Distorted History - Causes, Consequences and Remedies

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 01:28

rudradev wrote:
Rahul M wrote:
maratha excess in bengal.

http://mr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bargi

the impact of bhaskar pandit on the psyche is shown by the fact that this lullaby is still widespread and in use. (I too listened to it in my childhood).


The word "excess" is apparently very easy to trot out, so once again I must ask, "excess" in comparison to what?

To the tender mercies of the Khilji-descended Afghans, who ruled Bengal all the way from the demise of the Sena empire to the arrival of the British?

Are the inevitable consequences of a large invading army living off Bengali land more "excessive" than the trauma of Bengal famines engineered by the British? Were the Maratha rampages more "excessive" than those of Mughal, Khilji and other armies which came before and after? And what norm, exactly, are any of these being described as "excessive" relative to?


Dear Rudradev,
the word Excess in the english language AFAIK is not nescessarily meant to be used for a comparative purpose .

The army(or parts thereof) of Bhaskar Pandit did commit excesses in bengal that have been well documented and widely accepted.

How is the fact that foreign invaders whether before or after this particular maratha army were more brutal relevant to the fact that excesses were commited by this army ??

I'm really surprised at this reaction of yours.

Certainly, as a nation we don't expect that each and everyone of our rulers were benevolent just based on the fact that they were Indian/Hindu/Maratha/XYZ ??

That, I suppose is called racism and we would do better to leave it to our birathers to the west.

And kindly also go through my following posts on page 6.

regards.
Last edited by Rahul M on 16 Apr 2008 04:11, edited 1 time in total.

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 16 Apr 2008 01:56

deleted
Last edited by Rudradev on 16 Apr 2008 02:13, edited 1 time in total.

Keshav
BRFite
Posts: 633
Joined: 20 Sep 2007 08:53
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby Keshav » 16 Apr 2008 01:57

Rahul M wrote:Certainly, as a nation we don't expect that each and everyone of our rulers were benevolent just based on the fact that they were Indian/Hindu/Maratha/XYZ ??


Do not confuse race with ethnicity and religion.

To say that warfare differs from people to people is not racism, but based on the idea that people are different from culture to culture. I would say that some have a vested interest in presenting Hindus as morally superior because they are Hindu. But do not confuse this with racism. Racism is primarily a Western phenomena; India seems to have its own set of problems.

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 16 Apr 2008 02:11

American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
ex·cess Audio Help (ĭk-sěs', ěk'sěs') Pronunciation Key
n.

1. The state of exceeding what is normal or sufficient: rains that filled the reservoirs to excess.
2. An amount or quantity beyond what is normal or sufficient; a surplus.
3. The amount or degree by which one quantity exceeds another: Profit is the excess of sales over costs.
4. Intemperance; overindulgence: drank to excess.
5. A behavior or an action that exceeds proper or lawful bounds: tried to avoid engaging in emotional excesses such as hysteria and fits of temper.


adj. Being more than is usual, required, or permitted: skimming off the excess fat. See Synonyms at superfluous.

tr.v. ex·cessed, ex·cess·ing, ex·cess·es
To eliminate the job or position of.


Apart from the transitive verb ("to excess" meaning "to lay off/fire"), every single definition of the word "excess" is comparative in nature.

I'm sure you didn't mean that the Marathas were "laying off" people in Bengal, so the question stands.

Invading armies of that era, seized agricultural produce, wealth, provisions etc. from the land in the local theatre to support their operations. They also destroyed what they did not take, in order to deny it to their enemies. This was par for the course, for every army-- whether their eventual intention was to rule with "benevolence" or otherwise. So whom or what is Maratha behavior in Bengal being described as "excess" relative to?

Having to defend your argument with cheap shots of "racism" and comparisons to Pakistan doesn't do a whole lot for your credibility.

bala
BRFite
Posts: 639
Joined: 02 Sep 1999 11:31
Location: Office Lounge

Postby bala » 16 Apr 2008 02:45

Rediscovery of India

[quote]Embarking on an exhilarating journey across the Indian subcontinent to unravel its sights, sounds and achievements is Discovery Channel’s new six-part series beginning this Wednesday.

“The Story of Indiaâ€

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 03:03

keshav :

Rahul M wrote:
Certainly, as a nation we don't expect that each and everyone of our rulers were benevolent just based on the fact that they were Indian/Hindu/Maratha/XYZ ??


Do not confuse race with ethnicity and religion.

To say that warfare differs from people to people is not racism, but based on the idea that people are different from culture to culture. I would say that some have a vested interest in presenting Hindus as morally superior because they are Hindu. But do not confuse this with racism. Racism is primarily a Western phenomena; India seems to have its own set of problems.


keshav, I certainly agree that different cultures do view the concept of waging war and acknowledging that difference that fact does not amount to racism.

however, nurturing a disbelief that an individual belonging to a better/superior culture (in terms of humanism) can do no wrong or that any of his/her actions is nescessarily less harsher than that of an inferior culture w/o regard for the facts does amount to some form of racism(or give it whatever name you choose). at the very least it shows a very warped sense of logic.

plz don't misunderstand me.

Venkarl
BRFite
Posts: 932
Joined: 27 Mar 2008 02:50
Location: India
Contact:

Postby Venkarl » 16 Apr 2008 03:13

[quote="bala"]Rediscovery of India

[quote]Embarking on an exhilarating journey across the Indian subcontinent to unravel its sights, sounds and achievements is Discovery Channel’s new six-part series beginning this Wednesday.

“The Story of Indiaâ€

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 53390
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 16 Apr 2008 03:16

And did you have to quote the entire post for asking that?
Please think of those with low bandwidth.

Keshav
BRFite
Posts: 633
Joined: 20 Sep 2007 08:53
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby Keshav » 16 Apr 2008 03:28

Does India have its own "Discovery Channel" with a different set of shows?

I browsed the American "Discovery Channel" site and I saw nothing about that.

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 16 Apr 2008 03:28

Airavat wrote:
Rudradev wrote:Why did the Sikh or Rajput forces have to be physically near Delhi?


How else were they supposed to sack it?

Ironically it were the Marathas who had sacked Delhi and the surrounding villages several times before Panipat. This is why the villagers from Panipat to the borders of Bharatpur gave no refuge or aid to the Marathas escaping from the rout in 1761.



Maybe I was not clear. I'm not saying the Sikhs or Rajputs sacked Delhi before Panipat... they did not. The Marathas, who claimed Delhi as a protectorate, did not allow it. The Maratha refusal to allow it, was construed by the Sikhs (all of them except Maharaj Ala Singh) as Maratha high-handedness, and cited as a reason not to support the Marathas against Ahmed Shah Abdali.

The Bhau's army did in fact seize provisions from Delhi and the surrounding villages to fuel their campaign, considering these territories to be their own fief. You are right in saying that this alienated the locals, who did not shelter the fleeing Maratha soldiers and camp followers after the rout. In fact, the Nawab of Avadh (at the instance of his Hindu courtiers and administration officials) was more welcoming of the fleeing Maratha civilians than the people of Delhi.



Rudradev wrote:Sadashivrao Bhau did indeed negotiate with the Nawab of Avadh to support the ascension of Nanasaheb Peshwa's heir Vishwas Rao to the throne in Delhi.


:?:


Vishwas Rao was the son of Nanasaheb Peshwa, and the nephew of Sadashivrao Bhau.

As I understand it, Sadashivrao Bhau thought to place Vishwas Rao on the throne of Delhi, in effect placing the Maratha heir on the Mughal throne. Bhau negotiated with the Nawab of Avadh (offering him the Wazir-ship) because the Nawab's acquiescence would have helped to legitimize the ascension of Vishwas Rao to the Mughal throne. However, this was at the cost of Suraj Mal's proxy, the Imad-ul-Mulk, and Suraj Mal fell out with Sadashivrao Bhau over the issue.

