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A homage to Hindu civilization.

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    Tuesday, 15 November 2016 | Kumar Chellappan | in Oped

    The US presidential election proved how ill-informed our veteran bureaucrats are. The same holds true about former diplomats and military officers in our country who find faults with the Modi Government’s performance
    The result of the US presidential election is yet another proof of how ill- informed our veteran bureaucrats (not to mention journalists) are. Most were pitching for Hillary Clinton from the television studios till the outcome was known. Their predictions and observations went haywire.
    One can say the same about the analyses by former diplomats and military officers about the Modi Government’s performance on defence and foreign policy matters. They too seem to be getting it wrong most of the time, but are unwilling to course-correct.
    Of late, the country’s war veterans are firing on all cylinders, finding faults with the foreign policy initiatives being pursued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took over in 2014. This article is not an attempt to justify or support the foreign policy “adventures” of a self-made man, who does not have a Jawaharlal Nehru University or Cambridge University to show to the outside world as his alma mater.
    The war veterans mentioned above are not retired Army generals or personnel from other branches of the defence forces. The WAR stands for Wisdom After Retirement! Some of the WAR veterans one encounter in newspaper columns these days are MK Narayanan, former National Security Advisor (NSA) and TP Sreenivasan a former diplomat. Mani Shankar Aiyar, another diplomat with Cambridge background, has also been criticising the Government, cursing and taunting the former chai walah for spoiling the country’s reputation abroad. Whether the country had any reputation till 2014, is a topic to be debated and let’s keep it for another occasion.
    Narayanan always laments over the directionless foreign policies of the Modi Government. He says there is no coherence and balance in the foreign policy of the present Government. Sreenivasan blames the BJP Government for its over-emphasis on terrorism and efforts to isolate Pakistan.
    Well, let’s take a stock of the contributions by the above mentioned WAR veterans while they were serving the country. Narayanan was an 1995 batch IPS officer who spent most of his career in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
    When the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, by her own security guards, Narayanan was one of the top honchos of the IB. He was the Director of the IB when Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists in 2001.  It was during the tenure of Narayanan as the National Security Advisor of the country when the Mumbai terror attack took place. One has lost count of the number of terrorist attacks which took place in India while he was the NSA. Isn’t it in an open secret that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh kicked Narayanan upstairs as the Governor of Bengal following his all-round failure as the NSA?
    These incidents strengthen the impression that Narayanan was a total failure both in intelligence gathering as well as the man in charge of the national security arrangement of the country. Any IPS, IAS or IFS officer, who knows which side of the bread is buttered, is capable of rising in the ranks and getting a cosy post-retirement post.
    We have had titans like Lakshmi Kant Jha, VP Menon, BN Mullick as our top administrators and super cops in the past. The likes of Narayanan survive because they know the right persons at the right place for the advancement of their career, not that of the nation’s interests.
    At the age of 82, Narayanan is specialising in finding faults with the present dispensation. An account by him about the failures committed by him during his active years would help the young IPS officers not to repeat the same mistakes!
    What was the contribution of the likes of Sreenivasan, Aiyar, or Bhadrakumar or for that matter, hundreds of diplomats like them in solving the Kashmir imbroglio? If they are good in finding faults with the foreign policy of Modi, what were these WAR veterans doing when they were enjoying the office of power?
    According to Narayanan, who pens articles regularly in a Communist Party of India (Marxist)-sponsored daily published from Chennai, there is only one person who could solve India’s problems!
    It is Narayanan himself... An intelligence professional who could not save his own sambandhi from the evil designs of the latter’s son-in-law. That’s Narayanan.
    If we take a global list of brilliant diplomats, security experts and bureaucrats, I am sure we will never see at least one of the above mentioned veterans even in the first 10,000 names, they are trusted minions of a sick lady presiding over the destruction of a redundant organisation.
    Interestingly, Shashi Tharoor, the Congress Member of Parliament, was heard blaming the people of the US for electing Trump as the US President. Pot calling the kettle black!
    (The writer is The Pioneer’s Chennai-based correspondent)

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    0 0  Banks to use indelible ink on cash counters
    Published on Nov 15, 2016
    In a big development, the Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday in an important announcement said that bank will be using indelible ink to shorten queues of people standing to exchange, deposit the demonetised currency. 

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    The two amazing pieces by two economists are silent on one dark component of kaalaadhan: nation's wealth stashed in tax havens. Anyway, read on...


    On Black economy, informal economy & demonetisation -- V Anantha Nageswaran & Gulzar Natarajan

    Tue, Nov 15 2016. 04 01 AM IST

    Formal declaration of war against informality

    The fight against black money intersects with the country’s massive informal economy, which keeps the industrial base narrow and limits the tax-to-GDP ratio

    Shrinking the informal economy is essential to India’s sustainable high-growth ambitions. Photo: AP
    On 8 November, when the world was awaiting the outcome of the US presidential election, the Indian prime minister captured the attention of his country with an announcement that currency notes of denominations of Rs500 and Rs1,000 would not be legal tender from the following day. The ripples are still being felt. India had undertaken a similar exercise nearly 40 years ago, in 1978. Thanks to a well-researched piece by Sonal Varma of Nomura Research, we know that in 1978, with a short lag, bank deposits grew, bank credit grew and the credit-deposit ratio of banks came down.
    Short-term economic disruptions are inevitable as households and the private sector have to learn to adjust to a new regime. Since India is also simultaneously moving to a goods and services tax (GST), the uncertainty could be compounded, resulting in some adverse economic impact in the short term. Most structural reform measures bring short-term dislocation with adverse consequences. This one would be no exception. That is why the government biting the bullet on this and sending a strong signal is a move in the right direction. This was a needed measure in many ways.
    The fight against black money assumes significance because it intersects with the country’s massive informal economy, which keeps the industrial base narrow and limits the tax-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio. Indeed, it is not just a fight against black money or fake currency notes issued by forces inimical to India but also an important step in increasing the share of the organized or formal economy in the overall GDP. The benefits of that transition would be manifold and realized over time. As an aside, we would caution against the government entertaining thoughts of “profiting” from the mythical and magical demonetization gains. The arguments are wrong.
    An important reason for the very narrow industrial base and low tax-to-GDP ratio is the country’s all-encompassing informal economy. Apart from public revenue loss, the informal economy has a deeply corrosive effect on the transmission of market dynamics and market efficiency, constrains the productivity of both capital and labour, and hampers the effectiveness of public service delivery. Shrinking the informal economy is, therefore, essential to India’s sustainable high-growth ambitions. Because of its pervasive and broad-based nature, action would be needed at multiple levels. They would have to be both financial and non-financial, with the latter revolving around lowering the cost of undertaking economic activities.
    On the financial side, the government has already taken several steps in shrinking the informal economy. Apart from rigorous efforts at detection and enforcement, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been established, new laws on disclosure of foreign-held black money and to curb benami transactions have been promulgated, a scheme for voluntary disclosure has been announced and strict limits on unverified cash transactions have been put in place. While these measures should be expedited and vigorously implemented, it should be complemented with measures to curtail the origination of the largest informal markets. They would include policies to eliminate the wedge between the market and official guidance values of real estate, and further limits on cash transactions for goods and services, especially for purchases of gold, vacations, educational, legal and medical services, beyond a progressively declining value.
    These direct measures have already been accompanied by more fundamental reforms to address the predominance and informality of cash transactions. They include the JAM trinity initiatives that leverage Aadhaar—Jan Dhan Yojana, RuPay debit cards, Unified Payments Interface, direct benefits transfer, etc. Similarly, the GST Network (GSTN), designed to manage the massive chain of indirect tax appropriation and reimbursements, could help capture the vast volume of retail commercial transactions.
    This should be complemented with the expenditure information network (EIN) recommended by the Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects’ 2011 report. The EIN would create a digital trail of all fund releases by governments down to the last recipient, especially important as cash transfers assume greater role in the subsidy regimes.
    A combination of all three—JAM, EIN and GSTN—would offer unprecedented network effects encompassing the vast majority of financial transactions. Apart from the obvious benefits of reducing evasion and leakages and better targeting public spending, this system could dramatically increase the efficiency of public service delivery and the utilization of scarce public resources. It would also be a much needed step towards expanding the formal economic base and increasing the tax-to-GDP ratio.
    Finally, as Shankkar Aiyar has written in The New Indian Express, any sustainable attempt at curbing black money has to strike at the “business model of politics”. Reforms aimed at greater transparency in campaign finance would also be the strongest possible statement of intent from the government.
    If these financial-side measures could complement the various ease of doing business and small enterprise development initiatives, their cumulative effect could significantly dent the informal economy and could be the lasting legacy of this government.

    (This Column Is Based On The Authors’ Joint Work, Can India Grow?, Published By Carnegie India. It Can Be Downloaded At No Cost From CarnegieEndowment.Org From Tomorrow).

    Demonetisation Shock Gives Reasonable Chance Of Changing Economic Behaviour In Right Direction 

    V Anantha Nageswaran November 15, 2016, 12:16 pmDemonetisation Shock Gives Reasonable Chance Of Changing Economic Behaviour In Right Direction 
    If handled properly and followed up, demonetisation could be a lasting legacy of the government.
    The implementation of GST lurks from the next financial year. In an indirect way, it has become a curtain raiser or trial run for it.
    In this ‘shock’ therapy, there is a reasonable chance of changing people’s behaviour from cash reliance to banking channels.
    With the end of the first week of the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes approaching, it is clear that the logistics of the announcement are not going as well as they should have. That is putting it mildly, perhaps.
    As for the underlying need for the measure that the Prime Minister had announced a week ago, I am not in doubt. Some have expressed scepticism whether the Rs 500 note should have been demonetised at all. It might be mostly for transactional purposes rather than being used as a store of wealth. Hence, banning it too has been a source of great inconvenience without being a great source of benefit. The rich will find a way to convert their currency notes even if not through the banking channel, etc. etc.
    I will share links to some comments by people whose views I do not disregard:
    MINT wrote a good editorial on this:
    It is widely accepted that Modi has strangled corruption at the highest levels of government. The currency swap should hurt those who have been involved in retail corruption. Other policy initiatives such as the move to GST should also bring more producers into the indirect tax net. Modi has perhaps understood the aspirations of his new voter base better than most people realize.
    The Edit also made an important point for the future:
    RBI should now consider switching the composition of currency towards Rs100 notes rather than Rs500, Rs1,000 and the new Rs2,000 ones. In other words, a majority of the value of cash in the Indian economy should be accounted for by Rs100 notes, backed by a greater use of mobile payments to avoid unnecessarily bulky wallets.
    The speech by the Prime Minister contained a reference to that and that is the direction in which RBI and the government would go.
    I would like to reserve Monika Halan’s piece for the end for it touches upon a very important aspect of this decision – the Prime Minister’s risk-taking.
    There was a good piece by Shankkar Aiyar in ‘New Indpress’:
    This week the government took another shot at tackling the twin devils by demonetising high value currency. Critics observed that this is a redux – it has been done before. True. But the difference is the scale. The first demonetisation of 1946 resulted in the demonetisation of Rupees 143 crore out of Rupees 1,235 crore currency with the public. In 1978, the Morarji Desai regime demonetised Rupees 146 crore out of Rupees 9,152 crore. In 2016, the Modi Sarkar has demonetised Rupees 14.95 lakh crore out of Rupees 16.98 lakh crore.
    Step away from the numbers to appreciate magnitude in words. In 1978, the quantum of high denomination notes demonetised was barely one in hundred, or 1.52 per cent notes with the public. In 2016, high denomination notes demonetised account over eight of 10 notes in circulation. The validation of the scale of the action is visible in the untold disruption in the economy.
    He understands and states that there is lot more to be done:
    The war on corruption and black money calls for holistic action. It is a hard road. To paraphrase General Patton, the exhilaration of victory, demands acceptance of challenges.
    He concedes the exhilaration of victory but a lot more remains to be done. In our joint piece for MINT today, Gulzar Natarajan and I agree with that and even list out the things that need to be done. We have gone into specifics. It is from our joint work, ‘Can India grow?’ which will be published online by Carnegie India tomorrow.
    So, the case for the action taken is established and the action is to be applauded. But, the action’s positive impact will be felt over the long-term provided follow-up actions and steps are also announced. However, in the near-term, the logistics of implementation are creating a big economic dislocation risk, or so it appears.
    Given the ‘surprise’ nature of the announcement, the scale of the country (huge) and State capability (very low), some amount of dislocation was to be expected. The public was prepared for it. But, has the actual dislocation exceeded even the worst expectations?
    Pronob Sen seems to think so. He points to the dislocation in the informal financial sector:
    There is, however, one component of the economy that may actually experience a permanent effect—the informal financial sector. This sector, comprising not only the much-reviled moneylender but numerous other institutions such as nidhis, hundis, chit funds, etc., will have a very hard time exchanging its stock of currency (some of which may well be black money), and may indeed suffer a permanent erosion in its lending capacity. We might not shed any tears for them, but spare a thought for those whose livelihood depends on the capital provided by this sector because the formal financial sector will never touch them with a barge-pole.
    How large is this problem? I had made a rough estimation of this during the preparation of the 12th Five-Year Plan, and it came to nearly 40 per cent of formal bank lending — i.e. 26 per cent of GDP — which is not a joke.
    He calls this exercise the equivalent of cutting the nose to spite the face. That is perhaps too harsh. The government has been taking a sequence of steps. This has to be seen as part of it and more must be coming. There has been a method to the issue of tackling the issue of corruption. Sen is very right to highlight the area where the move would hurt.
    Indeed, economic growth is being driven by private consumption in India, in recent times. If parts of it are choked too hard, the negative demand shock on the economy could be significant. Already, there is the negative wealth shock to those who are spending their black money. Third, there is the impending introduction of goods and services tax (GST). So, I think the government might have bitten off more than it could chew, from a macro-economic perspective. That strikes me as a more appropriate idiom than ‘cutting the nose to spite the face’.
    A friend with whom I had shared this article sent me the following response:
    The informal sector will bear the brunt. Even today Meera Sanyal narrated how in the Pushkar festival there are no buyers. This is a typical market where purchases take place with cash. I know from my sources in the rural areas that the informal sector there is collapsing. The depth of our current formal financial system in regard to informal sector is poor. So replacement will be very tardy.
    Current rules will render the use of unconventional processes for replacement of currency notes to the informal sector impossible. I guess these enterprises will die and for them subsequently to get capital to restart will be next to impossibility since the chain will be cut off. And these people are the consumers of the big firms, who will find consumption from the rural areas from now on not helping their topline. As economists say, this step is a supply shock which will lead to demand shock. I am wondering if I am too pessimistic.
    Perhaps, he is and perhaps he is not. But, the risk is no longer trivial or so, it appears. MINT has three charts on why the exercise is turning out to be painful. The government must start its prayers now!
    That brings up a question that another friend asked:
    Can you help think through this standard argument that his could have ONLY been done in a shock and awe manner? What if it had been announced that by 31 December all Rs 1,000 notes will be retired? Anyone that is bringing a note to deposit or exchange to the bank will need to account for it.
    A former bureaucrat gave a very thoughtful response (paraphrased):
    1. Have extensive stakeholder consultations, prepare a comprehensive plan covering all dimensions, elaborate to the last detail, and then roll-out the reforms in a predictable environment.
    2. Identify an important element of the reform process (based on political and administrative expediencies) and bite the bullet. Hope that it would generate the momentum for change (create conditions, ripen the moment for wholesale change). Intervene strategically and opportunistically with all the other elements of the comprehensive plan in due course.
    The first is a linear and logical approach, whereas the second is by definition non-linear and iterative. On deep-seated changes, the former would most likely overwhelm the political and bureaucratic systems (albeit for different but very compelling reasons) and lead to a decision paralysis. It’s just that there are too many bells and whistles associated with such comprehensive plans that they are most likely to run into the constraints of political acceptability, financial and other resources, administrative capacity, and mobilisation of entrenched interests.
    In the circumstances, I feel that a more prudent approach would be to identify a totemic element of the implementation plan that can rally the troops, wait for an opportunistic political moment, intervene in a manner that it creates a momentum, and then chip in with all the other elements of the plan. The risk with the latter approach is that the government identifies the wrong elements, intervenes at the wrong time, and fails to follow up with other elements.
    The demonetisation may have done all the first three elements of this second approach, and now awaits the other parts of the comprehensive plan. Given the rising discontent, it may be necessary to unveil all the other elements without waiting too long.
    I would add more element to the response. If the secrecy were to be abandoned and people given sufficient time to do so, the change of behaviour from cash-reliance to banking channels might not happen. The public would find a way to exchange their old currency notes and continue with the cash economy. In this ‘shock’ therapy, there is a reasonable chance of changing behaviour in the right direction. That is the ‘signalling’ value of this the ‘shock’. Of course, the evidence has to come from the future.
    Also, see Tamal’s defence of the ‘secrecy’, ‘shock and awe’ in his superb piece in MINT:
    However, could this chaos have been avoided entirely? Certainly not. Secrecy is the key to the success of such a move. There was only a three-hour window and even that was wide enough for many with unaccounted money—they bought gold and foreign currency till the wee hours of 8 November, paying as much as 50 per cent premium. Had the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) wanted a foolproof transition by stacking currency chests of all banks with new notes to ensure a smooth transition, the black money hoarders would have got wind and the very purpose of this exercise would have been defeated.
    The choice before the government was to announce it out of the blue and run the risk of the chaos on streets or have a smooth transition from the old currency notes to new notes but without getting much out of it in terms of unearthing unaccounted cash. It has chosen the first, and rightly so. My understanding is that the plan was to launch this a bit later, probably in January, but the image of the new Rs2,000 note making the rounds in social media last week unnerved the government and it did not want to take chances with the plan being leaked and instead preferred to launch it immediately, even though the printing of Rs 500 currency notes had not even started at that time.
    As we have come to expect of Tamal Bandyopadhyay, his is a stellar piece. I conclude this blog post with that.
    That brings us to the final element of this blog post. There is both an upside and a downside to the concentration of this initiative in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and with the Prime Minister. “The risk of the discontent – when things go wrong – being concentrated at the top is very high” (quote unattributed).
    In this particular demonetisation exercise, may be, there was a case for secrecy and for concentration of decision in few hands. But, if all decisions pertaining to all ministries are seen as being made only in the PMO, the risk is very high. It is also undesirable at many levels. Sharing responsibility and credit are as important as making decisions, taking risk and taking credit for them.
    As Monika Halan writes, the Prime Minister has taken a personal and political risk here. Indeed, given the plausible economic growth shock, the risk is enormous:
    It’s not as if Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not taken a risk — both personal and political. The move to demonetise currency notes, to suck out black money, will upset BJP’s key constituency: traders, realtors and small businessmen…. So the risk is real.
    Her conclusion is something which this blogger very wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorses:
    Modi has taken a calculated gamble and we’re all hoping that it pays off. No transition is painless. He is pressing the reset button on corruption. We, who had so desperately wanted to kill corruption, now need to support this bold move by the government.
    Back to Tamal:
    Indeed, this drive will attack the stock of black money and not the flow, but it will instil the fear of god in the tax evaders the way the new insolvency law will psych the wilful defaulters of the banking industry….
    This is the signalling value of the shock that I had mentioned earlier.
    … The immediate challenge before the government and the RBI is to meet the demand for currency. The jute and tea industries in West Bengal have come to a grinding halt; India’s Rs 64,000 crore microfinance industry has virtually stopped disbursement of fresh loans and there is pressure on collection of loan instalments; lakhs of people are losing their daily wages as they need to spend hours outside their banks to deposit and withdraw money. All these may lead to social unrest and deteriorating law and order situation in various parts of the country.
    The cascading effect of the move can outweigh the gains if not handled properly. Mere congratulations to 1.25 billion Indians and appeal to their patience will not work. Modi may have more plans up his sleeve to fight black money but at the moment, the buck stops with the prime minister.
    Yes, if handled properly and followed up, it could be a lasting legacy of the government. Indeed, the issue has thrown up the stark challenges that India faces on the State capability front. The implementation of GST lurks from the next financial year. In an indirect way, it has become a curtain raiser or trial run for it. So far, the State has come up short. If it leads to some material changes in the State capability, its organisation and the incentives for performance, so much the better. The collateral benefit of improved State capability could be far more substantial than even the benefits on the corruption front.
    This and the GST implementation can become seminal case studies on many aspects of governance: changing culture, behaviour, nudge, implementation, project management, State capability improvement and indeed, refashioning the economy, the government and much else.
    This piece was first published on the writer’s blog, The Gold Standard, and has been republished here with permission.

