2ndlook

Löwenmensch Puzzle – Am I missing something?

Posted in European History, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on June 4, 2011

Löwenmensch (The Lion-man) = While the bones at the site are radio-carbon dated, the entire narrative structure is built on the undated ivory figurines.

Lowenmensch or the Lionman - Book extract from Foundations of culture: knowledge-construction, belief systems and worldview ...  By Harald Haarmann (Courtesy - Google Books.). Click to go to original book.

Löwenmensch or the Lionman – Book extract from Foundations of culture: knowledge-construction, belief systems and worldview … By Harald Haarmann (Courtesy – Google Books.). Click to go to original book.

Half man, half lion figure in Germany

The Löwenmensch (meaning lion-man in English) is a puzzle. The provenance of this figure is derived from the 1870s. Markedly

Significant is the discovery of the Löwenmensch — a German term meaning “lion-person” — as a larger Löwenmensch sculpture was found in 1939 at the Hohlenstein-Stadel site in a neighbouring valley. Both works carry similar features and have been dated to the Aurignacian period between 31,000 and 33,000 years ago.

Dr.Nicholas Conard added: “The occupants of Hohle Fels in the Ach Valley and Hohlenstein-Stadel in the Lone Valley must have been members of the same cultural group and shared beliefs and practices connected with therianthropic (half-man, half-animal) images of felids (cats) and humans. The discovery lends support to the hypothesis that Aurignacian people practised a form of shamanism.”

The second site at

Hohle Fels is a large cave site with Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations, located in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany, some 20 kilometers southwest of the town of Ulm.

The cave deposits include a low density Middle Paleolithic site and a long Upper Paleolithic sequence with separate Aurignacian, Gravettian and Magdalenian occupations. Radiocarbon dates for the UP components range between 29,000 and 36,000 years bp.

Hohle Fels is best known for the recent recovery of three pieces of carved ivory from the Aurignacian period, which make up some of the earliest portable art in the world.

The three figurines are of a horse’s head (or possibly a bear), a water bird of some sort possibly in flight, and a “Lowenmensch”, a half lion/half human figurine. Previously, a similar lion/human sculpture (although much larger) was found at the Hohlenstein-Stadel site, an Aurignacian period site in the Lone Valley of Germany. The horse’s head at Hohle Fels came from a level dated about 30,000 years old; the other two are from an older occupation in the cave, ca. 31-33,000 years ago.

Hohle Fels was discovered in the 1870s and first excavated in the late 1950s, when undisturbed Paleolithic sediments were found. Excavations have been ongoing since the 1970s, led first by Joachim Hahn and beginning in the 1990s by Nicholas Conard. (via Hohle Fels (Germany).

These items, especially the two Löwenmensch seemed ‘polished from heavy handling, suggesting that rather than sitting on a shelf as an artifact to be admired’.

The Löwenmensch (Image courtesy - historyofinformation.com). Click for larger image.

The Löwenmensch (Image courtesy – historyofinformation.com). Click for larger image.

The importance of being the Löwenmensch

These ivory artifacts are vital to the European historical narrative being developed over the last 20 years – based on these finds.

Dr.Conard in another paper claims, ‘The ivory figurines from Swabia represent one of the earliest artistic traditions worldwide”. A related academic paper on this period goes on to say,

Indeed, how can we not see, in the numerous and varied ornaments, sculpted stone blocks, ivory statuettes or bone, antler and ivory spear points, evidence of a significant and abrupt mutation in the long history of human evolution?’.

Figurines apart, there are the odd musical instruments, which too are of ivory. Musical instruments made and used more than 30,000 years ago – in what is called as the Aurignacian period.

These incredible finds must have a credible theory behind it.

How was the Löwenmensch dated?

If this is true, I am most curious about the methodology used for dating. What samples were used for radio-carbon dating?

Academic papers presented by the team, list some 10 samples. These samples were radio carbon-dated – between 1977-2003, in different labs, by different researchers. These samples showed radio-carbon dates of 31000-41000 years BP. The error rate is less than a 1000 years. Conservative dating still puts these finds in the 30,000-40,000 years age.

10 samples over 10,000 years. That would be 1 sample per 1000 years. Usually such technology development has been accompanied by larger settlements – and not a remote cave, with sparse proof of habitation. To imagine that a few Early Stone Age people, sat down in a corner, picked a few sharp stones, and made musical instruments, sounds flimsy. Remember, in a remote cave.

However, another academic paper does not find this remarkable, as the ‘bulk of the material remained in situ, such a level of vertical displacement is also perfectly compatible with the recognition of global assemblage patterns’.

Just 10 samples. But with an age difference of over 10,000 years. Between the oldest and latest. At one site, at one stratigraphic layer. That is indeed a long period.

It means something.

Strange is my middle name

Going back to reports by the researchers, and a careful reading shows, that the Löwenmensch statuette of Hohlenstein-Stadel was found in the Upper Paleolithic layer – along side various other items. Organic material like reindeer, wolf, elk, horse bones (humerus, mixed bone sample, ulna, astragalus, radius, longbone, metatarsal, longbone, metapodial). It is these bones which were carbon-dated.

Dr.Conard the lead archaeologist, confirms that ‘Ivory artifacts were not dated to maximize the comparability between the dates.’ Cited by 153 other papers, strangely, questions are rare, on how the most visible artefact, the Löwenmensch was not specifically dated. It may be worthwhile to remind the academic community about some recent demotions.

The younger age of Combe Capelle upsets this theory, although skulls of this general type also appear in the Moravian site of Dolni Vestonice. In 2004 another supposed Aurignacian specimen, Vogelherd was demoted to the last 5,000 years.

If so much is being made out of these ivory artifacts, is it not then essential to carbon date the ivory? If the entire edifice of the evolution is based on these very ivory artifacts?

The bones are radio-carbon dated, but the entire narrative structure is built on the undated ivory figurines.

The story grows

Work on these sites has continued. Some more finds have been reported. Using the same technique, the Swabia region is now in danger of being called

Are we fitting evidence to a theory? Where is the dating of the ivory products?

Are we fitting evidence to a theory? Where is the dating of the ivory products?

The birthplace of human art. If indeed there is such a place, researchers are increasingly inclined to believe that it is to be found in the hills — and caves — of southern Germany. Already, archaeologists have unearthed a number of miniature mammoth ivory carvings — and on Wednesday, Nicholas Conard, a professor of prehistory at the University of Tübingen, presented his most recent sensational discovery: a tiny figure of a shockingly anatomically correct woman carved out of mammoth ivory that is at least 35,000 years old and perhaps as old as 40,000.

The carving, called the “Venus of the Fels Cave,” is thought to be the oldest human depiction ever found and one of the most ancient pieces of representational art in the world.

The find was made in September of last year in one of the numerous caves in the southern German region of Swabia, not far from the Danube River valley. The caves in the region have poured forth a number of valuable ivory carvings in recent years, all stemming from the Aurignacian period, an age which saw the earliest modern humans settle Europe concurrently with the demise of the Neanderthals which preceded them.

Archaeologists have found some 25 small ivory carvings in the region, including depictions of mammals, horses, bison and birds. Researchers have also found the world’s oldest music instruments — a kind of flute made out of the bones of birds. (via Explicit Art: Oldest Known Human Sculpture Found in Germany – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International).

Maybe even do a DNA verification?

The Löwenmensch figurine is made of ivory – which is usually used in context of elephant-tusks. In this case it has been proposed that this was made from mammoth or a mastodon tusk – the ancestors of modern elephants. The Ulm Museum where this figure is housed says this was carved  by ‘stone tools out of mammoth ivory’.

It is unclear on what basis the ivory type of the Löwenmensch was decided. Was it fossil ivory, of the mammoth type, or the modern African or Asian elephant tusk. The US Customs Department uses the Schreger Pattern to decide between elephant or mammoth ivory.

if the angle of the cross-hatch pattern is less than 90 degrees, the ivory is fossil mammoth (mammoth forms angles of 87 degrees on average). If the cross-hatch angle is more than 90 degrees, the ivory could be modern elephant (modern elephant ivory forms angles greater than 115 degrees.) On the other hand, Mastodons cross-hatch angle is 125 degrees on average. (via Fossil-Treasures-of-Florida-Newsletter, Issue #0007 — How to Identify Fossil Ivory, June 29, 2010).

Schreger lines in elephant ivory. (Image courtesy - www.ivoryandart.com.) Click for larger image.

Schreger lines in elephant ivory. (Image courtesy – http://www.ivoryandart.com.) Click for larger image.

Schreger lines for mammoth ivory. (Image courtesy - www.lab.fws.gov.). Click for larger image.

Schreger lines for mammoth ivory. (Image courtesy – http://www.lab.fws.gov.). Click for larger image.

A few years after the discovery and the consensus on the Löwenmensch, methods to unravel the DNA of the mammoth were found between 2005-2009. The mammoth genome was sequenced and comparative-DNA analysis of the mammoth too was done.

Considering what historians expect from Löwenmensch, would it not be prudent to go for DNA testing. Spectroscopic examination of the Upper Paleolithic era bones and mammoth ivory would reveal mineral traces, which may help in locating, where this mammoth tusk originated from.

Stratigraphic coincidence

The possible and logical answer to the stratigraphic coincidence, is the re-habitation of abandoned caves.

This logic appears stronger, with 10 samples sprayed across 10,000 years. So, apparently this cave was abandoned and re-occupied a few times in the 10,000 years which accounts for these chronologically widely spaced samples. The Löwenmensch and the other ivory artifacts could then belong to a probably Bronze age inhabitant – and not to the Upper Paleolithic man.

