2ndlook

David Hume on British character

Posted in European History, History, India, Media, politics, Religion, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on November 10, 2010
The Philosophy of death and genocide - (Cartoon title - Kant_Hume_Hobbes by Bob Row; uploaded on August 20, 2009; courtesy - toonpool.com). Click to enlarge.

The Philosophy of death and genocide - (Cartoon title - Kant_Hume_Hobbes by Bob Row; uploaded on August 20, 2009; courtesy - toonpool.com). Click to enlarge.

On British character

Indian attempts to show imperial British character as exploitative fail on one count. Apart from adjectives and inferences, there is usually little else. The terminal narrative is to a large degree propaganda – forethought and afterthought.

Been there and done that

David Hume (1711-1776), whose historiography shaped British outlook for the next 200 years, sheds some light on events during this period. Hume’s  influence provoked a latter-day philosopher to note that “Hume is our Politics, Hume is our Trade, Hume is our Philosophy, Hume is our Religion.” (statement by 19th century British idealist philosopher James Hutchison Stirling).

Hume’s argument about the ‘progress’ that British brought to the colonies lives in the colonial narrative even today. In the context of Ireland Hume wrote, “A more than equal return had been made [the slothful and barbarous Irish], by [the planters] instructing the natives in tillage, building, manufactures, and all the civilized arts of life”

Hume’s views on White superiority persist till date. Hume wrote,

I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them.

Thoughts and ideas that were later echoed by Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

A testimony to British ‘character’

To David Hume, an investor in slave trade, Britishers from East India Company in India ‘manifested the immense superiority of the British character’. This British ‘character’ according to Hume, of ‘the servants of this company of merchants [was] formed in a great degree by the habits and conditions of the masters’. Hume says, it was this British ‘character’ that was the reason why

a mercantile company, in less than ten years, [could] acquire by war and policy, more extensive  possessions, and a richer revenue, than those of several European monarchs.

Proudly, Hume described ‘British character’. What Hume said, Indians experienced, first hand. Hume described how Britishers of East Indian Company

David Hume was spot on regarding British (and European, too) behaviour!

David Hume was spot on regarding British (and European, too) behaviour!

considered, in every transaction of war, peace, or alliance, what money could be drawn from the inhabitants. … Before they planned aggression, they calculated the probable proceeds, the debts that they might extinguish, and the addition, on the balance of accounts, which they might make to the sum total. They considered war with the natives, merely as a commercial adventure: by so much risk encountered, a certain quantity of blood spilt, and a certain extent of territory desolated, great sums were to be gained. (read more via The history of England: from The history of England: from the invasion of Julius Cæsar, to the revolution in 1688 – Volume 12 By David Hume).

Having assured supplies of gunpowder from India, numerical superiority in navy based on Indian shipyards, Britain  started a blood-soaked 200-year military campaign in India – and the world.

Indian Gunpowder – the Force Behind Empires

Posted in Business, European History, Gold Reserves, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on June 18, 2010
A vizcacha, relative of the chinchilla, in Chile's Atacama Desert. These herbivores are among few who thrive in the Atacama. (Photo shot on assignment for "The Driest Place on Earth," August 2003, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Joel Sartore

A vizcacha, relative of the chinchilla, in Chile's Atacama Desert. These herbivores are among few who thrive in the Atacama. (Photo shot on assignment for "The Driest Place on Earth," August 2003, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Joel Sartore

Arid, Desolate Atacama

On Chile’s northern border is the remote, arid Atacama desert. Desolate and dry, rain in Atacama happens once in 2-3 years. Some people living in the Atacama have never seen rainfall in all their lives. Yet, there is some sparse wildlife – a tribute to hardiness of living beings.

Strangely, the Atacama is home to a few ghost-towns – once boom towns. For five years, from 1879-1884, Bolivia and Peru fought with Chile over this rainless, arid and desolate terrain.

Behind this curious importance of the Atacama desert was nitrates. It was Atacama’s nitrates interestingly that broke an important British monopoly – based on India’s saltpetre production.

Untold secrets

In 1809-1810, the British had to mount a serious campaign in the Indian Ocean. The French, from their Indian Ocean naval bases at Île de France (Mauritius), Bourbon (Réunion) and Rodrigues, attacked East India Company ships carrying valuable saltpetre (also saltpeter, nitre, niter) – so essential for the Spanish War (1808-1809).

Indian saltpetre for could not reach Confederate armies due to Union naval blockade!

Indian saltpetre for could not reach Confederate armies due to Union naval blockade!

The British army, retreating across Spain, in harsh winter conditions, needed saltpetre. Under the onslaught of the French forces, ruthlessly pursued, the final escape of the British army, from Corunna was a miracle. The British General, John Moore’s death, at Corunna, Spain, was turned into a heroic ‘victory’. Charles Wolfe’s poem, The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna became essential reading for every English schoolboy.

In 1800, a son from a rich family of refugees from the French Revolution in America, after a survey of business opportunities in America, wrote

There already exist in the United States two or three mills which make very bad powder and which do however a very good business. They use saltpeter from India which is infinitely better than that which is produced in France but they refine it badly.

The son was Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the family was the Du Pont family – and their firm is now known as EI du Pont de Nemours and Co. EU du Pont’s expertise in manufacturing saltpeter came from his training with the French Agency for Powder and Saltpeter (Regie royale des poudres et Salpetres) – and under the tutelage of Antoine Lavoisier, the French chemist, he boasted.

Behind the Dupont fortune was Indian saltpetre. Behind Lincoln’s success in the American Civil War was saltpetre. Behind Anglo-French confidence against Germany in WW1 was the control of the saltpetre deposits from India. Germans were able to sink many of these British saltpetre shipments. In turn, Germans with the Haber-Bosch process, in BASF factories, continued the war – without Indian saltpetre or Chilean nitrate supplies.

Saltpetre – what’s that?

What was saltpetre? Why was saltpetre important. Why did India play such an important role in saltpetre?

Unusually important, the chemical name of saltpetre is potassium nitrate – an essential ingredient in gunpowder. Indians had perfected the method of preparing potassium nitrate (KNO3). The other two ingredients in gunpowder being charcoal and sulphur – easily and freely available and cheap.

India’s military technology is history’s greatest ‘hidden’ secret. Official (and Western) portrayal of Indian military systems in the face of Islamic invaders, Mughal sultanate  and the rise of British imperialism makes out India as a sitting duck with ill-trained and terrified soldiers, armed with bows and arrows, who were hopelessly outclassed by the enemy.

Facts being otherwise, it raises questions about motives for this deliberate wrong portrayal.

The story from Mongolia

In the last 1000 years, there are sketchy records of gunpowder in India, with Rai Hamir Deva of  Ranathambore of the Malwa region, who supposedly used some Mongol deserters (1300 AD) to fight Khilji armies with gun powder. This may be misleading for two reasons.

Modern history credits China with the invention of gunpowder. Firstly, this is largely based on the work of a self-confessed Sinophile – Needham. With a dismissive one sentence, Needham opines, “On Gunpowder history in India, Oppert (1) was duly exploded by Hopkins(2).” And Indian history as the world’s largest producer of gunpowder was swept under the carpet. Needham conveniently ignores evidence like how

Jean Baptiste Tavernier recorded a local tradition in the 1660s that gunpowder and artillery were first invented in Assam from whence they spread to China and he mentioned that the Mughal general who conquered Assam brought back numerous old iron guns captured during the campaign.

Secondly, Mongol territories extended from Mongolia to the gates of Vienna and Russia – but not India. How is it that a few deserters-soldiers could establish the world’s largest gunpowder production system, so rapidly in non-Mongolian India. But, could not do so in conquered territories of China, Central Asia, Middle East, West Asia, and Europe.

A 100 years before Needham, India’s pioneering status in saltpetre was common knowledge. English publications, for instance in 1852 and another in 1860 gave weightage to the opinion of

those who believe that gunpowder was invented in India and brought by the Saracens from Africa to the Europeans; who improved its manufacture and made it available for warlike purposes.

Unlike China, with an odd textual reference or a drawing or a singular artefact, was the entire industry in India – which remained unrivalled in the history of the world. Compared to China’s paltry production of gunpowder, India’s widespread and organized gunpowder production system points towards indigenous development. There are reports, that in “664 an Indian visitor to China reportedly demonstrated the peculiar flamability of saltpeter and provided instructions on how to locate it (Pacey 1990, 16).”

Tall tales … thin stories

The deserter Mongol soldier source seems rather far-fetched considering that Mongol armies studiously avoided attacking India.  India, the richest economy of the world at that time, known and famous for its wealth, was spared by Genghis Khan! Just why would history’s foremost looter, invader, pillager spare India?

When Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies were running rampant, Islamic refugees found shelter in India, during the reign of Iltutmish. In 1221, Khwarezm-Shah and other Persian refugees, sought refuge in India, across the Indus into the Punjab, India, from Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies.

Encyclopedia Britannica says Fortunately, the Mongols were content to send raiding parties no further than the Salt Range (in the northern Punjab region), which Iltutmish wisely ignored …” (emphasis mine). As Indian military reputation waned under foreign Islamic rule, the Mongols mounted a military expedition. The Mongols could succeed in India only under the foreign rule of the much-derided Islamic Tughlaks.

Was Nalanda behind the gunpowder expertise in Bihar and Bengal region. A section of the Nalanda Mahavihara. The qualities of Buddhahood were personified in the vibrant style of art that was created in the university's intellectual atmosphere. (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image

Was Nalanda behind the gunpowder expertise in Bihar and Bengal region. A section of the Nalanda Mahavihara. The qualities of Buddhahood were personified in the vibrant style of art that was created in the university's intellectual atmosphere. (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image

India – the largest gunpowder source in the world

Now, combine saltpetre production with the fact that the heart of the Indian saltpetre production was in Bihar, which was also the home of the Nalanda seminary /university.

By the 16th-17th century,

In parts of India that never were frequented either by Mohammedans or Europeans, we have met with rockets, a weapon which the natives almost universally employ in war. The rocket consists of a tube of iron, about eight or ten inches long, and above an inch in diameter. It is filled in the same manner as an ordinary sky-rocket, and fastened towards the end of a piece of bamboo, scarcely as thick as an ordinary walking cane, and about five feet long, which is pointed with iron.

What about Europe

Saltpetre based gunpowder was in constant short-supply in Europe. Gold from the Americas, flowing into European trade channels, fuelled demand for gunpowder. Gunpowder became an essential ingredient for subjugation of natives, extraction of gold, capture of territories and slaves, piracy on the high seas – all the real reasons for ascent for European power.

The European gunpowder situation was grim. This can be gauged from “a letter of 1605 from the King of Spain to the Viceroy of Goa (the Portuguese trading settlement on the south-west coast of India) for example ordering the annual dispatch of 10 or 12 caskets of saltpetre.” Remember in 1605, Spain was the prime power European power. Compare that to the Indian situation.

When Raja Pratapaditya of Jessore capitulated to Islam Khan in 1609, he agreed to surrender twenty thousand infantry, five hundred war boats, and a thousand “maunds” (41 tons) of gunpowder.

Saltpetre from India kept the British 6-pounders busy at Waterloo!

Saltpetre from India kept the British 6-pounders busy at Waterloo!

The outcome of Waterloo can be gauged from a forgotten statistic – “In the year before the battle of Waterloo (1815) the East India Company exported 146000 cwt. of saltpetre to England.” 146,000 cwt is  7300 tons of saltpetre. British Ordnance Board powder mills in 1809,

produced 36,623¾ ninety pound barrels of powder and private contractors using government supplied saltpetre a further 24,433 ninety pound barrels. Some of British munitions output was supplied to allied governments: Portugal received in the years 1796-1801 … 10,000 barrels of powder, 500 tons of saltpetre; the British Government put into execution the gigantic plan of being a depot, the manufactory, the place of arms, and the centre of the European war

Spain and Sweden also received munitions for fighting on the British side against Napoleon. British victory at Waterloo, was in no small measurethanks to the use of Indian saltpetre, British gunpowder was widely recognised to be far superior to the charcoal-like French product.” British creditworthiness received a boost just before Waterloo. British debt, trading at 25% discount in 1813, was boosted by Indian gold, in 1813, procured by Britain.

Western historians now reluctantly admit, that without the “accumulated credits from Indian transfers since 1757, Britain’s financing of land warfare during the French wars could have been compromised.” Napoleon and France could not “march their combined armies to India, and strangle the supplies of British gold that had been financing successive coalitions against France.”

Without the advantage of Indian saltpetre, with a threatening Britain

in 1792 France was able to face danger on all sides, it was because Lavoisier, Fourcroy, Guyton de Morveau, Chaptal, Berthollet, etc., discovered new means of extracting saltpetre and manufacturing gunpowder.

Some 6000 factories manned by ‘salpetriers worked in France to overcome the naval blockade.

Meanwhile in India

Malwa’s rulers recruited  Purbias from Bengal and Bihar for their expertise in gunpowder. The British initially valued and later (after 1857) feared the Purbias for the same reason. The other reason was an established saltpetre production in the Malwa region till the 19th century. In Punjab, the main centres were Lahore, Hissar, Multan and Amritsar.

India’s gunpowder production system

India was the largest gunpowder production system – in the history of the world, till the 20th century. Specifically Bengal and Bihar regions. Operated by a caste of peoples called the nuniah, saltpetre beds supplied the most vital element in gunpowder – saltpetre. And India produced virtually all of it.

Especially, Bihar, Bengal, Agra and Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Karanataka regions (Anantapur, Coimbatore, Guntur, Kurnool). The Guntur Sircar also manufactured saltpetre on a commercial scale. A mid 17th century Royal Society paper documented how saltpetre was made in India. Most of the miniscule amounts of saltpetre produced in the rest of the world was calcium nitrate, a hygroscopic salt, which spoilt easily by absorbing moisture from air.

The Armenians, the ill-fated Omichund, a “notorious Calcutta merchant who was later to engineer the Plassey Revolution” played an important part in the Bengal/Bihar saltpetre trade. They were all significant players in the export of saltpetre (potassium nitrate). Also known as niter, saltpetre was a necessary ingredient for gunpowder.

Gunpowder becomes a British monopoly

After the annexation of Bengal,

“By seizing Bengal, the British exerted mastery over 70 percent of the world’s saltpeter production during the latter part of the eighteenth century. Since powder stocks could not be prepared quickly or easily, demand was no less during peaceful interims than during times of war, for, in addition to normal sales for peaceful purposes, gunpowder was steadily purchased or produced to build up military powder reserves for emergency use.

One reason why China developed fireworks, rockets, and other incendiaries rather than shot-firing artillery was China’s reliance on artificial saltpeter for making gunpowder. The Chinese also often used a higher proportion of charcoal and sulfur, which resulted in more fire and less ballistic strength. (16) India, on the other hand, produced saltpeter of very high quality, enabling the development of gunpowder weapons, in particular heavy siege guns, in addition to rockets. In many ways, Indian gunpowder making was more advanced than that of China, particularly regarding the strength of the final product, in its commercial organization, and in its application to military purposes.

As early as the 1460s, nearly forty years before the commencement of the East India trade, these Persian sources make it clear that the rulers of Jaunpur and Bengal already had organized saltpeter production as state monopolies managed by their chief merchants.

India was roughly a century ahead of Western Europe in terms of developing the infrastructure for gunpowder technology. It is significant, though, that gunpowder was not shipped to India from Europe in any significant quantities. By 1617, the Portuguese king had joined the general European clamor for more saltpeter. The capitalization of the saltpeter trade at Rajapur was in the hands of Saraswat Brahmins, with investors participating from as far away as Goa and Diu. Shivaji (r. 1664-1680) and his successors made nitrate procurement into a state monopoly, thus forcing the Portuguese, their Indian agents, and Banjara peddlers to deal with the Maratha state.

The Mughal Empire has been styled a “gunpowder empire,” which is a debatable characterization. (34) It is clear from Mughal records that guns were important, if only as symbols and occasional instruments of imperial power. The victory of Babur (r. 1526-1530) over Ibrahim Lodi (r. 1517-1526) often is attributed to his use of artillery, however, Babur himself valued his own judgment at least as much as his Turkish guns. (35) After the Battle of Panipat (1526), the first Mughal ruler ordered executions by firing squad, which are some of the first such killings recorded. Contemporary descriptions of Babur’s battles, however, emphasize the continuing dominance of cavalry, with guns present but not decisive. Nevertheless, warfare was changing in South Asia. Babur’s eldest son and successor, Humayun (r. 1530-1539/1555-1556), was keen to bring Rumi Khan, the Turkish artillery expert employed by the Sultan of Gujarat, over to his side. (36) The widespread use of firearms by Sher Shah (r. 1540-1545) during the brief Sur interregnum is significant, as is the fact that Sher Shah himself was killed by a gunpowder explosion. (37) The early sixteenth century, for India, was a time of significant military change, a watershed between the age of the blade and the age of the gun.

Sher Shah realized that a large army of peasant matchlockmen, recruited and paid by the state, could only exist in the context of a bureaucratic regime with enhanced revenue-collection capabilities and in a kingdom with strong commercial institutions. This lesson was not lost upon Akbar (r. 1556-1605), whose advisor, Abu al-Fazal, adopted many of Sher Shah’s innovations. The rising importance of the saltpeter trade, as well as its lowly origins, may be gauged by the meteoric rise of the warlord Hemu, who had opposed Akbar’s accession to the throne. Akbar’s biographer-courtier, Abu al-Fazl, uncharitably informs us that Hemu was a member of “the Dhusar tribe, which is the lowest class of hucksters in India. At the back lanes he sold saltpetre (nimak-i-shor) with a thousand mortifications … till at last he became a government huckster….” As Akbar’s army set out to challenge Hemu, their spirits were roused by a giant image of the saltpeter merchant-turned-general, filled with gunpowder and set on fire. (38) Ironically, Hemu was killed by the Mughals not with a musket shot, but in the old-fashioned style, with an arrow in the eye, followed by a sword blow to the neck.

Significantly, Sher Shah’s infantry, carrying firearms, were recruited from the eastern Ganges Plain, the same region in which saltpeter production had already become an important component of the regional economy. Later, this area provided infantry for the Mughals and eventually for the British, too. (from The Indian saltpeter trade, the military revolution and the rise of Britain as a global superpower. from: The Historian, Article date: September 22, 2009, Author: Frey, James W.)

After obtaining this vital monopoly, Britain protected this. Saltpetre exports were banned. Thus an ancient Indian technology was harnessed by the English to subjugate the Indian.

From gold came saltpetre, which made getting gold easier

Greater access of saltpetre to the British and with the shutting out of other European powers, saltpetre became essential for other European powers, because English had it. It became rare, as the English monopolised the trade.

In 1775, the French scientific publication, Observations sur la physique a proposal by Academie Royale des Sciences for increased saltpetre production within France.  Finally, a prize was announced in 1783. Nicolas Leblanc set up a factory at St.Denis, during 1791-194, near Paris for manufacture of saltpetre in France. The whole of France was mobilized for this saltpetre collection and gunpowder production.

Directions for gathering of saltpeter were printed and sent all over France. The prescribed recipe for saltpeter, charcoal, and sulphur was dispatched to the flour mills and the powder was ground according to simple specifications. Each district was directed to send two citizens to Paris for a month’s course in the casting of bronze and iron and in new methods for the manufacture of powder. (from From crossbow to H-bomb By Bernard Brodie, Fawn McKay Brodie.).

At the start of the American Civil War, against the Southern  Confederates, The North started with the benefit of a stockpile of some 3 million pounds of niter – i.e. saltpetre. The Confederates  sent James Mason and John Slidell to obtain saltpetre from Britain – and not empty diplomatic recognition from European powers. Mason and Slidell were captured by Unionist forces. Britain demanded release of Mason Slidell. Lincoln refused.

Queen Victoria issued a proclamation forbidding the export from all ports of the United Kingdom, of gunpowder, nitre, nitrate of soda, brimstone, lead, and fire-arms.—London Gazette, Dec. 4.

Britain imposed a ban on exports of saltpetre. Known in history as the Trent Affair, as Union saltpetre stocks went down, Lincoln backed down and agreed to release Mason and Slidell. Prices of saltpetre skyrocketed from some US$0.20  to US$3.0 within one year after the war began. The  Confederates established a Niter Corps to manage this shortage. British godowns overflowing with Indian and Egyptian cotton, did not really depend on Southern cotton, declared neutrality – and supplied both sides with Indian saltpetre.

Well understood by the US Government, C.H.Davis, of the Bureau Of Ordnance, Navy Department, on November 22, 1862 reported to the US Congress,

I feel it, therefore, to be my first duty to urge that suitable provision of ordnance material be made for probable future necessities of the Navy. Most important among them is nitre, which enters so largely into the composition of gunpowder that it may be said to be gunpowder itself, with some slight additions of sulphur and charcoal under proper combination.

It is not produced naturally in this country, nor by any other but India, except in insignificant quantities.

Hindostan alone supplies the whole world, which being a British dependency, places us entirely at the mercy or caprice of that power for our stock of this essential article.

India's widespread manufacture of saltpetre was private enterprise! Without state subsidy or support! (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image.

India's widespread manufacture of saltpetre was private enterprise! Without state subsidy or support! (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image.

End of the saltpetre era

With the arrival of Chile’s nitrate (sodium nitrate – NaNO3) deposits in Atacama desert, the world was weaned away from Indian saltpetre. Chilean nitrates were used to derive nitric acid, a key intermediate for explosives manufacture.

Chilean nitrate was sodium nitrate, (NaNO3), which could be used to derive nitric acid. Nitric acid was used for manufacture of explosives. HAPAG, the Hamburg based shipping line,  became the biggest in the world, carrying Chilean nitrates to Germany. The end of Boer War (1899-1902) saw the emergence of Germany as a major producer of munitions – especially the smokeless gunpowder. Even Britain started buying from Germany.

For a brief while, guano, a natural fertiliser composed of bird droppings, was also a source of nitrates for explosives. But, with the Haber-Bosch process, Germany could manufacture explosives – without the Chilean nitrate.

With the discovery of nitroglycerine and TNT and its widespread commercialization by Alfred Nobel (of Nobel Prize fame) from the 1860s onwards, this British saltpetre monopoly end. As the British monopoly over gunpowder started weakening, the British policy changed.

Pirate nation to super-power

Till 1856, sea piracy was legal.

The British crown gave permits for pirates to operate on high seas – through, what were known as, letters of marque. With the sanction of the English State, high seas piracy became a national pastime in Britain. Pirates like Sir John Hawkins made money on slave trade and piracy – targeting Spanish ships. Queen Elizabeth, apart from knighting him, also participated in these criminal enterprises. The Spanish Armada was assembled by Spain to end British piracy. Further on, British propaganda made these pirates and privateers into heroes – and the Spanish Armada into an instrument of Catholic repression.

Piracy was outlawed by The Declaration of Paris, in 1856, ratified by various powers. Initially by Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia and Turkey – but not by Spain, Portugal and the USA. Soon after, Britain became a buyer of explosives, munitions. Challenges to British power started soon after this.

In less than than a 100 years after invention of alternates to Indian saltpetre, Britain was a shadow of its former imperial self.

The end of Indian saltpetre

To cover the cost of the Anglo-Indian War of 1857, the British Raj increased taxes on saltpetre. British traders from India started clamoring for a reduction in export duty from 1860 onwards. From more 20,000 tons of saltpetre exports in 62-62, it fell to around 11000 tons by 1865, and continued declining there after.

By which time, Britain was already the preeminent power in the world. On the back of Indian gunpowder factories.

Behind the Dupont chemical empire and  fortune was Indian saltpetre.

‘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.

New Global Reserve Currency – Connecting the dots – Part 2

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, Gold Reserves, History, Media, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on October 23, 2008

ECB’s Nowotny Sees Global `Tri-Polar’ Currency System Evolving Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

European Central Bank council member Ewald Nowotny said a “tri-polar” global currency system is developing between Asia, Europe and the U.S … leaders of the U.S., France and the European Commission will ask other world leaders to join in a series of summits on the global financial crisis beginning in the U.S. soon after the Nov. 4 presidential election, President George W. Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Barroso said in a joint statement yesterday.

European leaders have pressed to convene an emergency meeting of the world’s richest nations, known as the Group of Eight, joined by others such as India and China, to overhaul the world’s financial regulatory systems. … Sarkozy wants the G8 to consider re-anchoring their currencies, the hallmark of the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement that also gave birth to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Europe’s Been Onto Something … While the US gently weeps

The EU region calling for a ‘G8 + India & China’ conference to thrash out this global monetary issue – and has been twisting the knife in the reluctant US side. The US has been dragging its feet. While the EU has been going gung-ho on this, the US has been floating many trial balloons. Warren Buffet, Paul Volcker and Lawrence Summers have been co-opted by the likely President of the US – Barack Obama. There has been talk of a manipulation in bullion prices – which may be required for re-anchoring currencies. Interesting deals – considered impossible till a few years, are being done in a tearing hurry.

Imagine! The EU in the middle of a global crisis goes out and restores diplomatic ties with Cuba.