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    Janmabhumi Online <> November 10, 2016

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    Cong stashed Rs 12L cr during UPA rule, PM Modi turned it into scrap: Amit Shah

    • PTI, Ahmedabad
    •  |  
    • Updated: Nov 15, 2016 20:35 IST
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP president Amit Shah after the NDA meeting at Parliament house in New Delhi on November 15, 2016. (PTI)
    Launching a fierce attack on the Congress, especially party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday alleged that leaders of the grand old party had accumulated Rs 12 lakh crore during the UPA rule through “corrupt” means.
    Setting the tone for the winter session of Parliament amid the demonetisation debate, Shah claimed that the Congress was unhappy with the withdrawal of the high-value currency notes as its “fortune” was reduced to “paper scrap” overnight by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
    Shah also mocked the Congress vice-president for “going to a bank in a Rs-4 crore car to exchange Rs 4,000”.
    “During their 10-year rule, the Sonia-Manmohan government did one scam every month, be it 2G, CWG, coal allocation, Adarsh Society, aircraft purchase and many other. With such large-scale corruption, Congress leaders accumulated Rs 12 lakh crore which is equal to the size of three Union budgets.
    “They parked this huge amount of money in their houses, godowns and at their friends’ places thinking that it was safe. But, Modi turned it into paper scrap by announcing demonetisation on November 8. This has taken away all the charm from the faces of the Congressmen,” he said.
    Shah was addressing party workers and citizens at Bharuch in Gujarat where he inaugurated the Bharuch district cooperative bank building.
    The BJP president was also unsparing in his attack on Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, claiming that everyone was in “deep trouble” due to the demonetisation move, but no one was ready to reveal the reason behind their discontent.
    Shah’s comments came on a day when the Congress-led opposition closed ranks to pin down the government over the demonetisation issue in Parliament.
    “The situation is like a flood which sweeps away everything. Now, Congress leaders, Kejriwal, Mamata and Mulayam Singh have joined hands to save themselves from this flood. I am sure that those present here are not worried at all because we do not have black money. Only those who have black money are worried,” he said.
    Shah also took a dig at Rahul for his criticism of the prime minister, and said, “Rahul baba went to withdraw Rs 4,000 in a Rs-4 crore car. Do you think these people ever need Rs 4,000 cash? Rahul baba talks about the poor. I want to tell him that if he and his party were so concerned, then the Congress leaders should not have stashed away the Rs 12 lakh crore.”
    Acknowledging that the cash crunch was causing hardships to the common man, the BJP chief said they will “benefit in the long run”.
    Also read | Opposition rattled, criticism of demonetisation move baseless: Venkaiah

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    Why Hillary Clinton lost (The Atlantic, Nov. 16, 2016)

    Why did Hillary Clinton lose last week’s presidential election? The candidate herself believes James Comey, the FBI director who notified Congress in an October 28 letter that he was reopening the inquiry into her private emails, was to blame. Her campaign, meanwhile, has cited “a host of uncontrollable headwinds,” asserting that her team did all they could in an unforeseeably difficult environment.
    Many Democrats, however, are less forgiving of the campaign and its strategy. It may be true that the Comey letter shaved a crucial few points off Clinton’s vote in the home stretch. But critics believe a better campaign would have left her less exposed to a last-minute surprise. If not for a series of miscalculations, these critics contend, the Comey letter wouldn’t have had the impact it did—and she might be president-elect today.
    “I truly believe she was ahead two weeks out and had a catastrophic last two weeks,” a senior operative for an uncoordinated pro-Clinton effort, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me. “But that she was even in a position to have been able to lose in the last two weeks was the result of a lot of forces laid in place before that.”
    Everything becomes clear in hindsight, of course, and the Clinton team was hardly alone in thinking it had the election in the bag—Trump’s campaign thought so, too. But devastated Democrats have settled on a handful of decisions that, in retrospect, might have sealed her fate.
    First, they contend, Clinton need not have wholly ceded white working-class voters to Trump, who won them by a larger margin than Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide. Meanwhile, she failed to get young people and minorities—the too-aptly-named “Obama coalition”—excited about her candidacy. Both of those weaknesses, critics say, could be traced back to a message that emphasized social diversity over economic fairness. And the Clinton team’s overweening confidence blinded it to her weaknesses. 
    The postmortem debate over Clinton’s loss is more than just finger-pointing—it has important implications for how the Democratic Party moves forward. Some partisans side with her team in blaming external forces, from events like the Comey letter to the media’s coverage of the race. Others look at Clinton's lead going into the final weeks, in a nation where most voters view President Obama favorably, and conclude that she blew an eminently winnable race. (A Clinton campaign official disputed many of these critiques to me, but acknowledged that the widespread expectation she was going to win made it difficult for the campaign to see weaknesses. The official also conceded that Clinton’s campaign underestimated the electorate’s desire for change.)
    How partisans decide to view Clinton’s loss—as a fluke, as a tactical shortcoming, or as the product of deeper issues—will determine how they attempt to rebuild. For a party that finds itself decimated and powerless at almost every level, those are consequential conclusions indeed.
    Explanation No. 1: The white working class. Trump galvanized white voters without college degrees, particularly in the Rust Belt; Clinton’s team calculated that this bloc was a lost cause and could be ignored in favor of focusing on her base and trying to persuade white-collar voters she was the less risky choice. Bill Clinton reportedly agitated for the campaign to pay more attention to the “bubbas” that had once been his base, only to be rebuffed by a campaign staff that believed his worldview was out of date.
    Were these voters gettable? As Alec MacGillis reported, many blue-collar men voted for Barack Obama against John McCain and Mitt Romney because they thought he better related to their struggles. They did not think the same of Clinton, who spent the last eight years becoming synonymous with the global elite. The result was that, while Obama won union households by 18 points nationally, Clinton won them by just 8 points, and fared far worse in the midwestern states that decided the election. She lost rural voters by a 2-to-1 margin, again worse than Obama.
    Obama, at his press conference Monday, argued against the idea that Democrats can afford to write off any group or region of voters, saying, “We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level, something that's been a running thread in my career.” He won states like Iowa, the president argued, because he competed hard for their votes.
    Clinton’s primary opponent echoed the theme: “I come from the white working class,” Bernie Sanders tweeted on Monday, “and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.”
    Meanwhile, Clinton’s single-minded focus on Republican-leaning college-educated white women meant she was reliant on soft support from a group that would rather, all things being equal, vote for the Republican candidate. When fresh doubts arose about Clinton, that group was all too ready to fly the coop. “One of Clinton’s strategies was to appeal to moderate Republican women by showing how disgusting Trump is,” Joe Dinkin of the Working Families Party, a left-wing party that endorsed Sanders in the primaries but worked for Clinton in the general election, told me. But, he said, “being a Republican voter means already having come to terms with voting for disgusting racists and sexists sometimes.”
    Explanation No. 2: The “Obama coalition.” While Clinton’s campaign was focused on television advertising aimed at suburban swing voters, there were ample warning signs that African American and Millennial voters weren’t inspired by her candidacy. Polls and focus groups showed young people disliked both candidates; in interviews, black voters were unenthused. But Clinton’s campaign assumed they would show up for her simply because they were afraid of Trump.
    Instead, many of them refused to fall in line. Eight percent of African American voters under 30 chose a third-party candidate, as did 5 percent of Latinos under 30, according to an analysis of the election results by the Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher. These “protest votes,” he argued, were enough to seal Clinton’s fate, even though this year’s electorate was just as diverse as 2012’s, and Trump did not do any better than Romney among young, minority voters.
    Clinton, Belcher said, agreed with these voters on the issues they cared about, such as criminal justice and police brutality, but failed to reach them effectively. The campaign ignored warnings from Belcher and others, such as Florida Representative Alcee Hastings, that it wasn’t doing enough to reach out to black voters in particular.
    The larger issue for the Democratic Party is that the coalition of voters that elected Obama has never come out to vote for Democrats when Obama wasn’t atop the ticket. “These younger black and brown voters who supported Obama were more his voters than Dem voters,” Belcher told me. “They had a stronger allegiance to him than a party, though clearly Dem in issue orientation.”
    Explanation No. 3: The economic message. Bound up in both the above problems, critics contend, was a campaign message that focused more on social issues and embracing diversity—“stronger together,” “who we are”—than on themes of economic justice. “This [result] is the culmination of a long-term process that began quite a long time ago, of the Democratic Party walking away from working-class people and working-class issues over the years and becoming the party of the professional class,” Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal!, said on a broadcast of NPR’s Diane Rehm Show on Monday. Frank’s book, which came out in March, urged the party to eschew corporatism and return to its economic-justice roots.
    Clinton talked about taxing the rich, redistributing wealth, and creating various new benefits, like paid family leave. But she rarely talked about jobs—a message that would have resonated with the working class of all races. Her “America is already great” message didn’t carry far beyond the degree-rich elites who are indeed doing fine these days, particularly against Trump’s message of right-wing economic populism. (The Clinton official contended that she campaigned vigorously on the economy and noted that, according to exit polls, Clinton won the majority of voters who said the economy was the most important issue.)
    Clinton also chose temperament as the main line of attack about Trump, painting him as erratic, unqualified, and bigoted—“unfit,” in her terms—rather than as an out-of-touch rich guy who couldn’t understand regular people’s struggles. In my own conversations with African American voters, they were often bothered less by Trump’s racism, which struck them as nothing new, than by his having inherited wealth and never having had to earn his position. Clinton might have thought she was too privileged herself to pull off an attack on Trump’s material circumstances, but she allowed Trump to cast himself as a workingman’s candidate virtually unopposed.
    Explanation No. 4: The machine. Clinton’s campaign was run by the field-organizing guru Robby Mook, based on the Obama model of data-driven field organizing. The campaign hierarchy brushed off as “bedwetting” allies’ qualms about the paint-by-numbers strategy. As a DNC staffer told U.S. News & World Report, “They were too reliant on analytics and not enough on instinct and human intel from the ground.” Political consultants tend to overestimate the effect of campaign tactics, and a good “ground game” is no substitute for a movement’s organic zeal.
    The Clinton machine’s supposedly precise targeting may not have been all it was cracked up to be: Two former Sanders advisers contended in the Huffington Postthat Clinton was unwittingly turning out Trump supporters based on their demographic profiles. And her team’s focus on micro-messaging came at the expense of thematic unity. As another former Sanders adviser, Scott Goodstein, put it, “No amount of digital savvy will take you across the finish line if you don’t have a message that resonates.... The Clinton campaign too often chose gimmicks over real heartfelt messages.”
    Explanation No. 5: Arrogance. In one of his weirder and more imaginary riffs on the stump, Trump claimed that when Clinton came off the trail to supposedly prepare for the debates, she was actually “sleeping,” insinuating without evidence that she was lazy and frail. She wasn’t either of those things, but it was true that, even late in the campaign, she kept a light schedule, holding fewer events than her rival. This worried senior Democrats, who told me she seemed to be taking winning for granted rather than fighting for it.
    Clinton’s leisurely pace fed the perception that she thought she was marching to an inevitable coronation. Inevitability didn’t work out too well for Clinton in 2008, and it didn’t work this year, either.
    This was not a resounding defeat for Clinton and the Democrats, of course—she won the popular vote, and Trump received a smaller percentage of the vote than Romney did four years ago. But it exposed a wellspring of brewing discontent in the Democratic ranks—issues that, in retrospect, Obama’s victories and Republican dysfunction papered over for years. Now the question is how Democrats pick up the pieces.



    Friday, November 11, 2016

    Throughout the course of the 2016 election, the conventional groupthink was that the renegade Donald Trump had irrevocably torn apart the Republican Party. His base populism supposedly sandbagged more experienced and electable Republican candidates, who were bewildered that a “conservative” would dare to pander to hoi polloi by promising deportations of illegal aliens, renegotiation of trade agreements that “ripped off” working people, and a messy attack on the reigning political correctness.
    It was also a common complaint that Trump had neither political nor military experience. He trash-talked his way into the nomination, critics said, which led to defections among the outraged Republican elite. By August, a #NeverTrump movement had taken root among many conservatives, including some at National ReviewTheWeekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal. Many neoconservatives who formerly supported President George W. Bush flipped parties, openly supporting the Clinton candidacy. 
    Trump’s Republican critics variously disparaged him as, at best, a Huey Long or Ross Perot, whose populist message was antithetical to conservative principles of unrestricted trade, open-border immigration, and proper personal comportment. At worse, a few Republican elites wrote Trump off as a dangerous fascist akin to Mussolini, Stalin, or Hitler.
    For his part, Trump often sounded bombastic and vulgar. By October, after the Access Hollywood video went viral, many in the party were openly calling for him to step down. Former primary rivals like Jeb Bush and John Kasich reneged on their past oaths to support the eventual Republican nominee and turned on Trump with a vengeance. 
    By the end of the third debate, it seemed as if Trump had carjacked the Republican limousine and driven it off a cliff. His campaign seemed indifferent to the usual stuff of an election run—high-paid handlers, a ground game, polling, oppositional research, fundraising, social media, establishment endorsements, and celebrity guest appearances at campaign rallies. Pundits ridiculed his supposedly “shallow bench” of advisors, a liability that would necessitate him crawling back to the Republican elite for guidance at some point.
    What was forgotten in all this hysteria was that Trump had brought to the race unique advantages, some of his own making, some from finessing naturally occurring phenomena. His advocacy for fair rather than free trade, his insistence on enforcement of federal immigration law, and promises to bring back jobs to the United States brought back formerly disaffected Reagan Democrats, white working-class union members, and blue-dog Democrats—the “missing Romney voters”—into the party. Because of that, the formidable wall of rich electoral blue states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina crumbled.
    Beyond that, even Trump’s admitted crudity was seen by many as evidence of a street-fighting spirit sorely lacking in Republican candidates that had lost too magnanimously in 1992, 2008, and 2016 to vicious Democratic hit machines. Whatever Trump was, he would not lose nobly, but perhaps pull down the rotten walls of the Philistines with him. That Hillary Clinton never got beyond her email scandals, the pay-for-play Clinton Foundation wrongdoing, and the Wikileaks and Guccifer hackings reminded the electorate that whatever Trump was or had done, he at least had not brazenly broken federal law as a public servant, or colluded with the media and the Republican National Committee to undermine the integrity of the primaries and sabotage his Republican rivals.
    Finally, the more Clinton Inc. talked about the Latino vote, the black vote, the gay vote, the woman vote, the more Americans tired of the same old identity politics pandering. What if minority bloc voters who had turned out for Obama might not be as sympathetic to a middle-aged, multimillionaire white woman? And what if the working white classes might flock to the politically incorrect populist Trump in a way that they would not to a leftist elitist like Hillary Clinton? In other words, the more Clinton played the identity politics card, the more she earned fewer returns for herself and more voters for Trump.
    In the end, the #NeverTrump movement fizzled, and most of the party rightly saw, after putting aside the matter of his character, that Trump’s agenda was conservative in almost every area—immigration, energy, gun rights, taxes and regulation, abortion, health care, and military spending. In areas of doubt—foreign policy and entitlements—voters reasoned that sober and judicious Republican advisors would surround and enlighten Trump.
    As a result, Republican voters, along with working class Democrats and Independents voted into power a Republican President, Republican Congress, and, in essence, a Republican judiciary. Trump’s cunning and energy, and his unique appeal to the disaffected white working class, did not destroy the Republican down ballot, but more likely saved it. Senators and Representatives followed in Trump’s wake, as did state legislatures and executive officers. Any Republican senatorial candidate who voted for him won election; any who did not, lost. Trump got a greater percentage of Latinos, blacks, and non-minority women than did Romney, and proved to be medicine rather than poison for Republican candidates. With hindsight, it is hard to fathom how any other Republican candidate might have defeated Clinton Inc.—or how, again with hindsight, the Party could be in a stronger, more unified position.
    In contrast, the Democratic Party is torn and rent. Barack Obama entered office in 2009 with both houses of Congress, two likely Supreme Court picks, and the good will of the nation. By 2010 he had lost the House; by 2012, the Senate. And by 2016, Obama had ensured that his would-be successor could not win by running on his platform.
    A failed health care law, non-existent economic growth, serial zero interest rates, near record labor non-participation rates, $20 trillion in national debt, a Middle East in ruins, failed reset and redlines, and the Iran deal were albatrosses around Democratic Party’s neck. Obama divided the country with the apology tour, the Cairo Speech, the beer summit, the rhetoric of disparagement (“you didn’t build that,” “punish our enemies,” etc.), the encouragement of the Black Lives Matter movement, and a series of anti-Constitutional executive orders.
    In other words, even as Obama left the Democrats with ideological and political detritus, he also had established an electoral calculus built on his own transformative identity that neither had coattails nor was transferrable to other candidates. Indeed, his hard-left positions on redistribution, social issues, sanctuary cities, amnesty, foreign policy, and spending would likely doom candidates other than himself who embraced them.
    The Bernie Sanders candidacy was the natural response, on the left, to Obama’s ideological presidency. But the cranky socialist septuagenarian mesmerized primary voters on platitudes that would have proven disastrous in a general election—before meekly whining about Clinton sabotage and then endorsing the ticket. What then has the Democratic Party become other than a hard left and elite progressive force, which without Obama’s personal appeal to bloc-voting minorities, resonates with only about 40 percent of the country?
    The Democratic Party is now neither a centrist nor a coalition party. Instead, it finds itself at a dead-end: had Hillary Clinton emulated her husband’s pragmatic politics of the 1990s, she would have never won the nomination—even though she would have had a far better chance of winning the general election.
    Wikileaks reminded us that the party is run by rich, snobbish, and often ethically bankrupt grandees. In John Podesta’s world, it’s normal and acceptable for Democratic apparatchiks to talk about their stock portfolios and name-drop the Hamptons, while making cruel asides about “needy” Latinos, medieval Catholics, and African-Americans with silly names—who are nonetheless expected to keep them in power. Such paradoxes are not sustainable. Nor is the liberal nexus of colluding journalists, compromised lobbyists, narcissistic Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, family dynasties, and Clintonian get-rich ethics.
    The old blue-collar middle class was bewildered by the leftwing social agenda in which gay marriage, women in combat units, and transgendered restrooms went from possible to mandatory party positions in an eye blink. In a party in which “white privilege” was pro forma disparagement, those who were both white and without it grew furious that the elites with such privilege massaged the allegation to provide cover for their own entitlement.
    In the aftermath of defeat, where goes the Democratic Party?
    It is now a municipal party. It has no real power over the federal government or state houses. Its once feared cudgel of race/class/gender invective has become a false wolf call heard one too many times. The Sanders-Warren branch of the party, along with the now discredited Clinton strays, will hover over the party’s carcass. Meanwhile, President Obama will likely ride off into the sunset to a lucrative globe-trotting ex-presidency. His executive orders will systematically be dismantled by Donald Trump, leaving as his legacy a polarizing electoral formula that had a shelf life of just two terms.

    16:30 10.11.2016(updated 17:36 10.11.2016) Get short URL Neil Clark 136631822 Former MP George Galloway, had predicted a Trump win as far back as May 2016, as he had correctly predicted a "Leave" vote in the UK's EU referendum. But the "experts" in the US and UK mainstream media (MSM) - incidentally, often the same.

    Galloway summed it up perfectly in one tweet, as it became clear that Donald J. Trump, against all the odds, There was no way the unspeakably awful Donald Trump would prevail, the MSM assured us. A victory for the quite wonderful Hillary Clinton was a slam dunk. After all, everyone in our circle is going to vote for her! 

    Bill Kristol, the editor of the neocon Weekly Standard and a regular pundit on US television, scoffed at the idea that Trump would even win a single caucus or primary.  "Here's why Donald Trump won't win the Republican nomination" was the title of one piece in August 2015. Tom McCarthy said that while "knowledgeable people" thought Trump might get the nomination, "more knowledgeable people thought he wouldn't." And probably, by this logic, "the least knowledgeable people" of all thought Trump would not only win the nomination, but the White House as well. But we never heard from them. Except on channels like RT, whose "obscure pundits" — to coin a phrase of a particularly poisonous stalker, again outdid the "experts" we see regularly on elite-friendly programs like BBC's Newsnight. Then there's the pollsters. They were wrong about the 2015 UK general election, and they were wrong about the EU Referendum. And they were hopelessly wrong about the US Presidential election too. Not a single poll for instance, had Trump winning the state of Wisconsin.  In the last few days, almost all the polls showed significant leads for Hillary Clinton. © REUTERS/ RICK WILKING Clinton Leads Trump by 6 Points Among Likely US Voters - Monmouth Poll Surely, after this latest debacle, no one can trust pollsters ever again.  Politicians too, with the exception of outside-the-tent populists like George Galloway and Nigel Farage, demonstrated how out of touch they were with public opinion. In August, Politico ran a piece entitled "GOP Insiders: Trump can't win.""Trump is underperforming so comprehensively… it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of 'Death to America,'" was the verdict of an Iowa Republican. Well, guess what, that video evidence of Clinton as Cruella de Vil did not emerge, and The Donald still won. Throughout the summer we also had dire warnings in the US MSM that Trump was leading the GOP into oblivion.  Well, the Republicans now have the Presidency, the Senate and the House. Some oblivion, New York Times. As with Brexit "experts" in the US and UK, who are paid good money to "enlighten" us on political trends, didn't see the US election result coming. © SPUTNIK/ What Are the Odds? Big Bucks at the Bookies as US Election Bets Heat Up in UK A plethora of articles appeared assuring us that "Trump can't win/Trump won't win." The fact that lots of people turned up at Trump's rallies proved nothing, opined the same "experts" who told us that the large crowds at Jeremy Corbyn rallies didn't mean anything either.  One London punter had the good sense to disregard these wise and learned articles. He put £200,000 (US$250,000) on a Trump victory — and won a cool half a million pounds.  The mutually back-slapping "pundits" who told us Trump couldn't win, met the "shock" result on the morning of November 9 with incredulity, anger — and in some cases four-letter profanities. One irate Oxford-educated columnist tweeted: "Just woke up. Jesus H Christ, America. What the f*** just done. You should be ashamed of yourselves."  The fact that ordinary US voters are being scolded by UK and US punditocracy for voting the "wrong way" shows us the massive disconnect between large sections of the MSM in both countries and the people.  © REUTERS/ KAI PFAFFENBACH Financial Markets Bias Exposed After Trump Win Well-heeled media commentators, many of whom attended the same universities, seem dumbfounded that people who are not so well-off and not so privileged, don't see things in the same way as they do.  How many of those who pontificated on the US elections — and gave their "expert" opinions on how Trump couldn't possibly win — have actually spent any time in the "Rust Belt" or the poorest states of the deep south, or ever engaged with working-class Americans, struggling to make ends meet? If they had, they might just have anticipated what happened on election day. But they were all too busy massaging each other's egos on Twitter and predicting the result that they wanted to see, to hear the cries for change coming from the despised ‘little people', and whose opinions were ignored by  Establishment "experts" once again. Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

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    JAMES FALLOWS is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. Nov. 16, 2016

    China’s Great Leap Backward

    The country has become repressive in a way that it has not been since the Cultural Revolution. What does its darkening political climate—and growing belligerence—mean for the United States?

    at if china is going bad? Since early last year I have been asking people inside and outside China versions of this question. By “bad” I don’t mean morally. Moral and ethical factors obviously matter in foreign policy, but I’m talking about something different.
    Nor is the question mainly about economics, although for China the short-term stability and long-term improvement of jobs, wages, and living standards are fundamental to the government’s survival. Under China’s single-party Communist arrangement, sustained economic failure would naturally raise questions about the system as a whole, as it did in the Soviet Union. True, modern China’s economic performance even during its slowdowns is like the Soviet Union’s during its booms. But the absence of a political outlet for dissatisfaction is similar.
    Instead the question is whether something basic has changed in the direction of China’s evolution, and whether the United States needs to reconsider its China policy. For the more than 40 years since the historic Nixon-Mao meetings of the early 1970s, that policy has been surprisingly stable. From one administration to the next, it has been built on these same elements: ever greater engagement with China; steady encouragement of its modernization and growth; forthright disagreement where the two countries’ economic interests or political values clash; and a calculation that Cold War–style hostility would be far more damaging than the difficult, imperfect partnership the two countries have maintained.
    That policy survived its greatest strain, the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989. It survived China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the enormous increase in China’s trade surpluses with the United States and everywhere else thereafter. It survived the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 (an act assumed to be intentional by every Chinese person I’ve ever discussed it with), periodic presidential decisions to sell arms to Taiwan or meet with the Dalai Lama, and clashes over censorship and human rights.
    The eight presidents who have managed U.S. dealings with modern China, Nixon through Obama, have essentially drawn from the same playbook. The situation could be different for the ninth. The China of 2016 is much more controlled and repressive than the China of five years ago, or even 10. I was living there at both of those earlier times—in Shanghai in 2006 and in Beijing five years later—and have seen the change firsthand. Given the chaotic contradictions of modern China, what any one person sees can be an exception. What strikes me is the consistency of evidence showing a country that is cracking down, closing up, and lashing out in ways different from its course in the previous 30-plus years.
    The next president, then, will face that great cliché, a challenge that is also an opportunity. The challenge is several years of discouraging developments out of China: internal repression, external truculence, a seeming indifference to the partnership part of the U.S.-China relationship. The opportunity is to set out the terms of a new relationship at the very moment when it is most likely to command China’s attention: at the start of a new administration.

    You can tell which issues a new administration takes seriously and considers crucial to its political and substantive success. The president gives a major policy speech; big thinkers write essays; Cabinet departments roll out implementation plans; budget decisions follow. That’s the kind of effort I hope to see early next year. I can report that across the world of China scholars and policy veterans, people are already thinking hard about what should be in such a speech.
    Dealing with China is inescapable. It is becoming more difficult, and might get harder still.
    The Voorhes
    Why does china need to be high on the new president’s priority list? Because an important assumption has changed.
    In both word and deed, U.S. presidents from Nixon onward have emphasized support for China’s continued economic emergence, on the theory that a getting-richer China is better for all concerned than a staying-poor one, even if this means that the center of the world economy will move toward China. In one of his conversations with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Barack Obama said, “I’ve been very explicit in saying that we have more to fear from a weakened, threatened China than a successful, rising China.”
    Underlying this strategic assessment was an assumption about the likely direction of China’s development. This was not the simplistic faith that if China became richer, it would turn into a liberal democracy. No one knows whether or when that might occur—or whether China will in fact keep prospering. Instead the assumption was that year by year, the distance between practices in China and those in other developed countries would shrink, and China would become easier rather than harder to deal with. More of its travelers and students and investors and families would have direct connections with the rest of the world. More of its people would have vacationed in France, studied in California, or used the internet outside China, and would come to expect similar latitude of choice at home. Time would be on the world’s side in deepening ties with Chinese institutions.