Rudradev wrote:At the very least, it appears that Jodhpur and Amber were contributing to the severance of Maratha supply lines, which enabled Durrani to besiege the Marathas and force them to fight at a time and place of his choosing. I may be wrong.


Maratha supply lines were nowhere close to these kingdoms! The Bhau advanced north from Delhi, in the hope of severing the Abdali's supply lines running through the Punjab. He captured Kunjpura and wiped out the Afghans holding this base.....when his food supply ran out the Bhau moved further north towards Patiala. At this time the Abdali army, from their base in Ruhelkhand across the Yamuna, crossed that river and closed the path between Panipat and Delhi.


I will defer to you on the details of what Jodhpur and Amber actually contributed to Abdali's war effort; suffice it to say, that they were allied with Abdali rather than the Marathas.


Rudradev wrote:After Panipat, Muslim power in the north only persisted in Avadh and Bengal.....

It was only in peninsular India that Muslim rulers Haider Ali of Mysore and Asaf Jah of Hyderabad might have received some respite from relative Maratha weakness following Panipat-III...


Muslim power declined worldwide in the 18th century because of the decline in the effectiveness of traditional cavalry formations.

And it survived in Hyderabad and Mysore because European officers transformed the infantry and artillery formations of these Muslim rulers enabling them to take on the British East India Company.

The Marathas who had begun as light cavalry also adopted infantry formations (though manned by non-Marathas) under European command.


It is certainly true that traditional cavalry formations declined in effectiveness in the 18th century. However, I'm not sure I agree that Muslim decline was entirely related to their reliance on traditional cavalry formations. Abdali at Panipat appears to have surpassed the Marathas in mil-tech innovations; his use of swivel-gun light artillery mounted on camels, and of infantry armed with rifles, is credited with ensuring his victory.

As for European artillery officers... these had been operating in the armies of many Indian kingdoms since at least the mid-seventeenth century. Manucci, an Italian artillery officer in the service of Aurangzeb, is a major source of information about Jai Singh's Deccan campaigns against Shivaji.

So I do not think Mysore and Hyderabad were unique in regard to having access to European officers. Yes, the French did assist Tipu's mil-tech, and faced off against the British-supported Nasir Jung and Mohammed Ali in the Second Carnatic War. However, Tipu's own artillerymen were not inferior in innovating new military technologies. In fact it was one of their innovations that the British later came to adopt as the "Congreve rocket".
Rudradev wrote:Only after massively developing their political and military muscle on the spoils of victory over these Muslim states, did the British feel empowered enough to take on the Sikhs and the Marathas in the following century.


Very exaggerated statement...but not your fault since you were provoked into this by the generalized remarks on "Maratha plundering" by other members.

...
This is why the Rajput states lost their independence to Mahadji Scindia and later saw their lands being ravaged by the Pindari and Ruhela brigands of Holkar and Scindia. They had no modern infantry to deter these brigands, and this why they sought British protection.

I don't think it's an exaggeration.

Consider this. Around 1740 the British EIC were the owners of a few small coastal possessions where they had their factories. Their strength mainly maritime in nature, and they had little hard power to influence political events in the hinterland. In effect they were a power of more or less the same order of magnitude as the French or Portuguese.

How did they become such a power in the subcontinent that Rajput states began asking for their protection against the Marathas?

There were essentially four stages. First, the Carnatic wars, 1744-63, which formed the prototype for future British techniques of expanding their influence by interfering with Indian kingdoms' succession disputes. The chief losers in the Carnatic wars were the French, but from this time onwards the Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawab of Carnatic (both Muslim rulers) came under the inexorable domination of the British in Madras.

Then came Plassey and Buxar which made the British de-facto masters of Bengal, another Muslim province which also happened to be very wealthy.

The treaty of 1765 reduced the Nawab of Avadh to a figurehead with a British resident calling the shots in his state. Avadh's coffers financed many of the British EIC's campaigns from then on.

Of all the prominent Muslim rulers remaining in India after Panipat, only the Mysoreans under Tipu offered sustained opposition to the British, holding out till the Fourth Mysore War ended with the siege of Srirangapatnam in 1799.

Had the British not first dominated these Muslim states, winning great prestige and rich spoils which financed their growth and expansion, it is hard to imagine how they could have amassed enough strength to take on the Sikhs and Marathas.

Your information about the Ruhelas and Purbias forming an important part of Maratha and British forces, and the role they played in the 1857 revolt, is interesting. I had not known about this.[/quote]

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 03:33

Rudradev :
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
ex·cess Audio Help (ĭk-sěs', ěk'sěs') Pronunciation Key
n.

1. The state of exceeding what is normal or sufficient: rains that filled the reservoirs to excess.
2. An amount or quantity beyond what is normal or sufficient; a surplus.
3. The amount or degree by which one quantity exceeds another: Profit is the excess of sales over costs.
4. Intemperance; overindulgence: drank to excess.
5. A behavior or an action that exceeds proper or lawful bounds: tried to avoid engaging in emotional excesses such as hysteria and fits of temper.


adj. Being more than is usual, required, or permitted: skimming off the excess fat. See Synonyms at superfluous.

tr.v. ex·cessed, ex·cess·ing, ex·cess·es
To eliminate the job or position of.


Apart from the transitive verb ("to excess" meaning "to lay off/fire"), every single definition of the word "excess" is comparative in nature.


Rudradev, please do not create strawmen to knock down . That "excess" means "more than nescessary/normal" in some form or the other was never questioned by me.

Your comment was :
The word "excess" is apparently very easy to trot out, so once again I must ask, "excess" in comparison to what?


which was followed by :
To the tender mercies of the Khilji-descended Afghans, who ruled Bengal all the way from the demise of the Sena empire to the arrival of the British?

Are the inevitable consequences of a large invading army living off Bengali land more "excessive" than the trauma of Bengal famines engineered by the British? Were the Maratha rampages more "excessive" than those of Mughal, Khilji and other armies which came before and after? And what norm, exactly, are any of these being described as "excessive" relative to?


Therefore you didn't leave any question to what you consider as normal plunders
and ravages to be inflicted upon a Indian civilian populace, did you ??

And this is the very point I questioned you about, viz
the word Excess in the english language AFAIK is not nescessarily meant to be used for a comparative purpose .


in the sense that the word excess is not used to compare two similar events. It is rather an adjective used to describe the extremism in an incident vis-a-vis accepted views of normalcy.
I had thought that you made the error of comparing 2 incidents using the word "excess".

If, however you didn't make that error and do consider the attacks on civilian populace by the foreign invaders as constituting some sort of normal event, then I must say that I hold the Marathas to a much higher level of standard than the invaders you named could ever aspire to.

And if the records of previous/later tyrants are the benchmarks surely you have nothing to say against the CPI(M) on the nandigram issue ??


Invading armies of that era, seized agricultural produce, wealth, provisions etc. from the land in the local theatre to support their operations. They also destroyed what they did not take, in order to deny it to their enemies. This was par for the course, for every army-- whether their eventual intention was to rule with "benevolence" or otherwise. So whom or what is Maratha behavior in Bengal being described as "excess" relative to?