The US Gameplan

US analysts, led by Paul Krugman, have been calling for Barack Obama (or maybe McCain) to emulate Roosevelt – who waded into WW2, with 25,000 tons of nationalized gold. If gold is nationalized, it may depress demand in the short term – giving rise to huge volatility in gold prices. But Warren Buffett has been on the silver bandwagon for a while – and that is making the gold-silver equation hazy. What if Warren Buffet becomes the new US Treasury Chief? There is the real risk of another fraud like the gold standard happening all over again.

The US has been making its moves – differently. Paul Krugman’s Nobel Prize is an indication of this. Will the US use Paul Krugman as the Keynes of the Bretton Woods. The background of Bretton Woods itself, is of course something that the US and Europe do not want the world at large to know. The other ploy that is being bandied about is the re-launch of the fraud called the Gold Standard – now in a better packing.

The Oil-Dollar Tango

The Oil-Dollar Tango

What Has Been India Upto?

While the US has been resisting calls for action, busy doing post-mortem, Asia and Europe have been moving. Interestingly, Manmohan Singh has done some huge work in the last 60 days – the nuclear deal with the USA and NSG, the IBSA Summit, the ASEAN free trade agreement – and now his three Asian nation visits. India’s Trade and Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, has been talking about a multi-lateral set up. The UN was made to issue a statement on this. Am I reading too much into this? At times, India has seemed clueless.

After the ministerial meeting, both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister PC Chidambaram talked about how the ‘developed’ world’ was now ‘listening’ to the developing world – and was willing to ‘give more representation.’

This language itself indicates the distance that the Third World needs to travel.

China and Russia

The big issue is of course, China and Russia. China has 2 trillion of US dollars – and what does China do with this? Russia has come out from a default about a decade ago – with a nearly US$400 billion reserves – flexing its muscles in Georgia and dependent on a high oil prices. What happens to Russia if a new Pacific Republic (Cuba, Haiti, West Indies, etc) were to start drilling for oil? In 5 years, the world would be awash with oil – and Russia’s mineral earnings could evaporate. This crisis seems to have made the Chinese Premier shaky. So, the world may not trust China and Russia too much. Russia and China can be the party poopers – but they cannot be the life of the party.

For financial and military reasons, the inclusion of Russia and China is useful – though not essential to the emergence of a tri-polar currency system. The cost of Russian and Chinese inclusion is high degree of influence that these ‘super powers’ will want – which the developing world will not approve.

Why supplant one form of exploitation with another?

Contours Of The Deal

The EU-USA-Asia may agree on a broad a global regulatory and oversight body to monitor and maintain oversight over a multiple currency regime – an improved, better IMF.

The new 3rd currency may take some time to figure out. Not that it is difficult, expensive, or impossible. Some of Asia may want to cling to the dollar skirt. The new currency may be an Asian-Developing world currency. This may see the emergence of a tri-polar currency regime – which the US and Europe duopoly is desperate to avoid.

The 2ndlook proposal for the Third Global Reserve Currency has been in circulation for some time now.

Cultural Dacoity

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, Feminist Issues, History, language, Media, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on July 9, 2008
The Dendera Zodiac

The Dendera Zodiac

Cultural Loot

Between 1850-1900, Western archaeologists dug up more than 400,000 clay tablets in West Asia. This loot was carried back to the British Museum, Louvre France, Imperial Museum in Berlin, University Of Pennsylvania. Latter day digs and finds were retained in Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. In the last 100 years, of the more than 400,000 clay tablets excavated, less than a 70,000 have been deciphered between the four institutions. Less than one fifth have been published so far.

The vandalism of Napoleonic army in Egypt and the pilferage of cultural artifacts has been well documented. The Rosetta Stone, the Dendera Zodiac, Cleopatra’s Needle were among the booty from Egypt that the disastrous campaign of Napoleon yielded. Edward Said described the Anglo-French loot from Egypt, as “that great collective appropriation of one culture by another”

Extreme competitive behaviour in business, economic activity, trade, colonization, did not stop Germany (repository of the Akhmim Kodex) and Britain (Bruce Codex and Askew Codex) to collude with the Vatican in keeping the Pistis Sophia (which reveals the deep Indic /Buddhist influence) from reaching the public domain. It took the Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls to blow this entire ‘conspiracy of silence’ apart.

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 ascribes Western “amnesia” towards Europe’s “Ancient Model” of historiography with the “Aryan” 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).

Pre Hitler Aryans

Pre-Hitler 'Aryans'

Pre-Hitler ‘Aryans’

Hitler was not the first (or even the last) to try to usurp Aryan legacy. Aryan history of languages, culture, spread of civilisation, its science and technology appealed to many in the West – and especially White Supremacists.

One hilarious example of this kind Charles Morris (writer of The Aryan Race: Its Origins And Its Achievements By Charles Morris.). If this book was not a best seller, as ‘history’, it would surely have been best seller as a comedy. Another book – based on the Aryan Invasion Theory, was Lectures of the Arya by Albert Pike.

A set of books written by L. Austine Waddell – again had a single point agenda of usurping Aryan achievements and culture. Wadell declared, “the Aryan Race — now chiefly represented in purest form in North-western Europe.”

The 1915 film, DW Griffith’s ‘Birth Of A Nation’ was another extension of these efforts. One of the first big hits from Hollywood, this film on the ‘Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’ enjoys cult status.

D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation was based on a book by Thomas Dixon, Jr. titled The Clansman – An Historic Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (sic) – written in 1905. Dixon thought (from the book preface) that the rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was the “most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race.” Later, this piece of racism was replaced by another phrase – “Carpetbaggers’ political folly” in the film.

In the climactic scene, these KKK knights ride to the rescue of the Whites from North and South, to the blaring sounds of Wagner’s `Ride of the Valkyries.’ Yes, the same music that was also, allegedly, Hitler’s favorite. The common enemy of the united ‘Aryan Whites’ is the African-American liberated slave soldier. The original screen title informs the viewer:

“The former enemies of North and South are united again in common defense of their Aryan birthright.”

Corporal Adolf Hitler, right, pictuerd with two other soldiers during his stay in a military hospital.  Photo - HULTON/ GETTY IMAGES. Photo Courtesy - telegraph.co.uk

Corporal Adolf Hitler, right, pictuerd with two other soldiers during his stay in a military hospital. Photo - HULTON/ GETTY IMAGES. Photo Courtesy - telegraph.co.uk

Remember, this was while Hitler was still a lowly corporal in the German army during WW1 – and the Nazi party was yet to get its milk teeth. As the memory of rampant ‘Aryanization’ in the US and Europe faded from popular memory, in 1998, the Vatican came out with an apology, for its collusion with Hitler’s regime. The Vatican of course, linked Hitler’s Holocaust due to ‘neo-pagan’ phase. Vatican’s description ‘neo-pagan’, is a short code for India and Hinduism.

Thomas Huxley in “The Aryan Question,” first published in the The Nineteenth century, Volume 28, 1890, page 766 (later also in Popular Science, etc.)

“There was, and is, an Aryan Race, that is to say, the characteristic modes of speech, termed Aryan, were developed among the Blond Longheads alone, however much some of them may have been modified by the importation of non‑Aryan elements.”

Richard Butler - White 'Aryan'After, WW2, it has become politically incorrect for any White to call themselves as Aryan – but that has not stopped White Supremacists. There are many White Supremacist gangs in the USA, that call themselves Aryan.

Behind the dacoity

Euro-zone has, mostly, covered itself with borrowed feathers. Euro-colonial powers, like Britain and France, traced their lineage to Egypt (Africa), Greece (The Mediterranean), Rome and pre-Renaissance Italy. Germany and the USA, undermined the Anglo-French colonial position, by creating the ‘Aryan Roots’ theory for the Western civilization.

The West, has been a leading player in the ‘cultural dacoity’ game – especially the four BFAG countries of Britain, France, and Germany and in modern times, America has joined this ‘cultural dacoity’. The four BFAG countries (Britain, France, America, Germany), are loath to credit anything to any other culture – even to their Iberian competitors. The interesting bit is the racial sub-text.

As per BFAG historiography, all Iberian achievements are due to the West African (Negroid, not Arabic) rule prior to the rise of the Iberian Empires. The Iberians could not achieve much as they are of ‘mixed blood.’ The thrust of this historiography, isJust imagine that – the Iberians learnt everything from the Africans”.

The Greek Miracle

Their own history being a barren cupboard, these BFAG countries raided other cultures. First, they sanitized the records of books that the Greeks borrowed from other cultures – and never returned. These ‘unreturned’ books were later ascribed to the Greeks.

A Balkan general, from an obscure part of Eastern Europe, Macedonia, was Hellenized. Alexander, became a Greek conqueror of the world. It would be similar to the Chinese claim to Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Empire.

Hipparchus Of Nicaea /Bithynia /Rhodes (in modern-day Iznik, Turkey) was another ancient (so-called) ‘Greek’, claimed as one of their own by modern West. Most of his work was based on the Chaldean systems from Babylon. Eudoxus of Cnidus (in Turkey), learnt astronomy in Egypt, and claimed by the West as a Greek and one of their own. Ptolemy was born, lived, learnt, worked and died at Alexandria in Egypt – claimed by the West as their very own, a Greek.

Thales of Miletus, the son of Examyes, was a Carian, the modern Turkish province of Mugla. Thales’ reputation in modern Euro-centric history rests on ‘his’ calculations which could predict the solar eclipse. The Carian language was related to Hittite language. And Caria itself was a border district between the Hittites and Greeks. Herodotus informs that rebellious Greeks in the Persian kingdoms were exiled to Indian borders – at Susa, Khuzestan (in modern Iran) and Bactria (modern Afghanistan). Among these exiles were citizens of Miletus, who were behind the Ionian revolt in 499 BC.

Manipulation in dates made the Pythagoras Theorem a Greek miracle!

Manipulation in dates made the Pythagoras Theorem a Greek miracle!

For instance, the Pythagoras theorem is not Greek and definitely not Pythagoras’. – attributed without evidence. Pythagoras was a native of Samos (off the coast of modern Turkey), bordering the Hittite Empire. And not Greece.

Fleeing from the tyranny of Policrates, at the age of some 18 years, he studied mathematics at Egypt for 22 years. From Egypt, Pythagoras went to Babylon – the intellectual free port of the ancient world. Then a part of the Elamite Empire – now in modern Iran. As a captive of Cambyses.

Voltaire famously remarked,“It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry.” It was the common and received wisdom in Europe, Pythagoras was indeed more “indebted for his knowledge to the Brahmins, on the banks of the Ganges, than to the priests of Egypt.” Till 1857, when world history changed.

His inner circle of followers lived like Indian brahmacharyas in a mathematikoi (meaning “those who know”, from which the word mathematics comes; possibly related to the Indian मठ mutth); not allowed any personal possessions, wore their hair long, were vegetarians and observed strict rules of silence (मौन).

Imhotep, an African-Egyptian became Aesclepios. Ibn Sina became Avicenna. Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi became Rhazes, Abul Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas al-Zahravi became Albucasis. Abū ‘l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd (Arabic: أبو الوليد محمد بن احمد بن رشد‎) the father of secular thought in Europe was Latinized and usurped as Avveroes. His commentaries and works on Aristotle introduced modern Europe to Aristotle. To muddy waters, the Indian mathematical and numeral system became the Arabic numeral system – which the Arabs themselves called Hindsa.

How did the Greeks themselves view the sources of their learning? Sarah Morris, in Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art writes how,

the Greek attitude toward the Orient, where the admiration for vastly more ancient and learned cultures was mixed with prejudice inspired by political conditions.

All this so-called ‘Greek’ learning came from Babylon-to-Greek-to-Arabic-to-Latin/Greek manuscripts. Greeks, Romans, the Church – major destroyers of books and learning, became voracious dacoits in the recent past. Without as much as, By your say so. Roman usurpers (of the Balkan Empire) were glamorized to the point of becoming rock stars in the glam show of Anglo-French-German history.

Of course, we are not started on the Athenian encounter between the Indian yogi and Socrates, which was mentioned by Aristoxenus – and recalled by Eusebius. Or the Indo-Assyrian collaboration which is known as Babylonian astronomy – today.

A blip in history

The Roman Empire lasted all of 500 years – from the fall of Carthage and Corinth 146 BC till the invasion of Alaric, The Goth (410AD). Alexander’s campaign had taken the best of male youth from the Balkan and Mediterranean population and made it incapable of holding at the centre.

The vast dominions and revenues of the Assyrian Empire fell into Alexander’s went unprotected. The thin Greco-Macedonian political leadership were engaged with Alexander abroad. Its’ armies were tied up in Asia. No ruler after Alexander’s death in 323 BC was in a position to consolidate the hold over the Assyrian Empire that came their way. Or overcome Greek-Macedonian infighting. Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Balkan (the roots of Alexander) geography took 500 years to recover their populations and youth to mount a challenge to the Roman usurpers.

This 500-year blip in human history, called the Roman Empire, could not hold onto the Assyrian-Macedonian Empire, they had usurped. The split of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Western Roman Empire happened on linguistic lines around 400 AD. Over the next 200-400 years, Greek language became the official language of the Byzantine Empire.

The Balkans, the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe followed the lead of the Byzantine Empire and used Greek extensively – at a cost to their own language. For the next 1000 years, the Byzantine Empire used Greek as the official language – and was ruled by some Greek rulers.

The ‘Greek Miracle’ was rewritten by these Greek historians – 800-to-1000 years later. Much like modern-day propaganda by the West, the Greeks used their language to create a myth around the Greek civilization. Alexander, a Macedonian (from modern-day Balkans), was usurped by the Greeks, from the Mediterranean region, as their own.

Hittite Empire

Hittite Empire

Old Mother Hubbard

By the 19th century, modern West became aware of Aryan achievements. Europe suddenly discovered their Aryan roots. European languages derived from Sanskrit became Indo-European (Indians should be grateful that at least these were called Indo-European – and that Indic languages were not charged with plagiarism).

Of course, it is a ‘historical fact’ that the whole of Europe is Aryan – and India is inhabited by alien ‘Aryan’ conquerors.

Rome‘s legacy!

From Rome we get a slave-owning, loot-oriented, blood-thirsty line of rulers. An empire that gave birth to 1500 years of Church persecution.

Emperor Constantine after his victory at Milvan bridge, extended State patronage to Christianity. For the next 1000 years Christianity was racked by challenges from Buddhism – most prominently, the Manichean Sect. After centuries of persecution and massacre, non-believers became extinct in most of Europe. The Church itself became very powerful – and a breeding ground for corruption and nepotism. Ripe for the reformation.

Iberian Colonization

1492. The (largely) benign rule of the West African Moors came to an end. White Christian rulers of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand, set historic standards in persecution and extortion. More than a million Jews were killed, crucified, burnt alive; their properties confiscated and distributed.

Christopher Columbus In Bahamas

Christopher Columbus in the Bahamas

Christian Spain, fresh from their victory over West African (Muslim) rulers, (then called Moors), obtained the backing of the Church for expansion. The Church Of Rome, eager to add new followers, approved a Papal Bull. Spain and Portugal were given a duopoly on European exploration of new markets and believers in Christian religion.

The same year, Christopher Columbus set sail westwards to find a trade route to India. A few months later he landed at Bahamas – and reported the western trade route to India. The West realized (much later) that this was, for them, a new continent – now called America.

And modern colonialism was born. Out of Iberia – the Portuguese and the Spaniards. Loosed on an unsuspecting world by the Papal Bull. Spain and Portugal, the two then superpowers (until early nineteenth century), competed to get various Papal Bulls issued in their favour – often contradictory. Many negotiations and treaties later, the world was divided between Spain and Portugal. Spain and Portugal quickly expanded their empires and operations. The Papal Bull gave the two Iberian powers, a duopoly over ‘Christian’ conquest – but also hobbled them with a religious agenda. Hence, the pre-occupation by the Iberian colonizers to convert the ‘heathens’.

Reaction From Rest Of Europe

Was the exclusion of Britain, France and Germany from this Papal Bull, the reason for the support of Protestantism in these countries. Why did Henry VIII change – from a Defender Of The Faith, to revolt against the Church?

After the grant of duopoly to Spain and Portugal, by the Church Of Rome, England (France and Netherlands, too) declared open season against Spanish ships. With the sanction of the English State, high seas piracy became a national pastime in Britain. Pirates like Sir John Hawkins made money on slave trade and piracy. Queen Elizabeth, apart from knighting him, also participated in these criminal enterprises. Of course, further on, these pirates and privateers became heroes. In the best Anglo-Saxon propaganda tradition, books soon started a ‘white wash’ of slavery and piracy – like Mr.Midshipman Easy, by Captain Frederick Marryat (Retd. Royal Navy), in 1836.

After the break with Vatican, during the reign of Henry VIII, no longer tied by Papal injunctions and diktat, the English decided to challenge Spain. In 1600 The English East India Company (EEIC) was formed to spearhead English trade with India. By 1650, EEIC obtained the firmaan from Shah Jehan to operate in India – and compete with the Iberians.

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

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

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

The overwhelming, last impression of the British Raj, wrongly, was that in matters of faith, the British Colonial Government was neutral. Angus Maddison writes, in The Economic and Social Impact of Colonial Rule in India

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

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

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

The Collapse Of The Iberian Empire

For roughly 250 years, the Iberian Empires were the most powerful. The slave rebellion of Haiti triggered a collapse of the Spanish colonies in South America. Simon Bolivar, aided by the Haiti’s rulers, initiated de-colonization movements across South America – leading to the demise of Spanish Colonialism. The last nail in the Spanish colonial possessions was Cuba – which they lost after the Spanish-American War. After the loss of Cuba, Philippines and the American colonies, and the end of slavery, the Iberians imploded much like other slave societies.

Of course, Anglo-Saxons gloat over the collapse of the Iberians. And have waged a steady propaganda war to show the Iberian colonizer in poor light. The BFAGs give no credit for the Iberian contribution to Western culture. Spanish domination of European affairs belong to a ‘decadent imperial past’ – whereas the BFAG countries have created ‘modern’ world societies.

The rhetorical effacement of empire from the conceptual map of the historiography of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Spanish literature cannot be explained by a weakening of imperial agendas; instead it speaks to the Hegelian “History” of modern Europe and exemplifies its erasure of imperialism from the story of the modern. Spain’s hegemonic moment is automatically coded as imperial, while the imperial powers of northern Europe are simply modern. (from Properties of Modernity By Michael P. Iarocci)

The interesting bit is the racial sub-text. As per BFAG historiography, all Iberian achievements are due to the West African (‘Black’) rule prior to the rise of the Iberian Empires. The Iberians could not achieve much as they are of ‘mixed blood.’ Just imagine that – the Iberians learnt everything from the ‘Black-Africans’ seems to be the thrust of this historiography.

Anglo-Saxon Trajectory

The Anglo-Saxon Empire was tracing the Iberian trajectory – with a 100 year interregnum. A hundred years after the collapse of the Spanish Colonial Empire, the British Empire started disintegrating – like its Iberian predecessors. Like the revolt in Haiti, colonial hagiography suggests, that possibly the Boer War, signaled the beginning of the end for the British Empire. It was, more probably, the Battle Of Islandhwana, which made Britain more repressive and more defensive.

