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Histories of Cities in India

A Bhushan
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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby A Bhushan » 21 May 2003 12:26

Varanashi is oldest contemporary city of india
http://www.igougo.com/planning/journalEntryOverview.asp?JournalID=4565
-----------------
Journal name: Varanasi - the oldest city in India

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby A Bhushan » 21 May 2003 12:30

History of patliputra (Patna)
------------------------
I am producing from ached page of google.Website seems out of business.

------------------------------
PATNA at its earliest was a small straggling village with the name of Patali or Pataligrama as mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina traditions. Legend ascribes its origin to a magic stroke of a mythological king, Putraka, for his queen Patali. However, history attests its creation by King Ajatshatru who was interested in shifting his capital from the hilly Rajagriha to a more strategic Patali, on the confluence of the ganga.

The fact is further corroborated by Buddha who was impressed by the site when he saw the fort being erected here while he was passing by this village in the last year of his life. The enlightened one further prophesied a great future for the new found city but simultaneously predicted its ruin from flood, fued or fire. Patali, under different names like Pataligrama, Kusumpura, Pushpapura, Kusum Dhvaja, Padmavati, Patliputra, Azimabad and finally Patna, served various dynasties. However, it witnessed its golden days under the Mauryas in the 4th century B.C. which brought vividly to the forefront the basic and total unity of an all India empire for the first time. The lofty buildings and parapets for which Patliputra was known, impressed Patanjali to the extent that he referred to them in his grammatical examples. Patliputra's fame as a centre of learning outlived its political glory where scholars like Aryabhatta, Ashvaghosha, Chanakya, Panini, Sthalabhadra, Vatsyayana (author of Kamasutra) penned their ideals and the great authors of the Shastras were examined.

Greek ambassador, Magasthenese has left a vivid account of Patliputra which is further supplemented by Kautilya's work and much later the Chinese travellers pass on their observation. A strong sense of imagination is required to recreate the Mauryan Patliputra replete with multi-storeyed wooden buildings, palaces surrounded by parks and ponds. If we are to believe the Greek accounts, the royal parks were lined with evergreen trees, which neither grew old nor shed their leaves. The capital city with more than 500 towers and 64 gates was surrounded by wooden palisade with loopholes for the arches. A ditch around the city served the dual purpose of defence as well as sewage disposal. Every street had its water courses serving as house drains that finally emptied into the moat. Any deposit that obstructed the passage was punishable by law. House owners were also required to have fire prevention elements and so were the streets provided with vessels of water and sand kept ready in thousands.

It was Ashoka who transformed the wooden capital into a stone construction around 273 B.C. This sudden change prompted Fa Hein, who visited India between 400-15 AD, believe that genni (demons) were commissioned to erect these massive stone structures, which are no human work.
Mauryan architecture is one of the least known subjects in Indian history, though literary references to palace, forts, halls and stupas are aplenty but archaeological evidences are scarce. Kumrahar site at Patna is associated with the ancient Palace site of Patliputra. The excavations have brought to light the period from 600 B.C. to 600 A.D. Here one can admire the remains of the 80 pillared hall that impressed Magasthenese most. These pillars with the magic of Mauryan polish continue to impress even the architects of today. Arranged in eight rows with ten pillars in each, the plan resembles the hall of hundred columns at Persepolis. Possibly, Kautilya urged the king to attend the public issues here for three hours each day. Within the Kumrahar complex are the excavated remains of Ashoka's charitable hospital. A little distance away is another Ashokan remain, the Agam Kuan or the fathomless well which is believed to be a part of the legendary hall created by Ashoka. Fa Hein relates that Ashoka, in course of his distant journeys had encountered the kingdom of Yama and accordingly thought of building a hall, resembling that of what he had seen. Later Ashoka demolished the hall and embarked on better projects of compassion and piety. Besides the numerous rock edicts proclaiming his message of universal peace he is credited for the construction of 84,000 stupas throughout his mighty kingdom. Since the imperial innings of the Mauryas and the Sungas, Patliputra lay, not in darkness, but in a perpetual twilight. Besides the loss of political patronage, Patliputra suffered the ravages of nature.

At the close of 6th century, continuous rain for 17 days devastated the city which had earlier been set aflame by the Greeks. Patliputra was revived by Sher Shah Suri in the middle of the 16th century. On his return from one of the expeditions, while standing by the Ganga, he said, ``If a fort were to be built in this place, the waters of the Ganga could never flow far from it, and Patna would become one of the great towns of this country''. Sher Shah's fort in Patna does not survive, except for some of the walls that have been incorporated within the complex of the Jalan House which was formerly the nawab's haveli but now a private residence that houses an interesting museum famous for its jade collection and Chinese paintings. A little from this place is the historic mosque of Sher Shah where there are numerous tombs, including that of Mustafa Khan Rohilla.

The earliest mosque in Patna is dated 1489 and erected by Alauddin Hussani Shah (one of the Bengal rulers). Locally it is called Begu Hajjam's mosque for the reason it was repaired in 1646 by a barber of this name. It was August 1574 when Akbar came to Patna to crush the Afghan Chief, Daud Khan. His successful seige resulted in an enormous booty that included 265 elephants and much to the rejoicing of common people, who enjoyed picking up gold coins and other articles on the river bank through which Daud had fled to Orissa in the cover of darkness. Akbar's Secretary of State and author of Ain-i-Akbari refers to Patna as a flourishing centre for paper, stone and glass industries. He also attests to the high quality and the numerous varieties of rice grown in Patna that had gained popularity in Europe. Much later the Venetian traveller, Manucci was impressed by the fine earthen pottery and the cups of clay made in Patna that were finer than glass, lighter than paper and highly scented. Shah Jehan as a rebel prince visited Patna together with Queen Mumtaz and their architectural pursuit finds reflection in the shape of a beautiful mosque cum madarsa by the side of Ganga. It was built by Saif Khan, the Mughal governor married to Mumtaz's elder sister, Malike Bano. Other Mughal constructions include the Idgah and a serai that was once rented for months to make it easier for foreign traders. Later, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb acceded to the request of his favourite grandson, Prince Muhamad Azim to rename Patna as Azimabad, after his own name in 1704 while he was serving as the Mughal subedar.

