The Road to World Power

Calvin
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Re: The Road to World Power

Postby Calvin » 15 Apr 2002 00:40

Topic: The Importance of being India- Asia Times series
ramana
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posted 20 March 2002 12:22 PM
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Asia Times has a ten part series on the subject. AM posting the last part as the links are there to previous parts.
Part 10: The Kampilya archeological project
http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/DC21Df02.html

Please read the series and comment.
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Rudra Singha
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posted 20 March 2002 02:08 PM
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Pranaam Munivar
On a related note, I have often read certain
quarters dismissing the Mahabhaa_rata and Ramayana
as Myth while in same breath talking casually
of Jesus as if He lived next door yesterday.

Would be interested to know whats the current
historical status as to the existence of the places and people described in the two epics.
As they are both atleast 3000+ yrs old timeframe
probably no scrolls or royal records can survive
but we can certainly locate the places...

In the same vein, what the records of Jesus
of Nazareth. Did any of the roman records survive?
did the other people like pontius pilate exist?
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ramana
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posted 20 March 2002 03:49 PM
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Greetings GD! I dont know maybe Kaushal and/or others can educate us. Also read what the Aussies are thinking about India in 1999!

Strategic Update '99- Google search results
http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:oe3cGMy8CcAC:idun.itsc.adfa.edu.au/ADSC

Especially this: Four questions and five futures
http://idun.itsc.adfa.edu.au/ADSC/Strat99/paper_r_jeffrey.htm

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Rudra Singha
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posted 20 March 2002 04:18 PM
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the aussie article is quite poor. even Cohen does
much better.
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acharya
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posted 20 March 2002 10:18 PM
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quote:
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Second, parties need ideologies, and while the BJP does have a broad set of ideas on which to build sentiment and discipline, the ideas of the Left are currently incapable of inspiring widespread belief, while the Congress has not contained serious political thinkers since Mrs Gandhi purged it 30 years ago. It is stuck with old socialist rhetoric and no coherent statement of liberal, secular values or policies.
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Thanks Ramana for the aussie link. Most of the analysis is shallow and superfluous. But the above quote is very important and gives many pointers to what has happened to Congress party in 60s, 70s and onwards. Will update later...
Read a great book today about the society in India from ancient times.
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Amar B
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posted 21 March 2002 12:07 AM
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Read a great book today about the society in India from ancient times.
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If you don't mind can you please give the title and author name.

Thanks in advance
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ramana
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posted 21 March 2002 01:07 PM
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An opinion article in Ind Exp. on M.N. Roy's views. I know he is a Leftist but he did have ideas. Read the bit about Indians and Islam.
The man who looked ahead
http://www.indian-express.com/ie20020321/ed6.html

"In Historical Role of Islam, Roy writes that the communal question will be solved if the Hindus look upon the Muslims ‘‘as integral parts of the Indian nation’’, and appreciate the contribution Muslims made towards the emergence of Indian society out of the chaos caused ‘‘by the breakdown of the antique civilisation’’. He appealed to the Hindus ‘‘to get out of their arrogant self-satisfaction’’ and to have a proper appreciation of the historical value of Islam’s contribution. He also appealed to the Muslims of India to get rid of their narrow-mindedness and to appreciate the true spirit of Islam and its glorious past.

Referring to the decline of the progressive role of Islam before it penetrated India, Roy writes: ‘‘Few Muslims of our days may be conscious of the glorious role played on the stage of history by the faith they profess. Many may disown and repudiate the rationalism and scepticism of the Arabs as deviations from the teachings of the Koran. But Islam occupies a memorable place in history thanks to its original unorthodoxy and irreligiosity made evident by Arab philosophers, than to the later growth of a reactionary priesthood or to the barbarous fanaticism of the Tartar converts’’.
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acharya
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posted 21 March 2002 01:50 PM
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The book is
HINDUISM AND ISLAM IN INDIA ( 1997 Edition)
Caste,Religion and Society from Antiquity to early Modern Times.
S V Desika Char
Faculty at Universities of Mysore and Madras
Fellow of India Institute of Advanced Studies

Markus Wiener Publishers
Princeton

FOREWORD BY
Noel Q King
Professor Emeritus of History and Comparative Religion
University of California
Santa Cruz, USA

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He clearly says that a syncretic society was evolved after the Muslims invaded India and this past in Indian history can lead to harmony in the future India. The Islamic revival started in 1400s after the Muslims realised that the Bhakti movement had halted conversions and was rolling it back.
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ramana
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posted 21 March 2002 02:29 PM
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Hiranmay Karlekar also says similar things in Pioneer: Gujarat carnage:
[url=http://www.dailypioneer.com/secon3.asp?cat=\edit3&d=EDITS]http://www.dailypioneer.com/secon3.asp?cat=\edit3&d=EDITS[/url]
The genesis
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"The causes of this in turn go back a long way in history to the arrival of the first Islamic invaders. Apart from the Aryans, other invaders like the Huns and the Scythians did not have an evolved religion and an entrenched priesthood. Islam, a proselytising religion, had both. Its followers who had their own well-defined theology and rituals did not lose their distinct religious identity and practices and become a part of India's predominantly Hindu ocean of humanity. This, as well as the animosity caused by the conflicts that occurred during the invasion and its consolidation spread over several centuries, created emotional faultiness prone to becoming active easily.

By the time the British established their rule, however, Hindus and Muslims had learnt, despite rulers like Aurangzeb, to live in peace, and often in amity, thanks to the compulsions of co-existence, the basic tolerance of the Hindu ethos and wise policies of Muslim rulers like Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, one of the greatest monarchs India and the world has seen. He not only reached out to Hindus and put them in key positions but also sought to establish a new religion-Din-I-Ilahi-which combined elements of both Hinduism and Islam and had strong Sufi overtones.

British rule, however, disturbed Indian history's integrative flow. Muslims, who had earlier ruled most parts of the country, went into a sulk over being displaced. While they stayed away from the system of education that the new rulers set up, Hindus, particularly in Bengal, where the British first established their sway, took to it eagerly. As a result they began filling up the subordinate positions open to Indians in the administrative and other institutions that the British created and that expanded with the spread of their rule. Also, contact with western thought sparked a intellectual renaissance in Bengal, where the process has retrospectively come to be known as the Bengal Renaissance. A generation profoundly impressed by the West's material progress and its rich intellectual heritage, used the latter's analytical tools to examine India's past to understand the causes of its decline and loss of intellectual vigour.

The quest led to a rediscovery of India's glorious spiritual and cultural heritage that had been obscured by ignorant interpretations and overlays of superstitious practices. The findings of western scholars like James Princep, Monier Williams, William Jones, and Max Mueller further reinforced their pride in the past. This as well as their own intellectual achievements, and economic strength provided by landed, professional and bureaucratic incomes, produced a social formation that included people from the lower middle to upper classes, who were proud of their literate culture, confident about their capabilities and who took the promise of equal opportunity in Queen Victoria's proclamation of 1858, following the imposition of the British crown's direct rule over India, seriously.

One of its first ventures was reformation of Indian society which was attempted respectively by the Arya Samaj, which stood for a total rejection of the West and which was intensely anti-Islam, and the Brahmo Samaj, which sought a synthesis between the values of the East and the West and was modern and cosmopolitan in character. The second was the national struggle, which began as a movement for equality and against discrimination in employment, relentless economic exploitation and racist humiliation that characterised British rule, and emerged as a full-fledged fight for freedom in the 20th century. Since the Bengal Renaissance led both to the rediscovery of Hinduism's spiritual wealth and the national struggle, the extremist strand of the latter was deeply steeped in the Hindu idiom.

This disturbed the Muslims who were already apprehensive over the loss of their hold over state power that exposed them to the feeling of insecurity that minorities suffer from in all societies, and their distance from the British whose misgivings over the spread of Wahabi influence among them was sharply increased following the murder of the Viceroy, Lord Mayo, by a member of the movement in 1872. It was at this time that Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan urged Muslims to take to English education and build bridges with the British. The result was the establishment of the Aligarh Anglo-Muhammadan Oriental College in 1875 and the cultivation of British rulers by Muslim elites. They gradually succeeded in their efforts as the British, increasingly apprehensive over the involvement of educated Hindus in the national struggle, sought allies. The Partition of Bengal (1905) was an attempt both to break the political and economic back of educated Bengali Hindus and please the Muslims. The latter was repealed in 1911 but not before it had left a legacy of bitterness. More lasting was the damage done by the provision of communal electorates by the Indian Councils Act of 1909 and perpetuated by the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935. With Hindus and Muslims appealing to constituencies exclusively comprising their co-religionists and in increasingly extreme rhetoric in a communally vitiated atmosphere, the first step was taken towards Partition in 1947.

Partition did not lead to communal amity. Tense India-Pakistan relations-particularly Islamabad's efforts to dismember India through cross-border terrorism--cast their shadow on Hindu-Muslim ties with a section of Hindus most unfairly branding Muslims as Islamabad's fifth column. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in West Asia and its spread to India aggravated matters. Agitation by Muslims against the Supreme Court's verdict in the Shah Bano case and Rajiv Gandhi's nullification of its consequences through legislation, produced a Hindu backlash which was further reinforced by the banning of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses in India following agitation by a section of Muslims. Attempts to placate Hindus by the telecasting of Ramayana over Doordarshan and the permission to perform the Shilanyas (foundation stone laying) ceremony for the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya gave a further fillip to the temple movement that had been gathering momentum since the early 1980s. It received another fillip from the then Prime Minister VP Singh's announcement on August 7, 1990, of his government's decision to implement the Mandal Commission's recommendations for the reservation of government and quasi-government jobs for the Other Backward Classes. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which thought that Mr Singh was seeking to dismember Hindus as a political constituency by dividing it along caste lines, stepped up the movement to unite all Hindus on the emotive issue of the Ram Temple. The consequences, including the unpardonable demolition of the Babri Masjid, require no elaboration.

A complex set of circumstances, historical as well as contemporary, thus accounts for the current tense Hindu-Muslim relations. It will take a great deal of effort to restore trust and friendship. Coping with the contemporary challenges is difficult enough. Raking up historical issues can only make things worse-as the movement for the Ram temple has done. Having done immense damage to the Indian polity, the least the VHP and the Bajrang Dal can do now is not to precipitate further crises over the issue but wait patiently for the Allahabad High Court, which has provided for day to day recording of evidence in the Ayodhya case, to pronounce a verdict or a negotiated settlement to emerge in the interim. "
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Amar B
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posted 21 March 2002 05:28 PM
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Whether any islamic ruler was just or unjust only comes up if their being in Bharat in the first place is accepted as just. I don't see how they were progressive they were only practical big difference that liberals don't want pointed out. You can try all you want to make their necessity a virtue but Hindus aren't going to buy these lies. Someone breaks into your house rapes your wife and daughter kills your brothers starts living in your house realizing he may need you he throws you some scraps. Now our liberal comes around and says well he's a just person look his giving some attention to your concerncs. PLEASE!! I don't care if any mongol tried to incorporate some elements of Hinduism because it suited their interest. They realized this was the only way to pacify most Hindus who they had become dependent upon. Now certainly those Hindus have to take the most blame, but this in no way turns the mogols progressive. They were practical and thats it.

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Unlike many theoreticians, Roy maintained that fascism has a philosophy. In Fascism: Its Philosophy, Profession and Practice he writes that many ingredients of fascism existed in the Indian tradition — our social, religious and political life. ‘‘The roots of this philosophy can be traced in the divine philosophy of the Gita, according to which all powers (bibhutis) on earth are the powers of God. Fascist philosophy is the logical outcome of the spiritualist view of life. Its Indian ancestry can be traced through Schopenhaur whose disciple, Nietzsche, was the founder of this philosophy’’.

From the article posted by ramana

So now Bhagvad Gita is the source of fascism. WOW!!! Some scholars we have in our country. I guess we can declare Shri Krishna as Hitlers guru. Soryy I gotta go puke Now lets see who this writer is associated with that should make everything clear.
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The writer is a visiting fellow at Jamia Millia Islamia
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jrjrao
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posted 22 March 2002 07:53 AM
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Closest fit seems to be in this folder..

A nice article in the Wall St. Journal today about a wedding in Kerala!

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PERSONAL JOURNEY

Tying the Knot in Paradise

By VERNON RAM

With its green, palm-fringed landscape, clear beaches, mouth-watering cuisine and the friendliest people, Kerala, at the southern tip of India , has always held a special appeal for me. I could not resist an invitation to attend the January wedding there of a colleague's daughter.

Until around 1900, Cochi (formerly Cochin) flourished as an international trading post thanks to its tea, coffee and rubber plantations, and fragrant spices like pepper, cloves and cardamom. These attracted Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, Arab, Jewish and British merchants who left behind a splendid array of churches, mosques, synagogues, palaces and Chinese fishing junks.

Modern-day Kerala too holds many records: the highest literacy rate of over 90% of the population, a democratically elected communist government and a vibrant matriarchal society where, long before the west discovered women's lib, Kerala women had called the shots for centuries. All inheritance is matrilineal and women can invoke instant divorce by the simple act of casting the husband's shoes or sandals and sleeping mat outside their front door.

I was curious to know more about the forthcoming wedding. The invitation said Hong Kong-born Keralite Nisha Gopalan, now working as a reporter in London, was marrying Darren Long, an English graphic designer. The couple planned to tie the knot in a traditional Hindu wedding in Cochi.

Initially, I gathered, the parents of Nisha and Darren were nervous and feared the worst. But knowing Kerala's propensity for making things work, they needn't have worried. "God's Own Country," as Kerala describes itself, stood Murphy's Law on its head. Instead of "If anything can go wrong, it will," the exact opposite proved to be the order of the day.

Like myself, most of the 70 overseas invitees were media friends or relatives of Nisha and Darren from Britain, America, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. One of the things that fascinated me was the ease with which my fellow visitors blended naturally into the scene without "going native" in a weird way. Sartorially, the men took the cue from the bridegroom and switched from Western suits or jeans and T-shirts to tasteful, raw-silk kurtas (kaftan-style shirts) and churidars (close-fitting trousers).

The switchover for the women from Western dresses to saris or the north Indian salwar-kameez (kaftan and pajamas) with matching shawl, seemed more intriguing. Decked out in glimmering, gold-lace trimmed cream silk saris that had been professionally draped and tucked by expert local help, the Western women, I dare confess, made a gorgeous sight every bit as glitzy as their Indian sisters in the bridal procession.

I was up at the crack of dawn for the wedding ceremony at the Siva temple. As was to be expected, this was a small and private function limited to close relatives and friends of the bride and groom. On hand to solemnize the wedding was the family's caste-Hindu priest known as namboodri. After reciting several shlokas (hymns) invoking the blessings of the Almighty, the priest handed Darren the sacred mangala sutra (consecrated marriage neckband) and instructed him to tie this around the bride's neck, the high point of the ceremony.

At precisely this climactic moment, a deafening cannon blast went off, nearly halting the shaken bridegroom in his tracks. The priest was quick to reassure Darren that there was nothing to be frightened about and explained that the explosion was, indeed, a most auspicious sign because the temple routinely fired its hourly cannon to signal the start of a new round of puja (religious offerings) to Lord Siva, the presiding deity.

The bride and groom, accompanied by a train of bridesmaids, the groom's aides and the parents of both parties were piped into the grand wedding hall. The festooned and brilliantly lit stage was awash with masses of multicolored flowers, palm saplings and a circle of tiered pedestal oil lamps. A ceremonial nadaswaram band featuring women instrumentalists on reed pipes and drums provided throbbing musical accompaniment, while Darren handed Nisha a silver tray bearing a sari, a symbol of his pledge to take care of her.

In the center of the raised stage was an ornate silver urn containing holy water from India's sacred rivers topped by a coconut framed with mango leaves. The core element of the wedding ceremony was the circumambulation of the sacred urn by the couple walking around it three times, hand in hand. The ceremony linked the couple together in a bond which, in the words of Manu, the ancient Hindu lawgiver, "no power on earth can break, and will continue in the after-life if the two are faithful and true to one another."

One of Nisha's elder relatives, who explained this ritual to me, added: "Hinduism goes even further than Catholic canon law. For, while the latter declares that the sacrament of marriage does not become fully effective until the union is consummated, and thus, if there is no cohabitation, may be annulled, Hinduism makes no such provision and the Hindu marriage is completely indissoluble once the circumambulation has been completed by the couple."

The clincher was an exchange of rings and garlands between bride and groom in a glittering ceremony that was watched and cheered by over 700 guests who showered gifts on the newlyweds. The afternoon was topped off by a culinary extravaganza the like of which I have never seen before: a banana-leaf banquet conjured up by six topflight cooks who must have slaved for hours preparing an 18-course vegetarian meal. Most of the foreign guests, I suspect, must have had some previous experience, or coaching, because they all remembered to use their right hand and manipulated deftly dishes like rice and watery sauces with the tip of their fingers without once smearing the palm or back of their hand.

The following morning, the bridal party, accompanied by the overseas guests, went cruising around the backwaters and inlets of Cochin Harbour. This was topped off by a waterfront alfresco lunch. That evening, in deference to the visitors, a Western-style reception was organized by the hosts in a hotel ballroom. Formal toasts were proposed to the bride and groom who mingled freely with the guests over cocktails and a lavish buffet dinner.

Then came the finale: The carpeted floor was cleared for the ceremonial first dance by the bride and groom. Next, everybody else joined in a rip-roaring evening of music and disco dancing until 1 a.m. All present agreed this dream wedding would prove a hard act to follow; the father of the bride has two more daughters, TV-anchor Divya and Priya, an engineer. But Gopi, as Mr. Gopalan is known, looked wholly unfazed as he locked arms with Prasanna, his wife, and announced deadpan: "They can always elope!"

URL for this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1016750304312610960.djm,00.html
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ramana
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posted 22 March 2002 02:39 PM
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A Pioneer article: Shudra brand of ultra Hinduism

http://www.dailypioneer.com/secon2.asp?cat=/PEOPLE2&d=SUNDAYPIONEER/PEOPLE

The sad story is that the numerous waves of invasions suspended and halted the assimilation process set in motion as a result of the great Gautama Buddha. I think the fossilization of the caste system is a response to the threat from the invaders.

A follow-up article: http://www.dailypioneer.com/secon2.asp?cat=/PEOPLE2&d=SUNDAYPIONEER/PEOPLE
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Calvin
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posted 31 March 2002 01:13 PM
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Topic: The Indian nation-state
Pratik Bhattacharya
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posted 11 January 2002 01:37 PM
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As a nation state we are just over 50 years old, we have existed for thousands of years, but not as one nation, under one, own rule. In the world of nation-states, we are still adolescent.
In last 50 years, just like a confused child, we tried various things: our own version socialism, closed economy, defining our identity, establishing a common cause within the people so that the new-born nation-state survives, and so on. Some worked, most didn't.

The closed economy era

It's my personal belief that as far as the maturity of a nation-state goes, we were in the position of Britain in the middle ages. We had the masses of absolutely poor, downtrodden people; also had a sizable highly educated, cultured elite; had a vast business class, but they hardly had any vision and rarely demanded any respect. The people were confused: What is obscene and what isn't? How free is man? Do we need a society at all? Should we follow the West or live in the past? Is it good to be rich? Like a teenager, we asked ourselves all sorts of questions. And we answered most questions ourselves (because unlike a teenager and the European nations, we didn't have anyone we could immitate), and most answers were wrong.

The New Economy era

This is very much like the Victorian era. Industrial revolution (in our case, globalisation) has began. The educated elite is trying all sorts of adventures (not colonialism, in our case it's IT and the blooming service industries), the old society is even more confused: should it shed the old inhibitions (like pre-Victorian morality, our belief that money is bad) or go modern (in our case, Western). In the meantime, it's still struggling to keep the family together (like troubles in Scotland and Northern Ireland). There are differences of course: we still have the masses of the poor and nobody really knows what to do about them.

That was enough rambling. We all know how Britain changed the world in the Victorian era. If history repeats itself, and if we can manage to be a little less confused, we are in the right path.

History is again unfolding in front of our eyes in a massive pace, we have managed to repeat 300 years of British history in 50 years.

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Ajay
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posted 11 January 2002 07:47 PM
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Actually, Pratik I think India is in some ways far ahead of the western countries - they also will soon have a service-dominated economy with people from many different cultures and the europeans will have what are essentially sub-nations as part of their union.
So I think in fact the rest of the world will finally catch up to India's development level even as the country recovers economically from 2 centuries (or 10 centuries) of foreign rule.

Ajay

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abhischekcc
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posted 11 January 2002 09:44 PM
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quote:
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As a nation state we are just over 50 years old, we have existed for thousands of years, but not as one nation, under one, own rule. In the world of nation-states, we are still adolescent.
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First let me contradict you on this point itself. India has been a nation since the time of King Bharat. Yes its statehood is a comparatively new phenomenon, since the time Chanakya. Its has had some form of central govt. since that time onwards. The record is broken, but people often confuse nationhood with statehood.
Why should India's new nation-statehood be questioned, when the concept of the Nation State itself is of recent vintage, since the mid 19th century, and is applicable mostly in European social and political conditions.
Swami Vivekananda had said something to this effect - Europe is packaged off in nations, while Asia is packaged off into Civilisations.
The nation state is an economic phenomenon, it rose with the rise of the colonial powers looking to expand their market.

If one has to have a concept of what Modern India is , then the proper description would be a Civilisation-State.

Why should we lament the fact that India is not a nation state when we are something beeter.
Europe is only now begining to think if itself as a civilisation. We beat them by at least 10000 years.
If we have to consider ourselves as a nation, that of the Chanakya variety, then we China by at least 700 hundred years, and Europe by 2200 years. And you worry about our being not focussed enough. We have just been out of a thousand years of hell.
Islam slayed civilisations with histories comparable to ours. Persia - conquered. Egypt - conquered by just 3000 thousand Arabs. Spain - conquered by 18000 Arabs. And India? The Arabs were never able to conquer India, they were stopped at the gates of India at Saurashtra itself. WHat about the world conquering Mongols? They couldn't enter the gates of India for FOUR Centuries, at Afghanistan, and this when Europe was trembling before their might. And the mongols may never have entered the country if it wasn't for the Quisling (I forget his name) who invited the first Mongol invader(I forget his name too )in 1050 AD.

Now, this is the strength of our nationhood, does that make you feel proud or what?

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Pratik Bhattacharya
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posted 12 January 2002 07:43 AM
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As I said in my post, we are one of the oldest civilisations and people of the world, but not as a nation-state. Rarely has the whole of India been under one single ruler, following one single set of rule. Our nation-statehood begaun only since 1947.
There is no hidden agenda here. Nobody here is trying to show the civilisation in poor light or anything like that. But it is indeed a political fact that we were rarely under one single (own) rule before 1947.

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abhischekcc
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posted 15 January 2002 12:04 AM
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If the logic of physical unity is accepted, then no modern nation has the right to live.
We have weathered many a storm, and have retianed our essential unity. We should not bother about nation-statehood, because it is a passing phenomenon. It rose in the mid 19th century and is now falling away, to be replaced by Civilisationhood. What was expressed so poetically by Samuel Huntington, clash of civilisations.

The world is becoming a place where the natural strengths of India are more relevant. Open societies, knowledge economies and knowledge societies, freedom of thought, chaos, etc.
See how easily India fitted into the information society, without even planning for it. Why? Because the ingredients of the information revolution are those very ideals that have formed the national life of India for millenia. Every other civilisation has to change to become fit for the information age. Europe is finally uniting into a unit based on culture, rather than politics, China has to undergo more openness, and Arabi, wll it is the most unfit candidate for the information age. Only we don't have to change. India is the civilisation which can live in the information age without changing its mores.

Yes, even the caste system has a chance. Whether you like this or not is not the question, but it has a chance. How? Specialisation of labour. The information age , more than any other places emphasis on how much information you can handle - create,store,manipulate in your mind. These will form the new Brahmins. At the same time , as you can notice , the world is getting more and more insecure, hence, security services (the new Kshatriyas) will be another growth area. And so on. There will form a natural hierarchy of people, similiar to caste system.
Heck, we can even flaunt the caste system as the social system of the new age.

Offf, I wandered off topic again.
What I am trying to say is that Political unity was never given number priority in our country. Religioun was priority number 1. We have , of course paid a very heavy price for this. Bu this failure is not the failure of our nationhood, because our nationhood was never based on having the same terrorist ruling over us (a.k.a. emperor), but on the same principles ruling over us, namely the belief in trasmigration, and the need for final liberation of the soul. This simple fact guided the lives of millions of people, from beggars to kings. This is the real unity of India.

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Pratik Bhattacharya
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posted 15 January 2002 12:13 PM
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Now that we have wandered off a little bit, why not a bit more...
Nobody would have opoosed the caste system if there were just three castes. The whole problem with casteism is that it draws a terribly divisive line between the upper three castes and the lowest one, leaving them feeling deprived and opressed (which, to a large extent, they are). If there was nothing called the lower caste, we wouldn't have had so many problems today. The society would have integrated much more easily. The whole problem started with the seggregation of the so called lower classes, because we have alienated them a lot.

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abhischekcc
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posted 16 January 2002 07:21 AM
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Well, discussing caste and the nation state together then this doesn't seem to be a digression. Since a lot of scholars have pointed out that the one of the reasons for the fractitious nature of our politics is the extreme diversity of our society. Diversity can be of two types, horizontal ( a.k.a. multicultural,which is good) and vertical (a.k.a. class/caste divided, which is "bad").
While I don't support the vertical type of 'diversity', one has to recognise that differences have always existed in society and will always exist. To say that just for producing the caste system , India is condemnable forever and ever, is a folly, to say the least.

Exploitation. Well I have my reservations about the concept of exploitation. Yes, people were not allowed to progress materially, but material progress itself was not held very high in esteem.
So that argument falls flat.
Besides,the position of the kshudras protected them in times of war. The rules of war said that the following people were not to be attacked in war - Brahmins, women, mundakas, sanyasis, and the lower classes. This is in stark contrast with Europe and west asia.

You have to only read the history of west asia as propounded in the Old testament to understand the kind of mayhem that was the norm then. And if I may add, even now. In Rome, a campaign was called successful only if >3000 people from the enemy side were massacred. 3000, as is to be expected, was a big number in those days. Note that no distinction was made between the soldiers and non- combatants of the enemy. IOW, a campaign was successful only if a genocide was carried out.
And on top of this genocidal behaviour, those systems were also non-egalitarian.

What I am trying to say that the caste system was, with all its faults, the best sytem available to us. Now, its good points have become evil, not because they were evil to begin with. But because external circumstance have changed. Man has developed to the point where he does not need constant supervision, so caste system and its strictures have become irrelavant.

Where does nation hood come from all this?

Well, we as a nation have been fed a constant stream of west inspired self hating thoughts. Berating Hinduism for the caste system is a favourite past time for such obnoxious people. We have to come to grips with what the caste system was. It was certainly better than the prevailing systems in other parts of the world. Why should we apologise for the caste system when Greek comes to apologise for Alexander, or no Central Asian apologises for Babar, and other such terrorists.

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sbajwa
Member
Member # 361

posted 16 January 2002 08:57 AM
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As long as India is a diverse secular Democracy it is a nation state in its own right.
The day politicians decided to implement

1. One language for India.
2. One religion for India.

Then Nation state of India will exist only between Jamuna and Ganga.

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Pratik Bhattacharya
Member
Member # 3415

posted 16 January 2002 11:49 AM
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If a system is good but often has terrible consequences, manages to alienate the majority of the people, then there is something wrong with it and it should be changed, instead of blaming everybody else and his grandmother. It's better do deal with issues directly than beating about the bush.
I am probably sticking my neck out here, but I can't help saying this: your argument is exactly like Islamic apologists in the West today, who claim that there is nothing wrong with Islam, it's just that some people interpret it wrongly.

If just 'wrong interpretation' of a so-called good system does THAT, then hell, I don't need your 'good' system.

Bottomline is, there are serious issues about the caste system and those must be dealt with. We have seen what happens if we push them under the carpet for too long.

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Karthik Krishnamurthy
Member
Member # 3398

posted 19 January 2002 07:13 AM
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Pratik: That the caste system is very cruel to the sudras, there is no doubt. But consider this: Some form of subjugation or the other has been implemented by each and every civilization in its formative stages. There must simply have been a need for such a system. The caste system was IMHO by far the most humane compared to outright slavery that other civilisations indulged in. The need for such hereditary caste demarcation is long past and has been rightly consigned to the dust bin.
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abhischekcc
Member
Member # 989

posted 20 January 2002 03:20 AM
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abhischekcc
Member
Member # 989

posted 20 January 2002 03:47 AM
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Karthik my thoughts exactly.
IMO, the service rendered to our nation by the caste system is far more the harm it has caused. Our achievements in philosophy,religion,etc. may not have been possible if the caste system had not been present. What was wrong with the system was that it did not give equal access to the benefis of the system to all people. And that it later became rigid and based on birth, which it was not in the beginning, from all appearances.


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