    For a long period, the assumption held. Despite the ups and downs, the China of 2010 was undeniably richer and freer than the China of 2005, which was richer and freer than the China of 2000, and so on.
    But that’s no longer true. Here are the areas that together indicate a turn:
    Communications. China’s internet, always censored and firewalled, is now even more strictly separated from the rest of the world’s than ever before, and becoming more so. China’s own internet companies (Baidu as a search engine rather than Google, WeChat for Twitter) are more heavily censored. Virtual private networks and other work-arounds, tolerated a decade ago—the academic who invented China’s “Great Firewall” system of censorship even bragged about the six VPNs he used to keep up on foreign developments—are now under governmental assault. When you find a network that works, you dare not mention its name on social media or on a website that could alert the government to its existence. “It’s an endless cat-and-mouse,” the founder of a California-based VPN company, which I’m deliberately not identifying, recently told me. “We figure out a new route or patch, and then they notice that people are using us and they figure out how to block it. Eventually they wear most users down.” On a multiweek visit to China early last year, I switched among three VPNs and was able to reach most international sites using my hotel-room Wi-Fi. On a several-day visit last December, the hassle of making connections was not worth it, and I just did without Western news sources.

    China’s print and broadcast media have always been state-controlled and pro-government. But a decade ago I heard from academics and party officials that “reasonable” criticism from the press actually had an important safety-valve function, as did online commentary, in alerting the government to emerging problem spots.
    Those days are gone. Every week or two the Chinese press carries warnings, more and more explicit, by President Xi Jinping and his colleagues that dissent is not permissible and the party’s interests come first. Also this year, the government banned foreign-owned media—that is, all media beyond its direct control—from publishing anything in China without government approval. It cracked down on several publications (notably the business magazine Caixin and the Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Weekend) that for years had mastered the art of skirting government controls.
    This past February The Guardian ran a poignant piece about young journalists in China who had decided that there was no point in even trying to report on their society’s challenges. “Being a journalist has no meaning any more,” a person identified as “a thirtysomething editor from one of China’s leading news organisations” told The Guardian’s Tom Phillips. “My greatest feeling is that in recent years the industry’s freedoms have reached their lowest ebb in history.” A few weeks earlier I had been in Shanghai meeting with a group of 20‑something, still-idealistic Chinese student reformers, talking about their long-term hopes. One student wanted to open legal-aid clinics for migrant workers; another, a muckraking-style news service about urban inequities; another, a center for women’s rights. A few years earlier, I would have been excited to hear such plans. Now I’m fearful—and expect that if those students end up realizing their dreams, they will be doing so in some other country.

    Repression of civil society. Throughout the Communist era, the Chinese state has suppressed the growth of any form of organization other than the party itself. Religious practice, for instance, is authorized for five officially approved faiths (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism)—but only state-authorized temples, mosques, and churches are allowed. So too for unions (all party-run), NGOs, and any other means through which people might associate.
    In the past five years, the screws have been tightened further on all these and other groups. Churches have been bulldozed across the country, allegedly as part of urban-development plans. Many of the country’s public defenders and public-interest lawyers are now in jail. So are prominent feminists and environmental organizers. The April 21 cover of The New York Review of Books this year billed an article by the Asia Society’s Orville Schell, who has written about China since the 1960s, as “The New Terror in China.” “In my lifetime I did not imagine I would see the day when China regressed back closer to its Maoist roots,” Schell told me. “I am fearing that now.”
    Extraterritoriality. The recent repression is worse because China’s officials are attempting to extend it beyond China’s borders. Countries have always tried to use economic muscle to advance political or ideological ends. In China’s case, the most obvious example is its ongoing economic punishment of Norway (notably a boycott of its salmon) for the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s insolence in selecting the still-imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize six years ago. But recently the Chinese government has jailed or harassed the relatives of activists and dissidents who have left the country, and put pressure on foreign companies and organizations to apply China’s censorship standards beyond its borders. Two years ago, the U.S. firm LinkedIn was found to have censored critical posts about China from its worldwide network, even when the posts were written and intended to be read only by people outside Chinese territory. The agreement was a condition of LinkedIn’s operating in China. Twitter is still banned there, but in April it hired an engineer who once worked for China’s military and security services as its managing director for China. In one of her first tweets, she wrote to CCTV, the carefully monitored state-run TV network, saying, “Let’s work together to tell great China story to the world!”

    Failed reform. The most prominent part of Xi Jinping’s program since he assumed control in November 2012 has been an anticorruption campaign, advertised as a prelude to cleaning up China’s version of crony capitalism. Through most of its boom decades, China featured the form of “efficient corruption” also evident in Japan and South Korea during their postwar growth years. Some favored people got very rich—the head of Japan’s then-ruling Liberal Democratic Party got into trouble when investigators found $50 million worth of gold and other assets in his house—but everyone else was doing well enough to mute complaints. As China’s economy has slowed and news about elite-level fortunes has spread, perception of its corruption from within and without the country has shifted from “necessary evil” to “existential threat.”
    A trigger for the latest round of press controls was David Barboza’s 2012 revelation in The New York Times that the family of then-Premier Wen Jiabao had billions of dollars in secret assets. Wen’s reputation at the time was as a kindly social conscience of China; that even his family was on the take suggested no part of the system was immune to rot. Scores of senior officials have been jailed, deposed, or subject to public denunciation for corruption charges, including the longtime director of state security and many senior officials in the People’s Liberation Army. Tens of thousands of lower-level officials have been punished, and across the country millions have been scared. My anecdotal experience matches what I’ve heard consistently from others: The Chinese public is so exasperated by inequality and corruption that they favor this part of Xi’s program. But so far it has been hard to distinguish this effort from a relentless cleaning-out of Xi’s political rivals.
    Day by day, life on the streets in the Chinese cities I’ve recently visited seems as free-form and commerce-minded as ever. But national politics matter more than they have in many years, and the political climate is darkening. “China is experiencing the most sustained domestic political crackdown since Tiananmen Square,” Carl Minzner, an expert on Chinese law who teaches at Fordham University’s law school, wrote this year. Almost everyone I spoke with agreed.

    Anti-foreignism. In April, the Chinese government put out an instructional video that would have been considered crudely propagandistic had it come from some military-information ministry at the height of World War II. It was called “Dangerous Love,” and it warned young Chinese women about falling for sweet talk from foreign students or professors. What if that handsome student is actually a spy?! The same month, Te-Ping Chen of The Wall Street Journal reported that public schools in China were introducing a game called Spot the Spy! designed to help children be alert to subversives within their ranks.
    I spoke with the head of a non-Chinese software company that has a 20-year record of sales to Chinese universities and local and provincial governments. He said customers began informing him last year that they were required to switch to Chinese suppliers. (When writing about the United States, I try never to use “blind” quotes. Precisely because of the increased repression I’m describing here, I need to do so when writing about China.) This spring, the Chinese government blocked Apple’s iTunes movie and iBooks services and apps in China. Soon thereafter, Apple reported its first global revenue decline in 13 years, in part due to plummeting income from China, and saw its market capitalization drop by $40 billion. The Chinese government’s motive in cracking down on Apple was probably political rather than crudely commercial. As an analysis in Varietypointed out, the rising popularity of streaming video on iPhones and other devices made the Apple sites important portholes for movies, documentaries, and other material from the outside world. But regardless of rationale, the effect was to damage Apple relative to its Chinese competitors (notably a smartphone company called Xiaomi), much as the politically motivated crackdown on Google damaged it relative to its main Chinese rival, Baidu.

    The effect has spread beyond technology. Every year, the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing surveys non-Chinese companies on the business climate within China. In the most recent survey, nearly half of the companies reported flat or falling revenues and toughening business conditions. Three-quarters of them said that “foreign businesses are less welcome than before in China.”
    The military. This is the most publicized aspect of a changed attitude from China. China has land borders with more than a dozen countries, and is connected by the East and South China Seas to half a dozen more. At the moment, it has territorial disputes with many of those countries, all of them on its maritime frontiers, because of its recent “island building” program and insistence on increased military, fishing, and mineral-exploitation rights in the region. In July, an international tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines, and against China, in a dispute over China’s newly expansionary claims in the South China Sea. Since then, both sides seem to have backed away from ship-to-ship confrontations on the high seas, but underlying disagreements remain. “They have managed to alienate or intimidate many once-friendly neighbors, thereby unnecessarily increasing tensions in the region,” Orville Schell told me. “The only exceptions are Putin and [Rodrigo] Duterte,” the truculent new president of the Philippines.

    Video: What Does a Changing China Mean for the U.S.?

    Is it all xi jinping? It is convenient to link changes in Chinese policy to the shift in Chinese leadership, from the cautious, understated Hu Jintao to the flamboyant, personally dominant Xi Jinping. But by most accounts these changes were under way before Xi’s term began.
    It would be a mistake to view China’s recent actions “primarily as the product … of an aggressive leader,” Jeffrey Bader, the National Security Council’s China expert during Obama’s first term, wrote this year. “The military build-up, the assertive behavior in the South and East China Sea … the political repression and denial of basic rights”—these, in Bader’s view, predate Xi’s tenure and will postdate it too. Rather than being based purely on personalities, these changes are most often traced to the messages—both emboldening and unsettling—that the Chinese leadership took from the world financial collapse of 2008.

    The messages were that maybe China’s moment had finally arrived. The financial crisis had started in America, after five years of a disastrous Middle Eastern war—and just as the China of the Beijing Olympics was seeming shiny and unstoppable in every way. I was living in Beijing at the time and couldn’t miss the tone in state media and from government officials that the rise and decline of empires was happening faster than anyone had foreseen. “The crisis made the leadership much more confident and assertive abroad—but also more worried and nervous about what might happen to their own economy at home,” a foreign academic, who didn’t want to be named, told me. “And the combination of being arrogant abroad and paranoid at home is about the least desirable combination of all, from the rest of the world’s perspective.”
    The paradoxical combination of insecurity and aggressiveness is hardly confined to China. The United States has all too many examples in its own politics. But this paradox on a national-strategic scale for China matched what many people told me about Xi himself as a leader: The more uncertain he feels about China’s diplomatic and economic position in the world, and the more grumbling he hears about his ongoing crackdown, the more “decisively” he is likely to act. “Xi is a weak man who wants to look strong,” a foreign businessman who has worked in China for many years told me. “He is the son of a famous father [Xi Zhongxun, who fought alongside Mao as a guerrilla and became an important Communist leader] and wants to prove he is worthy of the name. As we’ve seen in other cultures, this can be a dangerous mix.” Ten years ago, when I visited a defense-oriented think tank in Beijing, I was startled to see a gigantic wall map showing U.S.-affiliated encampments and weapons on every Chinese frontier except the one bordering Russia. I came to understand that the graphic prominence of the U.S. military reflected a fairly widespread suspicion that the United States wishes China ill, is threatened by its rise, and does not want to see China succeed. Almost no one I spoke with recently, however, foresaw a realistic danger of a shooting war between China and the United States or any of its allies—including the frequently discussed scenario of an unintentional naval or aerial encounter in the South China Sea. Through the past few years, in fact, U.S. military officials, led by the Navy, have engaged their People’s Liberation Army counterparts in meetings, conferences, and exercises, precisely to lessen the risk of war by miscalculation. “Naval forces are actually pretty good at de-escalating and steering out of one another’s way,” a senior U.S. Navy officer told me.

    The concern about a more internationally aggressive China involves not a reprise of the Soviet Union during the tensest Cold War years but rather a much bigger version of today’s Russia. That is: an impediment rather than an asset in many of the economic and strategic projects the United States would like to advance. An example of kleptocracy and personalized rule. A power that sometimes seems to define its interests by leaning toward whatever will be troublesome for the United States. An actual adversary, not just a difficult partner. China is challenging in many ways now, and increasingly repressive, but things could get worse. And all of this is separate from the effect on China’s own people, and on the limits it is placing on its academic, scientific, commercial, and cultural achievements by cutting itself off from the world.
    Oliver Munday
    What is to be done? The next president will face a quandary often called the “Thucydides Trap.” This concept was popularized by the Harvard political scientist Graham Allison. Its premise is that through the 2,500 years since the Peloponnesian warfare that Thucydides chronicled, rising powers (like Athens then, or China now) and incumbent powers (like Sparta, or the United States) have usually ended up in a fight to the death, mainly because each cannot help playing on the worst fears of the other. “When a rising power is threatening to displace a ruling power, standard crises that would otherwise be contained, like the assassination of an archduke in 1914, can initiate a cascade of reactions that, in turn, produce outcomes none of the parties would otherwise have chosen,” Allison wrote in an essay for last year.

    No sane American leader would choose confrontation with China. The next president has no rational choice but to keep trying to make the best of this relationship. The two countries’ cooperation on climate and energy is the main thing that gives the rest of the world even faint hope of progress. U.S.–Chinese collaboration and compromise were essential to reaching the Paris accord on greenhouse gases last year, and the equally important Kigali agreement to ban the very damaging HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerant chemicals in October. Without China’s support (and Russia’s), the deal to control Iran’s nuclear program would not have been struck.
    The Chinese and U.S. economies are increasingly intertwined; U.S. universities depend on Chinese students who pay full freight; the culture of each country is enriched by its exposure to the other. Millions of people on each side, including my wife and me, enjoy, respect, and love people they have met and the encounters they have had in the other country. Because of bad air and suspect food, we were often sick while living in China, but the daily vividness of living there made us feel more fully alive.
    The United States will be less fully able to realize its national potential if it can no longer deal with China. But the terms of engagement may need to be changed.
    “I personally, and many people who have spent their lives trying to understand China, felt worried about what seemed to be significant changes in its internal and external behavior, and uncertain about how the U.S. should respond,” Susan Shirk, the head of the China policy center at UC San Diego, told me recently. Shirk and Orville Schell have put together a bipartisan Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward China, made up of nearly two dozen academics and veterans of recent Republican and Democratic administrations. It plans to submit a report to the new president, examining the options if China really is going bad.

    That group’s work is still taking shape, and its members, like others who have dealt with the contradictions of modern China, naturally disagree on details and emphases. But after talking with a range of China veterans, I think some views are widely shared and suggest the elements of the next China policy. They include:
    Choosing battles carefully. The seas around China have been the theater for some of China’s most dramatic recent muscle-flexing. But for reasons of geography, history, and national psychology, they may be the wrong place for highly publicized efforts to draw the line.
    Michael Pillsbury, a longtime analyst of the Chinese military who is generally viewed as a hawk, has suggested one reason. In a 2012 journal article called “The Sixteen Fears: China’s Strategic Psychology,” Pillsbury argued that the very steps through which the United States might most naturally try to show resolve and presence in the region are ones most likely to bring out a hostile Chinese response. For instance, the first three items on his list were “fear of an island blockade,” “fear of a loss of maritime resources,” and “fear of the choking off of sea lines of communication.” (A list of comparable U.S. fears would begin with “fear of a surprise attack,” on the model of Pearl Harbor or 9/11, and then “fear of national decline,” dating back to the nation’s earliest days.) Thus, what the U.S. might intend as efforts to restore the pre–Xi Jinping norm in the area could spring the Thucydides Trap and become a showdown about prestige, political values, and overall standing in the world.
    “I really think we are at risk of overcommitting ourselves in treating the South China Sea like the Cuban missile crisis,” Susan Shirk told me. “It’s not the Cuban missile crisis. U.S. interests are limited, and we don’t need to do things just to ensure ‘credibility.’ ”

    Concerns for the moment, confidence in the long run. To most outsiders, the Chinese leadership’s strategic choices in the Xi era seem rash, overreaching, and ultimately self-defeating. (Obviously China is not the only country ever to have miscalculated in this way.) China’s current pattern of repression at home and aggression abroad may be doing the country so much damage that its own leaders will finally choose a different course.
    Domestically, the main threat to China’s high-tech, high-culture ambitions is the increasing repression of the Xi Jinping years. China’s universities will always be second-rate as long as they are limited to a China-only internet. Its investment climate will be limited as long as the government so obviously manipulates the financial markets. “Their political model has absolutely no appeal, not even to their own people,” Chas Freeman told me. Freeman was the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the first President Bush, but 20 years earlier, as a young State Department officer, he had served as interpreter during Richard Nixon’s first meetings in Beijing. “This is a sui generis system that no one is copying.”
    Nearly everyone I spoke with agreed that China’s oversteps have generated ill will far greater than the goodwill fostered by its foreign aid and Confucius Institutes, which are supposed to teach Chinese language and promote Chinese culture around the world.

    This assessment implies that U.S. attention should be focused on getting through an upcoming time of difficulty, which could last years or decades, without panicking that history now seems to favor the repressive Chinese model of governance. “It’s true that China’s strategy is self-defeating,” the national-intelligence director for a U.S.-allied country told me this spring. “But I fear it won’t be true enough, fast enough, to make the pain evident enough to the people who matter for them to change.” For his country and for the U.S., he said, dealing with that lag in the Chinese feedback loop was the challenge.
    Steadily shaping China’s choices. Near the end of my conversations, I would ask each person, “What’s the best tool the United States could use to shift China’s behavior?” And each person would pause, and look out the window or take a sip of coffee, and then begin with something like “Well, it’s complicated, because …” The complication is that the U.S. and China have become so intertwined economically, and so constructively collaborative in a range of scientific, environmental, academic, and even diplomatic spheres, that almost any measure that would “punish” China would necessarily also damage the United States and much of the rest of the world. Simplest example: When Donald Trump was asked in October how the U.S. should respond to various Chinese excesses, he said that if “we cut off [the economic] relationship with China, China would go bust so fast.” Of course so would everyone else, given China’s integration into the U.S. manufacturing supply chains and its heavy investment in U.S. real-estate and financial markets. The reason the measures would backfire is not that China “controls” the United States, as many Americans fear. The problem is that the two economies are now part of one large whole.

    Similarly, lectures and public scolding of China have no record of ever changing its government’s behavior; if anything, they make it worse.
    What may work, however, is a strategy one former Western-country ambassador to China described as “shaping reality in a way that makes it unattractive for China to maintain its present course.” The clearest recent example involves the Chinese military’s hacking of U.S. corporate secrets. A year ago, when Xi Jinping visited Washington (just after Pope Francis, who drew more press and crowds), President Obama is widely believed to have informed him that the United States had had enough on this front. Government-on-government spying and hacking? Sure, that’s normal. But governmental spying on foreign companies, to help their domestic rivals, was different. And if it didn’t stop, the U. S. government would find ways to make life more difficult for Chinese companies. Through use of America’s own formidable tools for cybermeddling? Through impediments to investments? Through shifts in visa policies for influential Chinese families and officials? Obama could leave the means to Xi’s imagination. It wasn’t specific, it wasn’t directly threatening, and it wasn’t public, but Obama’s talk was apparently effective. By most accounts, Chinese military hacking of U.S. corporations has decreased.
    The United States does not have in every realm the leverage its cyberagencies give it in electronic warfare. But it is still the stronger partner in the relationship, with a more advanced economy, an incomparably more powerful military, and a vastly superior network of alliances. And it can use those to shape the realities in which China chooses its future course.

    So here is part of the speech the new president could give early in the next administration, on the new premises for engagement:
    For 45 years, my predecessors have committed themselves to a partnership that would help China develop economically and resume its place of prominence among nations. We have believed in helping build a better future for China’s people. Our own national life has been enriched by this contact. This is an achievement of which China’s people, and our own, and the world’s can be proud.

    But the relationship has been built on assumptions of balance and mutual benefit. We would open ourselves to China’s people and ideas, and China would be open to ours. We would incorporate Chinese firms into our economy, and our firms would have a fair chance within China. The events of recent years have forced us to reconsider whether China’s leaders still view this as a balanced and mutually beneficial relationship. We hope that on their side they, too, are reconsidering their recent actions and will return to the cooperative path. Chinese leaders often quote famous dictums from their literature, and I will cite one of our famous American sayings: We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. The United States would prefer the easier path of cooperation, which has been so beneficial to our two countries. But we are preparing for the hard way. 
    James Fallows

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    Cash crunch knocks down realty deals in Delhi-NCR

    • Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
    •  |  
    • Updated: Nov 16, 2016 01:14 IST
    The secondary segment in real estate largely comprises farmhouses, residential plots and builder floors in New Delhi and resale apartments in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad.
    Seven days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped the old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, India’s biggest property market in terms of volumes – Delhi & NCR -- has taken a severe jolt.
    Deals cracked before November 8 are either back on the negotiating table or have fallen apart as the use of undeclared cash has been curtailed.
    The deals in the unorganised segment, known as the secondary market, depend heavily on unaccounted cash transactions because circle rates (minimum government rate at which a property is registered) in Delhi and in some parts of NCR are far lower than the market prices.
    Market experts said they haven’t heard of any new deals being closed in the past week.
    The secondary segment in real estate largely comprises farmhouses, residential plots and builder floors in New Delhi and resale apartments in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad.
    The total unsold stock in the primary market of Delhi-NCR was 2,62,233 units on September 2016, shows data from realty research company Liases Foras. Data for the secondary market is not available due to its unorganised nature.
    In some places such as south Delhi, small-time realtors hit by the move have increased rates since the cash component has been wiped out. In some cases, however, the demand of cash component has increased and deals are being renegotiated. Experts suggest this additional cash is being set aside for overheads.
    In Gurgaon, the resale deal of a 150-square-yard plot with a three-bedroom house in DLF Phase 1 fell through on November 13 for want of cash after two weeks of negotiations. This prime property, owned by a non-resident-Indian (NRI), was set to be sold at R1.55 crore. The seller demanded R20 Lakh in cash.
    “At the last moment, the unavailability of cash forced the cancellation of the deal,” said the real estate broker who negotiated with the owner’s relatives based in Vadodara, Gujarat, through email.
    The situation is no better in Noida. The sale of a 3-BHK flat in Noida’s Sector 137, Logix Blossom County, which was to be sold at Rs 76 lakh, was put on hold after the buyer could not arrange Rs 26 lakh cash.
    “I know at least three deals in Sector 137 that were cancelled because of the cash crunch,” said Jinender Jain, a real-estate broker in Noida.
    The resale of apartments in Gurgaon, too, has been affected. At a high-rise, Parsvnath Exotica on Golf Course road, a R 3-crore deal for a 4-BHK flat was cancelled this week as it involved a R 1.25 crore cash component. The buyer, who could not arrange the cash in new currency, took the advance amount of R20 lakh back from the seller.
    Delhi is no different. “After the cash ban, realtors have increased the rates as they need to pay more taxes on cheque payments,” said Naveen Soni, a property dealer in Delhi’s Old Rajendra Nagar.
    Deals struck earlier and in which advance payments were made are the worst hit . Many aggrieved parties are mulling going to court. “In most of the transactions where deals are cancelled, advance payments are being returned. In some cases, buyers are getting three months extra to make payments in cash,” said Soni.

    Experts feel the situation will not last long. The demonetisation move, they say, will eventually lead to improved transparency in the sector infamous for black money transactions in the form of undeclared cash. Some realtors are following a wait-and-watch policy, expecting things to improve in eight to 10 months.
    “The secondary market in NCR relies heavily on cash. Property dealers and builders constructing builder floors or small projects have taken a severe hit after black money was wiped out,” said Sunny Katyal of real-estate brokerage firm Investor’s Clinic.
    According to international rating agency Fitch, real estate developers with projects in NCR are likely to be hit by demonetisation, more than other regions, due to more reliance on cash-based transactions. The agency predicts prices and sales to go down in the next couple of years.
    “The negative impact is likely to be more pronounced on sales of higher-end, premium property targeted by high-net-worth individuals and investors, rather than entry-level housing targeted by first-time homebuyers which are more often purchased by salaried individuals with limited undeclared income,” the agency said in a statement this earlier this week.

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    Harappa (Indus) script hieroglyph: eraka 'knave of wheel' rebus: eraka 'moltencast, metal infusion'; era'copper'. āra'spokes' arā 'brass'erako molten cast (Tulu) Ka. eṟe to pour any liquids, cast (as metal); n. pouring; eṟacu, ercu to scoop, sprinkle, scatter, strew, sow; eṟaka, eraka any metal infusion; molten state, fusion.Tu. eraka molten, cast (as metal); eraguni to melt (DEDR 866)  agasāle, agasāli, agasālevāḍu <arka sAle= a goldsmith (Telugu) अर्क [p= 89,1]m. ( √ अर्च्) , Ved. a ray , flash of lightning RV. &cthe sun RV. &c Rebus: copper L.அருக்கம்¹ arukkam, n. < arka. (நாநார்த்த.) 1. Copper; செம்பு. 2. Crystal; பளிங்கு. அக்கம்&sup4; akkam 
    , n. < arka. An ancient coin = 1/12 காசு; ஒரு பழைய நாணயம். (S. I. I. ii. 123.)

    అగసాలి (p. 23) agasāli or అగసాలెవాడు agasāli. [Tel.] n. A goldsmith. కంసాలివాడు.
    Kannada Glosses 
    erka = ekke (Tbh. of arka) aka (Tbh. of arka) copper (metal); crystal (Ka.lex.) cf. eruvai = copper (Tamil)

    See: The cire perdue spoked wheel of copper+lead alloy was NOT an amulet, it was a metal artifact, a metal coin, akkam; it was a compartmental Harappa seal with Harappa (Indus) Script hieroglyph. May or may not have been used as a coin to value and exchange goods but a proclamation of the metallurgical excellence achieved by Bharatam Janam of 4th millennium BCE.

    S. Kalyanaraman
    Sarasvati Research Center
    November 16, 2016

    Artisans at work in Burma making Karen drum

    Sun motif in the centre of the tympanum, Karen drum. 
    arká1 m. ʻ flash, ray, sun ʼ RV. [√arc] Pa. Pk. akka -- m. ʻ sun ʼ, Mth. āk; Si. aka ʻ lightning ʼ, inscr. vid -- äki ʻ lightning flash ʼ.(CDIAL 624) rebus: erako 'moltencast'arka, eraka 'gold, copper'.
     Detail of the tympanum of Karen drum.
    ayo'fish' rebus; aya'iron'ayas 'metal alloy'
    Frog on the Karen bronze pancaloha 'five metal alloys' drum. 
     Kur. mūxā frog. Malt. múqe id. / Cf. Skt. mūkaka- id. (DEDR 5023) Rebus: mū̃h ‘ingot’ mũhe 'ingot' mũhã̄ = the quantity of iron produced at one time in a native furnace.
    Elephant motif.  karba, ibha 'elephant' rebus: karba, ib 'iron'.Ta. ayil iron. Ma. ayir, ayiram any ore. Ka. aduru native metal. Tu. ajirda karba very hard iron. (DEDR 192)                                                                                      "The town of Nwe Daung, 15 km south of Loikaw, capital of Kayah (formerly Karenni) State, is the only recorded casting site in Burma. Shan craftsmen made drums there for the Karens from approximately 1820 until the town burned in 1889.  Karen drums were cast by the lost wax technique; a characteristic that sets them apart from the other bronze drum types that were made with moulds. A five metal formula was used to create the alloy consisting of copper, tin, zinc, silver and gold. Most of the material in the drums is tin and copper with only traces of silver and gold. The Karen made several attempts in the first quarter of the twentieth century to revive the casting of drums but none were successful." 

    In ancient Indian texts, such as Manasollasa, Silparatna, Manasara,the cire perdue technique is referred to as madhucchiṭa vidhānam मधु madhu -उच्छिष्टम्,-उत्थभ्,-उत्थितभ् 1 bees'-wax; शस्त्रासवमधूच्छिष्टं मधु लाक्षा च बर्हिषः Y.3.37; मधूच्छिष्टेन केचिच्च जध्नुरन्योन्यमुत्कटाः Rām.5.62.11.-2 the casting of an image in wax; Mānasāra; the name of 68th chapter. This technique was clearly attested in the Epic Rāmāyaa. मधुशिष्ट madhuśiṣṭa 'wax' (Monier-Williams, p. 780).
     karaṇḍa 'duck' (Sanskrit) karaṛa 'a very large aquatic bird' (Sindhi) karaDa 'safflower' rebus:karaḍa 'double-drum' Rebus: करडा [ karaḍā ] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c kharādī = turner (Gujarati)
    कारण्डवः, पुं, स्त्री, (ञमन्ताडड इति रमेर्ड । रण्डः । ईषत् रण्डः । “ईषदर्थे” ६ । ७ । १०५ । इति कोः कादेशः । कारण्डं वाति । वा गतौ + “आतोनुपेति” । ३ । २ । ३ । कः । करण्डस्येदं कारण्डं तदाकारं वाति वा ।) हंसविशेषः इत्यमरः । २ । ५ । ३४ ॥ खडहाँस इति भाषा (यथा ऋतुसंहारे । शरद्वर्णणे ८ । “कारण्डवाननविघट्टितवीचिमालाः कादम्बसारसकुलाकुलतीरदेशाः” ॥)

    कारण्डव पुंस्त्री रम--ड तस्य नेत्त्वम् रण्डः ईषत् रण्डः कारण्डः तं वाति वा--क करण्डस्येदं कारण्डं तदाकारं वाति वा--क वा । हंसभेदे “हंसकाण्डवोद्गीताः सारसाभिरुतास्तथा” भा० व० ३८ अ० । स्त्रियां जाति- त्वात् ङीष् । अस्य अजिरादि० पाष्ठात् मतौ संज्ञायामपि न दीर्घः कारण्डववती नदीविशेषः । “हससारसक्रौञ्च- चक्रवाककुररकादम्बकारण्डवेत्युपक्रमे” प्लवाः सधचारिणश्च” इति सुश्रुते तस्य प्लवत्वं स घचारित्वञ्चोक्तम् ।

     kuṭhi 'tree' rebus 
    kuṭhi 'a furnace for smelting iron ore, to smelt iron') tALa 'palm trees' rebus: DhALa 'large ingot (oxhide)' 

    Hieroglyphs of Indus Script Cipher are sitnified on the Shahi Tump leopard weight which has been produced using the lost-wax casting method. The hieroglyphs are: 1. leopard; 2. ibex or antelope; 3. bees (flies). The rebus-metonymy readings in Meluhha are:

    karaḍa  ‘panther’; karaḍa tiger (Pkt); खरडा [ kharaḍā ]  A leopard. खरड्या [ kharaḍyā ] m or खरड्यावाघ m A leopard (Marathi). Kol. keḍiak  tiger. Nk.  khaṛeyak  panther.  Go. (A.) khaṛyal tiger; (Haig) kariyāl panther Kui kṛāḍi, krānḍi tiger, leopard, hyena.  Kuwi (F.) kṛani tiger; (S.) klā'ni tiger, leopard; (Su. P. Isr.) kṛaˀni (pl. -ŋa) tiger. / Cf. Pkt. (DNM) karaḍa- id. (DEDR 1132).Rebus: करडा [karaḍā] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c. (Marathi)  kharādī ' turner, a person who fashions or shapes objects on a lathe' (Gujarati)

    Hieroglyph: miṇḍāl 'markhor' (Tōrwālī) meḍho a ram, a sheep (Gujarati)(CDIAL 10120) Rebus: mẽṛhẽt, meḍ 'iron' (Munda.Ho.) mr̤eka, melh 'goat' (Telugu. Brahui) Rebus: melukkha 'milakkha, copper'. If the animal carried on the right hand of the Gudimallam hunter is an antelope, the possible readings are: ranku 'antelope' Rebus: ranku 'tin'.

    Ka. mēke she-goat; mē the bleating of sheep or goats.  Te. mē̃ka,  mēka goat. 
    Kol. me·ke id. Nk. mēke id. Pa. mēva, (S.) mēya she-goat. Ga. (Oll.)mēge, (S.) mēge goat. Go. (M) mekā, (Ko.) mēka id. ? Kur. mēxnā (mīxyas) to call, call after loudly, hail. Malt. méqe to bleat. [Te. mr̤ēka (so correct) is of unknown meaning. Br. mēḻẖ is without etymology; see MBE 1980a.] / Cf. Skt. (lex.) meka- goat. (DEDR 5087). Meluhha, mleccha (Akkadian. Sanskrit). Milakkha, Milāca ‘hillman’ (Pali) milakkhu ‘dialect’ (Pali) mleccha ‘copper’ (Prakritam).

    The bees are metaphors for wax used in the lost-wax casting method. 

    Hieroglyph: माक्षिक [p= 805,2] mfn. (fr. मक्षिका) coming from or belonging to a bee Rebus: ‘pyrites’: माक्षिक [p= 805,2] n. a kind of honey-like mineral substance or pyrites MBh. उपधातुः An inferior metal, semi-metal. They are seven; सप्तोपधातवःस्वर्णं माक्षिकं तारमाक्षिकम्  तुत्थं कांस्यं  रातिश्च सुन्दूरं  शिलाजतु  उपरसः uparasḥउपरसः 1 A secondary mineral, (red chalk, bitumen, माक्षिकशिलाजित &c).(Samskritam)  

    mákṣā f., mákṣ -- m. f. ʻ fly ʼ RV., mákṣikā -- f. ʻ fly, bee ʼ RV., makṣika -- m. Mn.Pa. makkhikā -- f. ʻ fly ʼ, Pk. makkhiā -- f., macchī -- , °chiā -- f.; Gy. hung. makh ʻ fly ʼ, wel. makhī f., gr. makí f., pol. mačin, germ. mačlin, pal. mắki ʻ mosquito ʼ,măkīˊla ʻ sandfly ʼ, măkīˊli ʻ house -- fly ʼ; Ash. mačī˜ˊ ʻ bee ʼ; Paš.dar. mēček ʻ bee ʼ, weg. mečīˊk ʻ mosquito ʼ, ar. mučəkmučag ʻ fly ʼ; Mai. māc̣hī ʻ fly ʼ; Sh.gil.măṣīˊ f., (Lor.) m*lc̣ī ʻ fly ʼ (→ Ḍ. m*lc̣hi f.), gur. măc̣hīˊ ʻ fly ʼ (ʻ bee ʼ in gur. măc̣hi̯kraṇ, koh. măc̣hi -- gŭn ʻ beehive ʼ); K. mȧchi f. ʻ fly, bee, dark spot ʼ; S. makha,makhi f. ʻ fly, bee, swarm of bees, sight of gun ʼ, makho m. ʻ a kind of large fly ʼ; L. (Ju.) makhī f. ʻ fly ʼ, khet. makkīˊ; P. makkh f. ʻ horsefly, gnat, any stinging fly ʼ, m. ʻ flies ʼ, makkhī f. ʻ fly ʼ; WPah.rudh. makkhī ʻ bee ʼ, jaun. mākwā ʻ fly ʼ; Ku. mākho ʻ fly ʼ, gng. mã̄kh, N. mākho, A. mākhi, B. Or. māchi, Bi. māchī, Mth. māchī,mã̄chīmakhī (← H.?), Bhoj. māchī; OAw. mākhī, lakh. māchī ʻ fly ʼ, ma -- mākhī ʻ bee ʼ (mádhu -- ); H. māchīmākhīmakkhī f. ʻ fly ʼ, makkhā m. ʻ large fly, gadfly ʼ; G. mākhmākhī f. ʻ fly ʼ, mākhɔ m. ʻ large fly ʼ; M. mās f. ʻ swarm of flies ʼ, n. ʻ flies in general ʼ, māśī f. ʻ fly ʼ, Ko. māsumāśi; Si. balu -- mäkka, st. -- mäki -- ʻ flea ʼ, mässa, st. mäsi -- ʻ fly ʼ; Md. mehi ʻ fly ʼ.
    *makṣātara -- , *mākṣa -- , mākṣiká -- ; *makṣākiraṇa -- , *makṣācamara -- , *makṣācālana -- , *makṣikākula -- ; *madhumakṣikā -- .
    Addenda: mákṣā -- : S.kcch. makh f. ʻ fly ʼ; WPah.kṭg. mákkhɔmáṅkhɔ m. ʻ fly, large fly ʼ, mákkhi (kc. makhe) f. ʻ fly, bee ʼ, máṅkhi f., J. mākhī, Garh. mākhi. (CDIAL 9696) 
    mākṣiká ʻ pertaining to a bee ʼ MārkP., n. ʻ honey ʼ Suśr. 2. *mākṣa -- . [mákṣā -- ]
    1. WPah.bhad. māċhī ʻ bee ʼ, khaś. mākhī; -- Pk. makkhia -- , macchia -- n. ʻ honey ʼ; Ash. mačimačík ʻ sweet, good ʼ, mačianá ʻ honey ʼ; Wg. mác̣imäc̣ ʻ honey ʼ, Kt. mac̣ī˜, Pr. maṭék, Shum. mac̣hī, Gaw. māc̣hī, Kal.rumb. Kho. mac̣hí, Bshk. mē̃c̣h, Phal. mn/ac̣hīmḗc̣hī, Sh. măc̣hīˊ f., S. L. mākhī f., WPah.bhiḍ. māċhī n., H.mākhī f.
    2. K. mã̄ch, dat. °chas m. ʻ honey ʼ, WPah.bhal. māch n. -- For form and meaning of Paš. māšmōṣ ʻ honey ʼ see NTS ii 265, IIFL iii 3, 126.
    *mākṣakulika -- , *mākṣikakara -- , *mākṣikamadhu -- .Addenda: mākṣika -- : Kho. mac̣hi ʻ honey ʼ BKhoT 70.(CDIAL 9989)*mākṣikakara or *mākṣakara -- ʻ bee ʼ. [Cf. madhu- kara -- m. ŚārṅgP., °kāra -- m. BhP., °kārī -- f. R. <-> mākṣiká -- , kará -- 1]
    Ash. mačarīk°čerīˊk ʻ bee ʼ, Wg. mac̣arīˊk, Kt. mačerík NTS ii 265, mac̣e° Rep1 59, Pr. mučeríkməṣkeríkmuṭkurīˊk, Shum. mã̄c̣hāˊrik, Kal.rumb. mac̣hḗrik, Bshk.māˊc̣ēr, Phal. māc̣hurīˊ f.; Sh.koh. măc̣hāri f. ʻ bee ʼ, gil. (Lor.) m*lc̣hari ʻ bee, wasp, hornet ʼ (in latter meaning poss. < *makṣātara -- ); P. makhīr m. ʻ bee ʼ, kgr. ʻ honey ʼ; -- Gaw. mã̄c̣(h)oṛík with unexpl. --  -- . (CDIAL 9990)  *mākṣikamadhu ʻ honey ʼ. [mākṣiká -- , mádhu -- ]
    P. mākhyō̃ f., mākho m. ʻ honey, honeycomb ʼ.(CDIAL 9991) مچئِي mac̱ẖaʿī, s.f. (6th) A bee in general. Sing. and Pl. سره مچئِي saraʿh-mac̱ẖaʿī, s.f. (6th). Sing. and Pl.; or دنډاره ḏḏanḏḏāraʿh, s.f. (3rd) A hornet, a wasp. Pl. يْ ey. See ډنبره (Pashto) माक्षिक [p= 805,2] mfn. (fr. मक्षिका) coming from or belonging to a bee Ma1rkP. मक्षिकः makṣikḥ मक्षि makṣi (क्षी kṣī) का kāमक्षिकः मक्षि (क्षी) का A fly, bee; भो उपस्थितं नयनमधु संनिहिता मक्षिका च M.2.-Comp.-मलम् wax.  madhu
    मधु a. -मक्षः, -क्षा, -मक्षिका a bee. (Samskritam) )

    माक्षिक [p= 805,2] n. a kind of honey-like mineral substance or pyrites MBh. उपधातुः An inferior metal, semi-metal. They are seven; सप्तोपधातवः स्वर्णं माक्षिकं तारमाक्षिकम् । तुत्थं कांस्यं च रातिश्च सुन्दूरं च शिलाजतु ॥ उपरसः uparasḥउपरसः 1 A secondary mineral, (red chalk, bitumen, माक्षिक, शिलाजित &c).(Samskritam) மாக்கிகம் mākkikam, n. < mākṣika. 1. Bismuth pyrites; நிமிளை. (நாமதீப. 382.) 2. Honey; தேன். (நாமதீப. 410.) செம்புத்தீக்கல் cempu-t-tīkkal
    n. < செம்பு +. Copper pyrites, sulphide of copper and iron; இரும்புஞ்செம்புங்கலந்த உலோகக்கட்டி. Loc.
    Leopard weight. Shahi Tump. H.16.7cm; dia.13.5cm; base dia 6cm; handle on top.  Seashells inlays on frieze. The pair of leopard and ibex is shown twice, separated by stylized flies.

    "The artefact was discovered in a grave, in the Kech valley, in eastern Balochistan. It belongs to the Shahi Tump - Makran civilisation (end of 4th millennium -- beginning of 3rd millennium BCe). Ht. 200 mm. weight: 13.5 kg. The shell has been manufactured by lost-wax foundry of a copper alloy (12.6%b, 2.6%As), then it has been filled up through lead (99.5%) foundry. The shell is engraved with figures of leopards hunting wild goats, made of polished fragments of shellfishes. No identification of the artefact's use has been given. (Scientific team: B. Mille, D. Bourgarit, R. Besenval, Musee Guimet, Paris)." 

    Source: Tump Leopard weight of Shahi Tump (Balochistan), National Museum, Karachi. The artefact was discovered in a grave, in the Kech valley, in Balochistan. ca. 4th millennium BCE. 200 mm. h. 13.5kg wt. The shell has been manufactured by lost-wax foundry of a copper alloy (12.6% Pb, 2.6% As), then it has been filled up through lead (99.5%) foundry. The shell is engraved with figures of leopards hunting wild goats, made of polished fragments of shellfishes. No identification of the artefact's use has been given. (Scientific team: B. Mille, D. Bourgarit, R. Besenval, Musee Guimet, Paris. 

    Meluhha hieroglyphs:
    karaḍa  ‘panther’ Rebus: karaḍa ‘hard alloy’. mlekh 'goat' Rebus: milakkhu 'copper' (Pali)

    The pinnacle of achievement in Bronze Age Revolution relates to the invention of cire perdue technique of metal castings to produce metal alloy sculptures of breath-taking beauty. This achievement is exemplified by Nihal Mishmar artifacts dated to ca. 5th millennium BCE.

    Mehergarh. 2.2 cm dia. 5 mm reference scale. Perhaps coppper alloyed with lead. [quote]Bourgarit and Mille (Bourgarit D., Mille B. 2007. Les premiers objets métalliques ont-ils été fabriqués par des métallurgistes ? L’actualité Chimique . Octobre-Novembre 2007 - n° 312-313:54-60) have  reported the finding (probably in the later still unreported excavation period) of small Chalcolithic “amulets” which they claim to have been produced by the process of Lost Wax. According to them, “The levels of the fifth millennium Chalcolithic at Mehrgarh have delivered a few amulets in shape of a minute wheel, while the technological study showed that they were made by a process of lost wax casting. The ring and the spokes were modelled in wax which was then coated by a refractory mould that was heated to remove the wax. Finally, the molten metal was cast in place of the wax. Metallographic examination confirmed that it was indeed an object obtained by casting (dendrite microstructure). This discovery is quite unique because it is the earliest attestation of this technique in the world.” They then, further on, state that “The development of this new technique of lost wax led to another invention, the development of alloys...Davey (Davey C. 2009.The Early History of Lost-Wax Casting, in J. Mei and Th. Rehren (eds), Metallurgy and Civilisation: Eurasia and Beyond Archetype, pp. 147-154. London: Archetype Publications Ltd.) relies only upon these Mehrgarh findings , as well as on the Nahal Mishmar hoard, to claim that Lost Wax casting began in the Chalcolithic period before 4000 BCE.” [unquote]  (Shlomo Guil)

    Shahi Tump. Kech valley, Makran division, Baluchistan, Pakistan (After Fig. 1 in Thomas et al)

    Benoit Mille calls the bronze stamps of Shahi-Tump 'amulets' (made from copper alloyed with lead). Mehrgarh is well recognised as a centre for early pyrotechnologies.The wax models of the stamps would have   been solid and     may have had a simple core inserted.This is perhaps the first stage in the technology:

    "Small copper-base wheel-shaped “amulets” have been unearthed from the Early Chalcolithic levels at Mehrgarh in Balochistan (Pakistan), dating from the late fifth millennium B.C. Visual and metallographic examinations prove their production by a lost-wax process—the earliest evidence so far for this metalworking technique. Although a gap of more than 500 years exists between these ornaments from Mehrgarh and the later lost-wax casts known in the Indo-Iranian world, the technological and compositional links between these artefacts indicate a similar tradition. We already know that the lost-wax process was commonly used during the second half of the fourth millenium B.C, as exemplified by figurative pinheads and compartmented seals, the latter of which were produced and distributed across the region until the early second millennium B.C. Most, if not all, of these artefacts were made using the lost-wax technique. This intensive practice of lost-wax  lasting certainly stimulated the technical development of the process, allowing the elaboration of more complex and heavier objects. The “Leopards Weight” (Balochistan, late fourth or early third millennium B.C.) is one of the best examples of these developments: the lost-wax copper jacket, with its opened hollow shape, constitutes an extraordinary technical achievement.(Mille, B., Bourgarit, D., and Besenval, R. 2005. 'Metallurgical study of the 'Leopards weight' from Shahi-Tump (Pakistan)', in C. Jarrige and V. Lefevre, eds., South Asian Archaeology 2001, Editions Recherches sur les Civilisations, Paris: 237-44) True hollow casting does not appear until the third millennium B.C., as illustrated by the manufacture of statuettes, including the Nausharo bull figurine (Balochistan, 2300–2100 B.C.), or those from BMAC sites in Central Asia (based upon analyses of items in the Louvre collections). The birth of the lost-wax casting process can also be paralleled with the first emergence of alloying in South Asia, as many of these early lost-wax cast artefacts were made of a copper-lead alloy (c. 10–40 wt% Pb and up to 4 wt% As). Significantly, it seems that the copper-lead alloy was solely dedicated to artefacts made using the lost-wax technique, a choice no doubt driven by the advantageous casting properties of such an alloy." (Mille, Benoit, On the origin of lost-wax casting and alloying in the Indo-Iranian world, in: Lloyd Weeks, 2007, The 2007 Early Iranian metallurgy workshop at the University of Nottingham) 

    B. Mille, R. Besenval, D. Bourgarit, 2004, Early lost-wax casting in Balochistan (Pakistan); the 'Leopards weight' from Shahi-Tump. in: Persiens antike Pracht, Bergbau-Handwerk-Archaologie, T. Stollner, R Slotta, A Vatandoust, A. eds., pp. 274-280. Bochum: Deutsches Bergbau Museum, 2004.

    Mille, B., D. Bourgarit, JF Haquet, R. Besenval, From the 7th to the 2nd millennium BCE in Balochistan (Pakistan): the development of copper metallurgy before and during the Indus Civilisation, South Asian Archaeology, 2001, C. Jarrige & V. Lefevre, eds., Editions Recherches sur les Civilisations, Paris, 2005.)

    "Benoit Mille has drawn attention to copper alloy 'amulets' discovered in the early Chalcolithic (late 5th millennium) levels of Mehrgarh in Baluchistan, Pakistan. He reported that metallographic examination established that the ornaments were cast by the lost-wax method (Mille, B., 2006, 'On the origin of lost-wax casting and alloying in the Indo-Iranian world', in Metallurgy and Civilisation: 6th international conference on the beginnings of the use of metals and alloys, University of Science and Technology, Beijing, BUMA VI). The amulets were made from copper alloyed with lead. Mehrgarh is well recognised as a centre for early pyrotechnologies. The wax models of the amulets would have been solid and may have had a simple core inserted. This is understandably the first stage in the technology. Mille also draws attention to the 'Leopards weights' from Baluchistan, dating to about 3000 BCE which were made using a complex core keyed into the investment mould."(Davey, Christopher J., The early history of lost-wax casting, in: J. Mei and Th. Rehren, eds., Metallurgy and Civilisation: Eurasia and Beyond Archetype, London, 2009, ISBN 1234 5678 9 1011, pp. 147-154; p. 151).

    Remarkable evidences of the excellence achived in cire perdue metal catings are provided by bronze or copper alloy artifacts kept in the British Museum, said to have been acquired from Begram, and dated to ca. 2000 to 1500 BCE.

    Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.Six copper alloy stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.

    Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.

    Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.

    Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.

    Cast, copper alloy, circular, openwork seal or stamp, comprising five wide spokes with projecting rims, radiating from a circular hub also encircled by a flange. The outer rim is mostly missing and two spokes are broken. The back is flat, with the remains of a broken attachment loop in the centre.

    2000BC-1500BC (circa) Copper alloy. Pierced. cast.

    Made in: Afghanistan(Asia,Afghanistan) 

    Found/Acquired: Begram (Asia,Afghanistan,Kabul (province),Begram)

    Curator's comments

    IM.Metal.154: 'Six bronze stamps for impressing designs'.

    C. Fabrègues: Together with 1880.3710.b-c, the object belongs to the large class of compartmented seals. Such partitioned seals are characteristic of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC, also known as the Oxus Civilization), the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture located along the upper Amu Darya (Oxus River) in present-day Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan. The BMAC may have extended as far as southern Afghanistan and Baluchistan, which have also yielded artefacts typical of the culture.

        Six bronze stamps (a-b) circular with pin-wheel design recalling a svastika (c) square with heart-shaped pattern; broken lug on the back (d-f) broken with radiating spokes; one with broken lug.Copper alloy. 

      Cast, copper alloy, circular, openwork seal or stamp, comprising five wide spokes with projecting rims, radiating from a circular hub also encircled by a flange. The outer rim is mostly missing and two spokes are broken. The back is flat, with the remains of a broken attachment loop in the centre.

    1880.3710.a IM.Metal.154: '6 bronze stamps for impressing designs'.
    C. Fabrègues: Together with 1880.3710.b-c, the object belongs to the large class of compartmented seals. Such partitioned seals are characteristic of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC, also known as the Oxus Civilization), the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture located along the upper Amu Darya (Oxus River) in present-day Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan. The BMAC may have extended as far as southern Afghanistan and Baluchistan, which have also yielded artefacts typical of the culture.

    Compartmented seals have been found in large numbers in these areas, both from clandestine diggings in the 1970s (Pottier 1984, Tosi 1988, fig.11, Salvatori 1988) and from scientific excavations. Known sites where examples have been excavated are: Namazga on the banks of the Murghab river (Masson and Sarianidi 1972) Togolok (Sarianidi 1990) and Gonur Tepe in Margiana (Sarianidi 1993, 2002), Dashly Tepe (Masson and Sarianidi 1972) and Mundigak (Casal 1961) in Afghanistan, Dabar Kot, Rana Gundai and Shahi Tump (Amiet 1977, p.117), and the Mehrgarh-Sibri complex (Sarianidi 1993, p.37) in Baluchistan.
    These seals depict geometrical motifs, like 1880.3710.a–c, and also floral motifs, crosses, animals such as goats, snakes and scorpions, birds (primarily eagles with spread wings), human figures and fantastic dragons. 1880.3710.a, c closely resemble some examples from plundered tombs in Bactria, now in the Louvre Museum (Amiet 2002, p.168, fig.13.h, l) and 1880.3710.c an example said to come from southern Bactria, now in a private collection (Salvatori 1988, p.183, fig.49, bottom right).

    Impressions of such seals have been found on pottery. Scholars disagree about their use. It has been suggested that they were used for administrative control of trade and production (Hiebert 1994, p. 380); were related to a well organised trade system which involved transporting and transacting goods over long distances (Salvatori 1988, p.163); were symbols of power and property, or, since a large number have similar images, they may have served as amulets protecting their owners from evil rather than as symbols of ownership (Sarianidi 2002, p.41).

    Compartmented seals have been variously dated to the end of the 3rd/beginning of the 2nd millennium (Amiet 1977, p.119, Salvatori 1988), or to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC (Tosi 1988, p.123, Sarianidi 1993, p.36). According to Amiet (1977, p.117, 1988, pp.166, 169), they originated in Iranian Sistan: at Shar-i-Sokhta their development can be charted throughout the 3rd millennium BC from steatite prototypes and it is only here and at Shahdad, on the other side of the Lut desert in the Kerman region, that they are known to have been used as marks on pottery (Hakemi and Sajjadi 1988, pp.145, 150). Sarianidi considers this a purely local invention (2002, p.41).
    The Begram seals add to the number of examples already available, provide an exact provenance for some varieties and evidence that the Begram plain had interaction with the BMAC.

    Amiet, P. (1977) ‘Bactriane proto-historique’, Syria LIV, pp.89–121.
    Amiet, P. (1988) ‘Antiquities of Bactria and outer Iran in the Louvre collection’, in Ligabue G. and Salvatori, S. eds. Bactria. An Ancient Oasis from the Sands of Afghanistan, Venice, pp.159–80.
    Casal, J.M. (1961) Fouilles de Mundigak, Mémoires de la Délégation archéologique française en Afghanistan XVII, Paris.
    Hakemi, A. and Sajjadi, S.M.S. (1988) ‘Shahdad excavations in the context of the Oasis civilization’, in Ligabue G. and Salvatori, S. eds. Bactria. An Ancient Oasis from the Sands of Afghanistan, Venice, pp.143–53.
    Hiebert F. (1994) ‘Production evidence for the origin of the Oxus Civilization’, Antiquity 68, pp. 372-87.
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    High spatial dynamics-photoluminescence imaging reveals the metallurgy of the earliest lost-wax cast object

    Published online:


    Photoluminescence spectroscopy is a key method to monitor defects in semiconductors from nanophotonics to solar cell systems. Paradoxically, its great sensitivity to small variations of local environment becomes a handicap for heterogeneous systems, such as are encountered in environmental, medical, ancient materials sciences and engineering. Here we demonstrate that a novel full-field photoluminescence imaging approach allows accessing the spatial distribution of crystal defect fluctuations at the crystallite level across centimetre-wide fields of view. This capacity is illustrated in archaeology and material sciences. The coexistence of two hitherto indistinguishable non-stoichiometric cuprous oxide phases is revealed in a 6,000-year-old amulet from Mehrgarh (Baluchistan, Pakistan), identified as the oldest known artefact made by lost-wax casting and providing a better understanding of this fundamental invention. Low-concentration crystal defect fluctuations are readily mapped within ZnO nanowires. High spatial dynamics-photoluminescence imaging holds great promise for the characterization of bulk heterogeneous systems across multiple disciplines.


    For the last 15 years, specific cutting-edge developments have led to considerable improvements in photoluminescence-based analysis. Life sciences and semiconductor physics have been the main drivers strongly influencing instrumental choices1,2. In particular, monitoring target biomolecules with fluorescence imaging has led to major breakthrough in biomedical research3. A critical development has been specific antibody tagging, which provides the specificity and high quantum yield required to map and dynamically follow proteins within tissues at cellular level4. In solid-state physics, high-resolution low-temperature (helium) photoluminescence micro-spectroscopy has become the preferred technique to assess intrinsic electronic properties from individual nanostructures, such as the early state of chemical doping in single-walled carbon nanotubes5. Interpretation of spectral signatures collected at room temperature is challenging as emission bands are thermally broadened, particularly owing to the temperature-dependent phonon-coupling factors. Ultra high analytical sensitivity, great ease of use and emergence of super-resolved imaging have been instrumental to further establish photoluminescence as an essential tool in these fields. These optimizations have been driven by specific constraints; for instance, attaining nanoscale spatial resolutions has triggered near-field scanning at the expense of narrow fields of view and stringent requirements in sample surface roughness and slope. However, if major developments including near-field configuration, specific labelling and cryogenic environment have strongly enhanced the capability of characterizing specific biomolecules and semiconductor nanostructures, they are not directly applicable to imaging much of the very large range of mixed-compositional materials that are heterogeneous at bulk, such as those encountered in environmental, material, earth or planetary sciences, engineering and so on. In these samples, significant areas need to be studied at high spatial resolution to attain a statistically significant representation of materials’ heterogeneity. Even for materials where specific staining would be applicable, it is often not an option owing to the alteration induced on the analyte. Characterization therefore needs to resort to autoluminescence. However, the high contrast in luminescence yields between intrinsic luminophores becomes a limiting factor. In addition, many samples cannot tolerate mechanical stress or chemical transformation induced by large temperature changes when placed in a cryogenic environment6. To tackle the characterization of such materials, the ideal system would allow covering all length scales from micrometric resolution to centimetres, providing wide tunability in excitation energy and detection from the deep ultraviolet to the near infrared to collect autoluminescent signatures, while being efficient at room temperature. Here we demonstrate the great benefit of gigapixel luminescence images obtained from coupling full-field imaging and optimized raster scanning. Versatile characterization of complex low-intensity photoluminescence signatures from crystallite sizes to whole macroscopic objects opens a new possibility for the study of polycrystalline semiconductors and other heterogeneous materials. For these materials, ensuring the best compromise between full tunability in excitation and emission, high spatial dynamics, that is, a high ratio between field of view and lateral resolution, and convenient room-temperature operation, is often more critical than reaching nanometric resolution. This means, for example, that we were able to study fluctuations in crystal defect density at the submicrometric scale while imaging this behaviour over centimetres. The wide tunability of the excitation, owing to the ability to switch between conventional and synchrotron sources, allows selecting an optimized excitation of luminophores above 200 nm.
    We demonstrate this improved capability on two applications. Although use of advanced photoluminescence imaging has never been reported in archaeology, imaging reveals a hidden microstructure across a particularly challenging archaeological artefact. In a fully corroded 6,000-year-old small amulet identified as the earliest lost-wax cast and discovered in Mehrgarh (Baluchistan, Pakistan), one of the most important archaeological sites from the early Neolithic period, the clue to the entire metallurgical process of the earliest lost-wax cast amulet is provided by multiscale photoluminescence imaging. The methodology identifies the coexistence of two hitherto indistinguishable non-stoichiometric cuprous oxide phases and allows visualization of the spatial distribution of a ghost fossilized eutectic system, which reveals the innovative process they developed. All the images were collected on a fully customized synchrotron full-field microscope equipped with multispectral detection. The overall data cube results from the mosaicking of 414 tiles collected in three emission bands at three excitation energies, totalling 1.5 gigapixels. Using the same strategy, we could image structured crystal defects fluctuation within individual ZnO nanowires across populations of hundreds, from their low-yield photoluminescence. The continuous tunability of the synchrotron beam allows excitation down to the shortwave ultraviolet (UVC). We therefore demonstrate the exceptional potential of high spatial dynamics-photoluminescence imaging to study nano- and polycrystalline materials for applications within a variety of fields, ranging from quality control in semiconductor solid-state physics to geophysics, archaeology and environmental sciences.


    The Mehrgarh amulet is the earliest known lost-wax cast object

    To highlight the novelty of our approach, we report the information revealed by high spatial dynamics-photoluminescence imaging on a six-millennia old amulet discovered at Mehrgarh (Baluchistan, Pakistan), one of the most important archaeological sites from the early Neolithic period in the Ancient Near East (Fig. 1 and Supplementary Fig. 1).
    Figure 1: The amulet MR. from Mehrgarh.
    Figure 1
    (a) Map indicating the major Indo-Iranian archaeological sites dated from the seventh to the second millennia BC. Scale bar, 200 km. (b) View of the MR2 archaeological site at Mehrgarh (sector X, Early Chalcolithic, end of period III, 4,500–3,600 BC). (c) View of the front side of the wheel-shaped amulet. Scale bar, 5 mm. (d) Dark-field image of the equatorial section of the amulet.
    The ornament with inventory number MR. was studied in detail (Fig. 1c,d). A visual inspection indicates that its ‘spoked wheel’ shape consists of six small rods lying on a ring of 20 mm diameter. At the centre of the wheel, the spokes were clearly pressed on each other until a junction was obtained by superposition; the base of each spoke was attached to the support ring using the same technique. Both the spokes and the support ring are circular in section. Only a wax-type material, that is, easily malleable and fusible, could have been used to build the corresponding models. This wheel-shaped amulet cannot result from casting in a permanent mould: this shape could not have been withdrawn without breaking the mould, as no plane intercepts jointly the equatorial symmetry planes of the support ring and of the spokes without inducing an undercut. The artefact was therefore cast using a lost-wax process (Supplementary Fig. 2).
    A first campaign of measurements was performed 10 years ago but the wheel-shaped amulet could only be exhaustively described through novel advanced imaging. X-ray radiographs showed that it is corroded from its surface to its core. SEM examination of the equatorial section of the amulet corroborated the complete corrosion of the artefact, yet showed locally a fossilized dendritic structure, confirming a casting process. X-ray microanalyses on small areas highlighted Cu, O and Cl in the dendrites and Cu and O in the interdendritic space. Raman spectra allowed identifying the corrosion compounds: clinoatacamite Cu2(OH)3Cl in the dendrite and cuprous oxide Cu2O in the interdendritic space. However, full corrosion of the metal to cuprous oxide Cu2O precluded any further understanding of the manufacturing and metallurgical processes.

    Macroscale imaging confirms casting in a single piece

    Photoluminescence imaging shows the continuity of the spatial distribution and orientation of the remnant dendritic structure all across the equatorial section (Figs 1d and 2a,bSupplementary Fig. 3). This demonstrates that the artefact was cast in a single piece and does not consist of soldered parts (Supplementary Fig. 4). The lack of any crystal deformation shows that the object was made with very little, if any, subsequent work on the object, such as hammering. In addition, in the amulet three-dimensional morphology, no plane intercepts jointly the equatorial symmetry planes of the support ring and of the spokes without inducing an undercut. These observations therefore designate lost-wax casting as the procedure used for its fabrication. This is in agreement with the history of metallurgy in Baluchistan that shows evidence of an important development of lost-wax casting as demonstrated by finds such as the ‘Leopards Weight’, an extraordinary decorated ovoid ball of copper and lead weighing more than 15 kg dated end of the fourth millennium BC (ref. 7), and by the absence of any tradition of casting intricate shapes using piece-moulds as for instance reported in China8.
    Figure 2: Fossil microstructure of the eutectic revealed in the 6,000-year-old Mehrgarh amulet.
    Figure 2
    Images reveal a typical eutectic morphology. The regular rod-like pattern is observed over millimetres in the interdendritic spaces. (a) Low magnification photoluminescence (PL) image of the wheel under 420–480 nm excitation and 850–1,020 nm bandpass emission (× 40 objective, NA=0.6). Scale bar, 500 μm. (b) Close-up view of the wheel (× 100 objective, projected pixel size: 155 nm, NA=1.25). den, dendrite; eu, rod-like eutectic in the interdendritic space. Scale bar, 100 μm. (c) Dark-field microscopy image of the same area of a. (d) Dark-field microscopy image of the same area of b. Note that the dendritic microstructure is more clearly evidenced in a than in c, and that the eutectic microstructure in b is not visible in d.

    Mesoscale imaging reveals atypical metallographic structure

    Between corroded dendrites, hundreds of micrometres wide interdendritic spaces are observed in photoluminescence imaging. So-called ‘ghost’ dendritic structures are frequently observed in highly corroded ancient copper alloys9. On alloys, an interdendritic structure only occurs in the solidification of a two-phase system with alloying element such as Pb, As or Sn in ancient copper alloys. Extensive investigation by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and Raman spectroscopy reveals no alloying element at the 100 μm length scale: red cuprous oxide Cu2O is ubiquitous in the extended interdendritic spaces, while green clinoatacamite Cu2(OH)3Cl has formed in the corroded dendrites (Figs 2c,d and 3). The chemical composition of the interdendritic spaces is extremely homogeneous throughout the entire artefact (Fig. 3b–d, and Supplementary Fig. 4). Apart from copper and oxygen, only Ag and Fe are identified as traces with SEM-EDS (<0.2 wt%, SEM-EDS). Synchrotron X-ray microfluorescence imaging over a spoke of the artefact detect, in addition, trace levels of Au, Ag and Hg in interdendritic spaces. The composition of the Mehrgarh artefact is therefore atypical, as copper was not alloyed with another metal. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) performed at a submicron scale shows no other phase than cuprous oxide Cu2O within the interdendritic space (Supplementary Fig. 5).
    Figure 3: Mapping of Cu2O species in interdendritic spaces.
    Figure 3
    (a) Image of dendrites and homogeneous interdendritic spaces (SEM-BEI, 10 kV). Scale bar, 300 μm. (b) RGB false colour image (SEM-EDS) of Cu (red), Cl (green) and O (blue) from the area denoted by a rectangle in a. Interdendritic spaces contain only Cu and O as major elements, while Cl is found in the corroded dendrites. Scale bar: 30 μm. (c,d) Identification of Cu2O in interdendritic spaces in the area denoted by a rectangle in b(c) Typical Raman spectrum from a Cu2O region. The spectrum was obtained by averaging 12 scans within the zone imaged in d (using four pixels in three separate areas). (d) RGB false-colour image of Raman vibrational bands characteristic of Cu2O: 632 (red), 416 (green) and 218 cm−1 (blue). Raman spectroscopy mapping does not show any variation in the characteristic vibrational features of Cu2O that would allow evidencing the rod-like eutectic structure. Scale bar, 4 μm.

    Microscale imaging reveals an invisible eutectic microstructure

    The intense photoluminescence signal within the interdendritic spaces appears to result from the presence of an exceptionally well-fossilized microscopic pattern, invisible with the other methods used (SEM, EBSD, white light OM, Raman spectroscopy). The 1 μm lateral resolution allows the clear observation of a rod-like structure of high-yield luminescent Cu2O in the near infrared within a distinctly emitting Cu2O matrix (Fig. 2a,b). Such rod-like pattern, which has been preserved through corrosion, is a direct signature of a eutectic growth. The interdendritic spaces therefore correspond to eutectic areas that were initially composed of Cu0 with rod-like Cu2O, and result from the hypoeutectic solidification of the binary system Cu0–Cu2O in which initial Cu0 dendrites were formed. During long-term corrosion at ambient temperature, the original Cu0 has been oxidized to Cu2O, while the rod-like eutectic Cu2O phase has been preserved. These two distinct cuprous oxides Cu2O observed today are hereafter designated as co-Cu2O (corrosion) and eu-Cu2O (eutectic), respectively. Strikingly, this micrometric structure was completely preserved over centimetres during six millennia (Supplementary Fig. 3). Due to the aggressive role of chlorides in the archaeological soil, dendritic Cu0 was more affected by corrosion than eutectic Cu0 in contact with eu-Cu2O, inducing the progressive formation of Cu2(OH)3Cl in the dendrites11–13.
    Pure Cu2O is a semiconductor whose spectroscopic properties are highly sensitive to intrinsic or extrinsic crystal defects14,15. Although uniquely consisting today of Cu2O (Fig. 3b–d), the different nature of atomic-scale crystal defects within eu-Cu2O and co-Cu2O of the interdendritic spaces allows visualization of the 6,000-year-old metallographic structure. The associated photoluminescence signal of the eu-Cu2O is dominated by emission in the near infrared from copper vacancies (VCu), while the excitonic emission near the band-edge transition at 2.1 eV is quenched16,17. The formation of eu-Cu2O at high temperature (the eutectic reaction occurs at 1,066 °C, Supplementary Note 1), must have led to the creation of a high density of stable VCu.

    The oldest lost-wax cast

    The ability to cover all length scales continuously from crystallite sizes to macroscopic sample dimensions allows deciphering invisible patterns that provided the key for a complete understanding of the manufacturing of the Mehrgarh artefact. From the visual inspection of the artefact, we show that the 20 mm wheel-shape model was prepared in a waxy material: the spokes were brought together by pressing each other at the wheel centre, and the base of each spoke was pressed on the support-ring (Fig. 4aSupplementary Fig. 2). Once made, the wax model was invested into a clay mould. The clay mould was heated upside down to run out the wax; baking was extended at higher temperature to harden the mould and drive out any moisture. Copper was poured in the mould, taking the place of the wax to cast the artefact in a single piece (Fig. 4b). The absence of any alloying element or significant impurity except low traces of Au, Hg and Ag in the amulet points to the use of a very pure copper, possibly native copper, that was melted in air above 1,085 °C. Had arsenic been present, as in most coeval cast alloys known so far18, the eutectic could not have formed, as oxidation of liquid copper is mitigated by the greater affinity of arsenic for oxygen19. The Cu0–Cu2O phase diagram can be exploited to trace the metallurgical sequence. During casting, the furnace atmosphere was inevitably oxidizing, and the copper melt absorbed 0.3 wt% of oxygen (1.1 at.%, Supplementary Fig. 6 and Supplementary Note 1), leading to the observed hypo-eutectic structure. The solidification of the dendrites started at about 1,070–1,074 °C (Fig. 4eSupplementary Fig. 6) while the eutectic formed at 1,066 °C (Fig. 4f). After cooling, the mould was broken and the casting was finished by cold working such as cutting the sprue and polishing (Fig. 4c,g). After burial, slow alteration took place in a sandy clayey soil and in a relatively dry environment (Fig. 4d,hSupplementary Fig. 7). The ghost fossilization of the metallographic structure took several centuries to complete in a comparatively dry environment—at typically about one micrometre per year20,21—leading to a final uniform presence of Cu2O within the eutectic.
    Figure 4: Manufacturing of the amulet from Mehrgarh by the lost-wax casting process.
    Figure 4
    (a) The model was shaped by manufacturing small rods circular in section in a very ductile material that melts at low temperature, such as beeswax. Each wax piece was welded to the other by a slight heating of their extremities. (b) The wax model was invested by a clay mixture to form a mould. The mould was heated to run out the wax, and copper was poured in the mould, taking place of the wax. (c) The final copper artefact was extracted by breaking the mould after cooling. (d) Totally corroded artefact after its 6,000-year burial. (eh) Schematic representation of the solidification process and its evolution at a microscale: (e) 1,085 °C>T>1,066 °C. Dendritic growth of metallic copper (oxygen content in dendritic Cu<0.03% at). (f) Formation of the Cu-Cu2O eutectic at 1,066 °C. The liquid phase solidifies into Cu0 (0.03%at O) and a eu-Cu2O rod-like structure. (g) Final metallurgical structure of crystals of dendritic copper (low in oxygen) surrounded by oxygen saturated Cu0(Cu0.97O0.03) and rod-like Cu2O. (h) Current state of the artefact with the formation of the Cu2Cl(OH)3 phase within dendrites, while Cu0 fully oxidizes to co-Cu2O within the eutectic. eu-Cu2O is fully preserved.


    The discovery of the wheel-shaped amulets from Mehrgarh is an extraordinary evidence of the first attempts to manufacture precision casts by a lost-wax process. This innovation did not replace casting in permanent moulds but engendered a novel lineage of objects, whose complex shapes can only be obtained by this method. We can now state not only that metallurgists invented a totally new technique for casting, but also that control of the metal composition was part of their innovative research. By choosing a very pure copper rather than the usual arsenical copper22, they used a metal whose origin was probably considered to be of higher value and quality. The traces of mercury, silver and gold identified in the corroded amulet form a typical pattern for native copper23. The use of high-purity copper turned out to be a dead end: this did not improve the casting properties of the melt but caused unfamiliar problems to the founder: the melting point is not decreased, whereas the metal castability is severely reduced24. Although the lost-wax process proved to be an irrefutable and permanent success, selecting very pure copper for casting has not been retained as a valid innovation. Looking for improvements, Baluchistan founders soon discovered that the addition of a large proportion of lead to copper (Pb: 10–30 wt%) vastly increased the metal fluidity. During the fourth millennium BC and up to the end of the third millennium BC, this new Cu–Pb alloy was extensively used, and solely dedicated for lost-wax casting7,25. Lost-wax casting and Cu–Pb alloy were therefore widely adopted in the Ancient Near East, and used to manufacture artefacts of the highest symbolic and ceremonial significance. The use of Cu–Pb alloy was only challenged at the beginning of the second millennium BC, when Cu–Sn bronze became widely used within this geographic area owing to its improved metallurgical properties.
    Mehrgarh is a crucible for technological innovation during Neolithic and Chalcolithic times in the ancient South Asia from lithics, pottery, ornaments, clay figurines, glazed materials as well as textiles and early practice of dentistry25,26,27. The emergence of the lost-wax technique at Mehrgarh could have been triggered by several factors. The availability of beeswax is attested in the Near East at this period28. Second, recent works have proposed that lost-wax casting has been adopted more for the central role of beeswax as a ritually important material than for a technical need29. It is also significant that the very first objects made by lost-wax casting did not fully exploit the potential of lost-wax casting. The amulet here in question is practically flat, and arguably a rather similar one could have been cast more easily using an open mould. The wax rods used to shape the metal amulet closely resemble the small clay coils used to model hundreds of clay figurines and amulets discovered in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic levels of Mehrgarh, and possibly associated with a magical and/or religious function. With lost-wax casting, it was now possible to produce these traditional adornment artefacts in metal, by simply working wax in place of clay, maintaining the long-established way in which they were modelled. The specific context at the site (resources, ritual, know-how) nurtured metallurgical invention, while other sites, possibly contemporaneous, such as Nahal Mishmar in the Levant that may have led to independent invention of lost-wax casting30 did not provide the incubating context allowing dissemination to the entire ancient Near East. Lost-wax casting tested for the first time with the Mehrgarh artefact is still the premier technique for art foundry. It is also today the highest precision metal forming technique—under the name ‘investment casting’—in aerospace, aeronautics and biomedicine, for high-performance alloys from steel to titanium31. Today, rapid prototyping technique such as three-dimensional printing offers revolutionary capabilities to design plastic, polymer or wax models used in investment casting32,33. New templating approaches for nanocasting semiconductor structures are among the latest evidence of the fundamental character of the lost-wax concept34,35.
    We demonstrate the potential of gigapixel photoluminescence imaging to study the response of materials at micrometric resolution over centimetre-size fields within desired spectral bands. The exploration of the spatial distribution of the electronic density of state within polycrystalline semiconductor materials is then possible. The proposed approach goes far beyond collection of point or average luminescence signal of great complexity, towards determination of the representative elementary areas in which the measured photoluminescence response in a heterogeneous matrix becomes continuous quantities. Here, high-definition images of crystal defect contrasts provide a direct probe of stoichiometry fluctuations, which in turn record information on the materials’ manufacturing process. This approach can conversely prove to be extremely effective in optimizing the synthesis route of systems that are far less expected to be heterogeneous, such as batches of semiconductor nano-structures. We have therefore extended our proof of concept to a modern synthetic material by mapping and characterization of crystal defects density within a batch of nanowires. High signal-to-noise ratio images of zinc oxide nanowires of 0.5–1 μm in diameter and 14 μm in length deposited on a substrate were collected in nine spectral bands ranging from the deep ultraviolet to the near infrared using an excitation wavelength of 275 nm. The images reveal both unexpected spectral-dependent spatially variable emission from crystal defects along the length of individual nanowires and the statistical variability of the distribution of those defects within the entire population where a limited number of typical nanowire behaviours is observed (Fig. 5). Deep ultraviolet-optimized multispectral collection strategy allows ‘à la carte’ adaptation of integration times to each spectral emission range, to collect extremely low-yield responses that would otherwise go undetected through hyperspectral data collection. The ability to collect emission from single grains or crystallites to centimetres of samples at room temperature with tuneable source over the whole deep ultraviolet to near infrared range therefore provides unprecedented capability to image the intrinsic complexity of heterogeneous materials from nanosciences, engineering, geophysics, archaeology and environmental sciences.
    Figure 5: Spatial distribution of crystal defect and band edge emission of ZnO nanowires.
    Figure 5
    Full-field photoluminescence image of a batch of ZnO nanowires (ultraviolet excitation: 275 nm, 4.50 eV). False colour overlays of signal in the 850–1,020 nm (red), 499–529 nm (green) and 370–410 nm (blue) bands. The image is corrected in each channel from collection time, quantum efficiency of the CCD camera, transmission of emission filters and theoretical point spread function of the objective. Scale bar, 10 μm.


    Photoluminescence imaging

    Photoluminescence micro-imaging was performed on a full-field inverted microscope (Axio Observer Z1 microscope, Zeiss) at the DISCO beamline (SOLEIL synchrotron)36. The microscope is equipped with custom quartz lenses instead of the original glass ones, to ensure transmission of excitation and emission above 80% and allow collecting luminescence images down to 200 nm. The beamline exploits the tunability of the bending magnet source, with an energy bandwidth ΔE/E of 2 × 10−2 at 275 nm (100 grooves per millimetre grating, iHR320 monochromator, Jobin-Yvon, Longjumeau, France).
    In the frame of this work, specific developments were implemented to optimize excitation tunability, high-throughput detection and spatial dynamics required to detect and spatially resolve the multi-scale luminescence pattern in the amulet (Supplementary Fig. 8a,b in comparison with Supplementary Fig. 8c–h). Two sources were coupled to attain the respective excitation ranges 220–400 nm (synchrotron radiation source)36,37 and above 400 nm (halogen lamp coupled to an interference bandpass filter). In the deep ultraviolet (synchrotron) range, energies greater than 1.2 eV are blocked using a cold finger of thickness 7.5 mm that intercepts a vertical angle of 1.5 mrad in the middle of the beam. As a result, the spatial distribution of the beam at the exit of the monochromator is composed of two longitudinal sheets. To obtain a homogeneous field of illumination down to the deep ultraviolet, an optical set-up using micro-array lenses and a rotating diffuser was developed and positioned ahead of the microscope.
    High-grade optical elements were used all along the optical path to minimize all optical distortions, particularly field and chromatic aberrations, and allow image stitching. A × 40 / NA 0.6 and × 100 / NA 1.25 glycerine Zeiss ultrafluar apochromatic immersion objectives were used to excite and collect images from ultraviolet-C to near infrared ranges. High spatial dynamic images were gathered by collecting mosaics of tiles with an XY motorized stage (PI) allowing to image areas of hundreds of micron side. For instance, Fig. 2a is made of overlapping tiles, each of 1.4 × 104 μm2 (774 × 759 pixels), in a 414 images matrix that creates a final 4.0 mm2 image (14,888 × 11,415 pixels). The projected pixel size of 155 nm is 2.4 times smaller than the theoretical diffraction limit of 374 nm (=935 nm/2/1.25) at 935 nm. Measurement of the optical point spread function across an 400 nm CdS particle shows that spatial resolution is 1 μm (Supplementary Fig. 9). During the optimization procedure of our set-up, the experiment was replicated four times on the amulet. For each measurement, the eutectic pattern could clearly be visualized in the images collected in the near infrared (Supplementary Fig. 10). In addition, all the tiles collected showed a similar reproducible pattern.
    High-throughput spectral detection from UVC up to near infrared was achieved by using a multi-spectral detection using high-transmission interferential bandpass filters positioned in front of a back-illuminated 1,024 × 1,024 pixels CCD (PIXIS:1024BUV, Princeton Instrument 13 × 13 μm2 pixel size)38. The images shown in this work were collected using 370–410, 499–529 and 850–1,020 nm interference bandpass filters (transmission >90%). The collection time is adjusted for each set of excitation/emission conditions to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio (up to a few minutes per tile).

    Optical microscopy

    Dark-field microscopy was performed using a Zeiss Axio Imager M2m microscope coupled to an AxioCam ICc5 camera, with × 5 and × 20 objectives (C2RMF). The images collected on an XY motorized stage were mosaicked to cover a large field of view.

    Raman spectroscopy

    Raman spectroscopy was performed at an excitation of 532 nm and on-sample power of 2 mW with a × 100 objective (SOLEIL, SMIS). The spectra were collected using an integration time of 2 s, accumulation of two spectra per point and a 25 μm spectrograph aperture slit.

    Scanning electron microscopy

    SEM and EDS were performed on a Zeiss Supra 55 VP coupled to a Bruker EDS system (Quantax 800, 30 mm2 silicon drift detector (SDD); IPANEMA).

    Electron backscatter diffraction

    EBSD was conducted on a JSM 7100F apparatus equipped with an Oxford AztecHKL and NordlysNano with 4 FSD detector (Centre de Microcaractérisation Raimond Castaing, Toulouse, France). For this analysis, the surface was prepared using vibratory polishing (Buehler VibroMet 2, ChemoMET polishing cloth) with 50 nm colloid alumina suspension. A carbon coating a few nanometres was applied (Leica EMACE600). The experiments were performed at 20 kV (70° tilt) and data were processed using the Channel 5 Tango software.

    Sample preparation

    The wheel-shaped amulet inventory number MR. was collected in 1985 at the MR2 site of Mehrgarh during the excavations of the ‘Mission Archéologique de l’Indus’ (dir. Jean-François Jarrige) in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan. A section was prepared in the equatorial plane, embedded in epoxy resin (Epofix, Struers) and polished with diamond pastes up to 0.25 μm grain size (C2RMF).

    Preparation of the ZnO nanowires

    ZnO nanowires were grown at 850 °C by metal–organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) on a (0001) sapphire substrate using diethylzinc and nitrous oxide as zinc and oxygen precursors (GEMaC, Versailles, France).

    Data availability

    The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

    Additional information

    How to cite this article: Thoury, M. et al. High spatial dynamics-photoluminescence imaging reveals the metallurgy of the earliest lost-wax cast object. Nat. Commun. 7, 13356 doi: 10.1038/ncomms13356 (2016).
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    This article is dedicated to the memory of Jean-François Jarrige (1940–2014), former director of the musée Guimet in Paris, who discovered Mehrgarh in 1974 and directed the ‘Mission Archéologique de l’Indus’ from 1975 to 2014. Claudie Josse is warmly acknowledged for providing EBSD results (Centre de microcaractérisation Raimond Castaing, CNRS UMS 3623, Toulouse, France). We acknowledge SOLEIL for provision of synchrotron radiation under projects no 20120848 and 20130920. We thank Christophe Sandt at the SMIS beamline for access to Raman microscopy (SOLEIL synchrotron), Pierre Gueriau for complementary synchrotron XRF mapping (IPANEMA) and Frédéric Jamme (SOLEIL synchrotron) for providing support to generate the point spread function (PSF). We thank Pierre Galtier, Alain Lusson and Vincent Sallet (GEMaC UMR8635) for preparing and providing the ZnO nanowires. We thank Sebastian Schoeder (synchrotron SOLEIL) for the representation of the amulet in three dimensions. We especially thank Catherine Jarrige, Gonzague Quivron, Aurore Didier and Jérôme Haquet who provided complementary information about the metal artefacts from Mehrgarh. We thank Barbara Berrie, Catherine Perlès, Denis Gratias and Uwe Bergmann for critical re-reading of the manuscript.

    Author information

    Author notes

      • J-F Jarrige


    1. IPANEMA, CNRS, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, USR 3461, Université Paris-Saclay, 91128 Gif-sur-Yvette, France

      • M. Thoury
      • T. Séverin-Fabiani
      •  & L. Bertrand
    2. Synchrotron SOLEIL, 91128 Gif-sur-Yvette, France

      • M. Thoury
      • T. Séverin-Fabiani
      • M. Réfrégiers
      •  & L. Bertrand
    3. C2RMF, Palais du Louvre, 75001 Paris, France

      • B. Mille
    4. PréTech, CNRS, Université Paris Nanterre, UMR 7055, 92023 Nanterre, France

      • B. Mille
    5. TRACES, CNRS, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Université Toulouse—Jean Jaurès, UMR 5608, 31100 Toulouse, France

      • L. Robbiola
    6. ArScAn, CNRS, Université Paris Nanterre, Université Paris 1, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, UMR 7041, 92023 Nanterre, France

      • J-F Jarrige
    7. Institut de France, 23 quai de Conti, 75006 Paris, France

      • J-F Jarrige


    M.T. and L.B. designed the experiments. L.B., M.T. and T.S.-F. coordinated and drafted the manuscript. T.S.-F., M.T., L.B., B.M. and L.R. wrote the manuscript and prepared the figures. B.M. selected the artefact and provided the archaeometallurgical interpretation. L.R. provided the corrosion interpretation. The experiments and data analysis were performed at the DISCO beamline at synchrotron SOLEIL (M.T., T.S.-F., L.B., M.R.), SEM-EDS (L.R., B.M.), Raman (M.T., L.R.), EBSD (L.R.) and OM (B.M., T.S.-F.). J.-F.J. provided the archaeological information.

    Competing interests

    The authors declare no competing financial interests.

    Corresponding author

    Correspondence to M. Thoury.

    Supplementary information

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      Supplementary Figures 1-10, Supplementary Note 1, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary References
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    Tine Bagh's article (2006) includes a painting with Egyptian hieroglyphs during the reign of Tuthmosis III (1479 to 1425 BCE). The study is the beginning of a survey of Egyptian reliefs and paintings for pictorial representations of imported vessels.

    Surprise is that the painting also includes Harappa (Indus) Script hieroglyphs.


    'Tributes' and the earliest pictorial representations of foreign oil and wine vessels by Tine Bagh Published in 2006 in Editor: Ernst Czerny, Timelines: Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak, Vol. II, 2006, p. 9-23 the article by Tine Bagh is a revelation.

    TT100 Rekhmira (Tuthmosis III) (After DAVIES 1943, 29, n. 60; pl. XXIII, top register. Davies, N.De G., 1943, The tomb of Rekh-mi-re© at Thebes, New York).

    "Images of ‘tributes’ being brought forward including animal hides, metal, exotic animals, etc., as well as oil and wine, are well known from the 18th Dynasty... One tribute scene, however, is worth mentioning here since Sahura’s procession of bears together with long slender jugs mentioned above is found in a fresh version in the tomb of the vizier Rekhmira TT10083 during the reign of Tuthmosis III. As part of a larger scene we recognise three tribute bearers (Fig. 8): one with an amphora and a quiver, one with a copper ingot and
    the slender reddish brown jug and the third dragging a bear in a leash and carrying two elephant tusks behind whom an baby elephant is brought forward by a fourth person whose head is not preserved. The person with copper ingot and jug has long white hair whereas the two others have short yellowish hair; all are bearded and wearing long white robes. Altogether they represent part of the tributes from Syria while the person in the middle carrying copper ingot and jug may actually show the products of Cyprus with their goods coming to Egypt via the Syrian coast."(opcit., pp. 18-19).
    Kneeling statue of Thutmose III. Bronze: height 13.6 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1995.21.Kneeling statue of Thutmose III. Bronze: height 13.6 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1995.21."Thutmose III (sometimes read as Thutmosis or Tuthmosis IIIThothmes in older history works, and meaning "Thoth is born") was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty.After the death of Hatshepsut, and Thutmosis III's later rise to pharaoh of the kingdom, he created the largest empire Egypt had ever seen...Officially, Thutmose III ruled Egypt for almost fifty-four years, and his reign is usually dated from April 24, 1479 BCE to March 11, 1425 BCE.
    Image result for mohenjo-daro boat tabletThe ox-hide shaped ingot carried by one of the tribute-bearers leads scholars to identify the product as from Cyprus. It has been noted that ox-hide ingot appears on a Mohenjo-daro prism tablet and hence, the shape of copper/tin ingot shaped like an ox-hide dates back to Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu) civilization, ca. 2500 BCE which is the mature period of the civilization producing script inscriptions. See:
    This Mohenjo-daro prism tablet signifies on Side A a pair of palm trees flanking two oxhide ingots. It has been suggested that the hieroglyphs on all three sides of the tablet are read rebus to signify a metalwork catalogue of cargo carried on the boat (bagala?). Side A; tALa 'palm trees' rebus: DhALa 'large ingot (oxhide)' karaDa 'aquatic bird' rebus: karaDa 'hard alloy' Side B: ayo, aya 'fish' rebus: aya 'iron' ayas 'metal' PLUS karA 'crocodile' rebus: khAr 'blacksmith', thus aya-kara 'metalsmith' Side C: from r.  Part 1: karaNika 'spread legs' rebus: karNI 'supercargo' kanka, karNaka 'rim of jar' rebus: karNI 'supercargo, script, engraver' dula 'pair' rebus: dul 'metal casting' muh 'ingot' khANDA 'notch' rebus:kaNDa 'implements' Part 2: kanka, karNaka 'rim of jar' reebus: karNI 'supecargo, script, engrave' ayo, aya 'fish' PLUS khambhaṛā 'fish-fin' rebus: kammaTa 'mint' kolom 'three' rebus: kolimi 'smithy.forge' muh 'ingot' PLUS kolmo 'rice plant' rebus: kolimi 'smithy/forge'. Thus, the inscription on the three sides signifies mint, metalwork, hard alloys,metalcastings ingots, metal implements from smithy/forge. Hieroglyph: tamar 'palm' (Hebrew). Rebus: tamba 'copper' (Santali) tamra id .(Samskrtam)See:
    As Tine Bagh notes "the person with copper ingot and jug has long white hair whereas the two others have short yellowish hair; all are bearded and wearing long white robes." I suggest that the bearers of an elephant tusk leading a bear on a leash and another bearer close to an elephant are Meluhha merchants of hard alloys, tin and ferrite ores. 

     ढाळ ḍhāḷa'cast oxhide ingots'.ranku'liquid measure' rebus: ranku 'tin'. (The jug carried by the tribute-bearer with oxhide ingot on his shoulder is a phonetic determinant of 'tin' ore.)

     Ta. karaṭi Indian black bear, sloth bear. Ma. karaṭi bear. Ko. karḍy id. To. ka·ṛ id.; ka·ṛïk wïḍ black (lit. which is like a bear); (Su. 1977, p. 1). Ka.karaḍi, kaḍḍi bearKoḍ. karaḍi id. Tu. karaḍi id. Te. (B.) karaṭi id. (DEDR 1263) Rebus: करडा (p. 137) [ karaḍā ] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c.

    dāntā 'tooth, tusk' rebus: dhāˊtu'ore of red colour' (perhaps, ferrite ore) karabha 'elephant' rebus: karba'iron'.

    Thus the tribute bearers are seen to be carrying oxhide ingots of tin/copper, hard alloys and ferrite ores.

    S. Kalyanaraman
    Sarasvati Research Center
    November 16, 2016

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    DRDO's combat drone Rustom-2 flies for the first time

    TNN | Nov 16, 2016, 11.00 AM IST
    DRDO's combat drone Rustom-2 flies for the first time
    BENGALURU: After a considerable delay, Rustom-2, India's long endurance Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) finally completed its first flight early on Tuesday in Challakere, about 200km from Bengaluru.

    The UCAV, which is in the medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) category of vehicles, sources in the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) which developed the vehicle, said "met all the expectations" during the first flight.

    First scheduled in late 2013, the three-year delay of the first flight had only added to the timeline, which is punctuated by other delays during development- even as the Indian armed forces are increasingly looking outside the country for combat drones with deals already struck with Israeli firms.

    Rustom-2, the developers, however, claim will be an aircraft unlike any other UAV in the ranks of our forces. It has a wingspan of more than 20m and an endurance of 24-30 hours.

    Equipped with contemporary technology, it will need a runway to takeoff and land unlike traditional UAVs, which makes it more trustworthy. Compared to Rustom-I, the advanced version will have enhanced aerodynamic configuration, digital flight control and navigation system.

    "Besides, it will also have automatic takeoff and landing capabilities, this version of Rustom is comparable to some of the best in the world," sources in ADE said.

    While the ADE hopes to bag orders from all the three wings of the armed forces— army, navy and the air force— its ability to stick to deadlines and also give a good quality platform will be key. The Indian army, which had inducted DRDO's earlier UAV Nishanth, had to face several crashes and is contemplating junking it with no fresh induction planned.

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    The following essay (which will be published in five parts) is taken from the introduction to the book Indian Conception of Values by Prof. M Hiriyanna (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publications, 1975).

    Value in General

    The place which values occupy in life is so important that no philosopher, whose theme is the whole of experience, can omit to take account of them. But this does not mean that they will always receive from him the amount of attention which their importance demands. Thus in modern philosophy, ever since the time of Descartes and Locke, the theory of knowledge has usurped the place which is due to values; and it is only in recent times that, as a consequence of the total divorce of philosophy from life to which that practice naturally led, there has been a gradual shifting of interest from it to the problem of value. One of the distinguishing features of Indian philosophy is that, throughout its long history, it has consistently given the foremost place to values. In some early works, this problem receives almost exclusive attention. For example, the Upanishads speak more often of the final goal of life, the means to its attainment and the inner peace and joy which it signifies than of ‘being’ or of ‘knowing’, as such[1]. The recognition of its importance by Indian thinkers does not mean that they treat of value as the subject-matter of only a particular branch of philosophy; rather it inspires their investigation as a whole, and its influence is seen in every department of philosophic thought. Indian philosophy may, on this account, be described as essentially a philosophy of values. The purpose of the present volume is to give an idea of the values of life as conceived in ancient India. But, as in the case of the other problems investigated in Indian philosophy, there is here also much diversity of opinion. We shall therefore devote this introductory chapter to a consideration of the subject in a general way, not taking into account the distinctions in respect of it that are found in the several systems.


    The meaning of value can be best indicated by contrasting it with that of another, viz. fact. The immediate result of all knowledge is to make us aware of facts. If we look about us we perceive some object or other. That is direct observation. We may also come to know of things indirectly, as when we hear a distant sound and connect it with its possible source. The object seen directly or known indirectly is what we mean here by a ‘fact’. It need not signify a present existence, as these examples may suggest; it may be what existed in the past or what will exist in the future. Ordinarily speaking, it is not even necessary that it should be a matter of certainty; it is enough if it appears, for the moment, to be so. All that is required is that it should not be known at the time to be unreal[2]. A knowledge of such facts may suffice, by itself, to satisfy our theoretic curiosity; but in everyday life it leads, as a rule, to action whose aim is the positive one of securing something we like or the negative one of avoiding something we dislike[3]. Either way, knowledge lights up for us the path of action which we pursue in order that some desire of ours may be satisfied. It is this satisfaction of desire or the achievement of ends, as the result of knowing facts, that is to be understood by ‘value’. The Sanskrit word used for it means ‘the object of liking’ (इष्ट)and the term ‘value’ may therefore be defined as ‘that which is desired’. The opposite of value or ‘disvalue’, as it is described, may, in contrast, be taken as ‘that which is shunned or avoided’ (द्विष्ट). For the sake of convenience in treatment, we shall hereafter generally refer to values only; but what is said of them will, with appropriate changes, apply to disvalues also.
    There is one point in the above conception of value to which it is necessary to draw particular attention. It has reality only in its fulfilment, and needs therefore to be actualised before it can become truly a value[4]. This is the reason why we characterised it as the satisfaction of desire or the achievement of ends. If facts are apprehended, values are realised. It is only as realisable, or on the supposition that they are so, that we call them values. To state the same otherwise, an object of final interest does not usually exist already, but has to be brought into being by deliberate effort (साध्य)[5]. It is a ‘to be’ which is ‘not yet’. Existent objects are, no doubt, necessary for its realisation, but they merely serve as means thereto[6]. Since values are thus of the future, the question of their present existence does not arise. Unlike facts, they are not given (सिद्ध). But we have, instead, another question in respect of them, viz. whether they are feasible or possible of achievement (कृति-सिद्ध). Ordinarily speaking, the possibility of their achievement need not be a matter of certitude. As in the case of facts, it is enough if they do not, for the moment, appear to be unreal, so in the case of values, it is enough if they are not definitely known, at the time, to be impossible of achievement.
    It will seem from what has been said, so far, that the cognition of a fact leads to the realisation of value, through arousing a desire for it. Strictly, however, the arousal of desire is mediated by an idea of the value to be realised.[7] That is, the cognition of a fact suggests the idea of some value, whose general nature we shall soon consider; and it is that idea which, through awakening a desire, leads in due course to its realisation. There is a point of much importance concerning this idea of value to which it is necessary to refer. It is always associated with a feeling of pleasure, owing to the past experience of the valuing subject; and it is that feeling which awakens a desire for realising the value in question[8]. That is, we should not only have an idea of value to seek it, but also prize it. In fact, a value is entitled to be called so only when it is thus prized or appreciated by us[9]. Thus while value, according to our definition is the object or content of desire[10], it is grounded in feeling[11]. It begins with an idea of value which, being tinged with a feeling of pleasure, arouses a desire for it; and that desire by prompting, in its turn, appropriate activity culminates in the realisation of value. Hence all the three aspects of the mind—cognition, feeling, and will—are involved in the process of value-realisation and they operate in succession[12]. But this should not be taken to mean that the mind is understood here as working compartmentally[13]. It is, of course, the whole mind that functions at every instant; only the Indian view signifies that its different aspects function predominantly at different stages of the process of value-realisation. (Note that, so far, we have not stated that value is pleasure.)
    We should add that it is not always the end (इष्ट) aimed at which is termed a ‘value’; the means to it (इष्ट-साधना) also are often described so. But, as subserving ends other than themselves, they can only be ‘instrumental’, and not ‘intrinsic’, values like them. That is to say, though the term ‘value’ is primarily applied to the ends that are sought, often the means to their attainment are also secondarily called so[14], such transfers in the use of words being not at all uncommon. Thus wealth is an instrumental value, while the fulfilment of any of life’s needs to which it leads, is an intrinsic one. But the distinction between the two, except in some cases like a surgical operation which is desired solely for the result it is expected to produce, is not a hard and fast distinction, for the one may come to be conceived as the other by a change in the attitude of the valuing subject. Thus money, which is commonly taken to be a means, becomes an end in itself in the eyes of the miser. Contrariwise, the satisfaction of hunger, which is at first looked upon as of intrinsic worth, may come to be valued as a means to bodily health or power.
    It is clear from the above that the notions of fact and value are closely connected with each other. If the idea of a value presupposes the knowledge of some fact, almost every fact, of which we become aware, is associated in our mind with some significance to life. Though thus interconnected, each remains distinct as shown, for example, by the circumstance that their appeal is to different sides of our mind, viz. the cognitive and the conative respectively. If a fact is given and is to be apprehended, a value is appreciated and requires to be achieved. Hence it is not right to attempt, as some do, to reduce either to the other. Modern pragmatism, for instance, tries to explain facts in terms of value saying that, when analysed, they all turn out to be values; and pure science does the reverse by virtually[15] eliminating values and retaining only facts. The truth is that both the conceptions are needed for a proper explanation of the world as we know it and the life we lead in it.
    1 Cf. Nyayasutra Bhasya on 1.1.1, where the Upanishads are contrasted with the Nyaya in this respect.
    2 The exact relation of value to existence will be considered later.
    3 Cf. Bergson’s Creative Evolution, p. 46; ‘Speculation is a luxury, while action is a necessity’.
    4 प्राक् भोक्तृ-सम्बन्धात् फलत्वानुपपत्तेः – Shankara on Brahmasutra 3.2.38
    5 There are exceptions to this. For example, where a value has already been realised, effort may be required only to preserve it. Cf. the idea of योगक्षेम as used, e.g. in Gita, 2.45 and 9.22.
    6 भूतं भव्याय उपदिश्यते – Shabara on Jaimini, 9.1.6. An existent fact may itself be the bearer of value, but we need not dwell on such details at this stage.
    7 See Siddhanta Muktavali (Nirnaya Sagar Press, 1916) p. 467: फलेच्छां प्रति फल-ज्ञानं करणं.
    8 सुखात् रागः – Kanada Sutra, 6.2.10. Cf. Yogasutra 2.7-8. This is also the significance of value as defined in Siddhanta Muktavali p. 467: यत् ज्ञातं सत् स्व-वृत्तितया इष्यते. I.e. value is that (or anything similar) which, having been experienced by oneself, in the past, is now sought (to be realised again). Cf. Vedanta Paribhasa (Venkateswara Press) viii.
    9 If we describe this appreciation as a value-judgment it is clear that it is not the same as a judgment in the purely logical sense. To say, e.g. that sugar is sweet is not the same as saying ‘I like sugar’.
    10 Since the content of desire is always the same as the result to which it leads, value may also be represented as the product of desire.
    11 We have represented feeling as preceding desire. This is a much-discussed point in modern value philosophy. According to Indian thinkers, who believe in the doctrine of transmigration, they form a beginningless series (प्रवाहतः अनादि), in the sense in which the seed and plant are-the seed producing the plant and the plant, in its turn, producing the seed. (Cf. Nyayasutra 3.1.25). But this is only to speak chronologically; psychologically, feeling is prior to desire.
    12 जानाति, इच्छति, यतते, (Cf. Nyaya-varttika-tika, p. 41) See for a description of this process Nyaya-bindu-tika (Ed. Peterson) p. 5 and Panchapadika-vivarana (Vizianagaram Series), p. 190. Cf Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5.
    13 It may be so according to some like Nyaya-Vaisheshika. But we have here systems like the Vedanta which look upon अन्तः-कारण as one.
    14 Vedanta Paribhasa viii. Similarly, it is not merely what is shunned (द्विष्ट) that is called a disvalue, but also the means to it (द्विष्ट-साधना).
    15 Strictly science does not deny values; it only assumes a neutral attitude towards them.
    M Hiriyanna value Indian Conception of Values: Fact and Value hiriyanna

    M Hiriyanna

    Prof. Mysore Hiriyanna (1871-1950) was a renowned philosopher, author, and teacher. The corpus of his writings form some of the finest works about Indian philosophy in English. 'The Quest After Perfection,''Art Experience,''Indian Conception of Values,''The Mission of Philosophy' and 'Popular Essays in Indian Philosophy' are some of his prominent works.

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    Printing of Rs 100 Notes Stalled as Focus on Rs 2,000 and Rs 500

    Today, 3 hours ago

    The Reserve Bank of India’s preoccupation with printing the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes has almost completely stopped the printing of Rs 100 notes – at this point in time, the most sought after currency – leaving the country staring at a potentially huge financial and economic crisis.
    Highly placed RBI sources revealed to The Quint that while the central bank’s printing presses in Salboni (in West Midnapore, Bengal) and Mysore are each printing 20 million new Rs 2,000 notes per day, the Nashik (Maharashtra) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) mints, which are run by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, are printing the new Rs 500 notes. But the production rate of the new Rs 500 notes is “far, far less” than the Rs 2,000 notes, sources disclosed.
    This is because the printing of the new Rs 500 notes began at least a month after the first Rs 2,000 notes began to be printed at the Salboni and Mysore presses in October, the sources said. The Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Ltd (BRBNML), a wholly owned RBI subsidiary, operates the Salboni and Mysore printing presses.
    The bank note press at Dewas in Madhya Pradesh (Photo Courtesy:
    The bank note press at Dewas in Madhya Pradesh (Photo Courtesy:

    Potentially Alarming Situation

    What is more alarming, however, is that Rs 100 currency notes, which are in very high demand across the country, “are not being printed” at any of the four presses “since the entire attention” is on churning out the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes. The government has said that the situation will stabilise in 50 days, although economists are not so optimistic, with Saumitra Chaudhari claiming that it could take till at least May 2017, if not beyond this time, before the currency shortage is overcome.
    RBI sources said that the printing presses in Salboni and Mysore received the samples for Rs 2,000 notes in August. Approval for printing was granted in September and it was only in October that printing took off in earnest at Salboni and Mysore, which takes care of about 65 percent of the total printing of currency notes.
    After negotiations between BRBNL authorities and the labour unions, it was decided to operate three instead of two shifts to “meet the emergency requirements”.
    Sources said that was it to maintain total secrecy, employees at the printing presses were only told that a new series of notes would be printed. New series of high value notes are printed every 10 years.
      Representational image of a currency note press. (Photo: Reuters)
    Representational image of a currency note press. (Photo: Reuters)

    Slow Rate of Printing

    The Nashik and Dewas presses, operated by the SPMCIL under the finance ministry, print between 32-35 percent of notes. “The Nashik and Dewas presses print at a lower rate,” sources said.
    “There will hopefully be no crisis in the supply of Rs 2,000 notes, but the rate of printing of the new Rs 500 notes is lesser. Consequently, this will hit supply. The potential economic and financial the country is staring at is mind-numbing,” the sources said.
    Highly placed RBI sources revealed to The Quint that before the Modi government’s fiat to withdraw Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, the total number of these currency notes in circulation was 2,204 crore (1,578 Rs 500 and 633 Rs 1,000 notes) pieces. This number rose to 2,327 pieces (1,658 of Rs 500 and 668 of Rs 1,000 notes) by October 2016 when there was an increase in the total volume of production of these two currency denominations.
      People queue up in front of an ATM  in New Delhi on  15 November, 2016. (Photo: IANS)
    People queue up in front of an ATM in New Delhi on 15 November, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

    ‘Future Economic Contraction’

    There have been reports since the government surprisingly withdrew the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, citing the aim of eradicating black money and hitting terrorism, that there would be an “inevitable short-term economic contraction”. The situation is compounded by the potentially severe shortage of Rs 100 notes for which “there is now an additional requirement”, sources pointed out.
    They said that it “is surprising that Rs 2,000 notes are being printed at much larger volume compared to the Rs 500 notes, when the former suits businesses while the latter is more commonly used by the public at large.”

    Non-Functional ATMs

    Meanwhile, The Quint has learnt that more than 40,000 ATMs have become non-functional in many parts of the country after an American company, ACI Worldwide, recently cancelled the software licence of Financial Software and Systems Ltd (FSSL), which runs the software programmes of these ATMs that service at least 30 leading banks.
    When contacted, ACI Worldwide executives in India did not deny that their company had cancelled the licence that FSSL that helped FSSL operate the ATMs. Responding to The Quint’s questionnaire, ACI Worldwide’s South Asia General Manager Shekhar Ganapathy said in an email that “ACI stands behind the legal notice issued in August 2016 to FSS on account of certain contractual disputes which arose out of an existing agreement. The public notice issued by ACI last week reflects the same stance.”
    While Ganapathy said he had “no idea” how many ATMs have been hit, he added that “ ACI’s public notice to an ex-distributor in India has absolutely no connection with the recent ATM issues throughout the country,” although “following the RBI’s announcement last week, there has been a widely reported shortage of cash in ATMs in India.”
    When contacted, an FSSL source said that ACI Worldwide’s action amounted to “creating panic” and have “chosen this moment to rake up the matter and are looking at another partner”.

    21 ways to check if your new Rs 2000, Rs 500 notes are real

    • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
    •  |  
    • Updated: Nov 11, 2016 14:46 IST
    People are trying to swap their old notes for smaller bills and for new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes, which are being rushed into circulation and are designed to be harder to forge. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
    People are queuing up at banks across the country to exchange their demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes .
    While the move disrupted the daily lives of hundreds of millions of Indians, economists and some businesses have welcomed it as a vital step towards broadening the formal economy and improving tax compliance.
    People are trying to swap their old notes for smaller bills and for new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes, which are being rushed into circulation and are designed to be harder to forge.
    The Rs 2,000 notes, which are being introduced for the first time, will be of magenta colour with Mangalyaan imprinted on the reverse side. The higher value currency notes will have other designs, geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour scheme both on the obverse and reverse.
    The new denomination has motif of the Mangalayan on the reverse, depicting the country’s first venture in interplanetary space.
    The Rs 500 banknotes will be stone grey in colour with a predominant new theme of the Indian heritage site Red Fort.
    Here’s a look at the distinguishing features of the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes that banks have started dispensing
     1  See through register with denominational numeral
     2  Latent image with denominational numeral
     3  Denominational numeral in Devnagari
     4  Portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre
     5  Micro letters ‘RBI’ and Rs ‘2000’ on the left side of the banknote
     6  Windowed security thread with inscriptions ‘Bharat’ in Devanagari, RBI and numeral with colour shift. Colour of the thread changes from green to blue when the note is tilted
     7  Guarantee Clause, Governor’s signature with Promise Clause and RBI emblem towards the right
     8  Mahatma Gandhi portrait and electrotype watermarks
     9  Number panel with numerals growing from small to big on the top left side and bottom right side
     10  Denominational numeral with rupee symbol, the numeral in colour changing ink (green to blue) on bottom right
     11  Ashoka Pillar emblem on the right
     12  Horizontal rectangle with Rs 2000 in raised print on the right
     13  Seven angular bleed lines on the left and right side in raised print
     14  Year of printing of the note on the left
     15  Swachh Bharat logo with slogan
     16  Language panel towards the centre
     17  Motif of Mangalyaan
     18  Denomination numeral in Devnagari on right
     19  Circle with Rs 500 in raised print on the right
     20  Five angular bleed lines on left and right side in raised print
     21  Red Fort: an image of the Indian heritage site with Indian flag

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    Ghost voter so yesterday, ghost 'noter' circulates

    Calcutta, Nov. 16: If the ink has spread from the ballot to the banking finger, so have the ghosts.
    More than a week after demonetisation was announced, queues outside many banks in Calcutta have grown longer, often featuring unperturbed faces. The cash exchange is allowed in all scheduled commercial banks, regardless of whether a person is an account holder or not.
    A man shows his inked finger and exchanged currency notes in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
    Many of those in the queues are from far-off places, travelling close to two hours on local trains to reach banks in the city to exchange notes. In Bhowanipore, Lake Gardens, Ballygunge and Kalighat, banks barely 100 metres from one another have been equally crowded.
    Several senior officers said they suspected that a considerable number were "ghosts" standing in for others - a phenomenon Bengal has been familiar with during elections.
    However, unlike elections, when a fake voter steals someone's vote without his or her knowledge, the "fake noter" is being placed in the queue by those who want to hide either their faces or their unaccounted-for wealth, according to several sources.
    Conversations with several people in the queues and banks as well as local traders, residents and police officers have thrown up the following portrait of the "ghost noter".
    What are they standing for?
    For every Rs 4,000 exchanged, a ghost noter gets Rs 400 or Rs 500. The rate remains the same even when the banks run short of cash late in the day and are ready to exchange only up to Rs 2,000.
    Unlike someone who has had to skip work to queue up, the paid queue members are usually patient. They are not wasting their time but earning. Not that they are always patient, though. At a bank in Lake Gardens, some were exposed when they tried to jump the queue. Challenged by the others, some admitted they were on a job.
    "We were stunned. One of them said they had to queue outside another bank after this. Hence, the hurry," said Narendra Pai, a medicine store owner.
    On average, it takes two to three hours to exchange notes at a bank. Two successful exchange missions means Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 a day.
    In this pocket of Lake Gardens, there are four bank branches within 500 metres.
    Many were moving from one bank to another - an unusual practice in a residential area. Another telling sign: none of the "floating" cash-seekers was depositing or withdrawing money.
    A UBI official said: "The queue on the first day (November 10) when banks opened after demonetisation was understandable. We expected long queues on the second day too. But they have remained as long or have grown longer."
    Exasperated, officials at one bank opened the rear door exclusively for their account holders.
    This does not mean that all those who reach the city from elsewhere are ghosts. Several genuine customers too venture out of their neighbourhoods to widen their choice. One man told this newspaper two days ago that he had travelled 10km from Baguiati to Chowringhee for an ATM.
    Modus operandi
    Unusually for a residential neighbourhood like Lake Gardens, most of the ghosts had arrived by train. None worked there and all said the banks in their areas were even more crowded, so they had to travel. Near Purna cinema at Bhowanipore, a group had come from 12km away.
    At Lake Gardens, many went to a photocopying shop. "Every morning in the past few days, they have taken multiple copies of the same identity card," said the shop owner.
    Some of them go to another shop and get the copies laminated. After lamination, the photocopies look like passable identity cards. "My day starts with these people. All of them are outsiders. Some come with Aadhar cards and get them photocopied," the photocopy shopkeeper added.
    Local plight
    Residents across the city said their neighbourhoods were getting too crowded. "People start queuing from 8 in the morning. If a grocery is located beside a bank, its customers face difficulties," a Jodhpur Park resident said.
    He added that more than half the faces in the queues seemed new, and these people asked for directions to other banks. As sometimes seen at election booths, the unfamiliar faces have been outnumbering the rest.
    Who will keep tabs?
    A bank employee said that verification had been rigorous in the initial days but it was not possible to maintain the same standard hour after hour, day after day. Bank personnel are used to verifying signatures but the sheer volume since the demonetisation appears to be overwhelming them.
    "If someone produces the voter card of a dead person, there's no way I can know it," a bank employee said. He said the private bank had a software that could detect whether a person exchanging old notes had done so in any other branch of the same bank. "But not if it was done in another bank."
    A branch head with a private bank in south Calcutta had narrated his experience of ghost voters to this newspaper on November 10. "One of them had a voter card that featured what looked like a photocopied photograph. It was apparent that these people had been sent by someone else to get the notes exchanged. All left without uttering a word of protest."
    Six days on, as the queues kept lengthening, these checks had become lax. A bank employee asked: "Even if the photograph looks blurred and the face does not match, who'd want to get into an exchange when 200 people are waiting?"
    Indelible ink
    The indelible ink used to catch ghost voters is now being used to deter ghost noters.
    But what is child's play for a ghost voter should not bother the ghost noter. A veteran ghost voter spoke in detail how to beat the ink using little other than household items. The formula is not exactly a secret like the Coca-Cola recipe, but no law-abiding citizen would want to know it.

    0 0


    The decipherment of Harappa (Indus) Script is a milestone event in civilizational historical studies of Eurasia.

    The surprising conclusion from the decipherment using the Meluhha cipher is that the entire Harappa Script Corpora are metalwork catalogues used in data archiving of metalwork and exchange transactions with neighbouring civilizational areas.

    What is the significance of this decipherment?

    In terms of contributions to studies of writing systems, the decipherment demonstrates the continuum of the cipher across space and time -- in an extensive area stretching from Hanoi to Haifa along the Maritime Tin Route and in time-horizons stretching from ca. 3300 BCE (stratigraphical date of the first Harappa Script potsherd discovered in Harappa by Harvard HARP team) to the historical peiods of Pre-Mauryan ca. 6th cent. BCE attested by Sohgaura copper plate and later centuries of the historical periods evidenced by tens of thousands of punch-marked and cast coins signified by Harappa Script hieroglyphs such as elephant, fishes, crocodile holding a fish in its jaws, scorpion, tree-in-railing, yupa-in-railing, svastika, zebu, tiger. 

    (Note: Haifa (khmer region) evidences Dong Son and Karen bronze drums with cire perdue engravings of Harappa Script hieroglyphs and so do three tin ingots discovered in a Haifa shipwreck evidence the Harappa Script hieroglyphs as signifiers of pure tin mineral ore ingots.)

    The continuum of the cipher is attested in a cultural sphere too. A yajnakunda discovered in Binjor on the banks of Vedic River Sarasvati also had an octagonal yupa together with a seal inscribed with Harappa Script hieroglyphs. Octagonal yupa is mentioned as aṣṭāśri in Taittiriya Samhita and Satapatha Brahmana as a proclamation of the performance of Soma Samsthā yāga. During historical periods, 19 such octagonal yupa have been found (in Rajasthan, Allahabad and even in East Borneo -- Mulavarman inscription) together with inscriptions documenting performance of one or more types of  Soma Samsthā yāga. This continuum is of phenomenal significance attesting to the presence of cultural framework in the Veda tradition as early as ca. 2500 BCE in Binjor (this date is consistent with the mature phase of the civilization with thousands of seals with Harappa Script inscriptions).

    Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization is present on over 2000 archaeological sites (over 80% of the total 2600 sites) attested in the river basin of Vedic River. With this Binjor discovery of a Harappa Script seal the cultural framework of the civilization is established to be based on the Veda tradition.

    Decipherment has also proved to be an aide memoire to document archaeometallrugically the contributions made by Bharatam Janam to the Tin-Bronze revolution from ca 5th millennium BCE. Two metallurgical advances were significant: use of tin and zinc as alloying minerals which alloyed with copper to create bronze and brass artifacts respectively. The alloying techniques constituted a breakthrough hardening the soft ore of copper (cuprite and other pyrite ores) to produce hard implements, tools, pots and pans, sickles, ploughshares and even weapons.

    Decipherment is also consistent with the archaeometallurgical advances to produce exquisite art objects such as the dancing girl or deepam-lady of Mohenjo-daro. The competence of artisans displayed by Harappa Script inscriptions on metal (copper plates, copper-alloy weapons) is unparalleled in the history of writing systems anywhere on the globe. The same technique of writing on metal continued to be used during historical periods to record land-grants etc. by rulers of janapada-s in Bharat.

    Equally significant is the substantial evidence for the existence of Bharata sprachbund during the days of Sarasvati-Sindhu (Harappa) civilization from ca. 3300 BCE to 1900 BCE. Many Meluhha rebus readings of Harappa Script hieroglyphs point to the intense cultural interactions among language groups identified as Indo-Aryan, Dravidian or Munda (Austro-Asiatic). The explanation of a sprachbund in Bharat has been endorsed in linguistic studies such as those of FBJ Kuiper, Colin Masica, MB Emeneau. The decipherment dates the roots of this sprachbund resulting from cultural interactions among Bharatam Janam to ca. 4th millennium BCE.

    As a contribution to the studies of writing systems as milestones in the advancement of knowledge systems, the decipherment links art and writing. The Harappa Script is essentially pictographic and the structure is logo-graphic with the underlying base of spoken forms of Meluhha (cognate mleccha, attested in ancient texts of Manu, Bharata, Vatsyayana, Patanjali). 

    The pictographic nature of the script is also evidenced on cultural artifacts such as the friezes of a spinner lady of Susa or the frieze of a procession in Mari (Sumer). Unique hypertext formations in Harappa Script result in artistic extravaganza of makara or composite animal constructions to signify hieroglyph components.

    Many hieroglyphs of the script such as svastika or zebu are viewed as sacred symbols in cultural traditions of Bharat. This is explained by the rebus reading of kole.l 'smithy, forge' as kole.l'temple'. Since the weltanschauung of Bharatam Janam treated their workplaces of smithy.forge as temples, the artifacts produced from such workspots are also considered sacred, exemplified by the tradition of utsava-bera (processions of symbols as sacred icons) during days of temple festivities. An abiding cultural orthography is the depiction of Ganesa, the leader of the gana (dwarfs) with a human body, elephant's head and trunk and a mūṣa 'mouse' as vāhana (vehicle). A vivid portrayal occurs in Candi-Sukuh temple adorned by a monumental 182 cm. tall Sivalinga. A sculptural frieze in this temple narrates the smithy work involving Bhima as smith and Arjuna working on the bellow together with the dance step of Ganesa. This dance-step is a hieroglyph rendering of Meluhha words: karabha 'elephant' rebus: karba 'iron' me 'dance' (Remo); మెట్టు [meṭṭu] meṭṭu. [Tel.] v. a. &n. To step, walk, tread. అడుగుపెట్టు (Telugu)  Rebus: mẽṛhẽt, meḍ 'iron' (Santali.Mu.Ho.) Note: Hieroglyph mūṣa rebus: mūṣa  'crucible'. mūṣa m., °ṣā -- f. ʻ rat, mouse ʼ Pañcat., mūṣaka -- m. Yājñ., muṣ° lex. 2. mūˊṣika -- m. ʻ rat, mouse ʼ Gaut. [mūˊṣ -- ](CDIAL 10258) Rebus: mūṣā f. ʻ crucible ʼ MārkP. A. muhi ʻ crucible ʼ, B. muchi, Or. musā, H. G. M. mūs f., Si. musā.(CDIAL 10262) மூசை mūcai , n. < mūṣā. Colloq. . Crucible; மண்ணாலான குகை. 2. Earthen mould for casting molten metal; உலோகங்களை உருக்கி வார்ப்பதற்கான மட்கரு.மூட்டங்கட்டு-தல் mūṭṭaṅ-kaṭṭu-, v. < மூட்டம் +. intr. 1. To make a pit or cavity to serve as a crucible for melting metals; உலோகமுருக்கக் குழியுண்டாக்குதல். (W.)Image result for candi sukuh siva linga
    Forge scene stele.  Forging of a keris or kris (the iconic Javanese dagger) and other weapons. The blade of the keris represents the khaNDa. Fire is a purifier, so the blade being forged is also symbolic of the purification process central theme of the consecration of gangga sudhi specified in the inscription on the 1.82 m. tall, 5 ft. dia.  lingga hieroglyph, the deity of Candi Sukuh. 

    In conclusion, it may be noted that decipherment of Harappa (Indus) Script corpora is a contribution to metallurgical studies of ancient civilizations and a contribution to linguistic studies of a sprachbund which may explain the essential cultural convergences of speakers of many language families governed by the wealth-creation and trade imperatives across time and space. Such studies may also help in defining the formation and evolution of many present-day languages of Bharat and also Eurasia.

    S. Kalyanaraman
    Sarasvati Research Center
    November 17, 2016

    0 0  Published on Nov 13, 2016
    Archäologen entdecken einen überraschenden Fund an der Zürcherstrasse in Windisch: Ein römischer Kochtopf, der vollkommen mit Öllampen gefüllt ist. Ein Restaurator der Kantonsarchäologie legt die Lampen in Kleinstarbeit im Labor frei.

    Archaeologists excavating the site of a Roman fort and civilian settlement in the northern Swiss city of Windisch have unearthed an unusual hoard: a cooking pot filled with lamps, each containing a single bronze coin. What is now the Zürcherstrasse, one of Windisch’s busiest streets, in the first century A.D. was the defensive wall of the Roman legionary camp of Vindonissa. It was established in the province of Germania Superior around 15 A.D. and was occupied by various legions until 101 A.D., after which it was integrated into the civilian settlement. The ancient town was inhabited through the 5th century.

    The Aargau Canton archaeology department has been excavating the site south of Zürcherstrasse where a multi-use development with underground garage will be constructed, since 2013. They’ve discovered the remains of defensive earthworks, well-preserved stone buildings, fireplaces, a latrine pit and a deep brick shaft.

    It was in the brick shaft that archaeologists found the pot, the kind of quotidian vessel the legionaries at Vindonissa would have used to cook their food, entirely intact and in exceptionally good condition. Inside were 22 oil lamps. They too were implements used by regular people in their daily life. They were filled with oil and lit at the spout end. Produced in enormous quantities and sold all over the empire, the lamps were often decorated on the top side with designs which would glow in the light. The lamps collected inside the pot are decorated with a variety of motifs: a flower, the moon goddess Luna, a winged Cupid, a defeated gladiator, a lion, a peacock, even an erotic scene.

    An as, a bronze coin that was lowest value currency in the early Roman Empire, was placed inside each lamp. Almost all of the coins date to 66 and 67 A.D., a range that fits the style of the cooking pot and lamps. Because asses were of such low value, their inclusion in this odd assemblage is likely symbolic.

    “What astonished us was the quantity and the combination of coins and lamps,” said Aargau cantonal archaeologist Georg Matter.

    “We suspect this is a ritual burial,” he said, but stressed that was only speculation since there haven’t been any other comparable discoveries.

    The pot also contained charred fragments of animal bones, ruling it out as a urn for human remains.

    “The intentions behind this burial are puzzling at the moment,” added Matter.

    The pot has been fully excavated in the laboratory, the lamps catalogued and photographed. Next on the schedule is examination of the coins by numismatic experts and the analysis of the bone fragments.

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 at 11:56 PM and is filed under Ancient. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


    Thank You! Your posts are always the best.

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 13:45:26
    Thank you for the kind words. :thanks:

     Comment by hh
    2016-11-16 06:03:42
    Could the coin have been put there simply for the oil to be used?

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 13:47:11
    You mean to raise the oil level to preserve fuel? I could see that being done if the lamps were found in their natural habitat (in a room in a building, say), but it doesn’t seem likely when they were empty and all packed together in a pot.

     Comment by dearieme
    2016-11-16 07:15:45
    “one of Windisch’s busiest streets”: hm. Windisch has a population of 7,361.

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 13:48:05
    Hey, one of the most insanely dangerously trafficked streets I’ve been on is in a town of 5,000.

     Comment by Karlsdottir
    2016-11-16 08:29:39
    Interesting and charming little lamps. I wonder how long the oil would last. I’d guess they were used several at a time.
    Great site (yours and the dig :notworthy: ) and photos, revealing scale and detail.

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 13:55:54
    Oh yes, a typical household would have many such lamps, multiple ones in every room. In fact, these types of lamps, much like roof tiles, are useful archaeological markers of quality of life in the Roman Empire. Mass-produced consumer goods made it possible for people of low and modest income to afford creature comforts like light and non-leaky shelter. When the number of these artifacts plummet in the archaeological record, it’s an indication of a drastic decline in prosperity.
    Thank you!

     Comment by First Boston Swiss
    2016-11-16 08:56:28
    Without any doubt, either a piece of equipment for a ‘HBV’ – a Helvetian Bank Vault- with individual safes for ancient individual account holders from abroad – or, this being Switzerland, a ‘Hotel’.
    Have you noticed that there is what appears to be another pot underneath, to be seen in the ‘in situ’ picture, maybe the one for the lamp oil itself, or for food with charred bones ending up in the wrong pot ?

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 13:59:27
    Ha! That reminds of Asterix in Switzerland, Obelix hiding in a vault holding a round of cheese with holes in it. :giggle:
    I hadn’t noticed. I checked the picture again but I can’t see a second pot, just a lamp that’s fallen out at the top of the pot. Which part of the picture should I focus on?

     Comment by JKFraser
    2016-11-16 12:07:32
    I love that not only do you have the most interesting history articles, but you also keep the history of the web alive with a circa 1996 website :D

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 13:59:54
    Hey! This is clearly a circa 2000 website! ;)

     Comment by Eric Morse
    2016-11-16 12:24:36
    So here’s an interesting speculation: the coins (‘pennies’) are all 66-67 mintage. The Year of Three Emperors was 69. The legion in garrison, XXI Rapax, supported Vitellius’s march on Rome. Best guess: these are offerings by some of the families for their men’s safe return. It would be hard to document a claim like that, but it would surprise me if there hadn’t been a little shrine somewhere nearby.

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 14:00:27
    That is an intriguing speculation. I like it!

     Comment by debitor serf
    2016-11-16 12:42:00
    69 was the year of four emperors…

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 14:01:24
    That it was. I’m always glad when I’m not the only one with the typos. :yes:

     Comment by mary spiers
    2016-11-16 12:47:35
    I really wish you still had share buttons for facebook etc. I always got positive responses when I shared your posts. I find your post reassuring, life goes on no matter what.

     Comment by livius drusus
    2016-11-16 14:17:57
    I had to disable that plug-in after an upgrade broke the site. I meant to reinstall it when a new version was released, but totally forgot. I’ve done so now. :)
    I know just what you mean, btw. Boethius wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while imprisoned for treason against King Theodoric. For me, it’s history that’s the consolation.

     Comment by First Boston Swiss
    2016-11-16 14:55:10
    Here the hint to the “2nd pot” scenario that I saw:
    The ‘in situ’ situation is what appears to be reddish line of “roof tiles”, to the left of the “tiles” the pot with the lamps and the one fallen out of it,
    ..and ..
    to the right of those “tiles”, deep down in the hole, there is, underneath of the “nail” atop, a “whitish structure”, maybe a stone, and underneath of that, the “top rim” of something round, seemingly, a bigger lamp -or- a 2nd pot.

     Comment by DAVID PAKTER
    2016-11-16 16:18:36
    Perhaps many lamps included a coin for the purpose of covering / snuffing out, the flame or regulating its size/brightness as the user so desired.

     Comment by Kalyanaraman
    2016-11-16 21:42:15
    The coin PLUS 22 lamps are indicative of celebration of Lakshmi (wealth) festival as is the tradion in Bharat (India) even today to start new year’s accounts from the Deepavai day (festival of lights).
    It is likely that the practitioners of this Hindu tradition were in Rome and moved to Switzerland.

    Unusual Roman Pot Discovered in Switzerland
    Tuesday, November 15, 2016
    Switzerland Roman pot
    (Aargau Canton Archaeology Department)
    AARGAU, SWITZERLAND—The Local, Switzerland, reports that a cooking pot filled with oil lamps has been uncovered at the site of Vindonissa, a first-century A.D. Roman legion camp. Each of the 22 lamps was decorated with an image of the moon goddess Luna, a gladiator, a lion, a peacock, or an erotic scene, and each lamp contained a bronze coin dating to A.D. 66-67. The pot also contained charred pieces of animal bone. “What astonished us was the quantity and the combination of coins and lamps,” said cantonal archaeologist Georg Matter. “The intentions behind this burial are puzzling at the moment.” For more, go to “Switzerland Everlasting.”

    Switzerland Everlasting
    Monday, October 05, 2015 
    While neutrality has long been a hallmark of Swiss identity, that wasn’t always the case. In 1315, Duke Leopold of Hapsburg set out to consolidate his power within the Holy Roman Empire and marched into areas controlled by the Swiss Confederacy—then a local alliance. According to historical sources, the more experienced, better-equipped Hapsburg knights were ambushed by Swiss soldiers on the shores of Lake Aegeri. “At Morgarten, as the location is called, the foreign forces were stopped and, as the lore goes, badly decimated,” says Stefan Hochuli, an archaeologist with the Swiss Department of the Interior. Hochuli and officials from the cantons of Zug and Schwyz have found evidence, including knives, arrows, and a spur, that may pinpoint the location of the Battle of Morgarten. The decisive, brutal victory is considered a foundational moment for Switzerland, as it strengthened the Everlasting League, the nucleus of the confederacy.
    Trenches Switzerland Morgarten Artifacts
    (Courtesy Stefan Hochuli, Zug Office of Monuments and Archaeology)
    Metal artifacts, Morgarten excavationMysterious Roman remains uncovered in Swiss town
    The pot was filled with 22 oil lamps, each containing a coin. Photo: Photo: Aargau canton archeology department

    Mysterious Roman remains uncovered in Swiss town

    Published: 15 Nov 2016 10:06 GMT+01:00

    The pot was found under a street in the commune as part of an archaeological examination prior to the construction of a big new development comprising apartment blocks and commercial buildings, Aargau cantonal authorities said in a statement on Monday.
    It is thought to have been buried almost 2,000 years ago, dating it from the time of the Roman legion camp Vindonissa, which was located near where Windisch is now.
    Previous archaeological digs in the area have unearthed evidence of human habitation dating from the Roman era, including the foundations of buildings.
    But this discovery is the most exciting – and mysterious – yet, feel archaeologists.
    The pot is typical of the cooking pots used by soldiers stationed at Vindonissa, however the purpose of its contents – 22 oil lamps, each containing a carefully placed coin – is rather more mysterious.
    Each of the lamps is decorated with an image, including the moon goddess Luna, a gladiator, a lion, a peacock and an erotic scene.
    The bronze coins are low-value, indicating a symbolic gesture, and date from AD66-67.

    Each lamp depicted an image. Photo: Aargau canton archeology department
    “What astonished us was the quantity and the combination of coins and lamps,” said Aargau cantonal archaeologist Georg Matter.
    “We suspect this is a ritual burial,” he said, but stressed that was only speculation since there haven’t been any other comparable discoveries.
    The pot also contained charred fragments of animal bones, ruling it out as a urn for human remains.
    “The intentions behind this burial are puzzling at the moment,” added Matter.
    Vindonissa was a Roman military camp until 101AD, after which time the area continued to be settled by civilians.

    The pot was found under a street in Windisch. Photo: Aargau canton archeology department


    Oil lamps and coins, grouped together in a terracotta pot, were discovered in Windisch, common in canton aargau where stood the roman camp of Vindonissa. Archaeologists believe that the container in which these objects were has been buried 2000 years ago.
    The discovery, in the very centre of the village of Windisch, has left archaeologists baffled. The clay pot was definitely used for cooking.
    But its content is mysterious: twenty-two oil lamps are assembled, each bearing in its centre a coin, said on Monday the Department of archaeology aargau in a press release. “This combination of lamps and coins is amazing,” said the cantonal archaeologist Georg Matter.
    It is assumed that this is a burial ritual. But nothing is sure: “This remains speculation, because no other discovery is comparable has not been made,” added the cantonal archaeologist.
    Animal bones
    The hypothesis of a funerary urn has been mentioned in a first time, because of the presence of oil lamps, which are often associated. The clay pot also contained the bones charred.
    However, an expertise has been able to establish that these remains were of animals, which has helped to exclude the hypothesis of the funeral urn. In addition, they do not contain in general a large number of oil lamps.
    The lamps discovered in Windisch were decorated: we can see the goddess Luna, a gladiator, a lion, a peacock and even a scene erotic. The coins in bronze are aces, or a quarter of a sestertius. So these parts are of lesser value, which reinforces the hypothesis of a symbolic gesture. They are dated to the years 66 to 67 after Christ.
    Excavations before a construction site
    The discovery was made in a street in Windisch, where apartments and offices are to be built. The archaeological excavationshave so far revealed traces of habitation dating back to roman times, such as walls, foundations, and traces of fireplaces. The terracotta pot is up to this discovery the more remarkable.
    The roman camp of Vindonissa is located in the area: a roman road connected the camp to the place of excavations.
    Below, a video (in German), proposed by the Canton of Aargau on this discovery:

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    A cooking pot filled with oil lamps has been uncovered at the site of Windisch (Vindonissa), a first-century A.D. Roman legion camp. Each of the 22 lamps was decorated with a variety of motifs: a flower, an image of the moon goddess Luna, a winged Cupid, a gladiator, a lion, a peacock, or an erotic scene, and each lamp contained a bronze coin dating to C.E. 66-67. 

    The identifiable pictographs which are Harappa (Indus) Script hieroglyphs are read rebus as related to a mint-worker's, a metalsmith's catalogue/repertoire:

    maraka'peacock' Rebus: marakaka loha 'copper alloy, calcining metal'.
     kuṭhi 'tree' Rebus: kuṭhi 'smelter'
     करडी [ karaḍī ] f (See करडई) Safflower  Rebus: करड [ karaḍa ] 'hard alloy'.
    kola 'tiger' rebus: kol 'blacksmith, working in iron'

    The winged cupid signifies a boy PLUS wing -- both hieroglyphs are read rebus in Meluhha :

     *kuḍa1 ʻ boy, son ʼ, °ḍī ʻ girl, daughter ʼ. [Prob. ← Mu. (Sant. Muṇḍari koṛa ʻ boy ʼ, kuṛi ʻ girl ʼ, Ho koakui, Kūrkū kōnkōnjē); or ← Drav. (Tam. kur̤a ʻ young ʼ, Kan. koḍa ʻ youth ʼ) T. Burrow BSOAS xii 373. Prob. separate from RV. kŕ̊tā -- ʻ girl ʼ H. W. Bailey TPS 1955, 65. -- Cf. kuḍáti ʻ acts like a child ʼ Dhātup.] NiDoc. kuḍ'aǵa ʻ boy ʼ, kuḍ'i ʻ girl ʼ; Ash. kūˊṛə ʻ child, foetus ʼ, istrimalī -- kuṛäˊ ʻ girl ʼ; Kt. kŕūkuŕuk ʻ young of animals ʼ; Pr. kyúdotdot;ru ʻ young of animals, child ʼ, kyurú ʻ boy ʼ, kurīˊ ʻ colt, calf ʼ(CDIAL 3245) Rebus: kol 'blacsmith, working in iron' PLUS khambh 'wing' (Punjabi) Allograph: Garh. khambu ʻ pillar ʼ.(CDIAL 13640) rebus: kammaṭa 'mint, coiner, coinage'.

    Source:  Published on Nov 13, 2016
    Archäologen entdecken einen überraschenden Fund an der Zürcherstrasse in Windisch: Ein römischer Kochtopf, der vollkommen mit Öllampen gefüllt ist. Ein Restaurator der Kantonsarchäologie legt die Lampen in Kleinstarbeit im Labor frei.


    For details of Meluhha language and Harappa Script see:Harappa Script & Language (Amazon,2016)

    S. Kalyanaraman
    Sarasvati Research Center
    November 17, 2016

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    IT order sinks payoffs case

    New Delhi, Jan. 11: The Supreme Court today refused to direct an investigation into the alleged payoffs to Narendra Modi by two corporate houses, accepting the Income Tax Settlement Commission order of November 11, 2016, that there was no material for prosecution against the Sahara Group.
    "Courts have to be on guard while ordering investigation against important constitutional functionaries. In the absence of some cogent material, the documents on the basis of which investigation is sought is itself inadmissible as evidence," a bench of Justices Arun Misra and Amitav Roy said.
    "In such case, the process of law can be abused very easily to achieve ulterior motive goals and no democracy can survive in case investigations are set in motion on the basis of flimsy (material) without there being any cogent material or resources."
    The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan seeking an SIT probe into the alleged payoffs made to Modi, while he was Gujarat chief minister, and several political functionaries by the Aditya Birla Group and the Sahara Group.
    The details of the alleged payoffs were reportedly found in the computers of top company executives during CBI and income-tax raids in 2013 and 2014.
    Bhushan assailed the Income Tax Settlement Commission order, claiming it had ignored incriminating material seized during the raids.
    But attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi cited apex court judgments to argue that no probe could be ordered on mere "loose papers" and irrelevant material.
    Rohatgi submitted that in terms of Section 34 of the Indian Evidence Act, entries made in books of account, even if in electronic form, were alone not sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability.
    The court said that in the case of Sahara, the PIL had mostly relied on entries made in Excel sheets seized from the company's premises that were not part of the books of accounts.
    At one point, Justice Roy wondered whether a document seized from an employee's personal computer could be linked to the company's documents.
    The apex court, after hearing elaborate arguments, said: "We are of the considered opinion no case is made out on basis of Sahara/Birla documents to direct investigation against any person.
    "Materials placed are not good enough to direct investigation or registration of case.... The applications are meritless and dismissed," Justice Misra said.
    In a statement later, Bhushan said the apex court's refusal to order a probe against political bigwigs was "very unfortunate and is a setback to the whole campaign against corruption and for probity in public life.

    0 0 This News Report of PC's speech in Jan Vedna Sammelan exposes the hoax of PC as an economist.

    He claims that GDP has lost Rs.1.5 l crores. How does he know? Did he count up the fake currency in circulation on Nov 8 from Malda, the FCC, Fake Currency Capital of the country?

    Aha, so PC says the fake currency is no longer legal tender. He ain't no tax expert, either. He does not realize that 'cashless' economy NaMo talks about is to bring into Tax reckoning all the legal tender in circulation.

    NaMo has achieved this with the currency swap which started on Nov 8 and has been successfully proseuted.Kudos to RBI and all Bank staff for this superbly executed mission, unprecedented in financial history.

    What is PC's problem if the moneys are brought into reckoning by the Income Tax Department?

    Now, is NaMo's moment. He should bring in moneys from tax havens into the country's financial system.

    PC should give one good reason why an Indian citizen or Indian Corporate should hold accounts in a foreign bank, in a foreign country. The country's banking system can handle all such moneys, Restitute illicit wealth of PEPs. (PC should know the acronym: Politically Exposed Persons, recognized as a category by UN and also in a law of Swiss Federation).

    So, NaMo, carry the mission to the next logical steps, Ban Participatory Notes which are, in fact, fake currency. Nationalise all moneys of Bharatiyas held in foreign accounts.

    S. Kalyanaraman
    Sarasvati Research Centre

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