Prince Azim was a young prince who aspired to make Patna, a second Delhi but his ambition was cut short by the patriarchal war. With the decline of Mughal power, Patna slipped into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal, who maintained its commercial prosperity. Patna during the 17th century was the centre of international trade. The Britishers started with a factory in Patna in 1620 for the purchase and storage of calico and silk. Soon it became a trading point for saltpetre, urging other European powers like the French, the Danes, the Dutch and that Portuguese to compete in the lucrative business. Various European factories and godowns started mushrooming up in Patna and it acquired a trading fame that attracted far off merchants, as observed by Peter Mundy in 1632, who calls this place, `the greatest mart of the eastern region'. Bankipore Club is precisely the place where the Dutch are believed to have anchored their boats and the dance hall of the club is one of the original Dutch buildings. Today's Patna College administrative block is said to be the Dutchman's residence.

Other important European landmarks are the Padri Ki Haveli, deemed to be the oldest church in Bihar dating back to 1772. Nearby is the Patna cemetery which was once the haveli of the Bengal nawabs. The cemetery is marked by an obelisk that covers the remains of the 47 Englishmen done to death by Samru, a French freebooter in the army of Nawaz Mir Qasim. In the list of cold blooded murders, mention may be made of Nawaz Zainuddin Haibat Jung, the Governor of Bihar (1740-48) and father of Nawaz Siraj-ud-Daulah, who was most treacherously murdered by Murad Sher Khan (a Rohilla Afghan) as a revenge for killing another Rohilla in a battle. Haibat's body was cut in two and suspended on the eastern and western gates of Patna. This was followed by the loot and plunder of Patna by the Rohillas. The body of Nawab Haibat Jung was buried at Begumpur, close to the Patna city railway station. The tomb deserves a visit for its beautiful black stone jali work, though it lies in the centre of a paddy field while the adjoining garden, mosque and Imambara have given way to fields. The first nawab of Oudh, Saadat Ali Khan lies buried at Patna, some distance from the main railway station. The surrounding wall and the screen provided by Safdarjung is hardly traceable. Another monument is the Imambara of Imam Bandi Begum whose tomb was once a beautiful piece of latticed wall.

The Government printing press at Gulzarbagh was the European godown for opium and next to it are the ruins of Panini's ashram.

Golghar is Patna's granary built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin following a terrible famine in 1770, to serve as a state granary. A flight of steps winds round the 29 metre high building leading to the top from where one gets a fine view of the river Ganga and the city of Patna. It is an imposing landmark from where the distances are calculated in Patna.
Takht Harmandir is one of the sacred Sikh shrines, marking the birthplace of the 10th Guru, Govind Singh. The present five storeyed building was completed in 1957 though it was started by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

A little distance from the shrine is Mir Ashraf's mosque dating back to 1773 and admired for its beautiful tank just outside the mosque. A unique and Patna's only single domed mosque built during Shah Jehan's period can be seen around the Mangal Talao. Mirza Masoom's mosque, built in 1616 is appreciated for its beautiful black basalt door that possibly belonged to a Buddhist shrine as evident from its rich carving. A decade later was erected Pathar ki Masjid by Pervez, the elder brother of Shah Jehan and the first Mughal prince to rule Bihar.

The walled city of Patna was provided with two gates called Purbi and Paschmi Darwaza. The Eastern gate is provided with a temple dedicated to Patan Devi the presiding deity of the city) while the Western gate is graced by the Chhoti Patan Devi temple. The temples have been newly constructed and the images are said to have been provided by Raja Maan Singh, the Mughal Governor during the times of Akbar. Other places of interest in Patna include the Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, famous for its rare Arabic and Persian manuscripts, rich paintings and numerous volumes of rare books. Likewise the Patna Museum is a treasure house of stone sculptors dating back to the Mauryan period and other archaeological finds. Among the stone sculpture special reference may be made of the famous Chouri bearer of the Mauryan period, popularly called Didarganj Yakshi. Another captivating image s that of Shalabhanjika (late Maurya Sunga period) in her full youthful posture, twisting the branches of the Sala tree. One of the museum's prized exhibit is the 16 metre long fossilized tree and another priceless object that has just been included in the display section are the ashes of Lord Buddha. Seven life sized statues in front of the Old Secretariat revive the memory of brave young men who sacrificed their lives in August 1942 in the historic struggle for independence. Sadaqat Ashram is another landmark which later became the retreat of Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The best time to visit Patna is between October and March preferably the festive occasion of Chaath (a week after Deepavali) or during the cattle fair at Sonepur which is not very far from Patna.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 17:25

Originally posted by ramana:
Sridhar, Teen Murti Marg housed the Commander-in Chief of the British Indian Army. After Independence it became PM J.L. Nehru's residence.
The Teen Murti are the soldiers from Indian Army. Prior to 1947 it was the Commander-in Chief's House?
Yes, absolutely correct. In British India, the second highest official after the Viceroy was the Commander in Chief. Once we know that it was the C-in-C's residence, it is not hard to guess that the name of the house was Flagstaff House before it was renamed Teen Murti Bhavan when Nehru moved in. Many CO's official residences all over the country are called Flagstaff Houses even now.

Interesting interpretation of why it was called Teen Murti Bhavan! I never though of this interpretation (in fact never thought of why 'Teen Murti'). Is this mentioned in any source? Thanks!

One correction - Nehru only moved into the house in 1948, not 1947. And it was not renamed till he moved in.

