Indian History Discussions - III

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Indian History Discussions - III

Postby member_201 » 16 May 2003 20:26

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby svinayak » 16 May 2003 23:46

Indian court rejects British trader Charnock as Kolkata's founder
By Krittivas Mukherjee, Indo-Asian News Service

Kolkata, May 16 (IANS) Capping a decades-old academic debate, an Indian court Friday ruled that British trader Job Charnock was not the founder of this erstwhile colonial capital.

The Calcutta High Court ordered authorities in West Bengal to delete Charnock's name as the city's founder from all history books and official records.

Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and judge Jayanta Kumar Biswas, however, did not set a timeframe within which the state government was to obliterate the enterprising British trader's claim to fame.

The court also ruled that August 24 was not to be celebrated as the city's birthday, as has been done in the past.

The verdict has upheld the findings of an experts' team formed last year to probe the origins of this crowded eastern metropolis that Charnock was believed to have founded 312 years ago.

The popular belief, which even the authorities had so far backed, is that Charnock, an employee of the East India Company, founded the city on August 24, 1690.

But academicians and an ancient aristocratic Bengali family had been opposing this theory.

The Bengali family of Sabarna Roychoudhury, which is believed to have "owned" much of what is today Kolkata, had challenged in court the city's birthday.

It has claimed the actual founder of the city was zamindar (landlord) Laxmikanta Roychowdhury (1570-1649), who received ownership rights over eight villages, including the three that make up today's Kolkata, from Mughal emperor Akbar as a token of appreciation for his services.

The inquiry team said after researching ancient documents that Calcutta, now Kolkata, was not a "pestilential marshy land inhabited by people of the lower classes only" when Charnock had landed over three centuries ago.

The experts said clusters of "rural settlements had agglomerated in the last decade of the 17th century to coalesce into the English East India Company's trading factory. This grew into a township in the 18th century. No particular year marks its date of birth."

According to Sabarna Roychoudhury Parivar Parishad (SRPP) joint secretary Gora Chand Roychoudhury, there is documentary evidence that the family sold Sutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindapur (the three villages that made up Calcutta) to the East India Company for Rs.1,300 on November 10, 1698.

Charnock's elder son-in-law Sir Charles Eyer signed the deal on behalf of the British company while Ramchandra, Mahadev, Pran and Rambhadra Roychoudhury represented the sellers. SRPP claims the deal was illegal because Mahadev and Rambhadra Roychoudhury were minors.

SRPP has obtained a copy of the 1698 sale deed from the British Library in London.

Hitherto, August 24, 1690 was accepted as the city's birthday because Charnock was believed to have set foot in Kolkata that day. But some historians hold that Charnock had landed in 1676. On August 24, 1690, Charnock landed in Kolkata for the third time, these historians say.

SRPP claimed that if present-day Kolkata should at all have a birthday, it ought to be celebrated on November 10, 1698 and not August 24, 1690, which was "neither the first day of Charnock's visit nor was the land then owned by the East India Company".

SRPP's counsellor Smarajit Roychoudhury claimed that Charnock had died on January 10, 1692, six years before the British company signed the deal. "How then can Job Charnock be the founder of Calcutta?" he had questioned.

SRPP further claimed the actual founder of the city was zamindar (landlord) Laxmikanta Roychowdhury (1570-1649), who received ownership rights over eight villages, including the three that make up today's Kolkata, from Mughal emperor Akbar as a token of appreciation for his services.

City Mayor Subrata Mukherjee too believes that the city was neither born on August 24, 1690 nor was Charnock its founder.

The inquiry team noted that the name Kolkata (Calcutta is the anglicised pronunciation) found mention in documents dating back to 1660.

Numismatic evidence shows that human settlement began in Calcutta about 1,500 years ago. The first European traders to arrive in the region some time in 1510 were the Portuguese. Before that, Chinese, Arabs and Malays formed part of the trading community.

The Dutch, Danes, English and French followed the Portuguese. Armenians settled in Calcutta at least 60 years before the arrival of Charnock.

Archaeologists excavating on the city's northern outskirts have come upon artefacts and "habitational deposits" that are believed to be the remains of an urban settlement dating back to the 2nd century BC.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Bhrigu » 17 May 2003 03:08

Someone has painstakingly put together Indian timeline from the start of the yuga. Click on the image in this link and it brings up an xl file.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby GGanesh » 17 May 2003 03:17

I could'nt find the excel file. Can you post details?

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Bhrigu » 17 May 2003 04:07

If you scroll down there's this line:

Click on image to download:

and below that an image.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby mikoyan » 18 May 2003 11:36

Can someone please clarify ?

Did Hyder Ali & Tipu Sultan rule on behalf of the Wodeyars of Mysore (The Wodeyars being reduced to being rulers only in name)or as kings in their own right.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kaushal » 18 May 2003 12:15

Hyder Ali deposed the Wodeyar raja and usurped the throne in 1761 the same year that Ahmad Shah Durrani defeats the Mahrattas in Panipat. He never ruled on behalf of the Wodeyars. He was just a soldier/adventurer who also happened to be a charismatic leader.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Agnimitra » 21 May 2003 04:50

I came across a posting on an e-group referring to a Discovery Channel documentary that spoke about 'Aryan' migrations from east to west, out of India. Here's an excerpt:

According to the Armenian-Iranian author Robert Bamban, Armenians are from the "first migration of the Aryan race who left their original homeland in the Indus valley. They probably were living with other Aryan races in India for over 4,000 years." This is corroborated from recent findings about migration patterns from east to west reported on the Discovery channel.
I didn't know the east-to-west migration theory out of India has gained this kind of currency, so that Armenian and Kurd intellectuals were now reconstructing their histories. :)

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby parsuram » 21 May 2003 06:49

Originally posted by Harish:
Someone has painstakingly put together Indian timeline from the start of the yuga. Click on the image in this link and it brings up an xl file.
Facinating chonology. Thanks for posting. Obvious that a lot of work has gone into compiling this. I will follow this, as imo, it is a serious effort to reconcile different sources etc.

On a related matter (of Indo eurpean migration), I found the dates quite interesting, as I have always felt that such a migration was possibly due to the ice age of the time, and it was natural for people to move to warmer lands. By the same token, peoples who had a memory of migrating to India may well have migrated back out when the weather changed. Perhaps this has been discussed in depth in some publication?

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby AshishN » 21 May 2003 07:10

Very informative. Especially the "Indology Basics". (Harish's newdharma link).

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Arvind » 21 May 2003 07:22

Important Idol stolen by the Britons. The original bhojashAla temple was built by the great rAja bhoja of the paramAras who was one of the leaders of the battle against the mohammedans in Bahraich. It also had a sanskrit university which contained this sarasvati stature. Alla-ad-din Khalji had broken this structure and erected a dargah in its place for a sufi agent of theirs. It was extended in the 1400 by a vicious ghazi from Afghanistan called Dilawar Khan Ghori.

A warped view on the same from the commie rag: frontline

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Sai » 22 May 2003 20:12

A superb article on Sulekha. Among other things, this article contains a wealth of historical information on early Christianity in India. The erudite author has served in the US army.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kaushal » 22 May 2003 20:47

Newdharma link is a very commendable effort. But the chronology and the timeline is still a subject of study. The author practically dismisses the drying up of the Saraswati river as a marker, saying that in the Mahabharata, it was already a dead river.

"Geological data from the Sarasvati River (which dried up in 1900 B.C.E.) and its tributary, the Drshadvati River (which dried up in 2500 B.C.E.) lend more credence to the Royal Chronology timeframes. Since the Sarasvati is described as a dead river in the Mahabharat, it is clear then that the Mahabharat War occurred AFTER 1900 B.C.E."

That is of course not true as Balarama makes a pilgrimage on the banks of the Saraswati. It is a dying river by then but had not dried up completely. The process of dessication of a river takes many hundreds of years and had started well before 1900 BCE, by which date it was complete.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kaushal » 23 May 2003 20:08

Crossposted from IC yahoogroup site. I post this here, not to assert that everything here is necessarily accurate (or even consistent) but that this is the kind of analysis that needs to be done to unravel ancient Indian history. The point is there is litle justification to the oft repeated claim that Indians are not meticulous historians, at least as far as the Puranic era is concerned. This must be tempered with the available technology of the time which was far in advance of anything comparably available in the rest of the world.

