2ndlook

Turning points in 20th century history

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, Gold Reserves, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on November 19, 2010
A poster advertising life of the "Abonos Nitrato de Chile" (Fertilizer Nitrate of Chile), 1930.

A poster advertising life of the "Abonos Nitrato de Chile" (Fertilizer Nitrate of Chile), 1930.

Gunpowder monopoly ends

Towards the end of 19th century, newly discovered nitrate deposits (sodium nitrate) in the Atacama desert of Chile came onto world markets. Chile’s nitrates were a crucial intermediate for gunpowder.

Chile’s nitrates broke the British monopoly over the trade in Indian saltpetre for the first time in modern history. French domestic production of saltpetre, barely enough for their own needs, could not challenge Indian saltpetre output that the British monopolized.

Indian saltpetre (potassium nitrate) could be simply refined and used directly in gunpowder – unlike Chilean nitrates. Also Chilean nitrates were limited natural deposits, whereas Indian saltpetre was produced on an industrial scale, accounting for some 70% of global production.

Germans quickly secured supplies of Chilean nitrates. A few years into the WWI, Germans brought the Haber-Bosch process from the laboratory stage to industrial production. The Haber-Bosch process for production of ammonia, gave Germans industrial capacity to produce gunpowder.

Causes for WW1

With this industrial capacity for gunpowder in place, Germany and Turkey, both non-colonial, industrialized powers challenged colonial powers, Britain and France, for access to world markets.

Diagram showing the world nitrogen quantities ...

Image via Wikipedia

The breakup of the Islamic Turkish Ottoman Empire was long seen (1890-1920) as an outcome essential for continued Anglo-French hegemony.

Funding WWI

Against Britain and France, the then dominant world powers, with extensive colonies, were Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire out of Turkey. Once WWI started, US funded both Britain and France. The US plied the Anglo-French alliance with extensive supplies and credit.

Emergence of USA

While millions died in European trenches, the USA bided its time. With mud, blood and disease taking a heavy toll, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey and Russia were soon exhausted and prostrate into a stalemate by the end of 1916. As the fate of WWI hung in balance, USA finally joined the Anglo-French side to gain a share of spoils.

 A soldier evacuated from the battlefront on a stretcher during WW1 - Image courtesy - bbc.co.uk. Click for larger image.

A soldier evacuated from the battlefront on a stretcher during WW1 - Image courtesy - bbc.co.uk. Click for larger image.

Financially unaffected, industrially strong, militarily effective, the US emerged on the world stage.

Post-WW1

Soon after WWI, as Anglo-French colonies and markets started opening up, US products gained new customers. Indians started buying Chevrolets, Buicks, Packards in small numbers. Victrolas started playing music in India – and on India. Michelin’s radial tyres from France became a byword in India for long-life. Indian natural rubber started going to Italy’s Pirelli and France’s Michelin.

Impoverishment of India

But Britain, a victorious nation was deep in debt – to USA and Colonial India. US emerged as the largest creditor nation. To settle these wartime debts, debtor Britain and creditor USA worked out a debt-repayment ‘mechanism’. Nothing but financial jugglery, this mechanism slashed the amount due to Colonial India and actually transferred the debt-burden of WW1 onto the backs of Indian peasant.

To settle this debt, Britain took recourse to gold from India. To give impetus to this transaction US supplied Britain with silver – then in abundant supply, in the form of US silver currency coins. This silver was ‘sold’ to Britain at double the market price – under the guise of the Pittman Act. Britain paid its wartime debt to India with this silver – at this inflated Pittman Act price. Abundant silver coins were stuck by the Colonial Raj, which are still available across India in large quantities.

To settle loans taken from USA to fight WW1, Britain extracted scarce gold from India. While payments for Indian exports were made in overpriced silver, the Indian peasant was forced to pay for imports and taxes in under-priced gold.

Starving Indian woman with swollen ankles & feet because she suffers from dropsy as young daughter stands by with swollen belly from hunger during famine crisis. (Photographer - Margaret Bourke-White; Date taken-1946; picture courtesy - life.com). Click for larger image.

Starving Indian woman with swollen ankles & feet because she suffers from dropsy as young daughter stands by with swollen belly from hunger during famine crisis. (Photographer - Margaret Bourke-White; Date taken-1946; picture courtesy - life.com). Click for larger image.

Due to this overpriced silver-under-priced gold combination, a surge in gold outflows started from India. Soon the US banking system was flush with liquidity.

Great Depression

Expecting the closed markets of Anglo-French colonies to open up, US economy expanded trade relations and industrial capacity. This expansion in trade and production of industrial goods was funded partly on the back of inflows of gold from India through Britain.

