India – Beyond Individuals

Posted in Current Affairs, History, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on January 26, 2008

Bhagvad Geeta4, 7Bhagvad Geeta4, 8“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in righteousness, O descendant of Bharata, and a rise of evil — at that time I manifest myself. To deliver all those who believe in goodness and to annihilate the evil, to reestablish righteousness, I will appear, in millennium after millennium.” Bhagwad Geetha IV, 7-8.

Who was Kalidasa? No one quite knows. After composing some of the best lyrical poetry ever, (in Sanskrit), little is known about him. His life lives in his works. Who was Ved Vyasa – the writer of Mahabharata? Or for that matter Valmiki! No one knows. About any one of these people.

Yet, whenever, India had needed, inspirations have come. To lead us … असतो मा सद्गमय From untruth to the truth … तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय … From darkness to light … मृतयोर् मा अमृतं गमय … from termination, to eternity …

Portrait Of Tipu SultanTipu Sultan unceasing opposition for more than 30 years (The Mysore Wars – 1767-1799) to the foreign rule before the 1857 War made the British rulers cautious about waging war in India. Immediately thereafter was the challenge of the Sikh qaum – led by Ranjit Singh. The death of Ranjit SinghRanjit Singh & Laili - His Favorite Horse in (1839) gave them another opportunity. Then followed the Afghan wars and the Sikh Wars (between 1839-1850). In 1857 was the India‘s first war of Independence.

From 1857 to the 1900, the British colonial government decimated Indian leadership. Bahadur Shah Zafar was sent to Rangoon. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. Ahalyabai Holkar. Tantia Tope. Leader after leader came to the fore. And India continued to redefine itself.

Swami VivekanandaFrom feudal and hereditary leaders, the leadership slowly changed. From political to social. In parallel. In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy formed the Brahmo Samaj. In 1875, Swami Dayanand formed the Arya Samaj. On 24th December 1892, Swami Vivekananda reached Kanyakumari – after travelling across India. He was entertained by rajas and the रंकDadabhai Naoroji (commoners) of his day.

Then followed the political leadership. Dadabhai Naoroji’s (Congress President in 1886, 1893 1906) research and quantification of the British Loot from India started a new set of leaders against colonial rule – and a new definition of India. Tilak’s demand for ‘swaraj’ and ‘swadeshi’ Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilakgoods unnerved the colonialists. The colonial British Government deported Balgangadhar Tilak to Rangoon. He came back stronger than before. In other countries, when old leaders and rulers were removed or replaced, those countries descended into dictatorship, confusion, poverty. In India, we had wave after wave of leaders – and each time India moved forward. In a direction which has no precedents in world history.

What Happened In Other Countries

Why do Australia and Canada still acknowledge the British Queen as the head of the state? Spain has Juan Carlos I as its king! Did you know that Belgium has Albert II as it King? And Queen Beatrix rules over Holland (The Netherlands). King Akihito is venerated by the Japanese – and is the head of the state. Sweden is ruled by King Carl XVI Gustaf. Luxembourg has the Grand Duke Henri as its equivalent to a King! King Harald V lords over Norway! Queen Margrethe II rules over Denmark. The world still has quite a few monarchies – especially in the OECD. Why?

France removed and guillotined the monarchs – and they got Napoleon Bonaparte, as dictator! Russia tried – and they got 70 years of communist dictatorship. Italy asked King Victor Emmanuel III to go – and got Mussolini. The British exiled the Kaiser of Germany – and the Germans had to put up with Hitler thereafter.

Britain terminated the Turkish Ottoman Empire – and Turkey got a benign dictator, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, and then not so benign dictators – and is yet to recover! East Europe (Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Albania, etc) promptly started fighting with each other, within and without – after the kings were removed. China became communist after the last emperor – and still has a communist dictatorship. Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, most of Africa, South America – same or similar story.

This history is why Canada and Australia cling to the skirts of British Monarchy.

Republican Democracy

America became one of the first successful Republican democracies – from 1789, when George Washington became the first elected President of USA. (70 years later there was a Civil War). America survived.

Israel, (propped up by massive US aid) is another country which has been a republican democracy for more than 50 years. Switzerland (with guaranteed neutrality from the European powers) is another in modern history to survive 50 years of republican democracy. Srilanka has been another country which has survived 50 years as republican democracy – but just about.

India is the youngest Republican democracy – and we have completed a historic 50 years as republican democracy – Jan 26th 1950, till date.

Gandhiji’s Conquest

But before the republic, came the unification of India – the crowning achievement of Gandhiji. Not the political union (achieved by Sardar Patel) – but the ideological union!

Garibaldi (united Italy), Bismarck (united Germany), Simon Bolivar (liberated and united South American countries) were unifiers who succeeded with the help of armies.

Gandhiji (armed with a walking stick) unified a larger India (and Pakistan) without an army. An India and a Pakistan – bigger than what the largest empire in the history of the world, the British Empire could not conquer with its armies.

One Clean Break

To make a one clean break from the feudal-colonial past – and succeed! That is a dream – never before in the history of the world. India made history – by surviving for 50 years with a republican democracy.

In 1947, India was a feudal society with more than 500 Kings and (some) Queens at the time of Independence. (No, the British did not rule over all of modern India). Large parts of India also had to change from a colonial mindset.

How Is India Unique

However, no other country has 15 official languages.

Switzerland has only 4. Sri Lanka’s Sinhalas do not want to accept Sri Lankan Tamils as full and equal citizens – hence the 20 year old civil war.

Social Equality

The liberation of Blacks in the USA is a 1970s phenomenon. It took non-violent protests (Martin Luther King) and violent threats (Malcolm X) for some kind of real emancipation and equity to come in.

Blacks in the USA legally got full and equal liberty only in 1964 after President Kennedy’s Civil Rights Act of 1964. Earlier in 1954, President Eisenhower had to send in the army (the National Guard). In the Cold War scenario, under international media glare, during the Little Rock School stand-off, Eisenhower (a Southerner himself) reacted. The Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas closed down the school rather than de-segregate. De-segregation (between the Blacks and Whites) happened clearly and fully only by 1970-75. Non-violent protests by Martin Luther King (inspired by Gandhiji’s) till 1968 and violent threats by Malcolm X thereafter, made desegregation a reality. Not to forget Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. The eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation during the Kennedy years produced the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

But, Gandhiji’s first step, after coming back from South Africa, (many decades before India’s Independence, Unification and the creation of the Republic) was to start social reform against untouchability.

Enforcement – or Help

India and America, created their own constitutions without external enforcement. Republican democracy in Germany was imposed by the Allied Powers – hence their record is blemished.


In most countries, religion divides. In India, we are different. India has the world’s second /third largest Muslim population. The Indian Christian population is equal to that of most majority-Christian countries – excluding just a few big one like USA, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, etc. Buddhists number nearly 50 lakhs. Sikhs, Parsis (Zoorastrians), Bahais, follows their own religion. Iranians, Armenians, Jews, Chinese have come to India – when persecuted in their homelands.

Racism! Anyone?

No, thanks!

India has the Caucasoid stock – spread over the North and West India; Australoid stock spread over South India and the Mongoloid stock spread over of East and North East. There is also a very small sprinkling of the Negroid stock – less than 1%.

The Challenges Ahead

The challenges ahead are defence and economics.

India’s defence unpreparedness is beyond comprehension. Worse, is the lack of threat perception. Indians (sadly and truly) limit their threat perception to the Pakistanis – and the Chinese. with the world’s largest private reserves of gold India becomes a target. The resultant global and emerging threats are unrealised. We spend billions of dollars on buying arms all over the world – but our domestic arms industry is starving.

The second is economics. The world trade systems, financial agreements, currency management continue to drag down India – and many other countries. Navigating these uncharted waters successfully is the other.

And I am sure that another set of new leaders will arrive and take India forward to another level.

Sooner – not later.

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3 That Changed History – The Amarna Letters

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

A Thousand Miles up the Nile

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

Tushrutta Letter to Egyptian PharoahWhat were these letters

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

Enter The Mittanis

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

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

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

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

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

Tutankhamen – The Boy King

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

After Tutankhamen

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

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

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

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

Who were the Mittanis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Linkages

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

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

The Loyal Black Rat

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

The Black Rat (Rattus rattus).

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

Speculatively speaking

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

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

History Re-write

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

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

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

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

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

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