This is relevant when it is ‘securely established that working fresh ivory in the Aurignacian was highly unlikely, if not impossible’. Radio-carbon dating has fixed Swabia-Jura in the 30,000-40,000 BP period. At a time when the woolly mammoth were alive and well. After the end of the Pleistocene era (1.7 million years ago-12,000 years ago), with retreating ice caps, for the Bronze Age man, weathered tusks from skeletons of woolly mammoths would have been easily available.

This also begs the question why not stone? European soft woods would have been so much easier. Simplest would have been clay. Why ivory? Such choices also indicate developed language skills. There is no evidence of any language skills in the Upper Paleolithic man here.

Can Stone Age implements be used to make musical instruments, or tiny human, humanoid, or zoo-morphic figures? Like the tiny Venus of Fels? Even today, good stone household instruments, are made using metallic tools. Could rough, serrated-edge stone tools make a figure of the woolly mammoth

tiny, measuring just 3.7 cm long and weighing a mere 7.5 grams, and displays skilfully detailed carvings (or a) miniature lion is 5.6 cm long, (with an) extended torso and outstretched neck. It is decorated with approximately 30 finely incised crosses on its spine. (Linking text in parentheses supplied).

Or as Der Spiegel waxes poetically

A flute, made of pure ivory, was discovered in 2004. The craftsman split the tusk along the length . Then he hollowed it out, carved three holes into it and glued the two halves airtight with birch pitch.

(German-English translation supplied; original German text – Eine der Flöten – sie wurde im Jahr 2004 entdeckt – ist aus purem Elfenbein. Der Handwerker spaltete dafür einen Stoßzahn der Länge nach durch. Dann höhlte er ihn aus, schnitzte drei Löcher hinein und verleimte die beiden Hälften luftdicht mit Birkenpech; via DER SPIEGEL 27/2007 – Das magische Mammut).

Using ivory chips or bone-shards as tools, would be simple answer. Much like how Indians pioneered diamond-cutting more than 2000 years ago. But that was in a context of a nation with high language skills.

Musical instruments, with early Stone Age tools? Splitting a swan-bone, down the middle and sealing it again with with birch-pitch? Stone Age Man?

Gimme a break! Puh-leeze!

About the Löwenmensch itself

The Aurignacian model using Löwenmensch figurine seems to be using the Antikythera model. Discovered on a Roman ship,  off the Greek coast, near the island of Antikythera, this astrolabe kind of mechanism was replicated with modern innards – and displayed, with much fanfare, as a marvel of Greek engineering. Subsequent research is showing that the Antikythera probably used Babylonian astronomy – and not Greek models of astronomy at all.

Perhaps the thinking behind this project was best said in The Times, London.

Alistair Sinclair, of Liverpool University, said that the Swabian finds added weight to the theory that human art became very sophisticated very quickly after it emerged.

“Instead of a gradual evolution of skills, the first modern humans in Europe were in fact astonishingly precocious artists,” he said. “The argument in favour of fast-developing artistic skills in modern humans is strong, and certainly one that I find convincing.”

The oldest known examples of cave paintings — in the Grotte Chauvet in France — dated from the same period as the Swabian sculptures, Dr Sinclair said.

When any historical development or find gets described as ‘abrupt mutation in the long history of human evolution’ or ‘modern humans in Europe were in fact astonishingly precocious artists (with) fast-developing artistic skills’, Mortimer Wheeler comes to mind, who said how his archaeological ‘expeditions’

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”

Hattusas' Lion - note the weathered mane

Hattusas’ Lion – note the weathered mane

This usually means, thin ice. Very thin.

Interestingly, on these Swabian-Aurignacian finds, Der Spiegel observes ‘Zwar hegt die mächtige Zunft der US-Archäologen noch Zweifel am Alter’ (English Translation – Although the powerful guild of U.S. archaeologists have doubts on age).

It goes further and calls the Löwenmensch figure ‘der Avatar aus dem Aurignacien’ – the avatar from Aurignacian.

Who could it be now?

Who could have brought to Germany, elephants, ivory, iron-age tools, horse, boar, fertility symbol female figures, phallic symbols, and the the Löwenmensch – a version of Narasimha avatar.

My favorite candidate

European Hittites.

After all, the gates of Hattusha are guarded by similar lion-faced statues.


Advertisements

Bharat-tantra – Prequel To Modern History!

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on September 6, 2010
Communism - Another Western Political Construct. Same Difference. Image Courtesy - Wikipedia

Communism - Another Western Political Construct. Same Difference. Image Courtesy - Wikipedia

The one-eyed king

In the last 250 years, just 5 countries succeeded with Republican democracy without a significant breakdown in their first 50 years. Of the five, Switzerland (pop. 80 lakhs), Israel (pop. 75 lakhs) and Singapore (pop. 50 lakhs) are tiny countries to generate any valuable data, models, norms or precedents. In any other day, age and society, the Republican-Democracy model would have been laughed off – and not studied by millions.

Global media in the last 12 months used Tiger Woods as a punching bag for his sex ‘crimes’. Hank Paulson, in the last days of the Bush regime, ensured the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent acquisition by Goldman Sachs.

Across South West India to the North-East, deep in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar to Bengal, a swath of red terror is making life difficult for the Indian state.

Strange as it may seem, all these ‘events’ are related.

Indian transformation – from Saraswati-Indus to the Indo-Gangetic plains

Nearly 5000 years ago, the Saraswati River started drying up. In fits and bursts, over the next 1000 years, it completely dried up – coinciding with a global drought. Many cultures declined and some perished altogether. How could Indians sustain their culture over a period of 1000 years, while the Saraswati was drying up? And the Ganga’s riverine system was yet to develop!

Even mostly objective historians, find it difficult to understand how the Saraswati-Indus Basin cities could have been related to the later Indo-Gangetic cities. To allow that new sites, for so many settlements could be set up, without war or conflict! To Indians, this is something possible – at the most difficult. Western historians find it difficult to believe that in such trying times, spread over 1,000 years, India was able to sustain and grow its culture. This inability to comprehend is possibly why (some) Western historians deny the linkage between the Saraswati and the Indo-Gangetic cultures.

Behind this ability to transcend a 1000 year natural calamity, is the secret of Indian socio-political system – which I have termed as भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

Factors of production

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, the Indic socio-political system, addresses three basic human aspirations. If humans are deprived of these basic ‘wants’, these aspirations, it is cause for war – as per India’s wisdom narrative. These aspirations are ज़र zar (meaning gold), जन jan (meaning people) and ज़मीन jameen (meaning land).

This makes the basis भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra different from Western politico-economic systems, that are based on four factors of production (land, labour, capital and enterprise). भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra treats these three elements as ‘aspirational’ while Western theory sees these four factors as ‘exploitative’.

Abandoned port city of Lothal - A big port in the ancient world. (Photo coutesy - travelguru.com)

Abandoned port city of Lothal - A big port in the ancient world. (Photo courtesy - travelguru.com)

Modern Western economies revolve around Veblen’s models – owner of capital (capitalists) own businesses that buy and sell businesses; businesses compete with widget makers (enterprise) who use land, labour and capital; or commandeer of labour, capital and enterprise (communists) who will annihilate both the capitalist and the entrepreneur. In all the four Western systems (viz. feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communism) the concentration of political, economic, social, intellectual power remains!

No difference, at all.

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra system works to deliver these three elements to all its members. For centuries भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra was known as dharma. Modern etymology has completely derailed the meaning of dharma – which has now been reduced to mean religion. Religion was something India never had – and has now made it an integral part of itself.

Neil Young can see it

One sunny afternoon, in a Delhi winter, I landed Neil Young’s album containing, Crime in the City. For the next few months, this album remained high on my play list. One part of the lyrics stuck in my memory – the part about the producer wanting a hungry and single artist.

The artist looked at the producer, The producer sat back

He said, What we have got here, Is a perfect track

But we don’t have a vocal, And we don’t have a song

If we could get these things accomplished, Nothin’ else could go wrong.

So he balanced the ashtray, As he picked up the phone

And said, Send me a songwriter, Who’s drifted far from home

And make sure that he’s hungry, Make sure he’s alone

Send me a cheeseburger, And a new Rolling Stone.

Why this producer’s preference for someone alone – akin to single? Was this an aberration? Or a trend! Looking inside out, from India, which has a strong bias towards getting married, this was a revelation. It raised a number of questions in my mind, when strangelythere are very few accessible cross-national studies that have data on both marital status and well-being at the individual level for the general.

The ideal of universal marriage

Measuring simple marital status of the broad population may give a crude confirmation of this social bias. At any point, 35%-45% of the adult population in the US and UK, for whom data is available, are unmarried. That is 1000% more than India’s unmarried population. How will it affect women and children when projections show that “the population of unmarried women will soon surpass the number of married women”.

Man is a social animal, said Aristotle. If that is true, why this anti-social bias then in the ‘Desert Bloc’? As Neil Young grimly points out. As we will see below, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra worked out a system of ‘negotiated’ marriages, which achieved near universal marriage for the population.

Given a choice between a slave and a wife, who would want a wife? In slave societies, daughters and sisters of only the rich and powerful could marry. To make marriage attractive, for the rich and powerful people, handsome dowries were given and taken. For instance, the site for current Mumbai was bought by the Portuguese king from Gujarati king, Sultan Muhamed Begada in 1534. Subsequently, it was given in dowry to the British Queen, Catherine of Braganza, sister of the Portuguese king, as dowry when she married King Charles II in 1661.

On the other hand, in India, even the poorest share the cost of stabilizing the start of a new family, formed after marriage.

Behind universal marriage is gold

Indian marriages are solidly anchored in gold. Every marriage has a significant amount of exchange of gold.

Rather an anomaly, since India has never in been, in its 5000 year history, a significant gold producer. Yet Indian citizenry has the largest private reserves of gold in the world – 500% of US private reserves of gold. Indian ‘despots’ could not control large gold reserves due to भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

Unlike the rest of the world, Indian rulers had less than 20% of the gross Indian gold reserves – instead of 80% in the rest of the world. Without vast reserves of gold, the concentration of wealth and power did not happen. As a result, Indian rulers could not create vast marauding, pillaging armies.

Yet, with huge domestic private-sector experts, made of armoured elephant corps, expert cavalry troops (inventors of the stirrup), largest producers of gunpowder, producers of the most-sought after Wootz steel, Indian rulers kept India free of foreign invaders – for most of history.

Iqtadari and Jagirdari System (from Our Story So Far 7 By Vipul Singh, Gita Shanmugavel, Jasmine Dhillon; page 44).

Iqtadari and Jagirdari System (from Our Story So Far 7 By Vipul Singh, Gita Shanmugavel, Jasmine Dhillon; page 44).

Junkers, Kulaks, Lords and Plantation owners

Europe started with land reforms between 1800 to 1900. German junkers, Russian Kulaks, English lords  resisted, many successfully, from giving up their lands. Spain was an early mover with land sales in 1798-1808. The rest of Europe followed.

With vanishing of slaves, serfs and tenants, in 19th century, mechanization of farming was introduced with State support in Germany. German Junkers could maintain their hold and power right upto the Weimar Republic. Britain dragged its feet on land reform till the end of 19th century – especially in Ireland.

Land rights in India

In India, centralization of power increased from Qutubuddin Aibak (1206) onwards and introduction of iqtadari system – when a king’s pleasure amounted to land title. The 200 years foreign, Islāmic rule in India, by Turko-Persian offshoots, changed Indian property holding patterns. The Mughals modified this system into the jagirdari system.

The British in India went a step further. They dispossessed crores of Indians and created a uniquely oppressive system – the zamindari system. The British introduced another strain of this virus – public purpose. Peasants and tribals could be dispossessed of their land for a vague ‘public’ purpose – a policy that the modern Indian government continues.

In India, till the 12th century, vested property rights with the producer, upto the advent of the Islamic iqtadari system. Manusmriti states that ‘land is the property of him who cut away the wood or who tilled or cleared it’. To prevent concentration of landholdings in the hands of the few, sale, resale and purchase of property was not legal. Combined with the absence of slavery, it set up a unique situation – a virtuous circle.

With abundant food supply, since slaves were not available, and as land was not for sale, what would drive greed? What would make people want more gold?

Modern political theory

Indian thinkers responded with unique mechanisms to systematize the achievement of these three aspirations – ज़र, zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). Desert Bloc administrators and usurpers of Indian polity inverted many of these systems and vilified these mechanisms, opposite of original design.

One important mechanism to achieve these aims was the चातर वर्णाश्रम chatar-varnashram (which the English misrepresented as the caste system). The other mechanism was the Indian marriage system. As Indian society started seeing greater flux, family and community started arranging marriages. The father commits the bride with dahej, community commits the husband to the future of the family. An interesting third element is how Indians were empowered to buy gold by the establishment of lakhs of dharamkantas. Dharamkantas, set up by by gold smiths, fully subsidized the cost of assaying gold.

Even the swastika, is tie-in with भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. A mnemonic (reminder) against collusion and collaboration by (any of the) three parts of the society (intellectuals, polity, finance and labour) against a fourth. Or how trade and logistics, was separated into two parts, to prevent collusion and exploitation. Trade was handled by the vaishya community and logistics handled by the Banjara community – of whom the Roma Gypsies are an off shoot.

It was Parag Tope, (a regular reader of 2ndlook; co-writer of Operation Red Lotus) who first pointed out to me the possible linkage between Swastika and भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. According to Parag Tope,

The Swastika represented a four way split in how functions in an organized society were separated to maintain a balance of power.  This balance was maintained by preventing collusion or “collaboration” by any of the two or more parts of the society.  The four functions were 1. production, 2. retail, 3. defence and implementation of polity, 4. knowledge of polity. Agrarian output belonged to the production value chain and landownership was therefore associated with production. Retail was separated from trade and transportation, to prevent collusion and exploitation. The knowledge of polity was separated from the implementation to maintain the balance of power.

The rights of man

Indian thought saw access to ज़र zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land) as pre-conditions, means if you will, for social equity. After ensuring access to these three essentials, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra also defined four freedoms through these means.

These four freedoms are काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty) and धर्मं dharma (justice). Agnipurana mentions धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाश्च पुरुषार्था उदाहृताः Agni P.; H. Pr.35.-3 something which when done results in the satisfaction of the performer.

The power to tax was limited. Some of the common terms and methods were (from Vaman Apte’s Sanskrit Dictionary; search by Parag Tope) were: –

  1. बलिषड्भाग – the sixth part as a tribute;
  2. चतुर्थभाज् a. receiving a fourth part of every source of income from the subjects, as a king; (this is allowed only in times of financial embarrassments, the usual share being a sixth;
  3. षष्ठअंशः 1 a sixth part in general. -2 particularly, the sixth part of the produce of fields &c., which the king takes from his subjects as land-tax;
  4. प्रतिभागः – A share, portion (given to a king as a tax) of one’s income, generally a sixth part:
  5. उद्धारः – The sixth part of booty taken in war which belongs to the king; राज्ञश्च दद्युरुद्धारमित्येषा वैदिकी श्रुतिः Ms.7.97.

Modern Western polity promise different ‘freedoms’ that mean little. These ‘modern’ systems have made it either impossible (now) or unacceptable (earlier) to make money. Earlier, Christian ethics did not allow any economic activity. Except and unless it benefitted God, King and Country. Result, Jews captured vast sections of Christian economies. Now we have the capture of the economy by 0.5% of the population which makes all of us into employees.

Instead of real rights, काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty)and धर्मं dharma (justice), people were fobbed off with ‘free’ speech (in your drawing room, to yourself), ‘free’ press, (mortgaged to banks and advertisers), religious freedom,(subject to population planning), etc.

Say what you want! Does it matter? Mass media has always been under some kind of State control and direction. How free can any press be, anyway, if Big Advertisers control the business.

Witness, The Hounding of Tiger Woods. His crime? Sex with willing women.

What made Buddhism so attractive?

An early interpreter of this system was Gautama Buddha. In the Sutta Pitaka, Majjhima Nikaya, Book:2 (thanks for the link Parag Tope), Gautama explains to the novice, Asslaayana, the risk of dual-mode, slave-master societies, like Yavana-Khamboja (Greece-Cambodiya) compared to a चातर वर्णाश्रम chatar-varnashram society like India.

Taṃ kiṃ maññasi assalāyana, sutaṃ te: ‘yonakambojesu4 aññesu ca paccantimesu janapadesu dveva vaṇṇā, ayyo ceva dāso ca. Ayyo hutvā dāso hoti, dāso hutvā ayyo hotī’ti.

Assalàyana, have you heard of Greece, Cambodiya, and certain other bordering states. They have only two castes, masters and slaves. One becomes a master and then a slave, and a slave becomes a master?

Evaṃ bho sutaṃ me yonakambojesu aññesu ca paccantimesu janapadesu dveva vaṇṇā ayyo ceva dāso ca. Ayyo hutvā dāso hoti, dāso hutvā ayyo hoti’ti.

Good one, I have heard of Greece, Cambodiya, and certain other bordering states. They have only two castes, masters and slaves. One becomes a master and then a slave, and a slave becomes a master.

Till भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra became popular, the axis of Confucian-Platonic authoritarian, ‘wise’ rulers, who were not accountable, was (and again) the overwhelming model for the world. Property rights remained with less than 0.1% of the people.

Buddhism changed that.

Buddhism gained not because Buddha’s statues were prettier than the statues of previous deities. Or because Buddhist chants sounded better. If that, anyway, was the reason, the statues of previous divinities could have been prettified.

Resettling India – and law

In the post-Saraswati India, after thousands of cities were abandoned, and millions of people were resettled over a period of 1000 years, the principles of Indian polity were probably weakened. Buddha in India was one in the long line of many teachers, who continued the development of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra – then known as dharma. Buddhism recognizes more than a 100 Boddhisatvas and Jainism recognizes some 24 tirthankaras. Chandragupta Maurya after his reign long reign, took vaanprastha and retired to a monastery in Karnataka as per Jain historiography.

Contextually, dharma itself was sub-divided deśadharma, dharma for different regions, jātidharma, dharma based on professional and social groups, and kuladharma, for different families and lineages. Many political and legal treatises were written. There are hundreds of original works, digests, compendiums, commentaries, expansions, developments dharmasutras, dharmashstras and nitishastra treatises in India. Major ideas of Āpastamba, Baudhāyana, Gautama (not Buddha), Manu, Shukra, Vasiṣṭha and Yagnavalkya were  developed and expounded. Shantiparva in Mahabharata, Chanakya’s Arthashastra, are well-known among the lay public.  Kautilya’s Arthshastra is hardly the most or even important.

Yājñavalkyasmṛti, the Dharmasutras of Āpastamba and Baudhayana (a part of the Kalpasūtra) are an important part of the dharmic laws. Various smritis were later hardened into written form – some of them being Manu-smṛti, Yājñavalkya-smṛti, Nārada-smṛti, Viṣṇu-smṛti, Bṛhaspati-smṛti, Kātyāyana-smṛti et al. Various bhashyas and nibandhas, tikas were written and used.

On Manusmriti by like Bhāruchi (of Bharuch, Gujarat, probably 7th century), Medhātithi, Manvartha-muktavali by Kullūka, Govindarāja, Nārāyaṇa, Raghavananda, Nandana.  Bālakrīḍā by Viśvarupa, Mitākṣarā by Vijñāneśvara, Aparārka, Dīpakalikā by Śūlapāṇi, Vīramitrodaya by Mitramiśra on Yājñavalkya Smṛti. Two related works on Naradasmriti are by Asahāya, whose commentary was further expanded by Kalyāṇbhaṭṭa. On Vishnusmriti, Nandapaṇḍita wrote the Vaijayantī.