Puranic chronological computations

I believe that there is no controversy about the Saptarshis being in
Magha in 3176-3076 BC. (3177-3077 BC, when taking Kalistart as 3102)
panchasaptativarshaani praakkaleh sapta te dvijaah
maghaasvaasan mahaaraaje shaasatyurvim yudhishthire.
panchavimshativarsheshu gateshvatha kalau yuge,
samaashrayantyaashleshaam munayaste shatam samaah.
(this gives 75 years before the start of Kali era and 25 years after
Kali, the Saptarshis were in Magha.)

The birth of Pârikshita
According to the Puranas his birth was 2807 (The Bhavishyat School)
before the accession of ChandraGupta I.
The accession was in 329 BC. This gives 3136 BC for the birth of

Megasthenes (throug Solinus) gives the number 6451 for 153 kings from
Father Bacchus.
Arrian calculates 153 kings and 6042 years and three republican
(=kingless) periods, one of 300 years, one of 120 years and the third
is not given.
Calculationg from 325 BC we get the dates of 6776 BC and 6367 BC.
The 15th generation (138st from ChandraGupta I) gives Heracles.
Perhaps 6367 is attached in this system to Heracles and 6776 to

The 6776 BC is 3600 years, or a Saptarshi cycle, away from the 3176
BC (to 3076) of Magha Nakshatra. There are 27 Nakshatras, which means
that Saptarshis in Magha will again occur from 476-376 BC.

What can these data say to us?
I. The Puranas give two figures for the period from Pârikshita to the
1. The number 1150
Mahânandâbhishekâttu yâvajjanma parîkshitah,
evam varshasahasram tu jneyam panchâshatottaram.(for 'jneyam shatam
panchâshatottaram' originally. Vayu and Bhavishya have variants which
contain the word 'jneyam shatam')

From Parikshita( Pârikshita) to the accession of Maha Nanda
(Augrasainya), 1150 years have passed, which gives: 1986 BC. This is
very close to a 1976 BC Kali end of the Saptarshi cycle. Mahananda
was king after the last Shaishunaga, and destroyed the Shaishunagas,
Pradyotas, Kosalas and Pauravas.

2. the number 1500
Mahâpadmâbhishekâttu yâvajjanma parîkshitah,
evam varshasahasram tu jneyam panchashatottaram.

From Pârikshita to the accession of Mahapadma Nanda, 1500 years had
passed, which gives: 1636 BC.

3. First Kingless Period
There is a lot of confusion after the Shaishunagas. There are
actually 11 Nandas given: MahaNanda and 8 others, and then Mahapadma
Nanda and his son Dhana Nanda.
From 1986 - 1636 BC we have exactly 350 years. This is the number of
the first Kingless period, which is lost in the work of Arrian. This
means that MahaNanda and his 8 successors were actually republican
leaders. It was Mahapadma nanda who carved an empire for himself and
his son.

4. Checking Buddhist figures
A. The Mahavamsha gives 52 years to Bimbisara, 32 to Ajatashatru, 16
to Udayin, 8 to his two descendants, 24 to NagaDarshaka and 18 to
Shishunaga (II).
We have given MahaNanda an accession from 1986 BC on. This would lead
to: Bimbisara 2112-2080 BC, Ajatashatru 2080-2048 BC, Udayin 2048-
2032 BC, 2 persons 2032-2024 BC, NagaDarshaka 2024-2000 BC and
Shishunaga II 2000-1986 BC.
There is a date of a (previous?) Buddha given as 2148 BC. (see
MaxMueller a History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p 139. footnote)
If he did live for 80 years too, we would get 2148-2066 BC. This
would mean that this (previous) Buddha did live in the same reign of
Bimbisara and Ajatashatru, as the tradition wants.
B. Buddhist tradition says that Ashoka was crowned 218 years after
the death of Buddha. This gives 2066-218 = 1848, minus 350 (first
kingless period) = 1498 BC. For Bindusara 28 years is given, and for
Chandragupta 24 years. Chandragupta thus ruled from ca. 1550 BC on.
{MahapadmaNanda and DhanaNanda ruled thus for ca. 86 years.
C. FaHien gives the number of ca. 1086 BC for Buddha's death. He
obviously followed the Kashmiri chronology of Kalhana, who lost 653
years in his calculations (3101 - 653 = 2448 BC for Kali). Now, 1086
+ 653 + 350 (first kingless period) gives 2089 BC, for an approximate
D. One Ceylonese tradition puts Chandragupta maurya's accession to be
162 years after the death of Buddha (Indian Culture II, pag 560).
Taking 1550 BC for Chandragupta we get: 1550 + 162 + 350 (first
kingless period), which gives: 2062 BC, withoutcounting the first
four regnal years of Ashoka, which otherwise would have given 2066 BC.

5. Checking other figures
Mahânandâbhishekânta yâvatparîkshitah,
etadvarshasahasram tu jneyam (shatam) panchâshatottaram.
Pramânam vai tathâ vaktum mahapadmottaram ca yat,
antaram ca shatânyashtau shattrimshashca samâh smrtâh.
Etatkâlântaram bhâvyândhrântâdyâ prakîrtitâh.

Taking 1150 years from Parikshita to MahaNanda gives 1986 BC. [The
first Kingless period of 350 years gives 1986-1636 BC]
From Mahapadma on there will be 836 years to the End of the Andhras:
836 + 300 (2nd kingless) + 120 (3rd kingless) gives 1256 years. The
date 1636 minus 1256 gives 380 BC for the approximate end of the
Andhras, who ruled for 456 powerful and 50 declining years. [329 + 50
gives 379 BC]

II. The Puranas say this about the Andhras:
1. The 24th Andhra
2. The Andhrânta

Saptarshayo maghâyuktâ kâle pârikshite shatam,
andhrânte tu chaturvimshe bhavishyanti shatam samâh.

The Saptarshis were in the century of Magha in the days of Pârikshita
it will be again in that century in the 24th in (to) the End of the
Magha is from 476-376 BC. The 24th king was obviously close to 476
BC, which must have been Vasishthiputra Shatakarni. The 30th king
will rule upto 379 BC. The last two not-so-powerful kings (Saumya 12
and Megha 28 years?) will rule upto 329 BC.

III. Other computations
1. BrhatSamhita 23.3 based on VrddhaGarga
This gives 2526 years from Yudhishthira's reign to Shakakala. Placing
Shakakala in 552 (553) BC, we will get 3078 BC when Yudhishthira is

2. HaragauriSamvada
The 552 BC is confirmed in the Buddhist tantric txt, the
HaraGauriSamvada: It says that the start of Shakakala is in 2549 of
Kali Era, which gives 3101/3102 - 2549 = 552/553 BC. (source dr P.C.
Baghchi: IHQ, XVIII, 3. pp 231 ff). The Shakas will rule then. (The
Chashtana Shakas, because they were the contemporaries of the Andhras)
And then Shakraditya/Shakaditya will rule in 3179 Kali Era, which
gives AD 78.

3. Al Beruni
The epoch of the Guptas falls, like that of the Vallabhas, in 241
years after the Shakakala. (Al Beruni's India, Sachau II, p. 7)
This gives 552/553-241 = 211/212 BC. This must be the start of
SamudraGupta's reign, after having defeated Kalyanavarman.
After the rule of many kings their dynasties will be
closed "âmanukshayât" with king Vishvashphani (SamudraGupta).
Pargiter has translated this as 'till the termination of the Manus',
which must mean, 'till the end of the Manu-antaras': A Manvantara has
71 ChaturYugas. per generation, the Purnas gave 40 years: 71 x 40 =
2840 years. The dynasties in Kali started from Parikshita of 3136 BC.
This gives 296 BC, which is approximately the year in which
Samudragupta Vishvashphani must have terminated the Kshatriya
dynasties (of Aryavarta).

4. The Gupta and Vikrama Eraa
a. Trailokya Prajnapti
This Jain text gives 255 years from Gupta to Vikramaditya. We then
get 312 - 255 = 57 BC.
b. AaGuptayikaanaam Kaalah = Vikrama Samvat
This Era is referred to in the Chamundaraja's Inscription (the Era is
called Gaupta), Gokkak Plates of Dejja Maharaja. Even Al Beruni has
noticed that an Gupta Era was started at the end of the Gupta Period.

etc. etc. etc.

We can see that the Indian tradition is full of closely knotted
chronological data, which seems to be fairly in concordance, even
after many mutilations and misprints, etc.
Whatever the value is of all these data given in this posting, at
least we get the impression that Indian chronology is based on deeply
rooted traditions, which isn't that chaotic after all......




ShrimadBhagavatam 12.2
27-28. Of the seven stars forming the constellation of the seven
sages, Pulaha and Kratu are the first to rise in the night sky. If a
line running north and south were drawn through their midpoint,
whichever of the lunar mansions this line passes through is said to
be the ruling asterism of the constellation for that time. The Seven
Sages will remain connected with that particular lunar mansion for
one hundred human years. Currently, during your lifetime, they are
situated in the naksatra called Magha.

31. When the constellation of the seven sages is passing through the
lunar mansion Magha, the age of Kali begins. It comprises twelve
hundred years of the demigods.

Saptarshis in Magha is from 3176-3076 BC. Which means that a king
Parikshit (or better a king of the Pârikshita family rules in Magha

Whatever the meaning of the astronomical reference is, it implies
that at that period no Shri Ramachandra can have been ruling, as in
Shri Ramachandra's time no Pârikshita Kaurava king is mentioned. Shri
Ramachandra is pre-Kaurava and pre-Panchala. If we even assume that
this Pârikshita is Parikshit I or his son, then still we have to
presuppose the kings upto Sudas Sarnjaya. Even the Srnjayas aren't
known to Dasharatha and Shri Ramachandra. No Paurava is invited to
any of the events/festivities of Ayodhya during that time. And we
know from Vedic literature that the Bharata-Paurava kings from
Vadhyrashva upto at least Somaka Sahadevya were very powerful, and
couldn't have been ignored by the Aikshvakus.

The astronomical references leading to 3347 BC don't fit the Vedic
and Puranic chronology, nor the traditional data. The Bharata Battle
date of 3067 BC is better in accordance with the chronology.
Whatever the value of the dynasties is, one cannot ignore them.


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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kaushal » 23 May 2003 20:26

The significance of this find is that they were found in locations other than those required to support the structure of the Babri Masjid, hence the objections of the Waqf board. Clearly there was a prior structure underneath the Babri Masjid and these finds indicate that they were foundational supports for such a prior structure, and the Islamists are making a last ditch effort to deny that reality.

Isnt it far better and less contentious to admit there was a prior structure underneath the Babri Masjid site and then move on from there. Such a move would lead to far greater communal harmony than all these futile lawsuits.

Waqf board accuses ASI of prejudice
Source: Deccan Herald
DH News Service LUCKNOW, MAY 22

The Central Sunni Waqf Board (CSWB) has alleged that the
Archaeological Survey of India is carving out pillars out of the
underground floors found during the excavation to favour a contestant.

Referring indirectly to the Hindu parties as "some contestants", the
complaint suggests that the pillars shown to have been recovered will
be used to help "some contestants" draw an inaccurate inference.

The CSWB and other Muslim contestants have filed an application
before Justice S Siddiqui and Justice Hari Shanker Dubey, observers
appointed by the special bench of Allahabad High Court seized of the
contentious title suit, seeking dismantling of the circular/squarish
structure in trench G-2 and urged the High Court to direct the ASI to
follow norms during excavation.

The complaint contends that "partial digging" is creating
an "inaccurate visual impression" that "squarish-circular structural
base (pillar)" are present in trench G-2. While the observers will
check the veracity of the complaint, it has raised fears of possible
tampering in the high-profile excavation project undertaken by the

The two-page complaint is technical in language but in simple terms,
the main accusation is that any floor structure found during
excavation of a trench should be photographed and drawn on paper in
full as it exists.

Instead, the ASI is removing brickbats partially from the trench and
carrying out further digging there while leaving a small area with
brickbats untouched. The latter is then photographed giving the
impression of a round or squarish base. If the brickbats were
photographed evenly spread in the trench, the impression of a
squarish or round base would not have been created and a complete
floor would have been exposed.

Casting aspersions on the modus operandi of the ASI, the complaint
explains the accusation with the digging in trench G-2 on May 16-17.
It says: "The digging revealed brickbats spread unevenly over the
entire area in trench. In the course of the last digging on the same
day, an area roughly 75 cm by 60 cm in the north-western quadrant was
left with brickbats exposed.

While in the remaining portion of the trench, the brickbats were
removed. The next day more digging was undertaken but the area 75 cm
by 60 cm was left untouched. It was only now the area was allowed to
be photographed and mapped in clear violation of the norms of
excavation." Instead, as per norms, the photographs should have shown
brickbats spread in the entire trench, says the complaint.

Zafaryab Jilani, counsel for CSWB, said the trench supervisor for G-2
had confirmed the brickbats were part of floor construction.

The complaint seeks to confront the ASI report filed before the High
Court on April 28. The report said: "The appearance of eleven
squarish or circular structural bases having brickbats at the base
are significant as some of which are sealed directly by the original
floor attached to the disputed structure."

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby GGanesh » 23 May 2003 21:09

Sai: Great Find. I hope someone emails it to John Dayal and the vatican.

A superb article on Sulekha. Among other things, this article contains a wealth of historical information on early Christianity in India. The erudite author has served in the US army.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby AshishN » 23 May 2003 21:46

The Sulekha article is great.

The author also should have mentioned (or I must have missed it) that there many indications that Christ came to the himalayas during his lost years, (from age 13-30, during which period the Bible has no account of Christ).

I have many books on Hindu saints. Swami Rama, eg, says that he met christian mystic sages in the Himalayas during his youth. These sages were exactly like the pictures of Christ we see today: dressed in exceedingly simple clothes. They (the christian mystics) swore that Jesus had come to lay down his body in Kashmir after His resurrection, and pointed out a shrine where the body was.

Yogananda, Ramakrishna, Gandhi etc point our the similarities between Siddha Yogis and Jesus.

***This is not to say all Christians are Hindu wonly, far from it. Point is to point out the similarities. eg, I believe in Jesus as someone who had fully manifested the divinity in himself. ....And I am a Hindu BJP supporter.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby O Vijay » 24 May 2003 02:15

While reading the contents posted in the newdharma site, I came across following terms somewhere on the internet (and I lost track of):

Sanathana Dharma
Buddha Dharma
Jaina Dharma

Can there be such thing as Sikh Dharma, Islam Dharma and Christ Dharma? Or even atheist Dharma?

If so, why can't all people who believe in unity and integrity of India when asked what religion they belong to can answer by stating that they believe in (insert your religion here if you wish to) Dharma and you are a (insert your religion here) Dharmic.

Some definitions of word Dharma:

I define Dharma as the laws of nature or nature of laws which sustains and nurtures life.

Popular from a theist point of view:
Dharma is generally defined as ‘righteousness’ or ‘duty’. Dharma is the principle of righteousness. It is the principle of holiness. It is also the principle of unity. Bhishma says in his instructions to Yudhishthira that whatever creates conflict is Adharma, and whatever puts an end to conflict and brings about unity and harmony is Dharma. Anything that helps to unite all and develop pure divine love and universal brotherhood, is Dharma. Anything that creates discord, split and disharmony and foments hatred, is Adharma.

Dharma is the cementer and sustainer of social life. The rules of Dharma have been laid down for regulating the worldly affairs of men. Dharma brings as its consequence happiness, both in this world and in the next. Dharma is the means of preserving one’s self. If you transgress it, it will kill you. If you protect it, it will protect you. It is your soul companion after death. It is the sole refuge of humanity.

That which elevates one is Dharma. This is another definition. Dharma is that which leads you to the path of perfection and glory. Dharma is that which helps you to have direct communion with the Lord. Dharma is that which makes you divine. Dharma is the ascending stairway unto God. Self-realisation is the highest Dharma. Dharma is the heart of Hindu ethics. God is the centre of Dharma.

Dharma means Achara or the regulation of daily life. Achara is the supreme Dharma. It is the basis of Tapas or austerity. It leads to wealth, beauty, longevity and continuity of lineage. Evil conduct and immorality will lead to ill-fame, sorrow, disease and premature death. Dharma has its root in morality the controller of Dharma is God Himself.

Dharma In Other Religions

All other religions also lay stress on Dharma. Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam are all remarkably alive to its value. Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Kant, Swedenborg and Spinoza are all striking examples in the interesting history of Western philosophy for the high pedestal on which they have placed morality, duty and righteousness, and adored them all as the only means to the attainment of the goal of life. Each religion lays greater stress on certain aspects of Dharma.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Abhijit » 24 May 2003 03:28

From C. Alexander article in Sulekha posted above:
My reading of the history of early Christianity leads me to believe that the Western churches' obsession for converting others to Christianity is based more on their historical tradition of using proselytization as an instrument of statecraft for the extension of their political and mercantile influences, than in furthering the spiritual welfare of their flocks

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby AshishN » 24 May 2003 03:58

The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Book review:
Leafed through it in B&N. Have not read it, but the thesis is that Church brand christianity (as opposed to following the life of Jesus) is just a commercial exploitation of Jesus right from the time of Romans.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Arvind » 26 May 2003 00:10

Not exactly, Indian history, but the significance of these events for later Indian history and the origins of the great game cannot be under-estimated.

The struggle against the Khan Toqtamish

The land North of the Syr Darya delta and the Little Aral Sea was the domain of the White Horde Khanate. In 1373 the powerful Urus Khan, a descendent of Chingiz Khan, through his eldest son Jöchi, was crowned ruler of the Horde. He was sixth in line from Orda the son of Jöchi and the brother of Batu. His nephew Toqtamish was in conflict with him and fled to Samarqand to seek aid from Timur-i-lang in 1376. Timur was delighted beyond words to have a descendent of Chingiz as a client and gifted him the territory around the cities of Utrar, Sabran and Sighnakhi, which his ancestor Jöchi had conquered in course of the westward thrust of the Kha’Khan. Toqtamish was attacked twice in his new ulus by Urus Khan, beaten badly and driven to Samarqand. However, Timur-i-lang reinstated him on each occasion. In 1377 Urus Khan demanded the extradition of Toqtamish and threatened to attack Timur-i-lang if he failed to do so. Timur routed Urus in battle on Syr Darya and drove him back to the steppes. Urus then sent his son Qutlugh Buga to slay Toqtamish. Qutlugh scored a major victory, but even as he closed in on Toqtamish, the latter’s personal guard shot Qutlugh through his throat and he fell dead. Urus too died shortly after that defeat and the White Horde passed in to his next son, Toqtaqiya. Toqtaqiya continued the war on his cousin Toqtamish and defeated him and drove him from Sabran. Shortly thereafter Toqtaqiya passed away and his brother Timur-Maliq ascended the throne. He too invaded the domain of Toqtamish again and routed him. However, Timur-i-lang with his troops reinstated him again as the supreme Mongol Khan at Sighnakhi in mid-1377. After this string of crushing defeats, suddenly, the weak Toqtamish’s military talents blossomed. By the end of 1377 he had fattened his horses and gathered a large horde of Mongols. At the height of the severe winter in early 1378, when Timur-Maliq was penned in by the snow near Qara-Tal (shore of the little Aral), Toqtamish marched with his cavalry across the frigid steppes and fell upon the former. Timur-Maliq was killed in the encounter and Toqtamish scored a massive victory. He ascended the throne as the supreme Khan of the White Horde with the sprinkling of Qumis before the 9 Yak tailed banner of the Mongols.

Shortly after this, he built his cavalry over the coming spring and marched on Mamai Khan, the ruler of the Golden horde or the Russian Khanate. He forded the Volga and passing south of Moscow crushed the Russian army sent by Dimitri. Toqtamish then advanced towards the north of the Black Sea and near the Sea of Azov smashed the army of Mamai Khan, killed him, and seized the Golden horde in 1380. He set his capital at Sarai on the lower Volga, where he held a Quriltai to mark his re-unification of the great Ulus of Jöchi from Khazakhstan to the gates of Kiev. Toqtamish Khan was acknowledged as the greatest ruler of his times and was said to be renowned for his justice amidst the Mongols. He then decided to relieve the great conquests of Russia by his ancestors like Orda, Berke and Batu. Accordingly, he assembled a mighty cavalry force in 1382 to invade Christian Russia and conquer Moscow. After the Russian Grand Duke Dimitri’s victory in 1380 against Mamai Khan after a long drawn, fierce battle at Kulikovo, the Russians had taken the Mongol threat lightly. This was to cost the Russians dearly as they were completely unprepared for the invasion of Toqtamish. Toqtamish Khan attacked the cities of Vladimir and Suzdal, and destroyed the them completely. In August of 1382, he suddenly besieged Moscow, and routed the Russian army at the outskirts of the city. The Mongols then fell upon the city with utmost savagery, slaughtered all the inhabitants of the city and looted it completely. Then the buildings were demolished and Moscow was burnt down completely. The swarming Mongol armies next uprooted the city of Yuriel in a campaign conducted at the height of winter and then “turned the city of Mozhaisk into grassland”. Numerous other Russian towns were looted and destroyed. Muscovy was returned to another 100 years of Mongol yoke. Toqtamish then sent a reconnaissance force northwards check out the Lithuanians and destroy them if they were easy targets.

The pagan King of Lithuania, Kestutis, who had just relieved himself of the Christians on one flank, saw the danger of the approaching Mongols and took preemptive action by defeating the reconnaissance picket that was advancing towards him. Enraged at this, Toqtamish marched on towards Poltava up to which the Lithuanians had advanced. The Mongol army inflicted a crushing blow on the Lithuanians and forced their the way deep into Lithuanian home territory. This rout of the Lithuanians contributed to their eventual submergence under Christianity. Toqtamish then threatened the Polish ruler with an invasion and forced him to pay up a heavy annual tribute and accept the titular overlordship of the Mongols.

These grand successes led Toqtamish into believing that he might be able to relive the deeds of Chingiz Kha’Khan himself. Accordingly, he tried to seize Azerbaijan and choosing the winter of 1385-86 he secured the Shirvan route to attack Tabriz. A mighty Mongol invasionary force beat the army of Ahmed Jelair and seized Tabriz from the Sultan. After looting Tabriz and other provinces in Azerbaijan the Khan returned to the steppes. At this point Sultan Jelair came back, but Timur-i-lang annexed Azerbaijan promptly to his kingdom. This immediately sparked off a conflict between Toqtamish and his former ally Timur. Timur advanced to Qarabakh and stationed himself there in the winter of 1386-87, when Toqtamish took the Derbent pass through the Caucasus Mountains to directly reach Timur in his winter station. Timur sent a force to ford the Kura River, which flows into the Caspian, and take on the Mongol Khan. But this army was crushed by Toqtamish and Timur risked encirclement. However, Timur’s son Miranshah Mirza charged ahead with massive reinforcement and fought the Mongol army with great fury. After a long drawn fight with no clear results Toqtamish decided to drawn back into the steppes. Timur sent a letter to the Khan addressing him as his son and asked him to behave himself.

The Khan however, ignored these letters and decided to seize the domains of Timur himself. Later in 1387 as Timur was subjugating Iran, Toqtamish crossed Utrar and invaded the heart of Timur’s realm in Transoxiana. Timur’s son Umar Sheikh Mirza rushed to fight off the Khan but was routed in the battle and encircled. However, Umar Sheikh barely escaped with life as the Mongol guard delayed its final assault. Toqtamish then started plundering Timur’s domains by razing down cities in Transoxiana. He attacked Timur’s center of gravity by bombarding Bukhara with ballistas and devastated the city of Qarshi in southern Uzbekistan, close to Timur’s capital, Samarqand. The final boundary of his conquests are supposed to have been marked by Amu Darya River between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Alarmed at this Timur returned rapidly from Iran to save his home front with a large force of about 80,000 horsemen. Seeing the larger army of Timur, Toqtamish withdrew and in late 1388 launched a surprise from the East attack on Transoxiana by taking Khozend to the south of Tashkent. The Khan had expected the winter to pin down Timur, but on the contrary the unexpectedly heavy snow and cold that winter forced Toqtamish himself to retreat to the steps. Timur realized that if had to truly be the lord of Central Asia he first needed to defeat the Mongol Khan and annex his territory. Without this he could not pursue any conquests in the Middle East or India either. Thus the ultimate showdown between the two mighty Mongol potentates wishing to relive Chingiz was inevitable. Toqtamish assembled an army of 75000 horsemen, but Timur assembled over a 100,000 in Samarqand, and held a grand review of his divisions in 1391. He then set out to Tashkent with his grand army to invade and conquer Mogholistan. Realizing the might of Timur’s horde, Toqtamish tried to buy peace. His ambassadors reached Timur in Tashkent and gave him gifts of horses and falcons. Timur received a falcon on his wrist and then returned it to the Khan’s ambassadors without uttering a word. It was clear that the war was on. Toqtamish realizing that he possessed a smaller army decided to retreat and draw Timur into an ambush in Siberia over a period of months. He realized that Timur would run out of food in the Taiga and then he could fall upon Timur and destroy him. For 4 months the Toqtamish drew Timur from Tashkent deeper and deeper into the steppes. River after River was forded but Timur could not make contact with the Khan. Around May as the cold abated Timur held a grand review of troops to raise their moral and organized a giant hunt for food. But time was running out, and Timur was taken into the cold , unfamiliar empty territory around the Tobol river by the Mongol retreat tactic. Here he sent out patrols in all directions, one of whom captured a straggler of the Khan’s army. This gave him the information that the Khan was in Ural region, near Samara (Kuibyshev) on the River Volga. Timur rapidly moved there and trapped the army of Toqtamish between his army and the Volga. On June 9th 1391 a battle of immense ferocity was fought by the two Central Asian armies. The Khan’s army was arrange his army as south facing crescent, while the Timurid army was arranged symmetrically with 3 separate divisions on either side of a central division where Timur was stationed with his principle amirs. The Khan charged through the left divisions of the Timurid ranks and wrought much havoc forcing them to retreat. When, Timur to inspire his troops personally led a counter attack with his division on Toqtamish’s stretching line to the center. Timur’s amirs took the field and thrashed the Khan’s army. Toqtamish’s men panicked and were slaughtered in large numbers on the bank of the Volga, after much fierce fighting. Some fled to the island on the Volga, but were pursued by Timur’s patrol and put to death. However, Toqtamish managed to escape with a part of his army intact. This part was the seat of the Empire of Jöchi, and Timur took great pleasure by ascending the throne of the great Mongol Khans. The most beautiful women of the Orda were captured and distributed amidst Timur’s Amirs and he kept the best for himself. In their company the horde of Timur celebrated their victory by heavy drinking and feasting for 26 days. He placed a descendent of Urus Khan, Timur Qutlugh, as the puppet Khan of the Golden Horde. Timur then returned to Samarqand after sacking Aktyubinsk. Another puppet Khan called Idiqu and Timur Qutlugh parceled the Golden horde and retreated to lead a nomadic life on the steppes.

Soon Toqtamish showed great energy to recover a part of his horde and formed an alliance with the Mamluq sultan of Egypt, Barquq, against Timur. Toqtamish then crossed the Derbent pass and tried to seize Shirvan from Timur in 1394, when Timur forced him to retreat after a swift campaign. In spring of 1395 Timur decided to destroy the Golden horde. He decided the take the Caucasus road and destroy capitals of the Orda. He rejected the Khan’s offer for peace and took Toqtamish in a frontal attack on April 15, 1395 on the banks of the Terek river. In the fierce battle which followed Timur was surrounded by a picket of Mongols who showered arrows on him, but Timur returned the volley and kept them at bay till his arrows were exhausted. He then fought with his spear and shield, warding of the darts hurled at him. But one attacker broke his spear with a blow from an axe and nearly killed him. But, he drew his sword and with great skill fending the arrows raining on him, cut down his attackers and broke through their cordon. His feats in the thick of battle at the age of 61 inspired his troops to fight with great fury and destroy Toqtamish’s army again. Toqtamish barely escaped with life and fled to Kazan before Timur’s vanguard could take him. The Golden horde was thoroughly looted and large quantities of rubies, furs, gold, silver, slaves and girls of great beauty were seized by Timur. He then raided the provinces of Muscovy similarly collecting booty. Timur then advanced to mouth of the Don and attacked the Venetian Christian trading colony of Azov. He fell of upon the Christians to wage a Jihad and destroyed their churches, shops, banks and the whole infrastructure set up by the Mongol Khans for trade with Europe. What remained was handed over to the Moslems. He then advanced to the Caucasus and devastated the Alyani, a surviving Indo-Iranian people, smoking them out of forests and gorges in this region. The he marched to the mouth of the Volga and attacked Sarai in winter of 1395-96. He took the city after a brief siege and decimated it with utmost ferocity. The inhabitants were driven out of the city into the appalling cold, and then their hands and legs were cut off and left to die. Russian archaeologists have recovered the skeletal remains of these victims of Timur’s atrocities. Timur satisfied with the conquests returned to Persia to continue his wars there. Toqtamish made yet another attempt to revive himself by seizing Crimea in late 1397. Then, he was beaten in the tripartite struggle with his cousins, the puppet Khans Idiqu and Timur Qutlugh and fled to his old enemies the Lithuanians. The pagan lord of Lithuania, Vitautas tried to support him, but was beaten by Timur Qutlugh on the behalf of Timur-i-lang. Finally, in 1405 Toqtamish when made a final attempt to recover the Golden Horde, he was captured by his cousin, Khan Shadibeq brother of Timur Qutlugh, in course of a battle in Siberia and suffocated him to death.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby svinayak » 26 May 2003 08:05

HH, THank you for te eurasian history in the middle ages.

The Russian empire was just Moscow until 1582. The real expansion to the east started after 1582 and continued until 1800s. THis was the start of the great game.
Russia the land of the Tzars is being shown in PBS. Can you give a short history of the russian expansion.


Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Guest » 26 May 2003 08:20

The Sulekha article sheds light as it claims, only on the fundamentalist aspects. However, it shouldn't be thought of as entirely accurate, unless of course you only want to read what you want to believe.

I don't see the relevance of his US armed forces service either, I mean so did L.Ron Hubbard before founding Scientology ;)

I personally believe in a perfectly secular government. I don't believe there should be special quotas and reservations based on creed and religion, and in the reverse sense I don't believe it should in any way form or manner interfere with the religious practices of its citizens. Without a doubt, this seems to work best if you look around the world. Conversion is certainly a lasting element of Christianity, but forced and deceitful coercions go against its own philosophy and this is what needs to be eradicated

As in all cases, like even the US Peace Corps today, some members are destined to be sincere in their efforts and duly successful, some will merely be innocent pawns in a more deceitful plot regarding imperialism, and some will maliciously distort their mission to their own perverse views; it is crucial they're not all painted the same.


Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Guest » 26 May 2003 11:11

Originally posted by acharya:
HH, THank you for te eurasian history in the middle ages.
Not sure why we're discussing Russian history in an Indian History thread, but I believe the expansion of Russia to the east started with Ivan IV (Grozny, or the terrible). He defeated the Kazan Khan in 1532 (I think), and the cathedral of St. Basil in Moscow was built to commemorate this event. I believe Russian integration of Siberia (which are now autonomous republics in Russia- Yakutia, Nenetsia, Evenkia etc.) into itself began with his rule.


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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby svinayak » 26 May 2003 12:21

Russian expansion after 1582 triggered the great game between the Russian orthodox church and western catholic chruch and Protastant church.
The WEstern churches/countries moved into the Indian ocean and took the southern part of the eurasian landmass to prevent Russia to have acess to warm waters.


Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Guest » 26 May 2003 12:31

This game might have had an even greater impact on India. I read (in the book 'Hitler and Stalin' by Alan Bullock) that when these two worthy souls were making their initial deals on Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the question of British India also came up between them. IIRC, Stalin was willing to let Germany control India, if she was able to wrest it from British control (this was probably a tacit understanding). The USSR was more interested in the European sphere then.



Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Guest » 26 May 2003 12:40

There was an analogy I read sometime on the method adopted by the European powers to keep the Russian bear under check, when their imperialist ambitions first began. The author of the analogy talked of three or four typical 'gentleman' types (who represent England, France, Germany, maybe Spain), playing at cards in the living room, when they notice an uncultured, but strongly built tramp robbing the larder. They know that if they try to take him on, he's strong enough to crush all of them, so what do they do, they invite him in to play with them, keeping him happy with favors, subtly patronizing him (after all, he's nothing but a tramp), and in this manner they're able to control him until the police arrive. Makes one wonder about China's getting the Security Council seat, doesn't it?


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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Arvind » 27 May 2003 02:30

Originally posted by Kannan:
Without a doubt, this seems to work best if you look around the world. Conversion is certainly a lasting element of Christianity, but forced and deceitful coercions go against its own philosophy and this is what needs to be eradicated
Separation of religion on state is an ideal preached by many and believed to be a great solution. But it is just an ideal and it is possible only in an ideal world. In the real world this may be close to impossible to achieve and against natural tendencies.

One major problem here is that religion does not mean the same to all people. The difference between dharma and the monotheistic Semitic religions is as profound as the difference between the Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry. They are based on different axioms. So while one may see analogous structures in both constructs, their properties are very different. This axiomatic difference is one of the reasons why even terms like religion are not necessarily understood by a traditional Indian when mentioned by his Western interlocutor.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby svinayak » 27 May 2003 03:19

The difference between dharma and the monotheistic Semitic religions is as profound as the difference between the Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry. They are based on different axioms.
The key point of conversion of the new variety in societies such as India is to break the political unity of soceity in such a way that there is fragmentation and old kinship are broken.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kumar » 27 May 2003 04:32

An article from Frontline on Ayodhya excavation (June 2, 2003 issue).

Also look at various articles listed in the right corner.

<a href=""> Secrets of the shrine </a>

<a href="">Artist's drawing of the excavation showing the pillars </a>

<a href="">Stone slab inscription in Devanagari </a>

Due to HTML tags problem with parenthesis, I couldn't link directly to the Outlook story above. I had to link to the magazine's main site. Since the link above may be temporary I am reproducing the article below:
June 2, 2003
Secrets Of The Shrine
Sandipan Deb gets into the heavily-guarded excavation site at Ayodhya and finds clues to a confusing past

' 245.' ' 175.' ' 160.' Numbers are the only words being spoken on a pitilessly hot afternoon here. Here, the flat top of a low hillock, the epicentre of a political earthquake whose aftershocks never die, whose waves never peter out.
Dozens of people work quietly with picks and shovels, whisks and dustpans, probing into the earth for the secrets it has concealed for centuries, secrets that, when uncovered and understood,
could impact the lives and minds of a billion Indians. But when you look at the workers' nonchalant faces, periodically calling out some measurements, you get no such sense. They are just doing their job.

Ayodhya, May 2003. For more than two months now, following the order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on March 5, the Archaeological Survey of India team led by Dr B.R. Mani (ordered by the court to be replaced on May 22) has been excavating the land on which the Babri Masjid had stood from AD 1528 till December 6, 1992. The roughly 41 m by 24 m area is now a grid of 4 m by 4 m trenches, each trench separated from the adjacent one by 1 m strips forming what archaeologists call "baulks".
The VHP claims there is enough evidence to show that a vast public building once stood here
Aluminium ladders extend into the trenches. Every find in every trench is photographed, the recovery, the packing and sealing process videographed meticulously.

Entry into the excavation site is seriously restricted. The security is almost
impossible to breach. Apart from the ASI team, only observers appointed by the court and nominees of the litigants in the various cases relating to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue are allowed in. All the permitted visitors have to carry passes issued by the Allahabad High Court. They enter through a gate separate from the one used by the pilgrims, the darshanarthis of Ram Lalla.

The pilgrims reach the makeshift structure where Ram Lalla sits through a long cage-like corridor that winds through the excavation site. Not only does the pilgrim have any way to enter the excavation site—he would have to cut through the steel rods of the cage walls to do that—he cannot even see what's going on outside his cage. To keep the excavation totally concealed from the public eye, the walls of the cage have been covered from roof to ground with dark-red curtains. And there are policemen patrolling the cage to make sure no one is peeping.

Every evening, shortly after six, when the excavation work stops, an ASI official comes to a small enclosure to read out a list of the finds of the day to the official observers.
The observers spend their day in this enclosure, cooled by the blast from an air cooler and heated by their constant arguments about the meaning and significance of whatever has been gleaned from the earth recently. They are shown
Everything depends on which side you’re on
the smaller artefacts recovered that day, but no one is allowed to touch anything. Sometimes, when they have interesting photographic evidence, the ASI brings in a screen and projects pictures on it.

The picture they showed on May 8 is the most crucial and exciting find till now. When the ASI flashed the picture on the screen, a shiver ran down the spines of the pro-mandir men in the room. This picture, they feel, is clinching proof of the existence of a Ram temple which Babar destroyed to build his mosque: "We have found the pillars of the Ram temple, now we have found the Lord's name. Our case is impregnable."

What they saw is an immensely blown-up version of some inscriptions the ASI has found on a stone slab 6.8 m under the ground. Since just a small part of the slab is protruding from the wall of trench J3, the diggers will not be able to retrieve the slab without obliterating the baulk between J3 and the next trench. This will take time. In the meantime, they have photographed whatever they can see of the slab. What they can see is early Devanagari script:

The pro-mandir men immediately saw the fourth letter as the Hindu sacred sign swoaham, followed by the word "Ram".What more proof do you need, they ask. Non-VHP observers see no swoaham there, neither do they make out Ram spelt out in the next two letters. But all agree that this slab, when fully unearthed and deciphered, could be an extremely crucial piece in the jigsaw that the excavation is trying to put together.

But the puzzle is vast, and its pieces seemingly endless. The ASI has selected J3 as the test trench and intends to continue digging there till they reach virgin soil. When I was at the site, they were already more than 10 m under the earth in J3 and were still finding man-made artefacts, even after crossing as many as 12 chronological layers. In the other trenches, the deepest the ASI has dug till now is about 5 m. Among the artefacts found:

* A coin from the time of Akbar made at a mint in Bahraich

* Glazed pottery

* A copper seal showing a palm tree and a peacock

* Many decorated stone pieces

* A glass piece with what looks like "dhatri" written on it, the Sanskrit word meaning earth or mother

* Dozens of terracotta pieces, including human and animal figurines, pestles, vessels, balls, fishing net sinkers, seals, beads and so on

* Broken wheels

* Bone engravers

From the seemingly endless list of articles found, it is quite clear that this site has been inhabited for many centuries. It seems certain that Babar did not construct his mosque on open land. Just on one single day, May 16, the ASI recovered part of a terracotta (TC) animal figurine, a TC ball, a broken TC wheel, two TC betelnut-sized beads, a broken TC pestle, two bone engravers, two TC tiles, several broken TC bricks, a TC seal, a carved stone fragment, two iron nails, and 11 clusters of human or animal bones. These, at depths ranging from a mere 30 cm below ground level in the extended G1 trench (TC tile) to 10.25 m in J3 (TC ball). Prima facie, glazed pottery indicates Muslim inhabitation. However, pro-mandir observers argue that while Muslims brought the art of glazed pottery to India, there is no reason why Hindus would also not have used such items. They also say that terracotta human and animal figurines seem to indicate Hindu habitation, since representation of living beings was forbidden by Islam.

While the ASI dates, analyses and interprets the artefacts, the two sides in the mandir-masjid dispute have already locked themselves into seemingly irreconcilable positions on the structures that have been unearthed so far. For example, to the archaeologically uninitiated pro-mandir layman, the discovery of dozens of "pillar bases" all over the site is blinding proof of the existence of a magnificent temple here. But the other side scoffs at these claims.

These "pillar bases" are roughly squarish structures (about 3 ft by 3 ft to my eye) made of rough bricks that have been found all over the excavation area. They are separated from each other by about 3.5 m, and appear to be aligned in rows, at least to the naked eye. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has long contended that Babar destroyed a majestic Ram temple called Ramkot or Ram's Fortress which had 84 pillars of kasauti stone. So right now at Ayodhya, VHP observers are walking around smiling "I told you so" smiles.

To them, the "pillar bases" indicate the existence of a vast public building, since households would not have such pillars. And, says a VHP observer, "It could hardly have been a mosque. No one would build a smaller mosque on the site of a huge one. And as for this place being inhabited by Muslims even before Babar reached, the fact is that 98 per cent of what the ASI has found till now is clearly Hindu in origin. At most, two per cent can be classified as Muslim."

But, but, but. "Pillar bases" were first discovered here by B.B. Lal, former director-general of the ASI, in 1975 as part of a project on the archaeology of the "Ramayana sites". He published his findings (with photographs) 15 years later in the rss magazine Manthan. This gave an enormous boost to the mandir cause. However, in 1993, archaeologist D. Mandal published a paper that questioned Lal's conclusions, and using archaeological theory, concluded that, one, the "pillar bases" belonged to different periods, that is, all of them had never existed together at any point of time; two, that they were not really in alignment with one another; and three, that they were not even pillar bases, but junctions of walls, bases of the load-bearing columns at the intersections of walls.

As far as I know, the issue has never been resolved to the satisfaction of both sides. But then, can any issue related to the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute ever be? Right under the Ram Chabutara, which was demolished by the indiscriminate zeal of the mob on December 6, 1992, the ASI has uncovered a 21 ft by 17 ft floor of plastered stone, about 2 m below the ground. From the floor rises a 4.75 ft by 4.75 ft stone slab, 3.5 ft high. Cleaned up now by the ASI, the structure glows a calm pristine white under the blazing afternoon sun. From the floor, there seem to be stairs leading downwards. This is further firepower for the VHP. But, writing in the newspaper Hindustan on May 16, historian Irfan Habib argues that if the structure is made of plastered stone, it cannot pre-date the Muslim era, since plastering was something the Muslims brought to India. Habib fears that the ASI, whose minister-in-charge is Murli Manohar Joshi, one of the principal accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, will end up filing a heavily mandir-biased report.

Habib, who has read the progress report submitted by the ASI to the Allahabad High Court on April 28, feels that the available evidence strongly suggests that there was no huge public building but a common human settlement with hardly the engineering skills to build that famous magnificent temple. He points to the "poor construction" of the "pillar bases" and says that they could not have borne those fabulous kasauti columns. At the most, they would be able to carry some wooden beams like the ones used to build today's roadside shops and homes of the very poor, he says. Of course, the VHP shrugs these conclusions off. "Can Habib saab then explain why the pillar bases are all in neat rows and separated from one another by the same distance, about 3.5 m?" they ask. "Besides, if it was a normal human habitation, the ASI team should have by now found some remnants of a hearth or chullah, or a wheat grinder, the usual indications that the structure was a household.

The trouble seems to be that everyone concerned has turned amateur archaeologist, while the archaeologists themselves will need months to reach any conclusions about the meaning of the excavation's findings. And the Ram Janmabhoomi controversy is hardly going to be resolved soon. So emotional is the issue, and so firm all the disputants on either side in their convictions, that any compromise, even any meaningful negotiation where either side patiently hears out the other's argument, seems impossible.The ASI discovered two graves early in its excavation work. The anti-mandir lobby claimed this as conclusive proof that the area was inhabited by Muslims before the mosque was built. The pro-mandir lobby has now produced the report of a survey ordered by the Faizabad Civil Court in 1950 in the . The report lists several graves on the site, where local Hindu priests believe some Hindu sants are buried: Angira, Markendya, Narad, Ramananda, Shandilya and so on. Recently, one evening, when the ASI official was reading out the list of the day's finds, the nominee of one litigant objected to the ASI saying "terracotta human figurine"."To say 'human' is to interpret the artefact, which is not your job," was the objection. "You should only say 'figurine'."

If this sounds like farce, think a moment about the three skeletons found by the ASI on May 16 near where the main gate of the Babri Masjid complex, the Singh Dwar, had stood. The skeletons were found at 20 cm, 30 cm and 56 cm below the ground. One of them was in a slightly curled-up position, and two of them were touching. Clearly, these were not graves. Who were these unfortunate people then, lying just eight inches under our feet? A very plausible explanation: they were kar sevaks involved in the December 6 demolition. When the Singh Dwar was brought down, they were buried under the rubble.

Martyrdom or irony? Like almost everything else about the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, it all depends on which side you are on.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kaushal » 27 May 2003 05:00

BB Lal's remarks on the "pillar bases" and other topics.

The Ramayana: An Archaeological Appraisal

Padma Bhushan Professor B. B. Lal

The following statement of Prof. B. B. Lal throws light on the recent part of the history, and repudiates the distorted position taken by some historians with perverse thinking and communalist mentality.

*The excavations at Ayodhya, were a part of a large project called ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana Sites'. The primary objective was to ascertain the antiquity of this site and compare the same with that of the other sites associated with the Ramayana story. Thus, it was decided to excavate at Ayodhya at as many spots as possible to ensure that the lowest levels were not missed. Fourteen different areas were chosen for the operations, such as Hanuman Garhi, Kaushilya Ghat, Sugriva Tila, etc.; and the Janma-Bhumi area was just one of them.

A trench was laid out on the southern side of the complex, at a distance of hardly 4 meters from the boundary-wall of the mosque. In this trench, just below the surface, parallel rows of pillar-foundations, made of brick-bats and stones, were met with (photo on page no. 58). While some of these fell well within the excavated trench, a few lay underneath its edge towards the boundary wall of the Janma-Bhumi complex. Since affixed to the piers of the domes there were many pillar-shafts carved with Hindu gods and goddesses (photo on page no. 59); it was but natural to enquire if the pillar-foundations encountered in the trench had anything to do with the pillars incorporated in the mosque, which evidently originally belonged to a temple.

An over enthusiastic Babri Masjid archaeologist, in his effort to deny the entire pillar-evidence, published a propaganda booklet in which he stated that these were not pillar-foundations but walls. The most amusing part, however, was that he just drew some white lines interconnecting the pillar-bases on the photographs concerned and thereby wanted us to believe that these were walls. What a mockery of archaeology Another Babri Masjid archaeologist, while conceding that these were pillar-bases all right, suggested that the structure concerned was no more than a mere cowshed. No doubt for a person coming from a rural background the cowshed idea was a very exciting one, but he conveniently overlooked the fact that this structural complex had as many as four successive floors made of lime - something unheard of in the case of cowsheds.

On 10 February 1991 while delivering a lecture at Vijayawada on 'The Ramayana: An Archaeological Appraisal' to the distinguished scholars assembled for the Annual Conference of the Museums Association of India, I was asked about the interrelationship between the pillar-foundations encountered in the trench excavated by me and the stone pillars incorporated in the Babri Masjid and further whether there was any temple underneath the Masjid. I replied, as any archaeologist would have: 'If you do want to know the reality, the only way is to dig underneath the mosque.' When this view was published in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, dated 11 February 1991, a horde of Babri Masjid historians pounced upon me accusing that I made this suggestion 'under the impetus of the current Hindutva campaign', and added that

Mr. Lal by arguing fresh excavations at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya would he fulfilling the demand of those who wanted the Babri Masjid to be demolished to construct the temple at that site.

- The Hindustan Times, 13 February 1991

To the foregoing I issued a rejoinder

Further excavation within the floor area of the Babri Masjid without in any way harming the structure is necessary to know what actually preceded the mosque at Ayodhya. Why should the contending parties shy away from further excavation, unless they are afraid of facing the truth?

- The Statesman, 18 February 1991

Unfortunately, the foregoing suggestion fell on deaf ears and tension between the two parties continued to develop.

Curiously, events took their own course. On 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished by Kar Sevaks who had assembled in thousand at the site. A regrettable event in itself, the demolition incidentally brought to light a great deal of archaeological material from within the thick walls of the Babri structure. It included, besides sculptured panels and images, architectural components such as 'amalakas', part of the 'sikhara', door-jambs, etc., three inscriptions on stone.

Of the above-mentioned three inscriptions, the largest one (photo on page nos. 62- 63), inscribed on a 1.10 x .56 metre slab and consisting of 20 engraved lines, has been published by Professor Ajaya Mitra Shastri of Nagpur University in the Puratattva (a reputed scholarly journal of the Indian Archaeological Society), No. 23 (1992-3), pp. 35 ff. (Professor Shastri is a distinguished historian and a specialist in Epigraphy and Numismatics). The relevant part of his paper reads as follows:

The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except for a small portion in prose, and is engraved in the chaste and classical Nagari- script of the eleventh-twelfth century AD. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. Line 15 of this inscription, for example, clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (sila-samhati-grahais) and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings (purvvair-apy-akrtam krtam nrpatibhir) was constructed. This wonderful temple (aty-adbhutam) was built in the temple- city (vibudh-alaayni) of Ayodhya situated in the Saketamandala (district, line 17) showing that Ayodhya and Saketa were closely connected, Saketa being the district of which Ayodhya was a part. Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali (apparently in the Vamana manifestation) and the ten-headed personage (Dasanana, i.e., Ravana).

The inscription speaks for itself and no further comments are necessary. In the present book readers can find all the three inscriptions.
It has been contented by the Babri Masjid historians that these images, architectural parts and the inscribed slabs had been brought by the Kar Sevaks from elsewhere and surreptitiously placed there. This contention, however, does not hold good, since there are photographs to contradict this stand: for example, the two photographs published by India Today on p. 33 of its issue dated 31 December 1992 (cf. photo on page no. 68). Here, the Kar Sevaks are seen carrying a huge stone-slab bearing a very long sculpted frieze, after having picked it up from the debris.

The above-mentioned historians also allege that 'the inscription has been forged'. This is behaving like the Village School Master of Oliver Goldsmith, who, 'though vanquished would argue still'. So many eminent epigraphists of the country have examined the inscribed slab and not one of them has even remotely thought that the inscription is forged.

In this context, it may not be out of place to mention that hundreds of examples are available of the destruction of temples and incorporation of their material in the mosques. Right in Delhi there is the example of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (near the Qutub Minar) which incorporated parts of a large number of temples that had been destroyed. Or at Ajmer, there is the well-known Arhai-din-ka-jhonpra, presenting a similar picture.

From the foregoing it is abundantly clear that there did exist a twelfth-century Hindu temple at the site, which was destroyed and some of its parts incorporated within the body of the Babri Masjid. Some other parts, like the stone-pillars, were placed alongside the piers of the domes of the Masjid, to show them off. Some other pieces, not used in either of the foregoing manner, were thrown away in a nearby depression, like the ones recovered by the Public Works Department of the Uttar Pradesh Government in June 1992, in the course of the levelling of the adjacent area. These were identified by as many as 40 archaeologists and historians from different parts of the country who assembled at Ayodhya to attend a 3-day seminar on this very subject. It was chaired by Dr. Y. D. Sharma, a former Dy. Director General, Archaeological Survey of India.

"Had my suggestion to carry out trial excavation underneath the floor of the mosque without in any way damaging the structure itself been implemented, it would have averted the disaster. But who cares for sane advice? Anyway, let it be remembered that by blindfolding yourself you cannot alter facts of history!"

*Being part of a note published by the internationally reputed archaeologist Padma Bhushan Professor B. B. Lal, in the Hindu, dated 1 July 1998.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Kaushal » 27 May 2003 19:20

BRF Oldie
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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby svinayak » 29 May 2003 00:05

There was an analogy I read sometime on the method adopted by the European powers to keep the Russian bear under check, when their imperialist ambitions first began.

1498 – Vasco De Gama lands in India via the searoute

1599 – English East India Company formed

1602 – Dutch East Indian Company formed

1658 – French East Indian Company formed

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Umrao » 29 May 2003 00:20

This relates to more modern Indian history.

China entered Korean war in 1950 and US tasted defeat against Chinese and NK troops initially.

The war ended in 1955 with Chinese stock going up in international fora. Also a glimpse of what Chinese could do in war was seen.

Now turn to late 1950s ie 1955 to 1962.

QUOTE] The key issue was the 1956-57 construction of a Chinese military highway in the disputed
territory of Aksai China just west of Tibet. India protested the Chinese "incursion"; diplomatic exchanges continued for three years without progress or compromise. Each side firmly
asserted its claim to the Aksai Chin area. Large sections of the North East Frontier Agency, east of Tibet, were also in dispute. In 1959, India initiated a forward policy of sending Indian troops and border patrols into disputed areas. This program created both skirmishes and deteriorating relations between India and China. The 1961 Indian invasion of Portugese Goa further alarmed Chinese officials in Peking.

In 1962, China was strong and well-prepared for
alpine warfare; India was logistically weak and unprepared [/QUOTE]

Why did India not prepare for war? Having seen the Chinese take on US /UN in Korea.

Is this reason that Chinese military commands more 'awe' from US?


Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Guest » 29 May 2003 00:45

Originally posted by acharya:
There was an analogy I read sometime on the method adopted by the European powers to keep the Russian bear under check, when their imperialist ambitions first began.

1482 – Vasco De Gama lands in India via the searoute

1599 – English East India Company formed

1602 – Dutch East Indian Company formed

1658 – French East Indian Company formed
Acharya, your dates seem a bit off. Vasco da Gama landed in India in 1498 (Columbus reached America in 1492, and believed till his death that that was India, despite the fact that there was growing evidence even then that it was not).

Also, didn't the first English ambassador (Sir Thomas Roe) visit the court of Jahangir in 1604? If so, the date of 1599 for the British EIC is probably wrong as well.


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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Umrao » 29 May 2003 00:52


Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Guest » 29 May 2003 01:04

Originally posted by John Umrao:
Sudarshan, here you find the answers
Thanks, Spinster. I was right about 1498, wrong about 1604. But then, acharya was wrong about 1599 too :)

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby svinayak » 29 May 2003 01:07

Sudharshan, You are right about Vasco de Gama, I have corrected it. The EIC date is accurate. It was formed earlier than Dutch east Indian company but grew larger due to sea power.

IN 1688 the Dutch royal family married into the English royals after the coup in England which combined both the company and brought modern financial and trading practice to Britain which it was lacking till then. Only after that Britian grew stronger to become the power by 1850. The high birth rate in the 16th century made high migration from Britain with 20 million emigration from 1650 to 1900.

The political economy of India between 1600 and 1700 was around $450 million annually.

Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power
by Niall Ferguson, Neil Ferguson


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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby Umrao » 29 May 2003 01:12

acharya garu>> Here is how the west was won by British.

King Charles II marries Portuguese Princess
Receives Bombay as dowry
1661: King Charles II of Britain married the Portuguese princess and received Bombay, an island along India's west coast, as part of the dowry. Later, the King rented Bombay to the British East India Company.
Soon after, the British East India Company already had several trading establishments in India, at Surat, Masulipattam and Fort St.George (Madras). King Charles II also gave the Company the right to issue currency, erect forts, exercise jurisdiction over English subjects and declare war/peace with natives.

The Company faced competition from the French, Dutch and Portuguese, all of whom had trading interests in India.

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Re: Indian History Discussions - III

Postby AkshayM » 29 May 2003 01:23

Kaushal, HH

Can you guys define the age acronyms A.D., BCE, BC, CE etc. etc. for novice like me? Which age each acronym refers to and whatever other details that may be relevant to it.


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