Finally though, protective barriers did not come down substantially enough – creating industrial over-capacity and excess liquidity in USA. Seeing ‘irresponsible’ bankers, waste ‘hard-earned’ gold on ill-planned trade expansion and production capacities, the US Federal Reserve clamped down on liquidity.

Great Depression followed. To ‘save’ gold-reserves, Roosevelt went further and nationalized gold.

Crime in the 20th century

In turn, Roosevelt’s gold nationalization, sparked a global crime tsunami. Only after the easing of restrictions on gold ownership by 1990, did the crime tsunami subside. The axis of this tsunami of crime was gold smuggling into India and narcotics trans-shipment through India.

A tsunami that engulfed all major economies of the world.

WW2

Unresolved issues of WW1 triggered WW2. Germany hemmed in from all sides by British client-states, unable to find markets for its industrial production,  reacted.

Germany, allied with Japan and Italy, proposed creation of larger ‘home’ markets. This was to be done by ‘expanding’ their own borders – to include neighboring countries. As first steps, on 3 October 1935 Italy invaded Abyssinia, now Ethiopia, Germany on 11-12 March, 1938, swallowed Austria; and Japan occupied Manchuria.

The basic assumptions of all the European powers, Japan and the USA were the same. The Confucian-Platonic ideal of superior, wise rulers who ruled over ‘inferior’ peoples.

These militant powers shared the same disregard for human life. Britain wreaked havoc by creating The Great Bengal Famine. Some 40-50 lakh (4-5 millions) Indians died. Hitler rained the Holocaust on the Jews. Some 50-60 lakh (5-6 million) Jews died.

Same difference.

Three faces of stagnation

Production capacity of non-OECD world was destroyed by years of colonialism, WW1 and WW2. Economic conditions after WW2 improved due to relative peace and as countries of the world started rebuilding their economies in the last 60 years (1950-2010).

The last 60 years has seen significant increase in industrial capacity of non-OECD nations. US extended supplier’s credit – using the US dollar, the favored currency of the Bretton Woods system.

A significant portion of economic expansion of OECD economies during 1950-1980 happened as production capacity of the world was rebuilt. The same capacities that were destroyed by colonialism, WW1 and WW2 – especially during 1850-1950 period.

WW3?

This creation of production capacity in non-OECD countries means economic stagnation and loss of political power for a few decades across OECD. With greater production capacity in the hands of non-OECD producers,  production capacity in OECD-USA must shrink.

Or a WW3 will be ‘needed’ to destroy the production systems of the poorest countries – to ‘save’ the West-OECD.

Creating false agenda's has become a full time job in the West with specialist think-tanks, media organisations and PR firms. (cartoon courtesy - http://polyp.org.uk). Click for larger image.

Creating false agenda's has become a full time job in the West with specialist think-tanks, media organisations and PR firms. (cartoon courtesy - http://polyp.org.uk). Click for larger image.

Red herrings

To get around this ‘problem’ of stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.

  1. Population Explosion
  2. Global Warming and climate change
  3. Civil Wars in Africa
  4. Islamic Demonization
  5. Terrorism
  6. Financial meltdowns

Complicating the current situation is the US currency mechanism, called USCAP (by 2ndlook) which favors selected US allies with advantageous exchange rates. China, Asian Tigers, Japan and NATO-Europe have gained significantly from the USCAP program.

The most notable loss due to trade distortion has been Africa’s.

Power Corrupts

During the 20th century, the world had to contend with an intolerable situation. The Anglo-Saxon Bloc (America, Australia, Britain and Canada) accounted for 80% of gold production (between 1200-1800 tons per annum) and controlled 80% of global gold reserves (around 100,000 tons circa  1920) also. Not even Chengez Khan had that kind of control over global economy.

Dawn of a new century

Things change.

At the beginning of 21st century, gold reserves in the hands of all the nation-States, are at a historic low. All the Governments in the world own less than 20%, i.e. 30,000 tons from global gold reserves of 150,000 tonnes.

Another 5 years of aggressive gold buying by global consumers will see this down to possibly 15%-17%. This will severely limit the ability of any State to wage a prolonged war.

A collapse of the currency systems in the world is imminent – in the next 5-15 years. Gold may give super-normal returns in the face of such an event.

Desert Twins - Westernization and Jihad. Problems both!

Desert Twins - Westernization and Jihad. Problems both!

Desert Bloc – beginning of the end?

The 20th century possibly saw the Desert Bloc reach its high-point. The world fully understands the bankruptcy of the Desert Bloc – and it may take some time for the effects of Desert Bloc propaganda to wear off.

Celebrations may, however, be premature. The alternate to Desert Bloc politics – भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra is yet to regain traction.

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Understanding The 5-point Indian Compact

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, Gold Reserves, History, India, Indo Pak Relations, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on November 13, 2010
The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

Beginning of the end

With the rejection of Simon Commission and the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, a triumphant Congress took pole position, in the race among Indians, to throw the British back into the sea. As the British realized their futile  position, and the Indian leadership took over initiative from the British, a few things happened.

British favored the Congress

The Congress leadership (especially Gandhiji) was favored with a significant negotiating position by the British.

During these negotiations with the British Raj, the Congress adopted some unorthodox ideas, in the Indian political context of that time. These Congress proposals were momentous and path-breaking for India. Though Western opinion was uniformly derisive and dismissive, Indians suspended their judgment on these Congress proposals.

Asuric maya against the asurs

Based on the collaborative-school of ideology, promoted by Gokhale-Chiplunkar-Phule and Arya-Brahma-Samaj, Congress proposed that Indians must embrace the Western-Asuric model of the State as a pivot of their future.

August 1942 - Subhash Bose gains strength; Gandhiji and other Indian leaders call for Quit India. (British Cartoon - Cartoonist - Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, 1902-1979; Published - Daily Mail, 12 August 1942). Click for larger image.

August 1942 - Subhash Bose gains strength; Gandhiji and other Indian leaders call for Quit India. (British Cartoon - Cartoonist - Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, 1902-1979; Published - Daily Mail, 12 August 1942). Click for larger image.

Whatever elements that remained of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra based on a defined, limited, narrow concept of polity related to rule as per dharmashastras, would take a back-seat, the Congress proposed.

Instead, the Congress strongly pressed its claim that the Western system of governance was what India needed to end and recover from the 100-odd years of ‘peak’ British misrule.

Congress writes its own ticket

After a few decades of debate and discussions, so be it, was the Indian decision on this Congress model. Since, the Congress seemed to be in a position to best deliver the ‘goods’, they got a carte-blanche from Indians.

The ways of the West

The Congress model was based on 5-points of significant departure from Indic model of polity.

  1. Common currency for India based on legal tender laws. Private coinage or multi-currency system would no longer be legal practice.
  2. English language and culture would be used extensively – even in independent India. Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar (1850-1882), a Marathi essayist thought that English language and education were vaghiniche doodh or tigress’ milk.
  3. Democracy and Republicanism in. Princes and Rajas out. India is one of the few countries (less than 7) which survived the initial 50 years of Republican Democracy.
  4. Centralized powerful State rather the village level government – including the judiciary.
  5. Adoption of Western models of education – schools, colleges and universities.
India's political stability and smooth leadership changes happened against all odds - and predictions of disaster. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Guardian, 27 Oct 1959). Click for larger image.

India's political stability and smooth leadership changes happened against all odds - and predictions of disaster. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Guardian, 27 Oct 1959). Click for larger image.

The one success

Republican Democracy has been a signal success, in providing a platform for:-

  1. Competitive electoral politics,
  2. Co-opting or exiling violent dissent
  3. Global respectability – precluding external overt interference (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, et al.)
  4. Most importantly continuity, without a power-vacuum

20:20 hindsight

The failure (partial success, if you must) of the State on 4 of the 5 parameters is clear and sure. Every Indian success has been hobbled by the remaining four elements of this compact.

Whether it was the Anglo-Jinnah idea of Pakistan or the significant corruption in the Indian system (like in any system based on concentration of power), each are a result of this 5-point compact that Congress sold to Indians.

Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar – all saw a need for a strong centre. Inspite of Gandhiji’s push for Ram-Rajya (his description of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra) and village panchayats, decentralized  governance was finally deemed as outdated, ancient and ‘inefficient.’

Where Sher Shah Suri failed

Never in India’s 5000 years of known-and-accepted history have Indians accepted fiat currency. From at least Sher Shah Suri onwards, many tried imposing a fiat currency on Indians, including the British. And failed.

The British started deifying Gandhiji. This cartoon titled "The saint and the tiger" (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 20 Jan 1948). Click for larger image.

The British started deifying Gandhiji. This cartoon titled "The saint and the tiger" (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 20 Jan 1948). Click for larger image.

But the newly independent Indian State was allowed to implement the system of fiat currency without much ado. Morarji Desai’s hare-brained gold control laws were accepted with a slight whimper.