How I wish this beautiful house had not been coverted into a museum on Nehru's death. It would make the ideal PM's residence and is better than Race Course Road from a security point of view also. Is it realistic to hope that sometime in the future, the Nehru Memorial is shifted to another location and this house is converted into the official residence of the Head of our Government?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 17:31

Originally posted by Sridhar:
Quiz Questions:

2. What was the immediate cause for the closure of the Chennai tram system on April 12, 1953?
a. Bankruptcy of the tram company
b. Labour strike
c. Traffic congestion on the streets
d. Opening of the new bus transport system
Since nobody has attempted to answer the second quiz question, let me give the answer. The Chennai Tram system was closed by the then CM of Madras Rajaji because of a labor strike! One would think it was not a reason enough to close the tram system, but it was only the immediate reason. The system was ageing and would have required extensive repairs to bring it up to date. Those were also days when town plans were adhered to and the town plan did not anticipate a role for the slow-moving trams. So, when the strike came, it provided a good reason for the Government to shut the system down.

In retrospect, it is hard to say if it was the right decision (old timers and tram-lovers would say that it wasn't!) but in those days of firm decisions, Rajaji decided to shut down the entire system rather than to submit to the workers' blackmail. Supporters say that the one good effect it had was to make the industrial relations situation in the state far better than other states - workers got the message that now that independence had been obtained, the days of 'satyagrahas' and 'non-cooperation' were over. This was the first major strike in Madras post-independence.

Like in Mumbai, the tram tracks of Chennai were never removed, but roads were layered over them and over time, they disappeared. Therefore, if some major digging place sometime, this part of Chennai's glorious heritage may get unearthed! Imagine how exciting it would be 100 years from now, when they discover these tram lines and marvel at the primitive transportation modes of their ancestors! :)

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 17:43

Originally posted by Kaushal:
Ayodhya is clearly one of the oldest contemporary cities.
Based on archeological evidence?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby VickersB » 21 May 2003 18:01

Here's one of our newest: Chandigarh - the city beautiful
http://chandigarh.nic.in/

George J

Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby George J » 21 May 2003 18:50

Originally posted by VickersB:
Here's one of our newest: Chandigarh - the city beautiful
http://chandigarh.nic.in/
I would argue that New Bombay (1970) is newer than Chandigarh (1953). Which would bring us to an interesting question. With a lot of stellite townships mushrooming, what would define a city? Would city be an urban area with local self government: Municipal Corporation?

Are there any more new planned cities coming up?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 18:51

Incidentally, I happened to see the maps int he 1951 and 1960 master plans for Delhi. Amazingly, they envisaged the need for a peripheral expressway back then and an MRTS system. The expressway plan is now under active study and will probably get implemented. The Delhi Metro's corridors are also remarkably close to those in the 1960 master plan. These master plans also ensured that the Inner and Outer Ring Roads were built before these areas got populated.

The diplomatic enclave in Chankyapuri was also already under construction in 1951 with some embassies already occupying their plots. This gives another point of reference for the map posted in the first post of this thread. Since that map does not depict Chankyapuri, it cannot be after 1951. Of course, there is another point of reference for 1951 - the Irwin Amphitheater, which was renamed the National Stadium just before the Asian Games in (November?) 1951. Thus, it is interesting that we have a pre-1951 map (at least) of Delhi. In fact, seeing all the maps that I have seen, I am reasonably convinced it is a 1931 map of the city. Nice reference, if it is indeed from 1931. More research is required to accurately date this map - I shall report the findings of this research.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 18:59

George:

VickersB did not say 'the newest'. You cannot dispute that Chandigarh is 'one of the newest' as he put it? There is a difference between these two assertions

City definition is not hard. I shall use the census definition. A geographically distinct population agglomeration with the following criteria
1. More than 50% of the working population engaged in non-agricultural activities
2. Population of at least 1,00,000

The type of local body follows the definition, not vice versa (and there are myriad laws on this particularly at the state level).

Other new planned 'cities' post independence are Gandhinagar, Dispur (near Guwahati), Bhubhaneswar, NOIDA, Greater NOIDA, Gurgaon. Perhaps even Mohali, Panchkula etc. could be included per the above definition.

By far, the most ambitious is Navi Mumbai - already at about 1 million in population and expected to increase to 2.5 million within a decade (perhaps faster if CIDCO were to get out of its financial troubles).

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 21 May 2003 19:38

Based on archeological evidence?

Based on the mention of the city in the Ramayana by the banks of the Sarayu river. The Ramayana predates the Mahabharata. I dont want to get into the controversy of how old it is, that is another question.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Rudra » 21 May 2003 19:41

Dispurs planned part consists of the State capital
complex with offices, legislature, MLA hostels,
minister housing and housing colony for senior
ACS cadre officers.

It is not a city, just a large housing colony of
sorts. The rest is as planned/unplanned as guwahati.

At no time even in 70s was it a separate city, it
comes under guwahati municipal corporation and
is within the city limits.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 19:54

Originally posted by Kaushal:
[b]Based on archeological evidence?

Based on the mention of the city in the Ramayana by the banks of the Sarayu river. The Ramayana predates the Mahabharata. I dont want to get into the controversy of how old it is, that is another question.[/b]
There is a need to be careful in the claims here. Is there evidence that the Ayodhya as we know it today is the same as the one mentioned in the epic? That the river Sarayu today is the one mentioned there? I don't think this hypothesis (that they are the same) can be rejected but can it be accepted based on available evidence?

George J

Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby George J » 21 May 2003 19:55

Originally posted by Sridhar:
City definition is not hard. I shall use the census definition. A geographically distinct population agglomeration with the following criteria
1. More than 50% of the working population engaged in non-agricultural activities
2. Population of at least 1,00,000

The type of local body follows the definition, not vice versa (and there are myriad laws on this particularly at the state level).

Other new planned 'cities' post independence are Gandhinagar, Dispur (near Guwahati), Bhubhaneswar, NOIDA, Greater NOIDA, Gurgaon. Perhaps even Mohali, Panchkula etc. could be included per the above definition.
So am i correct in assuming that the abovementioned cities may or maynot have a separte municipal corporation from an existing older urban area (i.e old delhi and new delhi are under the same municipal corporation)?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 19:56

RS:

You're right. Though there were plans to make it a full city, but it never got implemented, right?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby VickersB » 21 May 2003 19:56

Sridhar,
Thanks for clarifying that to George - I guess
he mis-read what I wrote. Anyway...
The Punjab Govt. until lately were planning
another city near Chandi. (Anandpur? Maybe
Bajwa can clarify that) and is being opposed
since it would mean uprooting quite a few villages
and thus families/farmers - I'm sure this is a
problem faced where ever new cities are being
planned. Panchkula and Mohali do actually fall
into the new city category as they have their own
civic setup (Panchkula is now a district - where as previously Panchkula itself fell under the
Ambala court system and dist.)

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 19:59

Originally posted by George J:
So am i correct in assuming that the abovementioned cities may or maynot have a separte municipal corporation from an existing older urban area (i.e old delhi and new delhi are under the same municipal corporation)?
Actually, Delhi has three municipal organizations within the city limits - MCD, NDMC and the Cantonment Board. In principle, municipal organizations can be common between different cities per the census (e.g. Kalyan and Dombivili have a common municipal corporation though they are classified as separate entities in the census) or the same city might have multiple municipal organizations (e.g. Delhi). In general, however, there is only one local body per city (plus cantonment boards wherever cantonments are within city limits).

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 21 May 2003 20:24

There is a need to be careful in the claims here. Is there evidence that the Ayodhya as we know it today is the same as the one mentioned in the epic?

Such objections are not unique to Ayodhya and hold good for every city that stands on the same site as an ancient one. New Delhi is obviously not on the exact same location as Indraprastha, but there is a lot of evidence that New Delhi is only the latest of many cities built on the same or neighboring sites. So also the case with other ancient cities such as Pataliputra(capital of Magadha, the Kingdom over which King janaka (father of Sita) ruled), Takshashila, Sanchi etc.which stand on the ruins of ancient cities. The problem in India is the antiquity of ancient cities. You have to dig several levels to get at the ancient city and even then you may not find anything because materials decay over time. Even in the Saraswati Sindhu Civilization there are more than 1 level at most locations. The real archaeological work on India has just begun and will take many decades to complete. In Egypt many of the monuments have withstood the ravages of time because of the dry climate. Such is not the case in India.

That there was an ancient city called Ayodhya on the banks of the Sarayu river, is certainly not in doubt. The exact location of the ancient city relative to the modern one can of course be a subject of further study.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Rudra » 21 May 2003 20:46

before dispur, assam-meghalaya was one state and
shillong was capital which made travel difficult
for govt servants (Brits liked the cool climate).
so dispur was chosen because guwahati had road and
rail link to all parts. in those days that area
was mainly agricultural land and the notion of
a different 'city' came about. the area around the
complex had some shops, houses, villages but
the guwahati-shillong road that runs through
dispur always had built up structures 'connecting'
the two cities. Now its all one city - housing has
expanded unimaginably in last 10 yrs - esp last
3 yrs when the insurgency turned down drastically. Money both honest and ill-gotten that had been hidden came pouring out and a building boom started. if you go now all you hear
is the thump thump thump of new flats and commercial complexes coming up. a culture of conspicuous consumption like in bigger metros has
taken root - govt has liberally issued liquor
licenses to unemployed youths. so Guwdis has more
thekas per capita than anywhere else imo. guns,
fast girls, souped up zens, pool parlors...its a
wide open town ... think Gotham City without batman

the really new city planned was Pragjyotishpur
to house a new capital complex (dispur is too small now). It died a silent death due to fiscal
troubles ..assam govt is broke.

heres some interesting history.
http://guwahatifunda.com/ghy_hist.htm

Bhagadutta king of pragjyotishpur in ancient
times fought on side of Kauravas at Mahabharata.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 20:58

Kaushal:

Your latest post clarifies matters better. Let me ask this question differently - when has the oldest archeological site in Ayodhya been dated to?

Such objections are not unique to Ayodhya and hold good for every city that stands on the same site as an ancient one.
It is true that such objections are not unique to Ayodhya but the second part of the statement (in bold) is incorrect. There are numerous examples of cities with better recorded histories, where there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Evidence includes written accounts describing specific features that can be identified, or written records obtained from the digging itself.

On another note, if only the people of ancient India had a passion for recording history, we would have had a much better account of our past. We would not have to depend entirely on the accounts of foreigners and on peripheral evidence. Yet, there is a lot that is being learnt from even available evidence. I guess the most copious written evidence has been on temple incriptions and some copper plates but most of these are restricted to South India, aren't they? And there, there are few records of really 'ancient' times.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Vikram » 21 May 2003 21:00

Originally posted by SandeepA:
Excellent idea for a thread.
Can we collect a list of original names of cities of India?
Bangalore, Karnataka - Bendha kaalooru
Mysore, Karnataka - Mahishaasura (?)
Manglore, Karnataka - Mangala Ooru (?)

Ahmedabad, Gujrat - Karnavati
Patna, Bihar - Pataliputra

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby SandeepA » 21 May 2003 21:12

Originally posted by Sridhar:

On another note, if only the people of ancient India had a passion for recording history, we would have had a much better account of our past. We would not have to depend entirely on the accounts of foreigners and on peripheral evidence. Yet, there is a lot that is being learnt from even available evidence.
Perhaps it is that much harder to record history when you have barbarian invaders looting and plundering anything that seems of significance.
Egypt never suffered as much as thier records were on rock, gaint structures beyond the destructive capabilities of medieval barbarians. Remember Bamiyan Buddha survived upto the 21st century.