Oh, sure and certainly the following also fall into this category :
The Marathas committed unspeakable atrocities on the helpless population of this district. An eye-witness, Vaneshwar Vidhyalankar, the court pandit of the Maharaja of Barddhaman wrote - ' Shahu Rajah's troops are niggard of pity, slayers of pregnant women and infants, of Brahmins and the poor, fierce in spirit, expert in robbing the property of every one and committing every kind of sinful act. ...'. In 1742, while Bhaskar Pandit was celebrating Durga Puja at Katwa, Nawab Alibardi Khan fell upon him suddenly, after crossing theGanga at Uddharanpur, a mile north of Katwa and drove him out of Bengal.




For anyone who wants to know my view towards this phenomenon.

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 16 Apr 2008 03:47

In the sense that the word excess is not used to compare two similar events. It is rather an adjective used to describe the extremism in an incident vis-a-vis accepted views of normalcy.
I had thought that you made the error of comparing 2 incidents using the word "excess".


Now we're getting somewhere. What are these "accepted views of normalcy" in your view?


If, however you didn't make that error and do consider the attacks on civilian populace by the foreign invaders as constituting some sort of normal event, then I must say that I hold the Marathas to a much higher level of standard than the invaders you named could ever aspire to.


Then you are living in la-la land. "Attacks on civilian populations?"

Like any army of their time, the Marathas sent out foraging parties, and if their attempts to forage were resisted (by civilians), then of course the Marathas responded by killing those civilians.

Are you going to demand that invading armies of the 18th Century should have followed the Geneva Convention?

And if the records of previous/later tyrants are the benchmarks surely you have nothing to say against the CPI(M) on the nandigram issue ??


LOL so who's setting up strawmen now? MY moral authority to comment on the Nandigram issue is somehow jeopardized because YOU hold the Marathas to some unrealistic standard of behavior, compared to any invading army of their time?

:roll:


The Marathas committed unspeakable atrocities on the helpless population of this district. An eye-witness, Vaneshwar Vidhyalankar, the court pandit of the Maharaja of Barddhaman wrote - ' Shahu Rajah's troops are niggard of pity, slayers of pregnant women and infants, of Brahmins and the poor, fierce in spirit, expert in robbing the property of every one and committing every kind of sinful act. ...'. In 1742, while Bhaskar Pandit was celebrating Durga Puja at Katwa, Nawab Alibardi Khan fell upon him suddenly, after crossing theGanga at Uddharanpur, a mile north of Katwa and drove him out of Bengal.


Let's just leave that up there so that everyone can have a dispassionate look at this recounting of an "eyewitness" report.

And judge for themselves whether it does or does not suggest the rhetoric of apologism that we've grown used to in, say, "Jung" reports on the Indian Army's behavior in Kashmir.

No further comment.

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 16 Apr 2008 04:09

ravi_ku wrote:
This actually suggests that the Marathas *did* have a broader vision than regional imperialism, incorporating the importance of national emblems. Reclaiming Indraprastha, the ancient seat of kings and the capital of Muslim empires since the eleventh century, for Hindavi Swaraj would have had colossal significance throughout the nation. It would also have made a profound psychological impact on the remaining Muslim powers in the subcontinent. It was chiefly the Kafir threat to Delhi in the first place, that so agitated Shah Waliullah.

However, as you say, Suraj Mal wanted his own candidate to become Wazir; this was opposed by the Marathas, who after all had fealty from Delhi; and Suraj Mal walked out from the alliance.


This is where I think we are still in thinking on the lines of the "historians". Why was delhi more important than say awadh or even gwalior or agra? The "emperor" of delhi was a protectorate of marathas.
Let us not make the mistake of reading history with todays lenses.
Of course the marathas had a broader vision of putting back the hindus at the top seat rather than regional imperialism, but I think we are making the mistake of seeing all the marathas as the same. What was the interplay between peshwa, gwalior and other maratha sartraps?


Ravi_ku, you misunderstand my point. It is not about thinking on the lines of "historians".

Delhi was more important as a symbol of national power (rather than simply regional supremacy) for many reasons.

It was identified with the ancient Indraprastha. It was the site of Chandragupta Vikramaditya's iron pillar. From the time of Alauddin Khilji to the time of Aurangzeb, it was the seat of *the* dominant Muslim empire in the subcontinent, and the only center of power to which the entire subcontinent had ever been subjugated. There is no denying that mastery over Delhi had a symbolic resonance far more compelling than Gwalior, Agra or any other place.

This is why I believe that the Marathas' reclaiming of Delhi as a protectorate was significant.

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 04:09

Now we're getting somewhere. What are these "accepted views of normalcy" in your view?


Certainly not set by the foreign invaders and the tyrants which you are so intent on doing.

In India, attacks and carnage of unarmed civilian populace was virtually unknown before the advent of the muslim invaders. This fact is well known to be a part of the "dharma" that a warrior was supposed to follow and even older BRF threads carried enough references on that matter.
The archived historical battles thread pt-1 IIRC may prove valuable.

Then you are living in la-la land. "Attacks on civilian populations?" Are you going to demand that invading armies of the 18th Century should have followed the Geneva Convention?


So, according to you civilization and humane behaviour was invented in the 18th century ??

The fact remains that Indian armies fighting among themselves almost always behaved benignly towards the civilians. There are almost no recorded history of any Indian King's army looting a city/kingdom after annexing it.
Obviously, the same can't be said about the foreign armies whom you are so intent on equating with their Indian counterparts.


The Marathas committed unspeakable atrocities on the helpless population of this district. An eye-witness, Vaneshwar Vidhyalankar, the court pandit of the Maharaja of Barddhaman wrote - ' Shahu Rajah's troops are niggard of pity, slayers of pregnant women and infants, of Brahmins and the poor, fierce in spirit, expert in robbing the property of every one and committing every kind of sinful act. ...'. In 1742, while Bhaskar Pandit was celebrating Durga Puja at Katwa, Nawab Alibardi Khan fell upon him suddenly, after crossing theGanga at Uddharanpur, a mile north of Katwa and drove him out of Bengal.



Let's just leave that up there so that everyone can have a dispassionate look at this recounting of an "eyewitness" report.

And judge for themselves whether it does or does not suggest the rhetoric of apologism that we've grown used to in, say, "Jung" reports on the Indian Army's behavior in Kashmir.

No further comment.


And you put in a sneering, contemptous comment about an eye-witness report from those times just because it does not conform with your viewpoint.

Speaks volumes about your attitude !!

regards.

Rye
BRFite
Posts: 1183
Joined: 05 Aug 2001 11:31

Postby Rye » 16 Apr 2008 04:19

Rahul M wrote:
So, according to you civilization and humane behaviour was invented in the 18th century ??


The Geneva convention is not the hallmark of civilization and humane behaviour -- it is an internationally accepted norm on how prisoners of war must be treated. The Geneva convention is just a guideline that is usually ignored, e.g. pakistan in Kargil.

added later: deleted stuff since it was not relevant to the discussion.
Last edited by Rye on 16 Apr 2008 04:58, edited 1 time in total.

Keshav
BRFite
Posts: 633
Joined: 20 Sep 2007 08:53
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby Keshav » 16 Apr 2008 04:29

Rye wrote:So, perhaps you can now use a case like Mahmud of Ghori or Ghazni and their "accepted norm" of treating their prisoners of war with the case of the marathas, and then precisely point out exactly what the Marathas did that was MORE brutal than, and went a step further than Mahmud of Ghazni -- thereby proving that the usage of the word "excessive" was warranted. Only then can your POV be considered valid -- your rebuttals so far have been ad hominems.


Let me step in here because I think Rye is misunderstanding Rahul M.

Rahul M considers those Muslims to be barbarians in the way they waged war, treated prisoners, non-combatants, other cultures, etc. Rahul holds the Marathas to higher standards. Let me try and explain why.

Culture is what differentiates one people from another. Time does not. Time will change, but culture may not. Just because it is the Middle Ages (thus, after the Muslim invasions) why should Hindu values change from the ancient to the Middle Ages?

Rahul holds Hindu standards of war which included not killing the king, not hurting non-combatants, not destroying crops, fair treatment of women, no rape, etc. to be higher than other standards of warfare.

Relative to this, he considers the quoted Marathas' actions in Bengal as excesses. It is relative to Hindu norms of warfare, not Muslim or "Middle Age" ones.

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 04:49

Thanks, keshav.

To further justify why I consider this cultural POV important let me mention the fact that there
is not a single recorded instance of rape by the sepoys in the total span of the 1857 uprising, inspite of numerous wartime rumours of the same.
The sepoys were mostly illiterate, low grade soldiers with none above what amounts to the rank of major. (Dalrymple)

As compared to this exemplary behaviour, the civilized and disciplined brtish army put in a show of genocide , lootage and mass rape that would put the combined efforts of serbia,tutsi and pakis to shame. (Dalrymple)
(Last dozen words are my comments) :wink:

Even I was surprised by this little piece of info. I found it difficult to believe that a rebellious army could act in such a manner !! Such ingrained has been my beliefs in how armies normally behave !!
And when Dalrymple's thorough and exhaustive referencing did convince me, I felt an incredible surge of pride about the culture I was born in !!


Rye :
So, perhaps you can now use a case like Mahmud of Ghori or Ghazni and their "accepted norm" of treating their prisoners of war with the case of the marathas, and then precisely point out exactly what the Marathas did that was MORE brutal than, and went a step further than Mahmud of Ghazni -- thereby proving that the usage of the word "excessive" was warranted. Only then can your POV be considered valid -- your rebuttals so far have been ad hominems.


Rye, unfortunately the above shows that you have not read even a word of what I have written. :cry:
Last edited by Rahul M on 16 Apr 2008 04:53, edited 1 time in total.

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 16 Apr 2008 06:29

So you are, in fact, living in la-la land.

Conduct of a *battle* is one thing. Being chivalrous to the vanquished, not harming civilians in a defeated territory and so on, are definitely part of a Kshatriya's dharma.

Conduct of a *campaign* is quite another. You have surely heard the phrase "an army marches on its stomach". Surely no less true before Mir Qasim than after.

In your view, in pre-Islamic times, how did Indian armies invading far off territories fill their stomachs? For example, Ashoka's very much non-slaughtering army at Kalinga? Or any of the armies that followed in the wake of an Ashvamedha horse?

Did they subsist on dharma and fresh air? Did they pack dabbas from home and take them along? Or did they forage from the local fields and farms, like every contemporary army everywhere in the world?

And if the local population ("civilian" or otherwise) attempted to resist an army's attempts to forage, did the armies of pre-Islamic India tender a very Dharmic apology and consent to starve?

Or did they respond in ways that some local "eyewitnesses" might have gone on to describe as

slaying pregnant women and infants, butchering brahmins and the poor, expertly robbing the property of every one and committing every sin known to mankind


Maybe if more of those "eyewitnesses" were quoted on obtuse regionalist websites, we would not be quite so convinced of how squeaky-clean and "Dharmic" war used to be before the invaders came along.

You know, I'm glad you're trotting these arguments out because they're a living, breathing example of the consequences of distorted history.

Namely, a version of history in which Hindu actions are to be judged in "Dharmic" terms and held to "moral" standards while everybody else's barbarism is "only to be expected".

Honestly, Hindus are the only ones in the world who gladly swallow and perpetuate a system of double standards in narrating their OWN history, that actually undermines their OWN interest. Maybe that is somehow "Dharmic" too.

Funnily enough, many of the people who exercise such double-standards are the same ones who will moan:

Oh, Prithviraj Chauhan should never have been so gracious to Mohammed Ghori after defeating him the first ten times... then Ghori would not have had the chance to attack and win the eleventh time.


or whine:

Oh, why did Indira Gandhi return 90,000 Pakistani POWs without settling Kashmir once and for all


etc.

I wonder if these Dharmic moralists have ever paused to consider why Shivaji succeeded where Prithviraj Chauhan had failed. Maybe it had something to do with Shivaji's realizing that he was facing a new kind of enemy, and that new means would be required to fight him.

Keshav
BRFite
Posts: 633
Joined: 20 Sep 2007 08:53
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby Keshav » 16 Apr 2008 07:17

Rudradev wrote:Maybe if more of those "eyewitnesses" were quoted on obtuse regionalist websites, we would not be quite so convinced of how squeaky-clean and "Dharmic" war used to be before the invaders came along.


Rudradev-
This whole argument rests on whether or not you believe that Maratha soldiers acted the way Pandit described it, otherwise there is very little that we can compare.

No one is saying that pre-Islamic Hindu armies were superhuman to subsist on "dharma and air", but its safe to assume that these people did not kill pregnant women and learned people (assuming you believe in this, which is the hinge of the argument).

When Ashoka killed 100,000 he became depressed and went on a transformation that took him to non-violence under Lord Buddha. When Timurlane did the same when he sacked Delhi, he offered it as tribute to Allah.

Your comment about double standards comes to this:
1) Hindus keep the double standards, glorify our people as humanistic and others as barbarians.

2) Hindus keep the double standards, glorify our own people and lift others as well (well, its okay, its just Aurangzeb, etc.)

3) Hindus don't keep the double standards and say everyone is a barbarian.

The first is definitely the best way to approach this and it involves using the double standards to our advantage. What do you think?

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 53390
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 16 Apr 2008 09:57

Folks why does every thread have to become full of noise and empty arguments? I don't see much value being added. Every thread is getting nukkadized while nukkad is becoming more pleasant.

Take this as a warning to exercise caution.

Thanks, ramana

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 16 Apr 2008 10:22

Venkarl wrote:


If possible can anyone record this and upload on rapidshare/yousendit/etc.... this is a humble request

The Story of India : Complete BBC Series
DVD ~ Michael Wood

# Actors: Michael Wood
# Format: PAL
# Language English
# Region: Region 2 ( DVD formats.)
# Number of discs: 2
# Classification: Exempt
# Studio: 2 Entertain Video
# DVD Release Date: 5 Nov 2007


For more than two thousand years, India has been a massive component in world history. But what are the country's origins and how did it come to be what it is today? These are just two of the questions that Michael Wood tries to answer during his quest across the country.

Synopsis
For over two millennia, India has been at the centre of world history. But how did India come to be? What is India? These are the big questions behind this intrepid journey around the contemporary subcontinent. In this landmark series, historian and acclaimed writer Michael Wood embarks on a dazzling and exciting expedition through today's India, looking to the present for clues to her past, and to the past for clues to her future. The journey takes the viewer through majestic landscapes and reveals some of the greatest monuments and artistic treasures on Earth. From Buddhism to Bollywood, from mathematics to outsourcing, Michael Wood discovers India's impact on history - and on us.


Aditya_V
BRF Oldie
Posts: 11230
Joined: 05 Apr 2006 16:25

Postby Aditya_V » 16 Apr 2008 10:28

For guys interested in why our History was distorted Lord Macaulays Address to the British parliment in 1835 will give a clearer idea


LORD MACAULAYS ADDRESS TO THE E3RITISH PARLIAMENT 2 FEBRUARY, 1835
I have travelled across the length and breadth
of India end I have not seen one person who is
a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have
seen in this country, such high moral values,
people of such caliber, that I do not think we
would ever conquer this country unless we break the very backbone of this nation, such is her spiritual and cultural Heritage, and, therefore, I propose th we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteern, their native culture end theywill become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.



P.S - I have a scanned copy of the orginal article but am not able to uploaded the picture in this forum

Saurabh
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 32
Joined: 10 Dec 2002 12:31
Contact:

Postby Saurabh » 16 Apr 2008 11:49

Aditya_V wrote:For guys interested in why our History was distorted Lord Macaulays Address to the British parliment in 1835 will give a clearer idea


LORD MACAULAYS ADDRESS TO THE E3RITISH PARLIAMENT 2 FEBRUARY, 1835
I have travelled across the length and breadth
of India end I have not seen one person who is
a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have
seen in this country, such high moral values,
people of such caliber, that I do not think we
would ever conquer this country unless we break the very backbone of this nation, such is her spiritual and cultural Heritage, and, therefore, I propose th we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteern, their native culture end theywill become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.



P.S - I have a scanned copy of the orginal article but am not able to uploaded the picture in this forum



Here you are Aditya.

The full text of Macaulay's Minute on Education 1835 (2nd Feb 1835).

It was delivered (in written form) to the Supreme council of the East India Company. You will remember from your High School history that the British Monarch and Government only became involved in governing India post 1857.

Now I would be obliged if you could find the text of your above quote in this speech.
In other words the text you quote above has as much credibility as other common internet hoaxes which prey on blind nationalism.

Happy reading........


http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/prit ... _1835.html

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 19:08

So you are, in fact, living in la-la land.

Conduct of a *battle* is one thing. Being chivalrous to the vanquished, not harming civilians in a defeated territory and so on, are definitely part of a Kshatriya's dharma.

Conduct of a *campaign* is quite another. You have surely heard the phrase "an army marches on its stomach". Surely no less true before Mir Qasim than after.

In your view, in pre-Islamic times, how did Indian armies invading far off territories fill their stomachs? For example, Ashoka's very much non-slaughtering army at Kalinga? Or any of the armies that followed in the wake of an Ashvamedha horse?

Did they subsist on dharma and fresh air? Did they pack dabbas from home and take them along? Or did they forage from the local fields and farms, like every contemporary army everywhere in the world?

And if the local population ("civilian" or otherwise) attempted to resist an army's attempts to forage, did the armies of pre-Islamic India tender a very Dharmic apology and consent to starve?


Rudradev, I'm sorry that logical explanations don't interest you.

So you think all Indian armies resorted to pillaging/ in order to fill their stomach and killing non-combatants also forms a nescessary part of it ??

a civilian taking up arms/defending against an invading army automatically becomes a combatant. the source OTOH talks about non-combatants and the problems faced by them.

But of course this will elicit another brilliant response like :

So you are, in fact, living in la-la land.


which seems to be the extent of your 'aha' moment.

/end of response.

Rye
BRFite
Posts: 1183
Joined: 05 Aug 2001 11:31

Postby Rye » 16 Apr 2008 19:15

Rahul M wrote:
I'm sorry that logical explanations don't interest you.


What exactly was your logical explanation? I might have missed it in the previous posts.

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16825
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Postby Rahul M » 16 Apr 2008 19:17

Rye, do know what I was trying to explain ??

Rye
BRFite
Posts: 1183
Joined: 05 Aug 2001 11:31

Postby Rye » 16 Apr 2008 21:11

Rahul M. wrote:
do know what I was trying to explain ??


Err.. that is why I am asking you because I don't grok what your point is.

Sanku
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12526
Joined: 23 Aug 2007 15:57
Location: Naaahhhh

Postby Sanku » 16 Apr 2008 21:59

Rudradev wrote:In your view, in pre-Islamic times, how did Indian armies invading far off territories fill their stomachs? For example, Ashoka's very much non-slaughtering army at Kalinga? Or any of the armies that followed in the wake of an Ashvamedha horse?

Did they subsist on dharma and fresh air? Did they pack dabbas from home and take them along? Or did they forage from the local fields and farms, like every contemporary army everywhere in the world?


Rudradev I am really surprised at your post; specially given your past posts this one is totally out of character:

As to your question why not the following?
1: Purchase of provisions from nearby non hostile populace
2: A supply train from nearby friendly folks

Is this assumption all you made your assessment of how the Indian armies must have fought? And why must Indian armies do what ALL contemprory armies did? I assume they would have had their own process wouldn't they? It was not a "flat" world then was it?
Last edited by Sanku on 16 Apr 2008 22:08, edited 1 time in total.

Rye
BRFite
Posts: 1183
Joined: 05 Aug 2001 11:31

Postby Rye » 16 Apr 2008 22:07

Unbelievable, all this dimwitted nonsense about how people in the past *should have* behaved...all in the face of the brutality of war in general -- this is not some olympic sport where people will be disqualified if they do not play right. The rules were set by local commanders who had a mission and probably did not really care if they had to intimidate people to get rations for the troops, especially in cases where the locals were under the control of a non-ally/adversary. Folks should stay off the idiot juice for a couple of days.

Sanku
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12526
Joined: 23 Aug 2007 15:57
Location: Naaahhhh

Postby Sanku » 16 Apr 2008 22:12

Rye wrote:Unbelievable, all this dimwitted nonsense about how people in the past *should have* behaved...


Indeed especially the brilliance about taking the present behavior of non Indians and confidently saying that every one 5000 years back followed the same SOP also squarely falls in your definition too doesn't it.

funny how cutting logic cuts both ways. :D

Rye
BRFite
Posts: 1183
Joined: 05 Aug 2001 11:31

Postby Rye » 16 Apr 2008 22:28

Sanku wrote:
Indeed especially the brilliance about taking the present behavior of non Indians and confidently saying that every one 5000 years back followed the same SOP also squarely falls in your definition too doesn't it.

funny how cutting logic cuts both ways.


Don't parse/understand your point (since I am not sure who the non Indians you are referring to), but what I am saying is this:

Rahul M. wrote:
So you think all Indian armies resorted to pillaging/ in order to fill their stomach and killing non-combatants also forms a nescessary part of it ??


This kind of worldview/logic is disconnected from the context in those days...no modern technology, just men on horses and on foot trudging for days/weeks on end to meet an enemy in battle. Taking on the enemy would not have been easy given the axiom/maxim "an army marches on its stomach".

The necessity was to reach the battleground and fight -- the campaign was to plan on how to get all the food and resources necessary for the army to make its journey. A little bit of knowledge of how warfare is conducted when the maximum human capability of the time was limited (and not the way it is now).

surinder
BRFite
Posts: 1421
Joined: 08 Apr 2005 06:57
Location: Badal Ki Chaaon Mein

Postby surinder » 16 Apr 2008 22:31

Saurabh wrote:
Aditya_V wrote:For guys interested in why our History was distorted Lord Macaulays Address to the British parliment in 1835 will give a clearer idea


LORD MACAULAYS ADDRESS TO THE E3RITISH PARLIAMENT 2 FEBRUARY, 1835
I have travelled across the length and breadth
of India end I have not seen one person who is
a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have
seen in this country, such high moral values,
people of such caliber, that I do not think we
would ever conquer this country unless we break the very backbone of this nation, such is her spiritual and cultural Heritage, and, therefore, I propose th we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteern, their native culture end theywill become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.



P.S - I have a scanned copy of the orginal article but am not able to uploaded the picture in this forum



Here you are Aditya.

The full text of Macaulay's Minute on Education 1835 (2nd Feb 1835).

It was delivered (in written form) to the Supreme council of the East India Company. You will remember from your High School history that the British Monarch and Government only became involved in governing India post 1857.

Now I would be obliged if you could find the text of your above quote in this speech.
In other words the text you quote above has as much credibility as other common internet hoaxes which prey on blind nationalism.

Happy reading........


http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/prit ... _1835.html


I recieved the alleged comment by McCauly. I looked up on the web and found that many web sites had pointed out that thsi statement of McCaulay is not found in any of his writings/speeched. It is, on thier view, a fraud or an urban legend.

Maybe that statement attributed to McCaulay was not in any of his writings, but maybe he said it to someone. May be that is what he implied to someone. Is that statement incompatible with McCaulay? Has the MacCaulay's legacy proved that the MacCaulay *could not* have had such views? I think it resonates because there is some truth to it.

Venkarl
BRFite
Posts: 932
Joined: 27 Mar 2008 02:50
Location: India
Contact:

Postby Venkarl » 16 Apr 2008 22:32

http://bp3.blogger.com/_5q7DIsGBCjw/R5hvnLqF85I/AAAAAAAAABc/J2SyTQQ4BFI/s1600-h/INDIA_1835-780841.JPG
Distortion of Indian History began from him :evil:

Sorry if already posted

Sanku
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12526
Joined: 23 Aug 2007 15:57
Location: Naaahhhh

Postby Sanku » 16 Apr 2008 22:48

Rye wrote:The necessity was to reach the battleground and fight -- the campaign was to plan on how to get all the food and resources necessary for the army to make its journey. A little bit of knowledge of how warfare is conducted when the maximum human capability of the time was limited (and not the way it is now).


Well there are other options than sack; and it is possible that Indian rulers did not conduct far flung campaigns into enemy heartland without first consolidating the victories near there "core lands"; may be they purchased grains; may be they appointed themselves rulers and extracted land revenue in terms of food. May be they called in their allies.

The concept of baggage trains loaded with food for a army is not entirely unknown even in the past.

Its not that Indian armies were exploring the dark continent when they made first contact.

There is a concept of force but this is very different from the concept of excesses.

This debate about Dharmic armies started with Rudradev's frustration with characterization's of Marathas. Now the Maratha era was far different from the Dharmic era and all manners of Indians have made different mistakes in that era (and in past) I dont think we need to extrapolate just to justify the Marathas or what not. In fact the Maratha example being talked about is notable because it was different from the expectations even in that era -- otherwise it would not make that much noise -- so even if true that example means that such behavior from the Marathas was not the norm but a singleton example.

So untill we have documented PROOF that Indians sacked and burned in the age of Dharma (and we have documented proof against it) let us go easy on extrapolation of one (unusual at that) supposed example of Maratha behavior.

Rudradev; a humble suggestion -- India first Maratha's second -- a different message is being sent from your post right now; which I am sure you did not intend.

---------
And oh -- good night have to go.

sanjaychoudhry
BRFite
Posts: 756
Joined: 13 Jul 2007 00:39
Location: La La Land

Postby sanjaychoudhry » 16 Apr 2008 23:08

An interesting article on Macaulay and his alleged quote:

http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/hinduism/macaulay.html

Rudradev
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3501
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 12:31

Postby Rudradev » 17 Apr 2008 04:17

Ramana: with all due respect, there's nothing "empty" about this argument... it goes to the heart of exploring the causes and consequences of distorted history, particularly when we ourselves distort history in a manner that is detrimental to us. "Pleasant" it might not be :)



Keshav wrote:Rudradev-
This whole argument rests on whether or not you believe that Maratha soldiers acted the way Pandit described it, otherwise there is very little that we can compare.


No, it does not. My argument is that the very act of comparison is profoundly daft. That's because there is no legitimate basis for comparing 17th Century Maratha behavior, with some generalized notion of how subcontinental armies behaved from the dawn of Kaliyug (3102 BC) to the arrival of Mir Qasim.

The quantity, accuracy and verifiability of historical sources of information declines, the further back you go in history... simply because fewer sources are statistically likely to have survived over longer periods of time. Despite the occasional period of exception (as when some empire kept meticulous records that have survived, like Ashoka's pillar edicts)... as a general rule, the longer ago something happened, the less information is available about it.

On the other hand, multiple sources of information are more likely to be available about recent events. However, the availability alone hardly guarantees that those sources will be accurate or unbiased. For example, the much-bandied-about account by Vidhyalankar of the Maratha invasion of Bengal. As court pandit of Raja Bardhhaman, whose lands were being invaded by Bhaskar Pandit, Vidhyalankar is hardly likely to have a neutral narrative. His account is rife with the hysterical rhetoric of deliberate demonization... "expert in... committing every kind of sinful act", for example. This does not make it very credible in my eyes. People will accept the veracity of this source, or not, as a matter of subjective choice.

The only reasonable basis for comparison of any historical actor or event is with its contemporary actors and events. At least then, it is likely that a similar plurality of sources and perspectives (including unbiased, prejudiced, accurate and otherwise) will be available for both actors or events being compared. Especially if one is going to draw sweeping conclusions about some particular actor's "excesses" compared to norms, the only norms that can fairly be used as a basis for comparison are contemporary norms.

No one is saying that pre-Islamic Hindu armies were superhuman to subsist on "dharma and air", but its safe to assume that these people did not kill pregnant women and learned people (assuming you believe in this, which is the hinge of the argument).


I'm really wondering how it's "safe to assume" anything, of times about which there is a severe paucity of information. Yes, there were dharmic injunctions against killing the innocent in times of war. This is in contrast to Abrahamic societies, where the slaying of any foe was considered to be divinely sanctioned.

So that in general, we can say that Indian society conducted warfare in a more humane and civilized manner than Abrahamic societies. That Hindu warriors were instilled with a code of conscience about harming innocents or mistreating the vanquished, which in itself sets them apart from warriors professing Abrahamic faiths.

But we can't safely "assume" that foraging, or plunder, or massacres, or any of the ugly aspects of human combat simply never happened.

Does every person who goes to a temple and applies a tilak to his forehead, follow Dharmic principles to a tee in every aspect (or even most aspects) of his life? Do we consider that our ancestors from 3000 BC to 800 AD were somehow less prone to human foibles than ourselves? If not, why are we assuming that all Hindu Kings/Generals/Officers/Soldiers of the pre-Islamic era always and unfailingly abided by Dharmic principles in their behavior?

Especially when fighting a war... as Rye has explained very well (thanks, Rye):

Rye wrote:...this is not some olympic sport where people will be disqualified if they do not play right. The rules were set by local commanders who had a mission and probably did not really care if they had to intimidate people to get rations for the troops, especially in cases where the locals were under the control of a non-ally/adversary...

...no modern technology, just men on horses and on foot trudging for days/weeks on end to meet an enemy in battle. Taking on the enemy would not have been easy given the axiom/maxim "an army marches on its stomach".

The necessity was to reach the battleground and fight -- the campaign was to plan on how to get all the food and resources necessary for the army to make its journey. A little bit of knowledge of how warfare is conducted when the maximum human capability of the time was limited (and not the way it is now).



Keshav wrote:When Ashoka killed 100,000 he became depressed and went on a transformation that took him to non-violence under Lord Buddha. When Timurlane did the same when he sacked Delhi, he offered it as tribute to Allah.


You're right. And THIS IN ITSELF is enough cause for us to feel proud of the fact that all things in our heritage, including war, were conducted in a more humane, civilized manner than in other societies.

We do not need to adhere to some fiction about how no tragic incidents ever happened in the wars of pre-Islamic India, and then shoot ourselves in the foot by holding the Marathas (or the Indian government of today, or anybody else fighting on the side of Dharma) to this purely fictional standard.

Why do people not see this? Are we Muslims, who must take literally the stories of our military leaders ascending to heaven on winged horses? We don't have to distort our history into fables, to make it palatable to ourselves. Warts and all, our history is good enough to take pride in just the way it happened, because it is STILL more civilized than anyone else's. Satyameva jayate... we are who we are, because our dharmic ethos is intelligent enough, and mature enough, to reconcile its moral view of the world with reality. As opposed to myth.

The very fact that 100,000 people died at Kalinga is evidence that things did not always go according to some Dharmic fair play in times of war. Having a Dharmic ethos was no perfect guarantee against untoward or horrific incidents. What makes India a Dharmic society is that it produced an Ashok, whose conscience prevailed upon him to restructure his entire system of governance in response to the tragedy.

As opposed to a Timur/Babar/Khilji/Ghauri, for whom the mass-murder of kaffirs was itself a ticket to heaven.

That is the consequence of our civilization having established a Dharmic context for its worldview. Be proud of that. We don't need fairy stories to justify our pride in who we are.


The second part of my argument, is that it is monumentally self-defeating to make such a comparison (Maratha behavior according to source "Vidhyalankar" vs. generalized notions of dharmic military behaviour) because it leaves us vulnerable to the kind of psyops we've always been reeling from.


Keshav wrote:Your comment about double standards comes to this:
1) Hindus keep the double standards, glorify our people as humanistic and others as barbarians.

2) Hindus keep the double standards, glorify our own people and lift others as well (well, its okay, its just Aurangzeb, etc.)

3) Hindus don't keep the double standards and say everyone is a barbarian.

The first is definitely the best way to approach this and it involves using the double standards to our advantage. What do you think?


I think it is ill-advised to be corralled into choosing between three oversimplistic formulae, when constructing something as consequential as our civilizational narrative. We don't owe outside observers the self-constraint of a one-size-fits-all moral paradigm, any more than we are obligated to trivialize our identity for their easy understanding and consumption.

The first of your three formulae, however, is certainly not the "best". It has, in fact, cost us dearly to cite "humaneness" as the defining factor in our civilizational superiority.

Consider this. If we have to use "humaneness" as an overarching attribute to glorify our people, we hand our adversaries a double-edged sword... one that is being used against us all the time.

India is continuously lambasted by enemy psyops for failing to behave like a "Gandhi". Even while Pakistan is feted for behaving like an "Ayub/Jinnah" rather than a "Mullah Omar", and China actually thanked for behaving like a "Deng" instead of a "Mao".

We are taken to task for
>Not signing the NPT
>Not giving Kashmir "self-determination"
>Not following "Panchsheel" with respect to China on the Tibet issue
>Not pressuring the government of Burma to restore democracy
etc.

Even while China proliferates nukes to Pakistan and beyond, China represses Tibet while Pakistan represses POK/Gilgit/Baluchistan, China p1sses all over "Panchsheel" while claiming Arunachal, America does a roaring trade with Burma's chief patron China while lecturing India, etc.

These psyops would mean nothing, except that we happen to be particularly vulnerable to allegations casting doubt on our "humaneness" and moral standing. We get really bothered by accusations that the Indian army carried out an atrocity in J&K, for instance... because we consider being in tune with "humaneness" a hallmark of our civilization.

So the question is, why are we particularly vulnerable to these types of psyops?

There is nothing wrong, prima facie, with claiming moral superiority over others on the grounds of "humaneness". After all, it is the truth... and one does not have to be morally perfect in order to be morally superior.

The problem arises when geniuses like Rahul M (and there are many such) substitute absurd notions of absolutely unimpeachable conduct for historical fact; and from those notions, derive ridiculous standards of behavior which they use to castigate others *fighting on the side of dharma*.

Rahul M's allegation is that in the invasion of Bengal, the Marathas committed "excesses" of brutality as compared to some notion of Dharmic war in the past. His argument is that such behavior (even if true) should be condemned in Marathas since they were Hindus, whereas it was only to be expected from Muslim or European invaders.

Why is the moral basis for this, any different from the moral basis of arguments that India being "the land of Gandhi" should pull back its troops and "resolve Kashmir in a Gandhian manner"?

If we are are so willing to point a blameful finger at our own people by engaging in reverse moral exceptionalism... holding Indians to an absurdly critical and demanding moral standard while others get a free pass ... then the enemy propagandists have already won. Where is the need for them to make villains of us when we are so busily doing it to ourselves?

Our "humaneness" is certainly a great attribute of our civilization, but it is not the only attribute worthy of our pride. We don't have to make it the fount of *all* that is glorious about Indic society and history. When we lionize Gandhi we can lionize Patel and Bose equally.

Our moral authority to condemn Afghan and British brutality, does not derive from our holding Marathas to a *higher* moral standard of behavior. It exists independently of that... just as our moral authority to condemn the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh or Kashmir, exists independently of the Ahmedabad riots.


Sanku:

Please read what I have to say above, before deriving any messages.

Also remember. Brutality vs. Humaneness in the conduct of war is not a 0/1 Boolean duality. Deriving "all or nothing" conclusions about a 4000-year period of history is impossible.

Given a lack of universally accepted coinage, especially in *enemy* territory, there was no scope for an army to "purchase" supplies while on expedition. The only way they could have purchased was by barter... and if they could carry enough items to barter, why couldn't they just bring their own supplies? And which commander would rely on promises of supplies from "nearby friendly folks", even if such folks happened to be conveniently available in a given theatre of campaigning?

Foraging was a fact of life in military operations, and there is no reason to believe Indian armies were an exception to this.

War is messy. Bad things happen. Dharma does not immunize Indian society from the possibility of those things happening. It does enable Indian society to deal with those things better than other societies. We regret them, try to make amends. Others celebrate them, justify them, even encourage them with divine sanction.

That is enough to say we are Dharmic, and proud of it. Only the morally weak need to falsify history, or replace it with fantasy.

By the way... since so many people seem to imply that I'm being racist, or chauvinistic or whatever with respect to the Marathas... let me clarify that I'm not a Maharashtrian, and not a Bengali either. I'm not here to "defend" them from accusations of brutality or whatever... I'm only pointing out some fundamental flaws in the double-standard that some people are judging them by.

Airavat
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2326
Joined: 29 Jul 2003 11:31
Location: dishum-bishum
Contact:

Postby Airavat » 17 Apr 2008 07:11

Rudradev wrote:Maybe I was not clear. I'm not saying the Sikhs or Rajputs sacked Delhi before Panipat... they did not. The Marathas, who claimed Delhi as a protectorate, did not allow it.


Delhi, by which we mean the Delhi Empire of the later Mughals, did not become a "protectorate" of the Marathas until 1784. It was only then that Mahadji Scindia's Purbia and Maratha troops garrisoned the cities of Delhi, Aligarh, Mathura, and Agra. And the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam lived on a pension provided by Mahadji Scindia.

Before this time the Marathas never had such control over the Mughal Emperors.

The full details of the Panipat campaign posted on the Historical Battles thread.

And what happened after Panipat.

Rudradev wrote:I will defer to you on the details of what Jodhpur and Amber actually contributed to Abdali's war effort; suffice it to say, that they were allied with Abdali rather than the Marathas.


They were allied with neither.

The Hindu States in Rajasthan had been invaded by the Marathas from 1736 and forced to pay tribute. Later the Marathas began intervening in the succession disputes within these states, leading to open wars between Marathas and Rajputs.....this change in Maratha policy came about because of Malhar Rao Holkar, whose base of Indore was close to Rajasthan, and who influenced the Peshwa into accepting this change in policy.

In Jaipur the ruler Ishwari Singh committed suicide (1750), when his capital was surrounded by Maratha armies, to prevent his imprisonment and humiliation at their hands. In Jodhpur the Marathas attempted to remove Vijay Singh and place his cousin Ram Singh on the throne (1755-57).

These futile Maratha campaigns against the Rajput states robbed them of the ability to make allies and at the same time reduced their own resources. As the Maratha commander Raghunath Rao writes in a letter to the Peshwa from Jaipur, "I am feeding myself only by looting villages. In this country most places are fortified and not a grain of food can be obtained without fighting. I have no money and cannot even raise a hand."

And worse these Maratha-Rajput battles occured at a time when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded and sacked Delhi, Mathura, Vrindavan, and Gokul in 1757, with Raghunath Rao not able to lift even a finger to defend them.

Rudradev wrote:As for European artillery officers... these had been operating in the armies of many Indian kingdoms since at least the mid-seventeenth century. Manucci, an Italian artillery officer in the service of Aurangzeb, is a major source of information about Jai Singh's Deccan campaigns against Shivaji.

So I do not think Mysore and Hyderabad were unique in regard to having access to European officers.


European officers in the 17th century were too few in the armies of Indian kingdoms. More importantly they only served in the artillery and did not have command of that arm.

The transformation of Indian infantry and artillery only happened in the 18th century, when European officers had total command of a local ruler's infantry and artillery.

Rudradev wrote:For example, the much-bandied-about account by Vidhyalankar of the Maratha invasion of Bengal. As court pandit of Raja Bardhhaman, whose lands were being invaded by Bhaskar Pandit, Vidhyalankar is hardly likely to have a neutral narrative.


That is actually the Raja of Burdwan. And the full name of Bhaskar Pandit was Bhaskar Ram Kolhatkar.

Another eyewitness to these atrocities was the Bengali poet Gangaram: "The Bargis began to loot the villages. Every class of men took to flight with their property but the Bargis encircled them in the plain. They snatched away gold and silver, rejecting evertything else. Of some people they cut off the hand, of some the nose and ears, some they killed outright....."

The important point here is the reference to "Bargis", who committed these outrages.

There were three classes of Maratha cavalry: Silhedar, Bargi, and Pindhari. Of these the Pindharis were the worst and little need be said about them, the Bargis were horsemen mounted and given arms by their employers, the Silhedars on the other hand owned their own horses and arms and were usually of the Maratha noble families. So the atrocities were committed only by a section of the Maratha army.

And also Maratha tactics of plundering and devastation of crops, arose during their resistance to the Mughal invasions. In that war the local people in the Deccan were allied with them against the Mughals, hence these tactics were successful.

But when these same tactics then stayed with them in other conflicts, and most unfortunately, even in the wars against Hindu States, it lead to alienation among the Hindu population.

Updated: MARATHAS IN EASTERN INDIA
Last edited by Airavat on 16 May 2008 10:40, edited 3 times in total.

ShauryaT
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5228
Joined: 31 Oct 2005 06:06

Postby ShauryaT » 17 Apr 2008 07:19

Rudradev wrote:By the way... since so many people seem to imply that I'm being racist, or chauvinistic or whatever with respect to the Marathas... let me clarify that I'm not a Maharashtrian, and not a Bengali either. I'm not here to "defend" them from accusations of brutality or whatever... I'm only pointing out some fundamental flaws in the double-standard that some people are judging them by.
One of the best posts on BRF. Rudradev: Thanks for the time to pen your thoughts. It shed light on a way to look at events and gain perspective.

Abhijit
BRFite
Posts: 529
Joined: 15 Mar 2002 12:31
Location: Bay Area - US

Postby Abhijit » 17 Apr 2008 09:45

RD, an absolutely outstanding post. I cannot find words to praise the clarity of thought and the amazing ability to articulate it - Right up there with Shiv, JEM, N^3, Kaushal, KG et al.

Sanku
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12526
Joined: 23 Aug 2007 15:57
Location: Naaahhhh

Postby Sanku » 17 Apr 2008 10:57

Rudradev wrote:Sanku:

Also remember. Brutality vs. Humaneness in the conduct of war is not a 0/1 Boolean duality. Deriving "all or nothing" conclusions about a 4000-year period of history is impossible.


RD brilliant post -- and I overall agree to your post till the time you come to part after the above statement:

BTW please remember I think we need to try and uncover the truth and just as we should not impose imaginary standards of peace and justice -- we should not extrapolate a standard behavior outside India to one within.

Like you I strive to learn the correct history

Given a lack of universally accepted coinage, especially in *enemy* territory, there was no scope for an army to "purchase" supplies while on expedition.


I am not so sure of that -- the coinage in that era was the metal in its weight and purity -- unlike today -- the seal was not the be all and end all of coin value. Gold coins could be used -- if it was not there would trade only with barter which we know was not the case (unless you count gold coins as barter)

Since we have Indians coins in Greece and vice versa I do not see your assumption around restrictions on coinage being true.

The only way they could have purchased was by barter... and if they could carry enough items to barter, why couldn't they just bring their own supplies?


Gold for grain is barter but it is much easier to carry gold instead of grain is it not? :D

And which commander would rely on promises of supplies from "nearby friendly folks", even if such folks happened to be conveniently available in a given theater of campaigning?


Rely? Not rely -- but use that as his first option till he was desperate -- and folks dont get desperate very often in India.

Foraging was a fact of life in military operations, and there is no reason to believe Indian armies were an exception to this.


Foraging != looting and killing non combatants. Further foraging also has it own inherent disadvantages and was thus not always a preferred option -- for example when Alexander was crossing deserts he would not be relying on foraging correct? He certainly wasnt asking his men to live on Dharma and air :D. Further in enemy territory foragers are at risk also increase the chance of troop dispersion and warn the enemy by their movements. Further a foraging army is exposed to the risk of scorched earth tactics. A massive army could also not subsist on such logistics since it would have a far far greater number of humans concentrated on one place than otherwise the land provides for supplies would be needed to be brought in from else where.

More on logistics

Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army

Many intesting books if you google

army logistics in ancient India

War is messy. Bad things happen. Dharma does not immunize Indian society from the possibility of those things happening.


No it does not remove the possibility but reduces the number of break downs -- a cursory look at IA history compared to ANY army history will bear out that fact. The answer is not boolean; but the number is far less.

Indians do not and did not loot non-combatants this is on record many times.

That is enough to say we are Dharmic, and proud of it. Only the morally weak need to falsify history, or replace it with fantasy.


Yes absolutely -- and denying your own past because it does not fit in with others notion of war in my mind is also the same.

I'm only pointing out some fundamental flaws in the double-standard that some people are judging them by.


Rudradev no offense meant but "some" double standards are also seen in your post IMVVVVHO

The bottom line is -- we have documented history of Dharmic war -- it is up to you to prove that the Maratha example (if true) was the overarching norm (which does not mean that bad things dont happen -- but justifications for extrapolation must be more than war is messy -- Indians did do "wrong" in one war -- possibly they would have been in all wars)

On to Maratha example quoted by Airavat

"I am feeding myself only by looting villages. In this country most places are fortified and not a grain of food can be obtained without fighting. I have no money and cannot even raise a hand."


What does that tell us -- he is being FORCED to loot because he has
NO MONEY
NO FRIENDS
Certainly not a statement from a person for whom relying on looting the countryside was the chief way of provisioning.

A failure of democracy and supply chain management leading to desperation.

Marathas -- A unique situation in a post Islamic India where the tactics used against the Islamists were unfortunately used against brothers since that was the way Marathas knew how to conduct campaigns -- a very very very difficult example to extrapolate to all before hand.

And yes our Dharmic parvutti was the reason of our loss to Islamic hordes -- this is documented -- but that is poor reason to toss away the fact that we were indeed Dharmic and foolishly so in some cases by and large.
Last edited by Sanku on 17 Apr 2008 14:18, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “Strategic & Security Issues Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests