2ndlook

Dating agenda in ‘modern’ history

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

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

09:00 hr, 23rd October, 4004

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

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

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

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

Max Muller, the ‘Orientalist’, whose template for Indian historiography is followed till date, significantly, had no choice but to use the Ussher-Lightfoot chronology. Till 1857, Britain through the East India Company, followed Spain and Portugal, who had planted the banner of Christ in heathen and pagan lands’. The Chairman of the Directors of the East India Company, Ross Donnelly Mangles, piously declared in the British House Of Commons –

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

It took a revolution in Haiti to start the end of the Spanish Empire – and the 1857 Anglo-Indian War to end the English campaign to ‘convert the heathen’ and ‘civilize pagan Hindoos.’

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

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

Egypt rules

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

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

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

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

The Greek miracle

The Greek miracle

Change in sources

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

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

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

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

The Dating Imbroglio

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

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

Indian chronology – Deconstructing Indian dates

Behind this dating ‘logic’, is a man who is much admired (wrongly) in India today – Max Mueller. For instance in Max Muller’s colonial propagandist history, when it comes to Indian triumphs over Semiramis, she becomes half-legendary. Yet in another book, the same Semiramis becomes one of ‘the great conquerors of antiquity.’ In a matter of a few pages, he dismisses Indian history completely, in a half-Hegelian manner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fallacy of the Vedic age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexander, Porus, Takshashila and Gymnosophists

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

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

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

Alexander and the Indian 'Gymnosophists' - Medieval European drawing

Alexander and the Indian 'Gymnosophists' - Medieval European drawing

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

State propaganda as history

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

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

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

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

Reviving Phoenicia: in search of identity in Lebanon

By Asher Kaufman

The Genesis Of The Greek Miracle

Posted in European History, History, India, Media, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on September 6, 2008
Foreign Invasions Against Rome

Foreign Invasions Against Rome

Alexander’s Empire

Alexander’s campaign had taken the best of male youth from the Greek population and made it incapable of holding at the center. Greco-Macedonian population at the time of Alexander’s campaign is estimated between 1.5 million to 2.5 million – including slaves. That gives us a number of 75,000-150,000 family units which could have contributed one soldier each.

These populations are largely backward projections from current populations. From the total eligible, excluding agricultural workers required for maintenance of basic economic activity, slaves who would not qualify for military duty (malnourished and /or low on motivation levels), and soldiers needed for defense of the Macedonia and Greece itself, left a Greco-Macedonian societies with very few men. Add to this shortage, most of Alexander’s soldiers either settled in the Asian regions or perished in war or due to injury and disease. Less than 20,000 soldiers (10%) of the Alexander’s soldiers finally returned home. Hence, availability of soldiers was a severe limitation.

Post Alexander

Alexander’s vast dominions and revenues were unprotected. 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 conquests or overcome Greek-Macedonian infighting. The Daidochi Wars took up all the attention of the Greeks and Macedonians.

The Rise & Blip Of Rome

Rome was sucked into the vacuum left behind by Alexander’s death. Roman generals consolidated in Asia Minor and expanded into Europe. In 306, BC, Rome allied with Carthage against the Greeks. Over the next 150 years, Carthage and Rome battled Greece, conquered Sicily – and finally, attacked each other. After three Macedonian wars and the war with Antiochus the Great of Syria, Rome established itself as a prime power.

Carthage was left as the sole challenger to Roman authority. Finally, the Roman senate sent a descendant of Scipio Africanus (of the Second Punic War), Scipio Aemilianus – and in 146BC, Carthage was defeated. Carthage city was destroyed, its fields plowed and salted, so that the city would never come up again. 50,000 residents of Carthage were enslaved. In parallel, in 146BC, Corinth suffered a similar fate.

50 BC. Alexander passed into mythology. Romans had taken complete hold of the Alexandrian Empire. Millions (men, women and children) were enslaved. Swollen by revenues from the inherited Alexandrian territories of Asia Minor; by loot and conquests from Europe, Roman society was rolling in wealth. Nearly a million slaves toiled to keep Roman population well fed and in luxury.

Greek Schools In Constantinople

Greek Schools In Constantinople

Greek Re-emergence

The Balkan and the Mediterranean kingdoms (the roots of Alexander) took 500-600 years to recover their populations and youth to mount a challenge to the Roman usurpers and the Western Roman Empire.

The split started between the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire on linguistic lines. Western Roman Empire using Latin, operating from Rome – and the Eastern Roman Empire, using Greek, with Constantinople as its capital.

A major step in this Eastern challenge was to declare Constantinople as the second capital of the Roman Empire. Thereafter, deprived of revenues from the prosperous Eastern Empire, the Western Roman Empire collapsed.

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). This 500-year blip in human history, called the Roman Empire, could not hold onto the Macedonian Empire they had usurped.

The split of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Western Roman Empire happened, though initially on linguistic lines, around 400 AD – later, on religious and other political lines. 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 had some Greek Kings. 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.

On the other side of the world, Alexander’s conquests had increased trade manifold. Indo-Byzantine-Roman trade flourished. Greco-Roman currency, laws started at Indian borders and led right to the heart of the world’s largest and most prosperous market. The creation of the Alexander mythos was essential to the whole propaganda effort, for the success of Greek rule over the Eastern ‘Roman’ Empire. For colonial Europeans also, the mythos of Alexander, in the 19th and 20th centuries, was useful – to prove Western superiority’. Central to this Greek (and later the Western colonial) propaganda effort, was Alexander’s conquest of India – a superpower for much of history.

The Assyrian Misadventure

The Assyrian Empire in Asia Minor, (1300 BC – 500 BC) expanded by the conquests of Semiramis their legendary Queen, was one of history’s largest and the longest lasting Empire.

Semiramis was possibly Queen Sammurammit /Sammurammat, ruling over Assyria and Babylon in late ninth and early eight centuries B.C. The identity of her husband is in question with different names like King Shamshi-Adad V, Adad-nirari IV (probably co-regent, son of ShamshiAdad V and Semiramis), and some say Rammannirar, and yet some others Vul Lush III.

Between Herodotus and Ctesias, we have Greek accounts of the rise of Semiramis. The Assyrian Empire in Asia Minor, of Semiramis, a forerunner of Alexander’s Asian territories. She was deposed by her son Ninyas /Ninus (probably co-regent, Adad-nirari IV, son of Shamshi Adad V and Semiramis), after her loss to the Indian king, Stabrobates.

Clearly a historical figure, Semiramis was elevated to godhood in the Assyrian pantheon of goddesses, deified and worshiped – much like  cannonization of saints by the Christian Church.

To the Greeks and Romans, Semiramis was the foremost of women, the greatest queen who had ever held a sceptre, the most extraordinary conqueror that the that the East had ever produced. Beautiful as Helen or Cleopatra, brave as Tomyris, lustful as Messaline, she had the virtues and vices of a man rather than woman, and performed deeds scarcely inferior to those of Cyrus or Alexander The Great. (from The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World By George Rawlinson).

For her achievements, Semiramis was personified in the cult of ‘Mother and Child’, which Vatican was at great pains to exterminate, as it was the continuation of the worship of the Mother figure of Gnosticism and other Christian streams.

Semiramis in modern history

Mired in legend and prejudice, Semiramis is discredited in modern Western history – especially starting from 1853-1857. Her very existence denied, accused of incest, Semiramis has been tarred and condemned to the rubbish heap of modern history – and the Bible.

For instance in Max Muller’s colonial propagandist history, when it comes to Indian triumphs over Semiramis, she becomes half legendary. Yet in another book, the same Semiramis becomes one of ‘the great conquerors of antiquity.’ In a matter of a few pages, he dismisses Indian history completely, in a half-Hegelian manner.

As far back as 1798, the Asiatick Researches By Asiatic Society (Calcutta, India), were able to trace references to the Semiramis campaign in the Indian Puranas also. And …

In the case of Semiramis, confusion may have been caused by the fact that her husband and her son were both named Ninus; but to classical and medieval readers it seemed quite plausible that a powerful woman ruler (and a barbarian to boot) would be tyrannical and transgressive in her lust and that her violent delights would have a violent end. (from Incest and the Medieval Imagination By Elizabeth Archibald).

Semiramis established an empire that lasted, practically till WW1. Some 300 years, after the reign of Semiramis, the Assyrian Empire passed into Persian hands. From the Persians, into Alexander’s lap. The Romans usurped Alexander’s Empire – and in turn, lost everything 500 years later. The Romans lost the Assyrian Empire which was then taken over by the Eastern Empire with its capital of Byzantium.

The last inheritors of the Assyrian Empire were the Ottoman Turks and the Austro Hungarian Empire. Behind the problems in the Middle East today, is the carve up of the Ottoman Empire by victorious Allies, handled by amateurs like TE Lawrence and Gertrude Bell, after WW1.

Alexander – Hagiography and /or Cultural Dacoity?

Alexander’s raid of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, finally turned out to be a overthrow of the Achaemenid dynasty, usurpers of the Assyrian Empire. The mythos surrounding Alexander  ‘conquests’ calls for serious questioning of the sources themselves. What and who are these sources?

Our knowledge of Alexander … rests on histories produced long after the fact: a late first-century b.c.e. section of a world history written in Greek by Diodorus of Sicily; a Latin History of Alexander published by the Roman author Quintus Curtius Rufus in the first century c.e.; a biography in Greek by Plutarch of Chaeronea, … in the first century c.e.; a history written in Greek by Arrian of Nicomedia sometime in the second century c.e.; and Justin’s third-century c.e. Latin abridgment (Epitome) of a lost Greek secondary account by the first-century author Pompeius Trogus. Each of these five narrative treatments of Alexander’s reign claims to be a serious work of history or biography, but all five contradict one another on fundamental matters and cannot be considered absolutely reliable unless somehow corroborated by other evidence. Beyond these texts, we have little except a compilation of legendary material known as the Greek Alexander Romance, a wildly imaginative work filled with talking trees and other wonders that later thrilled the medieval world. (from Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions By Frank Lee Holt; ellipsis mine).

400 years after Alexander’s death, Arrian’s hagiography is today seen by the Western world as the last word on Alexander. One man’s word as history? This version of history alleges that Alexander conquered India by defeating King Porus. This is the foundation on which Westerners have based their version of Indian history.

Alexanders shown with elephant headdress (Image courtesy - saudiaramcoworld.com).

Alexanders shown with elephant headdress (Image courtesy - saudiaramcoworld.com).

Alexander’s shown with elephant headdress

Subsequently, to his Indian ‘conquest’ Alexander minted elephant coins – which is, to modern Western historians proof of Alexander’s conquest of ‘India’. Ptolemy, to create legitimacy for his rule, issued coins showing Alexander wearing a elephant head, looking like a mixed Zeus and Ammon.

It also became the butt of comedies. These Greek comedies about Alexander’s campaign survive through Roman writers. One such work is Plautus’ Curculio, a drama in which an ex-India soldier, Therapontigonus Platagidorus, boasts of his conquest of

the Persians, Paphlagonians, Sinopians, Arabs, Carians, Cretans, Syrians, Rhodes and Lycia, Gobbleollia and Guzzleania, Centaurbattaglia and Onenipplearmia, the whole coast of Libya and the whole of Grapejusqueezia, in fact, a good half of all the nations on earth, have been subdued by him single-handed inside of twenty days

and wants a golden statue – made with melted gold from Philip (of Macedon’s) gold coins. Other such unbelievable accounts were written in Greece and Rome about Alexander’s victory against Porus – “a popular subject in Greece and Rome for many centuries.”

The significance of these coins itself is questionable. Elephant units, managed by Indians, were a common feature in Central Asian region – and later Greek armies also co-opted elephant units. These elephant coins could well have been stuck to celebrate Alexander’s victory at Gaugamela over Darius.

Indian archaeology, writers and history do not know of any Porus. At best, Alexander raided and plundered some border districts of India. Why did Alexander’s undefeated troops, after the Indian campaign, suddenly feel homesick?

Indo-Greek colonies and kingdoms – at Indian borders

Modern historians refer to the Greek colonies in Bactria, Sogdiana (modern Afghanistan and Baluchistan) as proof of Alexander’s and Greek conquests in the Indian sub-continent. The truth – Herodotus informs us that the Persian rulers exiled rebellious Greeks 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.

Alexander continued with this practice. After his death, we are informed by Diodorus of Sicily (World history, 18.7) veteran Macedonians and Greek exiles revolted against their externment – and the Daidochi had to send an expedition, under Peithon, to quell this revolt.

Consider

During the (nearly) half-year long siege of Tyre, Alexander received troop reinforcements from Macedonia. Before his India ‘campaign’, at Ecbatana, Alexander cashiered thousands of his Greek troops who wished to return home. After the death of Darius, at Ecbatana (330 BC), to all the Greek officers, wishing to return home, Alexander awarded one talent of gold (approx. 25k-60 kg).

Also at Ecbatana, Alexander dismissed the allied Greek troops he had requisitioned thus far under the powers granted him by the Greek league. The official goal of the invasion, the destruction of the Persian empire in revenge for its attack on Greece, had now been achieved, so the official duties of these troops were fulfilled. (from Alexander the Great By Arrian, James S. Romm, Pamela Mensch)

At this stage, Alexander also inducted into his army, fresh Persian soldiers, trained in Macedonian style of warfare. Again, after his marriage to Roxanne, 10,000 ‘new’ Persian soldiers joined his army.

Hence, the troops left were either fresh or those who decided to stay with Alexander. 326 BC was the year of the battle with Porus. The pleadings of Coenus, that Alexander’s men, “long to see their parents, wives, and children, and their homeland again.” were patently the cries of frightened soldiers. Once back in the folds of the secure Macedonian Empire, the same soldiers, joined the mutiny at Opis and revolted when they were released by Alexander to return to Macedonia, demonstrates that reason for the revolt in India, was not home sickness.

Amongst Alexander’s first actions in India were his attempts to cobble up alliances. His most famous one was with Ambhi – the ruler of Taxila. To cement this alliance, Alexander ‘gifted’ Ambhi with ‘a wardrobe of Persian robes, gold and silver ornaments, and 30 horses, 1000 talents in cash’. 1000 talents is anywhere between 25,000-60,000 kg of gold! Does this look like Ambhi accepted Alexander as the conqueror of the world – or Alexander ‘persuading’ Ambhi to seal an alliance?

The payment of 1000 talents in gold to Ambhi aroused much envy and outrage in Alexander’s camp. It prompted Meleager, to sarcastically congratulate Alexander for ‘having at least found in India a man worth 1000 talents.’ What seals this incident is Alexander’s retort to Meleager, “that envious men only torment themselves.” (C 8.12.17 & 18)

Ekkehard, a 12 century Benedictine monk and historian, a participant in the Crusade of 1101, had many such questions, in his updates of Chronicon Universale, (probably co-written by Frutolf of Michelsberg).

Coming so soon after the schism between the Greek and the Roman Church, Ekkehard must also be seen through the prism of Christian Church politics. After all, how could a monk of the Roman Church let go of such a juicy Greek target? Similarly, in 19th century environment, Alexander’s inflation must also be seen in the context of Western colonialism, which needed to show ‘Western’ superiority.

How Did This Miracle Happen? (Cartoonist - Sidney Harris; courtesy - sciencecartoonsplus.com). Click for larger image.

How Did This Miracle Happen? (Cartoonist - Sidney Harris; courtesy - sciencecartoonsplus.com). Click for larger image.

Modern Cultural Dacoity

Their own history being a barren cupboard, the BFAG countries (Britain, France, America and Germany) raided other cultures. For their guidance, they had the Greek model in place. They just extended that.

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. Then they sanitized the Greeks themselves. After the fall of Corinth, the Greeks disappeared from modern Western history.

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.

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 stars in the glam rock show of Anglo-French-German history.

Cultural Extinctions – Death Of Slave Societies

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

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

Extinction Of Cultures

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

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

Questions – And More Questions

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

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

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

The One Difference

Slavery.

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

Asimov's The Foundation Series

Asimov’s The Foundation Series

Historical Cycles

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

But…

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

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

Many Versions

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

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

On slavery, he mentions that slavery,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missing Monuments

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

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

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

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

Invasions And Conquests

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

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

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

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

Income Disequilibrium

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

Innovation & Invention

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

Population Growth

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

The NRI Rush

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

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

Indian Prosperity

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

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

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

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

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

Democracy In India

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

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

Modern Indian Response To Slavery

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

एक ही सफ में खड़े, महमूद अयाज़,

कोई बंदा रहा, कोई बंदा नवाज़ –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

मेरे महबूब कहीं और मिला कर मुझसे.

– Abdul Hayee ‘Sahir’ Ludhianvi.

Translation by gyanputra

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

Where Do We Go From Here

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

Post Script

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

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