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A homage to Hindu civilization.

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    Army, PLA in a tug of war over Doklam Plateau
    Joy Joseph June 30, 2017
    A file photo of army soldiers near the India-China trade route at Nathu-La, north of Gangtok .   | Photo Credit: RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI

    The area has huge strategic significance for both India and China

    The Doklam Plateau, north of the tri-junction between Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet by Indian claim, is not just a disputed area, but has huge strategic significance for both India and China.
    The few square kilometres of the plateau, which one officer familiar with the terrain calls “more a ledge than anything else” because of its steep mountains, is witnessing a tense stand-off between detachments of the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for the past few days. There have been several incidents that have culminated in the present situation, according to sources.

    Bunkers destroyed

    In recent days, the Chinese are believed to have destroyed temporary bunkers of the Indian Army, while the Indian Army is accused of objecting to a road construction by the Chinese side on the disputed area. Finally, there was also an incident of jostling among the soldiers of the two sides.
     
    Wedged between Bhutan, India and China are few areas of dispute — together accounting for just over 750 square kilometres. Among the disputed areas is Doklam (also called Donglang in China) , which is just about 90 square kilometres where the present dispute is taking pace.
    For Chinese to reach the China-Bhutan border posts, Doklam provides an easy way to construct their road, and they have been trying to do so and India has consistently objected to it. Not very far from Doklam is the strategically important Chumbi Valley in the Tibetan region, to which Chinese are now planning to expand their rail connectivity.

    Bigger buffer

    The disputed area also provides, according to India perspective, a bigger buffer to its sensitive Chicken’s Neck, or the Siliguri Corridor, which is an extremely narrow stretch of land that connects the north-eastern region to the rest of India. From the Chumbi Valley it is just a little over 100 kilometres away.
    “Maybe 20 years down the line, once we develop our border infrastructure at par with the Chinese, we can be more welcoming of better connectivity and be relaxed about the dispute. Not for now,” an ex-army officer with extensive knowledge of the India-China dispute said.

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    "Interestingly one of the popular academic volumes recently published in France is called 'Mais où sont passés les Indo-Européens?' by Jean-Paul Demoule which demonstrates quite scientifically that the story of Indo-Europeans moving about Eurasia and bringing their civilization from Europe to India is in fact  untenable."-- Come Carpentier

    There is an axiom in IT: Garbage in, Garbage out. This seems to have happened with M.B. Richards et al trying to use genetics to justify fraudulent Aryan Invasion Theory. Read on Premendra Priyadarshi's review of the unreliable and false article of M.B. Richards et al.

    S. Kalyanaraman
    Sarasvati Research Center

    https://aryaninvasionmyth.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/mistakes-committed-in-silva-martin-and-others-2017-bmc-evolutionary-biology/
    The DNA data which Silva et al provide us in their article, are mostly wrong and confabulated. The whole conclusion rests over the foundation of huge lies. Alternatively they could be result of poor home-work . These have vitiated the conclusion of the article.
    Let us first see some example of the misrepresentation of data in the article regarding the Mitochondrial DNAs:
    • Silva et al say: “….analysis of several “non-autochthonous” N lineages present in South Asia (H2b, H7b, H13, H15a, H29, HV, I1, J1b, J1d, K1a, K2a, N1a, R0a, R1a, R2, T1a, T2, U1, U7, V2a, W and X2—all subclades of West Eurasian haplogroups),…” (page 3 of pdf)
    In this passage the Silva list these above-mentioned mtDNA lineages found in India and claim that they are West Eurasian (i.e. European) in origin, and have arrived into India with Aryan Invasion/migration.
    He does not site any evidence to support his view other than the weight of his academic position. This reflects his poor study of published literature. Let us see a few of the above mentioned lineages.
    In the list above, he mentions R1a (mtDNA; it is not the same as R1a Y-DNA). This R1a mtDNA is found more in the tribes than in the upper-caste or north Indian population. Metspalu (2004) wrote, “Haplogroup R1a, previously associated with the putative Indo-Aryan invasion, was found at its highest frequency in Punjab but also at a relatively high frequency (26%) in the Chenchu tribe. This finding, together with the higher R1a-associated short tandem repeat diversity in India and Iran compared with Europe
    and central Asia, suggests that southern and western Asia might be the source of this haplogroup. ” (Metspalu Abstract). See Metspalu’s map below. In the quoted sentence Western Asia stands for East Iran (see below).. So from where did Silva get the information that the mtDNA R1a is European?
    Metspalu 2004
    M, N and R all mdDNA originating in India
    It must also be understood here that Iran which is a sibling of India linguistically (Indo-Iranian branch of IE Family), has been considered as a part of West Asia by the Eurocentric authors, and this practice is wrong. The map below shows how they define West Asia or Middle East in a way to include Iran in it (See map below). And then they say, West Asia is near Europe, hence West Asian DNAs are European DNAs. Thus Iranian DNAs become European DNA by manipulation of geographical description.
    Iran in West Asia.jpg
    However because of linguistic and prehistoric unity of East Iran with Indus Valley, Iran must not be considered West Asia but as western part of Indo-Iran Civilization. East Iran was certainly within the Greater Indus Valley Civilization, and people from East Iran came and settled in India since the Indus Valley Period up to the Mughal period. Most of the mtDNA lineages listed by Silva are in fact East Iranian, and they are found up to Punjab amounting up to 20% of the population, but not further East in India. In fact the East Iran was a an extension of the Vedic Civilization, and it has been demonstrated again and again by comparison of the Avesta and the Vedas and their practices. The mtDNAs HV, T2, etc fall in this category. And considering these DNAs as Europeans is totally arbitrary and wrong.
    Migration was bi-directional between East Iran and India. The climate led earlier migration was from India to Iran, attested by the presence of 10% Indian lineages (mtDNA) in Iran overall, 5% of the mtDNA in Iran today are constituted by the Indian M lineage itself. (See Metspalu 2004). But later when Indus Valley Civilization became the world centre of culture, people from every part of Asia and Eastern part of Africa came and settled there as traders, businessmen and artisans, just as people flocked to London from every part of the world in the last century. This fact was proved by Valentine and Kenoyer et al in their study of the skeletons of the Indus Valley..
    In fact the N1a, T2 and HV (mtDNAs) listed by Silva as European, also originated in Iran, and they reached India when the Indus Valley became a trade center of world, and the traders from every part of the world came and settled in the Indus valley in small numbers during the Bronze Age. (see Valentine, Kenoyer et al 2015). East Iranian arrivals due to economic factors is understandable, and they were the largest numbers among the foreign settlers in India. Link:
    However, there are pure Indian mtDNA lineages also which have been depicted by Silva as European, one of which (mtDNA R1a) we just described.
    None of the above named DNAs, which Silva has listed as European (Western European) mtDNAs, originated in Europe (West Eurasia). These are the mtDNA lineages which reached Europe from Asia after 5500 BC. In fact only a few original paleolithic DNAs of Europe have survived till today. In the great freeze of 8200 BP known as 8.2 kilo year event, nearly all of the European people died. So did the people of the steppe and Central Asia.
    Thus to quote Brandt, “Ancient DNA studies have revealed genetic discontinuities between indigenous hunter-gatherers and early farmers and between later and present day Europeans. (Brandt 2013: page 257).
    Links to Brandt’s ancient DNA study of 2013
    Brandt’s study establishes (by means of ancient DNAs recovered from the fossils) that the newer people continued to arrive into Europe, through the Turkish corridor and the north Black Sea highway, from the Caucasus, Iran and Central Asian during the various stages of the Neolithic.
    Brandt’s study of the aDNAs reveals European transition from foraging to farming introduced by the LBK (Linear Pottery Culture), which reached Central Europe circa 5500 calibrated BC (calBC). MtDNA data from Central European hunter-gatherers, i.e. the people who were the original inhabitants of Europe, comprises only of some U lineages (viz. U, U4, U5, and U8) and not even U2 and many other lineages found today in Europe. On the other hand the later Europeans (after 5500 BC) had entirely new DNAs arriving from Asia.
    The oldest farming culture of Europe is the LBK. The LBK (i.e. Central Europe after 5500 BC) is characterized by a distinct mtDNA haplogroup (lineages) profile including N1a, T2, K, J, HV, V,W, and X. Although Silva-team have addressed these in the impugned article as European DNAs, these are Iranian in origin and went to Europe only after 5500 BC. Brandt named these haplogroups a mitochondrial “Neolithic package”, and these comprise around 79.4% of the diversity in the LBK, whereas hunter-gatherer lineages are rare comprising only 2.9% (Brandt 2013: page 260). So, the original Europe became minority and got reduced to 2.9% of the population during the LBK period.
    Silva et al also claim in the same impugned line, about mtDNA U7, that U7 too is European and migrated from Europe to India. However another article published by a closely allied group of authors Sahakyan, Villems et al (2017) published only recently finds that this mtDNA U7 was present in India about 11,500 years back, and reached Europe about 8000 years back. This also must have originated in Indo-Iran region. We know that Indo-Iranian was one culture before split. And it is useful to describe its territory as Indo-Iran.
    also, https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46044   (This is another example of these scholars doing poor homework in the haste of being published).
     The Claim that Bronze Age migrations were male exclusive is lie
    Not only Iranian female lineages migrated into Europe, but also several Indian female lineages (mtDNA) did migrate to Europe in significant numbers, and out of them mtDNA M itself is found in the Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland etc up to the extent of 3 to 5 percent of population today. This is not a small number. This is almost the same frequency in which the Indian mtDNA “M” lineages are found in Iran today.
    So when the Iranian people migrated to Europe with their families, there were Indians (NRIs, Non Resident Indians) too in their group who had earlier arrived into Iran with the farming and other culture. These Indian lineages are scattered all over East Europe and Central Europe and also in Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Arabia and Caucasus. Discussing them all here is beyond the scope of this blog.
    The Indian female migrant lineages which are found in Europe today include M5a, M5a1, M35 etc. Malyarchuk (2008). Malyarchuk found that one of the Slovak female lineage (mtDNA) actually had even belonged from Andhra Pradesh in South India. They named it M35b. (Malyarchuk, page 230, column 1, last but 3rd line).
    Unfortunately, the Eurocentric academicians label all the Indian DNAs found amongst the Europeans as to be brought there by the Roma Gypsy migration and date them to about 1000 years back. However my study of the Roma DNA found that they migrated to Europe at the late Indus Valley period, when the drought started creating migration pressure on the people of the Indus Valley.  Hence Roma also reflect a Late Bronze Age Indian population, while the other Europeans who are from Indian lineages probably migrated between middle Neolithic period to as late as the Scythian Period.
    In fact ancient mtDNA recovered from Central Asia’s Tarim Basin (Xiaohe location) dating to the Bronze Age have many Iranian and Indian lineages. “Nowadays, the M5 variant observed in this study is found mainly in south and southwest Asia. The presence
    of hgs U7 and M5 in the Xiaohe people suggests that populations of west/south Asia contributed to the gene pool of the Tarim Basin during the Bronze Age.” [Chunxiang Li 2015: page 5 of 11] Tarim Basin spans from Altai to Mongolia. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495690/
    In fact today Indian mtDNA M constitutes 72% of Altaian Kazakh population, indicating that this is the place where Indians came in the maximum numbers. (Tarlykov 2013: page 20, Table 1). This matches (overlaps) well with the migration of Indian branch of male lineage R1a known as R1a-Z93. (see Z93’s Eupedia Map).
    Lalueza-Fox (2004) was the pioneer of the ancient human DNA studies. Se also found significant Indian DNA presence in Kazakhstan, and she thought that these came from Indo-Iran.
    “The general west–east Eurasian composition of the prehistoric samples in the period after the arrival of east Eurasian sequences (after the seventh century BC) is, despite the small sample size (n = 14), quite similar to the values found in the modern Kazakh population: east Eurasian (42.9%), west Eurasian (50%) and Indian (7.1%). Interestingly, the only sequence of Indian origin that was observed, belonging to the M4 haplogroup (Bamshad et al. 2001), originates from a site in the south of Kazakhstan. This fact could correspond to an independent, Indo-Iranian genetic infusion into the steppes.

    More direct evidence of Indian migration to Iran, Middle East, Caucasus is provided by the ancient DNAs.

    The Indian M52 (mtDNA) has been found from the remains of the Maikop culture which was an Indo-European culture dating back to 3700 BC to 3000 BC. (Solovak et al). Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440316301091
    Hence we can say that the Indian families had migrated to north Caucasus region about 5700 years back and these families had gone there with cows and buffaloes and Indo-European language. Clearly they had crossed Armenia before reaching north Caucasus. Armenia is another Indo-European speaking country which shows lot of Indian mtDNA and Y-DNA both.
    Hence the conclusion from mtDNA is that the Indo-European migration from India to Europe took place not male specifically but it was both male and female, and often entire families had migrated to Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Armenia and Caucasus, and to a lesser extent as a secondary migration to Eastern Europe up to Romania, Slovakia, Russia, Hungary and Poland.

    Y-DNA (male lineages) too migrated from India to Europe

    The Silva et al write about R1a branches as their prime evidence. They write (on page 14 of their published pdf document):
    “R1a-M17 (R1a-M198 or R1a1a) accounts for 17.5% of male lineages in Indian data overall, and it displays significantly higher frequencies in Indo-European than in Dravidian speakers”. Perhaps Silva has not studied all the papers honestly. This matter has been sorted out much earlier. It has been found that it is not only Indian but in certain Austro-Asiatic tribes of India, its frequency has even been higher than the IE speakers (Sahoo 2006; Sengupta 2006; Sharma 2009; Underhill 2010), and I will not discuss any further this naïve statement by Silva.
    Now examine another statement,
    “Moreover, not only has R1a been found in all Sintashta and Sintashta derived Andronovo and Srubnaya remains analysed to date at the genome-wide level (nine in total) [76, 77], and been previously identified in a majority of Andronovo (2/3) and post-Andronovo Iron Age (Tagar and Tachtyk: 6/6) male samples from southern central Siberia tested using microsatellite analysis, it has also been identified in other remains across Europe and Central Asia ranging from the Mesolithic up until the Iron Age (Fig. 5).”
    Now this statement is a clear example of academic deception. The authors do not reveal here that the ancient samples from Sintashta etc belonged to which branch—Indian branch or European branch. The fact is that they all belonged to the Indian branch Z93. Mathieson has clarified this matter unequivocally:
    “Further evidence that migrations originating as far west as central Europe may not have had an important impact on the Late Bronze Age steppe comes from the fact that the Srubnaya possess exclusively (n=6) R1a Y-chromosomes (Supplementary Data Table 1), and four of them (and one Poltavka male) belonged to haplogroup R1a-Z93 which is common in central/south Asians, very rare in present-day Europeans, and absent in all ancient central Europeans studied to date.”  (Mathieson 2015: page 2 of pdf full article in Nature). Link: https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v528/n7583/full/nature16152.html
    Clearly, Silva did not read this article before sitting down to write a paper.
    The European branch never came to India but the Indian branch did go to Europe. Underhill wrote, ““Importantly, the virtual absence of M458 chromosomes outside Europe speaks against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India, at least since the mid-Holocene.” (Underhill 2010:Abstract)” Had people come from Europe to India or even from Ukraine to India, this European branch R1a-M458 must have arrived to India.

    On the other hand the Indian branch R1a-Z93 is present in Europe up to Hungary and Poland. Even in Sintashta, which is considered the Cradle of Europe’s Indo-European culture and language, the ancient DNAs recovered are of the Indian R1a-Z93 and not the European variety, which was reproduced only after the main trunk reached well inside Europe.

    Extremely poor knowledge of Silva of the wider picture like human associated migrations of animals, diseases etc

    There have been other studies which indirecly prove migration from India to Europe.
    Otzi Man and H. pylori infection :
    Otzi Man or the European Iceman was recovered from the Alps frozen. His mtDNA and Y-DNA reflected Iranian ancestry, yet the Helicobactor pylori bacteria recovered from his stomach was of the Indian breed. This finding established that fact that the H. pylori infection reached Europe from India (read details in the link).
    Mice Migration:
    The domestic mouse is a domestic pest of farming culture. It has been shown by a large number of studies that the domestic mice, shrew and rat have originated in India, were domesticated in India, and they migrated with the humans with the Neolithic migration. It is an indirect or circumstantial evidence of Indian origin of farming culture and the Indo-European speakers.
    Cow Migration:
    It had been found that all the zebu cows of the world are of Indian origin (Chen). Link:
    It has been shown that the Ukrainian cows, as well as East European Piedmont etc and Mongolian and Even South Chinese cows migrated from India in a domesticated form long back. Even the Central Asian cattle recovered from Neolithic and Bronze Ages belong to Indian variety (Zebu). (Chen; Kantanen).
    The authors also show a gross ignorance of published literature pertaining to the migration issues. Man did not migrate alone. It migrated with its diseases, its pets and pests. 

    They Do Not Know about Recombinant Technology:

    The most sophisticated method of study for the purpose of finding out the Out of Africa route was adopted by the Genographic Project which was funded by IBM, the computer giant. The method was so refined that it could map each step of a thousand mile journey. This method was the most accurate also. It produced the following map of the routes of human migration. It was based on the study of recombination. Every time a sperm is formed or an ovum is formed there is meiosis in which parts of chromosomes crossover. This crossing over takes place in each generation at a different point of the chromosome causing a permanent print of the past all ancestors on the chromosome.
    This study found that the humans first came to India (from Africa) and then migrated to all over the world as depicted in this map.
    Geno Project Human Migration Map_print
    Link Genographic Project web site. http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/photo/35881.wss 

    Silva does not know that only southern route to India is the valid route.

    It has been settled so many times by several repeated studies that the modern man came out of Africa from the horn of Africa (Djibouti) crossing Bab-el-Mandeb Strait then through coastal Arabia to Sind-Gujarat region of India (Quintana-Murci 1999; Oppenheimer 2003; Maccaulay 2005; Mellars 2006; Thangaraj 2005; Field 2007; Armitage 2011; Mele 2012). And it has also been conclusively decided that the human migration out of Africa took place only once and not the second time again.

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    Iraq declares end of caliphate after capture of Mosul mosque


    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mosul-idUSKBN19K0YZ
    By Khaled al-Ramahi and Maher Chmaytelli | MOSUL/ERBIL, IRAQ
    After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State's de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group's self-styled caliphate at an end.
    Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Islamic State fighters are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.
    The seizure of the nearly 850-year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque -- from where Islamic State proclaimed the caliphate nearly three years ago to the day -- is a huge symbolic victory.
    "The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement, referring to the hardline Sunni Mulsim group by an Arabic acronym.
    The fall of Mosul would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the IS caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, ruling over hundreds of thousands of people.
    Its stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, is also close to falling.
    A U.S.-backed Kurdish-led coalition besieging Raqqa on Thursday fully encircled it after closing the militants' last way out from the south, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
    These setbacks have reduced Islamic State's territory by 60 percent from its peak two years ago and its revenue by 80 percent, to just $16 million a month, said IHS Markit.
    "Their fictitious state has fallen," an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.
    However, it still occupies an area as big as Belgium, across Iraq and Syria, according to IHS Markit, an analytics firm.
    Islamic State fighters blew up the medieval mosque and its famed leaning minaret a week ago as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces started a push in its direction. Their black flag had been flying from al-Hadba (The Hunchback) minaret since June 2014.
    Much of the mosque and brickwork minaret was reduced to rubble, said a Reuters TV reporter who went to the site with the elite units that captured it.

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    Members of Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service sift through the ruins of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque at the Old City in Mosul, Iraq June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
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    Only the stump of the Hunchback remained, and a green dome of the mosque supported by a few pillars which resisted the blast, he said.
    The mosque grounds were off limits as the insurgents are suspected to have planted booby traps.
    Abadi "issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion," by capturing the remaining parts of the Old City, his office said.
    The cost of the fighting has been enormous. In addition to military casualties, thousands of civilians are estimated to have been killed.
    About 900,000 people, nearly half the pre-war population of the northern city, have fled, mostly taking refuge in camps or with relatives and friends, according to aid groups.
    Those trapped in the city suffered hunger, deprivation and IS oppression as well as death or injury, and many buildings have been ruined.
    ARDUOUS TASK
    Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) troops captured the al-Nuri Mosque's ground in a "lightning operation" on Thursday, a commander of the U.S.-trained elite units told state TV.
    CTS units are now in control of the mosque area and the al-Hadba and Sirjkhana neighborhoods and they are still advancing, a military statement said.
    Other government units, from the army and police, were closing in from other directions.
    An elite Interior Ministry unit said it freed about 20 children believed to belong to Yazidi and other minorities persecuted by the jihadists in a quarter north of the Old City which houses Mosul's main hospitals.
    A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support to the Iraqi forces fighting through the Old City's maze of narrow alleyways.
    But the advance remains arduous as IS fighters are dug in the middle of civilians, using mortar fire, snipers, booby traps and suicide bombers to defend their last redoubt.
    The military estimated up to 350 militants were still in the Old City last week but many have been killed since.
    They are besieged in one sq km (0.4 square mile) making up less than 40 percent of the Old City and less than one percent of the total area of Mosul, the largest urban center over which they held sway in both Iraq and Syria.
    Those residents who have escaped the Old City say many of the civilians trapped behind IS lines -- put last week at 50,000 by the Iraqi military -- are in a desperate situation with little food, water or medicines.
    "Boys and girls who have managed to escape show signs of moderate malnutrition and carry psychosocial scars," the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF said in a statement.
    Thousands of children remain at risk in Mosul, it said.
    IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself ruler of all Muslims from the Grand al-Nuri Mosque's pulpit on July 4, 2014, after the insurgents overran swathes of Iraq and Syria.
    His speech from the mosque was the first time he revealed himself to the world and the footage broadcast then is to this day the only video recording of him as "caliph".
    He has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is believed to be hiding in the border area between Iraq and Syria, according to U.S. and Iraqi military sources.
    The mosque was named after Nuruddin al‑Zanki, a noble who fought the early Crusaders from a fiefdom that covered territory in modern-day Turkey, Syria and Iraq. It was built in 1172-73, shortly before his death, and housed an Islamic school.
    The Old City's stone buildings date mostly from the medieval period. They include market stalls, a few mosques and churches, and small houses built and rebuilt on top of each other over the ages.
    (Additional reporting by Stephen Kalin in Erbil. Writing by Maher Chmaytelli, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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    The collapse of the caliphate: ISIS FLEE Aleppo and US-backed troops surround de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria just hours after Mosul mosque is reclaimed in Iraq

    • Syrian Democratic Forces are now in control of all high-speed routes into Raqqa  
    • It is a major blow to ISIS, which declared Raqqa its 'caliphate' three years ago
    • Iraq will also declare victory in the eight-month battle to retake second city Mosul from jihadists in the 'next few days'
    The Islamic State group no longer has a presence in Syria's Aleppo province after withdrawing from a series of villages where regime forces were advancing, a monitor said on Friday.
    'ISIS withdrew from 17 towns and villages and is now effectively outside of Aleppo province,' according to British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 
    It comes as US-backed Syrian fighters seized the last road into ISIS's de facto capital Raqqa, in Syria, after neighbouring Iraq declared 'the end of the fake jihadi state' in its war-torn nation.
    Syrian Democratic Forces are now in control of all high-speed routes into Raqqa, captured by ISIS in 2013, from the south, a spokesman for the US-led coalition confirmed.
    It was yet another major setback for ISIS which declared its 'caliphate' straddling Syria and Iraq three years ago, but has since lost most of its territory.
    Scroll down for video 
    Colonel Joe Scrocca, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said moving toward the Euphrates from the east 'would completely encircle' Raqqa. Pictured: Kurdish fighters stand on a rooftop in Raqqa
    US-backed Syrian fighters have seized the last road into ISIS's de facto capital Raqqa

    Colonel Joe Scrocca, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said moving toward the Euphrates from the east 'would completely encircle' Raqqa. Pictured: Kurdish fighters stand on a rooftop in Raqqa
    Syrian Democratic Forces are now in control of all high-speed routes into Raqqa, captured by ISIS in 2013. Pictured: Soldiers clash with ISIS fighters in Mosul, Iraq
    Syrian Democratic Forces are now in control of all high-speed routes into Raqqa, captured by ISIS in 2013. Pictured: Soldiers clash with ISIS fighters in Mosul, Iraq
    Iraq has declared 'the end of the fake jihadi state' in its war-torn nation after they recaptured the iconic al-Nuri mosque in Mosul's Old City
    Iraq has declared 'the end of the fake jihadi state' in its war-torn nation after they recaptured the iconic al-Nuri mosque in Mosul's Old City
    Only this week Iraqi forces recaptured an iconic mosque in Mosul, Iraq, the terror group's last major stronghold in the country, prompting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to declare 'the end of the fake jihadist state'.
    (SOHR) said an SDF unit has seized villages across the river from Raqqa, describing it as a 'strategic' move that completes the siege around the city.
    'IS has no other choice now but to surrender or fight to the end,' said the Observatory director, Rami Abdurrahman. 
    Tightening the noose around Raqqa effectively seals the territory and denies the militants an escape route to their other stronghold in Deir el-Zour, south of the city.
    Colonel Joe Scrocca, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said moving toward the Euphrates from the east 'would completely encircle the city and has been the SDF plan from the start'.
    He went on: 'South of the Euphrates river, the SDF now control all high-speed routes into Raqqa.'
    British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an SDF unit has seized villages across the river from Raqqa. Pictured: SDF forces wait to be treated near a field hospital in Raqqa
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    British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an SDF unit has seized villages across the river from Raqqa. Pictured: SDF forces wait to be treated near a field hospital in Raqqa

    The advance toward Raqqa city began last year, as Kurdish-led forces fought to clear rural parts of the province of the presence of ISIS. Pictured: A Kurdish fighter in Raqqa
    Tightening the noose around Raqqa (pictured) effectively seals the territory and denies the militants an escape route to their other stronghold in Deir el-Zour
    Tightening the noose around Raqqa (pictured) effectively seals the territory and denies the militants an escape route to their other stronghold in Deir el-Zour
    Only this week Iraqi forces recaptured an iconic mosque in Mosul (pictured), the terror group's last major stronghold in the country
    Only this week Iraqi forces recaptured an iconic mosque in Mosul (pictured), the terror group's last major stronghold in the country
    ISIS militants carried out a counter-attack on SDF forces east of the city hours after the attack, regaining control of the al-Sinaa and Mashalab neighborhoods which were captured in the early days of the offensive.
    Speaking in Baghdad, coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said ISIS fighters have been 'abandoned' by their leadership.
    He said in the last week, the SDF have cleared seven and a half square miles of territory in and around Raqqa.
    The advance toward Raqqa city began last year, as Kurdish-led forces fought to clear rural parts of the province of the presence of ISIS militants. 
    Backed by airstrikes from the international coalition, the Syrian fighters captured the strategic town of Tabqa in May, and seized one of Syria's major dams that lies nearby. 
    The battle for the city began in earnest on June 6, as the fighters moved in from east, west and north of Raqqa. 
    Scrocca warned that the fight for Raqqa has only began, adding: 'There is still much fighting to be done in the city.'
    Only this week Iraqi forces recaptured an iconic mosque in Mosul, Iraq, the terror group's last major stronghold in the country,
    Only this week Iraqi forces recaptured an iconic mosque in Mosul, Iraq, the terror group's last major stronghold in the country,
    Displaced Iraqis walk past the destroyed Al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City of Mosul, as Iraqi government forces continue their offensive to retake the city
    Displaced Iraqis walk past the destroyed Al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City of Mosul, as Iraqi government forces continue their offensive to retake the city
    The UN has called on the Iraqi government to intervene to halt 'imminent' forced evictions of many people suspected of having ties to Islamic State from the city of Mosul
    The UN has called on the Iraqi government to intervene to halt 'imminent' forced evictions of many people suspected of having ties to Islamic State from the city of Mosul
    The jihadists blew up the mosque and minaret on June 21 (pictured) as they put up increasingly desperate resistance to the advance of Iraqi forces 
    The jihadists blew up the mosque and minaret on June 21 (pictured) as they put up increasingly desperate resistance to the advance of Iraqi forces 
    Meanwhile, Iraqi forces have captured the famous and hugely symbolic al-Nuri mosque in Mosul where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi first declared its 'caliphate' nearly three years ago.
    He made the 'caliphate' announcement in an audio recording before appearing for the first time in public at the mosque days later.
    The declaration ushered in a period of gruesome violence and an attempt by the militant group to erase borders between the neighboring states.
    On Friday, the United Nations called on the Iraqi government to intervene to halt 'imminent' forced evictions of many people suspected of having ties to Islamic State from the city of Mosul.
    Hundreds of families have received threatening letters laying down a deadline for leaving, mainly under tribal agreements, which amount to 'acts of vengeance', U.N. human rights spokesmman Rupert Colville said.
    'We urge the Iraqi Government to take action to halt such imminent evictions or any type of collective punishment, and to reinforce the formal justice system to bring perpetrators to justice,' he told a Geneva news briefing.


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4653602/The-collapse-ISIS-caliphate-Raqqa-Syria.html#ixzz4lUoZlh4H
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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  • 06/30/17--17:14: What is GST? (video 39:49)
  • See: http://pib.nic.in/gst/
    http://mib.nic.in/sites/default/files/presentation%20on%20GST.pdf
    http://mib.nic.in/sites/default/files/GST_FAQ_0.pdf

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KLOZ0rSiuI DNA : What is #GST? | DNA में #GST पर सरल भाषा में संपूर्ण ज्ञान
    Published on Jun 30, 2017
    At midnight PM Narendra Modi will unveil the new tax regime replacing overnight the messy mix of more than a dozen state and central levies built up over seven decades, with a one national GST unifying the country's USD 2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market.

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    ISIS fighters employ new tactic in Raqqa

    June 30, 2017
    WASHINGTON — Besieged ISIS fighters launched a desperate counterattack, disguised as Syrian Democratic Forces, in the al-Sinaa and al-Mashlab neighborhoods of Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

    The attack was launched by roughly 30 to 40 fighters according to the human rights watchdog observing the Syrian conflict. 

    Reports out of the battlefield indicate ISIS fighters disguised themselves in the uniforms of the SDF, comprising Kurdish and Arab troops, to launch the counterattack. The tactic may be new in Raqqa, according to Col. Joe Scrocca, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve. 

    "The fighters of the organization [ISIS] were wearing the military uniform of the Syria Democratic Forces, and carried out attacks on both neighborhoods located in the eastern section of al-Raqqah city," the report from the Syrian Observatory reads.  

    “We have seen reports of ISIS wearing military and police uniforms in Mosul.  I have not seen reports of this yet in Raqqa,” Scrocca said. 



    The improper use of military uniforms is considered a war crime by the international community, according to Dr. Hurst Hannum, a professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston. But it is less clear how it applies to civil wars. 

    The definition of what is “improper is up for grabs,” Hannum said. It appears OK if you wear an enemy uniform to infiltrate a unit as long as it doesn’t involve combat, he continued. But expecting ISIS to follow the law of war is ludicrous. 

    The attack comes as desperate ISIS fighters holed up in the city have been completely encircled by SDF. All the main exits from the embattled city have been sealed by the SDF, according to a spokesperson at the Pentagon. 

    According to the Syrian Observatory, ISIS fighters managed to captured the al-Sinaa neighborhood after “coalition warplanes failed to repel the attack,” the statement reads. 

    The capture of the neighborhood is a setback for the SDF after having reached the northernmost part of the Rafiqa wall surrounding the Old City of Raqqa on Wednesday. SDF forces are currently preparing to retake the district. 

    The operation to liberate Raqqa is in its third week. However, tensions over Turkish military maneuvers in the north of Syria threaten the pending liberation of the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS. 

    Sources with the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, told Military Times the YPG have threatened to delay the Raqqa campaign due to Turkish shelling of YPG positions in the Kurdish-controlled district of Afrin. 

    Mehmud Berxwedan, the YPG commander in Afrin, echoed those sentiments in an interview with Radio Voice of America’s Kurdish service. A military operation by Turkey against Afrin “would impact everything, specifically the Raqqa campaign," he said. The "Shahba and Afrin [districts] are strategically important for us. Such an attack by Turkey will influence forces that are present in the region,” he said. 

    Officials at Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve told Military Times they have seen no indications the operations will be halted or delayed. 

    Shervan Derwish, the commander of the Manbij Military Council — a coalition of groups under the SDF that liberated Manbij back in 2016 — told Military Times he has no plans to dispatch or re-deploy his fighters to Afrin because of the Turkish hostilities. The council has fighters participating in the Raqqa offensive. 

    Nevertheless, Washington appears to be taking the threats seriously. Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter ISIS, recently wrapped up a visit to Raqqa and Tabqa, where he spoke to SDF officials. On Friday, he landed in Ankara “for a day of regular coalition consultations with Turkish officials at the foreign and defense ministries on the fight against ISIS, according to an official at the U.S. State Department. 

    President Trump phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey on Friday. According to a White House readout of the call, the two discussed “numerous subjects, including ways to resolve the ongoing dispute with Qatar.” 

    Erdogan is expected to call Russian President Vladamir Putin this afternoon, according to Hürriyet Daily News, an English language newspaper in Turkey. Russia currently has troops stationed in Afrin district, where Turkey may launch an operation to clear YPG fighters controlling the region. 

    http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/isis-ypg-raqqa-new-tactic-turkey-afrin

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    The most cowardly&vulgar diatribe based organisation in world history is the Dravida Movement in Tamil Nadu. They were stooges of the Brits
    Aryan-Dravidian divide invented by 19th century European scholars and missionaries. No history of this idea before.

    Aryans And Dravidians: An Invention Of Racist Nineteenth Century Scholars

    SNAPSHOT
    It is ironic that racist European scholars invented history to claim Sanskrit and created two fake races called Aryans and Dravidians as part of that story.
    It is more tragic than ironic that Indians have believed this bluff to the extent that political parties have been formed based on a race name cooked up by racist Europeans.
    Almost no one in India knows that Sanskrit language documents dating back to 1500 BCE (3,500 years ago) were found in Syria. These “documents” were actually tablets etched in a language called ‘Hurrian’. The documents refer to a treaty signed by the kings of the ‘Mitanni’ Kingdom that lasted for just 200 years in Syria around 1500 BCE.
    The Mitanni kings had Sanskrit-based names like ‘Birasena’ (Virasena) - a name present in the Mahabharata), ‘Birya’ (Virya), ‘Subandhu’ (with good kinsmen) etc. The treaty document mentions 35 gods of Hurrian origin and along with that are mentioned the Vedic gods MitraVarunaIndra and the Nasatyas (twin gods). Only in the Rig Veda are the Nasatyas referred to as twins. How this dynasty ruled in Syria around 1500 BCE, 4,000 km from India remains a mystery to this day, but no historian or linguist has any doubt about the links that these documents have with Sanskrit and the Rig Veda.
    Here the tale gets more curious, best explained using an example. I will briefly digress at this point and tell a completely imaginary story. Imagine that an explorer finds an old tomb in Egypt, and opens it and finds documents in the French language. France is thousands of kilometers from Egypt and the presence of French documents in an Egyptian tomb would be a mystery.
    What should the explorer conclude?
    Should he conclude that the French language was first brought to Egypt by people from places like South Africa and after stopping briefly in Egypt, the French speaking people took their language to France? Or should the conclusion be that some visitor from France had brought the French language to Egypt? It would seem logical to conclude that the French language came to Egypt from France and not from South Africa.
    What is astounding is that linguists and ‘orientalists’ who examined the Sanskrit Mitanni treaty documents did not link them with India, where Sanskrit was known all over, but instead, claimed that the language had come to Syria with people from Europe, before vanishing completely from Syria and going to India and spreading all over India. Preposterous as this story may sound, there is documentary evidence that this is exactly what was done, and perfectly good explanations as to why this bluff was propagated. I will explain this in some detail, providing the sources.
    In 2006, Professor Eckhart Frahm of Yale University in the US published a paper called “Orientalism Assyriology and the Bible”. In this paper, he noted that that for European scholars in the Nineteenth century, history came from two sources. One was the Bible and the other was classical Greece with names like Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and other names considered iconic in European history. These cozy visions of European history were badly shattered by the archaeological findings in Assyria (Turkey and Northern Iraq) which indicated a very old Assyrian empire, older than Greece and the Bible, with tremendous cities and statues as well as inscriptions in languages that were later deciphered to reveal stories older than the Bible, calling into question many assumptions based on the Bible. There was even an Assyrian inscription that spoke of an ancient flood, a story that struck at the heart of biblical mythology by being reminiscent of the story of Noah and the flood.
    The biblical character Noah had an important role in the way Europeans saw themselves. Noah was said to have had three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth. Ham was cursed by his father Noah when he saw his father naked. Ham’s children were cursed to be slaves. Nineteenth century Europeans assumed that black Africans were ‘Hamites’ or descendants of the accursed Ham, destined to be an inferior race of slaves. The descendants of Shem became the ‘Semites’ (or Shemites), who included the Jews, hated in Europe and who spoke the Semitic languages of the Bible. That left the white Europeans as the descendants of Japheth. It had been assumed that European languages had somehow descended from the biblical languages. Anti-Semitism in Europe demanded that the people of Europe were the race favoured by god as the leading race of people. These illusions were destroyed by the archaeological findings of the Assyrian empire. Europe needed something to reclaim its superior position in history.
    The “discovery” of Sanskrit in India and its obvious antiquity that extended to a period earlier than Assyria could not have come at a better time for European scholars and historians. The great development of Sanskrit as a language, and its brilliant grammar combined with its surprising links to European languages came as a breath of fresh air that blew away the despondency of Europeans finding Assyrian history and archaeology that had threatened to topple them from their exalted position as god's favoured people. No longer did the European descendants of Japheth have to remain beholden to the speakers of Semitic languages. Indo-European languages were a separate superior family of languages with the impressive credentials that Sanskrit had provided as the most ancient and most developed language.
    Eckhart Frahm writes of how the discovery of the Vedic words, gods and references in the Mitanni texts of Assyria caused European scholars who were searching for European superiority over the
    Semites to declare the findings as proof that Semitic Assyrian greatness could only have come about because of an infusion of superior Aryans from Europe speaking an Aryan language.
    One problem remained. If the Aryans were a superior European race, how was their language to be found in its most perfect and developed form in India, and how was it that dark skinned people who were racially thought to be Hamites or other inferior races could be found speaking the tongue of the superior race with a shiny new name “Aryan race”? These troubling questions were addressed by linguists and scholars from Nineteenth and Twentieth century Europe.
    In 1853, a man called Arthur de Gobineau wrote an essay entitled “An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races”. Gobineau believed in the inherent superiority of light skinned people. He wrote “..the peoples who are not of white blood approach beauty, but do not attain it. Those who are most akin to us come nearest to beauty ; such are the degenerate Aryan stocks of India and Persia, and the Semitic peoples who are least infected by contact with the black race. As these races recede from the white type, their features and limbs become incorrect in form…
    The British, who cultivated a reputation among Indians of being wise and just as removers of prejudice were no less racist in their attitudes as they too joined the European bandwagon. A H Sayce, a British linguist and Assyriologist in 1889 endorsed the views of the racist scholar Dr Penka. Dr Penka said: “the purest blood is found in Scandinavia among the fair-haired, blue-eyed, dolichocephalic Swedes. The pure Aryans, he maintains, are represented only by the North Germans and Scandinavians, a most prolific race, of great stature, muscular strength, energy, and courage, whose splendid natural endowments enabled it to conquer the feebler races to the East, the South, and the West, and to impose its language on the subject peoples”.
    Thomas Huxley, a British biologist wrote in 1890: “So far as India is concerned, the internal evidence of the old literature sufficiently proves that the Aryan invaders were "white" men. It is hardly to be doubted that they intermixed with the dark Dravidian aborigines; and that the high-caste Hindoos are what they are in virtue of the Aryan blood which they have inherited, and of the selective influence of their surroundings operating on the mixture.
    In other words, Huxley was using scientific journals of his day to propagate a racist theory in which white people could lay claim to Sanskrit and the knowledge of the Vedas by three clever, but fake arguments. The first was that there was “internal evidence” in Sanskrit literature that there were Aryan invaders who were white men. Sanskrit texts have no such references. The second lie is that 'high-caste Hindoos’ had Aryan blood. The third lie propagated as science was that “Aryan blood” in India got intermixed with that of dark, Dravidian aborigines and this admixture along with the effects of sunshine and the hot weather in India made Aryans dark skinned in India. This racist theory was widely accepted and digested among Europeans long before the name Nazi was invented. There is in fact, no such thing as “Aryan blood” or even Aryan genes although a large number of people now believe both to be true. Such is the effect of a century and a half of racist theories passed off as scholarship.
    The Europeans found it necessary to invent a dark skinned race called Dravidians to explain why speakers of Sanskrit, an “Aryan language” of white skinned invaders were found to have dark skin in India. It was because the Aryans mixed with the dark-skinned people who were different, and of a lower sub-human type according to the racial theories of that age.
    No one bothered to study the deep links between Sanskrit and the so called Dravidian languages of South India because the “Dravidians” and their language was the language of the inferior people defeated by white man and unconnected (it was imagined) with the “Aryans” and their language. These racist European scholars were willing to admit fair-complexioned Indians into their club of Aryans because that would allow them to claim the origins of Sanskrit, which was the oldest and best developed Indo-European language. However, dark-skinned Indians were inconvenient for this theory. They had to be explained away by some means. So, dark-skinned Indians became Dravidians, a race invented by racist scholars to classify Indians who spoke languages that could not be linked with Indo-European languages. As for those dark-skinned Indians who spoke Indo-European languages such as Bengali, they were explained away as corrupted Aryans caused by admixture with “inferior races”.
    Because it had to be proven that the “Aryans” and their superior “Aryan language” came from Europe, the Mitanni documents proved to be a convenient find. A well-known German Assyriologist, Wolfram von Soden noted that the Semitic people of Assyria could never have achieved greatness in those remote early days if they had not been influenced by Aryans coming from the north. Soden is quoted as writing: “...without assuming some Indo-Aryan background. The Semitic Assyrians alone could not have possessed the creative capacity and heroic character necessary to create such a text.” (as the Rig Veda)
    In other words the greatness of the history of Assyria would not have been possible if Aryans from Europe have not previously been there as they moved from Europe to India taking their language with them, and finally depositing their language in India as the highly refined and developed Sanskrit language. The Mitanni kingdom was portrayed as a kingdom that was set up along the way by conquering “Aryans” as they moved eastwards from Europe, conquering and subjugating all who came in their path in Syria, Iran and India, leaving behind their superior Indo-European language.
    It is ironic that racist European scholars invented history for themselves to claim Sanskrit and created two fake races called Aryans and Dravidians as part of that story. It is more tragic than ironic that Indians have internalised and believed this bluff to the extent that political parties have been formed based on a race name cooked up by racist Europeans. Indians now argue and vigorously dispute the origins, identities and characteristics of Aryans and Dravidians – completely ignorant and blind to the racism of Nineteenth century Europe that created these races to claim Europe as the origin of Indo-European languages.
    Comments


    • Avatar
      Interesting article, but rather beside the point. There is an Aryan origins debate going on right now, to which this text is entirely immaterial. In the West, the Aryan Invasion Theory has discarded all racial interpretations of its data after 1945. Yet, the AIT is still holding out and being taught from all platforms worldwide except a few private Hindu ones. The Biblical and Darwinian race theories discussed are not needed for the AIT. It is significant that the few Indians who have actually joined the struggle, and who therefore engage with what the AIT camp actually writes, hardly ever mention race or race theories; whereas those who fill their pages with indignation about 19th-century race theories, contribute nothing to the debate. Most AIT upholders would not find anything to disagree with in this article, which on its own admission is a rewording of a Western book anyway. It is only in India that racial categories like "Dravidian race" are still being kept alive by Dravidianists, Ambedkarites and Nehruvians. They too have nothing to contribute to the debate, which has remained mainly a matter of linguistics and philology, and in secondary order of archaeology and now also genetics. The latter is sort of a grandchild of the early race theories, but far clearer and finding very different and more complex divisions of mankind than the cited Gobineau thought up. And even then, by indicating demic migrations genetics can only very approximatively show up the migration of languages. Sorry there, but moralizing about ideas that once accompanied the AIT is never going to achieve the really worthy goal of defeating the AIT,
        • Avatar
           
          How does one conjure up the gumption to actually disagree with a man of Koenraad Elst's stature?
          The point of the article is not to moralize, but to inform. The origin of the word Aryan was racist - and although that is forgotten now, many Indians and still feel pride in paleness of their complexion having inherited the idea that they are the descendants of a victorious race. As Shri Elst says Dravidianists, Ambedkarites and Nehruvians may pride themselves in the Dravidian identity - but they too need to know that they have been "had", hoodwinked if you will. This realization will be met with denial of course, or else it will cause the anger of cognitive dissonance. But Indians need to be angry that they have been quite foolish in swallowing and propagating a theory that was racist in origin, even if that part has now been conveniently consigned to a footnote of history.
          Genetics will do nothing to solve this issue. Genetics is simply a diversion. geneticists looking for information on human migrations fill themselves up with AIT theories without realizing that those very AIT theories had no raison d'etre other than a racist need to prove white European superiority over semitic and other races. Indians are foolish to take this issue further as if there is some real history or science there. they need to know the truth. From the beginning, warts and all.
          • Avatar
            African Blacks Complain About Indian Racism.
            Indians are not, as a general rule, cool people.
            In fact, they’re pretty much all autistic. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
            But as a result, Indians generally don’t even try to pretend like they tolerate black people.
            ABC News:
            Fear and anger. Those are the emotions that shadow Odole Emmanuel Opeyemi every time theNigerian man steps out of his New Delhi apartment.
            Every encounter with Indians is fraught with those feelings, whether he’s taking an autorickshaw or the Metro, buying vegetables or trying to find a spot to park his car.
            “When I sit down in the Metro, people sit away from me. Even old men and women will stand up as if any contact with me will give them a disease,” he said, describing the mixture of fear and revulsion with which most Indians treat Africans.
            Opeyemi is among hundreds of thousands of Africans in India, drawn by better education and work opportunities. For them rampant racism is a daily battle in a country where their dark skin places them at the lower end of a series of strictly observed social hierarchies. Indians routinely perceive Africans as either prostitutes or drug dealers.
            Prejudice is open in India. The matrimonial columns of the newspaper are strictly segregated along caste lines. Landlords in cities including New Delhi and Mumbai deny homes to people based on race and religion.
            Landlords shun Africans in all but the poorest neighborhoods, and in those they are charged unusually high rent. African students in the New Delhi neighborhood of Chhatarapur reported paying 15,000 rupees ($225) a month for a single room and bathroom that would normally rent for 6,000 to 7,000 rupees.
            Strangers point at them and laugh — or gang up and assault them.
            Zeiger
            Daily Stormer
            Indian-laughing:
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              • Avatar
                Shrikant Talageri in his brilliant book "The Rigveda and the Avesta: The Final Evidence" has conclusively proven that the Rigveda is far older than the Matani documents. The "Matani type" names are congruous to later Rigvedic books (mandalas).
                No one has challenged his proof, they just think ignoring it would make it go away.
                India needs to take back control of Indology and Sanskrit from these fake colonial barbarians who call themselves "scholars" but are highly racist and political creatures.

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              Mitanni
              Hittite Treaty

              Image result for mitanni

              Image result for mitanniSuppiluliuma (Hittite) -Shattiwaza (Mitanni) Treaty Excerpts

              Source: Beckman

              KBo 1 1
              A Obv. 1-16: When My Majesty, Suppiluliuma, Great King, Hero, King of Hatti, Beloved of the Storm God, and Artatama, king of the land of Hurri, made a treaty with one another, at that time, Tushratta, king of the land of Mitanni, called for attention from the Great King, King of Hatti, Hero. And I, Great King, King of Hatti, Hero, turned my attention to Tushratta, king of the land of Mitanni: I plundered the lands of the west bank of the River [Euphrates] and I annexed Mount Lebanon. A second time King Tushratta was presumptuous to me and spoke as follows: “Why are you plundering on the west bank of the Euphrates?” – thus King Tushratta – “If you plunder the lands of the west bank of the Euphrates, then I too will plunder the lands of the west bank of the Euphrates.” King Tushratta desired to bring it under control(?): “If you plunder them, what will I do to them? If a lamb or if a kid of my land is …, I will cross over from the east bank of the Euphrates”. I, Great King, King of Hatti, maintained my pride before him. In the time of the father of the King of Hatti, the land of Isuwa became hostile, so that the troops of Hatti entered the land of Isuwa. In the time of my father, the troops of the city of Kirtalissa, the troops of the city of Arawanna, the land of Zazia, the land of Kalasma, the land of Timana, Mount Haliwa, Mount Karna, the troops of the city of Turmitta, the land of Alha, the land of Hurma, Mount Harana, half of the land of Tegarama, the troops of the city of Tepurziya, the troops of the city of Hazka, and the troops of the city of Armatana became hostile. But My Majesty. Suppiluliuma, Great King, King of Hatti, Hero, Beloved of the Storm God, defeated them. Now the troops, which had escaped from me, had entered the land of Isuwa and all these troops and these lands, which had become hostile in the time of my father, were dwelling beyond the land of Isuwa among the enemy.

              A Obv. 17-24: And, I, My Majesty, Suppiluliuma, Great King, King of Hatti, Hero, Beloved of the Storm God, set out against the presumptuousness of King Tushratta. I crossed the Euphrates and went to the land of Isuwa. For the second time, I overpowered the land of Isuwa and for the second time, I made them my subjects. The troops and lands which in the time of my father entered the land of Isuwa: the troops of the city of Kirtalissa, the troops of the city of Arawanna, the land of Zazisa, the land of Kalasma, the land of Timana, Mount Haliwa, Mount Karna, the troops of the city of Turmitta, the land of Alha, the land of Hurma, Mount Harana, half of the land of Tegarama, the troops of the city of Tepurziya, the troops of the city of Hazka, and the troops of the city of Armatana - these troops and those lands I overpowered and returned to Hatti. I freed the lands which I captured; they dwelt in their places. All the people whom I released rejoined their peoples and Hatti incorporated their territories.

              A Obv. 25-29: And, I, My Majesty, Suppiluliuma, Great King, King of Hatti, Hero, Beloved of the Storm God, reached the land of Alši and the district of Kutmar and I overpowered them. I gave it as a gift to Antaratli of the land of Alši. I penetrated to the district of Šuta and plundered the district of Šuta. I reached the city of Waššukanni in search of plunder. I brought to Hatti the cattle, sheep and horses of the district of Šuta, along with its possessions and its civilian captives. But King Tushratta fled. He did not come against me for battle.

              Obv. 30-37: I crossed the Euphrates again and overpowered the land of Halab and the land of Mukish. Takuwa, king of Niya, came before me for peace terms in the land of Mukish. But behind the back of Takuwa, his brother, Aki-Teshup, brought the land of Niya and the city of Niya to hostility…I, Great King, King of Hatti, overpowered the city of Arahati. I captured Akiya, king of Arahati; Aki-Teshup, brother of Takuwa; and all of their chariot warriors, together with their possessions, and brought them to Hatti. I also brought the city of Qatna, together with its belongings and possessions to Hatti,….

              Obv. 38-47: When I went to the land of Nuhašše, I captured all of its territory. Its king Šarrupši alone escaped but I captured his mother...I installed Takipšarri, subject of Šarrupši, in kingship over the city of Ukulzat. I went to the land Apina, but I did not seek to attack the land of Kinza. But its king Šutatarra, together with his son Aitakama and his chariotry, came against me for battle. I drove him off and they entered the city of Abzuya. I invested Abzuya and I captured Šutatarra, together with ....and brought them to Hatti. I went to the land of Apina and Ariwana, king of the land of Apina, and his noblemen,..came against me for battle. I brought all of these, together with their land and their possessions to Hatti. Because of the presumptuousness of King Tushratta, I plundered all of these lands in one year and brought them to Hatti. From Mt Lebanon and from the far bank of the Euphrates I made them my territory.

              Obv 48-58: When his son conspired with his subjects, he killed his father , King Tushratta. And with the death of King Tushratta, the Storm-god decided the legal case of Artatama. His son brought the dead Artatama back to life. The entire land of Mitanni went to ruin and the land of Assyria and the land of Alši divided it between them. Until now, I, great King, Hero, King of Hatti, have not crossed to the est bank and have not taken even a blade of straw or a splinter of wood of the land of Mitanni... …

              A Rev 14-21: I, Great King, King of Hatti, captured the land of Mitanni. I did not capture them in the time of Prince [Shattiwaza]; I captured them in the time of Tushratta. The Euphrates [is my frontier (?)]. In my rear, I established Mount Lebanon as my frontier. And all of the cities [of the land of Carchemish – the cities of Carchemish], Murmurik, Shipri, Mazuwati and Šurun – these fortified cities [of the land of Carchemish] – I gave [to Piyassili], my son. All the cities which are situated in the land of Ashtata, on the west bank [of the Euphrates] of the land of Mitanni – Ekalte, … , Ahuna and Terqa – these cities belong to the land of Ashtata. Since Prince Piyassili crossed the Euphrates with [Prince] Shattiwaza and penetrated to the city of Irrite, all the cities on the west bank which Piyassili, [my son] holds – these belong to Piyassili. …

              A Rev 35-53: the Storm-god, Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Moon-god and the Sun-god, the Moon-god of Harran, heaven and earth, the Storm-god, Lord of the kurinnu of Kahat, the Deity of Herds of Kurta, the Storm-god, Lord of Uhušuman, Ea-šarri, Lord of Wisdom, Anu, Antu, Enlil, Ninlil, the Mitra-gods, the Varuna-gods, Indra, the Nasatya-gods, Lord of Waššukanni, the Storm-god, Lord of the Temple Platform (?) of Irrite, Partahi of Šuta, Nabarbi, Šuruhi, Ištar, Evening Star, Šala, Belet-ekalli, Damkina, Išhara, the mountains and rivers, the deities of heaven and the deities of earth.

              Beckman 6B Version
              Obv 31-40: ....From the city of Carchemish where we arrived, we sent a messenger to the people of the city of Irrite, but Shuttarna had influenced the Hurrians with the riches of Tushratta and had united them. We sent to them in Irrite and these Hurrians sent back to Piyassili: “Why are you coming? If you are coming for battle, come, but you shall not return to the land of the Great King!” When we had heard the words of the people of Irrite, we – Prince Piyassili and PrinceShattiwaza – crossed the Euphrates and arrived at Irrite ready for battle.

              Obv 41-47: And the gods of the Great King, King of Hatti, protected us, and the Hurrians whom Shuttarna had sent as protection to Irrite, as well as the chariotry and the troops of the district of Irrite, gathered in wait for us. We reached Irrite and the troops and chariotry which had sat within the city came out before us. We captured and destroyed all the …. When the people of Irrite…. Them … they assembled. In Irrite and all the districts of Irrite, they came before us for peace. … The people of the city of Harran and the [districts of ] Harran assembled and came to us […. In] Harran we will establish them.

              Akk Obv 48-65; Hitt 1-20: [The Assyrian …] sent him to besiege [Washukanni] and gave them a single chariot warrior as leader. [But] when he [came] to the city [of Washukanni, the people of ] Washukanni refused to make peace. But when the infantry and chariotry of [Assyria] besieged Washukanni, Prince Piyassili and I, Prince Shattiwaza, [were] in Irrite. A messenger came to us from Washukanni [and] spoke [as follows]: “The infantry and chariotry of Assyria are coming for battle [against the infantry and chariotry] of Hatti.” Then we marched out [and] their … came to meet [us], saying “ [ …and] in the [presence] of the scribe [of] the gate of the city of […] And the infantry and chariotry of Assyria …. He took away. But when to us …., we went up to [Washukanni. But] the city of Pakarripa … turned. And when [the people of Pakarripa] heard that [Prince] Piyassili and [Prince] Shattiwaza and both the infantry and chariotry of Hatti were going up to Washukanni.
              Hitt. 21-29: the people of Pakarippa deserted and became allies [of Hatti]. And we [went] out from Washukanni and went up to Pakarippa. Word was brought to us: “The Assyrian is coming against you in battle.” The environs of Pakarripa were desolate; and hunger caught up with the troops. The Assyrians however were not to be seen again. They did not come against us in battle and we went after the Assyrians to the city of Nilapšini. But the Assyrians did not come against us in battle there either. 
              http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/ranghaya/suppiluliuma_shattiwaza_treaty.htm

              Location

              Mitanni Lands. Source: Wikipedia
              Mitanni Lands. Source: Wikipedia
              The kingdom of the Mitanni Indo-Iranian dynasty that ruled in the land of the Hurrians was located in the upper Euphrates-Tigris basin - land that is now part of northern Iraq, Syria and south-eastern Turkey.

              At its greatest extent (for a brief period at the height of its dynastic power), Mitanni territory extended to the Mediterranean coast and into northern Assyria / Mesopotamia, it's south-eastern neighbour.

              Mitanni's north-western border with the Hattian kingdom of the Hittites was fluid and constantly subject to aggression except when the two rivals concluded a peace treaty - one that invoked the Indo-Iranian pantheon of Mitra, Varuna, Indra and the Nasatyas - but also one that marked the decline of the Mitanni kingdom and a decrease in size. The Mitanni and Hittites were closely related. The Hittites used the Hurrian language extensively in their inscriptions. They also shared in the development of the light chariot whose wheels used spokes (see below).

              The Hurrian lands are today a part of Greater Kurdistan.


              Wassukanni / Washukanni - Mitanni Capital

              Reputed location of Washukanni: Tell Fecheriye, Syria. Source: Wikipedia
              Reputed location of the Mitanni capital, Washukanni: Tell Fecheriye, Syria. Source: Wikipedia
              The Mitanni capital was Wassukanni / Washukanniand its location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the River Habur, a tributary of the Euphrates.

              The name Washukanni is similar to the Kurdish word bashkanibashmeaning good and kanîmeaning well or source (Kurdish has the same name, kani, for well and source). The Luwian word vasu also means good. The name is similar to the Sanskrit word vasukhani meaning 'mine of wealth'.

              Some believe the ancient city of Sikan was built on the site of Washukanni, and that its ruins may be located under the mound of Tell Fecheriye/el Fakhariya near Gozan in Syria. Other proposed locations for Wassukanni are Rais el Ain in Syria (80 km. east of Akcakale, Turkey), and further north near Diyarbakir (ancient Amida), a Kurdish city and province.


              The Mitanni Dynasty

              The Mitanni dynasty ruled over the northern Euphrates-Tigris region between c. 1475 and c. 1275 BCE. While the Mitanni kings were Indo-Iranians, they used the language of the local people which was at that time a non Indo-Iranian language, Hurrian.


              Tushratta's letter to Amenhotep III of Egypt. British Museum WAA 29791
              Tushratta's letter to Amenhotep III of Egypt Amarna
              from Tell el-Amarna. Housed at British Museum WAA 29791
              For a period, the extent of Mitanni control included parts of northern Assyria, including the Nineveh and Ashur. However, after the mid-fourteenth century BCE, Mitanni was plagued by a dynastic crisis and palace intrigue. It appears that the young king Tusratta who had been installed as a figure-head after the murder of his father, was not universally recognized and as a result, he lost control of the Assyrian lands at the outset of his reign. At the same time, in northeast Mitanni, a rival named Artatama II seems to have created a kingdom of his own and the Hittites invaded Mitanni - an attack that Tusratta managed to repulse.

              Despite Tusratta's problems, he was not beyond offering his daughter Tadukhipa in marriage to the King Amenhotep III of Egypt for a large quantity of gold. The tablet seen to the right is a letter from Tusratta to Amenhotep in which he asks for "gold in very great quantity" as a bride price, supporting his request with the comment, "Gold is as dust in the land of my brother."

              The beleaguered Tusratta was then murdered by his son in a palace coup. Tusratta's other son, Prince Shattiwaza, fled Mitanni and was eventually given sanctuary by the Hittite King Suppiluliuma with whom he concluded a treaty c. 1380 BCE, which we know as the Suppiluliuma-Shattiwaza Treaty (discovered in 1907 CE in Hattusa, near present-day Bogazkale (Boğazkale, formerly Bogazköy) in north-central Turkey. In the treaty, the Hittite King Suppiluliuma agreed to assist Shattiwaza gain the Mitanni throne and invaded Mitanni. The Hittites captured the Mitanni capital Wassukanni after a second attempt and installed Shattiwaza as a vassal king.

              The Suppiluliuma-Shattiwaza Treaty is a source of considerable information about the Mitanni. In addition, it gives us some astonishing information about the religious practices of the Mitanni for it invokes the Indo-Iranian pantheon of asuras and devas Mitras(il) (Mitra)Uruvanass(il) (Varuna)Indara (Indra) and the Nasatianna (Nasatyas) (Ashwins).

              Following the capture of Wassukanni, the Hittites installed new rulers in Mitanni towns while the Assyrians regained control of the territory they had lost to the Mitanni. Tusratta was killed and his son Shattiwaza became a vassal of the Hittite Suppiluliuma (c.1344 - 1322 BCE). At the same time, the rebellious Artatama became a puppet king of a reborn Assyria, led by king Assur-Uballit I (1364-1328 BCE). Wassukanni was sacked again by the Assyrian king Adad-Nirari I around 1290 BCE, after which very little is known of its history.

              In our page on the Hittites, we note:
              "In the Bogazkale archives, native Hurrian is used frequently for a wide range of non-official texts such as those on rituals and even the Epic of Gilgamesh - more so than native Hattian. Native Hurrian texts have been found throughout the region. One such text dated to 1750 BCE was found at Tell Hariri (ancient Mari), a Middle Euphrates site, and another at Ras Shamra (Ugarit) on the Syrian coast indicating Hurrian i.e. Mitanni influence in the region preceded the rise of Hittite power. A similar language to Hurrian is the language of Urartu located to the east of the Hittite lands at the headwaters of the Euphrates and around Lake Van. According to the literature (cf. The Hittites by O. R. Gurney, Penguin Books 1981), The Hurrians were migrants to the Upper Euphrates and Habur basin from the Elburz Mountains east across the Taurus Mountains from about 2300 BCE onwards."


              Famed Charioteers

              Map of the Kurdish speaking areas of the Middle East and Anatolia
              Mitanni Chariot
              note wheels with spokes
              The Mitanni were famed charioteers. They are reported to have spearheaded the development of the light war chariot with wheels that used spokes rather than solid wood wheels like those used by the Sumerians.

              The Mitanni name for chariot warriors was maryanna or marijannina, a form of the Indo-Iranian term marya meaning 'young man," used in the Rig Veda when referring to the celestial warriors assembled around the Vedic deity Indra.


              Expertise in Horse Training

              The Hittite archives of Hattusa, near present-day Bogazkale contained what is the oldest surviving horse training manual in the world. The elaborate work was written c. 1345 BCE on four tablets and contains 1080 lines by a Mitanni horse trainer named Kikkuli. It begins with the words, "Thus speaks Kikkuli, master horse trainer of the land of Mitanni" and uses various Indo-Iranian words for horse colours, numbers and names. Examples are:
                assussanni a form of the Sanskrit asva-sani meaning 'horse trainer',
                aika wartanna meaning one turn (cf. Vedic Sanskrit ek vartanam),
                tera wartanna meaning three turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit tri vartanam),
                panza wartanna meaning five turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit panca vartanam),
                satta wartanna meaning seven turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit sapta vartanam), and
                navartanna meaning nine turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit nava vartanam).
              [Regrettably, writers do not mention the Old Iranian equivalents.]

              A Hurrian text from Yorgan Tepe also uses Indo-Iranian words to describe the colour of horses, words such as babru for brown, parita for grey, and pinkara for a reddish hue.

              The Kikkuli manual for training chariot horses highlights the links between the Mitanni and Hittites. Even though they were rivals at times, the two groups also collaborated frequently. The fact that the Hittites employed a Mitanni as a master trainer of horses may indicate that it was the Mitanni who were the regional experts in horse training especially for military purposes (in a manner similar to the Sogdians in the East) and that the Mitanni in turn had brought the expertise with them in their migration westward.

              The methods used in the Kikkuli method enabled horses to be trained without injury. The text detailed a 214-day training regime using interval training and sports medicine techniques such as the principle of progression, peak loading systems, electrolyte replacement, fartlek training, intervals and repetitions and was directed at horses with a high proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibres. the Kikkuli horses were stabled, rugged, washed down with warm water and fed oats, barley and hay at least three times per day.

              Kikkuli's interval training technique stressed the leading of horses at a trot, canter and gallop, before subjecting them to the weight bearing stress of a rider, driver or chariot. Workouts sometimes numbered three a day with scheduled rest days. Kikkuli's interval training contained three stages - the first two for developing strong legs and a strong cardio-muscular system, and the third for increasing neuromuscular conditioning. His workouts included brief recoveries to lower the heart rate. Swimming was also included in intervals of three to five sessions, with rest periods after each session. The horses were also subject to warming down periods and the method's example of cantering included intermediate pauses to lower the heart rate partially and as the training advanced the workouts included intervals at the canter.


              Mitanni Indo-Iranian Names

              The names of the Mitanni kings and their capital city were of Indo-Iranian origin. For instance, Tueratta was a form of the Indo-Iranian Tvesa-ratha meaning 'Possessor of a Chariot'. The name S'attuara was a form of Satvar meaning 'warrior' and the name of the Mitanni capital Wassukanni, was a form of Vasu-khani meaning 'wealth-mine'.

              The names of proto-Indo-Iranian dieties are also found to form the names of the Kassite rulers of Babylonia.


              Arta

              Several Mitanni names contained the Old Persian term arta, a derivative of asha via arsha, meaning cosmic order and truth (arta transforms to the Sanskrit r'ta). Arta is found used in Old Persian Achaemenian names (e.g. Artakhshassa c.450 BCE) and in the Sogdian Avesta as well. Asha is the central ethical concept of the Avesta.

              Philologists trace the Mitanni names to the Vedic equivalents. For instance, they note that the royal name Artatama was a form of the Indo-Iranian R'ta-dhaanman meaning 'the abode of rta', and the name Artas's'umara was a form of Rta-smara meaning 'remembering r'ta'.

              However, for some reason, none of the writers that we have come across link the name to their Old Iranian or Old Persian equivalents - equivalents that will be closer to the Mitanni names as we have demonstrated with the use of arta above.


              Society Structure & Rule of Law

              Mitanni society was structured into classes, ranks, and professions, in a manner similar to the Jamshidi system of professional guilds. The judiciary was well organized and the records display a strong emphasis on correct procedure.


              Land Conveyance

              The aristocratic families usually received their landed property as an inalienable fief, in other words, The land grant included a provision that the land could only be transferred to children of the owner - it could not be sold. Nevertheless, sellers and buyers found a convenient work-around and the prohibition against selling landed property was circumvented by the owner of property 'adopting' the buyer for an acceptable sum of money. The wealthy landlord Tehiptilla was 'adopted' almost two hundred times, acquiring tremendous holdings of landed property in this way without interference by the local governmental authorities.


              Agriculture & Manufacturing

              The system of planting crops included a productive two-field system of agriculture in which an agricultural plot was divided into two fields where each field was cultivated only once every two years.

              Records indicate that sheep were bred for their wool on which an extensive woollen and textile industry was based. The manufactured textiles were collected by the palace were exported on a large scale.

              According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "glass was produced on a large scale for the first time around 1600 BCE, perhaps in the Mitanni state of northern Mesopotamia."


              Trade

              Trade in the Euphrates-Tigris basin was conducted using the extensive river network and the Mitanni controlled the river trade routes down the River Habur to Mari and from there up the River Euphrates to Carchemish. They also controlled trade along the upper Tigris River and its headwaters at Nineveh, Arbil, Ashur and Nuzi. 
              http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/ranghaya/mitanni.htm

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              Hittite's Aryan Connections

              The Hittites were the people who ruled the central Anatolian kingdom of Hatti from c. 1900 - 800 BCE. They formed the earliest known Anatolian civilization and employed an advanced system of government based on an established legal system. Their military was well trained, well equipped, and employed chariots that were the lightest and fastest of their time.

              Together with their southern neighbours, the Mitanni, the Hittites acknowledged Aryan (Indo-Iranian) deities such as Mitra, Varuna, Indra and used names with Aryan roots. Both appear on the historical stage in the Upper Euphrates basin, the Hittites to the north of the Euphrates and the Mitanni to the south. At different periods, they were allies or rivals. The land of the Hittites was called Katpatuka (Cappadocia) during Persian Achaemenian times (675 - 330 BCE). Strabo in the first century ACE, noted that the magi of Cappadocia "... have Pyraetheia (fire-houses), noteworthy enclosures...", the first record of Zoroastrian fire temples. Katpatuka / Cappadocia - the old Hittite land - could have been the western extent of Ranghaya, the sixteenth and last Aryan land in the Vendidad - the last land mentioned before the Avestan canon was closed.

              While the Hittites may have been immigrants to the land of Hatti, they peacefully adapted to the language, custom and religion of the aboriginal Hattians with whom they enjoyed a mutually profitable and amicable relationship. They brought with them various technologies including Metal Age manufacturing methods such as the smelting and casting of iron.

              History

              Hittites first appear in the historical stage (though we use the word 'first' cautiously as this relates only to archaeological evidence) as rulers of the city of Kussara in south-eastern Anatolia somewhere between Nesa (Central Turkey today, see map below) and Aleppo (Northern Syria). The earliest known member of a Hittite speaking dynasty, Pithana, was based in Kussara. Pithana conquered the town of Nesa (or Nesha), near present-day Kayseri in central Turkey, and the city which the Hittites considered their city of origin. Shortly after 1800 BCE Pithana's son Anitta extended these conquests, capturing Hattusa, near present-day Bogazkale (Boğazkale, formerly Bogazköy) in north-central Turkey. Under subsequent kings of the Old Kingdom, Hattusa would become the future Hittite capital. Anitta, left records indicating his achievements, but he does not appear to have created an empire or to have founded a dynasty. The period after him was characterized by power struggles.

              Map of Anatolia / Asia Minor. Hittite Hatti occupied land in the centre of this map. Base image courtesy Microsoft Encarta
              Site Map of Anatolia / Asia Minor. the Hittite Hatti heartland occupied land in the centre of this map. Base image courtesy Microsoft Encarta
              It was the Hittite king Labarna, or Tabarna, (r. 1680-1650 BCE) who established what some call the Old Kingdom (c. 1680 - 1400 BCE), and from the time of its establishment, the Hittite kingdom rapidly grew in size. The establishment of the kingdom and the dynasty are chronicled in the Proclamation of Telepenus (c. 1525-1500 BCE). The Proclamation states that King Labarna consolidated power among the disparate Hittite city states and then proceeded to conquer nearly all of central Anatolia up to its shores. His successor Labarna II also known as Hattusili I (c. 1650-1620 BCE) continued to consolidate the kingdom as well as a dynastic line. Hattusilis' (adopted son or grandson?) successor, Mursili I (r. 1620-1590 BCE), further extended Hittite rule by conquering Aleppo (what is Halab today) in Assyria, and then went on to raid, but not rule, Babylon c.1595 BCE.

              The consolidation and expansion of the Hittite kingdom into an empire (sometimes known as the New Kingdom or Empire c. 1400 - 1180 BCE) took place during the reign of Prince Suppiluliuma (r. c.1380-1346 BCE), a reputed usurper of the Hittite throne. Suppiluliuma rebuilt the capital at Hattusa and reorganized the government. He built on his military successes by defeating the Mitanni King Tusratta with whom his relations had become advesarial. In Tusratta's place, he installed his Mitanni ally Prince Shattiwaza, who had fled Mitanni and sought sanctuary in Hatti. The two kings concluded a treaty c. 1380 BCE, which we know as the Suppiluliuma-Shattiwaza Treaty, the result of which gave Suppiluliuma control over various Mitanni vassal states including parts of Assyria. With his acquisition of Assyrian lands, Hattusa's empire now rivalled the power of Egypt under pharaoh Amenhotep IV, or Akhenaton, as well as that of Babylonia and Assyria. During the 15th and 14th centuries BCE, subsequent Hittite kings extended the extent of their empire westward to the Aegean Sea, eastward into Armenia, south-eastward into upper Mesopotamia, and southward as far as the mouth of the Litani River (a territory known as Amqu) in present-day Lebanon.

              The Hittite king Hattusili III (r. 1289-1265 BCE) concluded a treaty of peace and alliance with Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses and gave Ramses his daughter in marriage. In c.1200 BCE the Hittite Empire fell to invaders called the Sea Peoples in Egyptian records, and shrank to collection of Neo-Hittite city states such as Carchemish and Milid (present-day Malatya).

              Sources of Information

              Information about the Hittites comes from a 1906 discovery of the Hittite's royal archives during excavations at Boğazkale. Another source is Egyptian records. The Hittites may also be mentioned in the Jewish scriptures as the sons of Heth, but this theory is disputed.



              Hittite Languages

              The royal Hittite archives at Bogazkale contain over 10,000 tablets whose cuneiform inscriptions are written in eight different languages:
              1. Hittite (most of the texts were written in the Hittite language which the authors called Nesili (or Kanesili). The earliest examples of Nesili were found in the Hittite settlement of Nesa, also known as Kanesh (near Kültepe and about 20 km southwest of modern Kayseri) in the record of trade between Assyrian merchants and the 'land of Hatti'),
              4. Native Hattian (the native language of the Hittite lands, Hatti, and a language completely different from Hittite. It was used for religious texts only),
              2. Mitanni,
              3. Native Hurrian (the native language of neighbouring Mitanni. Significantly, the Hurrian language was used for non-official texts to a far greater extent than native Hattian, Luwian or Palaic, leaving the impression that native Hattian was used only for religious purposes in the same manner Sanskrit and Avestan are used today),
              5. Akkadian (the international language of the region that was used for treaties and state letters),
              6. Luwian (also spelt Luvian - a language closely related to Hittite and spoken in Arzawa and Kizzuwatna to the southwest of Hatti - an area called Luwia and later Lydia. By the end of the Hittite Empire, the population of most of the Hittite Empire spoke Luwian dialects),
              7. Palaic (Palaumnili - language of the people of Pala who appear to have lived to the west of the Hittite core area between modern Kayseri and Sivas), and
              8. Sumerian.

              The use of eight different languages spoken throughout the region is significant and indicate the intended readership of both local and international visitors to the Hittite capital. Of the eight languages, for their official documents, the Hittite kings used only the Nesili Hittite and Akkadian.

              In multi-lingual texts found in Hittite locations, passages written in the Hittite language are preceded by the phrase "in Nesumnili ( i.e. language of the people of Neša, otherwise called Nesili, Nasili or Nisili)". In one case, the label is "in Kanisumnili (i.e. language of the people of Kanesh)". The religious native Hattian texts are introduced with the phrase "in Hatilli (i.e. language of the people of Hatti).

              In the Boğazkale archives, native Hurrian is used frequently for a wide range of non-official texts such as those on rituals and even the Epic of Gilgamesh - more so than native Hattian. Native Hurrian texts have been found throughout the region. One such text dated to 1750 BCE was found at Tell Hariri (ancient Mari), a Middle Euphrates site, and another at Ras Shamra (Ugarit) on the Syrian coast indicating Hurrian i.e. Mitanni influence in the region preceded the rise of Hittite power under Suppiluliuma. A similar language to Hurrian is the language of Urartu located to the east of the Hittite lands at the headwaters of the Euphrates and around Lake Van. According to the literature (cf. The Hittites by O. R. Gurney, Penguin Books 1981), The Hurrians were migrants to the Upper Euphrates and Habur basin from the Elburz Mountains east across the Taurus Mountains from about 2300 BCE onwards.

              For a script, the Hittites used the cuneiform system and hieroglyphs. The cuneiform Hittites texts were written on clay tablets that were discovered during excavations at the end of the 19th century CE. Identification of the language had to wait until 1915 when Czech linguist Bedřich Hrozný, after examining tablets that had been brought to Vienna from the Istanbul Museum, identified the language of the Hittite tablets as Indo-European. He published his findings in a 1917 book titled Die Sprache der Hethiter. In 1951 a comprehensive Hittite grammar was presented in a book titled A Comparative Grammar of the Hittite Language by Edgar H. Sturtevant.

              As evidenced by the records discovered, the Hittites had a highly developed literature consisting of stories, religious texts, historical records, legal system and legal documents.

              On line pages on Hittite grammar and language:
              » Hittite Language Lesson at University of Texas
              » The Hittite Grammar Homepage

              Governance

              In the Hittite system of governance, the Hittite king acted as the supreme priest, military commander, and chief judge of the land. In the early years of the empire, the king was assisted by the pankus, an advisory council of nobles. The different provinces of the empire were administered by provincial governors. Certain states at the edge of the empires were ruled by vassal kings under terms of a formal treaty.

              In their legal code, the Hittites rarely resorted to the death penalty or to bodily mutilation as punishment for breaking the law - penalties that were frequently used by other ancient Middle Eastern kingdoms. Rather than relying on retribution or vengeance, the principle for redressing transgressions was restitution. For instance, the penalty for theft was restoration of the stolen property and payment of an additional recompense. In due course, restitution in kind was gradually replaced by payment of money.

              Economy

              The Hittite economy was based on agriculture, trade and manufacture. The mineral resources that they processed were copper, lead, silver, and iron. Their metallurgical techniques were advanced for the time and parallel the metallurgical advances by Indo-Iranians in Central Asia.

              Hittite weapons were made from bronze. Iron was so rare and precious that it was employed only for the manufacture of prestigious goods. Correspondence with other governments indicate international demand for Hittite iron goods. The evidence of iron tool production dates back at least as far as the 20th century BCE.

              One example of Hittite technology skills is their skill in building and using chariots.

              Hattusa - Hittite Capital (near Bogazkale)

              Satellite view of the ruins of the Hittite capital Hattusa next to the modern town of Bogazkale. Base image courtesy Google Earth
              Satellite view of the ruins of the Hittite capital Hattusa next to the modern town of Bogazkale. Base image courtesy Google Earth

              Click to view Larger Map
              Interactive satellite image of Hattusa / Bogazkale from Google Maps. Zoom in to see a close-up of the structures
              Aerial view of Lower Hattusa looking south. The town of Bogazköy is to the right (west)
              Aerial view of Lower Hattusa (a) looking south. Upper Hattusa is in the background.
              Bogazkale (Bogazköy) town is to right (west). Image at hattuscha.de
              Aerial view of Upper Hattusa looking east. Bogazköy is to the left (north)
              Aerial view of Upper Hattusa looking east. Bogazkale (Bogazköy) is to the left (north). Image at hattuscha.de
              The ruins of the ancient Hittite city of Hattusa (known as Hattus in Hattic), capital of the Old Hittite Kingdom, can be found next to the village of Bogazkale (formerly Bogazköy), in Çorum Province and some 87 km. southwest of the city of Çorum. Bogazkale (Bogazköy) is located at the southern end of the Budaközü River valley, at an elevation of 300 metres, and where the northern plains enter a valley surrounded by rock outcrops.

              Evidence of a settlement at Hattusa predates Hittite presence by thousands of years goes back to the sixth millennium BCE, when it was inhabited by the native Hatti people. The Hittite's initial capture of the city was destructive. A carbonized layer in the excavations that is dated at c. 1700 BCE, indicates a burning of the city - a burning credited to the Hittite king King Anitta who was then based in southern city of Kushar. After destroying the city, Anitta left behind an inscription stating, "At night I took the city by force. I have sown weeds in its place. Should any king after me attempt to resettle Hattush (the city's name in Hittite), may the Storm God of Heaven strike him down." This inscription known as the Proclamation of Anitta is the earliest text found at Hattusa and the earliest known text composed by a Hittite king.

              A subsequent Hittite king, Labarna II (c. 1650-1620 BCE) seems to have ignored Anitta's curse and returned to the site to resettle Hattusa and make it his capital. He called himself Hattusili I.

              Evidence in the form of cuneiform tablets, shows that in the 19th and 18th centuries BCE, merchants (apparently from Ashur (Assur) in Assyria), established a trading post and separate living quarters in Lower Hattusa. Among the goods they traded were tin, wool, foodstuffs, spices, and woven fabrics. Assyrian trading colonies in Anatolia were called kârum and the largest known karum and the centre of Hatti's trade network was at the ancient settlement of Kanesa (or Kanesh) - commonly contracted to Nesa (or Nesha) and located near the modern village Kültepe in Kayseri Province. Kültepe is about 200 km. southeast of Hattusa.

              Upper Hattusas is about a kilometer square in size and was developed during the 13th century BCE. It was surrounded by a wall with several gates. A large part of the upper city consisted of temples and ritual areas.

              External links:
              » Bogazkale pictures
              » Hattusa by Günther Eichhorn
              » German ArchaeoIogical Institute - Excavations at Hattusa
              » Hattusas

              Excavations at Hattusa, Bogazkale

              After Charles Dexter examined the ruins in 1834 and evoked interest in the significance of the ruins, Sayce made the first connection between with the ruins and the Hittite state. Until then, the Hittites were thought to have been based Syria. In 1882, Carl Human and Otto Puchstein visited Bogazkale with the intention of making a comprehensive study of the site. It was not until the years 1893-1894 that Ernest Chantre dug some explorative trenches.

              In 1905-06 excavations of Hattusa were conducted under the supervision of Hugo Winckler and Theodor Makridi, members of Deutsche Orientgesellschaft (the German Oriental Society). These two archaeologists were joined in the following year by Otto Puchstein, and their work continued until 1912. After a hiatus due to the First World War, excavations were resumed in 1931 under the direction of Kurt Bittel - excavations that were again interrupted and resumed after the Second World War.

              In 1917, the German excavators removed a sphinx from Hattusa and sent it to Germany. The Turkish Government has been unsuccessful in seeking its return and the sphinx remains on display in Berlin's Pergamon Museum.

              Hoyuk or tepe - a mound on a plain caused by soil covering a buried site
              Hoyuk or tepe - a mound on a plain
              caused by soil covering a buried site.
              Also called a tel in archaeology. Image at Anatolia

              Sakje-Geuzi

              Excavations conducted at the undisturbed tepe at Sakje-Geuzi revealed evidence of a continuous culture which began to flourish before 3000 BCE. Discovered buried in a lower layer were Neolithic Age yellow-painted pottery with black geometric designs. The painted design on the pottery resembles the design on painted fabrics found in Turkestan by the Pumpelly expedition, as well as the design on artefacts found at great distances from one another - at sites in Susa and its vicinity by De Morgan, in the Balkan peninsula by Schliemann, in a First Dynasty tomb at Abydos in Egypt by Petrie, and in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (Minoan) strata of Crete by Evans.

              The similarity in design could be more than coincidental and could be the result of trade and other connections between nations from Egypt to Central Asia - nations that were on the Aryan trade roads.

              External links:
              » Hittite/Hurrian Mythology

              http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/ranghaya/hittites.htm
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              Contents

              Kassites

              Kassite Dynasty

              Kassites (from the Akkadian Kassu) is the name given to the dynasty that ruled Babylonia from the 16th to 12th centuries BCE, and to the 5th to 1st century BCE Kossaean / Cossaean (from Gk. Kossaioii) nation that was located in the Hamadan-Kermanshah-Luristan area in present day Iran. We know about the Babylonian Kassites from inscriptions and tablets found in the region, and we read mention of the Kossaeans in the writings of several classical Greek writers.

              Map of Anatolia. Base image courtesy Microsoft Encarta
              Map of Anatolia. Base image courtesy Microsoft Encarta
              Several modern historians such as K. Balkan (in 1986, p. 8) and M. Heinz (in 1995, p. 167) have stated that the Kassite rulers of Babylon were members of the Indo-Iranian Kossaean people based in Hamadan-Kermanshah-Luristan area, but whose origins are not mentioned in historical records. The historians make several additional conclusions or assumptions:

              First, that the Kossaeans mentioned by Greek writers were the successors of the Babylonian Kassites who were driven out of Babylonia by conquering Elamites (neighbours of the Kossaeans) in the 12th century BCE.

              Second, that the Kassites in fleeing to Kossaea were returning to their ancestral lands.

              Third, that the Kassites were originally Indo-Iranian Kossaeans who had settled the Hamadan-Kermanshah-Luristan area prior to the 17th century BCE.

              Fourth, that the Indo-Iranian Kossaeans were immigrants to the area since they are not mentioned as being among the peoples who inhabited the central and southern Zagros in Sargonic (2270-2215 BCE) and Ur III / Third Dynasty of Ur era (21st to 20th century BCE) inscriptions. As we shall see below, these assumptions and conclusions are plausible.

              Hamadan and Kermanshah, are two provinces with eponymous capital cities that straddle the northern Zagros mountains placing them strategically on the Aryan trade roads - the Silk Roads. Luristan lies to their south and the Iranian province of Elam is found to the west of Luristan. Elam and Kermanshah border modern-day Iraq and what would have been Northern Babylonia (see map).

              Babylonian/Kassite Chronology & References

              The chronology of events in Babylonia in particular and the Middle East in general during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE is not precise and can be quite confusing when reading the literature. There are four different ancient Middle East chronologies called Ultra-Low, Short or Low, Middle, and Long or High.

              For the time period when the Kassites ruled Babylonia, the Middle to Late Bronze Age, the chronologies are determined by the date of the sacking of Babylon by the Hittites. The short chronology which places the sack of Babylon at 1531 BCE is currently the most widely accepted (and used in this page) while older literatures favours the middle chronology which places the sack of Babylon at 1595 BCE.

              The following table gives an overview of the different chronologies, listing some key dates and deviation relative to the short chronology (source Wikipedia):

              Chronology Ammisaduqa Year 8 Reign of Hammurabi Sack of Babylon ±
              Ultra-Low 1542 BCE 1696 BCE - 1654 BCE 1499 BCE +32 years
              Short or Low 1574 BCE 1728 BCE - 1686 BCE 1531 BCE ±0 years
              Middle 1638 BCE 1792 BCE - 1750 BCE 1595 BCE -64 years
              Long or High 1694 BCE 1848 BCE - 1806 BCE 1651 BCE -120 years

              Kassites - Babylonian Rulers (16th - 12th Centuries BCE)

              1770 BCE: The earliest written record of an individual with a Kassite name in Babylonia region is from a 1770 BCE inscription made by Sumerian city-state Larsa ruler Rim-Sin I (1758-1699 BCE). Larsa was located south of Babylon near Uruk.

              1742 BCE: The Kassites as a political force entered written history with the record of their attack on Babylonia in 1742 or 1741 BCE - an attack that was repelled by the Babylonians. At that time, the king of Babylonia was Samsu-Iluna (also Samsiluna. reign c. 1749 - 1712 BCE), son of Hammurabi. [Sassmannshausen (1999, pp. 411 f.) is of the opinion that they penetrated from the central Zagros via the lower Diyala region into northern Babylonia, notably the Sippar region during the late Old Babylonian period.] Thereafter, Kassite groups and individuals are found recorded in northern Babylonian texts, especially in inscriptions found in the area around Sippar Yahrurum (see Zadok, 1987, pp. 17 ff.; De Smet, 1990; De Graef, 1998, pp. 5 ff.; Pientka, 1998, pp. 257 ff.; Sassmannshausen, 2000, pp. 415 f.).

              1531 BCE: While the initial Kassite attack was not successful, later, sometime after Babylon succumbed to the Hittite invasion in c. 1531 BCE called the 'sack of Babylon' (the Hittites did not occupy Babylon after their plundering raid), the Kassites under the command of Agum-Kak-Reme gained control of northern Babylonia.

              1475 BCE: In c. 1475-1450 BCE, the Kassites (under King Ulamburiash?) went on to conquer southern Babylonia.

              Dur Kurigalzu Citadel at modern Aqar-Quf west of Baghdad, Iraq
              Dur Kurigalzu Citadel at modern Aqar-Quf west of Baghdad, Iraq
              1400-1225 BCE: After consolidating their rule over Babylonia, the Kassites under Kurigalzu I (c. 1400-1375 BCE) built a new capital, Dur Kurigalzu, modern Aqar-Quf west of Baghdad, Iraq, while giving the name Karanduniashto the city of Babylon. After Kurigalzu II (c. 1332-1308 BCE) was defeated in a war with the Assyrians, his successors allied themselves with the Hittites in order to defend against Assyrian expansion. During the reign of Kashtiliash IV (c. 1232-1225 BCE), Babylonia fought two simultaneous and disastrous wars against Elam and Assyria culminating in the invasion and destruction of Babylon by Tukulti-Ninurta I.

              1216-1155 BCE: Kassite Babylonia would have to wait until the time of kings Adad-shum-usur (c. 1216-1187 BCE) and Melishipak (c. 1186-1172 BCE) to experience a period of relative peace. Their successors were obliged to defend Babylonia once again this time against an assault from the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte (c. 1185-1155 BCE) who led a cruel and fierce army that defeated and brought to an end the Kassite dynasty around 1155 BCE. The last Kassite king, Enlil-nadin-ahi, was imprisoned in Susa where he died.

              Once the Kassites had established themselves in Babylonia, they had no further expansionist plans and sought to bring order, peace and prosperity to Babylonia. The Kassite kings ruled a unified Babylonia for almost four hundred years - longer than any other dynasty in Babylonian history. Under them, Babylon achieved a relative stability that enabled it to become the political and cultural center of the ancient world.

              Post-Babylonian Kassites - Kossaeans/Cossaeans

              After their expulsion from Babylon, the Kassites next reappear in an inscription recording the attack by Sennacherib in 702 BCE of the Khabira clan living in the Zagros mountains northwest of Elam, immediately south of Holwan.

              A few hundred years later, a nation of Kissia / Cissia the same area of the Zagros mountains are mentioned by Aeschylus (c. 525-456 BCE) in his Choephori line 424, Persians lines 17, 120, and Herodotus (c. 484-425 BCE) in Histories Book 5. sections 49, 52.

              Five hundred years later, the Kissians / Cissians of Herodotus and Aeschylus appear to have become Kossaeans / Cossaeans in Greek literature. Strabo (63/64 BCE - 24 CE) writes (xi. 13,3,6) that a people called Kossaeans or Cossaeans were the neighbours of the Medes and that Alexander the Macedonian battled Kossaeans in the winter of 323 BCE on his way from Ecbatana to Babylon. The campaign was extremely bloody, and Alexander's contemporaries thought that Alexander was in a rage venting his emotions because his lover Hephaestion had died. Next we read mention of Susiana being divided between Kossaeans and the Elymaeans (Elamites) in the writings of Ptolemy (90-168 CE).

              The quotes from translations of these texts are reproduced below:

              Herodotus (c. 484-425 BCE)
              5.49 "Next to the Phrygians are the Cappadokians, whom we call Syrians; and bordering upon them are the Kilikians, coming down to this sea, in which lies the island of Cyprus here; and these pay five hundred talents to the king for their yearly tribute. Next to these Kilikians are the Armenians, who you may see here and these also have great numbers of sheep and cattle. Next to the Armenians are the Matienians occupying this country here; and next to them is the land of Kissia here, in which land by the banks of this river Choaspes is situated that city of Susa where the great king has his residence, and where the money is laid up in treasuries"

              5.52 "As regards this road (Royal Road of Darius) the truth is as follows: Everywhere there are royal stages [and excellent resting-places], and the whole road runs through country which is inhabited and safe. ...Passing thence into the Kissian land, there are eleven stages, forty-two and a half leagues, to the river Choaspes, which is also a navigable stream; and upon this is built the city of Susa."

              Diodorus Siculus (Works dated to 60 and 30 BCE i.e. 1st century BCE)
              Book XVII, Section 111. 4 "...Alexander launched a campaign (324/3 BCE) with a mobile force against the Cossaeans, for they would not submit to him. This is a people outstanding in valour which occupied the mountains of Media; and relying upon the ruggedness of their country and their ability in war, they had never accepted a foreign master, but had remained unconquered throughout the whole period of the Persian kingdom, and now they were too proudly self-confident to be terrified of the Macedonian arms. 5 The king, nevertheless, seized the routes of access into their country before they were aware of it, lay waste most of Cossaea, was superior in every engagement, and both slew many of the Cossaeans and captured many times more. So the Cossaeans were utterly defeated, and, distressed at the number of their captives, were constrained to buy their recovery at the price of national submission. 6 They placed themselves in Alexander's hands and were granted peace on condition that they should do his bidding. In forty days at most, he had conquered this people. He founded strong cities at strategic points and rested his army."

              [Note: The above is an example of Alexander's gratuitous brutality recorded in the Greek texts. Another example was when he wanted to test the validity of claims regarding the inflammability of naphtha. Strabo (63/64 BCE - 24 ACE) in Geography, Book XVI, Chapter 1.15 writes: "...naphtha, is of a singular nature; for it the naphtha is brought near fire it catches the fire; and if you smear a body with it and bring it near to the fire, the body bursts into flames; and it is impossible to quench these flames with water (for they burn more violently), unless a great amount is used, though they can be smothered and quenched with mud, vinegar, alum, and bird-lime. It is said that Alexander, for an experiment, poured some naphtha on a boy in a bath and brought a lamp near him; and that the boy, enveloped in flames, would have been nearly burned to death if the bystanders had not, by pouring on him a very great quantity of water, prevailed over the fire and saved his life."]

              Strabo (63/64 BCE - 24 ACE):
              Geography, Book XVI, Chapter 1.17. "...bordering on this country (Persis) are Paraetacenê and Cossaea as far as the Caspian Gates, which is inhabited by mountainous and predatory tribes. And bordering on Susis is Elymaïs, most of which is rugged and inhabited by brigands; and bordering Elymaïs are Media and the region of the Zagrus.

              18. "Now the Cossaeans, like the neighbouring mountaineers, are for the most part bowmen, and are always out of foraging expeditions; for they have a country that is small and barren, so that they must needs live at the expense of the other tribes. And they are of necessity a powerful people, for they are all fighters; at any rate, thirteen thousand Cossaeans joined the Elymaeans in battle, when the latter were warring against both the Babylonians and the Susians."

              Plutarch (46-120 CE)
              Alexander, 72. "When he (Alexander) came to Ecbatana in Media and had transacted the business that was urgent, he was once more much occupied with theatres and festivals, since three thousand artists had come to him from Greece. 2 But during this time it chanced that Hephaestion had a fever... he sat down to breakfast, ate a boiled fowl, drank a huge cooler of wine, fell sick, and in a little while died. 3 Alexander's grief at this loss knew no bounds. He immediately ordered that the manes and tails of all horses and mules should be shorn in token of mourning, and took away the battlements of the cities round about; he also crucified the wretched physician, and put a stop to the sound of flutes and every kind of music in the camp for a long time, until an oracular response from Ammon came bidding him honour Hephaestion as a hero and sacrifice to him. 4 Moreover, making war a solace for his grief, he went forth to hunt and track down men, as it were, and overwhelmed the nation of the Cossaeans, slaughtering them all from the youth upwards. This was called an offering to the shade of Hephaestion."

              The Kossaeans were not entirely exterminated by the murderous Alexander. Kossaeans soldiers are recorded as having served in the Macedonian army.

              In 317 BCE, the Macedonian commander Antigonus Monophthalmus is quoted as saying that he encountered Kossaeans, calling them cavemen. This is significant and brings to mind the troglodyte dwellers of Kandovan in the Urmia region not too far north of Hamadan. The history of this region is replete with refugee groups retreating to remote areas in the hills and seeking refugee, shelter and anonymity in caves.

              Possible Kassite Aryan or Indo-Iranian Connections

              Stele depicting 'Tree of Life' and other motifs
              Stele depicting 'Tree of Life' and other motifs
              We do not know definitively if the Kassites were an Indo-Iranian group. However, there is a similarity in their pantheon of deities and the Indo-Aryan daeva pantheon (Bloomfield, 1904; Balkan, 1986, p. 8; Eilers, 1957-58, p. 136 ad surya-) and they exhibited various Aryan traits as well. This combination of traits could have made them acceptable to the people they governed, allowing them to rule with the consent of the ruled. The Aryan traits were as follows:

              Outward Cultural Integration

              The Kassites were a small minority - a ruling class - amongst the Babylonians over whom they ruled. However, rather than imposing their culture - their religion, customs and language over the people over whom they ruled, they adopted many outward Babylonia customs and names, a tradition followed by other Aryans rulers in the lands they occupied (cf. Herodotus "There is no nation which so readily adopts foreign customs as the Persians"). According to A. Leo Oppenheim of University of Chicago and author of works such as Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization, University of Chicago Press, 1964, "Kassite rulers in Babylon were also scrupulous to follow existing forms of expression, and the public and private patterns of behavior". The Aryan tradition was to readily adopted outward cultural norms, but to privately maintain their religion, language, philosophy, values and principles.

              Religious Tolerance & Ecumenism

              The Kassites followed an Aryan tradition of honouring the religious beliefs and practices of the peoples whose land they occupied or ruled. For instance, when the Hittites plundered Babylonia and carried off the idol of the Babylonian god Marduk, the Kassite king Agum II, regained possession of the idol, brought it back to Babylon, and honoured Marduk alongside the Kassite god Shuqamuna. King Cyrus of Persia would continue this tradition when he occupied Babylonia a thousand years later.

              Nippur which had been left abandoned in about 1730 BCE, was rebuilt and revived by the Kassites as an important provincial center. In addition, the Kassite governor of Nippur had its dilapidated temples meticulously re-built on their old foundations, and in so doing, helped preserve the area's cultural heritage.

              Trade & Economic Prosperity

              The Kassites also maintained the Indo-Iranian Aryan tradition of being traders in lapis lazuli and gold (see Aryan Trade). The only known ancient source of lapis lazuli was Badakshan in present day Afghanistan and in the heart of ancient Aryan lands. The Zagros mountains had ore deposits of iron and copper which the Kassites extracted and used to manufacture vehicles such as chariots and carts. Along with horses, they exported the chariots in exchange for other raw materials. Amongst the nations with which the Kassite kings established trade and diplomatic relations were Assyria, Egypt, Elam, and the Hittite Hatti. Kassite merchants established themselves in the major cities in the region. Kassite weights and seals, the measuring and identifying and tools of commerce, have been found as far afield as Thebes (Greece), southern Armenia, and even in a shipwreck off the southern coast of Turkey.

              Governance & Order

              kudurru
              kudurru
              It would appear that in addition to their trading and manufacturing skills, one of the skills Aryans brought with them was their leadership skills and their ability to govern with order.

              The system of governance employed by the Kassites was a hereditary dynasty of social-minded kings of kings - supreme kings supported by feudal or vassal kings who functioned as governors of provinces. The feudal lords were granted their land and authority by the Kassite king and the extent of land over which they had authority were recorded on stone tablets or boundary stones called kudurrus.

              Deities & Names

              A Kassite deity is Suriash, a name that sounds very similar to the Sanskrit Surya meaning the sun. Another Kassite deity is Maruttash which sounds similar to the Sanskrit Marut or Marutah, a Vedic storm god. A further deity is named Indas, a name that sounds similar to Indra.

              Kassite royal names are thought to have elements of the names of Aryan (Indo-Iranian) deities even though the language employed by the Kassites in Babylon shows no Aryan elements.

              » Kassites related images at Art History
              » Babylonia Astronomy


              Also see:

              » Ranghaya, Sixteenth Vendidad Nation & Western Aryan Lands

              » Mitanni

              » Hittites

              » Suppiluliuma (Hittite) - Shattiwaza (Mitanni) Treaty

              » Lake Urmia & Atur-Patakan (Azerbaijan / Azarbaijan

              » Kandovan (Troglodyte) Village

              » Early Persian History - The Formation of Persia

              http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/ranghaya/kassites.htm
               © Author: K. E. Eduljee, Zoroastrian Heritage, 2005-17 (researched from 1979 onwards)   •  Contact   

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              The gist is that Italian police broke into the apartment of the former secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, housed in the palace of the former Holy Office in the Vatican, which was the location of a homosexual orgy with drugs.

              Gay orgy discovered in Vatican (Google translate from Italian)

              Inside the party there were lots of drugs.

              30 JUN2017
              12:30 p.m.
              Updated at 12h37
              According to the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano , reported that a homosexual orgy was discovered inside a department in theVatican , belonging to the secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio.
              Also it is detailed that inside the party had drug, which would have been transported by a luxury vehicle with plates of the holy seat to be unnoticed by the police.
              Photo: AP The newspaper reports that thanks to the entry and exit of people little known in the department was that the authorities were notified, who came to the site and discovered everything. Cardinal Coccopalmerio , immediate head of the host of the orgy, is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. He appointed his secretary as bishop of a diocese. THE MOST SEEN ON EARTH TV:
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              The pope surrenders to Cardinal Pell, who declares himself innocent of pederasty

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              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XRpuL2K_rw  PM Modi launches the New Chartered Accountancy Course Curriculum

              We will always remember how the community of professionals took a lead during the freedom struggle of India: PM
              Like the lawyers did during the freedom struggle, I urge the CAs to take the lead in the journey towards India's economic growth: PM

              Govt will take tough action against blackmoney hoarders, not concerned about political implications: PM Modi


              In a hard-hitting message to black money hoarders, the Prime Minister told the gathering that if they know anyone with black money, warn them that they would not be spared.

              By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 1, 2017 8:06 pm
              GST, Narendra Modi, ICAI, ICAI foundation, Modi at ICAI foundation, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Arun Jaitley, PM on corruption, India on corruption, PM modi on CA, chartered accountants' apex body ICAI, indian express news
              A day after launching India’s biggest ever tax reform since Independence, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned black money hoarders that they will face more difficulties when Switzerland begins automatic information exchange with India in two years. “Government is committed to more tough action against firms helping in hiding blackmoney; we are not concerned about political implications,” said PM Modi. Speaking on the Foundation Day of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the Prime Minister sent out a clear message to CAs: “Chartered accountants have a big responsibility to ensure that society’s economic health remains good. Just like doctors don’t want people to be ill to get more business, CAs too need to safeguard society’s economic health.”
              In a hard-hitting message to black money hoarders, the Prime Minister told the gathering that if they know anyone with black money, warn them that they would not be spared. He also pointed to the latest figures of Swiss banks to indicate the government’s steps to check black money. “Impact of our steps to check is clear from latest figures of Swiss banks, where Indians’ money has dipped to record low: If you know anyone with black money , warn them that they would not be spared,” said PM Modi.
              Taking a strong stand against corruption in the country, PM Modi said, “A country where a select few loot, such a nation cannot scale new heights. These select few never want the nation to grow. Those who have looted the poor will have to give back what they have looted.” The Prime Minister also sought to draw focus on the government’s strict action against shell firms who indulged in dubious dealings. “Post-demonetisation, data mining shows that over 3 lakh registered companies indulged in suspected dealings. Government has cancelled registration of over 1 lakh companies and more than 37,000 shell firms have been identified for strong action.”
              http://indianexpress.com/article/india/narendra-modi-blackmoney-gst-chartered-accountants-of-india-4730946/

              Registeration of 1 lakh cos cancelled, 37,000 shell firms identified: Modi

              Modi said that it was a bitter truth that only 32 lakh Indians have declared over Rs 10 lakh income

              BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 
              Prime Minister today said that the government is committed to more tough action against firms helping in hiding black money and added that registration of 1 lakh companies have been cancelled while 37,000 shell firms have been identified for strong action.  He also pointed to the latest figures of Swiss banks to indicate the government’s steps to check black money.

              Speaking about tax evasion that has taken a huge toll on the economy, PM Modi said that it was a bitter truth that only 32 lakh Indians have declared over Rs 10 lakh income, despite crores in high-end professions.
              "Data mining to track the black money began on November 8, when demonetisation was announced. We haven't made this data public or questioned anyone yet. But we found as many as 3 lakh registered companies whose activities came under suspicion," he said.

               
              Addressing at an event organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Modi said "You (CAs) take care of the economic health of the country and you are famous world over for your knowledge and financial skills. You are a big pillar of the Indian economy."
              In a hard-hitting message to black money hoarders, the Prime Minister told the gathering that if they know anyone with black money, warn them that they would not be spared.
              Modi said it was a good coinci ence that July 1 was the foundation day of ICAI and the launch day of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
              Modi launched a new CA course at the event.
              "I am hopeful the new course will boost the financial skills of people joining this profession. We need to develop a dynamic system in our institutions and human resources to meet the global benchmarks and requirements," Modi said.
              "We will have to see how we can bring technology in the CA field. If chartered accountant firms think of technological innovation, new software, it will open a new market for you."

              http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/registration-of-1-lakh-cos-cancelled-37-000-shell-firms-identified-modi-117070100707_1.html
              NEW DELHI: Speaking on Foundation Day of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the government is committed to more tough action against firms helping in hiding black money. 

              He called chartered accountants a "big pillar" of the Indian economy and urged them to bring technological innovations to meet global standards. 

              Addressing CAs at an event organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Modi sai .. 
              Read more at:

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              Two brilliant narratives on asterisms forming the 28 nakṣatra-s and on graha (planets) in Hindu tradition by Mānasataramgiṇī are presented to underscore the centrality of cosmic phenomena in Hindu time-reckoning and  ādhyātmikā inquiries, from the days of R̥gveda.

              Kalyanaraman

              A note on the asterisms forming the nakṣatra-s

              In Hindu tradition the ecliptic is divided into 27 parts of 13\tfrac{1}{3}^o which correspond to 27 asterisms known as the nakṣatra-s. In the earliest extant layers of our tradition this number is 28 implying division into sectors of 12\tfrac{6}{7}^o or insertion of a nakṣatra with adjacent compressed sectors. The earliest complete nakṣatra lists are found in the Taittirīya-śruti and the Atharvaveda where they are recited as part of the nakṣatreṣṭi ritual which places the deities of pantheon in these celestial compartments. Indeed, ever since it has been common practice in Hindu astronomy to use the names of the deities corresponding to a given compartment alternatively for the nakṣatra itself. The old nakṣatra-lists in the TS, Laugākṣi’s sūtra-s and the Atharvaveda begin with Kṛttikā i.e., the Pleiades, suggesting that the system as described in these texts was put in place sometime in the interval of 4500-4000 years before present. However, we hold that the nakṣatra system did not begin with these texts. These texts are mostly predated by the ṛgveda, where we find stray references to specific nakṣatra-s and also the term itself in its generic sense. Thus, we believe a form of the system was already in place even in the days of the ṛgveda. Further, there are some homologies between nakṣatra-s and Iranian asterisms suggesting that some form of the system might have existed even in the Indo-Iranian past on the Eurasian steppes.
              Now, one question which is often asked is whether there is a way of knowing precisely how nakṣatra-s were defined in the Vedic period. In classical Indian astronomy each nakṣatra is defined by giving the latitude and longitude of a star called the yogatārā, which was defined by the scientist Brahmagupta in 665 CE as the brightest star in the asterism. This makes the nakṣatra quite unambiguous but then there are nakṣatra-s, which are far away from the ecliptic in the Vedic reckoning raising the question if the later definitions differ from the Vedic ones. The best way to start answering this is by using the earliest surviving list in tradition that gives the number of stars in each nakṣatra from the Nakṣatra-kalpa of the Atharvan tradition:
              ṣaṭ kṛttikā ekā rohiṇī tisro mṛgaśira ekārdrā dve punarvasū ekaḥ puṣyaḥ ṣaḍ āśleṣāḥ ṣaṇ maghāḥ catasraḥ phalgunyaḥ pañca hasta ekā citrā ekā svātir dve viśākhe catasro ‘nurādhā ekā jyeṣṭhā sapta mūlam aṣṭāv aṣāḍhā eko ‘bhijit tisraḥ śravaṇaḥ pañca śraviṣṭhā ekā śatabhiṣā catasraḥ proṣṭhapadau ekā revatī dve aśvayujau tisro bharaṇyaḥ | iti saṃkhyā parimitaṃ brahma || NK2
              Kṛttikā -s: 6. This clearly coincides with the traditional understanding of the 6 Pleiades being this asterism. However, an older text the Taittirīya saṃhitā names seven of them explicitly:
              ambā dulā nitatnir abhrayantī meghayantī varṣayantī cupuṇikā nāmāsi
              Likewise in Greek tradition there was an older record of 7 with Aratus claiming that one of them had faded away. This is generally believed to be Ambā (Greek Pleione). This has led to the debate that originally the 7 were of comparable brightness with 28 Tauri fading away later. The parallel between the ārya and yavana records suggests that indeed such a fading might have happened.
              Rohiṇī: 1. Hindu tradition has always identified Rohiṇī with \alpha Tauri (Aldebaran); hence, the single star assigned to Rohiṇī should be taken as this one. The name is also indicative of the redness of he star.
              Mṛgaśiras: 3. Some take this to be the 3 stars on the head of Orion (\phi 1, \phi 2, \lambda Orionis), which is how they are denoted in classical astronomy. This remains a possibility even in the Vedic reckoning. In Vaidika reckoning the core of Mṛga was Orion with the arrow of Rudra shot through it (See below). The arrow is identified with the three stars of the belt of Orion (\zeta , \epsilon , \delta Orionis), known in the Veda as the Invaka-s. Hence, we could entertain the possibility that originally the 3 could have meant the Invaka-s. In support of this proposal we note that the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa 1.5.1.1 states:
              somasyenvakā vitatāni ।
              Soma’s are the Invaka-s [which are] drawn [from the bow to be fired].
              This explicitly identifies Mṛgaśiras with the Invaka-s.
              Ārdrā: 1. The Taittirīya, Kaṭha and Atharvaṇa-śruti-s are all consistent in identifying Ārdrā with the god Rudra. Going by classical astronomy the coordinates of the yogatārā of Ārdrā would indicate \gamma Geminorum. There is another commonly held view that \alpha Orionis is Ārdrā. The Vedic text says there is a single star associated with it and the evidence within the Veda suggests that it was not \gamma Gem. First the Taittirīyas-śruti is unambiguous is stating:
              ārdrayā rudraḥ prathamānam eti ।
              With Ārdrā, Rudra goes forth luminescent.
              This means that he original Ārdrā was likely seen as a bright star. Now, while both \alphaOri and \alpha Canis Majoris are bright stars, \alpha Ori is too close to Mṛgaśiras making \alpha Can Ma more likely, and is also closer to the position of the later yogatāra when projected on to the ecliptic. In the brāhmaṇa on the nakṣatra ritual in TB 1.5.1.1 the name Ārdrā is replaced by Mṛgayu which is always understood as Sirius:
              rudrasya bāhū mṛgayavaḥ
              The two arms of Rudra are the Mṛgayu-s (Stars in Can Ma).
              Further, this is supported by the evidence of the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa on the famed āgnimāruta-śastra recitation, which we provide in full:
              prajāpatir vai svāṃ duhitaram abhyadhyāyad |
              Prajāpati desired his own daughter.
              divam ity anya āhur uṣasam ity anye |
              The sky some say and others the Uṣas.
              tām ṛśyo bhūtvā rohitam bhūtām abuyait |
              Having become a stag he approached her as a red deer.
              taṃ devā apaśyann: ākṛtaṃ vai Prajāpatiḥ karotīti |
              The gods saw him: “Prajāpati is doing something that is not done”.
              te tam aichan ya enam āriṣyaty etam anyonyasmin nāvindaṃs
              They wished to punish him. They did not find find him among one another.
              teṣāṃ yā eva ghoratamās tanva āsaṃs, tā ekadhā samabharaṃs
              Whatever most terrible forms exist they brought together in one place.
              tāḥ sambhṛtā eṣa devo ‘bhavat, tad asyaitad bhūtavan nāma |
              Brought together they became this god; hence, his name has the word “bhūta” (Bhūtapati)
              bhavati vai sa yo ‘syaitad evaṃ nāma veda ||
              He who knows his name thus prospers.
              taṃ devā abrūvann: ayaṃ vai Prajāpatir ākṛtam akar, imaṃ vidhyeti |
              The gods told him: “this Prajāpati has verily done a deed that is not done; pierce him.”
              sa tathety abravīt, sa vai vo varaṃ vṛṇā iti | vṛṇīṣveti |
              He said: “So be it” He also said: “let me choose a boon from you.” They said: “Choose”.
              sa etam eva varam avṛṇīta: paśūnām ādhipatyaṃ |
              He chose this boon: “The overlordship of animals”.
              tad asyaitat paśuman nāma paśumān bhavati yo ‘syaitad evaṃ nāma veda |
              Hence, his name contains the word animal (Paśupati). He who knows this name thus becomes rich in cattle.
              tam abhyāyatyāvidhyat, sa viddha ūrdhva udapravata |
              He took aim and pierced him [Prajāpati]. Pierce thus he flew upwards.
              tam etam Mṛga ity ācakṣate |
              They know him as the [constellation of the] deer.
              ya u eva mṛgavyādhaḥ sa u eva sa, yā rohit sā Rohiṇī,
              He who is the piercer of the deer [is the asterism] known as that, she who is red is [is the star] Rohiṇī.
              yo eveṣus trikāṇḍā so eveṣus trikāṇḍā |
              That which is the 3-pointed arrow is the [asterism] of the three-pointed arrow.
              tad vā idam Prajāpate retaḥ siktam adhāvat, tat saro ‘bhavat |
              The semen of Prajāpati spilled out and ran; it became a lake [the Milky Way].
              te devā abruvan: medam Prajāpate reto duṣad iti |
              The gods said let this semen of Prajāpati not get ruined.
              yad abruvan: medam Prajāpate reto duṣad iti, tan māduṣam abhavat |
              As they said: “let the semen of Prajāpati not be spoiled” it became “not spoiled”
              tan māduṣasya māduṣatvam |
              The state of not being spoiled is of not spoiled.
              māduṣaṃ ha vai nāmaitad yan mānuṣaṃ |
              From “not spoiled” is the name which is “man”.
              tan māduṣaṃ san mānuṣam ity ācakṣate parokṣeṇa,
              That which is “not spoiled” they know by metaphorical meaning to be linked to man.
              parokṣa-priyā iva hi devāḥ
              For it is as if the gods like the mysterious.
              This narrative clearly identifies Rudra with the killer of Prajāpati. Prajāpati is unambiguously identified with the constellation of Orion and positioned with respect to Rohiṇī. Further, he is described as “flying above” his hunter when pierced. Together these identify the constellation of Rudra his hunter with Can Ma. Hence, we may conclude that originally \alpha Can Ma was Ārdrā. Further, the name Ārdrā means moist indicating a link with the wet season. The Iranian equivalent of Sirius, Tishtrya is also associated with rain suggesting that Ārdrā inherits this ancestral association.
              Punarvasū: 2. There is a fairly uniform agreement that the two stars of Punarvasū are \alpha , \beta Geminorum (Castor and Pollux). The simile of these two stars is frequently encountered. In the Rāmāyaṇa (1.29.25; Gita Press edition):
              praviśan nāśrama-padam vyarocata mahāmuhiḥ ।
              śaśīva gata-nīhāraḥ punarvasu-samanvitaḥ ॥
              The refulgent great sage (Viśvāmitra) entered the path of the āśrama, even as the moon free from fog accompanied by the two stars of Punarvasū (i.e. Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa.
              Vedic tradition associates Punarvasū with the goddess Aditi. Under this association the simile of the moon in Punarvasū is again seen in the Rāmāyaṇa (6.67.161):
              kumbhakarṇa-śiro bhāti kuṇḍalālaṅkṛtaṃ mahat ।
              āditye’bhyudite rātrau madhyastha iva candramāḥ ॥
              The giant head of Kumbhakarṇa adorned with earrings shone forth even as the moon having arisen at night in the midst of the constellation of Aditi (i.e. between Castor and Pollux).
              The Taittirīya Saṃhitā has an incantation in the Soma procurement ritual (in 1.2.4): aditir asy ubhyataḥ śīrṣṇī sā naḥ suprācī supratīcī saṃ bhava ।
              You are Aditi, she is two-headed, be good together us eastward and westward.
              Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (3.2.4.16) states:
              aditir asy ubhayataḥ śīrṣṇīti sa yadenayā samānaṃ sadviparyāsaṃ vadati yadaparaṃ tatpūrvaṃ karoti yatpūrvaṃ tadaparaṃ tenobhayataḥ śīrṣṇī tasmād āhāditir asy ubhayataḥśīrṣṇīti ||
              You are Aditi, the two-headed. Because he speaks the right in an inverted manner and makes what comes comes first last, and what comes last first by her, therefore she is double-headed. That is why he says: “You are Aditi, the double-headed”.
              These allusions indicate that the two-headed nature of the constellation of Gemini was transposed on to the presiding deity Aditi and the inversion associated with the two heads along with the eastward and westward paths might indicate an old memory of the start of the ecliptic at Aditi in prehistoric times (>7000 years BP).
              Puṣya: 1. This single star is generally taken to be \delta Cancri which was close to the ecliptic. However, we have evidence from the Ṛgveda that originally it meant the Praesepe open cluster (M44). The great ṛṣi Śyāvāśva ātreya:
              yuṣmādattasya maruto vicetaso rāyaḥ
              syāma rathyo vayasvataḥ |
              na yo yuccati tiṣyo yathā
              divo ‘sme rāranta marutaḥ sahasriṇam ||
               5.054.13c
              May we bear as charioteers of the great wealth
              given by you, discriminating Maruts.
              That which does not depart, even as Tiṣya does not from the sky,
              to us in thousands, Marut-s rejoice.
              The comparison of great riches, in thousands, is indicative of the great mass of stars in the open cluster supporting the identification of the old Tiṣya with M44.
              Āśleṣā: 6. This constellation is associated with the snakes in Vedic tradition. It corresponds to the head of the Greek constellation of Hydra, suggesting that the link to a snake goes back to early Indo-European times. Āśleṣā is specifically associated with the head of the snake. Hence, the 6 stars should correspond to \theta , \zeta , \epsilon , \delta , \sigma , \etaHydrae. The Vedāñga Jyotiṣa states that the summer solstice began in the middle of this constellation suggesting that it was composed around ~3350 YBP.
              Maghāḥ: 6. While today Magha is associated with \alpha  Leonis, the Vedic tradition indicates 6 stars for this asterism. This would mean it included the entire sickle of Leo: \epsilon , \mu , \zeta , \gamma 1 , \eta , \alpha  Leonis. The Atharvaveda Nakṣatra sūkta states that the summer solstice happened in this asterism pointing to a period of ~4400 YBP.
              Phalgunyaḥ: 4. There are 2 Phalguni-s pūrva and uttara together with 4 stars. These can be identified with \theta , \delta  Leonis (pūrva) and \beta , 93 Leonis (uttara).
              Hasta: 5. Tradition unequivocally identifies Hasta with Corvus. Hence the 5 principal stars of Corvus are the 5 listed for Hasta: \alpha , \beta , \gamma , \delta , \epsilon Corvi.
              Citrā: 1. Spica in Virgo. The star itself is one the nakṣatra-s mentioned in the RV (according to us contra white indological opinion). In the TB 1.5.1.3 Citrā is described as an additional star of the god Indra.
              Svāti: 1. Arcturus in Bootes. Also known as Niṣṭyā in the Yajurveda.
              Viśākha: 2. \alpha , \beta  Librae. The constellation of the Ikṣvāku-s according to the Rāmāyaṇa.
              Anurādhā: 4. \beta , \delta , \eta , \rho  Scorpii
              Jyeṣṭhā: 1. Antares. The TB describes this star as a second Rohiṇī keeping with the red color of the star.
              Mūla: 7. These seven stars are in the tail of Scorpio. Which stars exactly were identified with the asterism is hard to say but most likely were: \zeta , \eta , \theta , \iota , \kappa , \upsilon , \lambda . This is the constellation of the goddess of the nether regions Nirṛtti in the Veda. In the Rāmāyaṇa it is associated with Rākṣasa-s who are supposed to have emanated from Nirṛtti.
              Aṣāḍhā-s: 8. These eight stars are in the two Aṣāḍhā-s: The pūrva group may be identified with the 4 stars associated with the spout of the teapot of Sagittarius: \delta , \gamma , \epsilon , \eta  Sagittarii. The uttara group may be identified with the handle of the teapot: \phi , \sigma , \tau , \zeta  Sagittarii. The Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa’s nakṣatra-sūkta identifies the pūrva group with divine waters (yā divyā āpaḥ payasā sambabhūvuḥ ।) and all other waters as emerging from it. We take this identification as an allusion to the bright center of the Milky Way just next to the pūrva group.
              Abhijit: 1, Vega. This star is way off the ecliptic and is omitted in latter lists. However, its name meaning the all conquering is equivalent to the Iranian name for the same star Vanant. This suggests that it might have been an ancient association. The Aitareya brāhmaṇa indicates that it was used to mark the day just before the svarasāman days during the annual sattra. Tilak we believe rightly realized this was the reason why Abhijit was important in the early period to mark this ritual day which in turn is critical for marking the days leading up to the Viśuvān day.
              The Mahābharata preserves a curious tale regarding Abhijit’s fall and also involves other asterisms pointing to a precessional legend. The great god Indra tells the god Skanda:
              abhijit spardhamānā tu rohiṇyā kanyasī svasā |
              icchantī jyeṣṭhatāṃ devī tapas taptuṃ vanaṃ gatā ||
              Abhijit, the younger sister of Rohiṇi, contested with her desiring seniority. She went woods to perform austerities.
              tatra mūḍho ‘smi bhadraṃ te nakṣatraṃ gaganāc cyutam |
              kālaṃ tv imaṃ paraṃ skanda brahmaṇā saha cintaya ||
              I am dumbstruck by the fall of that auspicious star from the sky.
              O Skanda you with Brahmā should think about this important [issue] regarding time [i.e. vacant zone].
              dhaniṣṭhādis tadā kālo brahmaṇā parinirmitaḥ |
              rohiṇyādyo ‘bhavat pūrvam evaṃ saṃkhyā samābhavat ||
              Time was specified by Brahmā starting with Dhaniṣṭhā around [the ecliptic]. Formerly, they started from Rohiṇi and thus their number was complete around [the ecliptic].
              evam ukte tu śakreṇa tridivaṃ kṛttikā gatāḥ |
              nakṣatraṃ śakaṭākāraṃ bhāti tad vahni-daivatam || 3-219.8-12 (“Critical edition”)
              Thus told by Indra, Kṛttikā-s went to the third heavenly realm.
              There they shone forth in the shape of a cart presided by the god Agni.
              While several authors have attempted to decode this legend it remains rather obscure. The only clear parts are the memory of a transition from the Rohiṇi period to the Kṛttikā period and an allusion to the loss of Abhijit from the nakṣatra reckoning. This might relate to Abhijit having lost its utility as a marker of important rituals close to the solstices due to precession.
              Śravaṇa/Śroṇa: 3. These are quite unambiguously identified as \alpha , \beta , \gamma  Aquilae. It is possible that it was associated with the celestial footprint of Viṣṇu in his three strides.
              Śraviṣṭhā/Dhaniṣṭhā: 5. While the Nakṣatra-kalpa gives 5 stars for this asterism the older Taittirīya-śruti seems to indicate that there were 4. In any case this group is unambiguously identified with Delphinus. The older reckoning likely took 4 of the brightest stars, \alpha , \beta , \gamma , \delta . The NK included one further the star.
              Śatabhiṣā: 1 This is today take to be \lambda  Aquarii. But was it the star meant in the Vedic texts is unclear. There is an asterism of Iranians known as Satavaēsa, which we hold to be the equivalent of the Vedic one. The Iranian asterism was associated with the sea while the Vedic one with Varuṇa. The possibility of Fomalhaut (\alpha  Pisces Austrinisis) being this star is not implausible.
              Proṣṭhapada-s: 4. The two Proṣṭhapada-s are given 2 each. Identifying each pair with the two vertically adjacent stars of the 4 stars comprising the square of Pegasus seems the most likely for these.
              Revatī: 1. Classical astronomy identifies it with \zeta  Piscium. This is a really undistinguished star. So we cannot be sure if that is what was originally meant or a higher up star like \beta  Andromedae was used. Narahari Achar holds that the goddess Pathyā Revatī mentioned in the Svastisūkta of the Atri-s implied this asterism. While this is not impossible we are not entirely sure of that especially given the undistinguished nature of the star identified with it.
              Aśvayujau: 2. \alpha , \beta Arietis. Concerning this asterism there is a problematic issues concerning the the Yajurvaidika incantation known as the Uttaranārāyaṇa. This text describing the cosmic Viṣṇu now bearing a special name Nārāyaṇa states:
              aho rātre pārṣve । nakśatrāṇi rūpam । aśvinau vyāttam ।
              His sides are the day and the night. His form [is comprised of] the asterisms. The two Aśvin-s his jaws.
              Here Nārāyaṇa is identified with the constellations even as Prajāpati was earlier identified with them in the ritual of the Nakṣatra-rūpin Prajāpati specified in the Yajurveda (Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa 1.5.2.2). This identification continues through later Vaiṣṇava tradition. The ritual itself has further continuity going down to the Gupta age where it is described by the naturalist Varāhamihira who states that by performing it a man becomes attractive to women and women attain beauty. Now the question is whether the account of the Aśvayujau at the mouth of Nārāyaṇa have some significance of the date of this text. The text is clearly a late one clinging to the edge of the Vaidika productions but when exactly was it composed. If one takes Aśvayujau to imply the start of the nakṣatra cycle having shifted to this asterism it would yield a date of around 2300 YBP. This date resonates with the white Indologists who ascribe late dates to all Vedic production. However, we do not think the mouth should be taken as the beginning of the nakṣatra cycle. Rather, that position is usually reserved for the top of the head. Hence, the mouth likely implies the nakṣatra after it which might imply the equinoctial coelure passing before Aśvayujau suggesting a date of around 3300-3000 YBP. One also wonders if the tale of Prajāpati being fitted with a goat’s head after his beheading by Rudra’s agent Vīrabhadra alludes to this period, with the goat’s had representing Aries.
              Bharaṇī: 3. This triad is uniformly understood to be the compact triangle formed by 41, 39, 35 Arietis.
              Brahmagupta says in Khaṇḍakhādhyaka (1.9.1-2):
              mūla+aja+ahirbudhnya+aśvayug+aditi+indrāgnī+phalgunī dvitayam ।
              tvāṣṭra-guru-vāruṇa+ārdra+anila-pauṣṇāny eka tārāṇi ॥
              brahma+indra-yama-hari+indu-tritayam ṣaḍ-vahni-bhujaga-pitryāṇi ।
              maitrāṣāḍa-catuṣkam vasu-ravi-rohiṇya iti pañca ॥
              Clearly by the early medieval period Hindu asterism-reckoning had changed to a degree from the Vedic period. Now the number of stars in each asterism was specified as:

              Kṛttikā: 6; Rohiṇī: 5 (likely whole Hyades+Aldebaran); Mṛgaśiras: 3; Ārdrā: 1; Punarvasū: 2; Puṣya: 1; Āśleṣā: 6; Maghā: 5; Phalguni-s: 2 each; Hasta: 5; Citrā: 1; Svāti: 1; Viśākha: 2; Anurādhā: 4; Jyeṣṭhā: 3; Mūla: 1; Aṣāḍhā-s: 4 each; Abhijit: 3; Śravaṇa: 3; Śraviṣṭhā: 5; Śatabhiṣā: 1; Proṣṭhapada-s: 2 each; Revatī: 1; Aśvayujau: 2; Bharaṇi: 3.

              The oldest surviving planetary ritual of the Hindus

              Certain white Indologists and their Japanese imitators have often held the dishonest view that Hindus were unaware of planets until the yavana-s informed them of their existence in the sky. This view was demolished by the great patriot of the Hindu nation Lokamanya Tilak about a century ago. In fact he showed that the proto-Indo-Europeans (leaving out the Hittites) certainly knew of the brightest planet in the sky. Of course this is encoded in the form the venas recitation with the shukra and manthin graha-s. But a question still remains: Does any relatively early vedic rite specifically directed at the planets exist and survive. One example of this graheShTi of the kaTha yajurvedin-s:
              graheShTi brAhmaNa
              devAsh cha vA asurAsh cha samAvad eva yaj~ne ’kurvata yad eva devA akurvata tad asurA akurvata te devA etAni grahahaviMShy apashyaM s tair indram ayAjayaMs tad asurA nAnvavAyaMs tato devA abhavan parAsurA abhavan ya evaM vidvAn etAni grahahavIMsi yajate bhrAtR^ivyasy AnanvavAyAya bhavaty AtmanA parAsya bhrAtR^ivyo bhavaty AdityAya ghR^ite charuM nirvapet tejas tena parikrINAti shaukraM charuM brahmavarchasaM tena parikrINAti bR^ihaspataye naivAraM payasi charuM vAkpatyaM tena parikrINAti budhAya navakapAlaM buddhiM tena parikrINAti bhaumAyaikakapAlaM yashas tena parikrINAti saurAya palalamishraM ghR^ite charuM surabhiM tena parikrINAti chandramase pa~nchadasha kapAlaM Ayus tena parikrINAti rAhave charum abhayaM tena parikrINAti ketave charum anaparodhaM tena parikrINAty etAny eva sarvANi bhavati ya evaM vidvAn etayA yajeta|
              AjyenopahomA~n juhoty AshiSh Am avaruddhyA etayA yajeta yaH kAmayeta tejasvI bhrAjasvI vAkpatir buddhimAn yashasvI surabhir AyuShmAn abhayyanaparodhI syAm ity ekachakram udayAd bhrAjamAnam ity aShTAdasha yAjyAnuvAkyA bhavanti sarUpatvAyAgnir hiraNyaM somo hiraNyam ity AjyabhAgau preddho agna imo agna iti saM yAjye uchchair yajaty eShA vai vAchAm uttamA yochchair uttamaH samAnAnAM bhavaty Adityas tejasvIty upahoma~n juhoti sarvasyAptyai sarvasyAvaruddhyai ya evaM vidvAn etayA yajeta||
              graheShTi mantra-s
              adityas tejasvIty upahomA~n juhoti|
              Adityas tejasvI tejo asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||1||
              shukro bhrAjasvI bhrAjo asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||2||
              bR^ihaspatir vAkpatir vAcho asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||3||
              budho buddhimAn buddhim asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||4||
              arko yashasvI yasho asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||5||
              sauraH surabhiH surabhim asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||6||
              chandramA AyuShmAn Ayur asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||7||
              rAhur abhayam abhayam asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||8||
              ketur anaparodhy anaparodham asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||9||
              dhruvo dhairyavAn dhairyam asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||10||
              agastyo vIryavAn vIryam asmin yaj~ne yajamAne dadhAtu||11||
              preddho agne dIdihi puro no yatra devAH pUrve purANAH ||
              yatrAsau vaishvAnaraH stokAtithis tatremaM yaj~naM yajamAnaM cha dhehi||1||
              imo agne vItatamAni havyA predaM haviH prAShTremAn stokAn|
              stokAtithiH stokajUtiH patatry athA hy agne amR^itatvaM cha dhehi||2||
              The above ritual is of interest because it provides an important link in the evolution of planet related rituals in the vedic system. To understand this we have to look a little more into the worship of astronomical entities in vedic rites. In the R^igveda we do not have any sUkta dedicated to the nakShatra-s. However, in the taittirIya brAhmaNa we have a long new sUkta composed for the purpose of the nakShatreShTi. Comparable sUkta-s were composed in the atharvanic tradition, whereas the kaTha-s merely culled mantra-s from the saMhitA to create the liturgical recitations for their nakShatreShTi ritual (as we have seen before on these pages). An important point to note is that these nakShatra rituals begin with kR^ittikA at the spring equinox. However, from Tilak’s studies, and from other related lines of evidence, we can see that the core of the RV was not associated with the kR^ittikA-s, but with earlier asterisms of rohiNI or mR^igashIrSha. Hence, it does appear that the nakShatra liturgy was an innovation of the kR^ittikA period. However, the structure of the soma ritual suggests that there was an earlier nakShatra recitation in the consecration of the pebbles of the asterisms in laying the fifth layer of brick of the chiti. Since the recitations for this act are found in the YV and again begin with kR^ittikA one could argue that this and perhaps a good part of the chiti recitations were post-RV compositions of the adhvaryava tradition of the YV. None of this indicates that the nakShatra system came into being de novo in the core YV period. We do have the Iranian list of 28 nakShatra-s that was originally used, before being supplanted by the zodiacal system, probably after the Iranians moved into the Middle East. While the complete Iranian nakShatra list only survives in the Pahlavi bundahishn, we have some avestan names supporting their old origins. Further we can reconstruct that at least some of the names of asterisms probably predated the Indo-Iranian split. Thus, based on this we can infer the following: 1) There was a nakShatra list predating the Indo-Iranian divergence. 2) Both in the core RV and Avesta period there was no dedicated ritual to the nakShatra-s. However, they were collectively or by specific names referred to within recitations in this period. 3) In the beginnings of the elaborate shrauta ritual of the agni chiti-s they were incorporated into the ritual of laying of pebbles. 4) In the core YV/later AV period full-fledged rituals dedicated to the deities in conjunction with their associated nakShatra-s emerged. 5) In parallel, the Iranians developed later liturgy for specific asterisms (perhaps as euphemisms for the deities associated with them, because the deities themselves were demonized by zarathuShTra). We see these developments as internal to the Indo-Iranian world. At least in the Indo-Aryan world the development was largely a consequence of the increasing calenderical emphasis in the shrauta ritual.
              Understanding this evolution of the nakShatra rituals is important because the case of the planets in Indo-Aryan rituals is similar in many ways though the details might differ. Firstly, unlike the nakShatra-s at least two planets had dedicated sUkta-s to them in the older saMhitA collections. The most well-known of these are the sUkta-s to vena in the RV (10.123) and AV (vulgate 2.1) and that to both vena and bR^ihaspati in AV (vulgate 4.1). While bR^ihaspati has additional non-planetary dimensions and is a central deity in several rituals, vena appears to be a purely invoked in specific ritual actions. For example the primary use of the vena sUkta from the RV was in the deployment of the shukra and manthin soma cups in the somayAga. As per AV tradition vena is invoked in the upavastha rite, the gharma recitation in the atharvanic pravargya, and the laying down of the gold biscuit in the agnichayana ritual. In the longer gharma recitation given in the AV-paippalAda saMhitA (AV-P 16.150) we take the word graha to mean planet as it occurs with terms like shukra and pa~nchAre chakra in the same sUkta. Two sAman-s to shukra/vena are deployed during the piling of the altar during the agnichayana. In a royal atharvavedic ritual of leading the king to his palace a recitation is deployed which invokes the planets as a group along with rAhu and the ketu-s (AV-vulgate 19.9). Even though there might have been early sUkta-s dedicated to at least two planets, it should be noted that their primary original role was, as with the nakShatra-s, in special actions in the shrauta rituals. Thus, neither nakShatra-s nor planets had a dedicated ritual in the earliest layers, but they were certainly known and referred to in ritual contexts.
              However, in the case of graha-s we see a profusion of rituals appearing the late vedic period as a part of the terminal sections of the gR^ihya texts. Examples of these include the jaiminIya gR^ihyasUtra 2.9; vaikhAnasa gR^ihyasUtra grahashAnti of 1.4.13; and the shanti-kalpa of the atharvan-s; graha homa of the kaTha-s usually appended after the graheShTi as a gR^ihya rite; the bodhAyanIya gR^ihya-sheSha sUtra 1.6. Their late character is established by the nature of the ritual, which often has elements of the smArta sarvopachAra pUja and use of images made of wood or metal or drawings of the planetary archons. They sudden appearance across the gR^ihya texts as late sections lent fuel to the indological assertion that they were Babylonian or Greek imports that were brought into the Indic world along with Greek/Babylonian astrology and weekdays. However, the kaTha brAhmaNa and mantra-s with distinct names of the planets and also older ritual structure suggests that what ever the role of the Middle Eastern influence, the graha rituals certainly had an endogenous element.Importantly, it shows that just as in the case of the nakShatra-s the dedicated shrauta ritual to the planets arose as a part of the new set of shrauta performances that were instituted during the compilation of the yajur collections. Thus the planetary and nakShatra rites follow the same pattern – their mantra-s had an early role as accessories rather than as deities in the early shrauta ritual, but the in the late shrauta ritual they might receive full-fledged rites.
              Finally, we must note that the names of the planets are some what atypical in the kaTha ritual and appear to represent the older form of their names. The name arka for Mars is intriguing. It should be noted that this name is often used for the sun, but clearly in this case it means Mars and not the sun. The word arka is also used for Mars in the bodhAyanIya gR^ihyasheSha sUtra-s. This raises the possibility that indeed other usages of arka in the shruti could also signify Mars rather than the sun. Indeed, I suspect that this is the case in certain RV mantra-s. Most likely candidates are the references found in the sUkta-s to bR^ihaspati in the maNDala 10 by the R^iShi ayAsya A~ngirasa. In RV10.67.5 we encounter:
              vibhidyA puraM shayAthem apAchIM nis trINi sAkam udadher akR^intat |
              bR^ihaspatir uShasaM sUryaM gAm arkaM viveda stanayann iva dyauH ||

              Here bR^ihapati is described as splitting the fort and the “sleeping places” in the west (of vala) as he cut off three joints of the “water holder”. Doing this and roaring like dyaus bR^ihaspati “discovered” (viveda) the uShA-s, sUrya, the cows and arka. While this R^ik is extremely obscure in terms of its cryptic allusions there are several motifs that clearly indicate it as concealing an astronomical picture. Further, the bR^ihaspati of this sUkta does have a strong astronomical dimension as the planetary deity. In any case the point of importance to us in this context is that it clearly distinguish arka from sUrya, thus indicating that arka is not the sun, but could be Mars, who is named thus in the graheShTi. This gets further support in a R^ik in the subsequent sUkta also to bR^ihaspati:
              ApruShAyan madhuna R^itasya yonim avakShipann arka ulkAm iva dyoH |
              bR^ihaspatir uddharann ashmano gA bhUmyA udneva vitvachaM bibheda ||

              While there are obscure elements in this R^ik too, it is said that bR^ihaspati drew out the cows from the rock and split the earth like the skin of a cloud even as arka hurled down a meteor and showered the source of the R^ita with honey. This meteor fall refers to the night sky and not the day sky of the sun supporting the identification of arka in this context as Mars.

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              Unbraiding the Brahmaputra

              Children play on the banks of the Brahmaputra.   | Photo Credit: Akshay Mahajan
              MORE-IN

              What is the price of a river older than the Himalayas, one that supports a civilisation, an entire ecosystem?

              The plans are of a scale that matches the river; the Brahmaputra, after all, is the mightiest river in the Indian subcontinent. It’s huge—roughly 10 kilometres wide in upper Assam— and has an average discharge of 700,000 cubic feet of water per second. But numbers are a poor measure of its power.
              When you stand on one bank of the Brahmaputra, in most places, you cannot see the other bank. Last year, it swept away a full-grown male elephant from Assam into Bangladesh. There were videos of the animal struggling helplessly against the current. This year, as usual, the floods have begun. Thanks to mobile phone cameras, there are videos again. One undated video shows grainy, shaky footage of a concrete house standing next to the river. There is a commotion, people shouting. The audio is not clear. Suddenly, the house starts to sink. The earth on which it stands is being swallowed by the river. In less than 30 seconds, it is gone. A minute later, there are only ripples in the muddy brown water where it stood.
              At the conclusion of the first Namami Brahmaputra festival earlier this year, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for road transport, highways and shipping, announced that the government would dredge the river. The plan is to use sand from the riverbed to build two expressways on the banks. Gadkari wants a 45-metre-wide channel of the river dredged all the way from Sadiya in upper Assam to Bangladesh, for use as a transport corridor to the Chittagong port there and the Haldia port in West Bengal. The expressways will together be 1,300 kilometres long—about twice the length of the river in Assam.
              Greedy plans
              On May 26, India’s longest bridge, 9.15 kilometres across the Brahmaputra from Dhola Ghat to Sadiya, was inaugurated. Meanwhile, China is building a series of four dams across Yarlung Tsangpo, Brahmaputra’s longest tributary, in Tibet. These “run of the river” projects do not store the water in large reservoirs and are less damaging to the environment than conventional dams. At least one of these, the Zangmu Dam, is complete. On the Indian side, the plans are greedier: India wants to build 168 dams on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. The origins of these plans go back to the Brahmaputra Board of the 1980s. Stout local opposition has prevented these dams from being built so far. If they do come into existence, they will kill one of the last great free-flowing rivers in the world—a river that, according to geologists, may be older than the Himalayas.
              The Brahmaputra is central to all forms of life in the valley that bears its name. Nature has worked over millennia to weave an intricate web around the waters of the great river, and its seasonal ebbs and flows. Civilisations evolved along its banks to coexist with its rhythms. Legends and myths grew around it. Even today, ancient Hindu pilgrimage sites whose origins are lost in time exist in its remote upper reaches.
              There is a place called Parshuram Kund nestled in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh’s Lohit district. It is a place associated with an origin myth of the Brahmaputra, son of Brahma. The story goes that the Hindu god of creation, Brahma, sired the river, which was born as a kund or lake. Much later, Parashuram, a Brahmin who had axed his mother to death, arrived there to wash away his terrible sin. The axe had stuck to his hand and defeated all his efforts to get rid of it. But here, it came loose. He flung it away with all his might. It carved a path through the mountains, and the river began to flow. Its waters were red, and so it was called Lohit, from ‘lahu’, meaning blood.
              Parshuram Kund today is a small village with a few ramshackle bamboo dhabas. The owner of one where we stopped to eat was having a discussion with his neighbour when my friend Akshay and I arrived. A snake was stuck in the water pipe, and the dhaba’s water supply was disrupted. I suggested putting netting at the inlets to prevent such incidents. After a simple but tasty meal, we went to look for lodging for the night.
              There was only one place to stay—the Parshuram ashram. A kindly baba gave us rooms that had not been opened since Makar Sankranti nine months ago. We gingerly cleared out rat droppings and cobwebs and rolled out our sleeping bags, hoping no snake or animal would disturb us. It was a night of darkness such as no city dweller ever sees. The stars were jewels of light in a blanket of blackness so thick you could not see your hand in front of you. The roar of the Lohit River, one of the principal tributaries of the Brahmaputra, was loud in the silence.
              Arteries of silver
              Early next morning, we walked down to Lohit, picking our way carefully on a slippery path thick with moss. Where the path ended was a torrent. The sound of water made conversation difficult; we had to shout to be heard and communicated in gestures. Words in any case seemed inappropriate. This was a primeval place, where the river, crashing against rocks and foaming white, did the talking. The icy cold water was crystal clear; whatever redness it acquires is from picking up sediments further downriver. There is a place in the hills not far from here where you can see the valley laid out at your feet—green and gold, laced with arteries of silver, of which the central one is the Brahmaputra.
              We drove down from this vantage point to Sadiya, on the north bank of the river, the spot where the new bridge has come up. It is a place steeped in ancient myths. Rukmini, the wife of Krishna, is said to have been from an ancient kingdom that existed there. Historically, the evidence only goes back to a kingdom called the Chutiya kingdom—now spelt Sutiya—whose remains dating to the 12th century were swallowed up by the Brahmaputra when it rose after a great earthquake in 1950. The descendants of the people who built that kingdom are still around, scattered across upper Assam.
              Crossing the river by wooden ferry is a slow task—it has no fixed departure or arrival times. It goes when it is full. On the other side, not far from the town of Tinsukia, is Guijan ghat. It sits on the banks of a surging brown river called Dibru. On the Dibru’s far bank is an island, 350 sq. km. in size and home to tigers, leopards, elephants, bears, wild buffaloes, feral horses, and numerous species of birds.
              Early one morning, after a night spent on a houseboat, we set off for this island in a bhut-bhuti, a handmade wooden boat with a loud motor.
              Our crew consisted of boatman Radhabinod Pal, a wiry, middle-aged Bengali, and his underage apprentice Amit, a shy boy of 13 whose job was to bail water from the leaky boat with a tin can.
              The craft rode downstream on the racing Dibru, to a point at the tip of the island, and then turned upstream into a narrow channel barely 100 metres wide. Signs of human habitation had ceased by now. The vegetation, which was initially kaash grass taller than a man, had now given way to trees that huddled close together. Water birds took flight at our noisy approach. The river held hidden dangers: underwater tree stumps could rip out the bottom of the boat.
              Pal left the rudder to the boy and positioned himself at the prow, peering intently ahead and making gestures for Amit to steer by. The intensity of his hand gestures were a measure of the urgency with which we needed to swerve to avoid being sunk. Once or twice he turned to glare at Amit; we probably had a few close calls.
              The heat increased. Conversation ceased. We wiped the sweat from our brows. On the banks, trees again gave way to grasslands. Then, suddenly, around a bend in the river, we came upon a landscape the likes of which I have never seen anywhere.
              The channel met a wider channel… but there was another channel flowing away from it. Then another, flowing in, and another, and another, all flowing in various directions. Sandbars and rivulets, some broadening into rivers, stretched all the way to the horizon. It was a water world. It was the Brahmaputra.
              The Brahmaputra is called a “braided river”. Here, around the Dibru Saikhowa National Park, is where it is truly born. Before this, there are only the tributaries—the Siang, Lohit, Dibang, and many others. This water world around Dibru Saikhowa is where they meet to become the river the bard of Assam, Bhupen Hazarika, called Mahabahu, the mighty.
              Pal pointed our boat into a channel. He seemed to know his way from instinct and memory. He had in any case been navigating by sight. Maps would be useless. A channel with water today may run dry a week later. A little rivulet may change course. A sandbar may appear, or be washed away.
              The banks closed in on us. The channel narrowed and became shallower. Had Pal made a mistake? It was too hot and humid even to ask. Speaking was an effort.
              Dangerous humans
              The boat came to a halt. Wordlessly, Pal leapt out. He anchored and motioned for us to follow and started walking. Around us was open grassland. The sweat poured off us in buckets. “This is a green desert,” Akshay said.
              I managed to catch up with Pal. “Where are we going,” I asked. “To see the wild horses,” he replied. We walked on in silence. Before us was a riverbed that seemed to have run dry very recently—perhaps a day or two ago. There were still pools and little channels of water, but it was possible to walk across. Pal shaded his eyes, looked across the riverbed, into a clump of forest and grassland, and declared “they are there,” before beginning to trot rapidly across a relatively dry section. We were about to follow when he called out, “Run across and don’t stop. It’s quicksand.”
              The prospect of sinking gave us a fresh burst of energy. We raced across, struggling through the soft sand, leaving footsteps five or six inches deep, and staggered to the other side. A thin path led deeper into the wooded grassland. The undergrowth thickened. Suddenly, I heard loud snorts. Pal and Akshay had disappeared around a bend. I quickened my pace and was just in time to see Pal duck. I followed suit. Akshay, after a moment of masterly inactivity spent fanning himself with his hat, did likewise.
              It was a herd of wild buffalo, massive creatures with sweeping horns—among the most dangerous animals in these forests. In Africa, in the days of big game hunting, the Cape buffalo, which is smaller than the Indian wild buffalo, was considered one of the ‘big five’ along with the lion, elephant, leopard and rhino. More snorts followed.
              I considered my options and decided I would have to risk sinking in quicksand if they charged. There was a rumble of hooves. Fortunately, the skittish animals had decided to run away from us rather than at us.
              We resumed our march. Shortly after, we were rewarded with the sight of a group of wild horses, including a little colt. Pal went around behind them and they took off, racing past us, manes flying in the wind.
              We did not venture deeper where the elephants are, a march of days. That would need a proper expedition and some security; the animals are fine, but there are often dangerous humans in these jungles. Poachers and insurgents are said to hide out here. Rafts of trees illegally felled from reserve forests in Arunachal Pradesh float down the Brahmaputra regularly. Corrupt forest and police officers, poachers and members of militant groups—they all profit from the trade.
              They are eating away the forests like locusts, but nonetheless, they are the relatively small fry. When their disorganised loot gives way to corporations that have sharks in suits, the game will change. The logic of profit and loss rides on a purely utilitarian understanding of the world. It reduces nature to “natural resources” and people to “human resources”. Its method is the method of counting and measuring; every quality is reduced to a quantity, a number.
              How many megawatts of power can the Brahmaputra and its tributaries generate? How many millions in “shareholder value” will it be worth? What is the price of a river older than the Himalayas, which supports an entire ancient ecosystem? And what, indeed, is the price of the ecosystem itself?
              After editing newspapers around India, @mrsamratx chucked up the rat race to spend his time in more pleasant activities such as writing books and being chased by wild buffaloes.

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              Mirror: https://tinyurl.com/y7f4ojh9
              https://www.facebook.com/srini.kalyanaraman/posts/10156383239954625

              The hieroglyph which signifies the word kharaḍā खरड़ा is currycomb as on seal m290
              khara 'ass, onager' with evidence from Paippalada Samhita (20.39.2) Rebus: khār खार् 'blacksmith'

              kola 'tiger' rebus: kol 'working in iron' + pattar 'trough' rebus: pattar 'goldsmith guild' + ṭāṅka ʻleg, thighʼ (Oriya) rebus:   ṭaṅka 'mint' 
              PLUS khar 'ass, onager' (Kashmiri) PLUS  kharedo = a currycomb (Gujarati) deciphered as: ṭaṅka 'mint' PLUS khār खार् 'blacksmith' PLUS kharādī ‘ turner’ (Gujarati)
              Image result for currycomb indus script

              Harappa Raised script: H94-2198 (After Fig. 4.14 in JM Kenoyer, 1998). Eight such tablets were found by HARP (Harvard Archaeological Project)



              The inscription on the cast copper tablet of Harappa is read as: dul 'cast metal', khoT 'alloy ingot', bharata, 'alloy of coper, pewter, tin'.Hieroglyphs: dula 'pair' Rebus: dul 'cast metal'; goT 'seed' Rebus: khoT 'alloy ingot'. खोट (p. 212) [ khōṭa ] f A mass of metal (unwrought or of old metal melted down); an ingot or wedge. (Marathi) baraDo 'spine' Rebus: भरत (p. 603) [ bharata ] n A factitious metal compounded of copper, pewter, tin &c. (Marathi) karava 'pot' Rebus: kharva 'wealth'; karba 'iron'; karNaka 'rim of jar' Rebus: karNI 'supercargo'; karnIka 'scribe'.

                                                                                                                                  All inscriptions of the corpora are kharaḍā खरड़ा wealth accounting ledge entries of metalwork wealth created in smithies, forges, foundries of the Tin-Bronze Age Civilization.

              Vol 1 728 pages

              Vol 2 772 pages

              Vol 3 775 pages


              S. Kalyanaraman
              Sarasvati Research Center
              July 2, 2017

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              Nuclear reactor at Kalpakkam: World's envy, India's pride

              PTI | Jul 2, 2017, 09.47 AM IST
              YEKATERINBURG(Russia): Hidden from public, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal at Kalpakkam near Chennai, Indian nuclear scientists are in the final throes of starting a high-tech giant stove more than 15 years in the making.

              This novel nuclear reactor is a kind of an 'akshaya patra', the mythical goblet with a never-ending supply of food.

              The Department of Atomic Energy is getting ready to commission its ultra-modern indigenously designed and locally mastered fast-breeder reactor.

              Experts say to make nuclear energy sustainable, one sure shot way is to make fast-breeder reactors+ mainstream.

              Yukiya Amano, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, says "fast reactors can help extract up to 70 per cent more energy than traditional reactors and are safer than traditional reactors while reducing long lived radioactive waste by several fold."

              Easier said than done, since these reactors are also notoriously unstable and hence difficult to run reliably over long periods.

              Called a 'Fast-Breeder Reactor', these are a special kind of nuclear reactors that generate more atomic fuel than they consume as they work.

              India has been running an experimental facility called a Fast-Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) now for 27 years.

              This is a small nuclear reactor a forerunner for the monster that India has constructed at Kalpakkam called the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR). This will generate electricity commercially using the fast breeder route.

              The world's only commercially operating fast breeder reactor is situated in the Ural Mountains of Russia at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant, not far from Russia's fourth largest city Yekateringburg.

              The Russians today are the global leaders in fast-breeder reactors having operated a fast-breeder reactor called BN 600 since 1980.

              In 2016, the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom commercially commissioned its big brother -- the BN 800 fast breeder reactor.

              This reactor produces about 800 MW of electricity and supplies it to the Ural region including the city of Yekateringburg.

              While electricity that is produced is no different than any other electricity but the global community of atomic boffins is suitably chuffed about this unique achievement.

              M Chudakov, now with the IAEA and well-known Russian fast breeder expert, calls "these reactors a bridge to the future as they can supply an almost unlimited supply of electricity".

              All eyes are now on southern India where another global nuclear milestone is likely to be crossed this year.

              Arun Kumar Bhaduri, Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam says, "fast breeder reactors are far safer than the current generation of nuclear plants and that all efforts are being made to kickstart within this year India's first commercial fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam."

              Such is the interest in fast breeder reactors that more than 700 of the best atomic scientists from over 30 countries gathered at Yekateringburg in IAEA's conference on the 'next generation nuclear systems for sustainable development'. The scientists deliberated on how to make nuclear energy last for several centuries.

              Given India's expertise, the co-chair of the conference was Suresh Chetal, one of the early pioneers of fast breeder reactors who helped tame fast breeder reactors for New Delhi when he was at the IGCAR.

              Many countries have dabbled with fast breeder reactors and have given up, first off the block was the US but it gave up since inherently American governments have an allergic response with re-processing of nuclear waste in addition since USA has enough supplies of fissile material there is no hunger to maximally extract energy from uranium.

              Japan and France both had robust programmes with fast breeder technology but repeated failure to safely handle liquid sodium forced them to more or less give up on fast reactors.

              China is more than a decade behind India in trying to master this complex beast.

              Russia invested heavily in developing the fast breeder technology but since it commissioned its first fast breeder reactor BN 600 in 1980 it suffered an economic meltdown as the former Soviet Union broke up and only recently Russia could gather enough resources to complete its upgraded fast breeder reactor BN 800.

              Today the BN 800 is a flagship reactor that uses both uranium and plutonium as fuel and generates electricity that is supplied to the grid. A visit to the facility reveals a squeaky clean reactor where seasoned operators like Ivan Sidrow are also experimenters as they go about trying to design a bigger 1200 MW fast breeder reactor.

              India's own PFBR is unique and rather different from the Russian fast breeder reactor though both use the same basic principle of physics.

              Fast breeder reactors are called such not because they run faster but because the neutrons that sustain the atomic chain reaction travel at a much higher velocity than neutrons that help run the traditional atomic plants.

              These are called breeders as they generate more fuel than they consume a fact hard to fathom since they seem to defy the laws of conservation of energy.

              But a very unique quirk of elemental uranium makes this possible.

              Nuclear reactors use a flavour of uranium called U-235 which unfortunately constitutes a minuscule quantity even in super purified uranium.

              The larger component is what is called U-238 this flavour is the bulk but is essentially a waste product as the atomic reaction cannot be sustained by this elemental flavour.

              In a fast breeder reactor the very special fast neutrons interact with the so called wasted uranium U-238 and converts it into a valuable resource. This is why fast breeders are akin to an 'akshaya patra'.

              India's fast breeder reactor is even more unique as within it the country also deploys special rods of thorium which when they get exposed to or irradiated by fast neutrons they generate U-233 and a normally benign thorium turns into a valuable atomic material.


              It is well known that India is very energy hungry and as economic growth takes place mega quantities of electricity will be required.

              Unfortunately, nature has not been bountiful on India as the Indian land mass is not endowed with enough uranium but on the other hand the country has the world's second largest store of thorium.


              Today the country in a well thought out strategy is mastering fast breeder reactors that can be an effective via media for utilising the vast thorium reserves.
              Nuclear reactor at Kalpakkam: World's envy, India's pride
              Scientists at work on the main vessel of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at the IGCAR complex in Kalpakkam. (TOI file photo)







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              https://tinyurl.com/yabxrn2m
               Opinion writer  
              Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces look toward the town of Tabqa in April. (Syrian Democratic Forces/Associated Press)
              The Islamic State’s headquarters in this city at the western gateway to Raqqa has been crushed like a sandcastle by American bombs. At a dam complex on the Euphrates River where the Islamic State was torturing prisoners and hurling alleged homosexuals from a giant concrete tower, all that’s left of the extremists are militant slogans scrawled on the wall and a pile of trash.
              It’s far too soon to say that life is returning to normal here after liberation, but much of the horror is over. Mines and improvised explosive devices were cleared here last week. Young children flash V-for-victory signs. Islamic beards have nearly disappeared. The most visible people sporting full beards on Thursday were American Special Operations forces who accompanied visiting U.S. special envoy Brett McGurk.
              The city is strewn with rubble, and Ahmad al-Ahmad, the co-president of the newly formed Tabqa Civil Council, described it as a “city of ghosts,” with perhaps 40 percent of its buildings damaged. The electricity, water-distribution and school systems have been largely destroyed. Young boys who were indoctrinated at Islamic State training camps are trying to find their balance in a new world where beheadings and the chanting of Islamist slogans are over.
              To look at people’s wary faces, uncertain but with a trace of hope in their eyes, it’s like they’re waking up from a nightmare. The newly formed town council is meeting, created by the Kurdish-led military force that cleared the town, and it seems to be getting cooperation from local Arabs. A new internal security force is policing the streets and occasionally pops off warning fire. At a warehouse near the town center, the first shipment of American food arrived on Wednesday; sacks of flour and rice are stacked on pallets, ready for distribution, and much more is coming in the next week, says veteran U.S. relief coordinator Al Dwyer.
              A boisterous group of young Syrian men is gathered outside a tire and vehicle-parts shop across from the warehouse. American military advisers aren’t sure at first that it’s safe to talk with them, but the men press eagerly toward two visiting reporters. Abdul-Qadr Khalil, 22, dressed in a bright blue-nylon jacket, speaks for the group. He complains that there’s not enough food, water, gas or bread, and there are no jobs. But he dismisses the idea that the Islamic State will ever take hold here again.
              “No, never!” says Khalil, and the young men around him nod in unison. “It will be impossible to live if they come back. They will kill all of us.”
              Nothing is permanent in this shattered country, but there are tipping points when the momentum shifts, and this seems to be one. As the battle for Raqqa begins in earnest, this city offers a preview of what’s ahead:
              ● ●The black balloon of the Islamic State caliphate is deflating quickly in Syria, as in Iraq. There may be up to a year of hard fighting left, but the surprise for U.S. officials is that the battle in eastern Syria is going faster and better than expected. In a symbol of that advance, Kurdish commanders gave McGurk the ring of an Islamic State emir who once used it to seal orders to kill Tabqa’s inhabitants. The emir blew himself up when he was surrounded in May, leaving behind the ring and its now-empty claim of authority.
              ● The confrontation with Syria and Russia that led to the shoot-down of a Syrian fighter jet just south of here two weeks ago seems to have eased, at least for now. Despite the Russians’ public protests, they quietly agreed last weekend on a roughly 80-mile “deconfliction” line that stretches from a few miles west of here to a village on the Euphrates called Karama. That line appears to be holding, and it’s a promising sign that broader U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria may be possible.
              ● The Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces has shown it can defeat the Islamic State, so long as it’s backed by U.S. air power. The Tabqa battle in May was perhaps the most ambitious and daring operation of the war so far. Five hundred SDF soldiers were airlifted across Lake Assad in V-22 Osprey aircraft in a raid that caught Islamic State forces by surprise. The SDF suffered about 100 killed and more than 300 wounded in the bloody operation, but it worked, and in this part of the world, success breeds success. Arab refugees are now streaming toward the Kurdish-led SDF, rather than away, and 8,200 U.S.-trained Arab forces are joining the front lines.
              Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who commands U.S. and coalition forces in Syria and Iraq, explains in an interview that the Kurdish military leadership here is “the thickener, the hardener you put on the glue to make it hold.”
              McGurk repeats at every meeting with local officials that the United States’ ability to fix Syria is limited. America can help defeat the Islamic State, and it can provide quick stabilization support to repair water, electricity and other infrastructure. But it can’t do everything.
              This sense of what’s achievable for the United States in Syria with its limited commitment, and what isn’t, is probably the biggest takeaway from our visit here. The United States seems to have found a way, in its almost accidental alliance with the Syrian Kurds, to drive the Islamic State from eastern Syria and stabilize this part of the country. But U.S. officials frankly admit they don’t have the resources or a clear strategy to repair Syria as a whole. The rubric seems to be: Do what you can with the forces available, and don’t promise more than you can deliver.
              "This is not a work of beauty. This is pragmatism," says Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, the British deputy commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Syria who accompanied McGurk here. The U.S. and its partners are supplying potent special operations forces for training and air support. But the Syrian Kurds and their Arab allies are doing the fighting and the dying on the ground, and for better or worse, it's their vision of governance that will take hold as ISIS flees.

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              Meet The App That Revolutionized Book Reading For 2 Million People Find out why and how people are overhauling the way that they read. 

              by Caitlin Schiller | Mar 29 2017 

              A Gallup poll conducted in 2015 found that a work week for the average full-time American employee is 47 hours (or nearly 6 days a week), and they usually have only 19 minutes to devote to reading. So imagine this: what if it were possible to take those 19 minutes of reading time a day and deliver people the kind of knowledge they need to be their best? Could a digital publishing company, by devoting all of its skills and heart to finding a solution, crack this problem? The Blinkist app does exactly that. 

              Founded in 2013, the app offers short versions of bestselling books that can be read in 15 minutes or fewer. Blinkist has high-powered summaries of insights from over 2,000 must-read nonfiction books. 2 million people are reading every day with the Blinkist app, and more are discovering it every day. Why are so many people in love with this little reading app? Here are 5 of our favorite reasons. 1. Backed By Science: The Product & The Service We filter through the noise to make sure you get knowledge you can trust. We sort through the approximately 2,200,000 books published worldwide to find the best nonfiction books out there. Then, our subject specialists, writers, and editors identify the key ideas from each of these hand-selected books and transform them into smart, useful summaries of insights we lovingly polish and refine until they are nothing but the absolute most essential elements of the writer’s main ideas. 

              We do the filtering for you, then we share those ideas with you the way your dream-friend would. Better yet, our content is scientifically formulated with brain-based learning to be memorable and clear. This also means that it’s easy to learn wherever, whenever you have a moment—just pick up where you left off, and use audio to learn if you’re suddenly on the move. Even Blinkist’s in-app reader was designed to be easy on the eyes and pleasing to the brain. Plus, Blinkist is built to tailor itself to you: as you start reading, favoriting, and highlighting with Blinkist, the app will surface new titles you’ll love. 2. The Learners We recently reached 2 million in our community of learners, and they amaze us. They’re grandmothers in Northern England and entrepreneurs in Brazil; they’re students in Finland and HR managers in Southeast Asia. They’re entrepreneurs (and moms!) in New York City and they’re teachers perched on Himalayan mountaintops. 

              All kinds of people use the Blinkist app to become their best selves, so when you sign up for Blinkist, you’re joining an invisible network of people around the world who thirst for knowledge and are committed to making the most of their time and talent by bettering their minds. And you can meet each other, too! We now have a Facebook group of smart, curious Blinkist learners suggesting books, sharing advice, and swapping their success stories and advice for when the going gets tough. 3. Audio Do you learn best when someone talks you through it? Turns out that today, most other busy, bright people do, too! During our first two years of making Blinkist, audio versions of our books-in-blinks was the number one most requested feature. And so we made it happen. 

              Now, it’s easy to keep learning in the car, to the beach, on a run, or wherever else you’re going. Audio fits into the day in a way text sometimes can’t, so even if there are times when it seems like those 19 minutes a day you’ve got for reading might slip through your fingers, it’s still possible to fit in a little learning. Lots of our users love audio because of our narrators, all real people from around the world, trained to deliver an intimate audio learning experience. 4. Real People Do you wish that you had a super smart friend who’d share the fascinating things they read about with you? Now you do! We come from 21 countries and have a collection of degrees and experience that runs the gamut from former hadron collider operator to literature professor to museum docent to mathematician. We’re people who care deeply about learning and getting to the bottom of the big ideas that matter—in every subject. We read every book ourselves, we write every book-in-blinks, we edit and record every single pack of key insights. We’re people—not bots—and we like to think that this shows in the care we put into our work and how much our community trusts us. It takes a minimum of 7 people to make a book-in-blinks, which means you never have to question its quality, or whether it’s been carefully vetted. 5. The Innovation Blinkist makes it possible to discover new thinkers and ideas that matter, keep learning every day, and take some of the pressure off your quest to be an informed citizen and a better you. 

              As the world gets faster and faster, we’ll keep on making it easy and enjoyable to fit reading and learning back into every single day. We’ll go where the best ideas are—whether that’s books, articles, podcasts, or other media—and bring them to you. You can count on it. Download the Blinkist app today and join our community of 2m modern learners.

              https://tinyurl.com/ycdu7fxz

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              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNYR-Ip8X-A GST Retrun Online by Excel or Software Video Process by Hasmukh Adhiya

              CBEC GST: The Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has published an app called the CBEC GST that is available on the Google Play aap store. The app was launched earlier this month and taxpayers can readily access a host of GST related information like Migration to GST, FAQs, Draft Rules, Draft Laws, and more through this app.
              http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/gst-software-and-gst-apps-all-the-softwares-which-can-help-you-calculate-gst/743132/

              Posted at: Jul 3, 2017, 1:57 AM; last updated: Jul 3, 2017, 2:11 AM (IST)

              Govt dispels 7 ‘myths’ on GST

              New Delhi, July 2
              A day after the pan-India Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on Sunday cleared certain misconceptions about the new indirect tax regime. 
              “There are seven myths going around about GST which are not true. I want to dispel them one by one,” Adhia tweeted.
              Editorial: GST right and wrongs
              Cautioning people against falling prey to rumours, Adhia said in a series of tweets that the process around the implementation and execution of GST will be transparent. “Nothing to worry on GST implementation, don’t need big IT infrastructure. Even B2B don’t need big software. We will give free software,” he said. — IANS
              (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)
              Revenue Secretary lists ‘reality’ of ‘good, simple tax’
              1 Myth: I need to generate all invoices on computer/Internet only
              Reality: Invoices can be generated manually also 
              2 Myth: I need Internet all the time to do business under GST
              Reality: Internet would be needed only while filing monthly return of GST
              3 Myth: I have provisional ID but waiting for final ID to do business
              Reality: Provisional ID will be your final GSTIN number. Start business
              4 Myth: My item of trade was earlier exempt, so I will immediately need new registration before starting business now
              Reality: You can continue doing business and get registered within 30 days
              5 Myth: There are three returns per month to be filed
              Reality: There is only one return with three parts, out of which first part filed by dealer and two other parts auto-populated by computer 
              6 Myth: Even small dealers will have to file invoice wise details in the return 
              Reality: Those in retail business (B2C) need to file only summary of total sales 
              7 Myth: New GST rates are higher compared to earlier VAT 
              Reality: It appears higher because excise duty and other taxes, which were invisible earlier, are now subsumed in GST and so visible now

              http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/govt-dispels-7-myths-on-gst/430837.html

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              What is "brain hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should care

              Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked, says a former Google product manager. Anderson Cooper reports

              Anderson Cooper
              Have you ever wondered if all those people you see staring intently at their smartphones -- nearly everywhere, and at all times -- are addicted to them? According to a former Google product manager you are about to hear from, Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked. As we first reported in April, he is one of the few tech insiders to publicly acknowledge that the companies responsible for programming your phones are working hard to get you and your family to feel the need to check in constantly. Some programmers call it "brain hacking" and the tech world would probably prefer you didn't hear about it. But Tristan Harris openly questions the long-term consequences of it all and we think it's worth putting down your phone to listen.

              preview-brainhacking0.jpg
              Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager
               CBS NEWS

              Tristan Harris: This thing is a slot machine.
              Anderson Cooper: How is that a slot machine?
              Tristan Harris: Well every time I check my phone, I'm playing the slot machine to see, "What did I get?" This is one way to hijack people's minds and create a habit, to form a habit. What you do is you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward. And it turns out that this design technique can be embedded inside of all these products.

              twitter.jpg

              The rewards Harris is talking about are a big part of what makes smartphones so appealing. The chance of getting likes on Facebook and Instagram. Cute emojis in text messages. And new followers on Twitter.
              Tristan Harris: There's a whole playbook of techniques that get used to get you using the product for as long as possible.
              Anderson Cooper: What kind of techniques are used?

              "...every time I check my phone, I'm playing the slot machine to see, 'What did I get?' This is one way to hijack people's minds and create a habit, to form a habit." Tristan Harris

              Tristan Harris: Tristan Harris: So Snapchat's the most popular messaging service for teenagers. And they invented this feature called "streaks," which shows the number of days in a row that you've sent a message back and forth with someone. So now you could say, "Well, what's the big deal here?" Well, the problem is that kids feel like, "Well, now I don't want to lose my streak." But it turns out that kids actually when they go on vacation are so stressed about their streak that they actually give their password to, like, five other kids to keep their streaks going on their behalf. And so you could ask when these features are being designed, are they designed to most help people live their life? Or are they being designed because they're best at hooking people into using the product?
              Anderson Cooper: Is Silicon Valley programming apps or are they programming people?

              snapchat.jpg

              Tristan Harris: Inadvertently, whether they want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people. There's always this narrative that technology's neutral. And it's up to us to choose how we use it. This is just not true.
              Anderson Cooper: Technology's not neutral?
              Tristan Harris: It's not neutral. They want you to use it in particular ways and for long periods of time. Because that's how they make their money.
              It's rare for a tech insider to be so blunt, but Tristan Harris believes someone needs to be. A few years ago he was living the Silicon Valley dream. He dropped out of a master's program at Stanford University to start a software company. Four years later Google bought him out and hired him as a product manager. It was while working there he started to feel overwhelmed.

              preview-brainhacking0.jpg

              Tristan Harris: Honestly, I was just bombarded in email and calendar invitations and just the overload of what it's like to work at a place like Google. And I was asking, "When is all of this adding up to, like, an actual benefit to my life?" And I ended up making this presentation. It was kind of a manifesto. And it basically said, you know, "Look, never before in history have a handful of people at a handful of technology companies shaped how a billion people think and feel every day with the choices they make about these screens."

              "Inadvertently, whether they want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people." Tristan Harris

              His 144-page presentation argued that the constant distractions of apps and emails are "weakening our relationships to each other," and "destroying our kids ability to focus." It was widely read inside Google, and caught the eye of one of the founders Larry Page. But Harris told us it didn't lead to any changes and after three years he quit.
              Tristan Harris: And it's not because anyone is evil or has bad intentions. It's because the game is getting attention at all costs. And the problem is it becomes this race to the bottom of the brainstem, where if I go lower on the brainstem to get you, you know, using my product, I win. But it doesn't end up in the world we want to live in. We don't end up feeling good about how we're using all this stuff.
              Anderson Cooper: You call this a "race to the bottom of the brain stem." It's a race to the most primitive emotions we have? Fear, anxiety, loneliness, all these things?
              Tristan Harris: Absolutely. And that's again because in the race for attention I have to do whatever works.
              Tristan Harris: It absolutely wants one thing, which is your attention.
              Now he travels the country trying to convince programmers and anyone else who will listen that the business model of tech companies needs to change. He wants products designed to make the best use of our time not just grab our attention.Anderson Cooper: Do you think parents understand the complexities of what their kids are dealing with, when they're dealing with their phone, dealing with apps and social media?
              Tristan Harris: No. And I think this is really important. Because there's a narrative that, "Oh, I guess they're just doing this like we used to gossip on the phone, but what this misses is that your telephone in the 1970s didn't have a thousand engineers on the other side of the telephone who were redesigning it to work with other telephones and then updating the way your telephone worked every day to be more and more persuasive. That was not true in the 1970s.
              Anderson Cooper: How many Silicon Valley insiders are there speaking out like you are?
              Tristan Harris: Not that many.
              We reached out to the biggest tech firms but none would speak on the record and some didn't even return our phone call.  Most tech companies say their priority is improving user experience, something they call "engagement."  But they remain secretive about what they do to keep people glued to their screens.  So we went to Venice, California, where the body builders on the beach are being muscled out by small companies that specialize in what Ramsay Brown calls "brain hacking."

              ramsay-intv-at-lab.jpg
              Anderson Cooper speaks with Ramsay Brown, the cofounder of Dopamine Labs
               CBS NEWS

              Ramsay Brown: A computer programmer who now understands how the brain works knows how to write code that will get the brain to do certain things.
              Ramsay Brown studied neuroscience before co-founding Dopamine Labs, a start-up crammed into a garage. The company is named after the dopamine molecule in our brains that aids in the creation of desire and pleasure. Brown and his colleagues write computer code for apps used by fitness companies and financial firms. The programs are designed to provoke a neurological response.

              "A computer programmer who now understands how the brain works knows how to write code that will get the brain to do certain things." Ramsay Brown

              Anderson Cooper: You're trying to figure out how to get people coming back to use the screen?
              Ramsay Brown: When should I make you feel a little extra awesome to get you to come back into the app longer?

              ramsay-brown.jpg
              Ramsay Brown
               CBS NEWS

              The computer code he creates finds the best moment to give you one of those rewards, which have no actual value, but Brown says trigger your brain to make you want more. For example, on Instagram, he told us sometimes those likes come in a sudden rush.
              Ramsay Brown: They're holding some of them back for you to let you know later in a big burst. Like, hey, here's the 30 likes we didn't mention from a little while ago. Why that moment--
              Anderson Cooper: So all of a sudden you get a big burst of likes?
              Ramsay Brown: Yeah, but why that moment? There's some algorithm somewhere that predicted, hey, for this user right now who is experimental subject 79B3 in experiment 231, we think we can see an improvement in his behavior if you give it to him in this burst instead of that burst.
              When Brown says "experiments," he's talking generally about the millions of computer calculations being used every moment by his company and others use to constantly tweak your online experience and make you come back for more.
              Ramsay Brown: You're part of a controlled set of experiments that are happening in real time across you and millions of other people.
              Anderson Cooper: We're guinea pigs?
              Ramsay Brown: You're guinea pigs. You are guinea pigs in the box pushing the button and sometimes getting the likes. And they're doing this to keep you in there.
              The longer we look at our screens, the more data companies collect about us, and the more ads we see. Ad spending on social media has doubled in just two years to more than $31 billion.
              Ramsay Brown: You don't pay for Facebook. Advertisers pay for Facebook. You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what's being sold there.
              Anderson Cooper: That's an interesting way to look at it, that you're not the customer for Facebook.

              "You don't pay for Facebook. Advertisers pay for Facebook. You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what's being sold there." Ramsay Brown

              Ramsay Brown: You're not the customer. You don't sign a check to Facebook. But Coca-Cola does.
              Brown says there's a reason texts and Facebook use a continuous scroll, because it's a proven way to keep you searching longer.
              Ramsay Brown: You spend half your time on Facebook just scrolling to find one good piece worth looking at. It's happening because they are engineered to become addictive.
              Anderson Cooper: You're almost saying it like there's an addiction code.
              Ramsay Brown: Yeah, that is the case. That since we've figured out, to some extent, how these pieces of the brain that handle addiction are working, people have figured out how to juice them further and how to bake that information into apps.
              Larry Rosen: Dinner table could be a technology-free zone.
              While Brown is tapping into the power of dopamine, psychologist Larry Rosen and his team at California State University Dominguez Hills are researching the effect technology has on our anxiety levels.
              Larry Rosen: We're looking at the impact of technology through the brain.
              Rosen told us when you put your phone down – your brain signals your adrenal gland to produce a burst of a hormone called, cortisol, which has an evolutionary purpose. Cortisol triggers a fight-or-flight response to danger.
              Anderson Cooper: How does cortisol relate to a mobile device, a phone?
              Larry Rosen: What we find is the typical person checks their phone every 15 minutes or less and half of the time they check their phone there is no alert, no notification. It's coming from inside their head telling them, "Gee, I haven't check in Facebook in a while. I haven't checked on this Twitter feed for a while. I wonder if somebody commented on my Instagram post." That then generates cortisol and it starts to make you anxious. And eventually your goal is to get rid of that anxiety so you check in.
              So the same hormone that made primitive man anxious and hyperaware of his surroundings to keep him from being eaten by lions is today compelling Rosen's students and all of us to continually peek at our phones to relieve our anxiety.
              Larry Rosen: When you put the phone down you don't shut off your brain, you just put the phone down.
              Anderson Cooper: Can I be honest with you right now? I haven't paid attention to what you're saying because I just realized my phone is right down by my right foot and I haven't checked it in, like 10 minutes.
              Larry Rosen: And it makes you anxious.
              Anderson Cooper: I'm a little anxious.

              pix-1.jpg
              A computer tracks minute changes in Anderson Cooper's heart rate and perspiration
               CBS NEWS

              Larry Rosen: Yes.
              We found out just how anxious in this experiment conducted by Rosen's research colleague Nancy Cheever.
              Nancy Cheever: So the first thing I'm going to do is apply these electrodes to your fingers.
              While I watched a video, a computer tracked minute changes in my heart rate and perspiration. What I didn't know was that Cheever was sending text messages to my phone which was just out of reach. Every time my text notification went off, the blue line spiked – indicating anxiety caused in part by the release of cortisol.
              Nancy Cheever: Oh, that one is…that's a huge spike right there. And if you can imagine what that's doing to your body. Every time you get a text message you probably can't even feel it right? Because it's such a um, it's a small amount of arousal.
              Anderson Cooper: That's fascinating.
              Their research suggests our phones are keeping us in a continual state of anxiety in which the only antidote – is the phone.
              Anderson Cooper: Is it known what the impact of all this technology use is?
              Larry Rosen: Absolutely not.
              Anderson Cooper: It's too soon.
              Larry Rosen: We're all part of this big experiment.
              Anderson Cooper: What is this doing to a young mind or a teenager?
              Larry Rosen: Well there's some projects going on where they're actually scanning teenager's brains over a 20-year period and looking to see what kind of changes they're finding.

              gabe-intv.jpg
              Gabe Zichermann
               CBS NEWS

              Gabe Zichermann: Here's the reality. Corporations and creators of content have, since the beginning of time, wanted to make their content as engaging as possible.
              Gabe Zichermann has worked with dozens of companies – including Apple and CBS – to make their online products more irresistible. He's best known in Silicon Valley for his expertise in something called "gamification," using techniques from video games to insert fun and competition into almost everything on your smartphone.
              Gabe Zichermann: So one of the interesting things about gamification and other engaging technologies, is at the same time as we can argue that the neuroscience is being used to create dependent behavior those same techniques are being used to get people to work out, you know, using their Fitbit. So all of these technologies, all the techniques for engagement can be used for good, or can be used for bad.

              "Asking technology companies, asking content creators to be less good at what they do feels like a ridiculous ask." Gabe Zichermann

              Zichermann is now working on software called 'Onward' designed to break user's bad habits. It will track a person's activity and can recommend they do something else when they're spending too much time online.
              Gabe Zichermann: I think creators have to be liberated to make their content as good as possible.
              Anderson Cooper: The idea that a tech company is not going to try to make their product as persuasive, as engaging as possible, you're just saying that's not gonna happen?
              Gabe Zichermann: Asking technology companies, asking content creators to be less good at what they do feels like a ridiculous ask. It feels impossible. And also it's very anti-capitalistic, this isn't the system that we live in.
              Ramsay Brown and his garage start-up Dopamine Labs made a habit-breaking app as well.  It's called "Space" and it creates a 12-second delay --  what Brown calls a "moment of Zen" before any social media app launches. In January, he tried to convince Apple to sell it in their App Store.
              Ramsay Brown: And they rejected it from the App Store because they told us any app that would encourage people to use other apps or their iPhone less was unacceptable for distribution in the App Store.
              Anderson Cooper: They actually said that to you?
              Ramsay Brown: They said that to us. They did not want us to give out this thing that was gonna make people less stuck on their phones.
              A few days after our story first aired, Apple called to tell us it had a change of heart and made "Space" available in its App Store.
              Produced by Guy Campanile and Andrew Bast. Jaime Woods, associate producer.
              • Anderson Cooper
              • Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," has contributed to 60 Minutes since 2006. His exceptional reporting on big news events has earned Cooper a reputation as one of television's pre-eminent newsmen.
              http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-is-brain-hacking-tech-insiders-on-why-you-should-care/

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              Mahābhārata: the critical edition and beyond

              Given the bewildering variation in the different recensions of the Mahābhārata, in the late 19th century a movement began to create a ‘critical edition’ of the epic. Photo: iStock
              Given the bewildering variation in the different recensions of the Mahābhārata, in the late 19th century a movement began to create a ‘critical edition’ of the epic. Photo: iStock
              Indians like me begin their love affair with the Mahābhārata from nānīmā’s stories. Epic metaphors and references pervade our Weltanschauung and values along with our earliest memories. As A.K. Ramanujan once famously said, “No Hindu reads the Mahābhārata for the first time.” When we “grow up” a little, we might read C. Rajagopalachari’s abridged (might I add, sanitized) version. Few of us go on to read the unabridged epic in any language, and even fewer in the original Sanskrit. 
              Those of us who do may notice that the colophon or introduction specifies whether it is the Calcutta edition, the Bombay one or another. Further study brings us to the realization that each edition has variations—in words, verses, even complete episodes. Important episodes in one edition may not exist in another. In the same episode, verses can be omitted and the verse order can differ, which has affects narrative continuity and the literary and philosophical impact of a given passage. 
              Given the bewildering variety and variation in the different recensions of the Mahābhārata, in the late 19th century a movement began to create a “critical edition” of the epic. This task was undertaken at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, in 1917 and was completed nearly 50 years later in 1966. Teams of Indian and Western Indologists, supported by traditionally trained śāstrīs and highly qualified university students, undertook this gargantuan task. 
              My first thought was—what is a critical edition, and how does it relate to all the manuscripts and recensions it is based on? 
              V.S. Sukthankar, who led this project, explained that it is an approximation of the earliest recoverable form of the epic. He was careful not to claim that it was a “discovery” of the original Mahābhārata. In Sukthankar’s own words, “What the promoters of this scheme desire to produce and supply is briefly this: a critical edition of the Mahābhārata in the preparation of which all important versions of the great epic shall have been taken into consideration, and all important manuscripts collated, estimated and turned to account.” 
              The general idea is to collect as many manuscript copies from around the country (literally Kashmir to Kanyakumari); to represent as many regions as possible by using Sanskrit manuscripts in different scripts (Malayālam, Grantha, Nevāri, Devanāgarī, Bengalī, Śāradā, to name a few); and to balance newer, younger well-maintained manuscripts with older ones, which might be partial or even illegible—the latter being considered more valuable. As it turned out, the Malayālam and Śāradā manuscripts—so far removed from each other geographically—shared commonalities and gaps, allowing the editors to take informed calls about what the archetype might have been. 
              The editor and team for each parvan (or chapter) went through and tallied all the manuscripts they collated—stanza by stanza, line by line, word by word. In the final form, verses which occur on the greatest number of manuscripts are deemed to be authentic and included. Some those included have wavy lines indicating that they are doubtful. Those verses that do not make the cut are put in footnotes at the bottom of the page—and longer passages are put into appendices at the end of the parvan. A typical page from the critical edition looks like this: 
              Ever since the critical edition (also known as the Poona edition) of the Mahābhārata was completed, practically all Western scholarly work has focused on it. The Chicago translation based on the critical edition began in the 1970s with J.A.B. van Buitenen and was continued by his students after his death. It is still incomplete. Indian economist and Sanskritist Bibek Debroy recently completed his English translation, also based on the critical edition. The Clay Sanskrit library deviated from this trend by translating the vulgate (the most commonly accepted version of the epic, and on which the famous 17th century commentary [Bhavadīpa] of Nīlakaṇṭha is based). Gita Press Gorakhpur also uses the vulgate for its Hindi translation. 
              The question still remains: how does the critical edition stand in relation to the vulgate and other recensions? For instance, two episodes which are considered axiomatic by Indian audiences are not in the critical edition: the story of Gaṇeśa as a scribe and, more famously, the re-robing of Draupadī by Kṛṣṇa through a divine miracle. This means these episodes did not exist in enough of the manuscripts to make the cut. 
              Does that make them any less “authentic” in the popular mind? What about all the bits that get left out? Are they questionable? Or limited to only some sects and regions? An example is the Ādityahṛdayam stotra(which we “know” occurs in the Rāmāyaṇa). It is not in the critical edition of that epic, having been found only in a few recensions. 
              James Hegarty, professor of Indian religions at Cardiff University, points out that while the critically reconstituted text (the critical edition) has been applauded by philologists, it has been rubbished by those who have an interest in the anthropology of the Mahābhārata tradition. These scholars are equally (if not more) interested in the footnotes and appendices. In that which has been left out. 
              Sanskrit reading room session. 
              At a recent session of the SOAS Sanskrit Reading Room, an initiative wherein leading academics from different streams of Sanskrit study in the UK present to an academic audience comprising students, teachers and scholars of various proficiencies, Hegarty drew our attention to the extraordinary variety of these footnotes and appendices—material from every manuscript consulted in the process of constructing the critical edition. 
              He called them an “embarrassment of riches” and expressed frank surprise that there hadn’t been an efflorescence of publications taking up the “rejected” rich range of literary data. Instances of critical instability, he said, they offer excellent products for study. 
              “The advantage of translating from the footnotes and appendices is that one has a clear and detailed account of the manuscripts from where these readings came. This allows us to do all sorts of interesting things; we can reconstitute individual manuscripts, groups of manuscripts or translate all the variants—a sort of mega-composite that goes beyond even the vulgate and is the mirror image of the critically edited text, which contains only that which was common to all manuscripts,” said Hegarty. 
              Considering the Ādi Parvan alone, some 235 were consulted, which included 32 manuscripts in the Bengalī script, 31 in Grantha, 28 in Teḷugu, 26 in Malayālam, five in Nevāri, three in Śāradā, one in Maithilī and one in Devanāgari. Of these 235, some 60 were finally used. In the process of constructing the archetype, it matters not only what is used, but also what is left out. 
              He demonstrated, for instance, that a reconstituted text including all the footnoted material which had been left out of the critical edition made this section of the Ādi Parvan decidedly more Vaiṣṇava in orientation (lines in bold indicate those verses are not in the critical edition): 
              I will tell in full the great creation of 
              Sagacious Vyāsa, who is known to all. (23) 
              All honour to him, of limitless might! 
              By grace will I tell Nārāyaṇa’s tale. (21*1-2) 
              No sacred waters nor cloistered grove 
              Can offer reward as this story can. (21*3-4) 
              Nothing that is, was or will be equals 
              Nārāyaṇa; by these words is wealth achieved! (21*5-6) 
              Poets told it and, telling it, they will 
              Tell it again: what was the world over. (24) 
              Kept by Brahmins; whether epitomized 
              Or told in full; the three worlds know it. (25) 
              Adorned with virtue and well chosen words, 
              Varied in rhythm; it delights the wise. (26) 
              Quite rightly, he points out that some recensions have far more detail in their narrative, which the reader of the critical edition misses out on. He treated us to a reconstituted passage from the Virāṭa Parvan, including verses from five Malayālam manuscripts used in critical edition, and which contain a large number of readings unique to themselves. 
              We came to see that the inclusion provided: a) a display of virtuosic myth-knowledge on the theme of powerful beings in disguise and b) a richer description of Yudhiṣṭhira’s disguise as the Brahmin gambling master, Kaṅka. “None of this rich textual ‘life’ is apparent if one translates either just the critically reconstituted text or the vulgate,” said Hegarty. 
              Hegarty is driven by two deep interests—one in the incredible variety of materials left out of the critical edition, and the second in how to render the Sanskrit into elegant English. He shared two translations of the opening of Milton’s Paradise Lost—one rather tongue in cheek, suggesting how an Indologist might translate—to make his point. I have to say in all honesty I preferred the second, but that says as much about me as it does about the translation. Here are the two translations: 
              Of Mans First Disobedience, and the FruitOf that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tastBrought Death into the World, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, [5] Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret topOf Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed, In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill [10] Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song, That with no middle flight intends to soarAbove th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues[15] Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime. 
              Sing heavenly Moûsa (a minor Greek deity) of the first defiance of humankind and of the fruit of the proscribed tree, whose death-taste, brought mortality into the world and the loss of Eden (a pre-lapsarian paradise in Christian traditions) and considerable sorrow, until a more powerful man restored us and re-obtained the throne of ecstasy; [sing] of Mt. Horeb (the place of origin of the ten commandments—a set of ethico-legal requirements authoritative within Jewish and Christian traditions) or Sinai (see above on Mt Horeb), which inspired that shepherd to teach the people of Israel (a reference to Exodus 19-20) about the creation of both heaven and earth from the void or, if Mt Zion is more pleasing or the brook of Siloa (a rock cut pond outside Jerusalem) that passed the Ark of the Covenant [sing of these]. I thus request your help in this brave composition, which intends to fly unimpeded above Mt Helicon, pursuing things that have not been attempted either in prose or by means of rhyme. 
              Upon being asked about the dangers of mistranslation (intentional or otherwise), Hegarty was quite unequivocal. “Literal is not always faithful… A literal translation can misrepresent and distort. (Yet) I am all for the ‘literal’ style of translation, (as) there are ‘dangers’ in all forms of translation. Translation is one of those things that the more you think about it the more impossible it becomes and yet it is done every day. I experience the Mahābhārata as a dynamic, rhythmic, powerfully exciting and insightful text. I know that this is how it has been experienced by generations of Indians. I would like to create English that reflects this,” he said. 
              Rohini Bakshi is a Sanskrit teacher and columnist. An Oxford alumna, she returned to academics after a successful career in marketing communications spanning 20 years. She has an MA in Hindu Studies with an emphasis on Sanskrit from SOAS, University of London. 
              You can read more about Dr. Hegarty’s research and publications here.
              Sources: 
              Prologomena (to the critical edition of the Ādiparvan, Book 1 of the Mahābhārata).
              SOAS Sanskrit reading room session conducted by Dr James Hegarty on 7 June 2017

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              Is the Arab world’s leading news channel an independent voice or a propaganda tool?


              WERE it not for Saudi intolerance, there might never have been Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s most popular news channel. In its formative days the Qatari-funded station struggled to find good staff. Then Saudi Arabia kicked the BBC’s irritatingly truthful Arabic-language channel off a Saudi satellite, causing it to shut down. Suddenly dozens of journalists were looking for work. Al Jazeera hired them. When it went on the air in 1996 it was run by people steeped in the BBC’s standards.
              Al Jazeera is now at the centre of a feud pitting Saudi Arabia against Qatar, its super-rich neighbour. Several Arab countries, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have joined the Saudis in isolating the tiny monarchy over its alleged support for terrorism and its ties to Iran. But what really irks them is how Qatar has used Al Jazeera to wield outsize influence in the region. They see it as a propaganda tool, promoting an agenda often at odds with their own.

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              The coalition is demanding that Qatar close Al Jazeera, and agree to 12 other conditions, before dropping their blockade. Several countries have already banned the station and blocked its website. This has led to a backlash from those who see something unique in Al Jazeera. Most other channels pump out sterile state-approved reports, but Al Jazeera is an independent broker of information. Or at least it was.
              In its early days the station distinguished itself with intrepid reporting, heated debates and unsparing coverage of autocrats, save its Qatari hosts. It was audacious, relatively, calling Saddam Hussein a “dictator” and allowing Israelis on the air. Dissidents, Islamists and pan-Arab nationalists were given a platform. The channel was indeed “a voice for the voiceless”, as it claimed. While vexing the region’s censors, it won awards. More tellingly, it has at one time or another been kicked out of nearly every country in the region.
              But the station has also welcomed, and championed, extremist viewpoints. It broadcast messages from Osama bin Laden and allowed Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Islamic theologian, to advocate violence on his own talk show. The bureau chief in Beirut once hosted an on-air birthday party for a militant convicted of killing four Israelis. Its war coverage seems deliberately incendiary. Some in the West, familiar only with Al Jazeera’s tempered English offering, have compared it to biased stations in America. But Al Jazeera Arabic is like “Fox News on steroids”, says Hussein Ibish of the Arab Gulf States Institute, a think-tank. “It goes much further, flirting with the promotion of violence.”
              By the time of 2011’s Arab spring, Al Jazeera was already well established. But its coverage of the uprisings marked a turning-point. Its reporters beamed out live images from raucous protests. The channel became the primary source of information for participants and observers. Al Jazeera’s web traffic increased by 2,500% during the revolution in Egypt, despite the government ransacking its Cairo bureau. “Long live Al Jazeera!” chanted protesters in Tahrir Square.
              Qatar’s neighbours were not nearly as thrilled with the station. They feared that the uprisings might spread to the Gulf. Al Jazeera’s favourable coverage of victorious Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, further alienated the Gulf rulers, who see the group as a threat. It has also led to criticism that Al Jazeera is following Qatar’s lead, at the expense of its editorial integrity. The station takes positions “not based on journalistic priorities, but rather on the interests of the foreign ministry of Qatar,” said Aktham Suliman, a former correspondent, after quitting in 2012.
              Al Jazeera continues to offend. When 12 Saudi soldiers were killed in Yemen in April, the station failed to refer to them as “martyrs”, enraging Riyadh. It angers the Egyptians by referring to the removal of the Brotherhood by the army in 2013, as a “coup”, which it was. The station has also given favourable coverage to Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. Since Qatar’s expulsion from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, Al Jazeera’s reporting on the war has grown more critical. It now highlights the bombing of civilians and a cholera epidemic exacerbated by the fighting. The coalition “has proven to have no plan”, said a reporter on June 16th. Al Jazeera will probably survive this crisis: but the Qatari government may force it to tone things down.
              This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline "Changing the channel"

              Qatar defiant as clock ticks under 48 hours to comply with Arab nations’ demands


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              Qatar says demands are 'made to be rejected'

              AP
              ARAB nations extended a deadline early Monday for Qatar to respond to their list of demands in a diplomatic crisis roiling the Gulf, saying Kuwait’s emir requested the delay as part of his efforts to mediate the dispute.
              Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off ties with 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar on June 5, restricting access to their airspace and ports and sealing Qatar’s only land border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia. They issued a 13-point list of demands to end the standoff June 22 and gave the natural gas-rich country 10 days to comply.
              The joint statement early Monday by the Arab nations said they expected Qatar to respond to their demands on Monday. The new deadline would expire late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
              “The response of the four states will then be sent following the study of the Qatari government’s response and assessment of its response to the whole demands,” the statement said.
              The four nations cut ties to Qatar over allegations it supports extremists and over worries it maintains too-close ties to Shiite power Iran.
              Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani says Qatar is “prepared to face whatever consequences. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
              Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani says Qatar is “prepared to face whatever consequences. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFPSource:AFP
              Qatar long has denied sponsoring militants and maintains ties to Iran as it shares a massive offshore natural gas field with the country.
              “Qatar is not an easy country to be swallowed by anyone. We are ready. We stand ready to defend our country. I hope that we don’t come to a stage where, you know, a military intervention is made,” Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told Sky News.
              Qatar’s main QE stock index lost more than 3 per cent when it reopened Sunday following a weeklong hiatus for the Eid al-Fitr holiday break — its first session since the demands were laid out. It eventually recovered some of its losses later in the trading session to close down 2.3 per cent at 8,822.15.
              Qatari supermarkets saw panic buying when the four countries initially cut ties. But the capital, Doha, was largely calm Sunday as residents waited to see how the crisis would play out.
              UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, says Qatar’s isolation “may last years”. Picture: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
              UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, says Qatar’s isolation “may last years”. Picture: Giuseppe Cacace/AFPSource:AFP
              Abdelaziz al-Yafaei, a Qatari out for an evening walk along the city’s bayside, said he was reassured that things would be fine, regardless of what happens over the course of the next days.
              “We have a government, thank God, that is wise and knows how to provide for all of our needs, how to maintain security,” he said. “We have enough funds in the country, on the economic side. All of the affairs are headed for the better.”
              Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, showed no signs of backing down in during a press briefing in Rome on Saturday, saying they were never meant to be accepted and that his country “is prepared to face whatever consequences.”
              While in Rome, Al Thani met with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who gave his backing to ongoing mediation efforts led by Kuwait. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also tried to resolve the dispute, with the US last week urging Saudi Arabia and its allies to stay “open to negotiation” with Qatar.
              Russian President Vladimir Putin has separately spoken with the leaders of Qatar and Bahrain, urging direct dialogue among all the states involved, according to statements released by the Kremlin on Saturday.
              Qatar Airways flights have been affected by the stand-off in the Middle East. Picture: Eric Piermont/AFP
              Qatar Airways flights have been affected by the stand-off in the Middle East. Picture: Eric Piermont/AFPSource:AFP

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