British decline was also, for similar reasons. Loss of slaves and colonies. The rise (and implosion) of the French, English colonial possessions tracked the Iberian trajectory by a lag of a 100 years.

Gypsy Music Recordings

Roma Gypsy Music Recordings

Birth Of Western Music

The Roma-Gypsy contribution in the growth of Western musical tradition has been blanked out from Western history. The spread of Roma-Gypsy populations across Europe by the 16th century coincides with the birth of Western music systems – a stripped down version of the 3000-years old Indian music structure.

Hungarian music was Roma-Gypsy music arrogated by the White Christian majority to itself – and resented the Roma-Gypsy music culture. Western military music came from Roma-Gypsy music bands of Turkey, Austria and Hungary. Carefully hidden is Bela Bartok’s research into ‘folk’ music and ‘inspiration’, as is the source of Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody – a by-product of Roma-Gypsy music. Before that, Verdi wrote the Il Trovatore, in 1853, a story about the clash between the White Christian Spain and a band of Roma-Gypsies. Georges Bizet’s, Carmen, another opera about the love of a Spaniard and the Roma-Gypsy, Carmen, used Roma-Gypsy music and themes considerably – apart from the story itself.

Gypsy Music - Inspired or Plagiarised?

Roma Gypsy Music - Inspired or Plagiarised?

After WW1, when parts of Hungary folded into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bartok’s access to his ‘inspiration’, the Gypsies (and their music) was also cut off, his music compositions also declined. In the true ‘cultural dacoity’ mode, Bartok (after emigrating to USA), covered his tracks and found ingenious ways to deny the Roma-Gypsy influence. Between Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly and Leos Janacek, they recorded 6000 Roma-Gypsy tunes on wax cylinders. The wax cylinders on which Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly and Leos Janacek copied Roma-Gypsy music are now sought after items.

It is the dances of the Roma Gypsies behind the European cultural icon – the Flamenco! The rumba and the tango. It is the Gypsies (along with the Arabs) who brought Indian music systems to Europe – based on which the Western music system developed over the last 300-400 years. The iconic guitar is a modified Indian musical instrument – brought to Europe by the Gypsies, which the West tries ‘passing off’ as their own. Hittites, the Indo Aryans of the Middle East, before the Gypsies had an instrument similar to the guitar. Why am I not surprised when flamenco style, Roma-Gypsy music group, Los Del Rio’s Macarena became a big hit in India. This contribution to modern and classical Western music by the Roma-Gypsy remains unacknowledged – and the Western arrogation continues unmitigated.

The Gypsies In Provence

Modern day Roma Gypsies made their first mark in Europe in Provence. The richness of the Roma-Gypsy music (of India) overwhelmed the people of Southern France. They whole heartedly, assimilated the Gypsies (then known as troubadours) and their culture – warmly. 500 years later, across a bleak Europe, the French poet Voltaire, the English WB Yeats, lamented and longed for Provence and the richness of the Provencal culture. Modern French cuisine, wine culture and tradition took root in this very area – and survived in spite of the best attempts by the Church to exterminate it in the Albigensian Crusade.

African Contribution To Modern Technology

An interesting post on Racism & Technology by Michelle M. Wright in the Switch adds to this thesis. This post lists the large number of contributions made in modern times by Afr0-Americans – totally unacknowledged.

Consider a handful of the contributions that African-Americans have made to science and technology: we have forgotten that Granville Woods invented the steam boiler furnace, the telephone transmitter; Sarah Boone invented the ironing board; Mary Moore invented one of the first artificial pain relievers in the 18th century; Lewis Latimer invented the incandescent light bulb (greatly improving on Edison’s use of a bamboo filament by replacing it with carbon, and therefore making light bulbs last from a mere 30 hours to over 300), and he supervised the implementation of electric lights in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London; we have forgotten that Garrett A. Morgan invented the prototype of the gas mask and the automatic stoplight; Frederick Jones made the transportation of fresh foods and dairy products possible when he invented mobile refrigeration; Elijah McCoy made it possible for locomotives to operates continuously without having to stop every few miles to re-lubricate the wheels and machinery. Despite the attempts of corporate competitors to duplicate his invention, only McCoy’s actually worked, causing railway engineers to always ask if the automatic lubricator available for purchase was “the real McCoy”-this phrase has been re-attributed to several white McCoys: an athlete, an entrepreneur, and an inventor whose inventions were never actually used by anyone. The only black inventor America acknowledges is George Washington Carver who revolutionized Southern agriculture by developing crop rotation so that farmers did not exhaust their soil after three years but could use it endlessly (indeed, early crop rotation was taught by the first African-Americans to white planters). Carver also developed peanut oil as cheaper alternatives to motor oil, diesel fuel, printing ink, rubbers, and lighting oil…but he is only famous as the inventor of peanut butter. More recently, A. P. Ashbourne developed the airplane propeller; Dr. Charles Drew discovered plasma in blood; Henry Sampson patented the cell phone; Otis Boykin developed pace maker controls for the guided missile, and Dr. Patricia Bath has patented her technique of using laser surgery to remove cataracts. (from the Racism And Technology By Michelle M. Wright).

This systemic ‘amnesia’ in the West points to two things – a barren cultural cupboard and the plagiarist arrogation by the West of the achievements made by other cultures.

Selective Leaks

What is it these four institutions hiding? My feeling is that while these guys sit on these finds, they would have imploded – and their worst fears would have become reality. They would be another footnote in the history of slave owning civilizations that imploded. Hopefully Indic countries, based on humanity would have become an intellectually-dominant civilization again!

Tanti Bhil - A Famous Dacoit
Tantia Bhil – A Colonial Era Dacoit

Coming To Dacoity

Dacoity is a uniquely Indian-English word – made, formed and used in India. Dacoits were (and are) outlaws operating at the periphery of morality – and the law. These brigands were a response to the shrinking opportunity base due to colonial practices (some of which continue) in India. These dacoits typically did not target the State itself or the poor.

The target of the dacoits were the beneficiaries of the system – the rich. Since, the dacoits did not directly challenge the might of the State, the State was not very worried about these dacoits. But loot, these dacoits did. Especially the rich. Hence, the Indian population has viewed dacoits ambivalently.

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