As the existence of a pan-Indian currency is seen as an essential to the well-being of the Indian nation, enthusiasm for the Indian currency idea remains strong. Witness the steady public demand for RBI’s periodic issues of commemorative coins and notes.

Indians have enrolled with the State system of education, using English language, in stupendous numbers. Indians have hesitantly used the Indian judicial system – as a measure of faith and participation in nation building.

All these point towards a certain trust and space that Indians have vested with the Indian Government. Some may say, it is not faith, trust and hope, but a long rope given to the Indian Government.

The time has come when Indians must do two things:-

  • Plan to phase out this 5-point compact. This was not an endless, open-ended agreement by both sides.
  • Hold the GOI’s feet to fire on defence preparedness. After 63 years of British departure, this is the last thing that the State must deliver to India.
The idea of co-opting India into the Anglo-Saxon Bloc is apparent from this cartoon. India - a source of 'immi-grunts'. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 10 Jan 1950). Click for larger image.

The idea of co-opting India into the Anglo-Saxon Bloc is apparent from this cartoon. India - a source of 'immi-grunts'. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 10 Jan 1950). Click for larger image.

Empty shell of a giant crustacean

India and Indians must come out from the shell of this now irrelevant compact. This compact has proved three things clearly:-

  1. The ‘erstwhile’ Muslim rulers of India, who claimed they were superior to Indians and the nation of India. After more than 6 decades, they have demonstrated themselves to be the inept rulers of Pakistan.
  2. The British stand, naked and shivering in fright, at their emerging irrelevance. The British claim of superiority, based on how they had ‘built’ England to Great Britain can now be seen as false and hollow. British misrule of Britain, has presided over the downhill ride of Britain. From super-power status to a situation where British themselves question British claim as a P5 State in the UN Security Council – with gross national debt (public, individual and corporate) of 500%.
  3. Indian capability to rebuild – after salvaging whatever of value was left from the wreckage of colonialism, the Partition, the Great Bengal Famine, impoverishment, hunger, disease, social destruction on an unprecedented scale.
Cartoon courtest - timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon courtesy - timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

India’s 5-point compact is in its terminal stage of irrelevance – having outlived its usefulness to India. Time to junk it – and all those who propose its continuation.

Be as it may, the turning point is still some distance away. It is early days to start work on a road-map for a smooth transition from the democratic Republican State to an India based on भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

 

2ndlook at British Empire

  1. Rise of the British Empire – A 2ndlook
  2. Indian Ships – British Navy
  3. British Empire & The Anglo Saxon Bloc
  4. Indian Gunpowder – the Force Behind Empires
  5. How Britain ‘lost’ America. Really!
  6. Indian Railways – The British Legacy
  7. 1945 Britain – Imperial ambitions of a starving nation
  8. Looking back at India’s Partition
  9. Where would India be without the British Raj
  10. American aid came at a price; recalcitrant nations had a 'regime' change'; India became closer to Soviet Russia. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Manchester Guardian, 20 Aug 1957). Click for larger image.

    American aid came at a price; recalcitrant nations had a 'regime' change'; India became closer to Soviet Russia. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Manchester Guardian, 20 Aug 1957). Click for larger image.

  11. David Hume on British character
  12. How 1857 changed world history …
  13. 1857 – Some History … Some Propaganda
  14. The Debt That India Owes Britain
  15. Quick … When Did India Become Free
  16. Asuras and Slavery – The Indic Disconnect

India – The Perfect Storm Ahead

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, India, Indo Pak Relations, Pax Americana, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on October 29, 2010

Till such time that India cannot fight 10-year-war, India will remain a soft state. India – The Perfect Storm Ahead.

Increasing gap. Back to bad ole' days. Image credits & sources embedded

Increasing gap. Back to bad ole’ days. Image credits & sources embedded

Stormy weather

India’s has three strategic problems. All three are known problems. This post looks at how the three could mesh and create a ‘perfect’ storm.

Oil’s not well

One is clearly oil. India imports 70%-80% of its oil consumption. Too much of our exports are used for oil imports. This makes India prone to economic pressures.

We would do well to remember Bombay High (1973). Only after Bombay High could India detonate the atom bomb (1974), throw out IBM and Coke (1977). Bombay High also saw India’s break away from our colonial ‘heritage’ of hunger, poverty, shortages, disease, social ossification.

Where India gets its oil from?

Where India gets its oil from?

After recent discoveries at Krishna-Godavari basin, by Cairn oil, GSPC production, will possibly account for 30% of Indian demand. The 70% imports-dependence mark won’t be broken. But import-dependence is unlikely to come down much.

The answer to reliable oil imports are countries with low domestic-demand, low exploration-profile and low current-production. That means Africa, coastal  and island nations in Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, countries in Central Asia. With populations of 20-50 million these countries, fit the profile. ONGC’s global expansion remains hostage to short-term actions.

For want of a nail

The second major issue remains defense prepared-ness. With aircraft, aircraft-carriers, howitzers – all imported, many from Western sources (including Israel). India will be seen seeking spares parts within 15 days of any conflict. India is not prepared for a ‘peak’ fighting situation beyond 15 days.

Increasing amount of Indian exports going towards oil imports. Image and data sources & credit embedded.

Increasing amount of Indian exports going towards oil imports. Image and data sources & credit embedded.

India’s defence purchases of US$50 billion in the last 10 years gets us toothless, stuffed tigers – which can at best intimidate a small warlord.

It’s the economy, stupid

The third issue is closely related to the first – oil. India’s current account deficit (imports-exports=current acount deficit) is currently gap-filled by FDI+FII+expat inflows. Combine the current account deficit with above two factors, and we find India in a poker-game with a bad hand of cards. Though the less-than-US$40-billion current account deficit is small beer for now, things could change. Especially in case of a prolonged war.

These structural issues became apparent within 10-12 years after Bombay High – by 1985. These three issues have remained unaddressed, by India, now for the last 25 years.

War stories

Energy concerns: An ONGC offshore platform. India is seeking to reduce dependence on imports as production from domestic fields declines. Bloomberg

Energy concerns: An ONGC offshore platform. India is seeking to reduce dependence on imports as production from domestic fields declines. Bloomberg

India’s position in the 1971 Bangladesh War was superior, as our defence and oil supplies, were in the hands of a reliable ally – Soviet Russia. This time we have no such comfort.

In WW2, Hitler could not make the final assault on Moscow, as his armies were split to capture Romanian oil fields, which finally did not happen. Stranded in the Russian winter, without oil, at the gates of Moscow, the oil shortages defeated the Germans. In Africa, Rommel’s tanks were sitting ducks without oil.

Instead of fighting the Americans in the Pacific, the Japanese Imperial Navy was busy escorting oil in sea-lanes across Pacific and Indian oceans.

The Allies, on the other hand, had Middle East oil – in addition to the huge American domestic production.

Dassault Rafale

Dassault Rafale

This time it is war

Any conflict will see an immediate withdrawal of FII, triggering  GOI caps and restrictions, leading to stoppage of FDI/FII inflows. Rupee devaluation of 40%, meaning Rs.70 to US$ is the probable outcome. Export production will be affected due to oil shortages, further widening current account deficit.

Blowing in the wind

Till such time that India cannot fight a war for 10 years, India will remain a ‘soft state’.

Even a simple increase in indigenous oil production may be of very little help. A few missile attacks on Bombay High and Jamnagar will see India in the Stone Age – our meaningless treaties notwithstanding.

This also is a powerful argument against the Ultra-Mega-Power-Project (UMPP) strategy of the GOI. Instead of  the UMPPs, what India needs is small, micro oil-wells, refineries and power plants – combined with indigenous oil production from small, distributed oil wells, refineries and power plants. Thousands of them. A smart indigenization program of defence industry will do the rest.

Sabsa bada rupaiya

This will attract the usual argument of cost.

Having made no efforts in this direction, also means that we will have no cost-estimates, solutions or technology. Having opted and continued with the practice of importing ‘mega’ technologies from the West, a la Middle-East oil potentates, cannot be the answer. Not after 60 years of the Indian Republic. For proof, witness the pride behind Jamnagar complex. Concerted actions on these three parameters will mean some real security.

For the aam aadmi !


Linguistics of the Jewish diaspora

Our knowledge of Jewish life in the second century B.C.E. comes mainly from Flavius Josephus (37/38-95/100 C.E.), the great Jewish-Roman historian who wrote in Greek, the scholarly language of his time. The hellenization of the Jews had been thorough.The King of Judea and the High Priest of Yahweh had Greek names. (page 240).

During the third century B.C.E., the Tobiads were the principal advocates of hellenization among the Jews (Grayzel 1969:49). The Jewish family called the Tobiads (the sons of Tobias) traced their ancestry to Tobias the Ammonite, governor of the Persian province of Ammon (now Jordan), east of Jordan River, during the tenure of  Nehemiah in Judea in the fifth century B.C.E. One of them, Joseph ben Tobias, became very prominent during the second half of that century. (page 219).

By the beginning of the third century B.C.E. the Jews were being hellenized rapidly. They no longer spoke Hebrew or Aramaic, but Greek. Their religious services were conducted in Greek. Their personal Hebrew names were hellenized: Honio became Onias, Ezra became Esdras, Yeshua became Iesous (Jesus), and Joshua became Jason. Some Jews had Greek names only, such as Antigonus, Hyrkanos, Aristobolus, or Philon (Philo).The choice of such names by Jews for their children indicated the degree of their hellenization. (page 219).

During the reign of Ptolemaios Philadelphos (Ptolemy II, 308-246 B.C.E.), the Torah and other Jewish holy scriptures were translated into Greek by a synod of scholars. (page 215).

During the years that he was the High Priest and ethnarch (175-171 B.C.E.) Jason promoted Greek sports at the expense of Temple worship. Jason did not last long in the office of High Priest. He was unseated in 171 B.C.E. by Menelaos, a member of the noble Jewish Tobiads and a more extreme Hellenizer than Jason himself.(page 224-225).

By the first century, Greek had become the language of the Jews in the”diaspora”. The Jews of the Hellenic world spoke Greek the way present-day American Jews speak English. During the Greco-Roman and the Byzantine periods, from the late fourth century B.C.E., to the early seventh century C.E. most Jews were thoroughly Hellenized.(page 454).

By the third century B.C.E the Jews of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt had become thoroughly hellenized. They worshipped Zeus, Hera, and the rest of the Greek pantheon. There were images of Greek sun god Helios, the wine god Dionysos, and the demigod Heracles on Jewish synagogue floor mosaics at Sepphori an other Gallilean cities as late as the sixth century C.E. But the Orthodox Jews violently resisted Hellenism. The conflict between Helenism and Judaism, or rather between hellenized and Orthodox Jews, was to lead to major trouble in the second century BCE, after Palestine was captured from Egypt by the Seleucid Greeks of Syria. (page 215).

Just as in modern America most Jews use English rather than Hebrew in their religious services and rituals, so Greek was used by the Jews of Egypt, including Judea, in their religion (page 215).

Hellenic culture was much more attractive to the young Jews of Judea than the rigid strictures of their own religion. The Greek myths and deities, projections of the deepest infantile conflicts and family relations, etched into the unconscious mind of every person, deeply appealed to the people, just as the Canaanites myths had to their ancestors. The Tobiads led the wave of hellenization among the Jews. (page 220)

Jews always spoke the language of the land which was their home. When expulsions and persecutions eventually brought about a wider separation between the Jews and the non-Jews, the result was a growing dissimilarity between the intimate languages spoken by each group.(Grayzel quoted on page 458).

in the early fourth century, the Jews were divided into three main groupings. Those living in the Western Roman Empire of Italy, which comprised much of Western Europe, spoke mainly Latin, the lingua franca of the West, and the native European languages of the ethnic groups amongst whom they lived. The Jews of the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium, with its capital at Constantinople spoke mainly Greek, the language of the East. The Jews living in Sassanian Neo-Persian empire east of the Euphrates spoke mainly Aramaic. Hebrew continued to be spoken by Jewish scholars and by the people in their prayers. (page 337).

During the seventh and eighth centuries the lands inhabited by Jew in the Middle East and North Africa were conquered by the Muslim Arabs. Arabic became the language of the these Jews. (page 454).

Text extracts from A psychoanalytic history of the Jews By Avner Falk.

Judaism – an existential challenge

Jews - the eternal victims

Jews - the eternal victims

The Jewish population, followers of one of the oldest religions in the world, across countries and in Israel, today faces an existential challenge. With 0.25% of world population, i.e. less than 1.5 crore Jews left, in a world of more than 600 crore people, they have made enemies of their neighbours around their country.

The Jewish state, dependent on US largesse, hangs by a thin thread. Without Hitler, the world population of Jews would possibly have been not much better. Maybe 2.5 crores instead of 1.5 crores (at the risk of sounding insensitive). Maybe 0.5% of world population, instead of 0.25%. Also, must be remembered that Jewish studies in the modern context are affected by the ‘Jews as the eternal victims’ syndrome.

Genetic analysis of the Jewish populations

So, what is the reason for this fragile position of the Jewish population? One recent study states that

Admixture analysis based on binary and Y-STR haplotypes indicates a high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%) and Sephardic Jewish (19.8%) sources. Despite alternative possible sources for lineages ascribed a Sephardic Jewish origin, these proportions attest to a high level of religious conversion (whether voluntary or enforced), driven by historical episodes of social and religious intolerance, that ultimately led to the integration of descendants.

(from The Genetic Legacy of Religious Diversity and Intolerance: Paternal Lineages of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula by Susan M. Adams, et al; Copyright 2008 The American Society of Human Genetics, The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 83, Issue 6, 725-736, 04 December 2008).

Another study concludes that the Jewish population shares a high level of common paternal similarities.

Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that Diaspora Jews from Europe, Northwest Africa, and the Near East resemble each other more closely than they resemble their non-Jewish neighbors. The only exception was the Ethiopian Jews, who were affiliated more closely with non-Jewish Ethiopians and other North Africans.

Second, despite their high degree of geographic dispersion, Jewish populations from Europe, North Africa, and the Near East were less diverged genetically from each other than any other group of populations in this study. At the most basic level, the genetic distances observed among Jewish and non-Jewish populations can be interpreted as reflecting common ancestry, genetic drift, and gene flow. The latter two processes will tend to increase genetic distances among Jewish populations, whereas admixture will also have the effect of decreasing genetic distances between Jewish and non-Jewish populations.

Our results suggest that common ancestry is the major determinant of the genetic distances observed among Jewish communities, with admixture playing a secondary role. (from Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes By M. F. Hammer, et al )

Of course, it begs the question, was the Jewish population ever a significant part of global population? One writer who has addressed this question is James Carroll, in his book, Constantine’s sword. He estimates,

Jews accounted for 10 percent of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million. (He goes onto recount that the) potential demographic crisis facing the Jewish people is defined by the loss of the murdered millions, not only in the twentieth century, but in all others. (from Constantine’s sword By James Carroll, page 26-27, texts in brackets, mine).

Population growth and changes (of not just the Jews) are subject to interplay of complex demographic factors – like assimilation, disease, migration, reproduction rates and proselytization. Since these factors affect all human populations, further analysis of these factors may just reinforce current red herring theories.

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

Jews – the eternal victims?

Of course, Jews have not been the only population group in the world who have had to face the problems of epidemics, migration, assimilation, and conversion. What could have been a significant reason for the decline in the Jewish population over the centuries?

A 2ndlook at history points out (extracts above) that the Jewish populations gave up their language and culture ab initio. Within a few centuries of its foundation, they were giving up on their culture.

Interestingly, and apparently, language plays an important and crucial role in the expansion and growth of populations – as the Jewish case seems to suggest.

Those who don’t learn from history …

The Jewish history has invaluable lessons for Indians. For one, all those who think that English is God’s special gift to India (and mankind), should look at the eclipse of the Greek language. I am yet to discover the logic which shows that English will fare better than Greek, Spanish, Persian or Urdu.

Reducing the role of the Indian State

The massive subsidy given by the Indian state towards English language education needs to be phased out. Indian languages (all of them) should start getting back on their feet. The people of India, each individual will choose their language. No bureaucrat, politician, ‘intellectual’ will decide that. Finito. Completo. Terminato. Endlich. Eindig. ändlig.

The Indian language basket also calls for diversification. India needs to learn more foreign languages. The great ‘software success story’ is actually two countries – US and UK who give between 70%-80% of Indian software business? This is coolie labour! We are missing out on the massive Japanese, French and the Spanish markets because we have not invested in those foreign languages. And we have missed out on computing in Indian languages, because we have not invested there either.

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

How 1857 changed world history …

A war of a different kind

During the 1857 War against the colonial rule of Britain in India, unable to gain military advantage, British armed forces started using Indian populations as human shield. For each military success of the Indian armies, the British armies exacted retribution on the local non-combatant populations.

This reign of terror and brutality on home populations disarmed Indian armies and ended the war. A impressive work on this period is by Amaresh Misra – a film critic and journalist, who was moved sufficiently to research for a few years, because, “Since 1957, no Indian has written a comprehensive account of the Revolt. Indian historians have done a limited work”. Another step in this direction is Parag Tope’s forth coming book, Operation Red Lotus, on the life and wars of Tatiya Tope.

And after subduing the Indian population with this brutal campaign, Britain started a more insidious war – a propaganda war. History started getting twisted, perverted, mutilated – and over the next 100 years, Indian and world history was changed beyond recognition.

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

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

Let the games begin

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

The death of Semiramis

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

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

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

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

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

Semiramis established an empire that lasted, practically till WW1. Some 300 years, after the reign of Semiramis, the Assyrian Empire passed into Persian hands. From the Persians, into Alexander’s lap.

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

The reason.

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

Edgar Degas. Semiramis Building Babylon. 1861

The Alexander mythos

Alexander’s raid of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, finally turned out to be a overthrow of the Achaemenid dynasty, usurpers of the Assyrian Empire. Unable to make headway into India, as the Indian Brahmins had helped and influenced Indian princes to organize and support the Indian war against Alexander. Greek sources cite, after this realization, at ‘The City of Brahmans’, Alexander massacred an estimated 8000-10,000 of these non-combatant Brahmans.

Alexander’s massacres in India, a colonial historian informs us (without naming a source), earned him an “epithet … assigned (to) him by the Brahmins of India, The Mighty Murderer.” This Indian Brahmanic characterization of Alexander, commonly taught to English schoolchildren and present in English college texts, as The Mighty Murderer, curiously disappeared from Western-English texts soon after 1860 – and instead now “a positive rose-tinted aura surrounds Alexander” … !

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

Max Mueller – Son of Hegel

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

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

Hindostan is an Italy of Asiatic dimensions, the Himalayas for the Alps, the Plains of Bengal for the Plains of Lombardy, the Deccan for the Apennines, and the Isle of Ceylon for the Island of Sicily. The same rich variety in the products of the soil, and the same dismemberment in the political configuration. Just as Italy has, from time to time, been compressed by the conqueror’s sword into different national masses, so do we find Hindostan, when not under the pressure of the Mohammedan, or the Mogul[104], or the Briton, dissolved into as many independent and conflicting States as it numbered towns, or even villages. Yet, in a social point of view, Hindostan is not the Italy, but the Ireland of the East. And this strange combination of Italy and of Ireland, of a world of voluptuousness and of a world of woes, is anticipated in the ancient traditions of the religion of Hindostan. That religion is at once a religion of sensualist exuberance, and a religion of self-torturing asceticism; a religion of the Lingam and of the juggernaut; the religion of the Monk, and of the Bayadere.[105]

Aiding Karl Marx-Max Mueller, English poets were press ganged into this propaganda war. Matthew Arnold wrote how, India, a ‘nation of philosophers, from

“The East bowed low before the blast
In patient, deep disdain,
She let the legions thunder past,
And plunged in thought again.”

Matthew Arnold’s influence in Indian education can be gauged by the fact that Indian-English language poetry was for long called derisively as Matthew Arnold in a Saree”. Just before 1857 War, the works of another ‘influential’ poet, John Keats, became popular. In his hubristic haze, Keats wrote how,

The kings of Ind their jewel-sceptres vail,
And from their treasures scatter pearled hail;
Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans,
And all his priesthood moans,
Before young Bacchus’ eye-wink turning pale.

Much of modern history’s debates and questions were born during this time – verily created to wage a propaganda war against India – and the world. India’s cultural stature in the pantheon of world’s societies was reduced to a minimal role – and the Greek Miracle was born.

In the dying days of the Raj

This propaganda war continued well for another 100 years. In the middle of WW2, Britain pulled out a general from the Italian theatre of war. Brigadier General Mortimer Wheeler, the general in question, was sent to India – to head colonial India’s archaeological operations.

One evening in early August 1943, Brigadier-General Mortimer Wheeler was resting in his tent after a long day of poring over maps, drawing up plans for invasion of Sicily. Mortimer Wheeler was invited to become the director general of archaeology by the India Office of the British government in its last years of rule in South Asia … Summoning a general from the battlefields of Europe was an extraordinary measure, an admission both of the desperate condition of Indian archaeology and an acknowledgment of its vital importance. (from The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture … – Google Books).

Amazing!

Why would the glorious British Empire, on which the sun never set, struggling for its very existence, in the middle of WW2, suddenly pull a general back from the battlefield? Remember, the deceptive Operation Mincement had just been completed. The Allies for readying their armies for their assault on Hitler in Europe. The outcome of the war was far from certain.

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

Rule Britannia
Rule Britannia

Right choice … right time

Considering what theories came from Mortimer Wheeler’s rather fertile ‘imagination’ and his rigourous archaeological process, in hindsight, from a Western perspective, this was sound decision. There may be the facile answer that the British were, after all ‘searching for history and truth’.

And it led Mortimer Wheeler to remark,

“They demonstrate with astonishing clarity the extent to which the brief transit of Alexander did in fact Hellenize almost instantly vast tracts of Asia populated previously by nomads or semi-nomads and villagers”

It is this one incident which possibly contains answers to many unanswered questions like: –

  1. The amount of energy expended by the West in defending the Aryan Invasion /Migration Theory,
  2. The lack of access to Indian scholars of the archaeological sites in Pakistan
  3. The many myths in Indian history
  4. The clues to the partition of India
  5. The dating problems

et al.

Just why did the world’s foremost imperial power, struggling for its very existence, suddenly pull a general from the battle field, in the middle of WW2 – and put him onto the job of digging dirt.

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

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