There are extensive compendiums like Krtyakalpatara by Lakṣmīdhara, Smṛticandrikā by Devaṇṇa-bhaṭṭan, Dāyabhāga by Jīmūtavāhana, Caturvagacintāmani by Hemādri, by Caṇḍeśvara. Raja Todar Mal, one of Akbar’s navratna wrote the Ṭoḍarāndanda.

The offering of Sujata - Location: Fo Guang Shan 佛光山 Temple, Jenjarom, Malaysia (Photo courtesy - http://myloismylife.blogspot.com).

The offering of Sujata - Location: Fo Guang Shan 佛光山 Temple, Jenjarom, Malaysia (Photo courtesy - http://myloismylife.blogspot.com).

In the more recent history, from the Mithila school, we have Chandeshwara (also Caṇḍeśvara , Chandes(h)vara, Chandes(h)wara; early 14th century) who is most known for Rāja-nīti-ratnākara and Vivāda-ratnākara. From the same Mithila school, we also have Vachaspati Mishra  (also Vacaspati Misra) who wrote the chintamani series, Vivāda-cintāmani on 18 litigation-types. and a procedural text called the VyavaharaChintamani.

Two Deccani scholars, from Paithan, settled in Benares, rivals and cousins, one of whom was Kamalākara-bhatta (from 22 books), wrote Vivāda-tāṇḍava and Nirnaya-sindhu and his cousin Nīlakaṇṭha’s treatises (early and middle 17th century) Vyavahāra-mayūkha and Bhagavanta-bhāskara are the most known. Dattaka-mīmāmsā by Nanda-paṇḍita (late 16th – early 17th century) was used by colonial British authorities as Hindu law topic of judicial procedure.

Pratāparudra-deva, Gajapati dynasty king from Orissa, commissioned a group of brahmins and pandits to make a comprehensive digest of Indic Law, which came to be known as the Saraswati-vilasa (also Saraswati-vilasa). Vīrasiṃha, the king of Orccha (1605-1627) appointed Mitra-miśra (Early 17th century) leading to a comprehensive legal digest, the Vīramitrodaya.

Lessons in भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra are delivered through the twenty-five Vikram and Vetal case-studies; many Buddhist Jatakas; Panchatantra and the Hitopdesa.

The real battle

In contrast to भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, under the cuius regio, eius religio, principle (meaning whose land, his religion; CRER) even the most personal religious beliefs of the individual were subject to State approval, as per law.

Population Density - Major Countries (7 of 10 countries are influenced by Indian culture).

Population Density - Major Countries (7 of 10 countries are influenced by Indian culture).

Why is the Chinese Communist Government afraid of Buddhist monks. Why does Lee Kuan Yew promote Confucianism. Or the Japanese are trying to revive Shintoism? Faced with a reality of ‘warm-bodies-shortage’ in the 19th century, the West invented  ‘liberalism’, secular’ Governments, Marxism, Socialism et al. It is these principles which accounts for the low levels of diversity in the West – and which also accounts for the shrillness with which the West proclaims its ‘liberalism’ – facts being otherwise.

Sterile asuric systems always looked to India for their illegitimate needs of ज़र, zar, (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). When the African continent could no longer accept further population reductions, combined with slave revolts, the British turned to India for जन jan – people as indentured labour. When the British needed money to repay America for WWI debt, it is India which bailed out USA – and Britain.

The fruits of democracy

In ‘modern’ India, European thought dominates academic and intellectual discourse. One such example is democracy – which lulls us into a stupor of inaction, while it gives us an illusion of being powerful. Instead of being involved in our societies, localities and communities on a daily basis, it wakes us up once in five years at election time. After five years of stupor and laziness, this political device makes us talk loudly, rudely.

And we go to sleep again.

The device of democracy also corrupts our mind. Instead of focusing on the behavior of rulers and politicians, it diverts our minds to believe that the solution is to replace one bad ruler with another. It creates a collusive polity where bad rulers conspire with each other, against us.

This fruit of democracy is a strange poison.

Understanding भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra

The principles of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra remain a part of mixed and corrupted, oral history. Over the last two years, many 2ndlook posts have identified the principles – but भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has been never presented as a complete body of polity system.

That is now being done in the table below. Given below is a comparison table detailing how asuric polity from the Desert Bloc is different from भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. Each point is linked to a post that further elaborates on the subject. Clicking on that link will open the post in a new window /tab.

——-

Law and jurisprudence

Description दुरातंत्र (duratantra) सुरातंत्र (suratantra) Remarks
Ideology Western political systems: –

  1. Feudalism
  2. Capitalism
  3. Socialism
  4. Communism
Indic political system

  1. Bharat-tantra
Judicial systems
  1. Distant courts
  1. Local justice
  • Accessible justice
Litigation Cost
  1. Expensive
  2. Time consuming
  1. Low costQuick
Last court of appeal
  1. ‘Fair king’ illusion used to create faith in justice
  1. No centralized judicial authority
  • No centralized manipulation
Case load Large volume of

  1. Crime
  2. Laws
  3. Practitioners
  4. Case bodies
  5. Precedents
  1. Minimal localized law
  2. Principle based
  • Low dispute society
Legal punishment
  1. Death
  2. Imprisonment
  3. Fines
  4. Police State
  1. No prisons
  2. Fines
  3. Exile
  4. Member Behaviour – Family & Community responsibility
Indians low on crime

————–

Economic arrangements

Description दुरातंत्र (duratantra) सुरातंत्र (suratantra) Remarks
Wealth Distribution
  1. Wealth and power concentrated with 0.5%-5% of population
  1. Wealth and property distributed in the population
Integration of Business Activity
  1. Vertical and horizontal integration encouraged
  1. Business linkage between independent producers allowed
Economic Domination
  1. Monopolistic tendencies
  1. Monopolization undercut by economic silos
Economic opportunities People given choice

  1. Slavery
  2. Employment
  1. Self employment
  2. Slavery absent
  • Steady growth economy
Currency and coinage
  1. State controls gold supply
  2. Fiat currency
  3. Legal tender
  1. Private coinage
  2. Gold stocks dispersed in the population
Property rights
  1. Land belongs to the State
  2. Property barons and Government collude to corner ‘prized’ lands
  1. Property belongs to the user.
  2. Non-use of property is an offence
  • High social equity
Entrepreneurial Structure
  1. State encouragement
  2. Corporate structure
  1. Private initiative
  2. No role for State
  • Quick rebound of economic activity
Trade and logistics
  1. Unified
  2. Monolithic
Split between (for insance)

  1. Vaishyas
  2. Banjaras
Ecological footprint Social design based on

  1. Eating meat
  2. Using leather
  3. State supervision
  4. Green movement
  5. Environmental activism
Built in ‘green’ agenda using

  1. Vegetarian food
  2. Natural fibre
  3. Community activism
To study and build on how Indians corporations: –

—————-

Social arrangements

Description दुरातंत्र (duratantra) सुरातंत्र (suratantra) Remarks
Population growth
  1. Weak family structure
  2. Single status is common
  1. Marriage is the norm
  2. Stable marriage and family structure
  • Fertile populations (see population density table above).
Ethnic Diversity
  1. Anti-diversity
  1. High diversity
Linguistic plurality
  1. Assimilation required
  2. Integrated essential
  1. Low cultural compliance
  • USA – Meyer vs Nebraska
  • France killed regional languages
Loyalty
  1. Central authority gets mercenary loyalty
Focus on

  1. Values
  2. Family
  3. Community
Marital possibility
  1. Marriage possible only for a small minority
  1. Marriage is a norm – not a possibility.
Marital economics
  1. Marriage based on ‘bride-price’ (meher; alimony, etc.).
  1. Marriage built on co-investment by both families in the new family unit.
Marital mechanics
  1. Family-‘arranged’ marriages seen as anti-‘freedom’
  2. Lawyer-managed marriages and divorce in West.
  3. Unstable marriages due to ‘compatibility idyll’.
  1. Mostly arranged.
  2. Swayamvars and self-selection as by Savitri also possible
  3. Compatibility expected to grow.
Marital systems
  1. Marriage difficult due to ‘compatibility’ idyll.
Commitment to marital stability

  1. In early stages by bride through dowry
  2. In late stages by husband with family pacts and transfer of wealth to the grih-lakshmi
Social identity Derived from The One

  1. Geography
  2. Language
  3. Administration
  4. Book (Bible, Koran, Torah).
  5. Race
  6. Currency,
  7. Law,
  8. God
Bharat-ah, Aryavart, were about shared values –

  1. Freedom
  2. Liberty
  3. Equity
  4. Anti-slavery
Food
  1. Standardized Food
  1. Non-competitive food behaviour
Social Interface
  1. Single-handed greeting norms
  1. Greetings with both hands
Sports
  1. Modern sport as propaganda
  1. Indian board games as learning and strategy
Sexual freedom
  1. Limitations on personal freedom
  2. Sexual behaviour criminalized – adultery, homosexuality, polygamy.
  1. Land of kamasutra
  2. Yudhisthira and Raghu Ramachandra were monogamous
  3. Polygamy allowed
  4. Polyandry too allowed
  • Wide latitude for individual choice.

******************

Educations, arts, science and technology

Description दुरातंत्र (duratantra) सुरातंत्र (suratantra) Remarks
Education
  1. State sponsored
  2. State directed
  1. Private sector
  2. Check on the political propaganda
Arts State commissioned projects Private patronage of arts
Technology
  1. Wealthy patrons fund R&D
  1. Private enterprise drives R&D
Technology & Innovation
  1. Restrictions on knowledge
  2. Patents & copyright
  1. Open-source system
  2. Non-copyright and non-patent system.
City and Town Planning
  1. Centralized
  2. Statutory town planning
  1. Decentralized
  2. Vaastu shastra in S-IVC
Healthcare
  1. State sector
  2. Subsidized
  1. Private sector
  2. Non-subsidized
History and Historiography Focuses on: –

  1. Day Date Time
  2. Place Temperature Climate Conditions
  3. Agenda is ‘narrative of superiority’.
Focuses on: –

  1. Learnings and lessons
  2. Characters and personalities
  3. Timelessness

******************

Military and defense systems and technology

Description दुरातंत्र (duratantra) सुरातंत्र (suratantra) Remarks
Military Preference for standing armies Volunteer armies
Armies Primogeniture funnels officers into armies Military markets
Government size Maximum government Minimum government
Head of State
  1. Conqueror /Emperor /King model
  1. Mahajanapada model
  2. Rajasuya yagna

‘Aryan’ politics behind Indus-Saraswati history

Posted in European History, History, India, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on March 3, 2010
Hattusha's Lion - note the weathered mane

Hattusas' Lion - note the weathered mane

A tale of two cities

To understand the ‘politics’ of Indus-Saraswati Valley sites, a good start point is Turkey.

In 1834, local villagers  in Turkey, (then the Ottoman Empire), guided a French explorer, Charles-Felix-Marie Texier to nearby ruins.  These ruins, he  thought were ruins of the Celtic Tavium city, mentioned in various Roman sources. Instead, what he ‘found’ was a more ancient culture, that predated Rome by 1500 years.

The Hittite city of Hattusas, that Texier ‘discovered’, took another nearly 100 years to start disgorging its secrets to modern archaeologists. The name of the Hittite city, Hattusas, is itself possibly derived from the Sanskrit word, hutashan, हुताशन meaning “sacred sacrificial fire.”

Guarded by weathered stone lions, very similar to Ashoka Pillar lions, the city of Hattusas, became a cause for much politicking.

The politics of archaeology

In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist, Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (identified as the ancient Hattusas city) 150-200 km from Ankara, Turkey. He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which were of tremendous interest.

Earlier, in 1904, English archaeologist John Garstang (1876-1956) lost out to Hugo Winckler, of Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, (German Oriental Institute) supposedly at the intervention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm-II for excavation rights at modern Boghazkoy.

Related to Boghazkoy tablets were some of the tablets found at Tell-el-Armana, by Flinders Petrie in 1891-1892. The decipherment of the Tell-el-Amarna letters, by JA Knudtzon, in 1901, linked the few earlier tablets found at Boghazkoi-Hattusas. By French archaeologist JA Ernest Chantre in 1893-94, who was

the first in a long line of archaeologists to dig at the ancient site in the 1890s, starting with the hill top compound. His exclusive interest in tablets, unfortunately, led him to destroy everything else he uncovered.

What Makridi Bey and Winckler found, were some 10,000 clay tablets. 10,000 tablets, which no one in the world could read.

On the other side of the world

Bedřich Hrozný
Bedřich Hrozný

A Czech cryptographer, educated in Vienna, Austria, working in Germany, Bedřich (or Friedrich) Hrozný, cracked this code over the next 15 years – and that set off a furore among archaeologists. Hrozný’s

discovery was based on this short sentence written in cuneiform: NU NINDA-AN EZZATENI,WATAR-MA EKUTENI .

Since many Babylonian words were included in Hittite texts, the clue was provided by the Babylonian word ninda, which means “food” or “bread.” Hrozný asked himself a very simple question: What does one do with food or bread? The answer, of course, was, one eats it. So the word ezzateni must be related to eating.

The publication in 1922 of these tablets showed, in one case, a call to Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nastya to witness a treaty between the Hittite king Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, a Mitanni. Gods that only people in India worshipped.

So, how did Vedic gods land up in Turkey, some 3500 years ago?

A deserter’s tale

Back in India, a British ‘soldier-of-fortune’ working with the English East India Company, during 1833-1838, was making his way into various parts of India. On one such trip, after,

A long march preceded our arrival at Haripah, through jangal of the closest description. East of the village was an abundance of luxuriant grass … in front of the village … (a) ruinous brick castle. Behind us was a large circular mound, or eminence, and to the west was an irregular rocky height, crowned with remains of buildings, in fragments of walls, with niches, after the eastern manner. The entire neighbourhood is embellished with numerous pipal trees, some of them in the last stage of lingering existence; bespeaking a great antiquity, when we remember their longevity. The walls and towers of the castle are remarkably high, though, from having been long deserted, they exhibit in some parts the ravages of time and decay. Between our camp and it extended a deep trench, now overgrown with grass and plants. Tradition affirms the existence here of a city, so considerable that it extended to Chicha Watni, thirteen cosses distant, and that it was destroyed by a particular visitation of Providence, brought down by the lust and crimes of the sovereign. (from “Narrative of various journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan by Charles Masson”; underlined text in parenthesis supplied).

During his travels, over North and North West India, he “bought numerous ornaments, gems and coins in Kabul bazaar and amassed an estimated 60,000 coins, gems, seals, rings and other, mostly bronze, surface finds from the urban site of Begram north of Kabul.”

This travelogue, published in 1842, is the first known Western citing of Harappa.

Railway tracks over history

Much before 1857, the British Raj was wracked by rebellion, mutinies, uprisings, battles against colonial British rule. More than 50 of them between 1800-1850. Pushed by this state of constant war, British defense goals in India justified the expansion of Indian railway system. Many of these railway systems were set up by Indian princely states and the promoter-investors, with funds, underwritten by the Indian fare paying passengers. Buried under this railways expansion, are some vital elements of Indian history.

Between Lahore to Multan, for about a 100 km, buried under railway tracks, lies history. John Brunton, on an assignment to build railway lines from Lahore,  used bricks from Harappa “ruins, which in extent exceeded all (his) anticipations … situated on the banks of a deserted river bed.” As this section for railways was being built, contractors used precise bricks and baked clay blocks from nearby ruins and abandoned buildings, to lay the bedding, to which railways tracks were later anchored. The bricks used for this ballast were 4000-5000 year old bricks and clay material from Harappa. On this ballast, rests ‘modern’ Indian history.

Probably, even world history.

Indus Valley Civilization – a history of false starts

Alexander Cunningham, Director of Archaeological Survey of India reported in 1875, how the sites had changed from the time of his trips in 1850’s. The few seals that came to Cunningham’s attention, were promptly declared as “foreign to India.” In spite of the many finds, the first publication was of “three Indus seals discovered by the Italian scholar L. P. Tessitori at Kalibangan in 1917-18 …”

Between 1911-1912, DR Bhandarkar visited Harappa and Mohenjo daro. He thought the ruins did not represent “the remains of … any ancient monument …” and were less than 200 years old as the “bricks here found are of the modern type”.

The 1931 issue of Illustrated London News - Great New Discoveries of Ancient Indian Culture on a Virgin Prehistoric Site in Sind - further results of pioneer research at Chanu-Daro, in the Indus Valley: relics of craftsmanship, domestic life, and personal adornment in the third millennium B.C. by Ernest Mackay D. Litt, FSA, in 5 x photos of seals and seal amulets with animal designs.

The 1931 issue of Illustrated London News - Great New Discoveries of Ancient Indian Culture on a Virgin Prehistoric Site in Sind - further results of pioneer research at Chanu-Daro, in the Indus Valley: relics of craftsmanship, domestic life, and personal adornment in the third millennium B.C. by Ernest Mackay D. Litt, FSA, in 5 x photos of seals and seal amulets with animal designs.

Very little was published or studied, even though, Cunningham, Auriel Stein, DR Bhandarkar, Harold Hargreaves, were aware of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro sites.

All quiet on the Western front! Why?

Reactionary announcement

After 80 years, (1845-1924) of inaction, silence and denial, suddenly the British Raj ‘decided’ to put these ruins to some ‘good use’.

John Marshall, Director of Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), a Lord Curzon-appointee, was despatched to Harappa and Mohenjodaro, in 1925, (his first visit!).

Despite being in India, and in ASI from 1902, Marshall’s first visit to Harappa and Mohenjodaro was in 1925. Based on his ‘insights’ and ‘intuition’ Marshall started writing an ‘authoritative’ book on the “Indus  Valley Civilization”.

What was behind this decision?

During 1800-1900, various excavations, in the Levant (Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia et al) Western archaeologists dug up more than 400,000 clay tablets. Showing an ‘Aryan’ linkage, pointing to India – peaking with the Boghazkoi decipherment. ‘Modern’ history does not

appreciate the colossal scale of their discoveries, decipherments, and specialized studies, and the effect of this new material in opening up the ancient Orient to European view in the period between 1880 and 1914. As scholars ransacked a vast quantity of new textual and archaeological documents, they discovered the powerful influence of Zoroastrian Persia, the esoteric depths of ancient India, and the primeval innovations of the Assyrians and Sumerians. These new cultures, appealing in their antiquity, spirituality, and apparent purity, made the well-known “orientals”—especially the ancient Israelites and Egyptians—seem derivative, corrupt, and banal …

… in the quest to give the Wilhelmine Empire autonomous and secure cultural foundations, they shared a common set of enmities—and an inclination to fight occidentalist traditions with “oriental” truths. (from German Orientalism and the Decline of the West By SUZANNE MARCHAND; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied.).

The timing of the Indus Valley announcement, coincided with the publication of deciphered Boghaz-koi and the Amarna tablets between 1920-1925. When Indus Valley announcement was made, world historical narratives were at a delicate stage. Hegel-Marx-Muller’s historiography of ‘Aryan Invasion’ of India was hanging by a thin thread.

From the Illustrated London News - A "Sheffield of Ancient India: Chanhu-Daro's Metal Working Industry 10 x photos of copper knives, spears , razors, axes and dishes (Click for larer picture).

From the Illustrated London News - A "Sheffield of Ancient India: Chanhu-Daro's Metal Working Industry 10 x photos of copper knives, spears , razors, axes and dishes (Click for larer picture).

After WW1, with Germany defeated and Turkey dismembered, classification and announcement of the ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ (IVC) swiftly followed with a publication in Illustrated London News, in September-October 4th, 1924.  John Marshall, (Director, ASI, 1922-1927), made his first visit to Harappa-Mohenjo daro the next year, in 1925. He ‘recorded’ his excavations and investigations, in a 3-volume book.

Marshall’s tale of ‘Dravidian’ cities (Harappa /Mohenjo-daro) destroyed by ‘Aryan invaders’, has survived for nearly a 100 years. ‘Aryans’ a  Western invention, viewed through a prism of Euro-centric, colonial ideology of the 1920’s, have no basis in history or archaeology. There never was an Aryan race. On the other hands, the Aryan-Dravidian ‘divide’ were obvious colonial attempts to divert attention – and to draw attention away from the Indian connection with Boghazkoi decipherments.

And the story does not end here!

Bigger than WW2

In the dying days of the Raj, came more insidious history. At the apex of WW2, Britain pulled out a general from the Italian theatre of war and sent him to India – to head colonial India archaeological operations at ASI.

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 Sicily. 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; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied).

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! That too, Indian archaeology. Not Egyptian, not Greek!

One writer explains how one of Wheeler’s “main objectives was training the rising generation of Indian archaeologists in the field methods that he had perfected …” Oozing with the milk of human kindness, aren’t we? Especially, in the middle of WW II! When it was clear, that the British would be ‘departing’ from India – sooner than later.

Just why did the world’s foremost imperial power, struggling for its very existence, put a general on to the job of digging dirt.

Dirty brown Indian dirt!

Nejstarší dějiny Přední Asie a Indie Bedřich Hrozný - The oldest history of Near Asia and India

Nejstarší dějiny Přední Asie a Indie Bedřich Hrozný - The oldest history of Near Asia and India

Aryan /Indian history becomes fashionable

At the start of twentieth century, there were swarms of people wanting to study Aryan/Indian history. Along with cultural dacoits like Augustine Waddell, Auriel Stein, there were the more academic types who wrote a book on India and ‘Near East’ – Nejstarší dějinyPřední Asie a Indie by Bedřich Hrozný.

By the 1920’s under a deluge of archaeological evidence, it appeared that Indian history would run away from its rulers – the British Colonial Raj.

Usurping Aryan Achievements

While Britain and the France, for colonial reasons, were ‘discovering’ the Greek miracle, Germany and the USA started ‘discovering the ‘Aryan’ roots’ to Western civilization.

Martin Bernal, the author of ‘Black Athena” trilogy analyzes Western “amnesia” towards African contribution to Western culture. His thesis traces this ‘amnesia’ to the replacement of Europe’s “Ancient Model”  (Egypt-Greece-Rome model) of historiography with the “Aryan” (India-Mesopotamia-Babylon-Assyria) model.

Simply speaking, the West replaced Egypt as the source of culture with the Aryans. Fact is, neither the cultural achievements of Egypt (from Africa) nor of the Aryan (from India) are for the West to arrogate to themselves.

A writer on this phase of history, Susan Marchand says,

“The Aryan industry, of course, burgeoned. Even the former Kaiser Wilhelm II, in exile, took up the study of the Orient … In a 1928 letter to his friend, the former emperor reported a recent conversation with Oswald Spengler in which Wilhelm had tried his best to convince the herald of Western doom that “we are orientals [Morgenländer], and not westerners [Abendländer].” (Bold letters, italics, ellipsis mine).

With Germany and America on the Aryan train, Britain was hard pressed to control Indian historiography. ‘Fresh’ evidence was needed to show ‘Aryan’ invasion. Indus Valley civilization provided that opportunity.

The task became easier as Germany lost WW 1, and the Ottoman Empire was carved out of existence. The rump state of Turkey went down the ‘Westernization’ path. Neither Germany or Turkey were in any position to oppose Anglo-French historiography. The Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe axis dismissed the ‘Aryan model’ archaeologists as pan Babylonists.

And after Hitler and WW II, USA no longer supported the ‘Aryan model.

The ‘Great’ Game

At the dawn of 19th century, European empires, found themselves with barren cultural cupboards. World powers in their own right, with millions of slaves from Africa, after successful’ genocides in Americas, swollen by hubris and military power, across Asia these European powers controlled capital flows across the world. For these empires, archaeology, became a ‘playing’ ground for extending intra-European ‘coopetition’ (a hackneyed business term, made up of cooperation and competition).

For Germany, the charge into archaeology, was a “national competition and a less belligerent realm for expression of resentment at Germany’s late leap into colonial activity.” And these rivalries had a telling effect.

Britons and Frenchmen almost monopolized Egyptian excavation in the 1880s and the 1890’s, but then Germans, Americans, and Italians came in. The turning point came in 1905-1907 with a rush of American expeditions and the founding of the German Archaeological Institute … In Istanbul and its Fertile Crescent provinces, German activity in the army and railroad building spilled over into archaeology. The director of Istanbul’s antiquities service and museum in the 1870s had been a German. German excavations at Pergammon in 1878 and later at Babylon and later at the Hittite capital of Boghazkoi fanned Frenchmen’s uneasiness …

World War I aborted this promising beginning. German property in Egypt was sequestered. After the war, the dispute over Borchardt’s quiet export of the bust of Nefertiti to Berlin flared up. The Eyptians refused to allow German excavation or reopening of the German Archaeological Institute till 1929, when Herman Junker replaced the embittered Borchardt … he clung to his post until 1939 despite British accusations that he worked for the Nazis. (From Whose pharaohs?: archaeology, museums, and Egyptian national identity from … By Donald Malcolm Reid, pages 196-198; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied.).

Of course this writer does not tell the complete story of Nefertiti’s bust.

Germany alone, it is estimated, spent some four million marks, between 1899-1913 on excavations in the Middle East /West Asia.

After the founding of the Reich in 1871, archaeology became a national enterprise. The IfAK was taken over by the state, and eventually formed the basis of today’s Deutsches-Archaeologisches Institut. Rivalry with France and Britain extended to the scholarly realm, and resulted in governmental support for large-scale excavations by Ernst Robert Curtius at Olympia (1875-81), Carl Humann at Pergamon (1878-86), and eventually Robert Koldewy at Babylon (1898-1914) and Walter Andrae at Assur (1903-1914) in Ottoman Mesopotamia.[5] Wilhelm II was a particularly enthusiastic promoter of archaeology (pp. 192-199) …

Archaeology abroad grew ever more dependent on the diplomatic and financial support of the Reich for massive long-term projects … German prehistorians of the early-twentieth century also maintained that their countrymen represented the purest modern descendants of the ancient Aryans. Thus they contributed to the witches’ brew that would make up Nazi racist ideology

Out of this politics, came propaganda. In some cases, these archaeological excavations served the purpose of intelligence gathering.

The most famous example of this intelligence work was that of TE Lawrence and Leonard Woolley who were excavating at Carchemish in Syria prior to World War I. Their archaeological endeavours seem to have been secondary and perhaps even a cover for more covert activities.

While Britain and the France, for colonial reasons, were ‘discovering’ the Greek miracle, Germany and the USA started making out a case for ‘Aryan’ roots’ of Western civilization. Martin Bernal, the author of ‘Black Athena trilogy ascribes Western “amnesia” of African contribution to Europe’s replacement of the “Ancient Model” of historiography with the “Aryan” model.

Simply speaking, the West replaced Egypt as the source of culture with the Aryans.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Competition from Germany was especially very galling for the Anglo-French archaeologists and historians. Hollywood’s portrayals of the ‘German archaeologist’, even today are proof of this. Hollywood could not keep its hand off such a juicy set of characters and incidents.

To this odd and motley crowd of British, French, German and Italian archaeologists, add a character like Sheikh Hamoudi, and you have all the characters needed for a Hollywood potboiler – the Indiana Jones series.

Vendyl Jones, James Henry Breasted, Robert Braidwood, Hiram Bingham III and Roy Chapman Andrews became a mashed up Indiana Jones. Hollywood villainy drew upon German archaeologists like Hermann Junker (German archaeologist will do anything for artifacts), Otto Rahn (SS officer after Holy Grail), Ludwig Borchardt (German archaeologist ships home stolen’ artifacts).

German archaeologists  became cannon fodder to build a Hollywood caricature as a villain – as Indiana Jones’ protagonist.

Three rings for elven kings

The history of Indus-Saraswati basin sites is full of false starts – and some of these are false beginnings persist to this date.

excavating northwest India’s “forgotten cities”, historians and archaeologists had to break free from received ways of imagining the past. Cunningham, for instance, based his investigation on Hsuan Tsang’s accounts, using them to identify monasteries and stupas in the course of his surveys. Masson made his way with Alexander the Great’s 326 BC route in mind. Harappa demanded a different grid.(from On the Road to Harappa, Indian Express, Posted: Aug 14, 2005 at 0000 hrs IST).

And that different grid is something that Western historians (and their Indian and Western followers) are finding difficult to work with. The usual theory trotted out is that

The discovery of Harappa revised, in one stroke, existing theories of ancient Indian history. Until then, the earliest known Indians were believed to be the literate Hindus who lived by the Rig Veda in the Second millennium BC. Modern Hindus trace their origins to this “Vedic civilisation”, whose language and religion were considered wholly indigenous to the subcontinent. The existence of a separate pattern of settlement, an advanced civilisation predating the Vedic era by a few hundred years, raised confusing – and politically charged – questions. If the Indus Valley peoples were not Hindus, who were they? And where, then, did the Hindus come from?

This seemingly coherent scenario actually smuggles in some very potent and smooth pseudo-concepts – the concept of Hindus, Vedic and Aryans.

India did not have a religion for many centuries. Dharma ruled India.  The virus of religion was introduced by Desert Bloc – and Indian’s thereafter become ‘Hindus’. Hindus, Hinduism, in India, especially before 1000 AD is a historical fallacy. This fallacy gained significant traction, especially in the last 100 years.

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, Bihar or Nepal, 11th c., 32 ff., 5x31 cm, 2 columns, (3x27 cm), 5 lines in an early Bhujimmol script, borders marked with double lines with orange pigmentation between lines, 1 miniature in text.

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, Bihar or Nepal, 11th c., 32 ff., 5x31 cm, 2 columns, (3x27 cm), 5 lines in an early Bhujimmol script, borders marked with double lines with orange pigmentation between lines, 1 miniature in text.

Second is the Vedic age. There never was a Vedic age. Not in the sense that Western historiographers slot and exclude various developments. This presupposes linear, directional, phased, and centralized development of the Vedas. Assuming a command and control system, it has a non-empirical base.

For instance, this assumes that the Vedic age was dedicated to the Vedas – and all other texts developed after that.

Fact is that the Vedas depend on the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; along with the Devatas and Asuras. The structure of the Devas, Asuras, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh can really be understood through the Upanishads,  the epics and the Puranas.  And we have not even begun on development of an ‘artificial’ language like Sanskrit  (as opposed to Prakrit).

Pauranik structures, Upanishadic debates, technical compendiums, the twin epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were parallel developments and coeval – albeit at different stages of evolution, pace and direction.

While other cultures struggle with low or high double digits of ancient texts, India has lakhs of them. This vast body of textual creation, has not happened anywhere else in the ancient world. The very assumption that it happened in India, in a matter of a few centuries – while the Aryans, Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Tocharians, Huns, were conquering India.

During these ‘invasions’, the conquerors were kind enough to leave Indian seers, sages, munis and rishis alone so that they could carry on with the composition of these texts. Massacring the males, raping the women and enslaving the rest, in the meanwhile continued in the parallel. And after these massacres and conversions, these invaders were of course kind enough to convert  to an Indian way of life – and melt away from the centre stage of Indian history. These attempts to phase Indian culture are artificial and unproductive. Simply a caricature of history.

The third fallacy of this dating logic is the ‘Aryan’ culture. Especially, as opposed to Dravidian culture. There was no Aryan race, religion, language, armies, conquests, invasions, rulers or other such markers. The only significant markers for the Aryans were values – especially in relation to slavery. Aryan values would not allow believers to enslave or be enslaved. Slavery was an asuric construct – which Aryan values opposed and sought to end. And all regions that abolished slavery became Aryavart.

And with these three pseudo-concepts, ‘modern’ historians mangle Indian history.

Same blunt tools

After WW1, with Germany and America on the Aryan train, Britain (and by extension, the West) was hard pressed to control Indian historiography. To show ‘Aryan’ invasion, ‘fresh’ evidence was needed. Indus Valley civilization provided that opportunity.

The task became easier as Germany lost WW 1, and the Ottoman Empire was carved out of existence. The rump state of Turkey went down the ‘Westernization’ path. Neither Germany or Turkey were any position to oppose Anglo-French historiography. After Hitler and WW2, the US was also in no position to continue with the Aryan legacy story. The Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe axis dismissed the ‘Aryan model’ archaeologists as pan Babylonists.

Before leaving India, Britain gave one, last twist, to the ‘Aryan invasion’ knife, sticking out of the Indian history side. And Mortimer Wheeler was that last twist in the Indian side by the departing British rulers.

And HARP is the proxy knife which is being used – for the same reasons, with same blunt tools, but with lesser effects.

The Hittite city of Hattusa took another nearly 100 years to disgorge its secrets -to modern archaeologists. Guarded by weathered stone lions, (very similar to Ashoka Pillars lions), the excavation became the centre of much politicking.

The politics of archaoelogy

In 1904, English archaeologist John Garstang (1876-1956) lost out to Hugo Winckler, of Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, (German Oriental Institute) supposedly at the intervention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm-II for excavations at Boghaz koi.

The finds at Bogazkoy were an extension of the Tell-el-Armana archive of diplomatic correspondence found by Flinders Petrie in 1891-1892. The decipherment of the Tell-el-Amarna letter, by JA Knudtzon, in 1901, linked the few earleir tablets found at Boghazkoi-Hattusha. By French archaeologist JA Ernest Chantre in 1893-94, who was

the first in a long line of archaeologists to dig at the ancient site in the 1890s, starting with the hill top compound. His exclusive interest in tablets, unfortunately, led him to destroy everything else he uncovered.

Dating agenda in ‘modern’ history

Posted in European History, History, India, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on February 21, 2010
Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti: una cum rerum asiaticarum et aegyptiacarum chronico, a temporis historici principio usque ad Maccabaicorum initia producto. Jacobo Usserio Armachano, Digestore

Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti: una cum rerum asiaticarum et aegyptiacarum chronico, a temporis historici principio usque ad Maccabaicorum initia producto. Jacobo Usserio Armachano, Digestore

09:00 hr, 23rd October, 4004

Western history and historians, then and even now, have tried to fit Indian civilization into a Biblical calendar frame.

Western historians needed a Day-zero date, the date of creation, to build their historical narrative. Various Western ‘scholars’ and ‘historians’ worked backwards and arrived at a date. The date was 4004 BC.

For all those, to whom the year 4004, was not precise enough for the beginning of mankind, Earth, history, further refinement was supplied – Monday, October, 09:00 hr. This chronology estimated that God created Earth in 4004 – based on Ussher-Lightfoot chronology. A situation where

each generation of Orientalists accepting almost without question or examination the dates handed down to them by the first pioneers, whose thoughts and imaginations were cramped with the limits set by the archbishop Ussher. (1906, from The theosophical quarterly, Volume 4, By Theosophical Society in America).

Max Muller, the ‘Orientalist’, whose template for Indian historiography is followed till date, significantly, had no choice but to use the Ussher-Lightfoot chronology. Till 1857, Britain through the East India Company, followed Spain and Portugal, who had planted the banner of Christ in heathen and pagan lands’. 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 Haiti to start the end of the Spanish Empire – and the 1857 Anglo-Indian War to end the English campaign to ‘convert the heathen’ and ‘civilize pagan Hindoos.’

His 'calculations' were followed even in the 20th century

His 'calculations' were followed even in the 20th century

Egypt rules

In all this, Egyptian history was the hub, around which the spokes of Western historical constructs rotated. Hence, there has been resistance to changing Egyptian dates. Even with

“helpful data such as the record of a solar eclipse recorded in an Assyrian document that can be equated by modern astronomers with the one that took place on 15 June 763 … Before 1400, chronologies are much less precise, largely reflecting the poorer survival of useful evidence. As a result the debates over an absolute chronology for both Egypt and Babylonia are much fiercer.” (from From Egypt to Babylon: the international age 1550-500 BC; By Paul Collins; pages 10-14)

Traditional Western historians from both the schools don’t want to change – as whole libraries of history based on theories of Western superiority will become irrelevant. At least the dates will.

This resistance to change is an especially important consideration for dating of the Egyptian artefacts and history. Radio carbon dates for Egyptian history were dismissed as “errors have recently been revealed by comparing carbon-14 dates with known Egyptian Dynastic dates … carbon-14 estimates for Egypt are from several hundred to a thousand years too late …

The Greek miracle

The Greek miracle

Change in sources

From around 500 BC, sources also change. After the Greek Dark Age, modern Western history assigns greatest weight to Greek sources’.

After 150 BC, as the Greeks disappear, entire races, nations and dynasties mysteriously vanish. History becomes speculation. The fact that the Greeks themselves disappear after 150 BC, is not important, as per Western historiography.

For instance, instead of the disappearing Mittanis, it has been suggested that the Mittanis and the Medes were the same. Phoenicians make an entry and the Canaanites disappear – even though they are both the same.

In the Canaanite avataar, from being a race of Semitic people, Phoenicians become a trading and sea-faring people of unknown origins. Similarly, a hypothesis that instead of disappearing, Hittites became Lydians, is ignored. Another study proposes that Cyrus and Tiglath-Pileser III were the same.

The Dating Imbroglio

Historical dating till the 1960’s was based on a matrix of theology, politics, colonialism, archaeology, books, records, events, cross-indexing, astronomy. In most cases, all these factors were NOT present, resulting in a significant element of guess–work – and a major element of vested interests.

In 1960s, came new tools to assist archaeological dating system – the the Carbon-14 and the Bristlecone Pine tree-ring system – as well as others. Even this has been distorted by calibration, aberrant data and acceptable readings – all the time maintaining a veneer of secular and objective history.

Indian chronology – Deconstructing Indian dates

Behind this dating ‘logic’, is a man who is much admired (wrongly) 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.

All these theories rest on the axle of philological dating. Based on imprecise evidence, tools and estimates, of when various texts were ‘composed’ and ‘reduced’ to writing, and ‘frozen for ever’, which are based on stylistic changes in Sanskrit language. Looking at construction of Sanskrit language and texts, the logic of oral ‘composition’, ‘reduction’ to writing, ‘frozen for ever’ is a wrong model – and creates these false debates and models.

Sanskritic compositions were team-based effort, (picture Sage Durvasa travelling with his 1000’s of disciples), a vast body of argument and debate  (Kahoda-Vandin-Ashtavakra debate) over many hundreds – if not thousands, of years. Vishwamitra, Vyasa, Vashishtha, Narada were the most well-known of the wandering monks of many Indian texts and scriptures. Appearing and disappearing at various points of time and events.

They could not have been the same person, because they appear at the (near) beginning of Rahgukul (Vishwamitra at the Trishanku incident) and at the (near) end of Raghukul (the marriage of Sita and Ram) – spanning more than 30 generations of kings. Was Vashisht, Vishwamitra and Vyasa, a titular  system, decided by a collegium of peer rishis. The ascension of Vishwamitra from a rishi-to-rajrishi-to-brahmarishi supports this.

The difficulty that Western historians have is the internal consistency across the vast body of texts and scriptures. For instance, Western historians trace Indian own significant achievements in astronomy to ‘import’ from Babylon – via Greece! David Brown, an ‘expert’, on Mesopotamian astronomy and astrology, goes further and asserts that the “evidence for transmission to Greece and thence to India in the Hellenistic period was overwhelming.” (from Learned antiquity By Alasdair A. MacDonald, Michael W. Twomey, G. J. Reinink).

What is this ‘overwhelming’ evidence that he presents? Nothing, but the usual dating mix ups. Considering “it unlikely that it was the work of one person’, analysts are surprised, ‘considering its internal consistency”.

Worried? There is more, where this from, Mr.Brown.

The fallacy of the Vedic age

There never was a Vedic age. Not in the sense that Western historiographers slot and exclude various developments. This presupposes linear, directional, phased, and centralized development of the Vedas. Assuming a command and control system, it has a non-empirical base.

For instance, this assumes that the Vedic age was dedicated to the Vedas – and all other texts developed after that.

Fact is that the Vedas depend on the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; along with the Devatas and Asuras. The structure of the Devas, Asuras, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh can really be understood through the Upanishads,  the epics and the Puranas.  And we have not even begun on development of an ‘artificial’ language like Sanskrit  (as opposed to Prakrit).

Pauranik structures, Upanishadic debates, technical compendiums, the twin epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were parallel developments and coeval – albeit at different stages of evolution, structure, style, pace and direction.

While other cultures struggle with low or high double digits of ancient texts, India has lakhs of them. This vast body of textual creation, has not happened anywhere else in the ancient world. The very assumption that it happened in India, in a matter of a few centuries – while the Aryans, Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Tocharians, Huns, were conquering India.

During these ‘invasions’, the conquerors were kind enough to leave Indian seers, sages, munis and rishis alone so that they could carry on with the composition of these texts. Massacre of the males, raping of the women and enslaving the rest, in the meanwhile continued in the parallel. And after these massacres and conversions, these invaders were of course kind enough to convert  to an Indian way of life – and melt away from the centre stage of Indian history.

To pass of these caricatures as attempts to phase Indian culture are artificial and unproductive. and simply not history.

Alexander, Porus, Takshashila and Gymnosophists

At the time of Takshashila’s decline in the 5th century, a significant Gupta king was Purugupta – successor of Skandagupta. Written records from Purugupta’s reign are few and far in between. He has been variously named as Vikramaditya, Prakashaditya and of course as Puru /Pura Gupta.

The most authentic link to his reign is the Bhitari seal inscription, (near Ghazipur, in modern UP). The Bhitari seal provided proof of an elongated Gupta reign – than the Skandagupta-was-the-end-of-Gupta dynasty dating. Currently dated between 467 AD, Purugupta’s reign saw many border wars.

Purugupta’s reign saw Vasubandhu, a known teacher of logic and debate, become famous and Huien Tsang reported on the debates based on Vasubandhu’s texts. Today Vasubandhu’s texts exist in Chinese and Tibetan languages – the original Sanskrit volumes remain untraceable. Purugupta also restored the gold grammage in the ‘suvarna’ coins, probably debased in Skandagupta’s time, possibly due to the cost of the fighting the Hunas.

Alexander and the Indian 'Gymnosophists' - Medieval European drawing

Alexander and the Indian 'Gymnosophists' - Medieval European drawing

Alexander’s ‘debates’ with Indian Gymnosophists was possibly with Vasubandhu’s disciples. Is it that the Porus identified by the Greeks, Purugupta? Were the marauding soldiers, mentioned in Chinese texts, and in Indian texts during Purugupta’s times, mercenary Huna soldiers hired by Alexander to replace the ‘deserting’ Greek’ soldiers, on the eve of his Indian ‘campaign’? The 8000 Brahmans that Alexander massacred were possibly teachers at Takshashila. The dating of the Gupta dynasty to end of the 5th century AD, is probably off by about 800 years.

State propaganda as history

The two point agenda was the maintenance of the Greek Miracle – motivated by desire to use history as a colonial and exploitative tool. And the other item on the agenda was the proving of the ‘correctness’ of Biblical events – which was motivated by a racial agenda to prove Western racial superiority.

By the time Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was officially announced, (interestingly, to coincide, with Boghazkoi decipherment), colonial history was set – and IVC at that time, was force-fitted into these datelines and ‘structures’.

Modern history, is now caught between the Greek Miracle History School, which has stuck to the Sumer->Turkey->Egypt->Greece->Rome->Europe–>West-Is-The-Greatest Axis and the Velikovsky School which is stuck to proving that the Bible is indeed the Last & Only Word.

Understanding Western history and agenda becomes impossible unless these motivations are remembered.

Reviving Phoenicia: in search of identity in Lebanon

By Asher Kaufman

How 1857 changed world history …

A war of a different kind

During the 1857 War against the colonial rule of Britain in India, unable to gain military advantage, British armed forces started using Indian 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 home populations disarmed Indian armies and ended the war. A impressive work on this period is by Amaresh Misra – a film critic and journalist, who was moved sufficiently to research for a few years, because, “Since 1957, no Indian has written a comprehensive account of the Revolt. Indian historians have done a limited work”. Another step in this direction is Parag Tope’s forth coming book, Operation Red Lotus, on the life and wars of Tatiya Tope.

And after subduing the Indian population with this brutal campaign, 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.

    Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon, 1624 by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon, 1624 by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

Let the games begin

After 1857, British 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 death of Semiramis

In this propaganda campaign, the most interesting bit is the cold-blooded murder of the historical Semiramis. Readers will find that Semiramis as an Assyrian Queen till the 1850-60 period Western histories.

The Marchese Tommaso II of Saluzzo commissioned Jacques Iverny in 15th century to paint Semiramis, (alongwith Lampheto, Marpasia, Synoppe, Thamiris, Menalippe, Hippolyta, Orithyia, and Penthesilea) now known as The Nine Worthies. Chaucer’s character, Sowdannesse, is charged of being a ‘Virago, thou Semyrame the secounde’ in his Man of Law’s Tale. Edward Degas and Guercine made Semiramis the subject of their paintings. Calderon used her character in his plays. Mozart died before he could complete his melodrama based on Semiramis. A 16th century painter, Philip Galle used Semiramis and Babylon as the subjects of his paintings.

    Philippe Galle – The City of Babylon with the grave of Semiramis

Philippe Galle – The City of Babylon with the grave of Semiramis

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.

Suddenly, from 1860 onwards, Western history started treating Semiramis as a wanton, decadent, probably mythical, a perverted sluttish character.

The reason.

Semiramis biggest defeat was at the hands of Indians. And soon after her defeat, was the defeat of Cyrus the Great, at the hands of Indians again. And before that were the Battles of Meggido and Kadesh, in which Indic armies confronted the Slave Empire of the Egypt. Such an Indian history was very inconvenient for the British Raj.

Edgar Degas. Semiramis Building Babylon. 1861

The Alexander mythos

Alexander’s raid of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, finally turned out to be a overthrow of the Achaemenid dynasty, usurpers of the Assyrian Empire. Unable to make headway into India, as the Indian Brahmins had helped and 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” … !

Since Indian texts were completely silent about the very existence of Alexander, colonial Western historians had a free run. Using hagiographic Greek texts as the base, Alexander became the conqueror of the world.

Max Mueller – Son of Hegel

Behind this propaganda was possibly a man who is much admired (wrongly) 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.

Among Max Mueller’s cohorts, was Karl Marx, who wrote from London, on Friday, June 10, 1853 on India, for the New-York Herald Tribune thus

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[104], or the Briton, dissolved into as many independent and conflicting States as it numbered towns, or even villages. Yet, in a social point of view, Hindostan is not the Italy, but the Ireland of the East. And this strange combination of Italy and of Ireland, of a world of voluptuousness and of a world of woes, is anticipated in the ancient traditions of the religion of Hindostan. That religion is at once a religion of sensualist exuberance, and a religion of self-torturing asceticism; a religion of the Lingam and of the juggernaut; the religion of the Monk, and of the Bayadere.[105]

Aiding Karl Marx-Max Mueller, English poets were press ganged into this propaganda war. Matthew Arnold wrote how, India, a ‘nation of philosophers, 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 the fact that Indian-English language poetry was for long called derisively as Matthew Arnold in a Saree”. Just before 1857 War, the works of another ‘influential’ poet, John Keats, became popular. In his 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.

In the dying days of the Raj

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. Brigadier General Mortimer Wheeler, the general in question, was sent to India – to head colonial India’s 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 Sicily. 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? Remember, the deceptive Operation Mincement had just been completed. The Allies for readying their armies for their assault on Hitler in Europe. The outcome of the war was far from certain.

And they put a Brigadier-General into archaeology! That too, Indian archaeology. Not Egyptian, not Greek! Especially, when it was clear, that they would be departing from India – sooner rather than later.

Rule Britannia
Rule Britannia

Right choice … right time

Considering what theories came from Mortimer Wheeler’s rather fertile ‘imagination’ and his rigourous archaeological process, in hindsight, from a Western perspective, this was sound decision. 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 contains 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 onto the job of digging dirt.

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

%d bloggers like this: