History of India

Calvin
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History of India

Postby Calvin » 17 Sep 1999 07:31

I am currently re-educating myself on Indian History. I have Stanley Wolpert's book "A new history of India" that I am going through currently.<P>1. Any suggested readings on Indian History esteemed BRF members?<P>2. Here are some questions on the AIT:<P>(a) On Indus Culture (Chap 1): "Careful analysis of the skeletal remains of almost 100 corpses indicates that the people were a mixture of predominantly Proto-australoid and mediterranean physiques, as in modern peninuslar India, rangin in height from 5' to 5'9""<P>-- Does this mean that the subcontinent was not populated by people substantially different from those that inhabited Mohenjo-daro? Is this a clue opposing AIT?<P>(b) The Aryan Age (Chap 2): "... excavations at the Hittite site of Boghaz-koi in Cappadocia yielded tablets containing a treaty concluded between the Hittite King Subiluliuma and his Mittani neighbor to the east, King Mattiwaza, who reigned in about 1400 BC. Invoked as divine witneesses to this treaty were 4 gods, Indara, Uruvna, Mitira and Nasatiya, whose Sanskrit names in the Rig Veda were spelled virtually the same (Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Naksatras), proving that by this date the Vedic pantheon had acquired its identity. This confirmaton of Muller's estimates leads us to assume that, since the Rig Veda itself does not mention the Aryan invasions of India, the process must have begun at least a century earlier, or probably around 1500BC."<P>--- Does this lend credence to AIT?<p>[This message has been edited by Calvin (edited 16-09-1999).]

Sagar
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Re: History of India

Postby Sagar » 17 Sep 1999 08:00

I have come across both evidences previously and also commentaries on them.<P>1) Yes, it does suggest that the Harappans were themselves racially plural people and not a homogeneous 'Dravidian' race as the AIT suggests. <P>2) I wonder how one can conclude that since this treaty was sealed in 1400 BC, the Rig Veda was written one century earlier in 1500 BC. A crappy piece of arguement - Wolpert is trying to fix events within the time limit proposed by Muller. Considering the depth of the Rig Veda it is unlikely it was suddenly composed over a period of only 100 years. The spread of elements of Vedic culture was widespread in ancient times - from the fire temples in Azharbaijan with Sanskrit inscriptions to the Angkor in Cambodia. If you look carefully at the rituals of the Haj - you will find similarities with Hindu rituals - from the ablutions with water to the shaving of the head (Haj is a modification of an ancient Arab pilgrimage to the pre-Islamic deities of Kaaba). It is likely that these are carry over rituals from the pre-Islamic traditions. Bottomline is that this discovery does not support AIT in anyway.

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Re: History of India

Postby Rupak » 17 Sep 1999 08:19

Calvin<P>There is quite bit of truth in the Wolpert assertation that the inhabitants of the Harrapan civilization were racially mixed. There is a concensus among Indian human geographers that races moved into India at a glacial pace and that at virually every point in Indian history socities were mixed. The odd thing is that when I went to school in the 1980s we were taught about AIT in Ancient History, but about cultural diversity in Human Geography class.<P>The "must read" work on Indian Histroy is the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan collection "The History and Culture of the Indian People". This is an 11 volume work that coveres the period from pre-history to 1947. Edited by India's foremost historian R.C.Majumdar, and begun under the stewardship of K.M.Munshi in 1963, the volumes have been continously updated over the years. I have the entire collection (save Vol 1) of the 1984 edition. Well worth your while....

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Re: History of India

Postby Sagar » 17 Sep 1999 10:16

Even if we accept migration theory - which is also disputed by some although I personally believe it to be a strong possibility - it means the AIT is dead - and with it dies the politics of AIT. <P>

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Re: History of India

Postby P Smith » 17 Sep 1999 10:17

A rambling, hopefully coherent narrative from my amateurish understanding:<P>1) Earlier theories thought of the Harappan people being migrants from Mesopotamia and of diffusion of agriculture from the fertile crescent to NW India. However, recent discoveries of aceramic, agricultural and animal-domesticating communities in Mehrgarh, Baluchistan dating back to 6000-7000 BC would support the view that farming of cereals arose independently at several places across the world almost 'simultaneously'. Hence no need to assume diffusion here. It is believed that these farming communities were ancestors of the Bronze-Age Harappans. <P>2) The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was a reasonable theory (based on evidence at that time) proposed to connect two scientific disciplines - linguistics and archaelogy. Linguistics = spread of Indo-European languages and analysis of literary evidence in the form of the Rg Veda. Briefly, AIT said that a bunch of Sanskrit speaking nomadic people who referred to themselves as Aryas conquered the Harappan people who were referred to as Dasas, and displaced them southwards to peninsular India. <P>Some skeletal samples from Mohenjodaro were thought to show signs of a massacre (excavated by Wheeler?) and this was used as an archaelogical crutch for the AIT theory. However in recent times, this evidence for massacre by invaders has been rejected (by serious archaeologists - stratigraphy, C14 dating fundas) - so if there was an invasion, these skeletons are not evidence of it. Linguists now propose small scale migrations of Aryan tribes into the area over a period of time coinciding with the decline of the 'mature phase' of the Harappan civilization (AMT). Notions of blonde, barbaric hordes overrunning peaceful Harappan folks has "hopefully been fatally undermined".<P>Current models to explain the decline of the Harappan civilization - which in its mature phase lasted from 2600-1900 BC - look to environmental reasons. Shifting and drying of rivers (Ghaggar-Hakra/Sarasvati) in the area leading to disruptions in farming and trade contacts between the various Harappan urban centres. This eventually led to decentralisation and population shifts and transformed the communities from urban dwellers to smaller village communities. They also started cultivating rice (earlier it was wheat).<P>The locus of Indian civilization shifted in the next thousand years from the Indus valley to the Ganga valley.<P>3) Earlier theories considered iron to be an import to India by the Aryans (who were thought of as being in the iron age) which helped in clearing the forests in the Gangetic valleys. But linguists now think that there are no references to iron in the Rg Veda. Also archaeologists have uncovered evidence of iron tools in other cultures in central and south India ca 1200BC, before the proposed arrival of Sanskrit speaking people in those areas. So iron is not an import.<P>To conclude, the Rg Veda is the only literary evidence we have of the nature of Indian civilization in the second millenium BC. It is a collection of hymns composed by several generations of poets attached to several clans who often fought among themselves and with others (referred to as dasas, dasyus etc.). It was composed in the region of the "seven seas" (NW India) and does not contain <B>explicit</B> memories of a migration from distant lands. All/some of the separate clan poems were collected together centuries after they were composed after a "Battle of the Ten Kings" - which saw the ascendance of the clan of Bharatas hence Bharat - and then transmitted orally for close to another millenium before they were written down.<P>By all current arch. evidence, the Harappan civilization (settled urban) does not resemble the lifestyle depicted in the Rg Veda (nomadic, pastoral, prominent position of the domestic horse). Sanskrit and the domestic horse were 'foreign' to India in those times and the simplest (but not the sole) explanation is immigration by Sanskrit speakers.<P>For references to the Harappan civilization go to <A HREF="http://www.harappa.com/har/harres032.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.harappa.com/har/harres032.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by psmith (edited 17-09-1999).]

Rupak
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Re: History of India

Postby Rupak » 17 Sep 1999 16:51

Salman<P>History moves with the times and the reference you mentioned is not the last word on the subject.<P>Of course it isn't the last word. It doesn't deal adequately the AIT debate, for example. Given that it is an edited volume(s), it does however bring together diverse views on the subject (and scholars from Pakistan and B'desh). It is a standard reference and one that must be read by any serious student of Indian History. <P>Rupak

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Re: History of India

Postby Kaushal » 17 Sep 1999 23:07

Salman, this is not the first, and I am certain wont be the last, thread on Indian History or the AIT (as sagar or rupak will attest to ) in BR and most of the threads have been of a high caliber and not at all incendiary. <P>Kaushal

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Re: History of India

Postby Kuttan » 17 Sep 1999 23:18

I remain firmly committed to AIT (Alien Invasion Theory). <BR>Salman has cited no peer-reviewed journal references shooting this down. Image

Prof Raghu
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Re: History of India

Postby Prof Raghu » 18 Sep 1999 01:02

If anyone is going to India and has time and wants to educate himself/herself about India, then I recommend the Theosophical Library in Adyar, Chennai. It has one of the best collection of books related to Indian history, and also has really old manuscripts. The place is uncrowded, the surrounding is beautiful. An excellent place to improve one's human capital.<P>Calvin, it depends on which period of Indian history you want. If you are interested in the British era, then read books by R.C.Dutt and Dadabhai Naoroji. Otherwise, as noted by rupak, *the* books to read are the Majumdar books.<P>Also depends on which aspect of history you want - the "events" aspects of history, the economic aspect of history, the religious aspect of history, architectural and scientific aspects of history etc.

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Re: History of India

Postby advitya » 19 Sep 1999 04:34

If there were no Aryan Invasions ,how do you explain the caste system that was built on colour(varna)<P>Colour, as in skin complexion, is a mis-translation of the word "varna" as applied to the caste system. The term itself denotes levels of learning/knowledge - the higher you are the less lost in "darkness" you are. Note, that the caste system is a knowledge based heirarchy which puts teachers at the very top.<BR>

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Re: History of India

Postby Kaushal » 19 Sep 1999 05:07

India is the one of the few ancient societies to have placed teachers and learned men at the top of the social heirarchy, even above Kings. These teachers did not have any power, no nuclear or conventional weapons, no missiles , no power to coerce anybody or collect taxes, certainly no power to pass laws or enforce them. Despite this powerlessness, in matters material and temporal , the teachers and seers (literally one who can see or perceive) in ancient India exerted a powerful influence on society, merely on the basis of their scholarship and knowledge, and to the extent that the British and other foreign invaders have convinced otherwise sane Indians that these teachers are at fault for all of India's problems, it is because they wanted to make an overt attempt to breakdown Indian society for the purpose of dominating it. Incidentally, if the reader thinks I am referring to Brahmins, it is good to remind oneself that the rishis and seers of India came from all kinds of backgrounds and social levels and not just the priestly class.<P>One thing I find interesting is that people like Kevin take a sadistic pleasure in pointing out what they feel are negative aspects of Indian society. I have a fair acquaintance with ancient and medieval Chinese society too, and despite the fact that there were many repressive aspects in Chinese society , I do not feel the urge to bring this out in this or any other forum, to say aha, therefore you are barbarians and we are superior to you. This kind of a shouting contest is very immature and merely highlights the childishness of the person putting forward these kinds of arguments.<P>Kaushal<p>[This message has been edited by Kaushal (edited 18-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby arun » 19 Sep 1999 10:04

Kuashal,<BR>GOOD POINTS.<BR>It seems Kevin is one of those Caucasoid brainwashed by western myths perpetuated to further the west. Stavirs good points as well, the west has only come up in the last couple of centuries a mere second compared to the length of human civilization. Again maybe Kevin is insecure or afraid because more and more Americans and Westerners are looking towards Eastern spirituality (mainly Hinduism and Buddhism) to achieve religious enlightenment. if the white Christians were not racist, then why did they oppress native Americans and keep Africans as slaves for centuries as Tibetan has pointed out in his post? Again I try not to be racist but the MOST RACIST AND INTOLERANT on Earth are the Christians and Whites. Period!<BR>

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Re: History of India

Postby Raj » 20 Sep 1999 08:57

Some websites related to Ancient Indian History<BR> <A HREF="http://www.hindu.org/publications" TARGET=_blank>http://www.hindu.org/publications</A> <BR> <BR> <A HREF="http://www.hindu.org/publications/fgautier/rih.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.hindu.org/publications/fgautier/rih.html</A> <BR> <A HREF="http://members.xoom.com/KoenraadElst/articles.html" TARGET=_blank>http://members.xoom.com/KoenraadElst/articles.html</A> <BR> <A HREF="http://www.itihaas.com/ancient/contrib1.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.itihaas.com/ancient/contrib1.html</A> <P><BR> <A HREF="http://www.itihaas.com/ancient" TARGET=_blank>http://www.itihaas.com/ancient</A> <P><p>[This message has been edited by raj (edited 19-09-1999).]

P Smith
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Re: History of India

Postby P Smith » 20 Sep 1999 09:42

<I>uday>>by highligting explicit do you imply any implicit memory? If yes,would you pls give example?</I><P>If you can get your hands on - <BR>Erdosy, George ed., "The Indo-Aryans of Ancient south Asia: Language, <BR>Material Culture and Ethnicity" (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 1995). The two articles by Michael Witzel go into this. Of course it is only his informed opinion/speculation.<P>Re. Sarasvati, do all references/descriptions to it in the Rg Veda refer to the same river?<P><I>>>In the contrary current arch. evidence indicates that, Harrapan was not urban but mix of small villages and few urban centers because from hundreds of new found indus sites very few are urban and most of them are village sites.</I><P>Yeah, you are right - there were lots of villages+some large urban centres. But they were not nomads.<P><I>pls explain how sanskrit was 'foreign' in thoes times</I><P>By "those times" I meant to refer to the period of the third millenium BC when the Harappan civilization began to reach its 'mature phase'. Sanskrit belongs to the family of Indo-European languages. It did not originate <I>ab initio</I> in India.<P>Again, AMT is a plausible proposal put forth primarily by linguists to try to explain the presence of Indo-European languages in the sub-continent. Many archaeologists do not see any archaeological evidence for migrations by "Aryan outsiders" (these arch. have nothing to do with nationalistic revisionism - see Kenoyer's book in the URL reference I gave before) and offer other possible explanations.<P>The AIT is dead. Long live the AIT.

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Re: History of India

Postby member_1332 » 20 Sep 1999 18:12

Ok, this actually belongs to the thread titled "Prehistoric India", but I couldn't see it anywhere. Image<P>From Rediff:<BR>=============================================<BR>Bombay geologists unearth dinosaur fossil in Kutch<BR> <BR>A four-member team of Bombay-based geologists have unearthed remains of a Jurassic Age dinosaur's fossil at Kaur Bet in Kutch, which is said to be one of the oldest prehistoric remains found in India and in this part of the globe. <P>''This proves that these mighty reptiles roamed the country millions of year ago,'' said Dr K K Das, superintendent geologist with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd, who is a member of the team. The other members are Dr K Satyanarayana, deputy general manager (geology dept) of the ONGC and two other senior geologists of the company, Dr D K Dasgupta and Dr Alok Dave. <P>The discovery was made by the ONGC's regional geology laboratory team recently when they were on a geological mission at Kaur Bet in the Kutch region of Gujarat, across the western sector. ''The fossil treasure that the ONGC team has unearthed will help researchers, geologists and archaeologists a lot'', Dr Das said in Bombay. ''This is the oldest known remains of a dinosaur in India, and is expected to belong to the middle Jurassic period, ie, around 178 million years old," he said. <P>Talking about what the team has unearthed, Dr Das said, ''We have unearthed fossil bones of probable spinal column and legs.'' Huge, petrified tree remains were also found. Currently the fossils have been kept under the control of the Indian Army and the Border Security Force, he added. <P>It was found on the surface along with associated limestone rocks. ''It belongs to the middle Jurassic age from Kaladongar formation, geologically dated on the basis of micro-organisms present,'' he said. It is expected to be around 178 million years old. <P>Earlier reported findings were from the Inter-Trappean beds of Anjar hills, some 80 km from Kaur Bet, which were said to be around 65 million years old. <P>The findings of the team of scientists have been published in the latest edition of Current Science, a leading science journal published from Bangalore. He said more research can be carried out in this area in association with other agencies. <P>On being asked about the feelings after the team discovered the fossil, Dr Das said, ''We were really happy.'' <P>UNI <BR>

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Re: History of India

Postby svinayak » 21 Sep 1999 08:26

>>Indians due to caste-certainl;y<BR> there was no biased merely due to being undereducated but a visceral hatred and<BR> uncompassion of a "twice -born" Brahmin to a lowly undercaste -deserving of no<BR> mercy,pity or even courtesy,<<<P>Most of these accounts are reported by the reporters from Bihar and UP where the development is still lower. The PCI and human development indicators are very low.<BR>In the 90's the reporters have to go all the way interior to these states to still report about the sterotype of India. <BR>This itself shows that the rest of the India has changed from what it was 50 years ago.<BR>The youger generation is growing without difference in caste/creed. <BR>But we can still see for another 10years the news magazine such as Economist still trying to find a needle in a haystack to find something wrong and represent 1 billion people with that.

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Re: History of India

Postby Calvin » 21 Sep 1999 19:40

<A HREF="http://www.geoworld.com/Athens/Parthenon/1996/" TARGET=_blank>http://www.geoworld.com/Athens/Parthenon/1996/</A> <P>Ways of Indo-Aryan Migrations.<BR> <BR>The date of birth of Indo-European studies and the whole Indo-Europeanistics can be considered as the year 1767 when a French Jesuit named Ceurdou in its message to the Academy of Inscriptions first mentioned that the Old Indic language had much in common with classical European languages - Greek and Latin. As soon as trade contacts and cultural ties allowed Europeans to learn a bit of Sanskrit, it became evident that Indic and European languages are close relatives. <BR>This was a revolution in linguistics - the historical linguistic studies were born. After that for half a century Sanskrit and other, later discovered forms of the Old Indic language were thought by scholars to have been the oldest forms of "Indo-Germanic", the direct descendants of the Proto-language. <P>Every linguist in the first half of the 19th century believed that Indic grammar preserved practically everything from Indo-European. Indic phonetics and Indic morphology were considered as the most archaic. For example, both Bopp and Schleicher were sure Indo-European had had three vowels: *a, *i, *u. This was proven completely incorrect already when in 1876 Karl Brugmann discovered and proved that the Celtic, Italic and Greek distinction between a, e, o existed in Proto-Indo-European. That meant that Indo-Iranian languages went too far in their phonology from the original state - all three vowels coincided there. This fusion of the vocals surely broke the whole vocalic system making it to some extent useless for the comparative research. So it appeared that in phonetics, Greek, Latin or Slavic are even more conservative, more archaic and closer to the Proto-Indo-European stage. However, the interest towards Indo-Aryan languages remained high, and nowadays Sanskrit and Vedic are still regarded as one of the ancient Indo-European branches. <P>The same kind of story can be told about the question of the Indo-European homeland, which was first suspected to have been situated in India but later was moved to the west - modern scientists place it either in Near East or in Eastern Europe. This means also that Indo-Aryans actually came to India from the west - but where did they live before and what were their ways towards their new motherland? <BR> <BR> <BR> § 1. Historical, Epic and Archaeological Sources. <BR> <BR>Modern archaeology allows us to suppose that in ancient times settlers usually came to India from the north, via Iran and Afghanistan. That was the way the first civilization appeared here, in the Indus Valley, nowadays known as Harappan or the Mohenjo-Daro culture. It existed for five or six centuries, created powerful city-states and wonderful monuments, and then died out completely due to reasons still unknown. <P>Indo-European nomadic tribes which took its place in India were Aryans. Their closest relatives Iranians settled in Persia and Media in the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, while Aryan arrival can date back to the 14th century BC. Actually the term "Aryan" should be referred to both Indo-Iranian branches - they both called themselves ar, ir 'nobles' which was the name of their ancient community. <P>Indic epic, first of all Veda and classical poems, usually notices that Aryans came from the north. In legends described in Rigveda, the homeland of Aryans is placed somewhere in the north, where the climate is milder and colder than in India. The gap in time between Aryan arrival in India and Iranian settling down in Persia gives us another mystery - it seems that India was occupied by Indo-Europeans even earlier than Iran! This allowed some scientists to state that Indic settlers went from Eastern Europe via the Central Asian steppes, not touching the Caucasus mountains. Some correspondence can be found again in Rigveda, where the "region of the Seven Rivers" is mentioned several times - a widespread name for the Aral steppe district. However, not much of probable Indo-Aryan substratum glosses in toponymics and hidronymics of Central Asia can be found yet. <P>The most reliable archaeological evidence of early Indo-Aryan presence in India is the "gray decorated ceramics" culture. It was discovered in Eastern Punjab, Haryan, along the Upper Gang and Jamna. The zone of its spreading goes practically for sure from the west - that means from the territory of modern Pakistan. Still, the earlier ways are arguable, and no clear proofs exist that proto-Indic tribes migrated through Central Asian steppes, Iran or Caucasus. This gives way to several versions - archaeologically it is hard to identify the exact predecessors of the "gray decorated" culture. Some find it in the southern Ural with the famous Andronovo culture of the 3rd millennium BC (another possible Indo-European homeland?), or somewhere between the Caspian and the Aral Sea or more to the west in Eastern Europe. <P>So, neither archaeology, nor folk poems can make one sure about the homeland and ways of Aryans to India. Let us then go through the linguistic sources which can be even more reliable. <BR> <BR> <BR> § 2. Linguistic Sources. <P>Sometimes linguistic analysis can give us even more than historical or archeological evidence. Especially concerning the pre-historic period, when no inscriptions were written and no cities were built by this or that nation. In that case we can gather the linguistic data and reconstruct not only the language itself, but the place of living, the way of life, religion and psychology of people who lived several thousand years ago. Names of rivers and streams, mountains and hills, ancient personal names later recorded by classical authors - that is all invaluable for linguists, because such data can reflect quite archaic stages of the language and can tell even the nationality of those whose trace in history was lost long ago. <P>A. Mitanni Aryan <P>In classical philology, in the previous century, it considered indisputable that Indo-Iranians went east from the Indo-European homeland, and then Iranians stay where they are situated now, and Indians went further to the Indus and the Gang Valleys. The birth of the Indo-Aryan ethnic group, so, was believed to take place somewhere in Iran or Afghanistan. This was hard to deny, as no other traces of Indic people were found at the time anywhere else but in India. However, new archaeological data from the Middle East broke the whole system and was sensational: new inscriptions of the Mitanni Empire in northern Mesopotamia, written in cuneiform, were proven Indo-European (while Mitanni was populated and ruled mainly by Hurritic and Semitic tribes)! After careful studies of Mitanni texts and names linguists learned some additional Indo-European-like words in the Mitanni lexicon. Moreover, though these words were long believed Hittite, or at least some Anatolian, later research showed that they were in fact Indo-Aryan. Even not Indo-Iranian, but Indic, used much later than the Indo-Iranian branch broke up in two. <P>To make serious conclusions, we should at first study the very material. Unfortunately, the number of words and morphemes is quite small, but still they give us a chance to identify the language. All of them date from the period between 1700 and 1400 BC, when the Mitanni Empire was flourishing, just the moment when India was occupied by the first waves of Indo-European nomads. So all versions of Aryan ways first to Mitanni and then to India are not quite correct - at least some of migrants must have stayed in Mesopotamia. After 1350 BC, when the Empire was destroyed, all signs of the Indic language there disappears - it seems that the nation was assimilated completely by Semitic and other people. <P>The words are known from several exact sources: Kikkuli's horse-breeding treatise written in Hittite but containing special professional terms from Indic (obviously, Aryans were known as good horse-breeders); the personal names of Mitanni princes and princesses; the names of deities on the Mitanni-Hatti treaties of the 14th century BC; a Hurrian text from Yorgan-Tepe; several Kassite documents with Akkadian translations. Here is the complete list: <P>Indara (Vedic & Avestan Indra) <BR>Assura (Vedic Asura, Avestan Ahura) <BR>Akni (Vedic Agni) <BR>Miitra (Sanskrit & especially Avestan Mitra) <BR>Vruwana-, Aruna- (Vedic & Avestan Varun.a) <BR>Našattiia (Sanskrit Nasatya) <BR>Suriiaaš (Vedic Surya) - names of deities; <BR>Maruttaš (Vedic Marut) <BR>aika - one (Sanskrit eka) <BR>aššušanni - a stableman (Sanskrit ac,vasani) <BR>na, nawa - nine (Sanskrit nava) <BR>panza - five (Sanskrit panca) <BR>šatta - seven (Sanskrit sapta) <BR>tera, tiera, tri - three (Sanskrit tri) <BR>wartanna - a turn, a turning (Sanskrit vartate 'he turns') <BR>wašanna - a stadium; <BR>babru - describing colours of horses (Sanskrit babhru 'brown') <BR>parita - describing colours of horses (Sanskrit palita 'gray') <BR>pinkara - describing colours of horses (Sanskrit pingala 'reddish') <BR>marya - a charioteer (Vedic marya 'a young man, a soldier'); <BR>Tirgutawiya - a woman's name <BR>Abirattaš - a king's name (Sanskrit abhi-ratha 'facing chariots') <P>Note: <BR>1. The names of deities are for sure Indo-Iranian. Many of them coincide also with Iranian, Avestan names, but we should note that in Mitanni Aryan Indara and Vruwanassil are mentioned as powerful gods, and in Avesta they are either minor deities (like Indra) or even angry demons (like Varuna). Iranians and Aryans had something like antagonism in religion, and so Iranians were fond of humiliating Indic gods. Mitanni texts use the names for gods they want help from, so they just cannot be Iranian. The last proof is the š in šatta and wašanna, which would have become h in Iranian (Avestan hapta 'seven'). <P>2. The very abstract from the Mitanni-Hatti treaty reads the following: <BR>mi-it-ra-aš-si-il... <BR>in-dar <BR>na-ša-a (t-ti-ia-a)n-na... <BR>mi-it-ra-aš-ši-il <BR>a-ru-na-aš-ši-il <BR>in-da-ra <BR>na-ša-at-ti-ia-an-na (Winckler, Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft No. 35, 1907, p. 51, s. Boghazkoi-Studien VIII, Leipzig 1923, pp. 32 f., 54 f.) <BR>This text names all four treaty gods mentioned in Rigveda (RV, 10.125.1). <P>We see that the majority of the terms above are parallel to those in Vedic and Sanskrit languages. The Anatolian origin of them is very doubtful then: Hittite tara- (three), nuwa (nine) and šipta- (seven) do not match so well, and moreover, aika (one) from Indo-European *oi-k- is a typical Indo-Iranian stem not found yet in other groups of the family. <P>A little of phonetic material can also tell us something. It seems that the language of Mitanni Aryans was not exactly like Vedic or Classical Sanskrit of India. Several dialectal features make it more likely another branch of the Indo-Aryan group: <P>šatta (seven) was sapta in India, so the group -pt- must have assimilated to -tt- in Mitanni Aryan: this feature later took place in Indic Prakrits, while languages of classical literature, Vedic and Sanskrit, did not show it at all. Probably that was a common, popular variant; <BR>aika (one) instead of Indic eka or Kurdish (Iranian) ek makes linguists think that Mitanni Aryan preserved diphthongs which were lost in Vedic (but - note - were kept in Avestan). So the language of Mitanni seems here more archaic.; <BR>several variants of recording words which are considered Aryan allowed to conclude that Mitanni Aryan was a satem language, and the Indo-European palatal *g' became s here.; <BR>parita and pinkara give us still another feature - the preserved r between vowels, while in other Indo-Iranian language it was transferred into l (palita and pingala); <BR>as for Tirgutawiya, this interesting female personal name will be examined below, as it has a peculiar parallel in another Indo-Aryan relict dialect. <P>So we support the idea about the separate Indo-Aryan language called Mitanni Aryan and spoken by some ethnic minority of Mitanni in the 2nd millennium BC. How did Aryans reach Mesopotamia? We do not know whether it was a branch of the group which chose another way from Eastern Europe to the east than the general wave, or maybe this language is a relict of the whole Indo-Aryan group which migrated across these lands. Then where from did Aryans go, and what was their homeland? <P>The latest discoveries in linguistics of the Black Sea region say - Indic people were there. <P>B. Pontic Aryan <BR> <BR>The first to suggest the hypothesis of Indo-Aryan presence in the region north and east to the Black Sea was Paul Kretschmer; in his work Inder am Kuban (Wien, 1944) he managed to gather several facts and historical evidence to state that tribes mentioned by Herodot, namely Sindes and Maeotes, were Indic by origin. Kretschmer noticed just a few etymologies which he thought were Indo-Aryan, but he even did not pay attention to hundreds of glosses and toponymic items which should be used together with analyzing the historical data. <P>That Kretschmer's work (and a few ones afterwards) was just a drop in the sea of linguistic literature. The general point of view about the Pontic region as the one historically populated by Scythians and their Iranian relatives remained decisive in the discussion of the matter. Every little sign of an ancient language around the Black Sea, in Crimea and in the Northern Caucasian region was transcribed as Scythian - though attempts to identify everything in hydronymics and toponymics as Scythian was sometimes unsuccessful. <P>Another large discovery was a series of articles issued in Russian, American and German journals between 1975 and 1989 by Oleg Trubachov, who first managed to gather large range of data from Pontic districts and the Caucasus and to state that the language of people who used to live there were Indo-Aryan by origin. The book by Trubachov combining all his previous articles was called Indoarica in the North Black Sea region and was published in Moscow in 1999 ("Nauka"). This opened a new stream in the studies of Indo-Aryan languages and the history of the Indo-European family as a whole. The most part of material given below was taken from that very book <P>It seems now that Indo-Aryans used to inhabit lands along the Black Sea shores even in Herodot's times: the tribes he mentions in his "Historia", Sindes and Maeotes, are separated out from Scythians as a different nation: they were involved in agriculture and cattle-breeding, and occupied the fertile region on both sides of the Don river (then called Tanais), lived also along the Kuban river and at the foot of the Caucasus. Traditionally linguists and historians called Sindo-Meotians "an unclear nation", while some of them supposed their Iranian origin. However, it appears impossible to explain everything from Scythian, and one of the scholars stated that "all we cannot explain with the help of Iranian, actually cannot be explained at all" (Abaev V. The Ossetic Language and Folklore. P. 37). This cannot be correct, and moreover: a lot of facts which used to be explained from Iranian should be reconsidered now. <P>It looks as if ancient authors knew two named for Sindes: in Greek Sindoi and Indoi; the second variant is for sure Iranian - their language lost s- in initial position and between vowels, turning it into h-. Herodot uses in most cases the form Indoi, which he must have heard from Scythians in Greek polises on the Black Sea shores, while many other sources (like Strabo, Dionysius, Stephen Byzantine, Polienus etc.) use Sindoi or Sindi, Sindones, the form they could probably hear on the spot. Another interesting gloss is the Hesychius's dictionary which gives the following: Sindoi ethnos Indikon. There were many versions of interpreting this: "Sindes - a Sindic tribe", which is a nonsense, or "Sindes - a Scythian tribe" which is too far from the text and therefore doubtful. The most natural will be the translation "Sindes - an Indic tribe" which can be true. <P>Moreover, if we look at the very name Sindoi we should note that it for sure was not Iranian - in all Iranian dialects the initial s- became h-; the parallel can be placed here: The Indo-Aryan settlers in India called the river Indus sindhu-, later it acquired the meaning 'any river'. Iranians borrowed this term and called the country of Aryans hindu-; that's where the very name India comes from. So the varying name of the tribe around the Black Sea Sindoi - Indoi, Sindikes - Indikes should not be a stumbling point for linguists - that is just an evidence of Iranian contacts with a nation called that way. <P>Nothing is known from the language of Sindes from works of ancient authors; but that is probably not the fault of Sindes - actually, many place names, river names and other terms were recorded by historians and geographers as Scythian ones, though in fact they are Sindic by origin and just cannot be Scythian. Many linguists tried to explain such words and their etymology from Iranian but often failed. One of good examples is the gloss given by Plinius: "Tanaim ipsum Scythae Sinum vocant, Maeotim Temarundam, quo significant matrem maris" (The very Tanais is called Sinu- by Scythians, and Maeotida [i.e. the Azov Sea] is called Temarunda, which means 'mother of the sea'). This gives us two words which were for sure Sindo-Maeotic: temarunda and sinu-. The latter of them can mean just 'a river' following the Indic sindhu-, and as for the first, it can be analyzed as *tem-arun-da 'mother of the Dark, or Black, Sea', where *tem- means Vedic tamas 'darkness', *arun- is Vedic arna- 'a stormy sea', and *-da fits well to Sanskrit dhe- 'to breast-feed'. This makes temarunda really 'a mother of the sea'. <P>One of such mistakes of ancient authors who take Sindo-Maeotic words for Scythian ones, is the Hesychius's mesple which he translates as 'the moon in Scythian'. This looks much more Indic than Scythian, with its mes- 'moon' (Indic mas, Iranian mah) and ple-/pla- 'full' (Indic -pra), i.e. mesple means 'full moon'. <P>A lot of personal names, river names and ancient towns on the shores of the Black Sea now can be interpreted as the words of the unknown Indo-Aryan dialect. Some of them really amaze us with their equivalents in India. The river where Sindes and Maeotes lived in Herodot's times, was called Cuphis, Kophina, Kouphes then (now the Kuban river). This can be identified with the name of the river Kabul which flows into the Indus from the west: it was called Kophes by Strabo (XV, 697), and Kubha by ancient Indians. Ancient history knows quite a lot of similar examples, when river names were transferred to new lands where migrants settle. <P>Another interesting example gives us a link to Indo-Aryans in Mitanni described above: one of Maeotic princesses, a wife of a Sindic king, from the tribe of Ixomates, was called Tirgatao by a Greek author, while practically the same name, Tirgutawiya, was found in one of Mitanni tablets in Alalakh, Mesopotamia. <P>Archaeological research of the Pontic region around the Don river and some more historical evidence allow us to state that Sindes were involved in agriculture and that's why were not nomadic, as Scythians. Remains of ancient channels they built to irrigate their fields can still be seen there, and these irrigations were meant already by Roman travelers. This fact is just another proof of deep differences between Sindo-Maeotes and Scythian nomads. <P>In his book, Trubachov gives about a hundred of etymological units of the Indo-Aryan Pontic language. Many of them were found also in the Crimea peninsula, where ancient works place the nation of Taures, again different from Scythians. The very name for the river Dniepr, adopted in ancient times, Boristhen, can be regarded as an Indo-Aryan word. After composing a sort of an etymological dictionary of the Indo-Aryan language at the Black Sea, Trubachov tries to show the dialectal features in its phonetics, to make a distinction between Vedic and Pontic Indo-Aryan. <P>The Pontic language seems to have been much more archaic. It preserves the phoneme -l- which became -r- everywhere in Vedic (Pontic *alaksa 'forbidden' vs. Vedic raksati 'to guard'); it turns the group -pt- into -tt- (NOTE: the same as in Mitanni Aryan; *satt-auka 'seven dwellings' vs. Vedic sapta 'seven'); it opposes -c'- [ch] to Vedic -ks'- [ksh] (*kac'ika- 'coast' vs. Vedic kaks'a-, Prakrit kaccha-). Many dialectal words can be noticed which are Indo-European but were forgotten in Vedic: <P>*saul- 'the sun' (in Saulios 'a king's name') from IE *sawel- vs. Vedic surya-; <BR>*artaka- 'a bear' (in Artakia 'Bear-mountain') from IE *Harkt- vs. Vedic rksa-; <BR>*biti- 'to beat, to kill' (in Bitiae 'women who kill with eyes') from IE *bhei-; etc. <P>That all makes Pontic Aryan another dialect of the Indo-Aryan branch. Their language was already separated from Iranian when they left their traces in Northern Mesopotamia and on the shores of the Black Sea. <BR> <P> § 3. Conclusion. <P>Linguistic, historical, epic and archaeological sources define three points on the map of Eurasia where Indo-Aryans used to live. They are, first of all, India itself [3], where Aryans appeared about 1700 BC from the north or from the west. Shortly afterwards the first Indic written epic, Rigveda, was written, and it still remains one of the most archaic Indo-European literature creations. <P>Second is Northern Mesopotamia [2], where Mitanni cuneiform documents witness Indo-Aryan presence somewhere between 1700 and 1400 BC. The language of Aryans in Mitanni was a dialectal form of Vedic and sometimes seems even more progressive, though keeps some archaic traits. Aryans in the Mitanni Empire did not make a majority and were not the title nation; still, they were influential enough to introduce their religious system which was used in Mitanni together with Hurritic. So we can speak here about some kind of offspring of Aryans who came here at the same time as their relatives Vedic Aryans reached the Indus Valley. <P>And the third Indic "homeland" is the Pontic region [1]. Some facts and suggestions stress that these lands were really a starting point for Aryan migrations to the East. Toponymic and hydronymic data becomes more and more evident from the Dniepr to the Don river - Indo-Aryans probably moved rather slowly. We cannot say when was the moment of mass emigration of Indic tribes from here, but that for sure took place after the Indo-Iranian unity had broken. Supposedly, it was here, at the Black Sea, where it broke up. When the Indo-Aryan wave went further to the east, a short branch of them stayed here and were called Sindes and Maeotes by Greeks: they lived here, being neighbours of Scythians, up to the beginning of the new era, when they were gradually assimilated. <P>So the probable way of Indo-Aryan expansion could took place from Pontic steppes - via the Caucasus - to the Middle East - and then via Iran and Punjab to India. Else, they could reach India going crossing Central Asia, but in that case the Mitanni subgroup chose just another way from the Black Sea - to Mesopotamia. <P>But whatever their ways were, now we can only guess about it. New materials will for sure be added by historians, archaeologists and linguists, and what we should do is just to research. <P><BR>Image

Calvin
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Re: History of India

Postby Calvin » 21 Sep 1999 21:58

<A HREF="http://asnic.utexas.edu/asnic/countries/india/JohnRichards'Indian.html" TARGET=_blank>http://asnic.utexas.edu/asnic/countries/india/JohnRichards'Indian.html</A> <P>Early Modern India and World History<P>John F. Richards<BR>Duke University<P>April 24, 1996<P>[Please do not cite or quote this draft without permission.] <P>From the late fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries--for convenience 1500 to 1800-- of our present era human societies shared in and were affected by several world-wide processes of change unprecedented in their scope and intensity. Along with many other historians, I call these centuries early modern.[1 ]We distinguish this period from the earlier medieval centuries preceding and the modern nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Whether we are now in a post-modern period is a matter of conjecture, at least in my view. Contrary to many scholars, I do not regard this periodization as driven by purely Europcentric considerations. The term early modern is merely an attempt to capture the reality of rapid, massive change in the way humans organized themselves and interacted with other human beings and with the natural world. [2] For South Asian history I believe it makes a good deal of sense to use the term early modern instead of Mughal India, or late medieval India, or late precolonial India for the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. To do so would help in reducing the extent to which India is seen as exceptional, unique, exotic and somehow detached from world history.<P>In this essay, I will set out the prevailing attributes of the early modern world as seen from a global perspective and then try to place India (or South Asia) within its own context in the early modern world. I am convinced that we must contextualize Indic culture, civilization and society in this way to better understand the more specific unfolding of South Asian history in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.<P>At least six distinct but complementary large-scale processes define the early modern world. First is the creation of truly global sea passages that came to link all of humanity with a transportation network of increasing capacity and efficiency. In 1400 there were three maritime regions and seafaring traditions from which mariners were equipped to undertake long ocean voyages of discovery: the European of the Mediterranean and coastal Atlantic, the Arab/Indian of the Indian Ocean; and the Chinese of the China Seas and Gulf of Japan. Of the three Chinese mariners had by far the largest and most reliable ships and had in Sung times already demonstrated a capacity for voyages beyond their home waters. The Cheng Ho expeditions of 1405 to 1433 sent dozens of large ships and thousands of men into the northern Indian ocean. Had they chosen to do so, Chinese mariners could have circumnavigated Africa or sailed across the Pacific to the New World. [3] Instead, the Ming emperors rejected maritime exploration and commerce and turned their society inward after 1433. Chinese ruling elites formed and retained a deep-seated bias that prevented state investment in maritime expansion at precisely the period when European monarchs were fascinated by possible rewards from this activity.<P>Throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, continuing European rulers paid for and encouraged maritime exploration, mapping and reporting that generated extensive and systematic knowledge about global geography. For the first time in human history, mariners learned that all the seas of the world are connected and navigable (save for circumpolar ice regions). As Parry puts it: "A reliable ship, competently manned, adequately stored, and equipped with means of finding the way, can in time reach any country in the world which has a sea coast, and can return whence it came."[4] For the first time in human history European mariners created a reliable sea passage to the New World from the Old.<P>Europe's discovery and exploitation of reliable sea passages throughout the globe was its single most important advantage over other early modern societies. Steady, incremental improvements in ship design and construction, in navigational techniques and skills, and in sea-borne armaments characterized early modern European shipping fleets. Mariners steadily charted the coasts and harbors of the world's continents and islands and identified prevailing winds and currents in the oceans. By the late 1700's, mariners even had reliable techniques for measuring longitude as well as latitude.<P>Second is the rise of a truly global world economy in which long-distance commerce, growing rapidly, connected expanding economies on every continent. The buoyant early modern world economy rested on global maritime and linking overland routes that connected all human societies. Over these routes the costs of carrying both rarities and bulk commodities and the risks involved declined between 1500 and 1800. Over these routes demand and supply signals moved with greater dispatch to a wider network of traders. Throughout the world increasingly sophisticated regional monetary systems based on comparable gold, silver and copper coinage and paper-based bills of exchange facilitated trade. Annual shipments of gold and silver from the New World mines gave early modern states new sources of supply for their expanding coinage needs--in sharp contrast to the metallic "famines" of earlier centuries--and helped to discourage debasement of currencies.<P>Throughout these centuries the world trading system focused on Europe. Antwerp in the sixteenth century was the first "true general emporium" for world trade. [5] Then followed Dutch dominance of world trade with Amsterdam at its center between 1580 and 1740. London superseded Amsterdam for the remainder of the early modern period and thereafter well into the modern world. During the period of Dutch hegemony over world commerce Amsterdam was an active entrepot situated at the apex of the world's markets. A confident, well-financed merchant elite in Amsterdam controlled massive shipping capital and dominant capital resources. Dutch merchants could purchase at source anywhere in the world at higher prices products in demand, bring them to Amsterdam, store them safely, add value by processing and packaging, and sell them profitably. The Dutch federal republican state, with its commercial and financial stability, intervened actively in all fiscal and marketing processes to prevent fraud and impose standards. Confidence in the state made Amsterdam's interest rates the lowest in early modern Europe.<P>The Dutch republic's greatest contribution lay in the creation of trading companies given monopolies of trade in various parts of the world. The Dutch West Indies Company and the Dutch East Indies Company were two of the largest of these "armed politico-commercial organizations of unprecedented scope and resources not just with regard to the scale of their business operations but also in respect of their military and naval power."[6] In Asia, the Dutch East India Company, along with its English counterpart, formed the leading edge of European aggressive expansion in the early modern centuries. [7] <P>Commodity production for enlarged markets is a shared feature of early modern societies. Poland, the Ukraine and other lands around the Baltic shipped food grains and timber for the world market. Peasants in western Anatolia produced mohair yarn for export. Russia and settlers in the North American colonies sold furs and deerskins. Both North American and Latin American ranchers exported hides and dried meat to European markets. Coastal lands of eastern Brazil and the Caribbean islands supplied tons of sugar to the world market every year. Venezuela shipped cacao; Guatemala, Honduras and northern India exported indigo. The islands of Southeast Asia exported nutmeg, pepper and other spices for world markets. Cotton and silk textiles from India found new markets in Europe. Diamonds came from south India for world consumption. Everywhere demand for cheap forced labor stimulated export sectors in Africa and Asia--often displacing more expensive European indentured laborers.<P>Third, around the world states and other large-scale complex organizations attained size, stability, capacity, efficiency and territorial reach not seen since antiquity, if then. Early-modern states display impressive new abilities to mobilize resources and to deploy overwhelming force. On the Japanese archipelago the Tokugawa regime united the warring states of medieval Japan to form one of the world's most powerful states for the time. In Russia the Czarist state consolidated power and expanded its territory. In western Europe, the French monarchy of the Old Regime built a centralized state structure that directed colonial expansion throughout the world. On the British Isles, England forcefully assimilated Scotland and Ireland and built a vast colonial maritime empire. In the Middle East Constantinople was the hub of an expanding, confident centralized Ottoman state and Isfahan the center of the rival Safavid empire. In India, the Mughal empire imposed centralized authority over the entire subcontinent for the first time since the Mauryas. Spanish colonial rulers imposed centralized rule over Central and much of South America; the Portuguese did the same in Brazil. Only in China is it doubtful that the Thing dynasty controlled a more effective, powerful state apparatus than that of its predecessor, the native Ming.<P>Fourth, the world's population approximately doubled during the early-modern centuries. Between 1500 and 1800 world population probably changed as follows:[8] <P><BR>1500 400-500 millions<BR>1600 500-600 millions<BR>1700 600-700 millions<BR>1800 850-950 millions<BR>Human numbers increased slowly, but steadily, with an accelerating rate in the eighteenth century. Under this calculation world population grew between 350 to 550 millions over three hundred years. Overall this is a slow, almost imperceptible rate of increase which masks regional variations of some consequence. Some fifty or more million inhabitants of the New World in 1492 suffered a huge die-off from previously unknown infectious disease and colonial brutality during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By 1800 the total population of the New World was barely half that of the pre-contact total. This holocaust, however, did not deflect a strong global upward trend in the early modern period. The available direct and indirect evidence strongly supports the view that in all other regions of the world human numbers grew steadily. Some episodes of population growth were unusually rapid. Japan under the Tokugawa regime went from 12 millions in 1600 to 31 millions by 1720. [9] The Russian population doubled from 14 to 29 millions between 1722 and 1795. [10] Nor do we see any retreat from these levels thereafter.<BR>Fifth, throughout the early modern world humans intensified their use of the land to expand production in numerous episodes of settler frontiers. In addition to European settlement of North and South America, Dutch settlement of South Africa, Russia, China, Eastern and parts of western Europe were engaged in substantial processes of internal colonization. Growing populations, aggressive states, and market forces combined to send pioneer-settlers into forests or savannas to reclaim land for plow cultivation or for commercial pastoralism (ranching). Pioneers cleared forests and drained wetlands and fenced grasslands. They claimed new property rights over newly-defined and bounded plots of land. The pioneers displaced thinly-settled hunter-gatherers; horticulturists and shifting cultivators, or pastoral nomads who were assigned a "savage" role by the intruders. Backed by the power and authority of the centralizing state pioneer-settlers drove away, killed off, or subordinated indigenous peoples in order to claim land for cultivation or ranching. Early modern frontiersmen invariably were tied to domestic and international markets for the goods they produced. This continuing process of settlement provided a windfalleffect whereby abundant new resources--soil, timber, wildlife, minerals--were put into concentrated modes of production for an expanding world economy. [11] <P>Finally, several new technologies and organizational responses to these technologies--New World Crops, gunpowder, and printing--diffused throughout the early modern world. Tobacco use and tobacco growing spread rapidly throughout Africa and Asia as a result of the New World connection. Coffee, tea and chocolate offered new, quickly adopted stimulants as hot drinks mixed with sugar. Perhaps more significant was the adoption of maize and calorie-rich sweet potatoes. With these new cultivars, farmers could clear hill forests and profitably grow these highly productive food crops. New world food crops provided a technical breakthrough that stimulated expansion of cultivation throughout China, Japan, and Taiwan in the eighteenth century. Maize and potatoes added to the productive capacity of European and later African agriculture.<P>The early modern world saw rapid evolution of gunpowder technologies. Both portable personal firearms and cannon gained ease of operation, power and accuracy. Use of cannon on warships went through several generations of improvement in both guns and ships. The production of gunpowder, cannon founding, and musket and pistol manufacture became an ubiquitous early modern industry. Early modern states confronted with the greatly increased costs of firearms turned their attention to improving their tax assessment and collection. Military organization around firearms on land put new emphasis on infantry and mobile light field artillery in place of the medieval reliance on heavily armored mounted cavalry.<P>In retrospect the most potent new technology of the period was printing with movable metal type. The new invention was especially suitable for the roman and other writing systems with a limited number of symbolic letters. Gutenberg printing systems were very much associated with European expansion and domination. China, Japan and Korea, with ideographic writing systems, remained attached to their sophisticated system of wood-block printing which supported voluminous publication of books. The Islamic and Indic worlds were slow to give up manuscripts and the pen to use less-appealing metal type printing.<P><BR>II <BR>If, for the purposes of argument, we accept the validity of these broad generalizations about early modern world history do they apply to South Asia? If we make a check list does the subcontinent share in these traits of early-modernity? Before answering that question it might be well to address at least two possible objections to this enterprise. For this period (or any other period) can we treat the Indian subcontinent as a meaningful social and cultural unit? Can we make generalizations that hold throughout the entire subcontinent. In a rough and ready way we certainly answer this question in the affirmative by the way we organize ourselves as South Asian area specialists. Simultaneously, however, many South Asian scholars argue that it is only linguistic/cultural regions like Andhra, Maharashtra or Bengal that can be seen as meaningful units. Others look to smaller regions or even localities as the only useful social and political units. Generalizations made for the entire subcontinent are suspect.<P>My own view is that the degrees of similarity in society and culture among all regions in the subcontinent are such that we can reasonably discuss and analyze South Asia as a unit. Granting fuzziness in border areas, we can look at a wide range of similarities that tie the subcontinent together. The contrast between say the forced labor tax systems of the states of Southeast Asia to the land tax systems of South Asia is but one example. The caste system is not found in Southeast Asia or other parts of the world for that matter, despite strenuous attempts to find analogues elsewhere. Strictly endogamous, birth-ascribed, named social units--miniature ethnicities-- arranged hierarchically by principles of purity and pollution and traditional occupation and buttressed by religious dogma is a uniquely South Asian phenomenon. It is a truism that Muslim groups in South Asia have found it difficult to avoid caste-like organization despite the egalitarian teachings of their faith. The caste system has certainly evolved and changed particularly in response to new pressures such as those generated by Islam or by colonial European rule, but the system itself is not replicated elsewhere in the world.<P>Travelers coming to the subcontinent from Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia or other regions of the world leave no doubt of the differentness of India from their home regions. The ruminations of Babur on the contrast, often drawn unfavorably, between Northern India and Central Asia are well known. In addition to customs seen as very strange, such as disposal of the dead by cremation, India was enormously productive, wealthy, and densely populated by comparison with Central Asia or even the Middle East. We can also contrast the relative porosity of early modern South Asia with the impermeability of China. All manner of foreigners--traders, religious figures, adventurers-- moved freely about the sub continent. They encountered little or no state concern or control. Contrast this freedom with the strict control exerted by the Ming or Thing dynasty over any and all foreigners and over external trade by means of the tribute mission system.<P>They might argue that it was over-attention to exogenous forces that marred the writing of South Asian history by Eurocentric white males before 1947 and to some extent thereafter. I do not wish to return to the notion of a passive, "traditional and Oriental" South Asia that only "progressed and modernized" because of influences from Europe. We cannot revert to this outworn approach. Over the last half century historians, religionists, art historians, anthropologists, literary scholars and others have demonstrated by painstaking, detailed research the energy and dynamism of South Asian society and culture. Some of these processes come from the outside; some may well not. The point is that these are world processes which share attributes with those in other regions but have their own unique character in South Asia.<P>Having at least addressed these questions, does India fit this paradigm? Yes, it does--at least in my judgment. Certainly the maritime connection is firm. Indian ports and shipping had for centuries been tied into the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean system on one side and into the Bay of Bengal, Straits of Malacca, and China Sea on the other. With the northern European trading companies in the lead, India after 1500 was tied into the global system of sea passages.<P>The subcontinent's role in the early modern world economy was decidedly significant and the world economy had a great impact on South Asia. Throughout these centuries the subcontinent retained a favorable balance of trade with the rest of the world. Indian diamonds, spices, hand-woven cotton and silk textiles and other commodities kept their old markets and found new outlets. Largely self-sufficient for its own needs India was the ultimate sink for the flow of New World silver and gold.[12] Production for the world economy had more than peripheral importance. Cotton grown in the black-earth regions of western India travelled by pack bullock to Coromandel where it was cleaned, spun into yarn, hand-woven into lengthy pieces, bleached and printed for export. Payment for these goods took the form of imported gold and silver coins to merchant middlemen and ultimately to the producers themselves. Om Prakash has calculated that Dutch purchases of textiles in Bengal in the late seventeenth century likely generated 100,000 new jobs for that region.<P>I have spent much of my career arguing that between the early sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries the Mugals created by conquest a dynamic, centralizing state. By 1690 the Mughal emperor was the acknowledged ruler over nearly the entire subcontinent. Simply on the basis of its ability to tax society, to maintain political stability and to monopolize force the Mughal empire must be judged a success. I have also stressed the dynamism of the imperial system in that it continued to deepen and strengthen imperial institutions until structural break-up occurred in 1720. In the end, the Mughal empire failed to convert the armed, warrior aristocracies of the countryside into quasi-officials in the major structural change that was needed for truly centralized rule. This was a task that the British would require a full century or more to accomplish. Despite this failure, I believe that in terms of scale, efficiency and wealth the Mughal empire compares favorably with the Ottoman and Safavid contemporary empires and with any state in Europe. As a recent review of my collected essays by Andre Wink points out, I have held this view with rather unimaginative consistency.<P>Frequently over the past thirty years I have encountered arguments by colleagues that the Mughal empire had little to no impact on local societies, local lords (zamindars), or on everyday life. Historians of South India have stressed the decentralized nature of political power and authority in the "segmentedstates" of South India. Historians of the Marathas have drawn our attention to the prevalence of resistance and rebellion to Mughal rule in that region by local elites. I have discussed these issues directly with Burton Stein, Andre Wink and similarly-minded historians. Throughout my position has been and remains that the development of unprecedented state power and political unification under the Mughals is a defining characteristic of early modern--not Mughal--India, just as it has been for other regions in the world.<P>Insofar as population is concerned most scholars postulate, despite spectacular famine and disease episodes, considerable growth. For example, McEvedy and Jones put the 1500 total for the Indian subcontinent at 100 millions, climbing to 185 millions by 1800. [13] Irfan Habib's estimates are somewhat higher in that he suggests that the 1600 figure was 140 to 150 millions rising to about 200 millions in 1800. [14] The evidence for growth in human numbers is largely indirect in that the Mughals and other early modern polities in the subcontinent did not conduct censuses. With appropriate adjustments population trends can be drawn from the sequence of Mughal land revenue assessments in the same regions. The type of land use change, settler frontier and expansion of cultivation and production described earlier does apply. In Bihar under Shah Jahan's reign Rajput zamindars in Rohtas district expanded cultivation with the encouragement of the state. A later description of Shahabad in this period states: "most of the zamindaris during the reign of Shahjahan originated in bankatai or populating land after clearing forests. Those who did so became zamindars and obtained nankars (part of the revenue as zamindari right) for their lifetime. After the death of such zamindars, their sons obtained sanads for the rights held by them on condition of continued service." [15] <P>Finally all of the major new early modern technologies are present in the subcontinent. New world cultivars, notably tobacco and maize, spread rapidly throughout the subcontinent in the seventeenth century. Others such as chili peppers were adopted more slowly but diffused widely. The Mughal empire succeeded in part because of its command of gunpowder technology. Gunpowder, cannon and muskets were manufactured in India in considerable numbers to meet military needs. Cultural resistance precluded widespread adoption of movable type printing in India until the early nineteenth century. The techniques were known and demonstrated by missionaries and the European companies, but did not diffuse readily or easily.<P>What are some of the implications of this early modern model for our study of South Asia? Certainly India's rising economic capacity should be reassessed. The economy grew simply to meet the needs of a near-doubling of population as well as intensifying demands from the world market. The extent to which industrial production was a product of scattered, rural industrial operations is not well-recognized. New work currently underway by Thelma Lowe combines field archaeology with documentary research to suggest a far greater spatial distribution of sites for steel production in the Telugu lands during the early modern centuries. Despite the European companies Indian merchants traded actively with Central Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. As Stephen Dale has shown colonies of expatriate Indian merchants resident in Moscow carried on regular trade with the subcontinent during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. [16] <P>Most difficult and challenging is the notion of cumulative, and even accelerating change in early modern India. Can we infer that the circulation of people, commodities and ideas became more dense and rapid over the early modern centuries? Surely new cultural production--manifest in the popular religious movements on northern India--increased in size, intensity and variety. Wrapping our minds around the notion of change demands a self-conscious effort. Most of us still operate with an unstated assumption that pre-colonial India was nearly static. Generalizations made for 1500 can still apply in 1750 or even 1800. This is another version of traditional or pre-modern India. We must put aside our knowledge of the colonial outcome and look with fresh eyes at new institutions, new social forms, new cultural expression, and new productivity in the early modern period. Also difficult is the need to work up a cross-disciplinary understanding of the dynamics of change throughout the subcontinent in the early centuries.<P>I close by making a plea for better-integrated, multi-disciplinary historical research in early modern South Asia (not Mughal India) in which scholars move seamlessly between the particulars of local and regional histories to broader South Asian and world description and analysis. South Asia is too important to be consigned to the dusty shelf of Oriental curios when world history is written in the future.<P><BR>John F. Richards<P>Duke University

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Re: History of India

Postby Calvin » 22 Sep 1999 01:37

There is an excellent site based in India called<BR> <A HREF="http://www.orientalthane.com/index.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.orientalthane.com/index.html</A> <P>They have a short description of SulbaSutras that you mention<BR> <A HREF="http://www.orientalthane.com/newsviews/sept99/kulkarni.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.orientalthane.com/newsviews/sept99/kulkarni.htm</A> <P>[...]<P>The theorom of the squre of the diagonal, i.e, the so called pythagorus theorom, is originally proposed by Bodhayana (Sulbasutra 1.48). The problem to draw a circle of equivalent area of a given square is solved by Bothayana. He gave the relationship between the lenght side of the given square (say X) and the diameter of the circle of equivalent area as given below : <P>X=d ((7/8) + (1/(8*29)) - (1/(8*29*6)) + (1/(8*29*6*8)) .........(sutra 1.59) <P>X=length of the side of the given square , <BR>d=diameter of the circle of equivalent area <P> The value of 2 is accurately given by Bothayana in the form of a series. <P> 2=1 + (1/3) + (1/(3*4)) - (1/(3*4*34)) .........(sutra 1.61) <P> For studying this following references may be found useful <P>1) Thibaught, G (1968) Bothayana Sulbasutra. Sanskrit text and English translation, Delhi . <P>2) Geldner, J.m.Von (1959, 1963) Manave Srautasutra. Two vols. Sanskrit text and English translation, Delhi. <P>3) A Satyaprakash (1970) Apastamba Sulbasutra.Sanskrit text and English translation, Delhi. <P>4) Khadilkar Katyayana Sulbasutra. Sanskrit text and English translation, Bombay. <P>5) Kulkarni, R.P. (1978) Char Sulbasutre. Sanskrit text and Marathi translation of Sulbasutras by Bothayana, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana, Bombay. <P>6) Kulkarni, R.P. (1983) Geometry according to Sulbasutra, Pune. The probable methods of arriving different theorems and formulae mentioned in the Sulbasutras deciphered by different scholars are given. <P>7) kulkarni, R.P. (1987) Layout and construction of citis according to Bothayana, Manava and Apastamba Sulbsutras, Pune. <P>8) Kulkarni, R.P. (1997) Layout for different sacrifices according to different Srautasutras. Ujjain procedure of giving layout of vedis, pavilions, etc., for various fire-sacrifices( given above) as given by Bodhagaya, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana are presented. <P>

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Re: History of India

Postby Calvin » 22 Sep 1999 01:39

There is an excellent site based in India called<BR> <A HREF="http://www.orientalthane.com/index.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.orientalthane.com/index.html</A> <P>They have a short description of SulbaSutras that you mention<BR> <A HREF="http://www.orientalthane.com/newsviews/sept99/kulkarni.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.orientalthane.com/newsviews/sept99/kulkarni.htm</A> <P>[...]<P>The theorom of the squre of the diagonal, i.e, the so called pythagorus theorom, is originally proposed by Bodhayana (Sulbasutra 1.48). The problem to draw a circle of equivalent area of a given square is solved by Bothayana. He gave the relationship between the lenght side of the given square (say X) and the diameter of the circle of equivalent area as given below : <P>X=d ((7/8) + (1/(8*29)) - (1/(8*29*6)) + (1/(8*29*6*8)) .........(sutra 1.59) <P>X=length of the side of the given square , <BR>d=diameter of the circle of equivalent area <P> The value of 2 is accurately given by Bothayana in the form of a series. <P> 2=1 + (1/3) + (1/(3*4)) - (1/(3*4*34)) .........(sutra 1.61) <P> For studying this following references may be found useful <P>1) Thibaught, G (1968) Bothayana Sulbasutra. Sanskrit text and English translation, Delhi . <P>2) Geldner, J.m.Von (1959, 1963) Manave Srautasutra. Two vols. Sanskrit text and English translation, Delhi. <P>3) A Satyaprakash (1970) Apastamba Sulbasutra.Sanskrit text and English translation, Delhi. <P>4) Khadilkar Katyayana Sulbasutra. Sanskrit text and English translation, Bombay. <P>5) Kulkarni, R.P. (1978) Char Sulbasutre. Sanskrit text and Marathi translation of Sulbasutras by Bothayana, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana, Bombay. <P>6) Kulkarni, R.P. (1983) Geometry according to Sulbasutra, Pune. The probable methods of arriving different theorems and formulae mentioned in the Sulbasutras deciphered by different scholars are given. <P>7) kulkarni, R.P. (1987) Layout and construction of citis according to Bothayana, Manava and Apastamba Sulbsutras, Pune. <P>8) Kulkarni, R.P. (1997) Layout for different sacrifices according to different Srautasutras. Ujjain procedure of giving layout of vedis, pavilions, etc., for various fire-sacrifices( given above) as given by Bodhagaya, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana are presented. <P>

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Re: History of India

Postby member_1332 » 22 Sep 1999 08:48

Another post for the "Prehistoric India" thread but with some relevance to this one.<P>From The Hindustan Times, 092299<BR>=============================================<BR>Fish fossil reveals vast ocean once covered the Thar Ram Chandra Bora (Jodhpur, September 21) <P>THAR DESERT and some of its adjoining areas extending to Punjab were once covered with vast ocean is now becoming an established fact. Fresh evidences are coming up to suggest that today what is termed as Thar desert was once part of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal [??]. In course of time, its waters faded out and for ages there flowed the Saraswati river, the remnants of which are still traceable, and at present its study is being done by some social and scientific organisations.<P>For the first time, a fossil fish skull has been found from Palana formation of Bikaner, Ganganagar basin, in the north of western India, which points out to its depositional enviroment, informs Prof B.S. Paliwal, Head of the Geological Department of the Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.<P>This finding is important, Prof Paliwal says, because except for some algal and fungal remains, a rich pollen and spore assemblage and varieties of foraminifers, no mega fossils have been reported from Palana formation of the Eocene age.<P>Dr Paliwal said, “A well informed fish skull was discovered at a depth of 90 km [??] from the surface when a well was being dug in Halda Bhatiyan village about 45 km south-east of Bikaner town in western Rajasthan, pointing out many hypotheses of geo-environmental nature.”<P>The Palana formation — an important source of lignite in western Rajasthan — is characterised by the association of grey clay, grey and greenish-grey to variagated<BR>shales, carbonaceous shale, standstone and legnite.<P>The Palana formation has been observed to rest unconformably over the Badhaura formation of Permian age. However, the rocks of Palana futher show a gradational contact with the overlying rocks of the Marh formation.<P>Lower Eocene age is in turn disconformably overlain by the lower to middle Eocene rocks of the Jogira formation, says the Study of Rock Formation. But there still remains a study of its origin besides its environs of earth, opines Dr Paliwal.<P>The specimen of the fossilised skull of an antinopterygian — a fresh water fish — is at present preserved in the Department of Geology, faculty of science, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.<P>The study reveals that the head of the fish measures about 11 cm in length and 8.8 cm in width. The total length of the maxilla and premaxilla is about 5.8 cm and the diameter of the eye is 1.4 cm. Dentary has a length of about 5.8 cm, teeth are sharp and backwardly covered. Lower teeth are larger than the upper ones. Upper teeth are 19x2 in number.<P>In the middle part of the dentary, the teeth are quite distinct and show an exposed length of 0.5 cm, whereas the unexposed length is about 4.6 x 5.2 cm and the suboperculum is 3.2x1.5 cm in size. Interoperculum lies below the suboperculum. Preoperculum is not well preseved.<P>The opercular series is highly developed with the prominent opercular bone on the lateral side. The mouth opening is large and extends beyoung the eyes.<P>The anatomy of the skull suggests that the fish had a surface feeding character and a carnivorus habit. Dr Paliwal says that a comparative study also reveals that the morphology of the skull and teeth resembles that of Brachaetus.<BR>

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Re: History of India

Postby Sagar » 22 Sep 1999 09:35

It is still not clear to me how 'Eastern Europe' can be traced as the original homeland of the Aryans. The evidence is just not there. Saying that they came from the North and a cold place means nothing - even Kashmir is to the North and cold. The Jews remember their migration from Egypt even after several thousand years after the event happened but the Indians do not recall any such event. IMHO, to pinpoint a original homeland for the Aryans is futile. My personal belief is that the term 'Aryan' came into use much after the migration of Caucasian tribes into India. The very term Aryan i.e. a noble one - denotes that the person has reached a level of civilized behavior - and is unlikely to be used amongst nomads. Since the dominant racial component of most Indians is Caucasian it is reasonable to argue that they must have argued from someplace in Central Asia, Caucasus or the Mediterranean but this must have happened much earlier than the establishment of Vedic culture which I think is the starting point of Indian civilization.

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Re: History of India

Postby Kaushal » 22 Sep 1999 11:25

Some of the discussions on this thread parallel a discussion we had on a previous thread about 3 months ago in BR prior to the Kargil conflict. One of the questions I had posed was, that in the discussion of AIT vs MIT (made in India theory), reference is always made to the IVC (Indus Valley civilization) having been vanquished by the invading marauding aryans, much like the later central asians rode into India on horseback (hum hawa ke bahon me ayeh hueh hain - says one muslim matriarch of an aristocratic UP family)). But where is the necessity to postulate there was a large scale war resulting in the eviction of the IVC from the Northwest - a war of which no mention is made anywhere in the Vedas. The much more likely explanation is that the Vedic civilization originated with the IVC but had extensive contacts with the Zoroastrians and the residents of the Amu Darya valleys, which would explain the similarities in religious rites and language. The extinction of the IVC may have been related to the shifting and drying of the tributaries of the Indus specifically the Saraswati. There is lots of good stuff on the internet on this topic if you search for it. <P>I agree with sathyadas that classifying Indians in the broad category of Caucasians seems far fetched. I mean, look at the countries that presently constitute the caucasus - Georgia, Ossetia, Dagestan, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Armenia and tell me with a straight face that there is something in common with them and India.<P>Kaushal

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Re: History of India

Postby Kuttan » 22 Sep 1999 23:01

Finally, the discussion is getting meaningful, and some facts are being established: <P>1. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>These dark-skinned non-Russians are all from the Caucasus mountain region!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>2. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Kashimr and the its nearby regions,imo, is the cradle of civilization. There are myths that this is where the Garden of Eden existed.. Where Moses roamed and was buried.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>ok. We're getting somewhere. <BR>1.Europeans claim Caucasian descent ("memory")<BR>2. Pure descdendants of original Caucasians are "swarthy".<BR>3. Ancestors of Europeans were nomadic (confused as "Aryans", see explanation below). <P>Points just one way, folks. <P>Swarthy-Caucasian-nomadic-tribe:= Gypsies. Q.E.D. <P>Being a descendant of those who proved that 0 < 1, I can do these kinds of logical deductions really well. <P>Now the rest, unfortunately clouded in the mists of time, must rest on hypotheses: <P>1. There were people in present-day Pakiland, Afghanistan etc. long before there were people elsewhere: closer to Kashmir, home of the Garden of Eden. <P>2. The ancestors of today's Afghans and Pathans were not a whole lot more civilized than their descendants. <P>3. The people who lived near the rivers had learned things from the civilized people in the hinterland, traded with them (see the book by Kulke et al, cited by Spinster, above)and were pretty wealthy. And they had no MAD. <P>4. The Afghans etc. came down and killed them all. <P>5. Aliens who brought technology to north and south India saw this occurring and intervened: nuked the whole place. Blast created the Sind desert, and changed the course of the river Saraswati. Cursed the place to be infested with savages for 5000 years. <P>Ending October 1, 1999. They said: "Do this kind of *** again, and we will be back again, and we will nuke U again." <P>The gentle and civilized people of the hinterland repeated this message, along with what they could see of the technology of the Aliens, down through the ages by rote. They were told" "sometime a day will come when you will understand what these "Astras" really were made of, how they are guided, and why they are so effective. Then U will know that you are on the right track. Feel free to use them if these scum get up and start acting up again."<P>6. Afghan yahoos who looted Mohenjodaro etc. went around wearing looted jewels and calling themselves "Aryan" to pretend that they were really not the looting thieves: fear of the wrath of the Aliens. <P>7. Gypsies who saw what happened to the tribes fled westward and did not stop till they reached Hungary. Gypsy trade in trinkets comes from their original achievement in stealing all the loot from the ancestors of the Pakis, after which they left town in a hurry. <P>8. Afghans, nuked by the Aliens, and cursed, ripped off with ease by the superior intelligence of the Gypsies, did the only thing that they were trained to do: sit on the cliffs above the mountain passes, and shoot travelers and rob their bodies. <P>9. But some were kicked out even by the Afghans, being the lowest of the low-life: these are now the rulers and generals and the Bin Laden supporters in present-day TSP. <P>Note: a few of these events may be out of sync; we will only know for sure when the Aliens return, or we ask the Gypises to look from inside their crystal balls, to see clearly into the past. <P><BR> <p>[This message has been edited by narayanan (edited 22-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Kuttan » 23 Sep 1999 07:21

What happened to this thread? Did the irrefutable logic of the truth finally convince all the Ithihasa-Gurus? Image<P>I neglected to cite some other arguments. The propaganda about the Gypsies leaving India in the 10th century AD is exactly that: propaganda. <P>How did people who lived on flat plains and cultivated fields, suddenly turn into super horsemen, knife-throwers, and drivers of the most well-organized mobile communities in history? No way. The Gypsies have ALWAYS been nomads. From the dawn of time. <P>My "guru" from the IIT recently told me that I should look into Vedic descriptions of guided missile systems. Unfortunately, illiteracy hinders me. Anyone know where to find these? <P>Where did this technology come from? <P>Also, both my "guru" and von Daniken claimed that there are descriptions in the Puranas of ascent through the atmosphere, with descriptions of vistas that could only have been appreciated by someone who had flown very high. This should be easy to prove or disprove, if the text can be located. <P>And, as Oppenheimer quoted, it was when the first nuclear fireball rose over the New Mexico desert that people realized the kinds of phenomena that had been written so long ago and passed down the generations...<p>[This message has been edited by narayanan (edited 22-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby P Smith » 23 Sep 1999 07:59

uday, if the book has not been borrowed, I'll post some details by this weekend. If this thread is still around.

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Re: History of India

Postby merlin » 23 Sep 1999 20:17

One more link some may find interesting, others irritating:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.sulekha.com/cgi-bin/column.cgi?resource=wa_ait" TARGET=_blank>http://www.sulekha.com/cgi-bin/column.cgi?resource=wa_ait</A> <P>

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Re: History of India

Postby Calvin » 23 Sep 1999 20:33

Merlin:<P>Very interesting site. Huge number of excellent links!<P>Rao claims to be a grad student in Aero Engg at Michigan. Nonetheless good summary to the untrained student.<BR>

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 23 Sep 1999 23:08

It's unfortunate that the thread entitled "A Scientific study of Caste" was deleted". It would have provided a solid basis for this discussion.<P> The term 'Caucasian' has been batted around quite a bit. The term 'race' means different things to different people. To many laypersons it refers to skin coloration, to others an ethnocultural grouping. <P> To a biologist the concept is of doubtful validity; there is far more genetic variation within the members of any definition of race than between races. <P> To a Physical (and some cultural ones) anthropologist, races are defined as sets of common skull features relating to noses, cheekbones, chins, craniums etc. They divide the world into four groupings; Caucasian, Negroid, Mongloid and Australoid. Again, the emphasis is on PHYSICAL features, rather than geographical origins. Since these skull features are indeed inherited traits, they do represent a pattern of lineage and interrelatedness. Most Indians are by this definition, Caucasian, as are those of European and Semitic descent. Most of the Scheduled Tribes are by the same yardstick Austroloidal. <P> The study pasted here on the forum suggested that non-tribes were the product of intermixing of several different groups of Caucasoidal peoples, and that this mixing ocurred throught India (the N.East excluded) well before social stratification into castes, and that castes do NOT represent distinct ethnic groups. However it also suggested that there was almost no intermixing between the said Indo-European people that make up the bulk of India's population and the Austroloidal people, which further uggests they arrived in India at very different time-periods <p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 23-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 24 Sep 1999 00:35

The distribution of Australoid people is a geodosic (the shortest path between two points on a curved surface) stretching from Madagascar to Australia They seem to represent one of the ealiest patterns of human (Homo Sapiens) migration and expansion(perhaps even before the last Ice Age which ended 10,000 years ago. ). As time passed random genetic drift + local adaptations resulted in differntiation. These 'new' peoples initiated expansions and migrations of their own. Previous human settlers were outcompeted and/or assimilated in most areas, leaving remnant populations only in the most remote areas. That's what current evidence suggests. The Coral Sea for example is one the roughest waters anywhere on the planet which is why polynesian people settled New Zealand and most of the Pacific over the last 1,500 years, while skipping Australia entirely.<P> Another fascinating little geodosic is the turkic-mongol-altaic-lap corridor that is responsible for the startling resemblance of the Finnish and Korean tongues. It's a good example of how contact between nomadic but radically disparate ethnic groups evolved into something of a pan-tribal linguistic group and composite culture. Some of the elements of this pan-culture are now sedentary, but the link still exists.<BR> <p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 23-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Sagar » 24 Sep 1999 06:08

Johann,<P>Are you a biologist?<P>Thanx for the wonderful post. Kaushal, Johann is right - skin color alone does not form the basis of race from an anthropologists or geneticists point of view. According to both the anthropological and genetic view Indians are a mixture of Caucasian and Austric races. East Indians have some Mongoloid influences. There is very litte Negroid influence. The tribals are the purer Austric races (not all) the rest of us are mostly mixtures of varying degrees - even most upper castes are mixtures. So from the racial point of view we did migrate and mix. <P>My problem with AIT is on other fronts - mythological, historical, religious, etc. in short there does not appear to be enough evidence in our history, mythology, religion to support the AIT.<P>Lastly, by Caucasoid we do not mean blue-eyed blondes. <P>My personal belief is that migration took place many thousands of years ago from the West leading to mixing with Austrics and the formation of the present Indian 'race' and the development of Vedic culture in various stages and finally leading to the export of religion, language, customs, science, art, etc to the West.<BR>

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 24 Sep 1999 08:01

Krish, you've asked a very, very good question. Evolution (which I accept) is a metaprocess involving two major components; natural selection, the well known survival of the fittest and the other not so well known one, genetic drift which is also known as random mutation. <P>Populations evolve, where evolution can be defined as a change in the gene pool. In order to understand evolution, it is necessary to view populations as a collection of individuals, and individuals as a unique combination of traits. A single organism is never typical of an entire population unless there is no variation within that population. Individual organisms do not evolve, they retain the same genes throughout their life. When a population is evolving, the ratio of different genetic types is changing The process of evolution can be summarized in three sentences: Genes mutate. Individuals are selected. Populations evolve. <P> Evolution can be divided into microevolution and macroevolution. The kind of evolution documented above is microevolution. Larger changes, such as<BR>when a new species is formed, are called macroevolution. Some biologists feel the mechanisms of macroevolution are different from those of microevolutionary change. Others think the distinction between the two is arbitrary and that macroevolution is basically cumulative microevolution. <P><BR> The relative importance of drift and selection depends, in part, on estimated population sizes. Drift is much more important in small populations. It is<BR> important to remember that most species consist of numerous smaller inbreeding populations called "demes". It is these demes that evolve. <P> So Brahmins and Shudras for example form demes because interbreeding between the two is currently statistically nonsignificant. If the demes had either been small enough, or interbred enough, certain unique traits produced through random genetic drift would be found far more <I>frequently</I> within the given deme than without. Genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis found exclusively from those descended of north west european stock, or sickle cell anemia among only those descended of certain negroid populations. <P> Basically Brahmins and Shudras are not genetically distinct <I>enough</I> to assume they represented different ethnic groups. <P> However this is related to why biologists have difficulty with the very <I>notion</I> of race. Appearance is only one among many hundreds of inheritable traits. 'Race' is a concept of unique distinction, so arguably, members of a given race must have more in common with each other genetically than with members of a different race. This is patently not the case for any known definition of 'race' within Homo Sapiens.<P> The only thing that common appearance traits display is a pattern of inheritance of varying depth across time. For example, Caucasians as I said refer to individuals with a common set of skull features. Caucasians in turn come in various skin, hair and eye colours. What does that suggest? Only that humanity had already diversified into Negroids,Australoids, mongloids and Caucasians before more genetic drift resulted in Caucasians further diversifying into blonde haired, black haired , blue/grey/green/brown eyed and individuals with varying shades of skin colour. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 23-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 24 Sep 1999 08:16

Sagar, no I am not a biologist, but if it helps, my profile lists interests as 'everything' Image If Salman and Ashok Kumar were not far more professionally qualified than I, you'd be just as likely to see me in the (meta)physics thread doing my best to answer peoples questions.<P>you said <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>My personal belief is that migration took place many thousands of years ago from the West leading to mixing with Austrics and the formation of the present Indian 'race' and the development of Vedic culture in various stages and finally leading to the export of religion, language, customs, science, art, etc to the West.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> The Indian 'race' need not have been solely reponsible for creating these things in isolation. <P> Again, I used the Turko-altaic-mongol example because they represented an example of a composite linguistic and cultural group in the ancient worldthat crossed ethnic boundaries . Civilisations in close contact with each other do not remain wholly distinct.<P> Witness todays 'global culture'. While it may be dominated to certain extent by the west, it is still the product of the feedback of every participatory member. It is no longer 'purely' of and by the West.

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 24 Sep 1999 22:27

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>What proportion of "austric" blood do you imagine Indians have? Must be extremely high, right? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Sathydas, the study (which was conducted by Indians if you're interested) which we're discussing found significant variation between the Australoidal and non-Australoidal peoples of India. IOW if there was interbreeding it was so long ago, and in such statistically small enough terms that the populations do not show much evidence of significant intermingling. <P>I'd like to stress again, there while there is Indian identity, and Indian culture there is no anthropological or genetic basis for an Indian 'race'. <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Considering that no 'phorener' with an average eye-sight would ever mistake an Indian for an European. Or a Chinese. Of course he would easily confuse a Brahmin with a Sudra or a Tribal or a Dalit.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> Skin, hair and eye colour variation do not necessarily mean the peoples of India had greater intermingling with Austroloidal peoples. Such variations emerged long after humanity diversified into Australoid, Mongloid, etc. Somatic issues such as height and weight often have more to do with diet and exercise than anything else. Refer to the above paragraph.<P><BR>Krish: you're right, mutation occurs before selection; providing the mutation allows the individual to breed, the mutation will make it into the gene pool of the deme. If Brahmins have kids mostly with other Brahmins, then they form a deme.<P><BR>The rate of genetic drift is a constant, and it's pretty slow. Genes copy themselves pretty reliably most of the time, or we'd be in serious difficulty as an organism. This is a good thing since mutation is stochastic which is to say random process, and the vast majority of such changes are not benefial. Not necessarily harmful, but nothing that gives the organism an edge in survival or procreation. A lot of mutations are simply ignored by natural selection. <P> Cystic Fibrosis(CF) is an example of a random mutation of a gene that was NOT beneficial. At some point in the past this mutation was limited to one individual, who in turn had kids, who passed the gene on, so on and so forth. However we are diploid creatures, meaning that we get half our genes from each parent. In the case of CF, you will suffer from the actual disease only if both parents carry that mutant gene. However assuming you are simply a carrier of the gene which you inherited from one of your parents, it doesn't diadvantage you in anyway, so unsurprisingly the gene will continue to be propogated onto future progeny and remain in the gene pool. <p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 24-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 1999 00:02

Sathydas; pseudoscience is that which is not falsifiable. Science is a set of methods used to draw conclusions from available data. Theories change, because new evidence comes to light. The bit that you quoted illustrates a case where there is insufficient evidence for one theory to gain precedence over the other. Please understand that. It is exactly the same process that produced the explanation that you may (or may not) accept for gravity, electricity, and why the sky is blue. <P> Your reaction is quite understandable; we as humans we can be very attached to our classification systems by which we divide events and people into tidy little piles; Indians, non Indians, good, bad, etc. <P> As for the anthropological basis of race based on skull features: it's used because it represens one the earliest major differntiations of the human race. Indians and Europeans may view <B>themselves</B> as seperate 'races', but it doesn't change the fact that they do in fact share a certain number of genetic traits, which in turn implies that Indians and Europeans branched away from each other after Caucasians as a whole away diversified from the rest of humanity. <P> Please pay attention to what I'm saying; 'race' as it is generally used is a SOCIAL construct. It derives it's meaning from the power of people's belief and as such is relevant only to cultural anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists. Appearance is one of many thousands of traits; it does not constitute a valid system of classification to the biologist. the biologist would in fact also reject the definition of race used by the physical anthropologist. In this thread I am presenting the approaches taken by the Physical anthropologists and Biologists and will argue it on their terms.

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Re: History of India

Postby Kaushal » 25 Sep 1999 00:47

sathyadas, OK this is it. ARW (acronyms running wild). My education is seriously deficient here and my curiosity is aroused. Somebody has to explain to me in Webster's english what is <P>LOL ( i have a suspicion), but what the heck is<BR>LMAO<BR>ROFLMAO<BR>LSHIH<P>Kaushal

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 1999 01:25

Scientific education has certainly failed the world as a whole. These are not 'my' theories but those that are widely accepted in the relevant fields. Matthew I don't blame you for your reaction; you are faced with unfamiliar terms and apparently abstract theories which come to conclusions that seem to challenge your gut instinct. The problem is that you are disputing not just the vidence, but the entire framework through which the data has been acquired and analysed; in short you are asking me to justify not only how but <I>why</I> science should come to the conclusions. I wish that all educated citizens had enough of the basics that we could discuss the hows instead of the whys.<P> Science as a system has come a long way from the 19th and even the 1st half of the 20th century. Theories do NOT anymore "rose to prominence because it was addressed to the common man on the street", because Science as a whole is far more rigorous, and tends to disfavour proponents with political agendas. Physics, Chemistry and Biology were the first to clean up, unsurprisingly followed at a much slower pace by the social sciences. Its hard to be objective about human behaviour, when you are after all a human being yourself. <P>When evaluating scientific theories, you try to put aside your personal dispositions, and evaluate the data within the theory of science itself. This of course can be hard if you don't possess the background not just in the Scientific method, but the field itself.<P> For example, you said <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>If Indians and Europeans share the same skull/bone structure, then I would include our black african brothers across the continent as well (their bones are not any different from ours).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> Skeletal differences between 'races' are real; anthropologists routinely and accurately identify remains through bones alone for police.<P> A lot of things about you are encoded in your genetic information; the shape of your nose, the positions of your cheekbones, and the shape of your skull. Those genes came from somewhere; you inherited them from your father and mother, who inherited it from their parents, ad infinitum. However, not all noses are shaped alike; therfore while we may all have noses, we don't all have <I>exactly</I> the same nose gene. Otherwise, all our noses would look somewhat alike. How did we end up with all these different nose-genes? the answer is random genetic mutation that can be traced back to a single individual. Why would some kinds of noses be found more in one 'race' than another? because members of that race bred with each other enough that many individuals within that group ended up with it. <P>Why did I say certain 'sets of traits'? Because traits can be determined by more than one gene, and because genes for <B>different</B> traits are often linked together on each one of our 46 chromosomes. <p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 24-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 1999 02:24

Sathydas; thank you for asking those important questions. I will try to answer them as best as I can. Please remember that while I am reasonably well versed in these disciplines, you shouldn't confuse me for a professional. <P>A lot of this comes back to genetic drift; populations isolated from each other tend to diverge over time. <P>Anthropologists study the origins, evolution and variations of humans and humans and human culture. Humans are by nature social creatures- we organise ourselves into groups, and often behave as groups rather than individuals. These groups often have sub groups, and each subgroups may have further subdivisions. Unsurprisingly we also tend to breed only with members of the group or sub-group we identify with. Now prepare to leave Duhh!land Image<P> So, as anthropology is often a study of these groups and group structures, and tracking the changes to them over time anthropologists are always keen to find a group's unique traits by which we can identify individuals. <P> Now let me say that Anthropologists have nothing against the concept of ethnicity, because it is undeniable. Marathis are accepted to be quite distinct groups from say Chechens or Yamonamo tribe of the Amazonian basin (no I didn't make that name up). The next question is what if anything did they have in the past?<P> Homo Sapiens is one species; i.e. all capable individuals can produce sexually viable offspring. If we are indeed one species, then we could not have simultaneously evolved all around the world. Groups of us began to spread around the world; however, movement was slow, limited by available technology and geography, and even though we remained one species, genetic drift set to work and we began to diverge from each other. Unsurprisingly human expansion exploded after the end of last ice age ~10,000 years ago. It has been determined that these sets of bone and skull features were among the first major divergences that developed between the diaspora. We're not sure why this is, but it is why Anthropologists use them for their definition of 'race'; it represents the first subgroup within the overall group of our species.<P> These groups each split off in various directions, and over time and distance they began to diverge from each other, which is why a Bengali doesn't look terribly like a Swede any more. I'm afraid I've terribly oversimplied a lot of other issues, but I'm not sure if I could have answered your core questions with anything less than several thick textbooks.<BR> <p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 24-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 1999 02:40

Krish, thank you for your post, I didn't realise people like George assumed that I was trying to build some sort of a case for the AIT. <P> Let me confirm what Krish has said in that regard; I am interested only in the truth as determined by evidence- I have no predispositions to what the truth actually may be in this case. I have simply presented the evidence from the evolutionary perspective. How it is construed is up to others. <BR> <BR> Stavirs, Krish I'll post a few good anthro weblinks up here later.<P><BR> Sathydas, could you clarify your stand? Are you simply rejecting me as an unreliable source, or are you rejecting the entire product of genetics and anthropology? If it is me you have a problem with, why don't you provide the readers of this thread with an anthropological and genetic explanations of human origins and the transmissions of traits that meets your requirements of 'hard science'. <P> If you are in effect rejecting the fields themselves, or claim that they do not utilise the scientific principle, perhaps you should inform the thousands of researchers wasting your taxes and years of their life in research that they are all either liars, cheats or fools.<P> This isn't the last century when biologists and anthropologists sat on their arses and pulled things out of their navels. <BR>They actually conduct research these days and produce papers that are peer reviewed and held up to the same standards as any other science. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 24-09-1999).]

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Re: History of India

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 1999 03:27

Sathydas, the evidence suggests that your time frame is a little off. Caucasians seem to have diversified about from the other races roughly about 50,000 years ago. Skin, hair and eye colour variations developed much later.<P> Yes Negroids and Mongloids show a great deal of diversification within; Negroids show the greatest internal genetic variation in terms of skeletal features. Skin colour varied little because natural selection favoured melanin in Africa's hot environment, though East African peoples such as those of Eritrea, northern Ethiopea and Somalia are more brown than black. Mongloids have a great deal of variation in skin colour too- Koreans and Japanese are pale, the Han are yellowish, the malays are light brown. Hawaiians, Maoris, Native American and Pacific islanders are mongloids too, even though they look quite different from each other. The exact pattern of the migration, dispersal and diversification of the Mongloidal race is one of the most exciting questions in cultural anthropology on account of the sheer size of the areas and the numbers of groups involved. <P> You insist on representing Indians and Europeans as seperate 'races'. Given that range of of physical differences in Europe alone, what makes you feel that a swarthy , blue eyed, black haired, olive complexioned Greek from Cyprus should be lumped together with a blonde, blue eyed, practically pink Icelander? Especially when the same Cypriot, suitably attired could pass for a Hindu Punjabi, while the Punjabi wouldn't fool anyone if he told you he was Sri Lankan? <P> I'll discuss the Eve theory in another post- I need to take a break.<p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 24-09-1999).]


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