2ndlook

Cultural Extinctions – Death Of Slave Societies

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India, Propaganda, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on July 26, 2008

Why does India have no monuments comparable to the Desert Bloc? Was it because India had no slave populations to build such showpieces – and no slaves to impress.

Extinction Of Cultures

Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Medieval Islamic and Italian kingdoms, as well as latter day Iberian Twins, Spain and Portugal, Trans-Channel foes, Britain and France imploded from peaks to the pits in a short time frame. These cultures faded – and at their very apogee, started spiraling, into a terminal decline. What triggered these sudden collapses?

Most of these societies suddenly lost it all -and are non-existent or a shell of their peak form. Toynbee’s study of history led him to categorize world history into 26 civilizations. Other historians want to expand this list to about 40-50. Excepting India, with 4000-6000 years of culture, not one of these 40-50 cultures, bar none, has or had a continuous historical structure for more than 500-2000 years.

Questions – And More Questions

What is it that makes India different? What gives India such resilience?

If India was indeed so accomplished, how come there are no Indian equivalents to the pyramids or a coliseum? Why did India never build a Great Wall? Where is the Indian Parthenon? Why are there no great palace complexes? How is it that that there are no Indic mausoleums? Where is India’s Forbidden City?

How is it that after conquering nearly 80% of the landmass, the ‘Desert Bloc’ has less than 50% of the world’s (an ageing, declining) population? How is it that Indic cultures, has been prosperous without loot and conquest – unlike the ‘desert bloc.’? If Indic systems have such resilience, how come large parts of the Indian region have been ruled by invading armies? Why have Indic rulers been unable to beat back these invaders?

The One Difference

Slavery.

In a word. India has no indigenous practice or record of slavery for the last 3000 years. Indic rulers liberalized slave laws societies where slavery was an inherited social condition – like the Hittites and Mittanis. All societies which are extinct or in terminal decline, ‘consumed’ significant slave labour.

Asimov's The Foundation Series

Asimov’s The Foundation Series

Historical Cycles

Popular theories posit (without clinching empirical evidence) that historical waves and cycles are responsible for these cultural extinctions. This does not explain non-recurrence of past glories of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Spain, Portugal – though Roman geography did see a brief and unrelated in achievement during the Pre-renaissance period. The popular press, spread these theories by the use of Science Fiction. For instance, The Foundation Series by Issac Asimov.

But…

The one exception to these cultural extinctions is India. From the Hittites, the Mittanis and the Elamites, Indic civilization has seen uninterrupted and continuous history. With cultural roots going back (at least) 6000-4500 years, it is the oldest, continously, living civilization.

Kuch to baat hai-ke hasti mit-ti nahi hamari.

Many Versions

The herald of Western doom, Oswald Spengler, had a popular theory of birth-life-death of civilizations. Spengler’s Theory of Civilizations, spelt out by an expert, states “Cultures are in reality super life-forms, that is, they are organic in nature, and like all organisms must pass through the phases of birth-life-death”. Other experts on Spengler’s Theory have defined these stages as growth, breakdown and disintegration. India has grown for the last 4000 years – and has defied Spengler’s popular explanation.

Toynbee in his 395-page, book, A Study of History, avoids the issue by terming the slavery issue as a problem of the internal and the external proletariat. The subject of slave and slavery appears only on 17 pages – in the 395 pages.

On slavery, he mentions that slavery,

“was one ancient institution, no less evil than war, which the Western civilization had got rid of. A society which had succeeded in abolishing slavery might surely take heart from this unprecedented victory of a Christian ideal.” He maunders on by saying “In the hearts of the dominant White majority a Christian conscience … had insisted on abolishing Negro slavery” (ellipsis mine).

Does Toynbee even mention how the Council of Gangra onwards, the White, Christian Church had supported and encouraged slavery. Not once! When Mani, the Buddhist teacher, called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. The administrators of the teachings of the “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” (Revelation 17: 14) at the Council Of Gangra, 325 AD, issued edicts approving slavery. Historically, abolition of Negro slavery had little to do with Christian ideal and conscience – but due to numerous revolts and uprisings by slaves.

A recent book, The Life Cycle of Civilizations By Stephen Blaha, attempts to develop a mathematical theory of civilizations based on variables that describe a civilization.” Stephen Blaha further proclaims,”mankind appears to be in the process of developing a world civilization based on Western technology”.

And how many times, does the esteemed Stephen Blaha talk about slave and slavery?

Not once. But he does mention, colony and colonies 6 times in his 250-page book. It is this reluctance to accept history – and change that is required, which is behind the rise and fall of the Desert Bloc empires.

The problem is not just Western historians. Experts on India like By Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak, David Frawley, while writing about India, in their book, In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India, refer to slavery just once and slave once. Their understanding of something as fundamental as the word dasa itself is wrong. They make no difference between a servant and slave.

The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World were all monuments concentrated in the Desert Bloc geography.

The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World were all monuments concentrated in the Desert Bloc geography.

Missing Monuments

The Pyramids, The Coliseum, The Great Wall, were all monuments that were raised by slave societies. To impress the slave population? India has no such monuments because India had no slave populations to build such showpieces – and no slaves to impress.

Mahabharata has interesting insight on man-nature conflict. The Pandavas, having secured a favorable award from Dhritarashtra, in their inheritance dispute, decided to set up a new capital. The divine architect Maya was retained to build this city. The site chosen for the new capital city – a forest, Khandava.

Overcome by their hubris, the Pandavas, burnt down the entire forest – and the animals inhabiting the forest. In place of the forest came up the gleaming new city of Indraprastha.

All the kings were called to marvel at the new city. And in her pride, Draupadi mocked at Duryodhana – a guest. To avenge this mockery, Duryodhana challenged Yudhithira for a game of chess (instead of a war) – which Yudhishthira promptly lost. They lost their new city – and were sent into exile by Duryodhana. Lessons duly learnt, the Pandavas after the completion of their exile, asked for five villages. After winning the War Of Mahabharat, they ruled from the ancient capital of Hastinapur. No more gleaming cities for them.

Invasions And Conquests

Karl Marx had a poor view about India – a ‘civilization of losers’.

Hindostan is an Italy of Asiatic dimensions, the Himalayas for the Alps, the Plains of Bengal for the Plains of Lombardy, the Deccan for the Apennines, and the Isle of Ceylon for the Island of Sicily. The same rich variety in the products of the soil, and the same dismemberment in the political configuration. Just as Italy has, from time to time, been compressed by the conqueror’s sword into different national masses, so do we find Hindostan, when not under the pressure of the Mohammedan, or the Mogul, or the Briton, dissolved into as many independent and conflicting States as it numbered towns, or even villages. (Karl Marx on The British Rule in India in the New-York Herald Tribune – June 25, 1853)

Max Mueller went ahead and built on Marx’s foundation. Brigadier General Sir Mortimer, urgently despatched from Italy, at the height of the WW2, distorted Indian history in the dying days of the Raj. And recently, VS Naipaul thought that India was a wounded civilization in perpetual retreat.

Factually speaking, Indic rule stretched from Greek borders (Hittites) to Taklamakan desert (Auriel Stern and Huien Tsang), from Central Asia (Elamites) to Bali. Thus Indic frontiers encircled a huge expanse. Some of the biggest victories in history of warfare were won by Indian armies. Thus, any assertion, that Indians are historic losers is a losing idea.

Income Disequilibrium

Production controllers prefer ‘free’ slave labour, compared to wage labour. Slave labour drives down wage levels and drives up unemployment. Food stamps are a consequence. Resultant discontent creates demand for unemployment benefits and a welfare state. Wastrel population is diverted with entertainment – Roman Circus. Wars are initiated, by a ‘disconnected’ army to capture new slaves, and increase the looted hoards – Julius Caesar and George Bush in Iraq.

Innovation & Invention

With disguised unemployment on one side and concentrated wealth derived from ‘free’ labor on the other, slave societies saw a culture of patrons, state support and subsidies for religion, arts, technology and science. Thus for short periods, members of the dominant segment, did (and do) produce significant intellectual output. In many cases, these ‘cultural achievements’ are simple cases of cultural expropriation.

Population Growth

At the core of the Indic social and political organization is the value of humans. This is evidenced by the value for babies (balagopal), feminine divinity (In India, the two most ‘important’ festivals, Diwali and Dasara are dedicated to women goddesses). Stable marriage systems, based on equity (instead of advantage) and contribution (instead of extraction) are a big part of the population growth.

The NRI Rush

It was amusing to see His Excellency Lord Baron Meghnad Desai (OBE, KBE) suddenly counting himself as one of the 1.1 billion Great Unwashed Indian Population! How much more can he come down? Never to see anything good happening in India, he suddenly counts himself as an Indian.

His drivel about India is irrelevant. But, His Lordship’s prognosis for the West is even more interesting. It is His Lordship’s belief that possibly only the USA (from the West) will make the cut. The Euro-Zone, His Excellency implies, will be irrelevant. How and Why is Lord Desai silent about the role of Euro-politicians in the decline and eclipse (His Lordship’s pessimism, mind you) of Euro-Zone. Is it that His Lordship does not dare criticize Western politicians? Or is it that the West can do no wrong? Surely, Your Lordship, does not believe that the Rise of India and the Eclipse of the West is Black Magic!

Indian Prosperity

Westernized Indians, unsure about going through the grind of re-building a nation, escaped to the West. And still do. A NRI newspaper desk-editor recently wrote,

It’s been two years since my family and I moved to India, a time span that happened to be the deadline to at least decide if our future lies here or there. (note the opportunism here) … this past summer, my husband and I would stay up late and discuss, debate, even argue. India had been great for his career, he would say. He felt creative and reinvigorated … “But I am tired,” I said. “It’s not just working at a start-up. It’s running the household, the uncertainty of water coming out of the tap, the driver showing up. And I cannot have one more parent-teacher meeting about my moral opposition to colouring in the lines. The school thinks I am crazy.” (note the desire for ready-to-eat solutions, the closed mind). Underlined comments mine.

Nations do not get built that way. The poorer country cousin of the Westernized NRI, is the desi-NRI. The desi-NRI, went out to make some money in sundry parts of the world (especially the Middle East). The desi-NRI worked hard – and never gave up on India. It is the remittances from the desi-NRI that have been bridging India’s current account deficit. For all this, the desi-NRI, the poorer brother, has never got the respect for his contributions – and the Westernized NRI is lionized.

The desi-NRI, can’t speak English, you see.

Historically, India’s gold reserves (the largest in the world) of 25,000-30,000 tons, were not built on luck (no gold discoveries) or due to loot (no looting raids or slavery). A only one of its kind, capital accumulation in the world.

Democracy In India

It is these essential values of human equity that makes democracy a success in India. It is this ability to see all creation as one वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं ‘vasudhaivah kutumbakam’ that make the Republican India successful.

It is these values that gives India one of the lowest prison populations in the world – and practically very few positions in the Forbes ‘Most Wanted’ List.

Modern Indian Response To Slavery

A sher by Allama Iqbal is a familiar and modern response to slavery in the Indian context. Allana Iqbal wrote on Mahmud of Ghazni and his ‘favorite’ slave, Ayaz thus –

एक ही सफ में खड़े, महमूद अयाज़,

कोई बंदा रहा, कोई बंदा नवाज़ –

(Translation –  In a single line, stand Mahmud and Ayaz, as equals they stand, neither a master, none a slave – translation mine).

Poor Iqbal! He was taken in! Did they ever tell Iqbal how a number of his Kashmiri brothers (and sisters, too) were taken by the same Mahmud of Ghazni as slaves. The Central Asian region from the 10th century to the 17th century, imported Indian slaves – and exported horses.

Sahir Ludhianvi, better captures the Indian attitude to slavery, pomp and grandiose designs.

ताज तेरे लीए एक मजहरउल्फत ही सही, तुझको इस वादीरंगीन से अकीदत ही सही

मेरे महबूब कहीं और मीला कर मुझसे, बज्मशाही में गरीबों का गुज़र क्या माने?

सब्त जीस राह पे हो सतावतशाही के नीशान, उस पे उल्फत भरी रूहों का सफर क्या माने?

मेरे महबूब पासपरदाताश हीरवफ़ा, तूने सतावत के निशानों को तो देखा होता

मुर्दा शाहों के मकाबिर से बहलने वाली, अपने तारीक मकानों को तो देखा होता

अनगिनत लोगों ने दुनिया में मोहब्बत की हैं, कौन कहता है के सादिक थे जज्बे उनके

लेकिन उनके लीए ताश हीर का समान नहीं, क्योंकि वोह लोग भी अपनी ही तरह मुफ्लीस थे

यह ईमारतमकाबिर यह फसीले यह हिसार, मुतलकुलहुक्म शाहेंशाहों की अजमत के सुतून

दामनदहर पे उस रंग की गुलकारी है, जिसमे शामिल है तेरे और मेरे अजदाद का खून

मेरे महबूब! उन्हें भी तो मोहब्बत होगी, जीनकी सन्नी ने बक्शी है इसे शक्लजमील

उनके प्यारों के मकाबिर रहे बेनामनमूद, आज तक उन पे जलाई किसी ने कंदील

यह चमनज़ार, यह जमना का किनारा, यह महल, यह मुनाक्काश डरदीवार, यह मेहराब, यह ताक

एक शहेंशाह ने दौलत का सहारा लेकर, हम गरीबों के मोहब्बत का उदय है मजाक

मेरे महबूब कहीं और मिला कर मुझसे.

– Abdul Hayee ‘Sahir’ Ludhianvi.

Translation by gyanputra

Even if the Taj for you is a symbol of great love, even though you prefer its pretty colorful setting
My dear, meet me somewhere else, what truck can the poor have with kingly courts?
The paths on which are seared the grandest Royal Arms, how can love-filled hearts journey on them?
My dear, behind the veil of this advertisement of love, had you seen the trappings of royal power and wealth
Instead of being beguiled by the tombs of dead kings, had you seen our dark homes
Uncounted peoples in this world have loved, who says their love was not true
But they did not have the means for advertising love, they were poor like us
This mausoleum, these decorations, these fort parapets, that the arrogance of kings considers symbols of Greatness
On the face of the world this is a decoration of floral vines, that has flowing in it your ancestors’ blood, and mine
My dear! they must have had loves too, those whose art granted this monument its acclaimed form
But those loves’ tombs are unnamed, untraced, no one has ever lit on them even a candle
This garden, this Jamna riverbank, this palace, these picturesque walls and doors, these pulpits, these arabesques
A king of kings aided by all his wealth, has mocked the love of us poor
My dear, meet me somewhere else.

Where Do We Go From Here

The world has looked to India for answers. But modern India looks to the West. And those Western answers are irrelevant and don’t work – or sometimes a trail of red herrings.

Post Script

10 days after this post, Arvind Panagariya, a professor from Columbia University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, wrote how “the emerging giant can accomplish something the diminishing giant couldn’t!.” While the professor admits to the reality of the ‘diminishing giant’, sadly, he equates a giant of brute force with a moral one. This seems to be very similar to Manmohan Singh’s one-point agenda to ‘to sit at the high table, in the global comity of nations.’ Both, Manmohan Singh and Arvind Panagariya seem to be infected with this strain of imported virus. The main symptom of this infection is this overwhelming desire for Western approval.

17 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Jessie said, on July 28, 2008 at 4:16 am

    India has for thousands of years had its own highly developed culture. Hopefully she will remember that while assimilating western culture. The ancient civilizations such as Mohandojaro, Harrapan etc have shown us that India has a very sophisticated past.

    Poetry, art, architecture, dance, and music have been very advanced in India for thousands of years. Each of those arts were based upon mathematics that the western world didn’t know until India gave it to them.

  2. Dsylexicus Indicus said, on July 28, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Hi,

    Truly impressive writings!. I came here searching for the gold standard/Bretton wood impact on India.

    Could you please comment (perhaps in another post) on the Ron Paul phenomenon in the US.?

    Paul wants to go back to the gold standard.How will that impact India -with the upcoming demise of the dollar, this thought cant be dismissed without any debate.
    He is against the “war on drugs” whereby US jails are filled with poor blacks imprisoned for possessing few grams of drugs.
    He is for non-interventionist foreign policy. How does that impact the middle east and issues with discontent in the ‘desert bloc’ ?

    thank you
    Pravin.

  3. Anuraag Sanghi said, on July 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Pravin – Going back to the Gold Standard is a factually incorrect. There has never been a gold standard. The way the modern Western economists define it, it is a oxymoron. Hence, Ron Paul’s statement that the world (possibly, when he says the world, he actually means the West, I think) needs to go back to the gold standard is false.

    What the West did have are systems to corner and manipulate gold supplies – which the Anglo Saxon Bloc did with the control of USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa (which will possibly help you to understand the covert Western support for apartheid).

    Regarding the demise of the dollar, I think that is largely ‘wishful hopes’ – rather than any realistic outcome. Others (countries, blocs, systems) do not have an alternative in place which they can talk about. So, I am unsure about this ‘demise of the dollar’ story.

    On the war on drugs, it would be historical irony, if the Chinese were to swamp the West with cheap drugs like the West did with to China for decades.

    On the non-interventionist US policy, I think, the only situation, where they will stop doing this is when they will no longer be able to – like Britain today.

    My assessment of Ron Paul – he the William Wilberforce of 21st Century – a straw figure, put up for propaganda purposes, all talk, all gas, no can do nothing.

  4. Dsylexic said, on July 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I have to disagree about Ron Paul. He is the only statesman US politics has seen in the last 40 years. His voting record in the US congress is impeccable and passes all scrutiny of integrity.
    His personal investments are in bullion and gold mining cos.He is an adherent of the Austrian economic school of thought and puts his money where his mouth is. He has consistently voted against the US led wars and has introduced bills to abolish the Fedewral reserve.

    I dont doubt his honesty/intentions.He is isolated from the party by the neo-cons

  5. Dsylexic said, on July 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Also,in addition, wouldnt you give cognisance to the fact that in the 1940s China wasnt a force?. Now it is the biggest lender to the US.

    They surely arent part of the Anglosaxon clique.They have imperial ambitions of their own and te dollar is the only thing that binds these 2 powers. The depreciating dollar isnt going to be taken lying down by the Chinese.Unless they are willing to inflate their own economy and face civil war in their own nation.

    Either the US goes bankrupt after being forced to borrow in a non dollar currency OR some asset backed currency comes back. BrettonWoods 2 isnt likely to survive more than a few years from now.I believe you had a link to Nouriel Roubini’s paper in one of the posts which talks about similar stuff.

  6. Anuraag Sanghi said, on July 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I really dont know Ron Paul – or his record and his integrity. Like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    What I am saying is that anybody who supports the Western concept of the gold standard is a looter. The best example of that is Roosevelt, who mandated all Americans to deliver their gold holdings to the Government. That my dear Sir, is the source of US Government’s gold reserves. Any regime that adopts the Western mechanism of gold standard will ensure that private gold holdings are made illegal.

    Coming to China!

    The Chinese need for Western approval is overwhelming. Hence, while the Chinese may have huge foreign reserves, most of Chinese manufacturing is in foreign hands (western or expatriate Chinese). Domestic Chinese themselves are being fobbed off with well paying jobs. Moreover, Chinese export surplus is heavily dependent on access to American market. So, this bit that the Chinese are not a part of the Anglo Saxon clique is irrelevant.

    The Chinese nation will surely break into three. The Tibetans will not be held by force forever. Nor will the Uighyurs in Xinjian. And the dollar will have nothing to do with it.

    Predictions of the US going bankrupt and the demise of the dollar are wildly exaggerated – especially as any alternate system has not been proposed, discussed or actioned. There are too many people (including India’s April Fool Jokers) who will allow the Bretton Woods to drag on for some time.

    What is lacking is an alternative system. And that is the point of my posts.

  7. Dsylexic said, on July 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Re:slavery.

    Wouldnt you give any credence to the existence of ‘das’ and ‘dasis’ in Hindu lore?. And the Sun temple in Konark(only the mandapam exists now) is supposed to so legendary -surely the work of slave labor?.
    Too difficult to believe Indic cultures had no concept of slavery.

    Please clarify.

    thanks
    Pravin

  8. Anuraag Sanghi said, on July 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Daas and daasis in India are correctly, attendants or servants. The Pandavas, Harishchandra, Nala (of the Damyanti fame), all became dasas during their bad times. After their period of service, they could freely leave their employers. This was voluntary – and they were NOT captured, sold, resold, traded as slaves in slave societies were. Slaves have no control over the recompense for their output.

    There are also no historical records of slave trades, prices, quantities, ownership anywhere in India. In fact, Sanskritic Indian languages have no word for slaves. My theory is that the word asura stands for slave owners. Once you read Indian Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Mahabharat and Ramayana with asuras meaning slave owners, everything begin to makes sense. Without this interpretation, there is a missing element – for instance, the story of Bali and Vamana, the response of Sita apaharan by Ravana and others.

    My post on India’s status around 1857 has a section on the Konark Sun Temple with a link that tells the actual story of the construction – and why it was left incomplete.

    Jessie Mercay, an American vaastu practitioner, has some interesting comments in the 2ndlook blog.

  9. Dsylexicus Indicus said, on July 31, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Thank you Anuraag. BTW, I am curious, if your ‘reading list’ is availble somewhere in any post. Your depth of research amazes me. I would,if you dont mind,like to know what is on your bookshelf!!

    Pravin

  10. Anuraag Sanghi said, on August 1, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Pravin – Thanks.

    My relevant reading list is linked to each of the posts. Of course, a number of these links are supportive, contradictory or additive. Use the links to make up your own mind.

  11. Galeo Rhinus said, on August 2, 2008 at 5:58 am

    A comment on Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul does not want to go back to the gold standard. He wants the federal government off the monopoly of controlling currency. In pre-colonial India the king’s currency competed with private currencies, thus preventing the temptation of inflating currency.

    Ron Paul will be marginalized because the west uses the fiat currency as a weapon to implicitly control the world…

    …Ron Paul threatens Pax Americana…

  12. Galeo Rhinus said, on August 3, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Pravin,

    Consider what slaver labor was used for.

    What is common betwen the pyramids and other large structures of the egyptians and greeks and other places? They were either tombs or palaces for kings.

    They were never meant to be used by anyone other than who they were built for.

    Pre-Islamic India does not have a single massive structure that was built for either a king or any person.

    All massive structures were for community use – no reason to use slaves.

    Artisans in India – even until the 1800s were always independent workers who were paid by the job.

  13. prashant said, on October 10, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Hi,

    Is there any place from where we can find and read Ancient Indian civilization’s books like ved, puran, etc.

    I would like to know more about our past.

    Thanks,
    Prashant

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on October 10, 2011 at 6:11 am

      Prashant – There are lakhs of Sanskrit texts dated 1000 years or more. In fact I understand there is a Sanskrit manual for thieves also.

      The circle has infinite number of radius and they all lead to the centre. Where you start is not important, you will any way land at the centre. So pick a thread and start somewhere.

      The best web resource, I have found is

      http://sanskritebooks.wordpress.com/ebooks-download/

      He has been kind enough to give me a download link for Vayu Purana – after my unsuccessful search of 15 days.

  14. admin said, on April 19, 2012 at 6:30 am

  15. S.Suchindranath Aiyer said, on May 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Precedents that say that economies built on human exploitation and labour arbitrage like India will fail in the end:

  16. admin said, on February 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: