Robert Clive for instance. Various thug confessions repeatedly talk of ‘bad omens.’ The idea that ‘bad omens’ can predict Kaal, as the unceasing, unsleeping cycle of Time. And Kaali – who presides over these cycles.

Were Indians soldiers trying to change their ‘bad-times’ by aping British soldiers, who were going through ‘good-times’?

(Book-extract below details how the anti-‘thugee’ campaign was full of holes).

Thugee - Reality and Laws; Extract from Indian traffic: identities in question in colonial and postcolonial India  By Parama Roy; from Pages 56-65. Click to browse the book at books.google.co.in

Thugee – Reality and Laws; Extract from Indian traffic: identities in question in colonial and postcolonial India By Parama Roy; from Pages 56-65. Click to browse the book at books.google.co.in


The inn-keeper of Babylon

Posted in European History, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on May 12, 2011
5th century Indian innkeeper in Kish, Babylon (from The shape of ancient thought: comparative studies in Greek and Indian ...  By Thomas McEvilley; page 11).

5th century Indian innkeeper in Kish, Babylon (from The shape of ancient thought: comparative studies in Greek and Indian ... By Thomas McEvilley; page 11). Click to go to books.google.com

This figurine is a small (18 cm tall) bronze rein-ring, constructed as a decoration for a four-wheeled chariot. Collected in 1928 on a joint Field Museum of Natural History/Oxford University expedition, it dates to the late Early Dynastic I period - c. 2800-2750 BC. (Data Source - Darren Naish; Picture courtesy - scienceblogs.com). Click for larger picture.

This figurine is a small (18 cm tall) bronze rein-ring, constructed as a decoration for a four-wheeled chariot. Collected in 1928 on a joint Field Museum of Natural History/Oxford University expedition, it dates to the late Early Dynastic I period - c. 2800-2750 BC. (Data Source - Darren Naish; Picture courtesy - scienceblogs.com). Click for larger picture.

Indian confetti over the world

A 5th century cuneiform clay tablet, dating probably from the reign of Darius the Great) was found at Kish (near modern town of Al-Hillah, Babil province of modern Iraq). Kish, about 100km south of Baghdad, was one of the important cities in the Babylonian cluster – along with Babylon, Sippar, Seleucia and Borsippa.

Unlike the popular image, of ‘static’ Indians, we have some free-ranging Indians roaming the world. With elephants, expert horsemen – and a probable case of a Siwalik giraffid.

Siwalik giraffid

Kish was the site of another intriguing find. A bronze chariot rein ring, which probably seems related to the African giraffe or a species of deer from Iran. Called Sivathere of Kish, it has been object of many studies  – an unknown hoofed mammal of the Middle East. Initially thought to be related to the Sivatherium – a large, short-necked giraffid, originally described for S. giganteus from the Siwalik Hills of India.

So, apart from the deep links in astronomy, there are other intriguing such confetti sprayed around Babylon – which the Americans have pounded with tons of explosions.

Meshing and gnashing – The Clash of civilizations

Posted in Current Affairs, European History, History, India, Islamic Demonization, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on February 16, 2011
Huntington's book gave pseudo-intellectual justification started the Western campaign of Islamic demonization. (Image source - http://www.bayesianinvestor.com/books; artist attribution not available at image source)

Huntington

Mercenary logic

Samuel P . Huntington’s 1993 book, Clash of Civilizations, has a historical ring to it – a hint of something grand. An influential book, it ostensibly examined ‘conflicts between Western and non-Western cultures’ – and brought the phrase, Clash of Civilizations into limelight.

In the post-Soviet World, the book marked the launch of a new Western campaign – Islamic demonization. This book, released some four years after Rushdie-fatwa, provided pseudo-intellectual justification for West’s anti-Islamic campaign.

The America+NATO sponsored ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaign in Bosnia was underway, since 1992. Saturation media coverage of Monica Lewinsky and cigars effectively drowned President Clinton’s role in the initiation of the anti-Islamic campaign – and the news coming out of the Balkans. Deliberate diversionary tactics?

India’s co-option too, into this campaign was planned in significant detail – and successfully executed. 9/11 (September 11, 2001) was still 8 years in the future. The verbal trickery behind Huntington’s Clash of civilizations ‘package-deal’ has gone by without challenge or de-construction in India. This post will cover some Trojan concepts Huntington  smuggled into the mainstream.

A Basic Stance

For one, the definition of civilizations has to be beyond race, ruins and region. Instead, a definition  around differentiated structures – political, social, economic and ethical structures makes comparative analysis possible.

Civilizations tend to repeat political, social, economic and ethical structures. In the last five thousand years, only three civilizational models can be identified and substantially differentiated.

Desert Bloc

The world’s dominant model today, it has been able to nearly erase competing systems from the collective minds of the ruling elites in the world.

Signs of the Desert Bloc’s birth were first evidenced in the Assyrian Empire – its first laws codified by Hammurabi. Dating is contested, and best estimates are that the Assyrian Empire collapsed around c.600 BC. Seven of history’s largest empires used the Assyrian Empire, as a springboard.

The Desert Bloc extends from west of India, across Middle East, West Asia, extending to Central Asia and Eastern Europe – with its core in a region of 1000 miles radius of Palestine. Inventors of religion, world’s three important religions, (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) were born within 1000 miles radius of Palestine, in the deserts of Middle East. Each of these religions were, so to say, ‘backward compatible’. Islam recognizes Christianity, which uses Judeo-Mosaic texts for its foundations.

Anti-feminist, none of the three religions have female goddesses – unlike the two other civilizations specified below. Western Christian world gave women the right to vote, mostly between 1920-1950. Low levels of marital success are institutionalized – and instead prostitution levels are high.

The Desert Bloc depends on extreme competitiveness between its own factions to gain leadership – extending the analogy of survival of the fittest. Some of its defining struggles in the last 1000 years were Islam vs Christianity; Spain vs Portugal; England vs France; USA vs USSR.

Such factions spring up around deified leaders based on a sharp identity – race, tribe, language, region, religion. Significant leadership struggles have broken out between even intra-religious sects – like Catholics and Protestants, Shias vs Sunnis.

A significant marker of the Desert Bloc is concentration of wealth, power and land in the hands of these deified leaders and their inner circle. Unlike the two other civilizational groups, as we will see. This allows Desert Bloc factions to indulge in extremism. Over 90% of the world’s bloodiest wars, genocides, massacres, annihilations, are to the Desert Bloc account.

The Desert Bloc is differentiated by extensive use of slavery, rule by elites, conspicuous consumption (show piece buildings, spectacular technology) et al.

Driven by ‘at-any-cost’ approach, in the Desert Bloc, everything and everyone is expendable to attain leadership position. Driven more by accelerated creation and destruction, Desert Bloc sub-groups have short life spans (Achaemenid Iran, Greece, Rome, Mongol Empire). Greece, Rome, the Ummayyads, Abbasids, Mongolian Empire, Colonial Spain and Britain best represent the Desert Bloc.

Can different factions of the Desert Bloc, like the Christian West and Islam collaborate? The Islāmic Ottoman Empire and the Christian European powers could not get around to colluding with each other. Even the collusion between the Christian European colonizers was  difficult.  Unless it was over carving the spoils, dividing areas for exploitation – like Papal Bulls (between Spain and Portugal) or the Berlin Conference which triggered the ‘scramble for Africa.’

The  Afro Group

Apart from the Indic System, the only other civilization, the Afro Group could resist the Desert Bloc onslaught in the last 1000 years. The Afro Group successfully kept its identity, at a great cost, unlike Native Americans or Australian aborigines.

An iconic photograph of the Soweto uprising. (Image courtesy - le-regent.net; photographer attribution absent at source).

An iconic photograph of the Soweto uprising. (Image courtesy - le-regent.net; photographer attribution absent at source).

They successfully engaged with the Desert Bloc in Haiti, at Battle of Isandlwana (22 January 1879), by the Mau Mau in Kenya.

Monica Schulyer, an assistant professor of history at Wanye State University, (thinks) the name Mau Mau was itself a British invention and means nothing in Kenyan. Members of the independence movement called them selves the Land and Freedom Army.

In modern South Africa, on July 16, 1976, the ‘day began with a march by 10,000 students carrying banners and slogans, saying “Down with Afrikaans” and “Viva Azania” (the name given to South Africa by black nationalists)’. Soon the number swelled to ‘fifteen thousand school children involved in the protests (Tuttle 1)’, rose against imposition of Afrikaans language by White Apartheid rule. Known to the world as Soweto Uprisings, it is without parallel in the annals of history. In the very heart of the modern Desert Bloc – the USA, after centuries of slavery and discrimination, the Afro Group was able to roll back excesses.

Their robust ‘native’ intelligence best describes how Desert Bloc works. In Jomo Kenyatta words,

“When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

Another unit from the Afro Group, Cuba, far from its base in Africa, after breaking from slavery,  successfully resisted coming under political bondage of the Desert Bloc, for the last 100 years. In the ancient world, Carthage checked the spread of Desert Bloc, represented by Greece. Carthage allied with Rome to destroy Greece.

Before that, Nubians brought the Egyptian Empire to heel. The 25th dynasty from Nubia or Kush, south of Egypt (modern Sudan), ruled over Egypt for at least 75 years. Piye, earlier”Piankhy”the Nubian king invaded Egypt (ca. 746 BC) – and started the 25th Dynasty, that probably continued till 650 BC. He was succeeded by Shabaqo (ca. 716-702 BC) and his successors Shebitqo (ca. 702-690 BC) and Taharqa (690-664 BC).

Traditional African structures had diffused land and wealth ownership – unlike the Desert Bloc. There is little proof of concentration of wealth in African structures.

Both, the Afro Group and the Indic System have a much superior record of minimal environmental degradation. The Big 5 in animals – elephant, tiger /leopard, lion, wild bull, rhino exist only in the these two core geographies. Big Game hunters in Africa (from the Desert Bloc, where else) described 5 animals as the Big 5 – elephants, lion, buffalo, leopard and the rhino as the Big Five. These were animals that were difficult to hunt and kill (for pleasure, if you thought otherwise).

This ‘pleasure’ was the operating principle. As a result of this ‘pleasure’, there are only two parts of the world where such Big Five exist. India and Africa. China, the Middle East and of course Europe and America, have wiped entire continents of all these animals.

Modern history, under a Hegelian spell has ignored Afro Group history. Bereft of spectacular structures, visible ‘leaders’ or the recent decline in fortunes, the study of African history has been decided as unimportant.

Indic systems

Based on भारत-तंत्र Bharattantra platform. Indic systems focus on four freedoms – काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh(liberty)and धर्मं dharma (justice), and stipulates unrestricted access to ज़र zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land).

Originating in India, based on platform of anti-slavery, distribution of power and diversity, this was the dominant ideology in the world till about 8th century. In Tibet, Songtsen Gampa, the 33rd king, became the first dharma-raja in 7th century – a follower of भारत-तंत्र Bharattantra . The Indic system has been in sharp retreat for the last 500 years – especially after Mughal rule in India. Inspite of sharp reversals in the last 500 years, half the world is still significantly influenced by Indic systems.

Militarily impregnable till about 17th century, Mughal rule established the first beachhead for the Desert Bloc in India.

Strong population growth based on widespread marital occurrence, strong and extensive family structures, are features that have sustained Indic systems in the society, even though some rulers defected to the Desert Bloc.

Indians worship every item of God's creation - not just cows. (Image source - Sri U.Ve. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamin)

Indians worship every item of God's creation - not just cows. (Image source - Sri U.Ve. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamin)

With diverse liturgical, beatification, sacramental practices, graded pantheism (local deities, semi-divine gods and goddesses with a top layer of the Holy Trinity), faith and belief do not occupy the space or importance that religion has in the Desert Bloc. These are within the realm of individual choice with scattered efforts at proselytization

The Indic system still has significant following in China and most of ASEAN region – notably Indonesia, Tibet, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka. The modern proof of this was the India Independence League (IIL) headed by Subhash Chandra Bose.

In recent times

Each of these megaliths have traditional spheres of influence.

Post-WWII world has been been seriously influenced by the Desert Bloc. The Desert Bloc split into two factions. The liberal-progressive, democratic, Judeo-Christian faction led by America. Significant parts of the world has moved to the Desert Bloc orbit, and adopted the religion of Westernization.

An interesting study is the post-WWII behaviour of the Euro-American faction. After WWII, as British, French and Dutch colonialists were being thrown out of Asia, in country after country, the West was in real danger of losing markets and raw material sources.

To make war palatable, Desert Bloc invented religion. (Image source - loonpond.com; artist attribution not available at image source)

To make war palatable, Desert Bloc invented religion. (Image source - loonpond.com; artist attribution not available at image source)

A new power, fueled by a growing migrant population, USA, took the place of tired, old powers – Britain, France and the Dutch. Instead of the openly-exploitative system of European powers directly running colonial governments in these Asian countries, the US installed an opaque system – which is equally exploitative. To impose its writ on the newly independent Asian countries, the US simply destroyed their  economies by war. The USA, then instituted the innovative USCAP Program and ‘helped’ these countries. These countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, et al) were now ruled by overtly independent regimes – but covertly, client states of the USA.

US multinationals and home-grown oligarchs (keiretsus, chaebols, etc.) took over the economy – and sidelined British, French and Dutch companies. To impose this economic model, US armies, using nearly 1 million troops, killed 50 lakh Asians. The takeover of European colonial possessions by the USA was handled over 3 regimes of Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson seamlessly.

Islamic units

The second faction is the Islamic faction. After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, by the West, after WWI, new renegade groups supported by the West, sprang up. These renegade groups are using extremist  Islam to meld the Islamic faction into a more powerful factor in the global power equation.

Some of these Islamic regimes installed and supported by Western powers have been slowly drifting away from the West – like Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iran, etc. Some other regimes are longer able to call the shots – like the Saud family, or the Iraqi regime.

The other aspect of the Islamic faction is the geographical spread. The primary Islamic region is the Arab region, centred around Middle East /West Asia region. The secondary Islamic region is the Central Asia – earlier a part of the Mongol Empire. Walled in by China and Japan on the East, by Russia on the West and diverse countries in the South, it is a shadow of its former self.

The region with the largest Islamic population is South and South East Asia – concentrated across India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. The South and South East Asia Islamic region has a moderate and non-imperial history.

Hence these three regions (Middle-East region, Central Asian region and South /SE Asian) have evolved differently and have little in common. Hence, the image of the Islamic ‘world’ as a monolithic unit is misleading.

Big trouble in Little China

The other puzzle is classifying China. China under Confucian State model was solidly in the Desert Bloc. After the advent of Buddhism, as the Chinese people became landholders, as they obtained rights to own silver and gold, they moved to Indic system. Marriage and family systems became the norm – instead of exception.

After and under Mongols, for instance the Kublai Khan restricted silver and gold rights – and issued fiat currency. The Chinese State has mostly been Desert Bloc in its tendency. But the Chinese people have great faith in their Buddhist teachers. Will China become a staunch Desert Bloc member like Iran in the past, is still possibly an open question.

Even stevens!

The Assyrian thread

With Niniveh, (also called Asshur) as its capital, the Assyrian Empire, ended in 600 BC. The Assyrian Empire passed through many hands – recreating and renewing itself in the same mould. The name, Assyrian Empire was a Roman modification of Asuristan - the area of current Iraq.

The  Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BC) were the first successor power to preside over the Assyrian Empire, from their capital in Perspolis. Many wealthy Jews were envied for their vast slave holdings. Alexander ousted the Achaemenids to rule over the Assyrian Empire – effectively after the Battle at Gaugemela (331 BC). Daidochi Wars after Alexander’s death and attacks by Rome-Carthage alliance  led to the disintegration of Macedonian rule. Romans, added Western Europe, and ruled over the Assyrian Empire for the next 350 years (60 BC-285 AD), with its capital in Rome.

Rome formally lost the Assyrian Empire when Diocletian was forced to split Roman Empire in 285 AD. Eastern Roman Empire, well-known for its premier city, Byzantium (a cognate of Indian Vyjayanti) mostly had its capital in Constantinople (modern Istanbul) continued to gain power and wealth over the next 400 years.

Various Islamic dynasties (c.700-1300) ruled over large parts of the Assyrian Empire, with capitals mostly in Damascus, Baghdad, till they were deposed by Genghis Khan’s Mongols. After adding China, Mongol factions ruled over the Assyrian Empire for varying periods, between 1300-1600 AD over different parts of the Assyrian Empire.

It was the Mongols who helped in the rise of the West. First, was the trade in millions of slaves from Eastern Europe (the Slavs, hence slaves) by Venetian and Florentine traders, which funelled vast monies into European economies from Egyptian and Byzantine slave-buyers. This wealth from slave trade was the stuff of which tales are told. Shakespeare wrote of Merchant of Venice, Comedy of Errors, Gentlemen of Verona. Leonardo da Vinci,  architect Bramante, sculptor Donatello, Michelangelo, Titian and other famous artists found patrons with the earlier Visconti, powerful Medicis, notorious Borgias, lesser known Sforza (Milan), Pazzi and the Albizzi families. It was this slave-trade that fuelled Renaissance art and culture. Florence, Venice, Milan became major banking centres. Double-entry book keeping became standard, under which any kind of financial picture can be created. Quite unlike the Indian single-entry system.

Mongols brought to the West two major technologies. One, was the Indian decimal system and Indian saltpetre for gunpowder, was the other. Indian mathematics (initially outlawed by European rulers) is the foundation of Western science and technology. Indian gunpowder was their ticket to military power. Wealth from trade in African slaves, conquest, loot, annihilation of Native Americans, using gunpowder, fuelled a 500 year technology boom in the West.

The last significant dynasties that ruled over the ancient Assyrian Empire were Islamic Ottomans and the Christian Austro-Hungarian Empire. These two empires were dismantled after WW1 (1920) by Western allies.

Slavery rarely finds mention in Indian media. Much less is any discussion or understanding about the role of slavery in the rise of the West. A rare Indian columnist with awareness of the slavery factor. Even this discussion about clash of civilizations does not work.

People for Profit – The NGO story

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, Environment, European History, Feminist Issues, History, India, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on November 22, 2010
(Cartoon courtesy - http://www.bihartimes.in). Click for larger image.

(Cartoon courtesy - http://www.bihartimes.in). Click for larger image.

Funding India NGOs

Something very strange is happening. There are some 33 lakh (3.3 million) NGOs, operating in India – for the 20 crore (200 million) odd families in India. That would be one NGO for every 70 families.

These mushrooming NGOs are getting billions of US$ in funding. Recently,

Statistics released by the home ministry regarding ‘foreign funds to NGOs’ show that India, which has a total of 33,937 registered associations, received Rs 12,289.63 crore in foreign contributions during 2006-07 as against Rs 7,877.57 crore in 2005-06, a substantial increase of nearly Rs 4,400 crore (56%) in just one year.

The US, Germany, the UK, Switzerland and Italy were the top five foreign contributors during 2006-07. These five countries have consistently been the big donors since 2004-05. Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and France are the other countries which figure prominently in the list of foreign donors. (read more via Foreign funds to Indian NGOs soar, Pak among donors-India-The Times of India).

Foreign aid kitty - Table courtesy - Times of India

Foreign aid kitty - Table courtesy - Times of India.

What does this mean …

Rs 12,289.63 crore is roughly US$3 billion – based on average dollar value for 2008.

And that, is a lot of money.

That is more money than what the US Govt. gave as aid to more than the 100 poorest countries. Till a few years ago, India annual FDI was US$ 4 billion. Just a little more than the US$3 billion that India received as charity through various NGOs in 2008.

The total US Official Development Assistance to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa (more than 40 countries), in 2007, was “US$4.5 billion contributed bilaterally and an estimated $1.2 billion was contributed through multilateral organizations”.

What is the source of these funds …

The rich, the poor and the middle class in these ‘charitable countries’ are themselves deep in debt. Where are they getting the money from? Why are they being so liberal towards India? What is the source of these funds?

Where this money going …

Is it going as thinly disguised aid to Naxal affected areas – where some ‘Christian’ missionaries are working tosave’ the tribals? Is it going towards publicity for causes which are thinly disguised trade issues. For instance, child labour – which is, in many cases, a system of apprenticeship for traditional skills.

Or are these NGOs promoting policy frameworks which are distorting India’s social systems? The Population Myth /Problem /Explosion for instance was promoted for the first decade by Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and USAID. Are they behind the NGOs which are promoting Section 498 laws as a legal solution – a solution that ‘benefits’ about 5000 women and creates about 150,000 women as victims.

AIDS was the excuse to open doors. (Cartoonist - Godfrey Mwampembwa “Gado”; from Nairobi, Kenya; courtesy - http://www.pambazuka.org). Click for larger image.

AIDS was the excuse to open doors. (Cartoonist - Godfrey Mwampembwa “Gado”; from Nairobi, Kenya; courtesy - http://www.pambazuka.org). Click for larger image.

These are laws and policies which are undermining the Indian family system. Which country in the world has a stable family structure with such low divorce rates as India?

The Clintons, The Gates, The Turners, et al

The ‘progressive-liberal’ establishment of the West is viewed rather benignly in India – and seen as ‘well-wishers’ of India. Many such ideas are welcomed in India without analysis. These ideas are viewed positively, as the source of such initiatives is seen as well-intentioned. These rich money-bags in cahoots with the State’s propaganda machinery, the media and academia are creating false messiahs, hollow idols and instant saints.

St.Tony Judt - The media and academia in cahoots with the State (Cartoon by Pavel Constantin, Romania; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

St.Tony Judt - The media and academia in cahoots with the State (Cartoon by Pavel Constantin, Romania; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

The beatification of Saint Judt

The last 90 days saw a surge on obits, reviews and tributes to Tony Judt.

Tony who? Exactly.

An unknown writer till a few months ago, has suddenly become famous in his death. Media (at least in India) has gone overboard. But when Marathi media started on Tony Judt, it was high noon. The straw on the camel’s back.

OK, guilty of misrepresentation. Not the camel’ back! It was my back.

There seems an effort at beatification of Tony Judt. In the modern era, temporal authorities, award a quick Nobel Prize, pin a Congressional Medal of Honor – and the process of ‘secular’ sainthood is completed. Media aids by marching to the drumbeat of the State. These ‘secular’ sainthoods by the ‘modern-secular-liberal-progressive-democratic’ establishment are not meant to be enduring or important. They , the latter-day, disposable, ‘secular’ saints, serve a utilitarian purpose to their masters – the State.

Tony Judt is no exception.

How come 'modern' Western identities are not included by Tony Judt in his 'problem' list? (Cartoon By - Angel Boligan, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons)

How come 'modern' Western identities are not included by Tony Judt in his 'problem' list? (Cartoon By - Angel Boligan, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons)

From the safety of a university cloister

By being overtly anti-Israel, Tony Judt, gets an inside track into the Islāmic mind – to start his ideas of ‘identity’.

A self-confessed, Social Democrat (but that is not ‘identity’) Tony Judt is the type who speaks from the comfort of a winning side.

We know enough of ideological and political movements to be wary of exclusive solidarity in all its forms. One should keep one’s distance not only from the obviously unappealing “-isms”—fascism, jingoism, chauvinism—but also from the more seductive variety: communism, to be sure, but nationalism and Zionism too. And then there is national pride: more than two centuries after Samuel Johnson first made the point, patriotism—as anyone who passed the last decade in America can testify—is still the last refuge of the scoundrel. (read more via Edge People | The New York Review of Books).

As fortunes shifted and wavered, Tony Judt’s recounts how his family moved from one declining economy to another growing economy. From Eastern Europe, vaguely in a region near Russia, to Antwerp in Belgium, thereon to Britain, and finally to the USA. He finds

over the years these fierce unconditional loyalties—to a country, a God, an idea, or a man—have come to terrify me. The thin veneer of civilization rests upon what may well be an illusory faith in our common humanity.

The West has systematically deformed Islamic identity - after dismantling the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoonist - Paresh Nath, Published by - The National Herald, India)

The West has systematically deformed Islamic identity - after dismantling the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoonist - Paresh Nath, Published by - The National Herald, India)

To people like Tony Judt, identity is a matter of convenience. And they rightly, recommend that people must have no identity – and by extension, no loyalty. Fly flags of convenience. May the highest bidder win.

I wonder where Judt’s family was, when the Belgians were flogging the Congolese.

Sainthood by the Vatican

The ‘modern’ State and the media of the Free World have it easy when it comes to cannonising people like Tony Judt!

The Catholic Church has a rather exacting process, stretching over a few years, at the very least. The Catholic Church even appoints a Devil’s Advocate – someone who tries to find reasons why the candidate should NOT be declared a saint.

This process has sometimes taken decades too. After multiple processes and steps, a committee. the Congregation for the Causes of Saints decides on these issues. With the kind of rigour that the Vatican process follows, Saints have ‘public memory’ life span extending to centuries.

The perversion of the Islamic world started with the break up of the Ottoman Empire (Cartoon By - Emad Hajjaj, Jordan; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com)

The perversion of the Islamic world started with the break up of the Ottoman Empire (Cartoon By - Emad Hajjaj, Jordan; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com)

Coming to Saint Judt

Today when the West is paying the price for creating a misshapen Islāmic identity, people like Judt thinly speak out against identity – an Islāmic identity. Or when the West faces a challenge from Asia, China and India, it pays to talk of less identity.

This idea of less identity would not be such a bad idea – if you have so little of identity, to start with!

Remember trojan horses

A ‘tolerant’ and ‘open’ society like India can be a complacent victim to trojan horses – and ‘secular’ saints like Tony Judt. Another article a few weeks ago gave an overview of the NGO ‘economy’.

In many ways, (the) metamorphosis from a modest, village-level, kurta-pyjama clad activist into a well-heeled, suited-booted, city slicker whose voice is heard in high places, mirrors the changing face of India’s burgeoning voluntary sector. Once the preserve of the humble jholawallah, the ‘third sector’ of the Indian economy is now teeming with smart men and women, armed with management degrees, laptops and huge funds generated by a liberalised and booming economy. As the state retreats in an era of privatisation, new-generation NGOs have moved in to fill the vacuum, often doing what the government used to do in rural areas and urban slums or conducting advocacy programmes for policy interventions, even holding skill-building workshops to update small voluntary groups. Their activities are vast and varied and bear little resemblance to the sweetly charitable work of the silent, selfless grassroots workers of the ’70s and the ’80s.

The growth of the sector has been explosive in the past two decades, both in numbers and financial resources. First, the numbers. If the findings of a survey conducted by the Central Statistical Organisation of the ministry of statistics in 2008 are to be believed, there are as many as 3. 3 million NGOs registered in India. In other words, there is one NGO for every 400 Indians. No other country in the world boasts of such huge numbers in the third sector. However, this mind-boggling figure should be taken with a pinch of salt, as even the CSO report has acknowledged that many are probably defunct. But, as Sanjay Agarwal, a chartered accountant who works with several NGOs, said, “At least the CSO has tried to shine a light where there was darkness all these years. No one has ever tried to collate any kind of data on the voluntary sector. “

The CSO report then is a starting point and its data is revealing. It found that the big growth spurt has happened since 1991. As many as 30 per cent of the 3. 3 million NGOs were registered in the decade of the ’90s and 45 per cent more came up after the year 2000. While religious organisations and charities were the most commonly registered societies in the period before 1970, there was a phenomenal expansion in social service organisations after 1991 – as much as a 40 per cent increase, according to the CSO report.

It is significant that the phenomenal expansion of the voluntary sector coincides with the opening up of the economy and its rapid growth. India was changing as it privatised and globalised, and the changes saw NGOs blooming in thousands as civil society matured and began asserting itself. Nothing underscores their growing influence more than enforcement of the Right to Information Act and the National Rural Employment Generation Act, both of which were products of pressure from civil society organisations.

Yet, despite such unprecedented growth, there has been little or no effort to map the voluntary sector or streamline it for transparency. It remains opaque, with questionable accountability levels, leaving it vulnerable to scams and scandals and the inevitable public suspicion about sources and utilisation of funds. Because of the lack of comprehensive data, even estimates about the financial size of the sector vary. One figure is as high as Rs 75, 000 crore annually, but Rajesh Tandon, president of PRIA (Society for Participatory Research in Asia), a leading mega NGO that works with a host of smaller ones, puts the amount of money available to this sector at around Rs 40, 000 crore per year.

Most of the funding comes from domestic sources, of which the government is the largest donor. However, foreign donations make up a significant portion of the financial resources available to NGOs. Unfortunately, here too, despite a Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, no authentic figures are available, underlining the laxity that prevails in this sector. Home minister P Chidambaram told Parliament recently that the government recorded a figure of around Rs 10, 000 crore from foreign donations last year. He went on to add that this figure was grossly undervalued because nearly half the NGOs registered to receive foreign aid had not reported contributions they have received over the years. In other words, he said, foreign funding of the NGO sector could be as high as Rs 20, 000 crores.

The prevailing confusion and the lack of systems to track movement of funds have only served to tarnish the image of the voluntary sector, despite the good work that many of them do. As with every sector, there are good NGOs and bad NGOs. Unfortunately, the latter hog the headlines. Scams are aplenty, particularly when it comes to the disbursement of government money. The rural development ministry’s main funding agency, which also happens to be the biggest government donor, CAPART (Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology ), fell into disrepute because of the high level of corruption in the department. (read more via People for Profit | Cover Story | Times Crest).

Vatican opposes abortion for a steady supply of targets? (cartoonist - Adam Zyglis; cartoon courtesy - www.adamzyglis.com.). Click for larger and original image.

Vatican opposes abortion for a steady supply of targets? (cartoonist - Adam Zyglis; cartoon courtesy - http://www.adamzyglis.com.). Click for larger and original image.

The hoax of this century

2ndlook tracked and collated the entire Climate change campaign, where

  1. Multiple PR agencies, NGOs were used and funded by the British, Norwegian and Australian Governments
  2. To mount a global campaign of ‘epic’ proportions
  3. To stampede the world into a regime of faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats -
  4. That would monitor nations, industry and economies of the world.

The campaign possibly even subverted the Maldives election campaign to propel a Trojan horse into the developing world camp. Nobel prizes were dangled in front of the Trinidad’s PM. A group of ‘Vulnerable 14′ was promoted to make proxy noises on behalf of the organizers of his climate change hoax.

The do-gooder industry

These NGOs under the garb of being do-gooders, soon end up showing their true colours. Whether its was the Climate change campaign, or the social-service sector, the do-gooder industry is dangerous idea.

A 62-year-old British national, who was arrested by the UK police on charges of sexually abusing several boys of a boarding school in Chennai over three years from September 2003, is likely to walk free in a fortnight because of a year-long delay on the part of Indian authorities in assisting the probe. (read more via UK paedophile may walk free-Chennai-Cities-The Times of India).

The do-good industry

An Australian do-gooder was arrested for sexually assaulting children of an orphanage in Puri. Powel Allen, an eye surgeon employed with the orphanage for the past four years, was arrested in Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). Sometime back, two other orphanage administrators, and alleged pedophiles, Duncan Grant and Allan John Waters were convicted (their conviction is now under appeal-review).

What do the supposed beneficiaries get? A lot of 'wind' ...(Cartoonist - Godfrey Mwampembwa “Gado”; from Nairobi, Kenya; courtesy - http://www.pambazuka.org). Click for larger image.

What do the supposed beneficiaries get? A lot of 'wind' ...(Cartoonist - Godfrey Mwampembwa “Gado”; from Nairobi, Kenya; courtesy - http://www.pambazuka.org). Click for larger image.

Further back, Wilhelm and Lile Marti, a Swiss couple, again in the do-good industry, were granted bail in a pedophilia case. After bail, they promptly fled India.

Do we really need these do-gooders?

Mother Teresa, another do-gooder raised hundreds of crores in the name of Kolkatta’s poor, A few hundreds of the Kolkatta’s poor benefited from that money. But many missionaries rode on the backs of these poor Kolkattans, raising even more money. The PR machine of the Vatican has done a great job on this scam.

Create false alarums! (cartoon date - 2009/12/22; SeattlePI - (cartoon - Horsey) What's the take-away message?). Click for larger image.

Create false alarums! (cartoon date - 2009/12/22; SeattlePI - (cartoon - Horsey) What's the take-away message?). Click for larger image.

Even if India can’t take care of its poor, we don’t need these do-gooders!

Away!! Begone!

Should we say, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan!!’

They have problems at home

Spain has 400,000 prostitutes (for a population of 40 million) who ‘attract’ 15,00,000 clients every day. Some state the Spanish social system is in! Britain has 10,000 Muslim prisoners out 16,00,000 British Muslims . Quite a number of prisoners to have!

And these very countries had the temerity to ‘donate’ Indian NGOs a humungous US$3 billion (nearly) last year. May I suggest? Keep your money and keep your do-gooders at home.

Your need is greater than ours.

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