Sandy

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Vikram » 21 May 2003 21:13

Interesting history of Bangalore here http://visitbangalore.tripod.com/bangcool.htm

Nostalgic trip down Bangalore's memory lane here.
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2960/index.html

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby S Bajwa » 21 May 2003 21:28

Amritsar - Ramdaspur (established by Guru Ramdas, fourth sikh Guru)

Lahore - Lavpur (established by the son of Ramchandar named Lav)

Kasur - Kushpur (brother of lav named kush established this city)

Peshawar = Pushpapur

Ludhiana = Lodhi aana (i.e. invasion of Ibrahim Lodhi)

Bhatinda = Bhattian da (i.e. city belong to the Bhatti Rajputs)

Faridkot = city of Farid (city established by baba Sheikh Farid)

Official name for Mohali is "Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar" after elder son of Guru Gobind Singh,
This city was created on the site of an old village called "mohali"

Karnal = Established by Raja Karna (mahabharata fame)

Haridwar = God's door way. (no one knows who established it)

Ganganagar = established by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Rajasthan.

Yamunanaga/Jagadhari (twin cities in Haryana)... ???

Rohtak ???

Bhiwani ????

Hissar ???

Sirsa ???

Gurgaon = means "Jaggery village"

Anandpur= city where brotherhood of Khalsa was created by Guru Gobind singh.

Prakash singh Badal wanted to create a new city on the periphery of Chandigarh but was stopped by the Punjab High court.

Panchkula and SAS Nagar (mohali) are both in separate states with separate muncipals. Panchkula is
a district while SAS nagar is in Ropar District.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 21 May 2003 21:36

On another note, if only the people of ancient India had a passion for recording history, we would have had a much better account of our past. We would not have to depend entirely on the accounts of foreigners and on peripheral evidence. Yet, there is a lot that is being learnt from even available evidence.

This is an unnecessary statement or lament. In fact India has the largest extant literature from ancient times. There is no other comparable civilization that has such a wealth of literature (puranas, itihasa, Vedas) that India has - not China, not Egypt (most of the evidence is epigraphic), not mesopotamia.India dwarfs the other civillizations in the sheer magnitude and quantity of its puranic literature(e.g. the Bhagavatam). Unfortunately some of us have been cut of from this treasure trove because we have been Macaulayized and have switched to an English medium education. But it is definitely there (esp. in the vernacular languages)if you care to open the books and read. We do not have to depend on anybody. It is a miracle that this literature has survived despite a millenia of conquest and plunder.Much has been lost in the destruction of manuscripts in cities such as Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramshila, Odantipura, but much remains. Also a lot has been preserved in Tibet when the Indian Buddhist Monks fled there from Vihar in 1200 CE at the time of the conquest and destruction of Bihar by Mohammad bin Bakhtiar Khalji .

One of the classical accounts of the Puranic era is by AD Pusalkar in Book IV,Vol.I of History and Culture of the Indian people,The Vedic age, by RC Majumdar brought out by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. It is already a dated work and there has been much that has been discovered since then and the chronology is still a subject of study, but it is a good start.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 21:42

In fact India has the largest extant literature from ancient times. There is no other comparable civilization that has such a wealth of literature (puranas, itihasa, Vedas) that India has - not China, not Egypt (most of the evidence is epigraphic), not mesopotamia.India dwarfs the other civillizations in the sheer magnitude and quantity of its puranic literature(e.g. the Bhagavatam).
There is a difference between 'literature' and 'history', though many elements of history do get interpreted from literature. Where was there any claim about lack of literature? And just like you urge people not to assume things about you & your knowledge (valid), the same request applies to you as well.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Rudra » 21 May 2003 21:44

the Theosophical Society in chennai used to house
lot of palm leaf writings. has anyone visited and
observed how fragile or tough the leaves are ?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 21 May 2003 21:50

There is a difference between 'literature' and 'history'. Where was there any claim about lack of literature? And just like you urge people not to assume things about you & your knowledge (valid), the same request applies to you as well.

Never made any such assumption .

As for the distinction between literature and history, there is not even an extant literature in the rest of the world. Be thankful there is what there is in India. The puranic literature contains extensive dynastic lists of Kings for several generations. Those parts that deal with the dynasties comprise what we would call history today.

Remember the claim you made was that India compared unfavorably with other ancient civilizations. There is no basis for such a statement.

No point in arguing about this. If you dont agree with me , this wont be the first time and certainly wont be the last.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 22:08

Originally posted by Kaushal:
Remember the claim you made was that India compared unfavorably with other ancient civilizations. There is no basis for such a statement.
Could you please quote from my post where I claimed that India compared unfavorably with other civilizations? Or is this an assumption?

No point in arguing about this. If you dont agree with me , this wont be the first time and certainly wont be the last.
I can say the same back to you. But I shall not since to me, it is like suggesting that people have to agree with me or stop arguing with me and go their own way. I am willing to accept that I am wrong and the only way this can happen is if a discussion happens. I consider these discussions a process of learning and that process would stop if we stop arguing, would it not? After all, if we had stopped disagreeing and trying to support our respective points, would I have read as much as I did about the Saraswati? Or would you have learnt that the roads in Delhi named after Mughal kings were named before independence. The discussion is civil and I certainly want to continue. I cannot, of course, force you to.

never made any such assumption
Let me quote from your earlier post which caused me to make that request
Unfortunately some of us have been cut of from this treasure trove because we have been Macaulayized and have switched to an English medium education. But it is definitely there (esp. in the vernacular languages)if you care to open the books and read.
The assumption here is that 'we' (referred to as 'you' in your post) have not 'cared to open the books and read'. Or that 'we' have been cut off from this treasure trove, macaulayised etc. Therefore, the request. Note that I am not crying 'ad hominem' etc.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sanjay Joshi » 21 May 2003 22:15

Do any of the structures from Rama's time exist? Has anyone visited Ayodhya?

Originally posted by Kaushal:
[b]Does anyone know the oldest contemporary city in India?

Ayodhya is clearly one of the oldest contemporary cities.[/b]

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sanjay Joshi » 21 May 2003 22:27

Here's some stuff about my hometown of Mysore.

http://www.karnatakatourism.com/south/mysore/

http://www.mysoresamachar.com/mysorehistory.htm

History of Mysore
Mysore is the second biggest city in the State of Karnataka. It lies 130 kms from the State Headquarters, Bangalore. It is the erstwhile capital of the Mysore Maharajas, who ruled Mysore State from this royal city. It is now the headquarters of Mysore District with a population of over seven lakhs. The chief language of the people, as in the State of Karnataka, is Kannada and original Kannada is spoken in this part of the area. It covers an area of more than 40 sq.km. and is administered by the Mysore City Corporation. Situated 763 meters above sea level surrounded by hill ranges from north to south, it is known as the 'Garden City' and the 'City of Palaces'. The famous Chamundi Hill, which is mythologically associated with the name of the city, is to its southeast.

Mysore is associated with the Pouranic story that is found in the Devi Bhagavatha. According to this story in the mythological Devi Purana, Mysore was ruled by the demon-king Mahishasura. He was called Mahishasura, because he was a buffalo-headed monster. Hearing to the prayers of Gods and Goddess to save them from the monster, Goddess Parvathi, wife of Lord Siva, took birth as Chamundi or Chamundeswari and killed the monster. Hence, this place came to be known as Mahishuru, the city of demon Mahisha. After killing the demon, the Goddess resided atop the Chamundi Hills where she is worshipped with reverence and devotion even today. However, the original name of the hills is 'Mahabaladri Hills' and it derived the name Chamundi Hills at a later period, after 17th century.

The earliest mention of Mysore or Mahishur historically is referred to the time of King Ashoka in 245 B.C. On the conclusion of the third Buddhist convocation, Ashoka is said to have despatched a monk to Mahishamandala for the purpose of spreading Buddhism. However, some historians have viewed that this Mahishamandala does not relate to Mysore or Mahishur. Some edicts of Ashoka have been found in the northern parts of the present Karnataka State. Similar reference is also found in the epic work, Mahabharata. According to this legend, King Yudhishtira is said to have sent an expedition and Sahadeva made an attack on Mahishmati. However, experts are of the opinion that the reference made in this epic, one of the oldest legends of an historical character, is not related to Mysore.

Till the rise of Gangas in 10th century we find very little or no evidence at all relating to Mysore. The Ganga dynasty established its reign in the 2nd century and the Ganga kings ruled over the greater part of Mysore till about 1004. They established their capital in the 3rd century at Talakad, on the bank of the Cauvery river in T.Narasipur Taluk. One of their inscriptions has been traced in the Chamundi Hills. The inspection of 950 A.D. is the earliest inscription found in Mysore. After Gangas, Cholas rose to power and ruled for over a century. The Chalukyas followed them. Mysore was a part of Chalukya Prince Narasinga's kingdom in the 10th century. The Cholas built a few temples in Mysore. Hoysalas drove out the Cholas from Mysore region in the 12th century. Hoysalas, who are known for their famous temples, built or expanded the existing temples in Mysore and on the Chamundi Hills. Their 11th and 12th century inscriptions are found in Mysore.

The Mysore Yadu dynasty came to power in 1399 A.D. They were feudatories to the Vijayanagar kings, who followed the Hoysalas. They also contributed to the development of temples in Mysore. Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar, the raja of Mysore, rebuilt the small fort of Mysore in 1584 A.D. He made Mysore his headquarters and called the place as 'Mahishura Nagara' or the city of Mahishur. Several inscriptions of 17th century and later period make reference to Mysore as 'Mahishuru'. Raja Waidyar shifted the capital of his kingdom from Mysore to Srirangapatna in 1610 A.D. However, after the fall of Srirangapatna and death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, Mysore became the capital of the Wadiyars again. The transformation of Mysore from a small town confined to the limits of the Fort to a modern township began at the period of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III. It was Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV who developed Mysore into a handsome city with excellent planning. He brought fame to Mysore as a city of wide roads, imposing building and fairy parks.

Several Kannada works make reference to Mysore. But it is the famous Kannada work, "Kantirava Narasaraja Vijaya", written in 1648, which gives a beautiful description of Mysore. Poet Govinda Vaidya, author of the work, describes King Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar as "Maisoora Narasarajendra". He exhorts the beauty of "Maisooru", the "Sriman Mahabalachala" (Sri Mahabaladri Hills), "Bettada Chamundi" (Goddess Chamundi atop the hills), the Palace, the fort, the streets, the parks and the people in the town of Mysore. The very first chapter is dedicated to this beautiful description, the landmarks of which are to be found even today. Similar references to Mysore are also found in Kannada classics like "Chikka Devendra Vamshavali" (1680 A.D.), "Soundara Kavya" of Noorondayya (1740 A.D.) and "Krishnaraja Vilasa" (1815 A.D.).


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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 22:30

History of another ancient city in Tamil Nadu - Thanjavur.

http://www.thanjavur.com/history.htm

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 21 May 2003 22:54

The assumption here is that 'we' (referred to as 'you' in your post) have not 'cared to open the books and read'. Or that 'we' have been cut off from this treasure trove, macaulayised etc. Therefore, the request. Note that I am not crying 'ad hominem' etc

The 'some of us' in my post referred to myself and people like me who were educated in theenglish medium, not to you. sorry for the ambiguity.

"Unfortunately some of us have been cut of from this treasure trove because we have been Macaulayized and have switched to an English medium education."

The 'you' is again a generic 'you, we' and did not refer to you personally.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 21 May 2003 23:07

Could you please quote from my post where I claimed that India compared unfavorably with other civilizations? Or is this an assumption?

This was your statement.

“[color=red]if only the people of ancient India had a passion for recording history, we would have had a much better account of our past. We would not have to depend entirely on the accounts of foreigners and on peripheral evidence.</font>”

I did make the assumption that you were making a comparison with another civilization. ‘Better account’ than what ? If not the case, then my query is what is the statement relative to ? Most other ancient civilizations have had even less of a recorded historical literature during the time period in question .

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 21 May 2003 23:30

Originally posted by Kaushal:
I did make the assumption that you were making a comparison with another civilization. ‘Better account’ than what ? If not the case, then my query is what is the statement relative to ? Most other ancient civilizations have had even less of a recorded historical literature during the time period in question .
Better account than we have, not necessarily better than other civilizations.

Also, we seem to be not necessarily talking about the same time period. If you want to compare the Vedic period, whatever date you may want to give to it, there is an amazing amount of literature from that time, comparing favorably/better than other civilizations. The historical content of this literature and the corresponding dates, contemporaneous events etc. is a matter for continuing research. Nevertheless, a treasure trove there certainly is - and I will agree with you on that.

However, if you go a little further down in time (i.e. less ancient), a lot of our history seems to have been reconstructed from myriad sources including accounts from foreign travellers. Here is where the relative paucity of record, at least as far as I know, seems to hit you. It could be that there was a historical record but that it got destroyed, these foreign travellers accounts surviving in their respective countries. For exapmple, Al Beruni says that he bases some of his historical narrative (as opposed to current narrative) on study of texts, signifying that they did exist in his time. But at least in the translation I have read, he does not refer to many of the specific texts, so we have no way of knowing which ones they were or how many there were.

But the question I have had is why so many non-historical texts survived but not that many historical ones (e.g. chronicles). Were they selectively destroyed? Possibly, but I don't have a conclusive answer to the question.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 22 May 2003 00:06

Now we are getting somewhere. I was referring to Ancient India (as I thought you were) but it is now apparent you were referring to medieval India (roughly from 800 CE to the arrival of the British ).

During that period there were historical texts too that have survived to this day such as Kalhana's Rajatarangani.

Reliance on travellers to decode our history is not peculiar to India. Even a young nation like the US makes it required reading for its schoolchildren to read Alexis de Tocqueville's travelogues. Again it may be a 'no-win' situation.If one doesnt rely on outside travellers, one could be accused of being too 'jingoistic', and if one relies on them, there is the charge you are relying on 'gaijin' or 'firengi' for your information. The trick is to absorb as much information from every source, while using 'viveka' to sift the wheat from the chaff, opinion and hyperbole from fact. But of course this is one of the purposes of education - to be able to do just that.

During the medieval era we have to rely on Persian and Muslim historians to a large extent. These were not travellers, but individuals who had settled in India (Farishtah, Utbi, Barani, Abul Fazl and others). There is no dearth of material, merely that we have to distinguish between what is exaggeration,bias, boast and hyperbole vs. the truth, something that is true for all historians.

Even the Puranas are vast in extent and it would not be possible even for a Sanskritist to get acquainted with all of them and to say that I have merely skimmed the surface is an exaggeration. Here is what the Kanchi acharya has to say about our Puranas;

Study of the Puranas

"The history we learn in schools and colleges tells us mainly about the rise and fall of kingdoms, wars and invasions, and similar political topics. The purpose of history is to enable people in the present to build for the future, profiting from the experience of the past. The conception of history is in accord with the saying "history repeats itself". It is wrong to think that there can be history only for politics. Every subject has a history behind it.

History is called Itihaasa in Sanskrit. In this country we associate Itihaasa with two works, the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. They embody the history of religion, culture, dharma, and the their traditions. The term Itihaasa is derived by the combination of keywords, iti, he, and aasa - iti (in this manner), he (they say), aasa (it happened). Aitihyam means tradition, and it is derived from Itihaasam. Aitihyam has become Aiteekam in Tamil.

Besides the two Itihaasas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there are 18 Puraanas, which also expound our religion, custom, culture and traditions. They are very old works as the name Puraana it self signifies. There are also a large number of works giving that local traditions of a number of places. They are called Sthala Puraanas. In the olden days, palm leaf manuscripts of Itihaasas, Puraanas, and Sthala Puraanas were treasured by householders. If any volume showed signs of decay , it was copied down on new leaves, and the old manuscript consigned to the waters of the Kaveri on the 18th day of the month of Adi (2nd of August). That is how all these ancient works came to be preserved so long. But owing to the indifference of people in subsequent periods, the manuscripts were not recopied, and consequently, a bulk of them got decayed and were lost to us. What could be salvaged are preserved in the Oriental Manuscripts Library, the Saraswati Mahal Library(Thanjavur),and the Adyar Library. The Theosophical Society has rendered an invaluable service by collecting and preserving quite a good number of these vaulable manuscripts. But unfortunately many of the Sthala Puraanas have been permanently lost to us.

It seems to me that these Sthala Puraanas contain more ethical and moral lessons and historical facts than even the Puraanas themselves. If we carefully examine the Puraanas we will be able to find one Puraana supplemented another. A diligent student, by a co-ordinated study, can bring to light many truths. The tendency of English-educated persons is to regard the Puraanic stories as mere fiction. That is not a correct approach to these valuable works. Have not recent discoveries of fossils established the existence, at one time, of huge monsters and men of immense proportions? Do not freaks of nature occur even now? Why then should we brush aside the Puraanic stories as unbelievable? While benefiting from the ethical and moral lessons which these stories convey, let us also keep an open mind regarding the characters potrayed in these stories.

In some Puraanas and Sthala maahatyams, we find a reference that Sri Rama installed a Linga, in order to wash of the sin of Bramha Hathi which came to be attached to him, as result of killing Ravana, a Bramhin. Though by killing Ravana, Sri Rama performed a righteous act of protecting innocent and good men from the tyranny of a bad man, and though as an incornation of God no sin can ever attach to him, yet as a model human person, he did this act of expiation as a sin. According to Sthala Puraanas, Sri Rama is stated to have installed the Linga of Iswara at Rameswaram, Vedaranyam, and at Pattesvaram, near Kumbakonam, to expiate respectively the doshas (wrongs) of Bramha-Hathi, Veera-Hathi and Cchaya-Hathi, resulting from the killing of Ravana. There is inter-relation between the Sthala Puraanas of these three places and the Ramayana. One version of the Kaveri Puraana attaches sanctity to the Amma Mantapam on the banks of the Kaveri at Srirangam, and the center figure in the story is King Dharma Varma of Nichulapuri(Uraiyoor). According to another version of the same Puraana, sanctity is attached to Mayuram and the principal characters in that version are Natha Sarma and his wife, Anavadyai. It is noteworthy that the bathing ghat or "lagadam" (a curruption of Thula ghattam), on the banks of Kaveri at Mayuram and those at six or seven other places are architecturally similar. In this version of Kaveri Puraana, there is a reference that Natha Sarma and his wife visited other places of piligrimage like Kedaara and Kasi. There is bathing ghat none as Kedaara Ghatta at Banaras, and Sthala Puraana of the place also mentions about the visit of the Natha Sarma couple to the ghatta. I am mentioning all these facts to show that one Puraana supplements another and that diligent research in to these Puraanas and Sthala Puraanas will yield valuable historical facts.

If our religion survived many vicissitudes in the past, it is because of our temples and the festivals associated with them. The spiritual, moral, and ethical principles expounded by the Vedaas have survived and spread through the Puraanaas. They teach the basic truths in a manner which appeals to the heart. Let us not, therefore, be indifferent to these great works of religious literature, but treasure them, study them, conduct researches in them, and there by benefit ourselves and the world.

February 4, 1958.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Arvind » 22 May 2003 00:18

However, if you go a little further down in time (i.e. less ancient), a lot of our history seems to have been reconstructed from myriad sources including accounts from foreign travellers.
You may have some very subtle line here that some of us are perhaps missing. But implicit in your statement (in a cursory reading) is the belief that we were not interested in recording history and our history mainly comes from foreign records. I should agree that this is a widespread view, but as Acharya stated on another thread, it is what we have been made to believe, rather than it being the reality. The narrative of our history is not controled by us !

As far as our history, a good deal of it has been reconstructed from our own records. For example the early gangas of TN and Karnataka- how do you think their history was reconstructed? It was based on our own records. Now you have provided hints on this forum that you are from TN or at least a Tamil-speaker. Now, TN is a rich source of such records that you may be familiar with. So what are these records? They are copper plates of which a large quantity exist in TN, some still in the possession of the elite households or their familial temples. The records of these plates are a large historical record in a relatively stable material. You only need to read the older scripts to glean material from them.

The history of the Rajputs in the north for example is again fairly well corroborated by inscriptions and plates. Have you seen the Atpur inscription for example: it tells you the early history of the shishodias. When history was destroyed by the mohammedan invaders of course it was forgotten by the masses.

Finally, there are poorly known texts where Indian travellers to central Asian, China and the far east are recorded. Just that few people pay attention to them.

For example why is the famous early "NRI" :D kumAra jIva and his travels to Central Asia and China not taught in Indian texts books? He wrote fluent Chinese that even they acknowledge his scholarship in their language. Who is samAntashri and what were his travels for example?

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Sridhar » 22 May 2003 00:37

HH:

I am aware of the reconstruction of history from copper plates. I had in fact mentioned it in an earlier post in this thread. Also, a wealth of information has been revealed from the study of temple inscriptions. The village temples in both my parents' ancestral villages are from medieval times and have revealed quite a lot by themselves. So no disagreement on that front.

Thanks for the information on Kumarajiva. That is something new I have learnt. Any references where I can dig more?

No insinuations against our ancestors. Just an observation that things would have been so much better if there had been more historical records. Whether they are lower in number because they got destroyed, or they were not written, I am seeking answers to that. Or perhaps my own knowledge on this is poor and I might learn that there are indeed historical records from that time that I am not aware about.

Remember where it started. I would prefer a larger proportion of history to be constructed from our own records rather than that of travellers. While travellers' accounts provide a fascinating view of society and have the advantage of taking a larger snapshot and providing comparisons across civilizations, they suffer from the disadvantage of being possibly biased. At the least, the disadvantage is that they do not offer an insider's view of things. So they are valuable, but it is preferable if they are not the primary source. That is the reason for my comment/lament/whatever you may term it.

While it has been a good discussion, we should steer it back to that on cities. We have another thread on general history.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Kaushal » 22 May 2003 00:45

the belief that we were not interested in recording history and our history mainly comes from foreign records. I should agree that this is a widespread view, but as Acharya stated on another thread, it is what we have been made to believe, rather than it being the reality. The narrative of our history is not controled by us !

hauma, Thank you for stating this explicitly. I may have failed to state this , in the belief that such a viewpoint is by now widely held in India.

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby Umrao » 22 May 2003 01:13

Thanks once again esquared HH.

Also folks if you take a little time while standing in queue in Tirumala temple once you enter the sanctum sanctorium, and read the engravings on the granite stone wall, which you will be leaning or touching after waiting for so long, you will learn that the kings of Vijayanagara and others contributed to the upkeep of the temples. The engravings can be in Tamil Telugu kannada. Do try your hand at that even though some them are wearing out and some of them have been white washed with lime (Ca Co2)

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Re: Histories of Cities in India

Postby manju » 22 May 2003 03:41

umrao

I try to read them (kannada and telugu) everytime I go there. But, difficult to understand becasue some of it may be in Halei (old) Kanndad and also the senteces end abruptly either due to whitewash, or poor maintainence.

I wonder why if anybody has tried to record what is written there. At the present rate of visitore I think the inscritions will be wiped out by the devotees (butts:))rubbing against these walls.


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