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A homage to Hindu civilization.

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    Comment: Breathtaking narrative which rivals Sherlock Holmes.

    What a privilege to have Anand Ranganathan and Sheetal Ranganathan amidst us. Their fingerprints should adorn, together the photographs of Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose, every institution of jurisprudence in the nation.
    All the justices in courts who live by evidence should stand up in reverence remembering the contributions of Haque and Bose.
    May their ātman जीवेम शरदः शतम्. Namaskaram, Anand Anand and Sheetal, your mellifluent prose is a joy to read and re-read. Thanks, again. PS: Aha, now on to the age of Digital Signatures which can get goofed up with cyber security codes and ciphers.

    The Forgotten Indian Wizards And The Birth Of Modern Forensics

    Heroes of Indian Science – Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose (The Origin of Fingerprinting, William Herschel, Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1916)
    • This is the story of two men, Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose, who laid the foundation for modern forensics but whose efforts went unrecognised.
    While the individual man is an insolvable puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign Of Four
    It is easier to catch a thief if you know him. Or her. Therein lies the seed of an idea that has captured human imagination for centuries and, along the way, beguiled millions with iconic fictional characters and their equally iconic sidekicks.
    There is something about the fingerprint. A hundred questions spring up and yet not one is countered on the double. Human mind being what it is – incurably curious, a profile soon begins to take shape. Whose fingerprint is it – burglar or relative, man or woman, young or old, blue- or white-collared?
    The art of profiling possibly began with bemused neanderthals staring at a cave painting, wondering who among them possessed the artistic streak in addition to a human spouse. The chants of a hymn, the metre of a poem, the strains of a musical composition – they tickle unbound curiosity within us; profiling is but the next logical step. It is the same with prose. The use of a language, the rhythm of the sentences, the distinctiveness of their construction – one can tell a great deal about the writer by reading him or her. Indeed, one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists, the Unabomber, was caught simply by analysing how – not what – he wrote. But fingerprints at first glance tell us little. Or so we thought.
    In 2015, two Indian scientists, Jasmine Kaur Dhall and Anup Kumar Kapoor, made an astonishing advance in criminal anthropology. Just by studying the ridge density of a fingerprint, the scientists claimed they could, with an accuracy of up to 98 per cent, identify whether it belonged to a man or a woman. Their discovery holds great promise for investigators and criminologists alike. Rather fitting, too, that two Indians have advanced the field of forensic science, for 120 years before Dhall and Kapoor, two other Indians had not just advanced the field of forensic science but given birth to it.
    This is their story, the story of those two Indians. It is a story of triumph and tragedy, of remembered villains and forgotten heroes, of conquering nations and of nations conquered, and like most such stories, it begins with war.
    Part I
    It is the summer of 1853. The battle between the great empires of the world has just begun in the Crimea. Meanwhile, away from the blood-soaked arena where a million men would soon lose their lives, large crowds have gathered at Boribunder in Bombay to view an unearthly spectacle. Many are carrying offerings of coconuts for the demon or godshortly to emerge from this miraculous contraption that doesn’t need bullocks or horses to be pulled along. It runs on fire and steam. They are calling it the aag gadi. Fourteen carriages full of white men and women are readying themselves for the lavish banquet that awaits them at Thane to commemorate the aag gadi’s maiden run. The railways have arrived. The London Illustrated News reports it as a victory greater than that of Plassey, Assaye and Gujarat. Who would have thought that amid this frenzy and euphoria, Mangal Pandey’s doomed war cry was just four years away? Certainly not the men and women of the Company. It is the time to explore, to cash in, and to open the floodgates for the sons and daughters of the mother country.
    One such son, William James Herschel, has just landed on Indian shores along with his steel trunk. He is joining the Bengal Presidency cadre of the Company as a writer, having graduated from the East India College at Haileybury. Like any other graduate of this Indian Writership Programme, he carries with him an air of high worth and moral superiority. After all, he is going to be a cog in the wheel of the world’s greatest corporation, ridiculously well-compensated too, compared to an equivalent position back home. The further you are from the beating heart of the empire, the more blood it pumps at you. Civilising the savages presumably requires adequate TA/DA. Cushioned in all the worldly comforts colonial India has on offer – comforts a young Englishman can only dream of back home amid crushing poverty, class wars, and cholera outbreaks – William Herschel takes to India like duck to water. Bengal becomes his only home.
    It is now the summer of 1858. The Russian Empire has lost the Crimean war. Mangal Pandey has lost his life. And, no longer a fresh-off-the-boat sahib, young William has lost his sense of purpose. He is depressed.
    So, too, is Bengal.
    Indigo has robbed Bengal’s soil of its vitality and the Bengalis of their dignity. Riding on Europe’s enchantment with the blue dye, the East India Company has quietly been fuelling a formidable plantation economy in Lower Bengal. As indigo becomes the Company’s top export item (next only to opium), indigo farmers, or ryots, are sucked into a downward spiral of poverty and hunger. Cultivating indigo over rice has raised the production cost by an exorbitant Rs 7 per bigha. It is daylight robbery, and ryots and zamindars alike are having to choose between death through either starvation or debt. Resistance means getting on the wrong side of the well-built lathiyals of the Planter sahibsit means braving a leathered Shamchand or a bladed Ramkant.
    It was not always this bad. Just a year ago, Mangal Pandey’s bravado in Barrackpore had sparked a flicker of hope. Could the revolt, gathering speed as it relayed along the Ganga from Bengal to several north-western provinces, end years of misery and oppression? Truth be told, the sudden uprising had jolted the British; they just didn't see it coming. Natives were supposed to be tanned automatons that worked only when keyed. Why were we not told otherwise – did someone forget to update the Great British Hindoostan Manual?
    As the fire raged, soldiers, writers, accountants, assistants and administrators of the Company were ordered to drop everything and rush to douse it. Many officers scurried back from their Himalayan retreats, hearing blood-curdling reports of their families being massacred by the rebel sepoys of their own battalions. The brutal and systematic execution of Brigadier-General Lawrence’s office staff at the Lucknow Residency had stunned the Company. Soon followed the cold-blooded slaughter of British women and children held captive at Bibighar in Kanpur. When the news reached London, all hell broke loose. Everyone from the Queen to Dickens cried blood. Some wanted to go further and propose a bill for the flaying alive, impalement, and burning at the stakes of the Indians. “The idea of simply hanging the perpetrators of such atrocities is maddening.
    The payback was savage. Lucknow, Kanpur, Delhi, Jhansi, Bengal, Arrah – one by one they fell to the bloodthirsty British. The Company enforced Act XIV, empowering officers to pass a death sentence “on the spot” for sedition. Villages were torched at will across the length and breadth of the country, to thwart the slightest chance of retaliation. New torture methods were devised, ones that would have made the Spanish blush. One Major Renaud took great joy in blackening with tar the face of any brown civilian spotted in his contingent’s line of march, and hanging him by the nearest tree. Facing the justice of a certain Brigadier Neil meant watching your skin being sown to a pig’s while you, and the pig, shrieked in unbearable agony.
    Delhi bore the brunt of British savagery. Thousands were hanged; even church gardens weren’t spared. Bahadur Shah Zafar’s 16 sons were hunted down mercilessly; most were stripped to the bone, then hanged in public. “In 24 hours, I disposed of the principal members of the house of Timur the Tartar. I am not cruel, but I confess I did enjoy the opportunity of ridding the earth of these wretches,” wrote one Captain William Hodson to his sister. The emperor himself was put in a cage “like a beast” and exhibited.
    A red mist enveloped city after city as the British went on a rampage. But such retributions did little to comfort the public back home in England. The mutiny had, in their view, exposed the incompetence of “unpleasant, selfish and quarrelsome” officers of the Company. Seething in anger, the British Parliament decided time had finally come to consider Lord Valentia’s wish, chronicled in his travel notes from Calcutta thus – India must now be ruled “from a palace, not from a counting-house; with the ideas of a prince, not with those of a retail dealer in muslins and indigo.”
    The Government of India Charter was rolled out. The Company and its Governor General, Charles Canning, were brought under the aegis of Queen Victoria. The college at Haileybury was closed. As a reconciliatory gesture, a few of its alumni, the erstwhile writers and assistants, were nominated to join the Indian Civil Service (ICS) tasked now with implementing reforms for a new India. One among them was handed charge of the Jungipoor subdivision on the upper reaches of the Hooghly. His name was William James Herschel.
    Having lived and worked for five years in the interiors of Bengal, one would think Herschel is well equipped to hit the ground running. In reality, getting anything done is proving to be well nigh impossible in post-mutiny Bengal. Embittered and scarred, Indians no longer hold any trust or loyalty for the British. To make matters more difficult for the sahibs, small business owners, suppliers, and peasants, witness to rampant corruption and plundering in the Company era, have picked up the tricks as well as the gumption to indulge in forgery and non-compliance. In this sinister climate, Herschel is facing the worst time of his life, not being able to achieve anything worthwhile in his new, high-profile posting. Born in a family of illustrious astronomers, and named after his grandfather William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus, he must have cursed the day he heeded to his father’s counsel – to go for a lonely, isolated life, and work long hours in the sweltering Indian heat to make a career in administration over astronomy. India is proving to be much more arduous to discover than a complete planet for the young Herschel. In one such moment of self-doubt and misery, he pours out his frustration in a letter to one of his Haileybury companions. The 25-year-old confides in his friend, of the treacherous circumstances that have more or less hurtled him towards a failed career, of why he does not expect any good to come out of the orders he is signing every waking day. Rent-rolls from the planters, pothas issued by the zamindars to each ryot, kabooliyats from the ryots – all are mere pieces of paper. Administration of civil justice is a nightmare in a setting rampant with fraud and con jobs. It is a letter as close to being a suicide note without being one, an unmistakable offering of a wrist to be pulled from the ledge he is pacing to and fro on.
    The friend’s reply must have acted like a balm to young Herschel’s senses, for very soon he experiences a eureka moment that will bring him world fame.
    One fateful July day in 1858, after labouring through tender applications that have arrived from the local ghooting suppliers for the Jungipoor road-metalling project, Herschel selects the proposal of one Rajyadhar Konai of Nista village. Preparing the supplier contract for Konai, Herschel vaguely recalls Thomas Bewick, an author he has admired since childhood. Bewick, a naturalist, would leave his thumb marks as vignettes in his books.
    Something clicks.
    Herschel talks Konai into sealing the terms of contract with his handprint, smeared earlier with a homemade ink-oil solution. It comforts him to know that Konai could now be identified and held accountable, should any dissatisfaction on account of the quality of his material and work arise. Excited about this newfound means of levying compliance, he gives it a try with his own hand, soon concluding that fingerprints are more than sufficient as a guarantee against forged signatures and plausible denials. The age of unique personal identification had arrived.
    Figure 1: Konai’s handmark and his 200 maunds contract with Herschel (From The Origin of Fingerprinting, William Herschel, Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1916)
    Part II
    Things are going well for both Konai and Herschel. Konai has become a trusted contractor in Jungipoor, and Herschel has regained his lost confidence. At their occasional meetings, for project review or contract renewal, Herschel self-effacingly researches the mounds and the ridges of Konai’s hand, believing he is making pioneering advances in a field that didn’t exist before. Little does he know.
    Konai, initially, is puzzled with Herschel’s excessive enthusiasm for studying palm patterns. After all, the temple priests and the village palmists have been doing so for generations – to foresee risks, riches, relationships, profession, health, death, and more, by applying the principles of a treatise Herschel would never even have heard of. To be sure, much of it has been common knowledge for millions like Konai. One needn’t, for example, be a shastri to know of the ancient Indian belief that the one born with chakras or concentric whorls on his fingers and foot soles is likely to be a king, blessed with prosperity, intellect, and power.
    Chakram dakshina-haste 'sya,
    Padma-koso 'sya padayoh
    For Herschel, such talk is absurd. So when Konai broaches palmistry, Herschel laughs it off. Sometimes, to step out of hubris and into humility is as difficult a task as making the discovery itself.
    Had Herschel cared, he would have become famous for being the first man in modern history to test and re-designate fingerprints as a biometric. Had he researched more, looked deeper into what he thought was his original breakthrough, he would have stumbled upon Samudra Shastra, the ancient Vedic text that separates fingerprints into discrete categories through close visual inspection. If not the Samudra Shastra, a similar concept published in 1823 by the Czech physiologist Purkinjeywould have been a reference easier to tap for a European, and raised the analytical import of Herschel’s work by several notches. Alas. Fate stares, fame blinks.
    Figure 2: Fingerprint patterns illustrated in Samudra Shastra (From Indian civilization and the science of fingerprinting’, Sodhi and Kaur, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 2003)
    To Herschel’s immense credit, though, he sets out to compile an extensive, date-stamped record of fingerprints during his subsequent postings at Arrah, Hooghly, Midnapore, and the focal of the Nilbidroh, Nadia. No field visit is futile, no visitor is spared. Supervisors, colleagues, guests, contractors, peasants, tourists, even the Maharaja of Nadia – they are all added to the meticulous database. What’s more, Herschel even remembers to collect repeat fingerprints of the same person so as to assess the degree of alteration with age. Next, to evaluate the robustness of a fingerprint against forged impersonation, he commissions the best artists in Calcutta to create copies of anonymous fingerprint samples of professional criminals. To Herschel’s relief, the imitation drawings are a flop. Delighted, he introduces this signature method in several registration offices and jails within districts that come under his direct control. Not through an official government order but, rather, by their sahib’s hikmat that his eagerness to impress office clerks set in motion Herschel’s plan. It is a resounding success. Forgery rates witness a sharp decline. Herschel is overjoyed, but he wants more. The message is spreading but not fame. This confounds him. After all, he sees himself as the discoverer of using fingerprints as unique signatures; only a matter of time before his name is taken in the same breath as Charles Babbage and Rowland Hill. And this is where the cookie crumbles.
    William James Herschel soon learns that hand and fingerprints were being used as signatures for centuries in China and India. That is how those who were illiterate would sign, and that is how the Mughal kings would add weight to the strategic or diplomatic importance of a farmaan. It is a body blow. Years of work all gone to waste. No one remembers the one who was second, but here, because the technique was so routine, no one even remembers the one who was first.
    Figure 3: Mughal farmaan with Shahjahan’s handprint (From A Handbook of Agra and the Taj, Havell, via ‘Indian civilization and the science of fingerprinting’, Sodhi and Kaur, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 2003)
    Clutching at straws, Herschel rewires his hubris. He begins to believe that if not for him, at least Europe would have remained oblivious to the discovery, that not only has he identified the potential of an untapped idea, he has also implemented a proof of concept backed with a meticulously detailed and extensive database for the Western world to be in awe of. Sadly, and much to Herschel’s chagrin, he again finds himself not alone in his fascination with fingerprints.
    In October of 1880, Herschel comes across a note by British scientist Henry Faulds in the journal Nature. Through his studies in Japan, Faulds has proposed fingerprints as a means to identify suspects in criminal investigations. Alarmed, and worried he may have missed his moment of glory, Herschel decides to act. He dispatches a letter to the same journaldescribing his work and observations from India. Nature carries his letter in its November 1880 edition.
    Figure 4: Herschel's Letter to the journal Nature.
    The choice before Faulds and Herschel is now clear – fruitful collaboration or bitter rivalry. Sadly, it turns into the latter. Both claim the right of being recognised as the first to discover the usefulness of fingerprinting. While Faulds takes his idea to the Scotland Yard in 1886, Herschel writes to the Secretary of the Government of Bengal, requesting a nomination for being recognised for the discovery of “a powerful instrument for the security of the society, the general use of which would be a substantial contribution towards public morality.” The battle lines are drawn, and this time around, the English are fighting the English.
    Scotland Yard fails to see merit in Faulds’ idea, but a contemporary English writer who goes by the name of Arthur Conan Doyle finds it nifty enough for his character Sherlock Holmes’ tool kit. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the fingerprint craze tickles Mark Twain too, enough for him to draft climactic twists in murder mysteries. In his 1883 book, Life on the MississippiTwain uses fingerprint identification as a means to catch the murderer. Not to be outdone, Doyle resorts to it in his next book, The Sign of Four, published to immediate acclaim in 1890. Set against the backdrop of the 1857 mutiny, this is the first story where evidential thumb marks find a mention from Holmes in solving a case.
    Strange as it may seem now, but until Doyle’s leap of faith, most criminal investigations followed the so-called Bertillon’s anthropometry system to identify suspects and offenders, which meant poring over what were known as ‘rogue galleries’, a set of photographs and primary anthropometric measurements of one’s head and limbs against each convict’s name.
    By 1890, the idea of using fingerprints for solving crimes has gained traction, principally as a result of endorsement by Francis Galton, a renowned statistician and also, sadly, the father of eugenics. Galton’s quest for foundational evidence for his eugenics theory gets him interested in both Herschel and Faulds. The racist gets to work. The key question he seeks to answer is whether fingerprints can also identify a person’s race. He contacts various anthropological labs and over a short period of time amasses over 8,000 sets of fingerprint samples, representing the upper and middle-class English from London, pure Welsh speakers of South Wales, Blacks from the territories of the Royal Niger Company, Jews studying in London, Basques from Cambo, Herschel’s record from India, and more.
    Much to Galton’s surprise, his inferences establish the uniqueness of fingerprints. No two individuals have similar fingerprints, not even identical twins; what’s more, they don’t fade or alter with age. Galton gives it a 1 in a 64 billion chance for the fingerprints of any two individuals to come out identical. His inference is a milestone in forensic science but a disappointing one for him, for it refutes the very basis of eugenics. He had expected distinct clusters of fingerprint patterns to emerge, distinguishing educated Whites from non-educated Whites, and the Whites from others that, according to him, were degenerated races of England’s colonies who “looked alike, and were all liars”. Calling it a ‘play not worth the candle’, Galton ends his affair with fingerprints and moves on to pursue his beloved theory of eugenics, dismissing finally the fingerprinting method as “one with no real practical use as it requires an expert having uncommon powers of observation.”
    Little does Galton know that the bearers of such uncommon powers of observation were already amidst him, that he would hear the news of their breaking the fingerprint code within his lifetime, that it would take them less than a year to design a groundbreaking classification system the world would embrace instantly, and what may have left his spirits dimmed even further – that those virtuosos would not be “to the manor born”.
    Fate is kind to Galton. He is spared the last happenstance, for the Indian geniuses wouldn’t be acknowledged and brought out from the shadow of their English supervisor, Inspector General Edward Henry of Bengal Police, till 25 years after their astounding invention of 1897.
    The year is 1911. The capital of India has switched from Calcutta to Delhi, and Galton is dead. He has died in peace, knowing only of Henry and the eponymous Classification System. Would the father of eugenics have squirmed and retched had he come to hear his name taken in the same breath as those of two Bengali sub-inspectors? One can’t tell. What needs be told, and retold, though, is the story of the two Bengali sub-inspectors, for it is one that adorns not book covers but, rather, the after-pages of our history.
    Part III
    From 1858 till the turn of the next century, Bengal underwent an unprecedented transformation. It suffered the brutal crushing of another revolt in form of the Nilbidroh, a cyclone that destroyed the coast, and three devastating famines. The story of post-mutiny Bengal is the story of its iconic Writers’ Building that stood through time and tragedy, privy to power and politics, tirelessly rolling out reams of office orders and gazette entries. It beheld one empress and eight Viceroys, and a slew of socio-economic and judicial reforms. It witnessed the re-emergence of the Brahmo Samaj and the many schools for imparting Western education in the arts and the sciences. It oversaw new lifelines in the form of the Hooghly line of the East India Railway from Calcutta to the new capital Delhi. It sensed the imminent severance of sisterhood between Brahmaputra and Padma, even as the seeds of communal politics were being sown. It saw the institutionalisation of Indian police, and educated Indian men for the first time in positions of writers, officers, and sub-inspectors trudging up and down its staircases and airy verandas.
    India was changing, and so was the Writers’, with the addition of new blocks, a large portico, a statue-lined parapet, exposed red bricks, and a Greco-Roman façade. And in its hallowed interiors arrived one day as the Inspector General of Bengal Police, Edward Richard Henry, an ICS officer with 18 years of service. The year was 1891.
    Figure 5: Edward Richard Henry (Lithograph by Leslie Matthew)
    Well-read and open to new ideas, Henry, within his first year of taking charge decided to establish a department of Anthropometry in the police block of the Writers’. He had heard of Herschel’s work, and of his 1862 letter (to the government and later to Bengal’s Inspector of Jails in 1877), advocating implementation of the fingerprint signature-manual for prisoner identification and other official proceedings. He also knew that Herschel’s request was turned down in 1863 so as not to raise controversy at a time when Nilbidroh was starting to abate in the province. The practice was abandoned and then quickly forgotten once Herschel was done with his India duties. Henry now thought time had come to revive it. With an aim to introduce it within the Anthropometry department as a supplement to Bertillon’s measurements, Henry set about his search for sharp men for the new task. He wrote to the principal of Calcutta’s Presidency College to recommend prospective candidates, but with one condition – they had to be strong in mathematics. The principal knew just the man. Azizul Haque.
    Soon, Haque landed a job with the Bengal police as a sub-inspector. He was tasked with instituting the anthropometric system. The estranged son of a poor Muslim family of Khulna (now in Bangladesh) thus became the first head of the identification unit of Bengal Police. Born in 1872, the young Azizul was fond of only two things – numbers and food. Numbers was fine, but a penchant for food turned out to be a little problematic for the family eking out a living in turbulent Bengal. Beaten and humiliated routinely for his gluttony by the elder brother, 12-year-old Haque ran away from his village. He found himself on a Hooghly-bound train, and then as an errand boy in a well-to-do Hindu family. His benefactor allowed the young Azizul to sit through home tuition lessons with his children, in itself exceptional for a caste and prejudice-ridden society. Soon, Azizul’s remarkable gift of tackling complex mathematics with ease became the talk of the town. To his credit, the master did not let the boy’s talent wither. With his sponsorship, Haque gained formal schooling and won himself an admission in Presidency. The brave new world awaited the brave young Haque.
    Also joined with Haque, as the second sub-inspector in the Anthropometric Department, a young man by the name of Hem Chandra Bose. The Haque-Bose duo would soon become the chisels for Edward Henry to emboss his name in golden letters in the annals of forensic science. But the embossing wouldn’t come easy. Unknown to Henry, there were others around the world striving for the Holy Grail. It would be a fight to the finish.
    Ten thousand miles to the back and beyond of the Imperial capital of Calcutta, history was about to be made. On 19 June 1892, Necochea, a small town some 300 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina, witnessed a gruesome murder of two children. The man investigating the crime, inspector Alvarez, had been taught the basics of fingerprinting by one Juan Vucetich, a Croatian émigré, and himself an admirer of Galton. While scouring the grisly crime scene, Alvarez noticed a bloody fingerprint on the doorjamb. He cut the wood out and took the fingerprint for analysis back to the police station where his suspect was cooling his heels. The prints matched. The murderer was none other than the father of the two children, Francisca Rojas. Rojas went to the gallows and Alvarez into history, as the first man to solve a murder through the use of fingerprints.
    Figure 6: Francisca Roja’s prints that led to the first crime being solved through fingerprint forensics. (From The Fingerprint)
    But solving one crime was not enough. A system had to be devised to ensure speed and reproducibility. And this is where both Alvarez and Vucetich dropped the baton. Henry was only too glad to pick it up.
    Backed by the Indian wizards, Henry set about inventing a classification system that would be scalable, accurate, and easy to use. He made an exploratory visit to London in 1893, to meet Galton and gain firsthand knowledge of the potential of fingerprinting. Having dropped his interest in fingerprinting, Galton didn’t mind sharing his data. Delighted, Henry returned to India with a trunkful of Galton’s work, most of it unpublished and in draft form.
    Back in Calcutta, the gauntlet was thrown at Haque and Bose who, eager to impress their English superior, grabbed it with both hands, immersing themselves in the study of Galton’s data and results. Haque was quick to decipher the general patterns of loops and whorls described by Galton. Instantly attracted to the mathematical challenge that lay ahead, Haque’s frighteningly analytical mind went to work. Within a year, he had devised mathematical rules and formulae enabling segregation of the loops and the whorls into finer categories through ridge counting and ridge tracing. Using Haque’s keys, one could now pigeonhole 10-digit fingerprint forms into distinct categories, 1024 to be precise, and find a perfect match in no time. All one needed was a sheet of ordinary white paper, printer’s ink, an ink roller to take a neat finger stamp, a sharp pointer or wire for ridge counting, and a trained set of eyes with or without the aid of a magnifying lens. Bose, meanwhile, was busy tackling supplementary challenges such as comparing imperfect impressions that bore faint or few ridges and indexing marks of accidental nature. Haque also simplified the complex mathematics behind his formula into a set of handy rules. These were so simple that a trained person could easily memorise them without a key, and classify 100,000 fingerprints in one go.
    Here is how he did it.
    Fingers on each hand were assigned a standard identifying number. Starting with the right thumb, fingers on the right hand were numbered from one to five. On the left hand, starting from the thumb, they were numbered six to 10. Each fingerprint was then assigned a letter or a symbol based on the eight pattern types such as a whorl, an arch, a loop, a tented arch and so on. Next, each finger was given a value. The value was zero if the finger had an arch or a loop. If, however, only a whorl was present, a non-zero value was assigned. The values for fingers numbered two, four, six, eight and 10 were totalled and one added to the sum. The values for fingers one, three, five, seven and nine were added and again one added to the final tally. The even-numbered finger total was used as the numerator and the odd-numbered finger total as the denominator, to arrive at a primary classification ratio. For example, if the fingerprint record had LWAALALWLA pattern series – where the letters L, W, and A stood for loop, whorl, and arch respectively – the classification ration would be 19:1.
    By 1895, Haque and Bose were sure of the superiority of their method that, for the first time, allowed remarkably accurate identification of the bearer through his fingerprints. Overjoyed, Henry confirmed this conclusion in his correspondence to Galton that year. Then, slowly, not wanting to ruffle feathers, he began to advocate to administrative circles what he called the Bengal police method of fingerprint classifications as a more effective technique for criminal identification over that of Bertillon’s. On his request, the government of India set up a special committee to evaluate the relative merit of the two methods. The evaluation bench, comprising C Strahan, Major General of the Surveyor General of India, and Alex Pedler, Principal of Presidency College, spent considerable time with Haque, Bose, and Henry at the Writers’. Their method had to be closely reviewed against Bertillon’s for affordability, rapidity, and accuracy. Haque demonstrated the method in great detail. Having learnt and tested the classification method on sample fingerprints within a day, both assessors were impressed beyond doubt. Based on their positive report, Viceroy Elgin’s office issued a resolution, dated 12 June 1897, for fingerprinting to be introduced throughout British India, as the most preferred means of criminal record classification and identification.
    The Haque-Bose Classification received rave reviews from all over India; but of course, it always carried the moniker ‘The Henry Classification’. Henry decided the time had come for him to attack the final summit – the mother country. At the sixty-ninth general assembly meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Dover in September 1899, he read a paper on the technique, unassumingly titled “Classification and Uses of Fingerprints”. The talk was a hit. The paper garnered widespread acclaim and interest, so much so that Britain’s Identification of Criminals Committee picked it up for an in-depth inquiry and critique. With the dawn of the new century, arrived in Calcutta the news Henry had been hoping for. The Henry Method had received a favourable review by the Committee. Impressed, the Government of India decreed that the paper be published and distributed as a book across all Indian provinces. The Anthropometric department at the Writers’ became the first in the world to have a designated fingerprinting bureau.
    What should have been a moment of celebration for those who had worked tirelessly for this honour turned instead into one of betrayal, leaving the two-man department cloaked in resentment. Unknown to them, their “friend and mentor” Edward Henry had claimed sole credit for being the inventor of the technique, coolly leaving out even a passing mention or acknowledgement to Haque and Bose. It was as though Haque and Bose did not exist. Appearing before Lord Belper, chairman of the assessment committee, when asked if the classification system was his own invention, Henry had replied: “Yes. Conceived in a burst of inspiration on a train that I hastily scribbled the essential equations of the classification on my stiff and clean white shirt cuff.”
    Figure 7: Fingerprints and the detection of crimes in India, paper by ER Henry (From Report of the 69th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1899)
    Embittered and enraged yet outwardly docile was how Haque and Bose took the deceit. They drank the poison.
    Spine grows in the back forced against the wall, but seldom when the back is brown and bears the runnels of cruelty. Growing up in colonial India in the throes of poverty, humiliation, limited means of education, and scarcity of refinement and grooming, the one element in abundance was a sense of inferiority drilled into the natives by their masters, and acutely for those who had had to work hard to earn an escape from their miserable past. The body had been primed for blows. All one needed was psychological adjustment, to rationalise injustice, to cling on to the fragility, of status, of a secure job. Bose and Haque, young men in their late twenties, barely a few years in to their first employment, took the tough call.
    To be sure, it was tougher for Haque than it was for Bose. A self-made man who had run away from home and revolted against the world, and had no other possessions on him but his genius and pride – Haque was despondent. Faint office murmurs began doing the rounds in the Fingerprinting Bureau carrying Haque’s vexation, like of the time when his patience was tested almost daily, having had to repeatedly explain the Haque 1024 bundle system to the Inspector General of Bengal Police, the very man who claimed to be the sole inventor of the Haque 1024 bundle system. Life, they say, is like a river and being Indian makes one understand it better. The hurt was reined in. The sudden announcementof Henry’s secondment to South Africa, in a way, helped Haque and Bose deal with the unalterable reality. The Classification system was no longer theirs. Like Henry, it was gone, away to a distant shore, beyond their grasp.
    Haque called it quits, realigning his focus to dutifully accept and deliver on mundane assignments that came along during his police service tenure. Bose, on the other hand, proved a harder nut to crack. He dragged himself back into fingerprint research, to try and develop a telegraphic code system so as to make it possible for international crime departments to share fingerprints information.
    Hurt, though, is an open wound; it festers unless treated with justice. Even as Haque and Bose carried on with their lives, the unfolding events of the next decade could not but have touched a raw nerve. Riding on acclaim, Henry – their friend and mentor Henry – secured a plum post in England. Made in charge of the Criminal Investigative Department at the Scotland Yard, the one immediate change he brought in was to establish Britain’s first fingerprinting bureau, the Metropolitan Fingerprint Bureau of the Scotland Yard. Bengal police’s fingerprint classification method had now universally replaced Bertillon’s method. It formally came to be known as the Henry classification system. What should have been the Haque-Bose system was just Henry’s, and it stayed so for a century. History written by the victors is peddled by the vanquished.
    Not always.
    At the dawn of the new millennium, in the age of PCR and DNA fingerprinting, G S Sodhi and Jasjeet Kaur, two contemporary scientists and forensic experts took it upon themselves to have Haque and Bose recognised by the international fingerprinting community. In 2009, Britain’s Fingerprint Society conceded to their plea. It acknowledged Haque and Bose as pioneers in the field by instituting an innovation award in their names. A significant step, yes, but not quite the recognition and acclaim owed to the two men who had done more than any other for fingerprinting. This becomes even more evident as one picks up the thread of their remarkable achievements at the turn of the last century.
    Even as new fingerprinting bureaus were sprouting all across the Western world, the Bengal bureau kept ahead of the curve on fingerprinting research. This was perhaps the only glimmer of joy in an otherwise despondent and miserable Bengal. With one swish of Lord Curzon’s sword, it had been split into East and West in 1905. Its streets resounded with protest slogans and emotional renderings of ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ but to no avail. The misery of Hem Chandra Bose and Azizul Haque weighed little next to that of their motherland’s and they gauged it. Quietly, patiently, Bose put himself back to work in his small office at the Writers’. As the years rolled on, his research flourished, spinning out invaluable advances one after the other. The first of these was the truly revolutionary method of telegraphing fingerprints. In one single stroke, it eliminated delays and prohibitive travel costs till then taken for granted for international collaborations in crime management. Almost immediately, the Calcutta bureau implemented his invention for linking bureaus within India.
    In 1911, when Assam, Bihar, and Orissa were cleaved from Bengal, Haque, still smarting from Henry’s deceit, decided to leave his past behind and move out of Bengal. He took a transfer to join the Bihar Police.
    Meanwhile, Bose had finished detailing the telegraphic code in his book, Hints on Fingerprints with a Code for Fingerprints. A seminal work whose value even the British acknowledged, it was circulated by the Bengal government to bureaus across provinces. In the book, Bose specifically mentioned that his novel method “will be of considerable utility for the Scotland Yard”, that by then had earned the label of the most famous detective organisation in the world. Perhaps it was to do with Bose’s longing for recognition by the Yard. After all, 17 years had passed since the heartbreak, long enough for Bose to forgive and forget, and much too long for him to try his luck at imperial recognition. Sadly, though, 17 years were not long enough for the mother country to pay heed to genius originating from a colonial bureau. History repeated itself. The Yard didn’t take note, not at least till 1921 when one of its own detectives, Charles Stockley Collins, published a book on the same topic. In the preface of his book A Telegraphic Code for Fingerprint FormulaeCollins stated that he had developed the idea in 1914, just didn’t publish it.
    Yet again, fate had dealt a cruel blow to Bose. His book, and the availability of Indian police telegraphic code cases were neither acknowledged nor referenced by Collins. This when Bose’s book had gained popularity and acclaim, both in the police as well as the investigative crime solving community to such an extent that readers were clamouring for a second edition to be brought out.
    Figure 8: Review of Boses book in the Hindustan Review
    Instead, the world only remembers Superintendent Collins, as one of the greatest fingerprint experts and the inventor of the revolutionary telegraphic code. Bose was neglected, and then forgotten. Despite the telegraphic code – his, not Collins’ – being widely in use in India since 1916, its first acknowledged use is documented as one where a suspect was charged for a crime committed in England with no prior history of convictions in England; his fingerprints, when telegraphed over to the Sydney police, confirmed previous convictions in Australia. The year? 1925.
    Figure 9: The use of the telegraphic code by the Scotland Yard made news in January 1925, even though the Bengal police had been using it since 1916.
    It is difficult to think Bose wouldn’t have come to know of Collins and his code. Did being denied his due second time running not bother him? No one knows. Whatever the truth, Bose kept it to himself. He had little choice.
    Haque, meanwhile, was rising through the ranks over in Bihar. Those were heady days. Gandhi had become a household name. Witnessing the Satyagraha at Champaran from across the pickets left an indelible impression on Haque. The spirit of nationalism had caught up with him once again and this time around he mustered enough courage to demand suitable recognition for his pioneering work in fingerprinting and forensics. Preoccupied with the menace of Gandhi and his plucky disciples, and the 1857 mutiny still fresh in its mind, the government was only too eager to keep its Indian officers in good spirits. In 1924, Haque and Bose were conferred with the titles of Khan Bahadur and Rai Bahadur. A bitter-sweet reward, that, too, received when asked for, garnered mixed emotions, especially when it was followed by an unexpected letter from Edward Henry to Haque. Breaking the hiatus of more than 20 years, Henry congratulated Khan Bahadur Haque, wishing that a material reward in the form of a jagir had accompanied the recognition. There was no such missive for Rai Bahadur Bose.
    Egged on by Henry’s words of encouragement, Haque, his meagre salary and the prospect of an even more meagre pension at the back of his mind, drafted an application to the governor of Bihar and Orissa, requesting the grant of a jagir in view of his contribution to fingerprint science. The painstaking research of the National Archive documents by Sodhi and Kaur has unearthed the lengthy, torrid exchange of correspondence that constituted Haque’s application. It was an undertaking more humiliating than any Haque had had to bear previously.
    While Haque pursued his hope of being allocated a jagir to save his family from falling into poverty once more, Bose continued to solve further mysteries of fingerprints. He had learnt through field experience the practical challenge of his own method. It was cumbersome to transmit telegraphic prints for all of the 10 digits of a suspect. Bose tweaked Haque’s original 10-digit classification formula to come up with its next version – a single digit classification system that made telegraphic transmission much simpler, besides making it possible to decipher and match fingerprints left behind by chance while handling objects at the crime scene. It was a remarkable breakthrough. Soon, many countries took note of it including Germany’s Ministry of Interior. At the International Police Exhibition held in June 1925 at Baden in Germany, several German and European officials got a chance to be acquainted with officials of the Indian police, and through them about Bose’s work. That year, the journal International Police Safety carried a reference and praise for Bose’s technique in its September issue. He was also made an honorary member of the Police Exhibition Committee. A year later, Bose published his second seminal work, on the single-digit classification method called “Finger Print Companion”.
    Meanwhile, Khan Bahadur Haque’s appeal had gone through inordinate delays and multiple rounds of scrutiny. Bihar and Orissa had no piece of unclaimed land that could possibly be granted to Haque. What made matters worse was that there was no official mention of Haque in Henry’s book or his public speeches. The Director of Intelligence Bureau questioned Haque’s credibility, wondering what made Haque claim special recognition and reward after decades of delay. To settle the matter, Henry was consulted to confirm Haque’s contribution. An old man in his late seventies, he had a change of heart, declaring that in his opinion, “Haque contributed more than any other member of my staff and contributed in a conspicuous degree to bringing about the perfecting of a system of classification that has stood the test of time and has been accepted by most countries. As in most research work, results were achieved by teamwork. In addition to being indebted to Khan Azizul Haque, I was indebted to some of his colleagues but to what extent I cannot after the lapse of nearly 29 years specify more exactly.” Henry’s words buttressed Haque’s claim. Just around the time of his retirement, 1926, not a jagir but an honorarium of Rs 5,000 from the central fund came through. The supporting note by the Home Department read, “It appears from the information now received that he was Sir Edward Henry’s principal helper in perfecting the scheme and he actually himself devised the method of classification which is in universal use. He thus contributed most materially to a discovery which is of worldwide importance and has brought a great credit to the police of India.” Gratified, Haque and his wife settled down with their family of 10 in Motihari, Bihar.
    Around the same time, back in London, the incorrigible Collins picked up the same problem of simplifying the 10-digit telegraphic transfer that Bose had resolved already through his revolutionary single-digit classification technique. Presumably, Scotland Yard was not an invitee at the Baden exhibition years earlier, where Bose’s work was showered with praise; or they were – not much is known. Anyhow, Collins’ team came up with a solution to the same problem. On testing, it was considered tedious by the Scotland Yard and abandoned. Had they not looked down upon colonial science, or been more observant of the deliberations at the Baden exhibition, Bose’s 1927 book Fingerprint Companion would have taken the pride of place in The Yard’s library. More surprising still, the book also carried an opinion column along with quotes from many of their own, like from a certain J E Armstrong, the deputy inspector general of Bengal police: “If Rai Bahadur Bose had indeed made this discovery in the science of identification of fingerprints, which I believe he has, it will be one more triumph for him and perhaps his greatest.”
    The Yard had missed an opportunity of spotting a phenomenal breakthrough. Collins' successor, Henry Battley, did no better. While the Bengal bureau had already been using the single-digit method for more than a year, and successfully, Battley initiated a project to reopen Collins’ code to work towards removing its drawbacks. A book titled Single Finger Prints, published by Her Majesty’s Stationary Office in 1930, resulted from this snooty thrashing in the dark. And yet again, the third time over, this book, too, made no reference or acknowledgement of Bose’s work that had preceded the Yard’s efforts by more than two years.
    Lucky for Bose that his superiors back in Bengal were more sympathetic, not only of his contributions but also of his precarious finances. In 1929, taking Haque’s case as a precedent, the Bengal government and India’s Intelligence Bureau recommended Bose for an honoraria of Rs 10,000. Sadly, the government of India raised an objection, as Henry’s recommendation in the earlier case of Haque had no mention of Bose. Call it prejudice or galling behaviour, Edward Henry’s confirmation was once again solicited. He didn’t disappoint this time around, too, writing: “The Rai Bahadur has devoted the whole of his official life to perfecting the methods by which search is facilitated and his labours have contributed materially to the success achieved. He is entitled to great credit”. But times had moved on. Henry’s word was not enough. It was a superior’s personal letter, pleading immediate release of honorarium “as the Rai Bahadur is lying in a critical state and needs financial assistance very badly” that finally got the honorarium of Rs 5,000 approved for Bose.
    Haque died in 1935 at his Motihari home. It is not known what happened to Hem Chandra Bose after his retirement. These were the two satyanweshis, the truth seekers, who walked the streets of Calcutta in flesh and blood before Saradindu Bandopadhyay had even conceived of Byomkesh Bakshi. They were the men who left an immortal body of work on the back of which the world would enter into the digital world where trust, Aadhaar, would be defined by one’s fingerprint.
    That what we take as granted, the fingerprint, is today our biometric passport for personal identification, or a unique signature for personal banking, or indeed a password protection for our many devices. It works for most individuals except those born with an embryologic malformation of absent or faint fingerprints, adermatoglyphia, also called the immigration delay disease. Much has advanced in forensics, what with ridge density and even sweat being able to determine suspects gender, but fingerprints continue to be a vital part of any crime scene investigation. The Haque-Bose Classification – some still insist on calling it Henry’s – is very much in use for matching crime scene samples with pre-recorded prints.
    As for the birthplace of fingerprinting, the Central Fingerprinting Bureau of Calcutta, it is still functional. Crammed into a 400 square feet area at the headquarters of the West Bengal CID, its centenary was celebrated in 1997. What should have been the cause of national celebration ended up as a departmental affair at Kolkata’s Bhabhani Bhawan in Alipore. No president or prime minister or chief minister knew of it, leave alone grace it with his presence. There was no media coverage, no valedictions, no paeans, and no poems. The sands of time had blown over the fingerprints of two of India’s greatest heroes.
    Motihari, Bihar. The birthplace of Eric Arthur Blair, or George Orwell as he is known to the world. The house he was born in was converted into a museum recently.
    Motihari also had one other famous son. But there is no museum to remember him by, not even a memorial. He does not exist except in books. His name is Khan Bahadur Azizul Haque.
    William Herschel and Francis Galton had successful careers. Both are still remembered with reverence. Edward Henry’s name has been immortalised. He was also knighted in his lifetime. Henry Faulds has a memorial in his honour at Beith. Haque and Bose, on the other hand, were relegated to the back of the pecking order for a large part of their lives, their monumental efforts ignored repeatedly by those they trusted as friends; and at the fag end of their lives, they were scrutinised, questioned, and finally obliged with titles and a token amount for their contribution. Both Khan Bahadur and Rai Bahadur died in penury and oblivion.
    Figure 10: Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose (credits: Dawn and YouTube)
    A nation that knows not how to honour its dead knows not how to honour its living.
    We are that nation.
    But we are also a nation that has rationalised every tragedy, every sorrow, every wrong. For was it not Ghalib who said: Qaid-e-hayat aur band-e-gham asl mein dono ek hain, phir maut se pehley aadmi gham se nijat paye kyoun?
    So it goes.
    Authors note: Till date, the most detailed account of Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose's life is in the seminal work of Sodhi and Kaur, cited multiple times in this article. The authors gratefully acknowledge their pioneering efforts in bringing this remarkable story to life as far back as a decade and a half ago.
    Sheetal Ranganathan graduated from AIIMS and is the global VP of life sciences and healthcare operations of a multinational professional services firm. She is a regular contributor to the India Today Group of publications, DailyO and Aspire, on topics related to public health and science.

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    Bhāratavāṇī portal offers digital dictionaries of vanishing Indian languages

    A screenshot of some of the literary works available on the Bharatavani website.  

    The online platform hosted by the Central Institute for Indian Languages, Mysuru, publishes content in 121 Indian languages, and is working towards starting online classes.

    The word for sunlight or sunshine in Angami — a language spoken by around 130,000 people in the North East — is niakikezie. In the Ao-language of Nagaland, it is anüpu oranüsangwa. And this reporter in far away Bengaluru could look up these words and many more from several Indian languages, thanks to digital dictionaries available on the Bharatavani website.
    Most cities in India have infrastructure to teach many foreign languages . But how many look inwards to tap the domestic cultural motherlode of more than 1,500 Indian languages? It is this question that spurred Bharatavani, an online Indian Languages platform hosted by the Central Institute for Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru, to not only publish content in 121 Indian languages, but work towards starting online classes.

    Searchable resource

    What is particularly causing ripples of excitement among linguists and researchers is the compilation of digitised searchable dictionaries. In a little over a year since its inception, the portal offers 262 unilingual and multilingual dictionaries in 50 Indian languages — all of them in a searchable format on android platforms — which can be accessed on Bharatavani’s free Android app.
    The number of languages covered will soon cross a hundred, said Beluru Sudarshana, consultant with CIIL. “Bharatavani is not publishing new works, but we are for the first time digitising available dictionaries in smaller languages, to bring it to a wider audience,” he said. Malto-English-Hindi, Odia-Ho, English-Ao and Lepcha-English are some of the dictionaries on offer — most of them available in a searchable format and not as cumbersome PDF files.
    Prof. Panchanan Mohanty, Dean, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad and an expert in Eastern Language research, who is also on the Bharatavani committee, likened Bharatavani to Project Tiger, arguing for conservation of India’s fast-depleting language heritage. But more significantly, the digitised database of dictionaries is a goldmine for linguistic research in the country, he said.
    These dictionaries can now be linked to create a large database of words across various languages, using English, Hindi or regional languages as the source words. With over seven lakh source words at present, the potential of the database is immense. For instance, the use of Odia source words will result in an Odia-English-Ho-Munda-Khadia-Kui-Oraon-Saura dictionary, integrating a family of Austroasiatic languages spoken in central-eastern India. The integration of these dictionaries is still a work in progress.

    Accessible curricula

    Linguist G.N. Devy, who spearheaded the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, believes this resource will help speed up socio-linguistic research and not just along themes of structure and genealogy, thereby ensuring better development planning.
    “One serious challenge is that children from communities speaking non-scheduled languages are pushed out of schools leading to development deprivation. For an imaginative user, content on Bharatavani may help in designing a curriculum in these languages,” he said, adding that starting from scheduled languages, Bharatavani has now broadened its scope to smaller languages that have over 10,000 speakers. “But there are several languages with fewer than 10,000 speakers, which Bharatavani needs to work on in its second phase.”

    Challenges ahead

    This undertaking is not without it challenges. For one, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is still in a primitive stage even for major Indian languages. Thus constructing digitised databases for smaller languages will be a problem as their script cannot be scanned and converted into text format. Tedious desktop publishing is the only viable option.
    Another hurdle is that unicode script input drivers are available in only recognised scripts. Incidentally, the Bharatavani portal will soon provide a virtual keyboard, integrating all available Unicode drivers of India languages for users to search for words by typing in language of their choice.
    The bigger problem, however, is proofreading, said Mr. Sudarshana. “Ideally, for a multi-lingual digital dictionary we need to carry out a collaborative online proof-reading process, each expert looking at their language of expertise. In most of these smaller languages, it’s tough to even get language experts. Most are old and not equipped to proofread online. We have opted for assisted online proof reading, where a person reads out the text to the expert and makes suitable changes in the database on the expert’s recommendation, which is time consuming,” he said,
    Bharhavani is steering in uncharted terrain, but researchers and linguists on board this project are optimistic that it will unveil India’s landscape of languages to its citizens despite the many challenges.

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    n    caṣāla, ‘snout of Varāha is caṣāla, ‘fumes of wheat chaff’ to carburize metal

    o   Infusing element carbon hardens the alloy in the furnace of yajna kuṇḍa

    o   caṣāla is the principal metaphor

    caṣāla, ‘fumes of wheat chaff’ is detailed in R̥gveda(RV 1.162.6) Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa ( Procedure for Soma Yāga of Vājapeya) गौधूमmf( g. बिल्वा*दि)n. made of wheat (मैत्रायणी-संहिता); made of wheat straw (शतपथ-ब्राह्मण 2.1.6)

    Octagonal-shaped, aṣṭāśri Yūpa Skambha and caṣāla are central to the proclamation and performance of a Soma yajña.At an ādibhautikā level, this is a metallurgical process of smelting alloy metal by infusinc the element carbon by the fumes of wheat chaff which is called caṣāla. This caṣāla is signified by the snout of the boar which is also called caṣāla. This is the reason why divine Varāha is a Mūrti of a boar, to signify a yajña. In the earliest signifier of Varāha in a Udayagiri cave, the sculptural friezes show scores of Veda Puruṣa-s as devatā and Rṣi-s, together with the worshipping Nāga (ignified by cobrahoods: फडा phaḍā f (फटा S) The hood of Coluber Nága Rebus: phaḍa फड'manufactory, company, guild, public office', keeper of all accounts.’ 

    Varāha, Udayagiri



    Gupta, Early 5th century AD
    Cave 5, Udayagiri, Madhya Pradesh, India.This large (4m, or 13 feet, high) relief sculpture is one of the icons of Indian art. It is carved into a shallow niche and protected by an overhang, but is otherwise open to the outside, where there was originally a water tank.

    The relief depicts Varāha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, rescuing the Earth Goddess (Bhu Devi, also called Prithvi) from the engulfing Ocean. Varāha lifts Bhu Devi on his massive shoulder, his foot subduing a naga who folds his hands in submission and adoration, while gods and sages surround Varāha in recognition of the miracle. A circular lotus flower appears above the god's head. Bhudevi is also supported by a lotus plant. The figure on a lotus pedestal, at the left side of the photo beside Varāha's leg, holds the stem of the lotus that appears above Varāha's head.

    Technically this image is called a nara-Varāha, or man-boar, since it has a man's body and a boar's head. The relief may have a political meaning in addition to the mythological one; it is said to be an allegory of the unification of India under Chandragupta II.

    As the texts detail, caṣālais a ring atop aṣṭāśri, ‘octagonal shaped’ Yūpa Skambha.

    The ‘octagonal shaped’ aṣṭāśri Yūpa Skambha evolves as the Rudra-bhāga of Śivalinga.

    caṣāla is explained as godhuma‘wheat chaff’ in th following descriptions in  Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa:

    ŚBr. He then touches the wheat (top-piece) with a prayer. According to the ritual of the Black Yajus (Sāy. on Taitt. S. I, 7, 9, vol. i, p. 1039), the yajñika, having ascended, lifts up his arms to heaven, praying, 'We have gone to the light, to the gods, we have become immortal; we have become Prajāpati's children!'

    ŚBr. And as to why he touches the wheat: wheat is food, and he who offers the Vājapeya, wins food, for vājapeya is the same as anna-peya (food and drink): thus whatever food he has thereby won, therewith now that he has gone to that supreme goal, he puts himself in contact, and possesses himself of it,--therefore he touches the wheat (top-piece).

    Procedure fo vājapeya soma yagaSBr.

    1. Thereupon, taking the clipping-spoon (sruva) and the pot for melting butter, he goes to the Āhavanīya fire. He either offers those twelve āptis[1], or makes (the Sacrificer) pronounce (the formulas). Whether he offers, or makes him pronounce (the formulas), the significance is the same.

    2. He offers, with (Vāj. S. IX, 20), 'To the ally, hail!--To the good ally, hail!--To the after-born, hail!--To the purpose, hail!--To the Vasu, hail!--To the Lord of day, hail!--To the failing day, hail!--To the failing one, sprung from the evanescent, hail!--To the evanescent one, sprung from the terminal, hail!--To the terminal descendant of being, hail!--To the Lord of being, hail!--To the over-lord, hail!' These twelve āptis (obtainments) he offers, because there are twelve months in the year, and Prajāpati is the year, and the sacrifice is Prajāpati: hence whatever obtainment, whatever accomplishment there is for him[2], that he thereby wins, that he makes his own.

    3. He then either offers six kḷptis[3], or makes (the Sacrificer) pronounce them. Whether he offers, or makes him pronounce them, the significance is the same.

    4. He makes him pronounce (Vāj. S. IX, 21), 'May the life prosper through sacrifice!--May the breath prosper through sacrifice!--May the eye prosper through sacrifice!--May the ear prosper through sacrifice!--May the back prosper through sacrifice!--May the sacrifice  prosper through sacrifice!' These six kḷptis he makes him pronounce, because there are six seasons in the year, and Prajāpati is the year, and the sacrifice is Prajāpati: thus whatever success, whatever accomplishment there is for him, that he thereby wins, that he makes his own.

    5. The sacrificial post is eight-cornered; for the Gāyatrī metre has eight syllables, and the Gāyatrī is Agni's metre: he thereby wins the world of the gods. The post is either wrapt up, or bound up, in seventeen cloths; for Prajāpati is seventeenfold: he thus wins Prajāpati.

    6. There is a wheaten head-pieceon it; for man is nearest to Prajāpati, and he is skinless. And among plants wheat comes nearest to man, (for) it has no skin: thus he thereby wins the world of men. (
    For the ordinary mortar-shaped top-piece fixed on the post… On the present occasion it is to be made of wheaten dough. According to a legend given at III, 1, 2, 13 seq., man had originally a (hairy) skin, or hide; but the gods having flayed him, put his skin on the cow.)

    7. The post has a hollow (at the top), and is not pointed at the end; for the hollow is sacred to the Fathers: he thus gains the world of the Fathers. It is seventeen cubits long, for Prajāpati is seventeen-fold: he thus wins Prajāpati.

    8. Thereupon the Neṣṭṛ, being about to lead up the (Sacrificer's) wife, makes her wrap round herself, over the garment of consecration, a cloth, or skirt, made of Kuśa grass[6]; for she, the wife, is the hind part of the sacrifice; and he wishes her, thus coming forward, to propitiate the sacrifice. But impure is that part of woman which is below the navel, and pure are the plants of (Kuśa) grass: thus having, by means of those plants of (Kuśa) grass, made pure whatever part of her is impure, he causes her to propitiate the sacrifice, while coming forward. This is why the Neṣṭṛ, being about to lead up the wife, makes her wrap round herself, over the garment of consecration, a cloth, or skirt, made of Kuśa grass.(In the ceremonial of the Black Yajus (Taitt. Br. I. 3, 7, 1) the Sacrificer himself has to put on a 'tārpya' garment, for which see note on V, 2, 5, 20 (sic). Viz. because her ordinary seat is at the back, or west, end of the altar.)

    9. He then leans a ladder (against the post). He may ascend either from the south northwards, or from the north southwards; but let him rather ascend from the south northwards (udak), for thus it goes upwards (udak).

    10. Being about to ascend, he (the Sacrificer) addresses his wife, 'Come, wife, ascend we the sky!'--'Ascend we!' says the wife. Now as to why he addresses his wife: she, the wife, in sooth is one half of his own self; hence, as long as he does not obtain her, so long he is not regenerated, for so long he is incomplete. But as soon as he obtains her he is regenerated, for then he is complete. 'Complete I want to go to that supreme goal,' thus (he thinks) and therefore he addresses his wife.

    11. He ascends, with, 'We have become Prajāpati's children;' for he who offers the Vājapeya indeed becomes Prajāpati's child:

    12. He then touches the wheat (top-piece) with a prayer. According to the ritual of the Black Yajus (Sāy. on Taitt. S. I, 7, 9, vol. i, p. 1039), the yajñika, having ascended, lifts up his arms to heaven, praying, 'We have gone to the light, to the gods, we have become immortal; we have become Prajāpati's children!'

    13. And as to why he touches the wheat: wheat is food, and he who offers the Vājapeya, wins food, for vāja-peya is the same as anna-peya (food and drink): thus whatever food he has thereby won, therewith now that he has gone to that supreme goal, he puts himself in contact, and possesses himself of it,--therefore he touches the wheat (top-piece).

    14. He then rises by (the measure of) his head over the post, with, 'We have become immortal!' whereby he wins the world of the gods.

    15. Thereupon, while looking in the different directions, he mutters (Vāj. S. IX, 22), 'Ours be your power, ours your manhood and intelligence ours be your energies!' For he who offers the Vājapeya wins everything here, winning as he does Prajāpati, and Prajāpati being everything here;--having appropriated to himself the glory, the power, and the strength of this All, he now lays them within himself, makes them his own: that is why he mutters, while looking in the different directions.

    16. They throw up to him bags of salt; for salt means cattle, and cattle is food; and he who offers theVājapeya wins food, for vāja-peya is the same as anna-peya: thus whatever food he thereby has gained, therewith now that he has gone to the supreme goal, he puts himself in contact, and makes it his own,--therefore they throw bags of salt up to him.

    17. They (the pieces of salt) are done up in aśvattha  (ficus religiosa) leaves: because Indra on that (former) occasion called upon the Maruts staying on the Aśvattha tree, therefore they are done up in aśvattha leaves. Peasants (viś) throw them up to him, for the Maruts are the peasants, and the peasants are food (for the nobleman): hence peasants throw them up. There are seventeen (bags), for Prajāpati is seventeenfold: he thus wins Prajāpati.( See part ii, p. 334, with note 2. On the 'aśvattha devasadana' cp. also Ath.-veda V, 4, 3; Rig-veda I, 164, 20-22; A. Kuhn, Herabkunft des Feuers and des Göttertranks, p. 126 seq. (Mythol. Stud. i. p. 112 seq.).)

    18. Thereupon; while looking down upon this (earth), he mutters, Homage be to the mother Earth! homage be to the mother Earth!' For when Bṛhaspati had been consecrated, the Earth was afraid of him, thinking, 'Something great surely has he become now that he has been consecrated: I fear lest he may rend me asunder!' And Bṛhaspati also was afraid of the Earth, thinking, 'I fear lest she may shake me off!' Hence by that (formula) he entered into a friendly relation with her; for a mother does not hurt her son, nor does a son hurt his mother.

    19. Now the Bṛhaspati consecration is the same as the Vājapeya; and the earth in truth is afraid of that (Sacrificer), thinking, 'Something great  surely has he become now that he has been consecrated: I fear lest he may rend me asunder!' And he himself is afraid of her, thinking, 'I fear lest she may shake me off!' Hence he thereby enters into a friendly relation with her, for a mother does not hurt her son; neither does a son hurt his mother.

    20. He then descends (and treads) upon a piece of gold;--gold is immortal life: he thus takes his stand on life immortal.

    21. Now (in the first place) he (the Adhvaryu) spreads out the skin of a he-goat, and lays a (small) gold plate thereon: upon that--or indeed upon this (earth) itself--he (the Sacrificer) steps.

    22. They then bring a throne-seat for him; for truly he who gains a seat in the air[12], gains a seat above (others): thus these subjects of his sit below him who is seated above,--this is why they bring him a throne-seat.

    23. It is made of udumbara wood,--the Udumbara tree being sustenance, (that is) food,--for his obtainment of sustenance, food: therefore it is made of udumbara wood. They set it down in front of the Havirdhāna (cart-shed), behind the Āhavanīya (fire).

    24. He then spreads the goat-skin thereon; for truly the he-goat is no other than Prajāpati, for they, the goats, are most clearly of Prajāpati (the lord of generation or creatures);--whence, bringing forth thrice in a year, they produce two or three[13]: thus he thereby makes him (the Sacrificer) to be Prajāpati himself,--this is why he spreads the goat-skin thereon.

    25. He spreads it, with, 'This is thy kingship[14]!' whereby he endows him with royal power. He then makes him sit down, with, Thou art the ruler, the ruling lord!' whereby he makes him the ruler, ruling over those subjects of his Thou art firm, and stedfast!' whereby he makes him firm and stedfast in this world;--'Thee for the tilling!--Thee for peaceful dwelling!--Thee for wealth!--Thee for thrift!' whereby he means to say, '(here I seat) thee for the welfare (of the people).'

    Thus the formula 'iyam to rāṭ' is interpreted by Mahīdhara (who, however, takes it to be addressed to the throne-seat, and not, as would seem preferable, to the king), and apparently also by our author. The word 'rāj' would indeed seem to mean here something like the energy (śakti), or the symbol, of the king. The St. Petersburg dictionary, however, takes it here as the name of a female deity.)

       A skambha linking heaven and earth, a fiery pillar of light. The following three ricas of Rigveda also refer to and explain the metaphor of skambha as a prop which upholds heaven and earth; RV 9.89.6 places it in the context of purification of Soma, reinforcing the possibility that the Skambha signified the impeller of the purification process of yajna -- a process which is replicated in the purification of metals in a smelter/funace/fire-altar:

    10.111.05 Indra, the counterpart of heaven and earth, is cognizant of all sacrifices, he is the slayer of S'us.n.a; he spread out the spacious heaven with the sun (to light it up); best of proppers, he propped up (the heaven) with a prop. [Propped up the heaven with a prop: Satyata_ta_ = that which is stretched out by the true ones, the gods; or, ta_ti as a suffix, that which is true, i.e., heaven]. 

    9.074.02 The supporter of heaven, the prop (of the earth), the Soma-juice who, widely spreading, filling (the vessels), flows in all directions-- may he unite the two great worlds by his own strength; he has upheld them combined; (may he) the sage (bestow) food upon (his worshippers). [The prop of the earth: cf. RV. 9.089.06; may he unite: = sam.yojayatu; a_vr.ta = by its own unaided strength].

    9.089.06 The prop of heaven, the support of earth-- all beings (are) in his hands; may (Soma) the fountain (of desires) be possessed of horses for you (his) adorer; the filament of the sweet-flavoured (Soma) is purified for (the sake of winning) strength.  

    Linga with One Face of Shiva (Ekamukhalinga), Mon–Dvaravati period, 7th–early 8th century. Thailand (Phetchabun Province, Si Thep) Stone; H. 55 1/8 in.

    Octagonal form of ViSNubhAga and the occurrence of pancamukhalinga is consistent with the tradition of pancaloha 'five dhAtu or five mineral alloy' images as utsavaberas.

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    Indus Script Hieroglyph: barāh, baḍhi ‘boar’ Rebus: vāḍhī, bari, barea ‘merchant’ 

    baḍhoe ‘a carpenter, worker in wood’; badhoria ‘expert in working in wood’ Together with an anthropomorph of copper/bronze with the curved horns of a ‘ram’, the hypertext signifies: meḍh‘ram’ rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ PLUS baḍhi ‘boar’ rebus: baḍhoria, ‘expert in working in wood’PLUS khondar ‘young bull’ rebus: konda‘furnace’ kundaṇa ‘fine gold’ Thus, the anthropomorph is a professional calling card of a worker with furnace, worker in iron, fine gold and wood. It is not mere coincidence that Varāha signifies an ancient gold coin. Another anthropomorph rplaces the young bull frieze on the chest of the ram with a ‘fish’ hieroglyph. ayo‘fish’ rebus: aya‘iron’ ayas‘alloy metal’.

    Anthropomorph, Varāha. Anthropomorph, Fish. Indus Script

    Two Indus Script inscribed anthropomorphs of Ancient Bharatam copper complexes are deciphered as seafaring metalsmiths, merchants. 

    One anthropomorph links Indus Script hieroglyph one-horned young bull to Varāha and reinforces Vedic roots of civilization of Bharatam Janam. Another anthropomorphic representation occurs of Varāha in the Vedic tradition.

    Late Uruk and Jemdet Nasr seal; ca. 3200-3000 BC; serpentine; cat.1; boar and bull in procession; terminal: plant; heavily pitted surface beyond plant  Indus Script hieroglyphs read rebus: baḍhia = a castrated boar, a hog; rebus: baḍhi ‘a caste who work both in iron and wood’ Hieroglyph: dhangar 'bull' Rebus: dhangar 'blacksmith' 

    Vedic divinities engraved on the side of the metal Varāha.Broken metal foot

    The decipherment is consistent with the archaeological finds of Bhirrana-Kalibangan-Karanpura-Ahar-Banas complex as Vedic Sarasvati civilization metalwork continuum of Bharatam Janam (RV 3.53.12), 'metalcaster folk'.

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    Turtle hypertexts of Indus Script copper plate inscriptions, signify account ledgers of wealth-creating metalcasting mints. Samudra manthanam 'ocean churn' is a metaphor for artisans at work creating weealth from the resources of the earth and the oceans.
    Pictorial motif 69 Indus Script.

    m1534b On this copper tablet, the correct identification of the animal heads will be turtle species comparable to Meiolania, a horned large turtle of New Guinea.

    m1532b On another copper tablet, the emphasis is clearly on the turtle's shell like that of Meiolania's shell.

    kassa 'turtle' rebus: kãsā 'bell-metal' (Oriya), kamaṭha 'turtle' rebus: kãsā kammaṭa 'bell-metal coiner, mint, portable furnace'.

    A synonym is kachchhapa (tortoise or turtle shell) which is one of the nine treasures of Kubera.
    The meaning of the expression colossochelys atlas is: Giant Turtle That Holds Up The Earth(or The Sky). "Colossochelys atlas, formerly known as Testudo atlas, and originally described as Geochelone atlas, is an extinct species ofcryptodire turtle from the Pleistocene period, [as far back as] 2 million years ago. During the dry glacial periods [ie, after 2 million years ago-DD] it ranged from western India and Pakistan (possibly even as far west as southern and eastern Europe) to as far east as Sulawesi and Timor in Indonesia."

    Map of Giant Tortoises: light blue on South Asia for Colossochelys

    kamaṭha crab, tortoise (Gujarati); ‘frog’ (Skt.); rebus:  kammaṭa ‘mint’ (Kannada) kampaṭṭam ‘coiner, mint’ (Tamil).கமடம், [ *kamaṭam, ] s. A turtle, a tortoise, ஆமை (Winslow Tamil lexicon) కమఠము [ kamaṭhamu ] kamaṭhamu. [Skt.] n. A tortoise. कमठ [ kamaṭha m S A tortoise or turtle.(Marathi) kamaṭha crab, tortoise (Gujarati); ‘frog’ (Skt.); rebus:  kammaṭa ‘mint’ (Kannada) kampaṭṭam ‘coiner, mint’ (Tamil) Rebus: కమటము [ kamaṭamu ] kamaṭamu. [Tel.] n. A portable furnace for melting the precious metals. అగసాలెవాని కుంపటి.

    Image result for samudra ellora painting bharatkalyan97
    Samudra Manthanam. Khmer sculpture.
    Image result for samudra ellora painting
    Kailasa temple walls. Ellora caves. Samudra Manthanam.

    Samudra Manthan 
    The upper panel of the sculpture depicts Samudramathana. Circa 10th century, Alampur sculptureImage result for ellora painting samudra manthan bharatkalyan97

    Samudra manthan or 'Churning of Ocean of Milk' Deva and Da_nava churn the ocean, using Va_suki, the serpent as the rope and Mandara, the mountain as the churning rod. Ganesh Lena, Ellora, ca. 11th cent. CE.

    Image result for suvarnabhumi churning of the oceanRelated imageSuvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, shows Vishnu in the centre, his turtle avatar Kurma below, asuras and devas to left and right.
    Image source:
    Image result for churning of the ocean
    Churning of the Milky Ocean (12th Cambodia)
    The churning of the ocean of milk, Cambodia
    churning of the ocean of milk, Cambodia, Prasat Phnom Da, Angkor vat style, first half of the XIIth century, sandstone. Musée Guimet, Paris
    Image source:

    Bas Relief of Samudra Manthan from the Angkor Wat temple (c)
    Image result for churning of the ocean
    Churning of the Ocean of Milk bas-relief. Angkor Wat. Cambodia.
    Related image
    Image result for ellora samudra manthan bharatkalyan97Churning of the Ocean of Milk
    Churning of the Ocean of Milk
    Image source:

    Krishna dances with the Gopis (photo from Indian Myth and Legend by Donald Mackenzie, 1913, p. 128) [Public Domain Image]

    The Vishnu Purana

    translated by Horace Hayman Wilson

    [1840] (pp.70-81)

    Two metaphors of churing:

    मन्थन mfn. kindling fire by friction निरुक्त , by यास्क iii , 14; n. the act of kindling fire by rubbing pieces of wood together (छान्दोग्य-उपनिषद्; सुश्रुत)

    मन्थन n. churning out (of अमृतMBh. (cf. अमृत-म्°).

    CHAP. IX.

    Legend of Lakshmí. Durvásas gives a garland to Indra: he treats it disrespectfully, and is cursed by the Muni. The power of the gods impaired: they are oppressed by the Dánavas, and have recourse to Vishńu. The churning of the ocean. Praises of Śrí.

    PARÁŚARA.--But with respect to the question thou hast asked me, Maitreya, relating to the history of Śrí, hear from me the tale as it was told to me by Maríchi.

    Durvásas, a portion of Śankara (Śiva) 1, was wandering over the earth; when be beheld, in the hands of a nymph of air 2, a garland of flowers culled from the trees of heaven, the fragrant odour of which spread throughout the forest, and enraptured all who dwelt beneath its shade. The sage, who was then possessed by religious phrensy 3, when he beheld that garland, demanded it of the graceful and full-eyed nymph, who, bowing to him reverentially, immediately presented it to him. He, as one frantic, placed the chaplet upon his brow, and thus decorated resumed his path; when he beheld (Indra) the husband of Śachí, the ruler of the three worlds, approach, seated on his infuriated elephant Airávata, and attended by the gods. The phrensied sage, taking from his head the garland of flowers, amidst which the bees collected ambrosia, threw it to the king of the gods, who caught it, and suspended it on the brow of Airávata, where it shone like the river Jáhnaví, glittering on the dark summit of the mountain Kailása. The elephant, whose eyes were dim with inebriety, and attracted by the smell, took hold of the garland with his trunk, and cast it on the earth. That chief of sages, Durvásas, was

    p. 71
    highly incensed at this disrespectful treatment of his gift, and thus angrily addressed the sovereign of the immortals: "Inflated with the intoxication of power, Vásava, vile of spirit, thou art an idiot not to respect the garland I presented to thee, which was the dwelling of Fortune (Śrí). Thou hast not acknowledged it as a largess; thou hast not bowed thyself before me; thou hast not placed the wreath upon thy head, with thy countenance expanding with delight. Now, fool, for that thou hast not infinitely prized the garland that I gave thee, thy sovereignty over the three worlds shall be subverted. Thou confoundest me, Śakra, with other Brahmans, and hence I have suffered disrespect from thy arrogance: but in like manner as thou hast cast the garland I gave thee down on the ground, so shall thy dominion over the universe be whelmed in ruin. Thou hast offended one whose wrath is dreaded by all created things, king of the gods, even me, by thine excessive pride."

    Descending hastily from his elephant, Mahendra endeavoured to appease the sinless Durvásas: but to the excuses and prostrations of the thousand-eyed, the Muni answered, "I am not of a compassionate heart, nor is forgiveness congenial to my nature. Other Munis may relent; but know me, Śakra, to be Durvásas. Thou hast in vain been rendered insolent by Gautama and others; for know me, Indra, to be Durvásas, whose nature is a stranger to remorse. Thou hast been flattered by Vaśisht́ha and other tender-hearted saints, whose loud praises (lave made thee so arrogant, that thou hast insulted me. But who is there in the universe that can behold my countenance, dark with frowns, and surrounded by my blazing hair, and not tremble? What need of words? I will not forgive, whatever semblance of humility thou mayest assume."
    Having thus spoken, the Brahman went his way; and the king of the gods, remounting his elephant, returned to his capital Amarávati. Thenceforward, Maitreya, the three worlds and Śakra lost their vigour, and all vegetable products, plants, and herbs were withered and died; sacrifices were no longer offered; devout exercises no longer practised; men were no more addicted to charity, or any moral or religious obligation;

    p. 72
    all beings became devoid of steadiness 4; all the faculties of sense were obstructed by cupidity; and men's desires were excited by frivolous objects. Where there is energy, there is prosperity; and upon prosperity energy depends. How can those abandoned by prosperity be possessed of energy; and without energy, where is excellence? Without excellence there can be no vigour nor heroism amongst men: he who has neither courage nor strength, will be spurned by all: and he who is universally treated with disgrace, must suffer abasement of his intellectual faculties.

    The three regions being thus wholly divested of prosperity, and deprived of energy, the Dánavas and sons of Diti, the enemies of the gods, who were incapable of steadiness, and agitated by ambition, put forth their strength against the gods. They engaged in war with the feeble and unfortunate divinities; and Indra and the rest, being overcome in fight, fled for refuge to Brahmá, preceded by the god of flame (Hutáśana). When the great father of the universe had heard all that had come to pass, he said to the deities, "Repair for protection to the god of high and low; the tamer of the demons; the causeless cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; the progenitor of the progenitors; the immortal, unconquerable Vishńu; the cause of matter and spirit, of his unengendered products; the remover of the grief of all who humble themselves before him: he will give you aid." Having thus spoken to the deities, Brahmá proceeded along with them to the northern shore of the sea of milk; and with reverential words thus prayed to the supreme Hari:--

    "We glorify him who is all things; the lord supreme over all; unborn, imperishable; the protector of the mighty ones of creation; the unperceived, indivisible Náráyańa; the smallest of the smallest, the largest of the largest, of the elements; in whom are all things, from whom are all things; who was before existence; the god who is all beings; who is the end of ultimate objects; who is beyond final spirit, and is one with supreme soul; who is contemplated as the cause of final liberation by

    p. 73
    sages anxious to be free; in whom are not the qualities of goodness, foulness, or darkness, that belong to undeveloped nature. May that purest of all pure spirits this day be propitious to us. May that Hari be propitious to us, whose inherent might is not an object of the progressive chain of moments or of days, that make up time. May he who is called the supreme god, who is not in need of assistance, Hari, the soul of all embodied substance, be favourable unto us. May that Hari, who is both cause and effect; who is the cause of cause, the effect of effect; he who is the effect of successive effect; who is the effect of the effect of the effect himself; the product of the effect of the effect of the effect, or elemental substance; to him I bow 5. The cause of the cause; the cause of the cause of the cause; the cause of them all; to him I bow. To him who is the enjoyer and thing to be enjoyed; the creator and thing to be created; who is the agent and the effect; to that supreme being I bow. The infinite nature of Vishńu is pure, intelligent, perpetual, unborn, undecayable, inexhaustible, inscrutable, immutable; it is neither gross nor subtile, nor capable of being defined: to that ever holy nature of Vishńu I bow. To him whose faculty to create the universe abides in but a part of but the ten-millionth part of him; to him who is one with the inexhaustible supreme spirit, I bow: and to the glorious nature of the supreme Vishńu, which nor gods, nor sages, nor I, nor Śankara apprehend; that nature which the Yogis, after incessant effort, effacing both moral merit and demerit, behold to be contemplated in the mystical monosyllable Om: the supreme glory of Vishńu, who is the first of all; of whom, one only god, the triple energy is the same with Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva: oh lord of all, great soul of all, asylum of all, undecayable, have pity upon thy servants; oh Vishńu, be manifest unto us."

    p. 74
    Paráśara continued.--The gods, having heard this prayer uttered by Brahmá, bowed down, and cried, "Be favourable to us; be present to our sight: we bow down to that glorious nature which the mighty Brahmá does not know; that which is thy nature, oh imperishable, in whom the universe abides." Then the gods having ended, Vrihaspati and the divine Rishis thus prayed: "We bow down to the being entitled to adoration; who is the first object of sacrifice; who was before the first of things; the creator of the creator of the world; the undefinable: oh lord of all that has been or is to be; imperishable type of sacrifice; have pity upon thy worshippers; appear to them, prostrate before thee. Here is Brahmá; here is Trilochana (the three-eyed Śiva), with the Rudras; Pushá, (the sun), with the Ádityas; and Fire, with all the mighty luminaries: here are the sons of Aswiní (the two Aswiní Kumáras), the Vasus and all the winds, the Sádhyas, the Viśwadevas, and Indra the king of the gods: all of whom bow lowly before thee: all the tribes of the immortals, vanquished by the demon host, have fled to thee for succour."

    Thus prayed to, the supreme deity, the mighty holder of the conch and discus, shewed himself to them: and beholding the lord of gods, bearing a shell, a discus, and a mace, the assemblage of primeval form, and radiant with embodied light, Pitámahá and the other deities, their eyes moistened with rapture, first paid him homage, and then thus addressed him: "Repeated salutation to thee, who art indefinable: thou art Brahmá; thou art the wielder of the Pináka bow (Śiva); thou art Indra; thou art fire, air, the god of waters, the sun, the king of death (Yama), the Vasus, the Máruts (the winds), the Sádhyas, and Viśwadevas. This assembly of divinities, that now has come before thee, thou art; for, the creator of the world, thou art every where. Thou art the sacrifice, the prayer of oblation, the mystic syllable Om, the sovereign of all creatures: thou art all that is to be known, or to be unknown: oh universal soul, the whole world consists of thee. We, discomfited by the Daityas, have fled to thee, oh Vishńu, for refuge. Spirit of all, have compassion upon us; defend us with thy mighty power. There will be affliction, desire, trouble, and grief, until thy protection is obtained: but thou art the remover of all sins. Do thou then, oh pure of spirit, shew favour unto
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    us, who have fled to thee: oh lord of all, protect us with thy great power, in union with the goddess who is thy strength 6." Hari, the creator of the universe, being thus prayed to by the prostrate divinities, smiled, and thus spake: "With renovated energy, oh gods, I will restore your strength. Do you act as I enjoin. Let all the gods, associated with the Asuras, cast all sorts of medicinal herbs into the sea of milk; and then taking the mountain Mandara for the churning-stick, the serpent Vásuki for the rope, churn the ocean together for ambrosia; depending upon my aid. To secure the assistance of the Daityas, you must be at peace with them, and engage to give them an equal portion of the fruit of your associated toil; promising them, that by drinking the Amrita that shall be produced from the agitated ocean, they shall become mighty and immortal. I will take care that the enemies of the gods shall not partake of the precious draught; that they shall share in the labour alone."

    Being thus instructed by the god of gods, the divinities entered into alliance with the demons, and they jointly undertook the acquirement of the beverage of immortality. They collected various kinds of medicinal herbs, and cast them into the sea of milk, the waters of which were radiant as the thin and shining clouds of autumn. They then took the mountain Mandara for the staff; the serpent Vásuki for the cord; and commenced to churn the ocean for the Amrita. The assembled gods were stationed by Krishńa at the tail of the serpent; the Daityas and Dánavas at its head and neck. Scorched by the flames emitted from his inflated hood, the demons were shorn of their glory; whilst the clouds driven towards his tail by the breath of his mouth, refreshed the gods with revivifying showers. In the midst of the milky sea, Hari himself, in the form of a tortoise, served as a pivot for the mountain, as it was whirled around. The holder of the mace and discus was present in other forms amongst the gods and demons, and assisted to drag the monarch of the serpent race: and in another vast body he sat upon the summit of the mountain. With one portion of his energy, unseen by gods or demons, he sustained the serpent king; and with another, infused vigour into the gods.

    p. 76
    From the ocean, thus churned by the gods and Dánavas, first uprose the cow Surabhi, the fountain of milk and curds, worshipped by the divinities, and beheld by them and their associates with minds disturbed, and eyes glistening with delight. Then, as the holy Siddhas in the sky wondered what this could be, appeared the goddess Váruní (the deity of wine), her eyes rolling with intoxication. Next, from the whirlpool of the deep, sprang the celestial Párijáta tree, the delight of the nymphs of heaven, perfuming the world with its blossoms. The troop of Ápsarasas, the nymphs of heaven, were then produced, of surprising loveliness, endowed with beauty and with taste. The cool-rayed moon next rose, and was seized by Mahádeva: and then poison was engendered from the sea, of which the snake gods (Nágas) took possession. Dhanwantari, robed in white, and bearing in his hand the cup of Amrita, next came forth: beholding which, the sons of Diti and of Danu, as well as the Munis, were filled with satisfaction and delight. Then, seated on a full-blown lotus, and holding a water-lily in her hand, the goddess Śrí, radiant with beauty, rose from the waves. The great sages, enraptured, hymned her with the song dedicated to her praise 7. Viśwavasu and other heavenly quiristers sang, and Ghritáchí and other celestial nymphs danced before her. Gangá and other holy streams attended for her ablutions; and the elephants of the skies, taking up their pure waters in vases of gold, poured them over the goddess, the queen of the universal world. The sea of milk in person presented her with a wreath of never-fading flowers; and the artist of the gods (Viswakermá) decorated her person with heavenly ornaments. Thus bathed, attired, and adorned, the goddess, in the view of the celestials, cast herself upon the breast of Hari; and there reclining, turned her eyes upon the deities, who were inspired with rapture by her gaze. Not so the Daityas, who, with Viprachitti at their head, were filled with indignation, as Vishńu turned away from them, and they were abandoned by the goddess of prosperity (Lakshmí.)

    The powerful and indignant Daityas then forcibly seized the Amrita-cup, that was in the hand of Dhanwantari: but Vishńu, assuming a female form, fascinated and deluded them; and recovering the Amrita

    p. 77
    from them, delivered it to the gods. Śakra and the other deities quaffed the ambrosia. The incensed demons, grasping their weapons, fell upon them; but the gods, into whom the ambrosial draught had infused new vigour, defeated and put their host to flight, and they fled through the regions of space, and plunged into the subterraneous realms of Pátála. The gods thereat greatly rejoiced, did homage to the holder of the discus and mace, and resumed their reign in heaven. The sun shone with renovated splendour, and again discharged his appointed task; and the celestial luminaries again circled, oh best of Munis, in their respective orbits. Fire once more blazed aloft, beautiful in splendour; and the minds of all beings were animated by devotion. The three worlds again were rendered happy by prosperity; and Indra, the chief of the gods, was restored to power 8. Seated upon his throne, and once more in

    p. 78
    heaven, exercising sovereignty over the gods, Śakra thus eulogized the goddess who bears a lotus in her hand:--
    "I bow down to Śrí, the mother of all beings, seated on her lotus throne, with eyes like full-blown lotuses, reclining on the breast of Vishńu. Thou art Siddhi (superhuman power): thou art Swadhá and Swáhá: thou art ambrosia (Sudhá), the purifier of the universe: thou art evening, night, and dawn: thou art power, faith, intellect: thou art the goddess of letters (Saraswatí). Thou, beautiful goddess, art knowledge of devotion,
    p. 79
    great knowledge, mystic knowledge, and spiritual knowledge 9; which confers eternal liberation. Thou art the science of reasoning, the three Vedas, the arts and sciences 10: thou art moral and political science. The world is peopled by thee with pleasing or displeasing forms. Who else than thou, oh goddess, is seated on that person of the god of gods, the wielder of the mace, which is made up of sacrifice, and contemplated by holy ascetics? Abandoned by thee, the three worlds were on the brink of ruin; but they have been reanimated by thee. From thy propitious gaze, oh mighty goddess, men obtain wives, children, dwellings, friends, harvests, wealth. Health and strength, power, victory, happiness, are easy of attainment to those upon whom thou smilest. Thou art the mother of all beings, as the god of gods, Hari, is their father; and this world, whether animate or inanimate, is pervaded by thee and Vishńu. Oh thou who purifiest all things, forsake not our treasures, our granaries, our dwellings, our dependants, our persons, our wives: abandon not our children, our friends, our lineage, our jewels, oh thou who abidest on the bosom of the god of gods. They whom thou desertest are forsaken by truth, by purity, and goodness, by every amiable and excellent quality; whilst the base and worthless upon whom thou lookest favourably become immediately endowed with all excellent qualifications, with families, and with power. He on whom thy countenance is turned is honourable, amiable, prosperous, wise, and of exalted birth; a hero of irresistible prowess: but all his merits and his advantages are converted into worthlessness from whom, beloved of Vishńu, mother of the world, thou avertest thy face. The tongues of Brahmá, are unequal to celebrate thy excellence. Be propitious to me, oh goddess, lotus-eyed, and never forsake me more."
    Being thus praised, the gratified Śrí, abiding in all creatures, and

    p. 80
    heard by all beings, replied to the god of a hundred rites (Śatakratu); "I am pleased, monarch of the gods, by thine adoration. Demand from me what thou desirest: I have come to fulfil thy wishes.""If, goddess," replied Indra, "thou wilt grant my prayers; if I am worthy of thy bounty; be this my first request, that the three worlds may never again be deprived of thy presence. My second supplication, daughter of ocean, is, that thou wilt not forsake him who shall celebrate thy praises in the words I have addressed to thee.""I will not abandon," the goddess answered, "the three worlds again: this thy first boon is granted; for I am gratified by thy praises: and further, I will never turn my face away from that mortal who morning and evening shall repeat the hymn with which thou hast addressed me."

    Paráśara proceeded.--Thus, Maitreya, in former times the goddess Śrí conferred these boons upon the king of the gods, being pleased by his adorations; but her first birth was as the daughter of Bhrigu by Khyáti: it was at a subsequent period that she was produced from the sea, at the churning of the ocean by the demons and the gods, to obtain ambrosia 11. For in like manner as the lord of the world, the god of gods, Janárddana, descends amongst mankind (in various shapes), so does his coadjutrix Śrí. Thus when Hari was born as a dwarf, the son of Adití, Lakshmí appeared from a lotus (as Padmá, or Kamalá); when he was born as Ráma, of the race of Bhrigu (or Paraśuráma), she was Dharańí; when he was Rághava (Rámachandra), she was Sítá; and when he was Krishńa, she became Rukminí. In the other descents of Vishńu, she is his associate. If he takes a celestial form, she appears as divine; if a mortal, she becomes a mortal too, transforming her own person agreeably to whatever character it pleases Vishńu to put on. Whosoever hears this

    p. 81
    account of the birth of Lakshmí, whosoever reads it, shall never lose the goddess Fortune from his dwelling for three generations; and misfortune, the fountain of strife, shall never enter into those houses in which the hymns to Śrí are repeated.

    Thus, Brahman, have I narrated to thee, in answer to thy question, how Lakshmí, formerly the daughter of Bhrigu, sprang from the sea of milk; and misfortune shall never visit those amongst mankind who daily recite the praises of Lakshmí uttered by Indra, which are the origin and cause of all prosperity.


    70:1 Durvásas was the son of Atri by Anasúyá, and was an incarnation of a portion of Śiva.

    70:2 Vidyádharí. These beings, male and female, are spirits of an inferior order, tenanting the middle regions of the atmosphere. According to the Váyu, the garland was given to the nymph by Deví.
    70:3 He observed the Vrata, or vow of insanity; equivalent to the ecstasies of some religious fanatics. In this state,' says the commentator, 'even saints are devils.'

    72:4 They became Nih-satwa; and Satwa is explained throughout by Dhairyya, 'steadiness,''fortitude.'
    73:5 The first effect of primary cause is nature, or Prakriti: the effect of the effect, or of Prakriti, is Mahat: effect in the third degree is Ahankára: in the fourth, or the effect of the effect (Ahankára) of the effect (Mahat) of the effect (Prakriti), is elementary substance, or Bhúta. Vishńu is each and all. So in the succeeding ascending scale, Brahmá is the cause of mortal life; the cause of Brahmá is the egg, or aggregate elementary matter: its cause is, therefore, elementary matter; the cause of which is subtile or rudimental matter, which originates from Ahankára, and so on. Vishńu is also each and all of these.
    75:6 With thy Śakti, or the goddess Śrí or Lakshmí.

    76:7 Or with the Súkta, or hymn of the Vedas, commencing, "Hiranya vernám,"&c.

    77:8 The churning of the ocean does not occur in several of the Puráńas, and is but cursorily alluded to in the Śiva, Linga, and Kúrma Puráńas. The Váyu and Padma have much the same narrative as that of our text; and so have the Agni and Bhágavata, except that they refer only briefly to the anger of Durvásas, without narrating the circumstances; indicating their being posterior, therefore, to the original tale. The part, however, assigned to Durvásas appears to be an embellishment added to the original, for no mention of him occurs in the Matsya P. nor even in the Hari Vanśa, neither does it occur in what may be considered the oldest extant versions of the story, those of the Rámáyana and Mahábhárata: both these ascribe the occurrence to the desire of the gods and Daityas to become immortal. The Matsya assigns a similar motive to the gods, instigated by observing that the Daityas slain by them in battle were restored to life by Śukra with the Sanjíviní, or herb of immortality, which he had discovered. The account in the Hari Vanśa is brief and obscure, and is explained by the commentator as an allegory, in which the churning of the ocean typifies ascetic penance, and the ambrosia is final liberation: but this is mere mystification. The legend of the Rámáyana is translated, vol. I. p. 410. of the Serampore edition; and that of the Mahábhárata by Sir C. Wilkins, in the notes to his translation of the Bhágavata Gítá. See also the original text, Cal. ed. p. 40. It has been presented to general readers in a more attractive form by my friend H. M. Parker, in his Draught of Immortality, printed with other poems, Lond. 1827. The Matsya P. has many of the stanzas of the Mahábhárata interspersed with others. There is some variety in the order and number of articles produced from the ocean. As I have observed elsewhere (Hindu Theatre, I. 59. Lond. ed.), the popular enumeration is fourteen; but the Rámáyana specifies but nine; the Mahábhárata, nine; the Bhágavata, ten; the Padma, nine; the Váyu, twelve; the p. 78 Matsya, perhaps, gives the whole number. Those in which most agree, are, 1. the Háláhala or Kálakúta poison, swallowed by Śiva: 2. Váruní or Surá, the goddess of wine, who being taken by the gods, and rejected by the Daityas, the former were termed Suras, and the latter Asuras: 3. the horse Uchchaiśśravas, taken by Indra: 4. Kaustubha, the jewel worn by Vishńu: 5. the moon: 6. Dhanwantari, with the Amrita in his Kamańd́alu, or vase; and these two articles are in the Váyu considered as distinct products: 7. the goddess Padmá or Śrí: 8. the Apsarasas, or nymphs of heaven: 9. Surabhi, or the cow of plenty: 10. the Párijáta tree, or tree of heaven: 11. Airávata, the elephant taken by Indra. The Matsya adds, 12. the umbrella taken by Varuna: 13. the earrings taken by Indra, and given to Adití: and apparently another horse, the white horse of the sun: or the number may be completed by counting the Amrita separately from Dhanwantari. The number is made up in the popular lists by adding the bow and the conch of Vishńu; but there does not seem to be any good authority for this, and the addition is a sectarial one: so is that of the Tulaśí tree, a plant sacred to Krishńa, which is one of the twelve specified by the Váyu P. The Uttara Khanda of the Padma P. has a peculiar enumeration, or, Poison; Jyesht́há or Alakshmí, the goddess of misfortune, the elder born to fortune; the goddess of wine; Nidrá, or sloth; the Apsarasas; the elephant of Indra; Lakshmí; the moon; and the Tulaśí plant. The reference to Mohiní, the female form assumed by Vishńu, is very brief in our text; and no notice is taken of the story told in the Mahábhárata and some of the Puráńas, of the Daitya Ráhu's insinuating himself amongst the gods, and obtaining a portion of the Amrita: being beheaded for this by Vishńu, the head became immortal, in consequence of the Amrita having reached the throat, and was transferred as a constellation to the skies; and as the sun and moon detected his presence amongst the gods, Ráhu pursues them with implacable hatred, and his efforts to seize them are the causes of eclipses; Ráhu typifying the ascending and descending nodes. This seems to be the simplest and oldest form of the legend. The equal immortality of the body, under the name Ketu, and his being the cause of meteorical phenomena, seems to have been an after-thought. In the Padma and Bhágavata, Ráhu and Ketu are the sons of Sinhiká, the wife of the Dánava Viprachitti.

    79:9 The four Vidyás, or branches of knowledge, are said to be, Yajna vidyá, knowledge or performance of religious rites; Mahá vidyá, great knowledge, the worship of the female principle, or Tántrika worship; Guhya vidyá, knowledge of mantras, mystical prayers, and incantations; and Átma vidyá, knowledge of soul, true wisdom.

    79:10 Or Várttá, explained to mean the Śilpa śástra, mechanics, sculpture, and architecture; Áyur-veda, medicine, &c.

    80:11 The cause of this, however, is left unexplained. The Padma P. inserts a legend to account for the temporary separation of Lakshmí from Vishńu, which appears to be peculiar to that work. Bhrigu was lord of Lakshmípur, a city on the Narmadá, given him by Brahmá. His daughter Lakshmí instigated her husband to request its being conceded to her, which offending Bhrigu, he cursed Vishńu to be born upon earth ten times, to be separated from his wife, and to have no children. The legend is an insipid modern embellishment.

    Bhagavata Purana

    Churning of the Sea

    King Parikshit asked, "O great sage, how did God cause churning of the sea. What was the purpose behind it? Kindly tell me?" Shukdev says, "Parikshit, in the sixth Chakshush Manvantara,the demons king Bali had defeated the gods.

    Indra had also lost his glory by insulting the garland which sage Durvasa had presented to him as a God's gift. Indra had put the garland in elephant's neck and then got it crushed under its feet. But now having lost his kingdom and struck by misfortune, Indra and other gods with Brahma prayed to the Lord . Melted by their prayers, God appeared before them. All the gods laid before Him and worshiped. The omnipotent God inspired the gods to churn the sea.

    Lord asked the gods to churn the sea and produce nectar. He also advised them to take the help of demons in that great task. Drinking the nectar one becomes immortal. God asked the gods to put various medicinal plants and vegetations in Kshirsagar (sea of milk) and churn it by Mandarachal Mountain moving it with the help of Vasuki the naga. God promised them of all help from His part.
    Thereafter, Indra and other gods went unarmed to the demon king Bali and told him of their intention. Demons too liked the idea. With a friendly attitude then the gods and the demons together uprooted the mount Mandarachal. But they could not carry it to the sea. Lord appeared on Garuda and carried the mountain to the sea.

    The gods and demons had promised Vasuki, the Naga his due share in the nectar. So Vasuki allowed them to use him as a rope, wound around Mandarachal as a means to move it. In the incarnation of Ajit, Lord told the gods to hold the head of Vasuki. But the demons suspecting some mischief said they would hold the head and asked the gods to hold the Naga from the tail for churning. Thus the gods held the tail while the demons took hold of Vasuki's head.

    Thus they began the churning. But as soon as the churning began the mountain started sinking for not having a firm base. Lord then took Kachchhap (tortoise) incarnation and supported Mandarachal on His back. On the mountain also Lord appeared in Sahastrabahu form, and held it. The gods and the demons churned the sea for long but nothing emerged. So, Lord Ajit himself began to churn the sea. First of all, it was Halahal, the deadly poison to emerg. The intensity of the poison began to torment every being. To save their subjects from it, Prajapatis prayed Lord Lord Shiva. The life-giver, Lord Bholenath (an epithet of Lord Shiva) drank all the poison. By the impact of the poison, Lord Lord Shiva's throat turned blue in color. Hence Lord Shiva got the name Nilakantha.

    Emergence of Gems & Nectar: After Lord Shiva drank the poison, the gods and the demons began to churn the sea again with greater enthusiasm. Now, Kamadhenu, the divine cow emerged. She was useful for Yagya etc. so the sages received it. Then a horse named Uchchaishrava, emerged and taken up by Bali the king of demons. The horse was followed by Airavat the elephant. Indra took it. The divine gem, Kaustubh Mani, emerged then. Lord Ajit took it on His chest. Then emerged the Kalpvriksha, the divine tree that reached the heavens. Then the elves emerged. They all accepted to serve Indra in Heaven.

    Goddess Lakshmi emerged after the elves. All the azimuths were lighted because of her brilliance. Everyone was attracted towards her beauty, generosity, youthfulness, appearance and glory. Devaraj Indra presented a throne for her to sit. Rivers brought water for her ceremonial bath. The earth presented medicinal bath. Cows gave Panchganyas and Vasant (spring) presented many kinds of fruits and flowers. The sages welcomed Lakshmi with Rigsuktas (hymns of Rigveda). Gandharvas sang in her praise. Then taking the lotus in her hand, Lakshmi took a seat on the throne. Sea donned her with a beautiful silk saree. Varun presented a garland. Saraswati gifted her with a necklace of pearls. Brahma presented lotus while Nagas presented two earrings.

    After the singing by Brahmins in her praise, Lakshmi took lotus garland in her hand and put it around Lord Vishnu's neck in a gesture of accepting Him as her husband. Jagatpita, Lord Vishnu too gave Lakshmi a supreme position in His heart. Lakshmi was followed by Varuni who was taken up by the demons.

    The gods and the demons began to churn the sea again. At last lord Dhanvantari emerged with an urn of nectar. It was Dhanvantari who developed Ayurved, the ancient Indian system of medicine. As soon as the demons saw the urn, they snatched it and ran away. A row then began among the demons over the drinking of nectar. Consoling the gods, Lord appeared among the demons in the guise of an extremely pretty woman, Mohini.

    Distribution of Nectar by Lord as Mohini: The demons who were fighting over the potions of nectar forgot everything when they saw Mohini, who was actually a guise of Lord Vishnu. Lured by her prettiness the demons came to Mohini and requested her to solve the dispute for them. Illusioned by God, the demons even gave the nectar to Mohini and sat peacefully showing their confidence in her. In Mohini's guise, Lord thought that the demons were congenitally cruel and giving nectar to them would be akin to feeding sakes with milk. Their evils would increase.

    So, Mohini offered the nectar to the gods only while offered wine to the demons. When the nectar was being distributed, a demon named Rahu took the guise of a god and sitting among them drank the nectar. Suurya and Chandra spotted him and revealed his identity to God, who at once beheaded him. But, by then Rahu had drunk enough nectar


    Churning of the Ocean

    Sage Lomesh narrated the tale, which described how Indra lost heaven after he showed disrespect to Vrihaspati--

    Once, Indra was enjoying the songs sung by Gandharvas when sage Vashishth arrived. But, Indra was so engrossed in music, that he forgot to welcome his distinguished guest. Sage Vashishth was enraged by his behaviour and went away fuming with anger.When the demon King Bali--the lord of Patalloka, learnt about this incident he attacked Indraloka with a large army. A fierce battle took place in which all the deities were defeated. Bali and his army brought all the wealth to Patalloka. But the demons were not destined to be the owner of this plundered wealth for too long as the whole wealth got submerged into the ocean. Bali was surprised and asked Shukracharya about the reason. Sage Shukracharya revealed to Bali that he could not enjoy the splendours of deities' wealth because he had not performed 100 Ashwamedha yagyas.

    The deities, after being defeated went to seek Lord Vishnu's help. Lord Brahma was also present with them. After giving a deep thought to the whole issue, Lord Vishnu advised them to patch up with the demons so that all the wealth could be retrieved from the ocean bed.The deities went to Patal-loka and convinced the demons to participate in the churning of the ocean. When the process of churning of the ocean began, Mandarachal mountain was used as a churner and the serpent -Vasuki as the rope.Both the parties immersed the Mandarachal mountain into the ocean but it sank down, as there was no base upon which it could be placed. So, Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise and held the mountain on his back.

    Churning of the ocean resulted into the emergence of many things like Chandrama, Surabhi (cow), Kalpa tree, Kaustubh, Uchchaihshrava (Horse), Eravat (elephant), goddess Laxmi, poison, ambrosia, intoxication etc.When poison emerged from the sea bed, neither the deities nor the demons made any claim for it. The poison was so venomous that the whole world started getting inflamed by it. Lord Shiva then drank the Halahal poison and thus the world was saved.Lord Vishnu accepted goddess Laxmi as his consort.

    The Emergence of Ambrosia

    When Dhanvantri appeared with a pot of ambrosia in his hands, a demon named Vrishparva snatched it from him. All the demons then fled to Patal loka with the pot of ambrosia.Lord Vishnu disguised himself as an enchanting beauty and went to Patalloka. There, he found all the demons quarrelling among themselves. Each of them wanted to have his own share of ambrosia.The demons were stunned by Mohini's beauty the moment they saw Lord Vishnu in the form of a beautiful lady. Mohini took control of the ambrosia pot and summoned the deities to Patal loka.

    All the deities and demons were made to sit in separate rows. Mohini then started distributing ambrosia to the deities. A demon named Rahu, who had disguised himself as a deity was also sitting among the deities. Hardly had Rahu gulped down some ambrosia then Mohini severed his head on the information given by chandrama (Moon).The severed head of Rahu tried to take revenge by swallowing chandrama, who took the refuge of Lord Shiva. Shiva kept chandrama within the lock of his hair. Meanwhile, Rahu too came chasing chandrama and Lord Shiva wore his head as a garland in his neck.

    Mohini, the only female avatar of Vishnu (statue in a Belur temple, Karnataka, India)

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    Will Pakistan be the next Syria-like battleground?

    by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD November 25, 2017

    China is nervous.

    Over the last few months, the Chinese have encouraged and participated in talks between Iranian and Pakistani officials about the increasing tension along their joint border in Pakistan's southwest province of Balochistan.

    The Chinese are concerned about their multi-billion-dollar investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the regional linchpin of their global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). CPEC is a transportation infrastructure and natural resources development project that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones. The backbone of CPEC is a road and rail network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar in Balochistan Province and Karachi in Sindh province, both located on the Arabian Sea along the strategic sea lanes to the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal and Africa.

    China has good reason to be jumpy because Balochistan is in the early stages of a developing Sunni-Shia conflict not unlike what eventually exploded in Syria and Yemen.

    Traditionally known as secular and tolerate, Balochistan has largely succumbed to Pakistan's decades-long program of Islamization, comprising a proliferation of Islamic fundamentalist schools, a Taliban headquarters and training sites and the logarithmic growth of extremist Sunni jihadi groups like the Islamic State (ISIS), some virulently anti-Shia and open to exploitation by states opposed to Iranian regional hegemony.

    At the diplomatic level, Pakistan is unhappy with Iran's growing ties with India, in particular with the their joint development of the Iranian port of Chabahar and its commercial links to Mumbai, India, which Pakistan sees as a competitor to the nearby CPEC port of Gwadar. Iran was angered by the appointment of Pakistani General Raheel Sharif as commander-in-chief of the Islamic Military Alliance (IMA), a counter-terrorism organization formed by 39 Muslim countries with its headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The IMA, the Muslim world's NATO, does not include Iran and other Muslim countries with Shia leaderships, like Iraq. Regional tensions have been further increased by Saudi Arabian efforts to isolate Qatar, Iran's only Arab friend.

    Like what transpired in Syria, signs of a Sunni-Shia proxy war are appearing in Balochistan. In April 2017, members of one of those virulently anti-Shia Sunni militant groups, Jaish al-Adl, based in western Balochistan, killed ten Iranian border guards, which followed similar attacks since 2015. Such incidents have prompted Iran to retaliate with mortar strikes into Balochistan or drone intrusions, one of which was shot down by a Pakistani jet fighter in June 2017.

    More ominously and largely undetected by U.S. intelligence, are the gatherings of large numbers of Sunni militant jihadi operatives in western Balochistan, rumored to be funded by Saudi Arabia and dedicated to additional and more deadly cross-border attacks on Iran. One such gathering is northwest of Panjgur, Balochistan in the hills nearby the village at map coordinates 27.179106, 63.659733.

    Also unnoticed by U.S. intelligence is the growing Iranian influence, funding and infiltration of elements of the Balochistan independence movement, which is a significant development, similar to the support given by Iran to Taliban groups in western Afghanistan.

    What remains astonishing to this author is the lack of attention U.S. policymakers devote to the situation in Balochistan, which already has and will increasingly have direct consequences on American and NATO operations in Afghanistan.
    The Taliban now has a permanent support infrastructure in Balochistan along the Afghanistan border, which is responsible for the majority of casualties, yet remains mostly outside of U.S. and NATO tactical response.
    More broadly, Chinese economic and military ambitions and the potential for another Syria-like conflict will undoubtedly overtake current U.S. strategy with no obvious Plan B on the horizon.
    That should make the U.S. nervous.
    Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of "Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution ". He receives email at

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    Early users of monsoon winds for navigation -- Sila Tripathi (2017)

    Abstract. The maritime history of India can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization. Studies suggest that even at that time, monsoon winds and currents assisted in navigation. Recent archaeological exploration and excavations along the Indian margin, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and coasts of Southeast Asia provide convincing evidence about a maritime network and connections between mariners of India and other parts of the world in ancient times. The author of Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (PES) (60–100 CE) has credited Hippalus (~45 CE), the Greek mariner, with the discovery of monsoon winds and the mid-ocean route to the Indian ports from the Mediterranean. However, archaeological findings of Harappan Civilization, as well as the Vedic and Sangam period texts, suggest that the mariners of India who were trading in the Indian Ocean and adjoining seas had knowledge about monsoon winds much before Hippalus. In this paper, an attempt has been made to demonstrate the fact that knowledge of the monsoon winds was familiar to Indian mariners during the Harappan Civilization as well as in the later period. 

    Full text:

    bagalo = an Arabian merchant vessel (Gujarati) PLUS daTo 'claws of crab' rebus: dhatu 'mineral' PLUS kolom 'three' rebus: kolimi 'smithy, forge' PLUS  xoli 'fish-tail' rebus: kolhe 'smelter', kol 'working in iron' PLUS .khareḍo 'a currycomb' Rebus: खरड kharaḍ 'scribe'करडा [ karaḍā ]Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c.; kharādī ' turner' (Gujarati)


    A potsherd is a broken piece of ceramic material, especially one found in an Archaeological excavation) of a boat belonging to the Mohenjo-Daro period.) Shows a masted boat of c. 2000 BCE.

    A planked boat with a steering oar on the quarter and a mast near amidships the evidence of a sailed boat in ancient India. “Masted vessels are depicted in outline on second/first century BCE coins from Chandraketugarh in Ganges delta and similar vessels are shown on a Sri Lanka monument and on first century BCE terracotta seals. Boats, with planking fitted together with joggles and projections, and fastened by flat, double-dovetail shaped clamps, are depicted on a second century BCE medallion from a monastery at Bharhut, and on the east gate of a first century BCE stupa I at Sanchi in central India. Two-masted ships, with a sheerling rising towards bow and stern, are seen on coins found along the Andhra, Bay of Bengal coast that had been issued by the second century CE Satavahanas. These vessels have a steering oar on each quarter and their shroud-less masts are supported by forestay and backstay. There is also a ship symbol depited on coins found on the Coromandel coast that were issued by the Pallavas in the fourth century CE.” (Sean McGrail, opcit., p.52) 



    A Bharhut sculptural frieze flanks an elephant rider signifying his palm and flanked by two ox-hide ingot hieroglyphs on both sides of the doorway. There are three other friezes which signify ox-hide ingots as hiereoglyphs flanking doorways.
    Indus Script: Supercargo of copper smithywork ingots 

    The pair of ox-hide ingots which flank doorways on Bharhut scultpural friezes also occur on an Indus Script inscription on Mohenjo-daro prism tablet m1429. The two ox-hide ingots are shown as cargo on a boat flanked by two palm trees and twwo auatic birds.

    Hieroglyph: కారండవము [kāraṇḍavamu] n. A sort of duck. కారండవము [ kāraṇḍavamu ] kāraṇḍavamu. [Skt.] n. A sort of duck. कारंडव [kāraṇḍava ] m S A drake or sort of duck. कारंडवी f S The female. karandava [ kârandava ] m. kind of duck. कारण्ड a sort of duck R. vii , 31 , 21 கரண்டம் karaṇṭam, n. Rebus: Rebus: karaḍā ‘hard alloy’ (Marathi)

    (tamar) -- palm tree, date palm rebus: tAmra 'copper' Thus, hard alloy ingot (ox-hide shape) are signified as supercargo.

    The other two sides of the tablet also contain Indus Script inscriptions. ayo 'fish' rebus: aya 'iron' ayas metal' PLUS karA 'crocodile' rebus: khAr 'blacksmith' Together,   Side 2: kāru ‘crocodile’ Rebus: kāru ‘artisan’. Thus, together read rebus: ayakara ‘metalsmith’.

    On side 3 of the tablt, there are 8 hieroglyphic 'signs' signifying the nature of the metalwork involved for the cargo. This is a two part inscription.

    Part 1 of the inscription from l.

    कर्णक m. du. the two legs spread out AV. xx , 133 , 3 rebus: karNI 'helmsman, supercargo'. The hieroglyph of a standing person with legs spread out is thus a semantic determinant of the adjoining hieroglyph: rim of jar: karNika 'rim of jar' rebus: karNika 'scribe, account'. The next two hieroglyphs from the left are a pair of ingots: dhALako 'ingots' dula 'pair' rebus: dul 'cast metal'. Thus, cast ingots.

    Part 2 of the inscription from l.
    karNika 'rim of jar' rebus: karNika 'scribe, account'
    ayo 'fish' rebus: aya 'iron' ayas 'metal'
    kolom 'three' rebus: kolimi 'smithy, forge'
    kolmo 'rice plant' rebus: kolimi 'smithy, forge' PLUS circumscript of oval: dhALko 'ingot'. Thus ingot for smithy/forge work.
    m1429 Prism tablet with Indus inscriptions on 3 sides.

    Slide 24. Moulded tablet, Mohenjo-daro.Three sided molded tablet. One side shows a flat bottomed boat with a central hut that has leafy fronds at the top of two poles. Two birds sit on the deck and a large double rudder extends from the rear of the boat. On the second side is a snout nosed gharial with a fish in its mouth. The third side has eight symbols of the Indus script.

    Material: terra cotta.Dimensions: 4.6 cm length, 1.2 x 1.5 cm width Mohenjo-daro, MD 602.Islamabad Museum, NMP 1384.Dales 1965a: 147, 1968: 39

    The shape of he boat on the moulded tablet is comparable to the Bronze Age Uluburn ship which had a shipwreck.I suggest that this boat carried a supercargo (rebus: karNi Most frequently-occurring hieroglyph on Indus writing corpora: 'rim-of-jar') of copper and tin ingots, based on a rebus reading of the hieroglyphs on three sides of the prism tablet, including a text in Indus writing, apart from the ligatured hieroglyph of a crocodile catching a fish in its jaws [which is read ayakara 'blacksmith'; cf. khar 'blacksmith' (Kashmiri); karavu'crocodile' (Telugu); ayo 'fish' rebus: aya 'metal (tin+ copper alloy)'.

    bagalo = an Arabian merchant vessel (Gujarati) bagala = an Arab boat of a particular description (Ka.); bagalā (M.); bagarige, bagarage = a kind of vessel (Kannada) Rebus: bangala = kumpaṭi = angāra śakaṭī = a chafing dish a portable stove a goldsmith’s portable furnace (Telugu) cf. bangaru bangaramu = gold  (Telugu) 

    Side B:

    karaṇḍa ‘duck’ (Sanskrit) karaṛa ‘a very large aquatic bird’ (Sindhi) Rebus: करडा [karaḍā] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c. (Marathi)

    A pair of birds కారండవము [ kāraṇḍavamu ] n. A sort of duck. కారండవము [ kāraṇḍavamu kāraṇḍavamu. [Skt.] n. A sort of duck. कारंडव [kāraṇḍava ] m S A drake or sort of duck. कारंडवी f S The female. karandava [ kârandava ] m. kind of duck. कारण्ड a sort of duck R. vii , 31 , 21 கரண்டம் karaṇṭam, n. Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy (metal)'. tamar ‘palm’ (Hebrew) Rebus: tam(b)ra ‘copper’ (Santali) dula ‘pair’ Rebus: dul ‘cast metal’ (Santali)

    Rebus readings of the other 2 sides of the Mohenjo-daro tablet:

    Side A: kāru a wild crocodile or alligator (Telugu) ghariyal id. (Hindi)

    kāru 'crocodile' (Telugu) கராம் karām, n. prob. grāha. 1. A species of alligator; முதலைவகை. முதலையு மிடங்கருங் கராமும் (குறிஞ்சிப். 257). 2. Male alligator; ஆண் முதலை. (திவா.) కారుమొసలి a wild crocodile or alligator. (Telugu) Rebus: kāru ‘artisan’ (Marathi) kāruvu 'artisan' (Telugu) khār 'blacksmith' (Kashmiri)

    [fish = aya (G.); crocodile = kāru (Telugu)] Rebus: ayakāra ‘ironsmith’ (Pali) 

    khār 1 खार् । लोहकारः m. (sg. abl. khāra 1 खार; the pl. dat. of this word is khāran 1 खारन्, which is to be distinguished from khāran 2, q.v., s.v.), a blacksmith, an iron worker (cf. bandūka-khār, p. 111b, l. 46; K.Pr. 46; H. xi, 17); a farrier (El.) Side C: Text 3246 on the third side of the prism. kāḍ  काड् ‘, the stature of a man’ Rebus: खडा [ khaḍā ] m A small stone, a pebble (Marathi) dula ‘pair’ Rebus: dul ‘cast (metal)’shapes objects on a lathe’ (Gujarati) kanka, karṇaka ‘rim of jar’ Rebus: karṇaka ‘account scribe’. kārṇī  m. ʻsuper cargo of a ship ʼ(Marathi)
    Alloy ingots

    A pair of ingots with notches in-fixed as ligatures.

    ढाल [ ḍhāla ] f (S through H) The grand flag of an army directing its march and encampments: also the standard or banner of a chieftain: also a flag flying on forts &c. ढालकाठी [ ḍhālakāṭhī ] f ढालखांब m A flagstaff. (Paras'u?) Rebus: ḍhālako = a large metal ingot (G.) ḍhālakī = a metal heated and poured into a mould; a solid piece of metal; an ingot (Gujarati). I suggest that the gloss ḍhālako denotes the oxhide ingot.

    ḍhālako ‘large ingot’. खोट [khōṭa] ‘ingot, wedge’; A mass of metal (unwrought or of old metal melted down)(Marathi)  khoṭ f ʻalloy (Lahnda) Thus the pair of ligatured oval glyphs read: khoṭ ḍhālako ‘alloy ingots’ PLUS dula 'pair' Rebus: dul 'cast metal'.

    Forge: stone, minerals, gemstones
    khaḍā ‘circumscribe’ (M.); Rebs: khaḍā ‘nodule (ore), stone’ (M.) kolom ‘cob’; rebus: kolmo ‘seedling, rice (paddy) plant’ (Munda.) kolma hoṛo = a variety of the paddy plant (Desi)(Santali.) kolmo ‘rice  plant’ (Mu.) Rebus: kolami ‘furnace,smithy’ (Telugu) Thus, the ligatured glyph reads: khaḍā ‘stone-ore nodule’kolami ‘furnace,smithy’. Alternatives: 1. koṛuŋ young shoot (Pa.) (DEDR 2149) 

    Rebus: kol iron, working in iron, blacksmith (Tamil) kollan blacksmith, artificer (Malayalam) kolhali to forge.(DEDR 2133).2. kaṇḍe A head or ear of millet or maize (Telugu) Rebus: kaṇḍa ‘stone (ore)(Gadba)’ Ga. (Oll.) kanḍ, (S.) kanḍu (pl. kanḍkil) stone (DEDR 1298).  

    kolmo ‘three’ Rebus: kolami ‘furnace,smithy’. Thus, the pair of glyphs may denote lapidary work – working with stone, mineral, gemstones.

    ayo ‘fish’ Rebus: ayas ‘metal’.
    kanka 'rim of jar' (Santali) karṇika id. (Samskritam) Rebus: kārṇī m. ʻsuper cargo of a ship ʼ(Marathi) 
    कर्णक m. du. the two legs spread out AV. xx , 133 , 3 rebus: karNI 'helmsman' करण m. writer , scribe W. m. a man of a mixed class (the son of an outcast क्षत्रिय Mn. x , 22 ; or the son of a शूद्र woman by a वैश्य Ya1jn5. i , 92; or the son of a वैश्य woman by a क्षत्रिय MBh. i , 2446 ; 4521 ; the occupation of this class is writing , accounts &c ) (Samskrtam) कारणी or 
    कारणीक [ kāraṇī or kāraṇīka ] a (कारण S) That causes, conducts, carries on, manages. Applied to the prime minister of a state, the supercargo of a ship &c. (Marathi)  [kárṇa -- , dhāra -- 1] Pa. kaṇṇadhāra -- m. ʻ helmsman ʼ; Pk. kaṇṇahāra -- m. ʻ helmsman, sailor ʼ; H. kanahār m. ʻ helmsman, fisherman (CDIAL 2836) 

    कर्णिक  A knot, round protuberance

    कारण  a number of scribes or कायस्थW. करण m. a man of a mixed class (the son of an outcast क्षत्रिय Mn. x , 22 ; or the son of a शूद्र woman by a वैश्य Ya1jn5. i , 92 ; or the son of a वैश्य woman by a क्षत्रिय MBh. i , 2446 ; 4521 ; the occupation of this class is writing , accounts &c )m. writer , scribe W.

    karṇadhāra m. ʻ helmsman ʼ Suśr. [kárṇa -- , dhāra -- 1]Pa. kaṇṇadhāra -- m. ʻ helmsman ʼ; Pk. kaṇṇahāra -- m. ʻ helmsman, sailor ʼ; H. kanahār m. ʻ helmsman, fisherman ʼ.(CDIAl 2836)

    कर्णिक a. Having a helm. -कः A steersman.

    कर्णिन् karṇinकर्णिन् a. 1 Having ears; Av.1.1.2.-2 Long- eared.-3 Barbed (as an arrow). -m. 1 An ass.-2 A helmsman.-3 An arrow furnished with knots &c. (Apte)

    kāraṇika m. ʻ teacher ʼ MBh., ʻ judge ʼ Pañcat. [kā- raṇa -- ]Pa. usu -- kāraṇika -- m. ʻ arrow -- maker ʼ; Pk. kāraṇiya -- m. ʻ teacher of Nyāya ʼ; S. kāriṇī m. ʻ guardian, heir ʼ; N. kārani ʻ abettor in crime ʼ; M. kārṇī m. ʻ prime minister, supercargo of a ship ʼ, kul -- karṇī m. ʻ village accountant ʼ.(CDIAL 3058)
    கருணீகம் karuṇīkamn< karaṇa. [T. karaṇikamu.] Office of village accountant or karṇam;கிராமக்கணக்குவேலை.

    கருணீகன் karuṇīkaṉ n. < id. 1. Village accountant; கிராமக்கணக்கன். கடுகையொருமலை யாகக் . . . காட்டுவோன் கருணீகனாம் (அறப். சத. 86). 2. A South Indian caste of accountants; கணக்குவேலைபார்க்கும் ஒருசாதி.

    गांवकुळकरणी (p. 234) [ gāṃvakuḷakaraṇī ] m The hereditary village-accountant: in contrad. from देशकुळकरणी Districtaccountant.

    देशकुळकरण [ dēśakuḷakaraṇa ] n The office of देशकुळकरणी.देशकुळकरणी [ dēśakuḷakaraṇī ] 
    m An hereditary officer of a Mahál. He frames the general account from the
    accounts of the several Khots and Kulkarn̤ís of the villages within the Mahál; 
    the district-accountant.

    meḍ  ‘body’, ‘dance’ (Santali) Rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ (Ho.)
    kāḍ  काड् ‘, the stature of a man’ Rebus: खडा [ khaḍā ] m A small stone, a pebble (Marathi)

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    NaMo, give priority to Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link and other Himalayan Component of Interlinking of Rivers to make all rivers South of Vindhyas jeevanadi

    MSTG link envisages diversion of 43 BCM of surplus water of Manas, Sankosh and intermediate rivers, for augmenting the flow of Ganga and provide 14 BCM of water in Mahanadi basin for further diversion to South through Peninsular link system.
    China cannot rob us of Brahmaputra

    Updated: November 27, 2017 21:36 IST | Nilanjan Ghosh

    Mystic river And its myriad influences. | TK Rohit
    Water flows in arid Tibet are much lower than in the Indian side. So, there isn’t so much water for China to divert

    Media has long been reporting on China’s plan of northward rerouting of the Brahmaputra waters (known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet) from the Tibetan borders through constructions of dams. This has emerged as a prime point of contention with China-India strategic relations. Brahma Chellaney, one of the foremost strategic thinkers of India, described the Chinese design of taking control over Brahmaputra water as “most dangerous”. The fear of drying up of the Brahmaputra has become widespread in Indian public psyche, especially in Assam. This hypothesis of perceived fear is termed in this article as the “Brahma hypothesis”.
    The growing water demand in Tibet and the option available in principle to China of building water storage and transfer projects on the Yarlung have given birth to such fears in India. The apprehension is this can affect Bangladesh further downstream. The concern has aggravated with the news of Chinese plans to build a 1,000-km-long tunnel to divert water from the Brahmaputra River in Tibet to the parched Xinjiang region. It has been reported in sections of the media that the perceived Chinese threats to divert the river’s water prompted the Centre to call an inter-ministerial meeting recently to discuss proposed projects on Brahmaputra.

    Amidst the clamour about Chinese projects on Brahmaputra, there has hardly been an objective data-based analysis of the popular “Brahma hypothesis”. These contentions deserve to be examined through data, hydrological regimes, upstream interventions and their downstream implications.

    Identifying the flow

    The Brahmaputra is identified as the flow downstream of the meeting of three tributaries, namely Luhit, Dibang and Dihang, near Sadiya. The link of Brahmaputra with Yarlung Tsangpo, which originates from the Angsi glacier near Mt. Kailash, was discovered rather recently. Out of the total length of the Brahmaputra of 2,880 km, 1,625 km is in Tibet flowing as Yarlung Tsangpo, 918 km is in India known as Siang, Dihang and Brahmaputra and the rest 337 km in Bangladesh has the name Jamuna till it merges into Padma near Goalando.
    As a trans-Himalayan tributary, Yarlung is substantially fed by snow and glacial melts, in addition to rainfall. The normalised melt index (defined as the volumetric snow and glacier upstream discharge divided by downstream natural discharge) of the Brahmaputra is merely in the range of 0.15-0.2, signifying that snow and glacial melt, the main source of run-off in the Tibetan region, contributes negligibly to the total flow.

    Making the discourse realistic

    The Tibetan region lies in the rain shadow with the Himalaya acting as the barrier to the rain-laden monsoon. The annual precipitation in the trans-Himalaya Tibet averages about 300 mm annually. As the tributaries cross the Himalayan crest line, the annual average precipitation reaches about 2000 mm. A very large component of the total annual flow of Brahmaputra is generated in the southern aspect of the Himalaya in India by tributaries from Buri Dihing in the East to Teesta in the west.
    Data published by Chinese scholar Jiang and team show that the total annual outflow of the Yarlung River from China is estimated to be about 31 BCM while the annual flow of Brahmaputra at Bahadurabad, the gauging station near the end of the sub-basin in Bangladesh, is about 606 BCM. These figures do not support the linear thinking that the flow in a river is proportional to its length inside a country.

    Further, while the peak flows during monsoon at Nuxia and Tsela Dzong in Tibet, a measuring station at the great bend in the Tibetan plateau, are about 5,000 and 10,000 cumecs, as presented by Vijay Singh and colleagues, the peak flow at downstream Guwahati is around 40,000 cumecs and the one at Bahadurabad in Bangladesh is approximately 50,000 cumecs.

    During the lean season, the flow in Nuxia, as identified from a hydrograph given in Rivers and Lakes of Xizang (Tibet) (in Chinese), is 300-500 cumecs, while the one at Pasighat is to the tune of 2000-odd cumecs, the one at Guwahati is around 4000-odd cumecs, and Bahadurabad is about 5000 cumecs, all these being peer-reviewed data.

    This data shows that the Brahmaputra gets fatter and mightier as it flows further downstream. This is more so because of the flow contribution of the various tributaries like Dibang, Luhit, Subansiri, Manas, Sankosh, Teesta to name a few. This can be noted from the fact that at Guwahati (Pandu), the percentage annual yield of the main river course from Pasighat is barely 34 per cent, while the tributaries like Dibang, Luhit, Subansiri, as also the tributaries joining between Pasighat and Guwahati contribute the remaining 66 per cent. Further downstream, the mainstream contribution diminishes further.

    Another concern relates to the impact of the projects on the sediment flow. Can water diversion affect sediment flow? The flow volume and discharge in the Yarlung River is not sufficient to generate and transport carry the very large sediment load as in prevalent in the downstream Brahmaputra.
    The annual suspended sediment load near Nuxia in Tibet is around 30 million metric tonnes, (as suggested in a 2016 volume titled River Morphodynamics and Stream Ecology of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateauby Wang and colleagues), which is miniscule as compared to same load measured as 735 million metric tonnes at Bahadurabad.

    Therefore, the large amount of suspended sediment load that gets deposited in the downstream to form a fertile Jamuna floodplain cannot be carried by the Yarlung-Tsangpo stretch. It is created further downstream in India, where precipitation is almost 12 times higher than the rain shadow Tibet.

    A popular hypothesis

    Prima facie, it can be said that the impacts of water diversion (or even hydropower like the Zangmu Dam) in the Yarlung-Tsangpo cannot have substantial impact on the flow regime in the Indian boundary, especially in the Assam floodplains and Bangladesh. The concern of many in India has been based on the perception that structural interventions always reduce downstream flows, which, in case of Brahmaputra, is not true.

    Based on the hydro-meteorological data, it seems highly improbable that a cloudburst can occur in the rain-shadow Tibet so as to cause floods in Assam. Therefore, the “Brahma hypothesis” or the myth spread in the media does not stand the test posed by scientific data and knowledge. Informed science should inform public perceptions, policy, hydro-politics, and water governance, rather than jingoistic emotions or linear, reductionist logic.

    The writer is heads economics and water governance at the Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata. The views are personal



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    ROFL, now says he never represented Sunni Waqf Board.. Dear Waqf Board, did you end up paying him when he didn't even represent you?

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    Allahabad High Court ruled that the 2.77 acres (1.12 ha) of Ayodhya land be divided into 3 parts, with 1/3 going to the Ram Lalla or Infant Rama represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha for the construction of the Ram temple, 1/3 going to the Islamic Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining 1/3 going to a Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara.
    Image result for ram mandir ayodhya british india photosayodhya, ram mandir, babri masjid, ram temple, ayodhya history, Ayodhya news, babri masjid news, Indian expressImage result for ram mandir ayodhya british india photos

    Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code[IPC] it is prescribed that “Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons, with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

    When the site was acquired ILLEGALLY, in 1528 (to insult Hindu religion by defilement of the sacred site), to build a Babri mosque, how can Sunni Waqf Board (SWB) claim property right? Allahabad HC erred in allotting 1/3 property right to SWB.

    This original defilement of the site should be the key issue to be considered by SC.

    Can't Sec. 295 be applied retrospectively? GOI and UP should enact laws to acquire the site for a public purpose to undo the damage done to Hindu religion by defilement. SC should simply annull Allahad HC judgement acting beyond their brief and distributing 1/3 property rights to three parties. Instead, SC should ask GOI and UP Govts. to enact a law to acquire the property and hand it over to Ram Lalla, infant Rama.

    The fundamental right of Ram Lalla has to be respected. Any other action or arbitration will be a violation of this fundamental right. Article 300A (44th amendment which removed Property Right as a fundamental right) of the Constitution says: "No person can be deprived of his property except by authority of law." The property belongs to Ram Lalla who has been deprived of his property in 1528 Common Era (CE), without the authority of law. A constitutional right is higher than a Fundamental Right and constitutes a Basic Feature of the Constitution of India which cannot be violated by anyone.

    Article 300A. Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law.- No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.

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    Indus Script hypertexts document wealth accounting ledgers, recording production of zinc metal in Sarasvati Civilization.

    The hieroglyph used is svastika (Over 60 inscriptions with svastika hieroglyph have been recorded in Indus Script Corpora).

    sattva, 'svastika symbol' rebus: sattva'zinc', jasta'zinc, spelter; pewter'

    Indus Script tradition of metalwork wealth ledger account, continued in mints of Eurasia from Takshasila to Ruhuna (Katharagama) (which was the transit point in the Ancient Maritime Tin Route from Hanoi to Haifa).

    The mint artisans continued the tradition of wealth ledger accounting of Indus Script -- using hypertexts and punch-marked or embossed the hypertexts on ancient coins to signify their wealth-producing repertoire of metalwork in mints.

    Supplementary Plate Figure 2 of H. W. Codrington's Ceylon Coins and Currency (1924), records an 'Elephant & Svastika' coin discovered in Ruhuna, Sri Lanka (a province in which the heritage site of Katharagama is located).  

    See map (for location of Ruhuna): 

    An enlargement of Figure 2 of Codrington's Plate is presented below to show the symbols used on the coin (obverse and reverse). All the symbols used are Indus Script hieroglyphs.

    The objective of this monograph is to focus on one symbol which is a hypertext composition of both 'nandipāda' and 'śrīvatsa'. 

    This hypertext may be seen to the left of the svastika and mountain-range symbols on the reverse of the coin. This hypertext is a combination of three Indus Script hieroglyphs: 1. dotted circle 2. hillock and 3. two fish-fins.
    Ruhuna coin (Cited in Lakdiva coins of Codrington).

    Note on associated hypertexts on Ruhuna coin: 

    kuṭhi a sacred, divine treekuṭi 'temple' rebus kuṭhi 'a furnace for smelting iron ore' 

    goṭā 'round pebble' Rebus gō̃ṭu an ornamental appendage to the border of a cloth, fringe' गोटी gōṭī f (Dim. of गोटा) A roundish stone or pebble. 2 A marble. 3 A large lifting stone. Used in trials of strength among the Athletæ. 4 A stone in temples described at length under उचला 5 fig. A term for a round, fleshy, well-filled body. 6 A lump of silver: as obtained by melting down lace or fringe. goṭa 'laterite, ferrite ore' khoṭa 'ingot, wedge'.

    dhanga 'mountain range' Rebus: dhangar 'blacksmith'

    sangaḍa, 'lathe-brazier' rebus: sangara 'trade'

    khareḍo = a currycomb (G.) Rebus: kharādī ' turner, a person who fashions or shapes objects on a lathe ' (Gujarati) करडा [karaḍā] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c. (Marathi)  खरड kharaḍa f (खरडणें) A hurriedly written or drawn piece; a scrawl; a mere tracing or rude sketch.  खरडा (p. 113) kharaḍā m (खरडणें) Scrapings (as from a culinary utensil). 2 Bruised or coarsely broken peppercorns &c.: a mass of bruised मेथ्या &c. 3 also खरडें n A scrawl; a memorandum-scrap; a foul, blotted, interlined piece of writing. 4 also खरडें n A rude sketch; a rough draught; a foul copy; a waste-book; a day-book; a note-book. 5 A spotted and rough and ill-shaped pearl: also the roughness or knobbiness of such pearls. 6 A variety of musk-melon. 7 Heat in stomach and bowels during small-pox, measles &c. 8 A leopard. 9 C Small but full heads of rice. 10 Grass so short as to require grubbing or rubbing up. 11 A medicament consisting of levigated or pounded (nutmeg, or anise-seed, or मुरडशेंगा &c.) fried in clarified butter. It is given to check diarrhœa. 12 Reduced state, i. e. such scantiness as to demand scraping. v लाग, पड. Ex. पाण्याचा ख0 लागला or पडला The water (of the well &c.) is so scanty that it must be scraped up (with a नरेटी &c.) धान्याला ख0 लागला; पैक्याला ख0 लागला. खरडें घासणें To fag at the desk; to drive the quill. 2 (With implication of indifference.) To write: answering to To pen it; to scribble away खरड्या kharaḍyā a (खरडणें) That writes or shaves rudely and roughly; a mere quill-driver; a very scraper. करड्याची अवटी  karaḍyācī avaṭī f An implement of the goldsmith. A stamp for forming the bars or raised lines called करडा. It is channeled or grooved with (or without) little cavities. करडा  karaḍā m The arrangement of bars or embossed lines (plain or fretted with little knobs) raised upon a तार of gold by pressing and driving it upon the अवटी or grooved stamp. Such तार is used for the ornament बुगडी, for the hilt of a पट्टा or other sword &c. Applied also to any similar barform or line-form arrangement (pectination) whether embossed or indented; as the edging of a rupee &c. 

    The hieroglyph 'elephant'.  karibha, ibha 'elephant' rebus: karba, ib 'iron' ibbo 'merchant'. 

    Svastika glyph: sattva 'svastika' glyph సత్తుతపెల a vessel made of pewter  त्रपुधातुविशेषनिर्मितम्
     Glosses for zinc are: sattu (Tamil), satta, sattva (Kannada) jasth जसथ् त्रपु m. (sg. dat. jastas ज्तस), zinc, spelter; pewter; zasath ् ज़स््थ् ्or zasuth ज़सुथ ्। रप m. (sg. dat. zastas ु ज़्तस),् zinc, spelter, pewter (cf. Hindī jast). jastuvu; । रपू्भवः adj. (f. jastüvü), made of zinc or pewter.(Kashmiri). Hence the hieroglyph: svastika repeated five times on a Harappa epigraph (h182). Five svastika are thus read: taṭṭal sattva Rebus: zinc (for) brass (or pewter).
    Image result for bharatkalyan97 five svastika

    The Meluhha gloss for 'five' is: taṭṭal Homonym is: ṭhaṭṭha brass (i.e. alloy of copper + zinc) *ṭhaṭṭha1 ʻbrassʼ. [Onom. from noise of hammering brass?]N. ṭhaṭṭar ʻ an alloy of copper and bell metal ʼ. *ṭhaṭṭhakāra ʻ brass worker ʼ. 1.Pk. ṭhaṭṭhāra -- m., K. ṭhö̃ṭhur m., S. ṭhã̄ṭhāro m., P. ṭhaṭhiār°rā m.2. P. ludh. ṭhaṭherā m., Ku. ṭhaṭhero m., N. ṭhaṭero, Bi. ṭhaṭherā, Mth. ṭhaṭheri, H.ṭhaṭherā m.(CDIAL 5491, 5493).

    dhollu'drummer' (Western Pahari) dolutsu'tumble' Rebus: dul 'cast metal'. karaḍa 'double-drum' rebus:  karaḍa'hard alloy'. 

    karã̄ n.' pl. wristlets, bangles' Rebus: khār 'blacksmith, iron worker'.

    dula'two' rebus: dul 'metal casting'

    karaka'rim of jar' rebus: karI 'supercargo, a representative of the ship's owner on board a merchant ship, responsible for overseeing the cargo and its sale.' rebus: karika 'scribe, account'.  कर्णिका 'steersman, helmsman' (seafaring merchant)

    What has been documented in Indus Script Corpora is validated by the archaeometallurgical enquiries of Zawar mines by Paul Craddock. Though the evidence of industrial production is dated to period from 14th century, ancient texts of ca. 1st cent. CE, document the distillation processes for zinc. (pace Prafulla Chandra Ray, History of Hindu Chemistry, Calcutta, Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd., 1903).

    Image result for history of hindu chemistry pc ray

    5 December 2017

    Origins of chemical industry -- Paul Craddock (2017)

    How excavations in India have changed our view on industrialisation 

    Image result for origins of chemical industry paul craddock

    One of the features of the Industrial Revolution was the translation of scientific laboratory techniques to viable industrial processes. This is usually regarded as a quintessentially European phenomenon – a product of the Age of Reason, with endeavours based on the results of reproducible scientific experiments and entrepreneurial industrialists.
    However, investigations have shown that such developments took place elsewhere more than a thousand years previously. Through similar means, the production of zinc by high temperature distillation was turned into a successful industrial process. The location for this birth of chemical industry? Northern India.
    Manuscript clues
    The production of zinc by conventional smelting methods presents considerable difficulties; instead of a liquid metal forming at the base of the furnace, zinc forms a highly reactive vapour (with a boiling point of 913°C) which exits the top of the furnace and promptly re-oxidises. Clearly, some method of containing and condensing the vapour out of contact with the air was needed – and our ingenious ancestors found a way.
    1217CW - Science in India - Plate 6.12
    Source: Image courtesy of Paul Craddock
    One of the 4 perforated plates per furnace on which the retorts sat with their condenser necks in the large holes
    There are descriptions of the laboratory preparation of zinc in Indian medical treatises dating from the beginning of the first millennium AD.1 The zinc ore, together with a list of rather exotic organic ingredients, were to be placed in a clay retort set over a collecting vessel filled with water and heated with a charcoal fire. The forming zinc vapour condensed in this process of downward distillation. By the early second millennium AD, these descriptions had become more detailed. The retort was to be shaped like a brinjal, or aubergine, the condenser shaped like a datura, or thorn apple flower, and the zinc ore was shaped into small balls, still using the exotic organic ingredients.
    The process worked. In the 16th century, when most of the north of India had been absorbed into the Mughal Empire, a great inventory was prepared by the court chancellor Abū L-Faẓl Allāmī. The inventory, known as the Ā-īn-i-Akbarī, was completed in 1596, is India’s Domesday book. This work notes with interest, Jast, zinc, ‘is nowhere found in the philosophical books, but there is a mine of it in Hindustan, in the territory of Jālor.’
    Excavating answers
    The mine is in present-day Zawar, in the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan. From the 20th century there were several geological and mining reports of extensive old mines, together with ruined walls built of old retorts. I therefore set up an archaeological expedition to investigate these remains, strongly supported by Hindustan Zinc, who had re-established mining in the second part of the 20th century.2
    1217CW - Science in India - Plate 6.5
    Source: Image courtesy of Paul Craddock
    A view along the excavated furnace block, Zawar, India
    The excavations revealed the remains of intact installations dating to the 14th century. But these weren’t for single retort smelting: they were major blocks of seven furnaces, each containing 36 retorts, allowing 252 retorts to fire simultaneously. It is estimated each retort produced about 100–150g of the metal per firing, meaning each furnace block could produce about 25–30kg of zinc per day. Later, improved furnace blocks were found dating to the 16th century, which contained 108 larger retorts probably produced about 50kg per day. With many such blocks working at once, peak production from the mines must have been several hundred kilograms per day.
    Traditional processes around the world are often perceived as static, but that was certainly not the case here. The very first furnaces, dating from about 1000 years ago, had hand-made plates and condensers. In the later furnaces, these were always moulded with exactly the same dimensions and clearly must have been mass-produced in central workshops. While furnaces were still made individually, they had to conform to the precise dimensions of the components – clearly, the authority running the mines was asserting overall control and increasing efficiency. Similarly, the later mines were huge open cast operations that engulfed the earlier works.
    Sharing knowledge
    The mines of Zawar were certainly run by the state, and ultimately the Maharajah. The furnaces were probably run by individual operators, very likely belonging to the Jain sect, whose members, rather analogous to the non-conformist sects in 18th century England, were a merchantile and entrepreneurial class; at Zawar they were responsible for most of the temples. Clearly, the royal government was prepared to finance the development of a very radical process – the first high temperature distillation process anywhere in the world – from laboratory to the mines.
    The development of a laboratory technique into an industrial process must have had a strong incentive. Northern India lacks significant tin deposits and thus the usual copper alloy was brass rather than bronze. This would have been made by what was known in Europe as the cementation process, in which copper was reacted with zinc ore and charcoal in closed crucible.3 This process (which did not change until the 19th century) was very inefficient and produced a poor quality brass; brass made by mixing copper and zinc metals gave much greater control and a purer product, and thus Zawar zinc would have been prized.
    Sadly, a high tech process needs stable conditions in which to operate and retain and train highly skilled operatives. While production flourished at Zawar through the medieval period, it faltered following the Mughal invasion and slumped as political conditions in post-medieval India deteriorated. Eventually, the zinc was replaced by imports, initially from China and then from Europe. There’s a certain irony that the first viable European process for zinc, developed by the William Champion of Bristol, UK, and patented in 1742, was almost certainly based on knowledge of the Zawar process; what was long believed to be the first industrialisation of zinc was really selling the metal back to the true pioneers.

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    The spirit of Ramajanmabhoomi movement is based on the crucial premise that the disputed structure was created after dismantling the Temple. Even before the movement the archaeological exercise was undertaken. The archaeological evidence collected by Prof Lal and his team, of which Dr K K Mohammed was a part, confirmed the destruction of  pre-existent structure on the disputed sight. In his book, Njan Enna Bharatiyan, originally written in Malayalam, Dr Mohammad elaborated the whole process in this scientific exercise of revisiting history. Here are the excerpts from his book which can be crucial while discussing and deliberating on the Ayodhya issue: 
    Related imageImage result

    K K Mohammed August 13, 2017

    My life story will not be complete without narrating this part. This is not to offend anyone’s religious sentiments and thereby, encourage someone else’s sentiments. This should not be used for any such purpose either.
    It was in 1990 that the issue of Ayodhya became hot. Before that, in 1978 itself, as an archeology student, I had the opportunity to survey Ayodhya. 
    As a student of School of Archeology, Delhi, I was a member of the team headed by Prof B B Lal, which was carrying out an extensive survey at Ayodhya. We found that there existed brick foundations which supported the pillars of a pre-existed temple. No one had viewed such findings as controversial those days. We examined the facts with due sense of history as  archeological experts. 
    There were temple-pillars embedded on the walls of Babri Masjid. These pillars were made of a particular stone called Black Basalt. There were ‘Poorna Kalasas’ engraved at the bottom of the pillars as was the practice in the 11th – 12th centuries. In the temple art, ‘Poorna Kalas’ is one among the eight auspicious symbols of prosperity. Not one or two, 
    fourteen such pillars were there before the mosque was demolished in 1992. Though the mosque was under police protection and no one was allowed inside, we were not 
    prevented because we were members of the research team. Therefore I could see the pillars closely. The team headed by Prof B B Lal included officials of the ASI and us, the twelve students of School of Archeology. We spent around two months in various explorations at Ayodhya. Mir, the chief of the army of Babar constructed this mosque using  remnants of a temple which was either demolished by him or was already demolished by someone else. 
    While excavating on the back and sides of the mosque, we found brick platforms on which the Black Basalt pillars used to rest. It was based on these facts that I made a statement in 1990 that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. By then the atmosphere had surcharged. The Hindu and Muslim leaders had taken opposite positions. Moderates on both sides  were making some efforts to bring about a rapprochement. But the strident VHP had already taken over the Ram Janmabhumi issue as its agenda. The moderates among Muslims started thinking that it is better to leave Ayodhya for Hindus and solve the dispute. A few Muslim leaders were also of this opinion but no one dared say this. I knew that at least some Muslim leaders felt that leaving Ayodhya to Hindus would  take wind out of the sails of VHP. Had such voices got prominence, it would have been possible to diffuse the situation. But a few Leftist historians allied themselves with the confrontationist Muslims and distorted the matter.
    Few historians under the leadership of S. Gopal, Romila Thapar and Bipan Chandra started questioning the historicity of the Ramayana. They argued that there is no record of demolition of a temple before 19th century. They even declared that Ayodhya is a Buddhist – Jain Centre. This group assumed gigantic size with the induction of Prof R S Sharma, Aktar Ali, D N Jha, Suraj Bhan, Irfan Habib etc. Among  them Suraj Bhan was the only archeologist. The historians of R S Sharma’s group took part in various  official  meetings as experts from the side of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC). 
    Many of the BMAC meetings were conducted under the leadership of Dr. Irfan Habib who was the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) . Though the Member Secretary M G S Narayanan of ICHR objected to the meetings of BMAC being conducted in ICHR, he was overruled by Irfan Habib. These Leftist group of historians had tremendous influence in newspapers and periodicals and articles published by them questioning the facts of Ayodhya created confusion in the minds of general public. It were these historians and publications which acted like their exclusive mouth piece and were responsible for the volte – face of even the moderates among the Muslims, who had favoured settlement. It was unfortunate that this atmosphere gifted legitimacy and a resultant belligerence to BMAC. The common Muslims who, at some point of time, toyed with the idea of ceding their claim in favour of Hindus, slowly started changing their position. Consequently moderates also took a stand that the Masjid cannot be given up. The interventions of the Communist historians brainwashed them. The joint mischief of these two groups resulted in blocking the doors of  settlement rather permanently. 
    Had only this compromise worked out it would have been a major turning point in the history of Hindu – Muslim relations in our country.This would have resulted in the natural solution to other various contentious issues also. 
    This lost opportunity demonstrated that not only the Hindu – Muslim fanaticism but the Communist fanaticism  is equally dangerous to our nation. 
    My statement came out on  December 15, 1990. By then the historians and archeologists had started fierce arguments from both sides. I made it clear in my statement that I have seen remnants of a temple beneath the Masjid.
    I was working in Chennai as Deputy Superintending Archeologist in ASI. I happened to read an article by Iravataam Mahadevan IAS in the Indian Express. Iravatam, who wrote extensively on the Sindhu script, was a widely respected scholar. After retiring  he was working as editor of the widely read Tamil newspaper Dinamani. 
    He wrote:- “If historians still doubt whether a temple existed beneath, such doubt can be removed by excavating once again. But it is wrong to say that to correct a historical wrong a historical monument (Babri Masjid) shall be demolished.” 
    I respected his balanced opinion and wrote a letter appreciating him. I mentioned that I was a member of the team which carried out excavations during 1976-77. “Your opinion that it is wrong to demolish a monument to avenge a historical wrong is laudable. You have shared your liberal views.” On the date of receipt of my letter he came to my office at Clive building at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat. He wanted permission to publish my letter. He said: “Since you are a govt. servant, writing on such sensitive matters without permission from the Government will be suicidal. It is sure that permission will not be granted by your superiors. Nevertheless, truth should not be kept hidden. Decide suitably.” 
    We discussed with Superintendent Archeologist B Narasimhayya and decided that such important information should not be concealed. Narasimhayya was the General Supervisor when we discovered the brick platforms while excavating under the guidance of Prof B B Lal. But we did not want to play into the hands of fanatic Hindus. We must keep equal distance from all communal elements.
    Finally my statement came in the Letters to the Editor column in all editions of Indian Express. Subsequently it was also published by all other papers in all languages. I got many phone calls –  threatening and appreciating me. But as decided I kept aloof from all that was going around me.
    Those days we conducted a UNESCO sponsored Silk Route Seminar in Chennai. I, along with one Shri KT Narasimhan, was the organiser. From Delhi, the Joint Secretary (Culture) Shri RC Tripathi and the Director General of ASI Shri MC Joshi came to attend. Both appreciated me for the successful conduct of the seminar. Dr Joshi said “If that Aligarh Professor were here, he would have felt ashamed.” He was referring to Dr Irfan Habib. Dr Joshi also told my personal details to Dr Tripathi.
    Thereafter Dr Joshi said:-“Now we have questions about your press statement. How did you go public on such an important issue without the permission of the Govt.? We are going to suspend you right now pending enquiry.”
    I said “Sir I knew that I was not going to get permission for such a matter. I spoke the truth in public interest.”
     I also recited a Sanskrit shloka – Lokasamgramevapi Sampasyan Kartumarhasi. 
    “Are you teaching me? I am a Brahmin from Allahabad” – Tripathi shouted. He added “I will suspend you right now.” Calmly I told him – “Swadharme nidhanam shreya” – meaning even death is preferable while on duty. Tripathi became cool and said – “Mohammed, I appreciate your firm stand. This is expected from an archeologist. But I am under pressure from the top to take action against you.” I said “I know Sir. I issued the statement after considering all consequences.”  
    Joshi was still not happy and asked – “Why did you give your name, address and designation on the newspaper?” “I thought it is required because no one should think that it is some insignificant Mohammed”. 
    Mahadevan met both of them next day and got the suspension changed into a transfer, from Chennai to Goa.  
    On  December 6, 1992 I was in conversation with the Rector of Bom  Jesus Church, Goa where the holy relics of St. Xavier are kept. Then came the news of the demolition of Babri Masjid. Next year Fr. Rigo feared that there will be attacks by Hindu fanatics on Christian churches of Old Goa on the anniversary of the demolition. We formed two teams. One team camped at Bom Jesus Church under Fr. Rigo and the second one under me in St. Cathedral and St. Assisi throughout the night. It was a thrilling example of Indian secularism that a Muslim, Hindu and Christian stood guard to protect a national monument.
    The most important artefact which came out during demolition at Ayodhya was the stone plaque called Vishnu Hari Shila. On the plaque it was inscribed in Nagari script of 11-12 century in Sanskrit that this temple is dedicated to Vishnu (Rama is the avatar of Vishnu) who killed Bali and the 10- headed (Ravana). 
    In 1992, when Dr Y D Sharma and Dr K M Srivastava studied the site they could find small statues of Vishnu’s avataras, Shiva, Parvati etc. made of clay. These belonged to the Kusana period (100 – 300 AD). In 2003, when excavations were again conducted as ordered by the Allahabad High Court, more than fifty brick foundations which once supported the pillars of the temple were found. The ‘amalaka’ which is usually found on the top of the temple and ‘makar pranali’ through which the ‘abhisheka’ water flows, were also excavated. The Uttar Pradesh Archeology Director Dr Ragesh Tiwari submitted a report that when the front yard of the Babri Masjid was leveled, 263 temple related artefacts were found.  
    After a comprehensive analysis of the evidences that had surfaced during the excavation and the discovery of historical artefacts, the Archeological Survey Of India came to the conclusion that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court also reached the same conclusion. To make the excavation impartial it was ensured that 52 Muslims were included in the team of 131 of excavators. Not only that, the excavation was conducted in the presence of the representatives and archeological historians belonging to the BMAC group viz Suraj Bhan, Mondal, Supriya Varma and Jaya Menon. 
    Could the excavation have been made more impartial?
    Even after the judgment of the High Court, the Leftist historians continued their somersaults. They had changed their positions previously also without any qualms. The reason behind this inconsistency was that those who participated in the excavations as representatives of the BMAC were mere historians. Three or four of them had some knowledge of archeology but even they were absolutely ignorant about the Field Archeology. Therefore they were mere dwarfs in front of eminent archeologists like Dr B R Mani. The people from the JNU and Aligarh Universities, who represented the BMAC, for their lack of knowledge of field archeology, were not counted by other archeologists of the ASI. The ASI was committed to truth and impartiality. 
    Meanwhile, an officer of the ASI claiming proximity to the VHP tried to usurp the position of Dr Mani. Had he succeeded in his design, the enthusiasm to establish the existence of a temple would have landed Ayodhya into a different battle. But the ASI did not budge and Dr Mani was not removed. The ASI once again proved its impartiality. 
    One of the prominent leaders of the BMAC Syed Shahabudin, in a letter to the then Union  Minister Anantha Kumar appreciated the ASI for boldly preventing the expansion of the temple by Jawahar Prasad, a BJP MLA, even while the BJP was ruling at the Centre. This official letter was forwarded to me by the Director General of ASI. I wrote a detailed response to Syed Shahabudin in which I mentioned Ayodhya issue also. I wrote that I took part in the Ayodhya excavation under Prof B B Lal and I had seen the remains of a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. I pleaded with him to understand this truth and create favourable Muslim opinion and take initiative to solve the Ayodhya issue. He assured me that he would discuss these facts in the next meeting with the  Muslim leaders. After the said meeting he informed me that no one had agreed to handover the Masjid to Hindus. 
    Later I had a long discussion with him. He did not agree to handover Babri Masjid to the Hindus. 
    While travelling back I deeply contemplated. If India were a Muslim majority-secular country (a Muslim majority country will never be secular though) and if a Muslim leader had tried to illegally expand a mosque within the precincts of a temple (which is also a national monument) and if a Hindu officer had opposed it, how many Muslims would have supported the officer? This is the greatness of Indian secularism. 
    Exceptions could be shown – that there were mass killings of Muslims etc. Considering everything in the proper perspective let me make one thing clear – communalism of Hindus is not of a fundamental trait. Mostly it starts as a reaction to some incidents. This is true of the  Godhra as well. 
    Once I went to Salala in Oman for an international excavation team based in Germany. The purpose was to excavate an underground city Al Balid. I came into contact with few Keralites there. They were from the Kannur-Thalassery area of Kerala and were sympathisers of SIMI. They invited me to a programme. Some of them knew my opinion about Ayodhya. But I put forth certain conditions. I will come and speak. My opinions can be questioned. But since I have come here on an invitation by Germans there shall not be any untoward incident. Discipline shall be maintained and counter point shall be tolerated. They agreed and I spoke about Rama Janma Bhumi. I started with the initial tolerant period of Islam. My recital of Koran was a surprise to them. I spoke in detail about the excavations and the discovery of artefacts. They listened in rapt attention. I concluded my speech thus:
    “Ayodhya for a Hindu is as important as Mecca and Medina for a Muslim. A Muslim cannot think of Mecca or Medina in the custody of another religion. Muslims should listen to the cry of a helpless Hindu who suffers the ignominy of his temples being in Muslim custody despite ours being a Hindu majority land. While Hindus believe Babri Masjid to be the birth place of Rama, this spot has nothing to do with Prophet Muhammed. This place has no relation with Sahabis or Khulafaur Rasyidins; neither with Tabiun nor Aulia or Salaf us-Salih. This is related only to the Mughal King Babar. Why such an importance is to be attached to this Masjid?”
    I further narrated an incident of my childhood. “When the Baitul Muqaddas of Jerusalem fell to Jews we assembled in Koduvally Juma Mazjid and cried to Allah to get back Baitul Muqaddas. An ordinary Hindu suffers the same pain which we suffered at the loss of Baitul Muqadda. I am not speaking about the educated and progressive Hindu. I am speaking about that Hindu of North India who, in extreme cold weather, wearing not even a shirt, without chappals, walks great distances just to have glance of Sri Ram. Can we not respect his pain and religious feelings a little?”
    The audience went through a spell of introspection. I continued:- After independence an exclusive country was carved out for Muslims. Bharat could have very well  declared itself a Hindu Nation. But since Gandhiji, Nehru, Patel, Azad etc all were great personalities, they refrained from doing it. Even after giving the Muslim minority a country of their own, Bharat was declared a secular country. You will not find such large-heartedness anywhere in the world. For this gesture, that old man in a dhoti had to sacrifice his life on the altar of secularism. 
    I stopped briefly for the audience to think further. I continued after a pause:-“But would Bharat have been a secular country if it were a Muslim majority land?” When there was no answer I said:-“No. If Bharat were a Muslim majority country it would never have declared itself secular after giving a separate nation to minority Hindus. This is the liberal mind embedded in Hinduism; the tolerant nature of Hinduism. We must understand this mind. We must respect this mentality. It will be good if you think about what would have been the plight of Muslims if people of some other religion were in majority in India in place of Hindus. Everyone shall understand such historical facts and be prepared to compromise. Then only we will become a secular country in the real sense. I have named this thought Reverse Thinking. If you are a Hindu, imagine that you are a Muslim and approach the problem. And if you are a Muslim, approach the problem as if you are a Hindu and try to solve it. We all belong to different religions, it is quite accidental.”
    A question came from the audience:-“If we surrender these three places what if VHP demands three thousand? Is not their list too big?”
    I answered:-“We are on the path of reconciliation. We dream of a dawn of peace through negotiations. Muslims are not needed to stand up against unreasonable demands; Hindus will do that themselves. That is the greatness of Hinduism. Do not forget that fanatic Hindu organizations like Bajrang Dal, VHP, Ram Sena etc. have not been granted general acceptance by Hindu society.”
    I felt the audience agreed with my opinion that the problem shall be solved by abandoning the claim on Babri Mazjid in favour of Hindus. But no one openly admitted. Sometimes we get the answers from the body language. The audience were mostly youngsters. After the program the organisers took me to a small room and asked:-“Why did you not inform all these facts to top leaders like Syed Shahabudin?”
    “I did not know him at that point of time. I came into contact with him after the Sher Shah Suri Maqbara incident and I wrote to him in detail thereafter.”
    There are so many religions in Bharat. In Europe, religiosity has reduced substantially. Religions in the West are existing today just because of inheritance and culture. Remember, it was largely Hindus who raised their voice against the growing Hindu intolerance. So also against atrocities like what happened in Dadri. They blocked the surging intolerance by returning their awards. People like Infosys Narayan Murthy and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan reacted.
    In India religion influences every facet of our life. Every religion has its own archeology and building technology. Bharat is the confluence of all these cultural barter. Hindu culture is the foundation of all these transformations. Budhism and Jainism are offshoots of Hinduism. Islamic architecture added beauty to this Hindu-Budha-Jain foundation. Christian architecture further enriched the beauty. Qtub Minar and Taj Mahal are examples of this. Iran Iraq and Turkey are the birth places of Minars and Domes. But they do not have any structure comparable to Qtub Minar, why? Why they could not construct at least a shadow of Taj Mahal? India could do this because we could mix Indian handicraft with Islamic structural ideas. We are growing in a composite culture. Let there be a Brahmadutt in every Muhammed and a Muhammed in every Brahmadutt. We must build up such a composite cultural Bharat.     (Translated by TG Mohandas)

    Rangaesh Gadasalli
    11285 points
    8 months ago
    Very good narration of Truth and nothing but the truth Sir. Now with all these historic documents we should approach the courts to get the complete possesion of the place as soon as possible. Hope the court takes serious notes of these and Allahabad court judgemnts and gives us a favorable judgement. If some thing else happens and the opposition tries to divide the place between Us and Muslims in the name of religious harmony, we will have to make this place and other Hindu holy places union territories and take control under center. We have waited for too long and Congress,leftists and Muslims have been able to deny us our place and rule the country with a divided Hindu vote. Once we build this temple and start focusing our efforts to get rid of Mosques in Varanasi and Mathura, Hindu Pride will return to Hindustan. Let us all helo the govt in this efforts.

    25 points
    8 months ago
    Excavation says - there no temples - only aborigin style constructions- why people fight for it?

    Jayasuryan JANARDHANAN
    5 points
    8 months ago
    Good work

    Arvind Tripathi
    5 points
    8 months ago
    Nice article with great logical explanation

    3240 points
    8 months ago
    Very well written and I appreciate K K Muhammad for speaking the truth. His book should reach every house in India. At least in kerala, it should reach everywhere. Kerala population is actually completely mislead by left historians and left publications.

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    Tesla, wireless energy transmission and Vivekananda

    Subhash Kak

    Nikola Tesla, who was both an inventor and mathematician, persisted with actual experiments and speculations on wireless transmission of energy that went beyond the physics of the day. This note presents a summary of Tesla’s ideas on wireless transmission to explain his intuition that he could use the capacity of ether to hold and transfer energy. This intuition was related to ākāśa, the Indian concept of ether, on which he communicated with Vivekananda.

    CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 113, NO. 11, 10 DECEMBER 2017

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    On the origin of modern humans: Asian perspectives

     See all authors and affiliations

    Science  08 Dec 2017:
    Vol. 358, Issue 6368, eaai9067
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aai9067

    Map of sites with ages and postulated early and later pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
    Regions of assumed genetic admixture are also shown. ka, thousand years ago.

    The peopling of Asia

    In recent years, there has been increasing focus on the paleoanthropology of Asia, particularly the migration patterns of early modern humans as they spread out of Africa. Bae et the current state of the Late Pleistocene Asian human evolutionary record from archaeology, hominin paleontology, geochronology, genetics, and paleoclimatology. They evaluate single versus multiple dispersal models and southern versus the northern dispersal routes across the Asian continent. They also review behavioral and environmental variability and how these may have affected modern human dispersals and interactions with indigenous populations.
    Science, this issue p. eaai9067

    Structured Abstract


    The earliest fossils of Homo sapiens are located in Africa and dated to the late Middle Pleistocene. At some point later, modern humans dispersed into Asia and reached the far-away locales of Europe, Australia, and eventually the Americas. Given that Neandertals, Denisovans, mid-Pleistocene Homo, and H. floresiensis were present in Asia before the appearance of modern humans, the timing and nature of the spread of modern humans across Eurasia continue to be subjects of intense debate. For instance, did modern humans replace the indigenous populations when moving into new regions? Alternatively, did population contact and interbreeding occur regularly? In terms of behavior, did technological innovations and symbolism facilitate dispersals of modern humans? For example, it is often assumed that only modern humans were capable of using watercraft and navigating to distant locations such as Australia and the Japanese archipelago—destinations that would not have been visible to the naked eye from the departure points, even during glacial stages when sea levels would have been much lower. Moreover, what role did major climatic fluctuations and environmental events (e.g., the Toba volcanic super-eruption) play in the dispersal of modern humans across Asia? Did extirpations of groups occur regularly, and did extinctions of populations take place? Questions such as these are paramount in understanding hominin evolution and Late Pleistocene Asian paleoanthropology.


    An increasing number of multidisciplinary field and laboratory projects focused on archaeological sites and fossil localities from different areas of Asia are producing important findings, allowing researchers to address key evolutionary questions that have long perplexed the field. For instance, technological advances have increased our ability to successfully collect ancient DNA from hominin fossils, providing proof that interbreeding occurred on a somewhat regular basis. New finds of H. sapiens fossils, with increasingly secure dating associations, are emerging in different areas of Asia, some seemingly from the first half of the Late Pleistocene. Cultural variability discerned from archaeological studies indicates that modern human behaviors did not simply spread across Asia in a time-transgressive pattern. This regional variation, which is particularly distinct in Southeast Asia, could be related at least in part to environmental and ecological variation (e.g., Palearctic versus Oriental biogeographic zones).


    Recent findings from archaeology, hominin paleontology, geochronology, and genetics indicate that the strict “out of Africa” model, which posits that there was only a single dispersal into Eurasia at ~60,000 years ago, is in need of revision. In particular, a multiple-dispersal model, perhaps beginning at the advent of the Late Pleistocene, needs to be examined more closely. An increasingly robust record from Late Pleistocene Asian paleoanthropology is helping to build and establish new views about the origin and dispersal of modern humans.

    Map of sites with ages and postulated early and later pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
    Regions of assumed genetic admixture are also shown. ka, thousand years ago.


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    The narrative includes a person playing a lyre. I suggest that this is an Indus Script hypertext. Hieroglyph: tanbūra  'lyre' Rebus: tam(b)ra 'copper'.
    Tanbur, a long-necked, string instrument originating in the Southern or Central Asia (Mesopotamia and Persia/Iran)
    Iranian tanbur (Kurdish tanbur), used in Yarsan rituals
    Turkish tambur, instrument played in Turkey
    Yaylı tambur, also played in Turkey
    Tanpura, a drone instrument played in India
    Tambura (instrument), played in Balkan peninsula
    Tamburica, any member of a family of long-necked lutes popular in Eastern and Central Europe
    Tambouras, played in Greece
    Tanbūra (lyre), played in East Africa and the Middle East
    Dombra, instrument in Kazakhstan, Siberia, and Mongolia
    Domra, Russian instrument

    Not far from Chogha Mish is Chogha Zanbil where a ziggurat has been identified.

    Image result for chogha zanbil
    Chogha Zanbil (Persianچغازنبيل‎; Elamite: Dur Untash) is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestanprovince of Iran. It is one of the few existent ziggurats outside Mesopotamia. It lies approximately 30 km (19 mi) south-east of Susa and 80 km (50 mi) north of Ahvaz...The Elamite name of this structure is Ziggurat Dūr Untash, (/ˈzɪɡəræt/ ZIG-ər-at; from the SemiticAkkadian word ziqqurat, based on the D-stem of zaqāru "to build on a raised area")

    I suggest that the word zaqāru is cognate sangar 'fortification' سنګر sangarS سنګر sangar, s.m. (2nd) A breastwork of stones, etc., erected to close a pass or road; lines, entrenchments. Pl. سنګرونه sangarūnah. See باره (Pashto). The hieroglyph in Indus Script which signifies sangar is: sangaḍa 'lathe, portable furnace'  This is the most frequently used field symbol together with 'one-horned young bull' which is signified by hieroglyph: konda 'young bull' rebus: konda'furnace'kundaṇa'fine gold'; kundar'turner'.

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    Map of the Arctic region showing the Northern Sea Route, in the context of the Northeast Passage, and Northwest Passage
    Map of the Arctic region showing shipping routes Northeast PassageNorthern Sea Route, and Northwest Passage, and bathymetry
    In August 2017, the first ship traversed the Northern Sea Route without the use of ice-breakers.According to the New York Times, this forebodes more shipping through the Arctic, as the sea ice melts and makes shipping easier.A 2016 report by the Copenhagen Business School found that large-scale trans-Arctic shipping will become economically viable by 2040.

    The huge implications of Russia’s northern sea route
    by F William Engdahl
     22 November 201765344334

    In terms of dealing with some of the world’s harshest weather conditions no country comes close compared with Russia. Now Russia has made it a highest priority to develop a Northern Sea Route along the Russian Arctic coast to enable LNG and container freight shipments between Asia and Europe that will cut shipping time almost in half and bypass the increasingly risky Suez Canal. China is fully engaged and has now formally incorporated it into its new Silk Road Belt, Road Initiative infrastructure.

    Before attending the Hamburg G20 Summit in July, China’s President Xi Jinping made a stopover in Moscow where he and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed the “China-Russia Joint Declaration on Further Strengthening Comprehensive, Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.” The declaration includes the Northern Sea Route as a strategic area of cooperation between China and Russia, as a formal part of China’s Belt, Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure. For its part, Russia is investing major resources in development of new LNG ports and infrastructure along the route to service a growing maritime traffic passing through its Arctic territorial waters.

    The Russian Federation, under the direct supervision of President Putin is building up the economic infrastructure that will create an alternative to the Suez Canal for container and LNG shipping between Europe and Asia. In addition, the developments are opening up huge new undeveloped resources including oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals along the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone, transversing its northernmost Siberian coastline.

    Officially Russian legislation defines the Northern Sea Route as the territorial waters along the Russian Arctic coast east of Novaya Zemlya in Russia’s Arkhangelsk Oblast, from the Kara Sea across Siberia, to the Bering Strait that runs between far eastern Russia and Alaska. The entire route lies in Arctic waters and within Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    Preliminary geophysical studies confirm that vast oil and gas reserves exist below the sea floor along the Northern Sea Route of Russia’s EEZ waters, increasing interest of the Chinese government in joint resource development with Russia, in addition to the potentially shorter shipping times to and from Europe. For China, which sees increasing threats to its oil supply lines by sea from the Persian Gulf and via the Straits of Malacca, the Russian Northern Sea Route offers a far more secure alternative, a Plan B, in event of US Naval interdiction of the Malacca Straits.

    US Geological Survey estimates are that within the Russian Arctic EEZ some 30% of all Arctic recoverable oil and 66% of its total natural gas is to be found. The USGS estimates total Arctic oil recoverable reserves to be about one-third total Saudi reserves. In short, as Mark Twain might have said, there’s “black gold in them thar’ icy waters…”

    The United Nations Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), to which Russia and China are signatories, but the USA not, defines an exclusive economic zone to be an area “beyond and adjacent” to a state’s territorial waters and provides the state with “sovereign rights…[over] managing the natural resources” within the zone. China does not contest Russia’s EEZ rights, but rather seeks to cooperate in its development now formally within the BRI project.

    New Shipping Lanes

    The other interest in Russia’s Northern Sea Route is for more economical and faster shipping. In August this year in a test run the Russian LNG tanker, Christophe de Margerie, delivered Norwegian LNG from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in just 19 days, some 30% faster than the traditional Suez Canal route despite the fact that the vessel was forced to go through ice fields 1.2 meters thick. The Arctic Sea part of the journey was made in a record six and half days. The Christophe de Margerie is the first joint LNG tanker and icebreaker in the world, built to specification for the state-run Sovcomflot for the transportation of LNG from the Yamal LNG project in the Russian Arctic by a South Korean shipbuilder.

    Russia is also cooperating with South Korea in development of the shipping capabilities of its Northern Sea Route. On November 6, Russia’s Minister for Development of the Far East, Aleksandr Galushka, met South Korea’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Kim Yong-suk. The two countries agreed to pursue joint research into investments for an Arctic container line along the Northern Sea Route. The joint development will include shipping hubs to be created in each end of the Northern Sea Route - Murmansk in the west and Petropavlovsk - Kamchatsky in the east. Murmansk, bordering the northern regions of Finland and Norway, has ice-free access to the Barents Sea year around.

    Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine plans test sailings of container ships along the Northern Sea Route in 2020 with container ships capable of carrying 2,500-3,500 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, a measure of container size) on the route. In July 2016, an historical shipment of two major industrial components was made from South Korea to the new Russian Arctic port at Sabetta and from there, on the rivers Ob and Irtysh to the South Ural city of Tobolsk.

    New Arctic Port Investments

    Murmansk itself is site of one of Russia’s largest infrastructure projects. Major construction work is currently on going to complete the so-called Murmansk Transport Hub which includes new roads, railway, ports and other facilities on the west of the Kola Bay. Murmansk is already a key hub for reloading coal, oil, fish, metals and other cargo from the European part of Russia. It will serve as the main western gateway for the Northern Sea Route to Asia.

    The Russian Federation is also completing a new port at Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula. The Yamal Peninsula, bordering the Arctic Kara Sea, is location of Russia’s biggest natural gas reserves with an estimated 55 trillion cubic meters (tcm). By comparison, Qatar gas reserves are calculated at 25 tcm, Iran at 34 tcm. The main developer of the Sabetta Port on Yamal is Novatek, Russia’s largest independent gas producer, together with the Russian government.

    Sabetta Port is also site of the major new Yamal LNG Terminal that before end of 2017 will begin transporting Yamal gas via the Northeast Sea Route to China. When at full capacity, Sabetta Port will handle 30 million tons of goods a year making Sabetta the world’s largest port north of the Arctic Circle, surpassing Murmansk. Novatek has already pre-sold all its production volumes for Yamal LNG Terminal gas under 15- and 20-year contracts, most to China and other Asian buyers.

    Yamal LNG is far from the only area where Russia’s Novatek is cooperating with China. On November 4, Novatek announced it had signed further agreements with Yamal partners China National Petroleum Corporation and China Development Bank for the Arctic LNG 2 project that is potentially larger than the Yamal LNG project. The Arctic LNG 2 project of Novatekon Gydan Peninsula, separated from Yamal by the Gulf of Ob, is to begin construction in 2019.

    The Yamal LNG Terminal is a $27 billion project whose lead owner is Russia’s Novatek. When the US Treasury financial warfare targeted Novatek and the Yamal project in 2014 following the Crimea referendum to join the Russian Federation, China lenders stepped in to provide $12 billion to complete the project after China’s state oil company, CNPC bought a 20% interest in the Yamal LNG Terminal project. The China Silk Road Fund holds another 9.9% and France’s Total 20% with Novatek having 50.1%.

    Breaking the Ice, Russian-Style

    Opening the potentials of Russia’s Northeast Sea Route to full commercial LNG and container freight traffic flow from the west along the Siberian Arctic littoral to South Korea and China and the rest of Asia requires extraordinary technology solutions, above all in the field of ice-breakers and port infrastructure along the deep-frozen Arctic route. Here Russia is unequalled world leader. And Russia is about to expand that leading role significantly.

    In early 2016 Russia commissioned a new class of nuclear powered ice-breakers called Arktika-class operated by Atomflot, the ship subsidiary of the giant Russian state Rosatom nuclear group, the world’s largest nuclear power construction company and second largest in terms of uranium deposits producing 40% of the world’s enriched uranium.

    The new Arktika icebreaker is at present the world’s most powerful icebreaker of its kind and when ready for sailing in 2019 will be able to break 3 meters of ice. A second Arktika-class nuclear icebreaker is due to sail in 2020. At present Russia has a total of 14 diesel as well as nuclear-powered icebreakers in construction in addition to the just completed Christophe de Margerie. All those 14 new icebreakers are being constructed at shipyards in the St. Petersburg area.

    Rosatom to take lead

    Now the Russian government is about to dramatically escalate its development of icebreaker technologies with the clear aim of developing the shipping and resources along its Northeast Sea Route passage as a national economic priority.

    In 2016 President Putin made a personal priority of overseeing building up of an ultra-modern state-of-the-art shipbuilding center in PrimorskyKrai in the Russian Far East to balance the development of western yards around St. Petersburg and buildup Russia’s economic region around Vladivostok as Russia’s economy, reacting to the incalculable Washington and its sanctions, turns increasingly to self-sufficiency in vital areas.

    The Far East shipbuilding is centered on a $4 billion complete reconstruction of the old Zvezda shipyard in BolshoyKamen Bay owned by the Russian state’s United Shipbuilding Corporation. PrimorskyKrai is also home to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. When the giant new Zvezda yard is ready in 2020, it will be Russia’s largest most modern civilian shipyard, focusing on large-tonnage ship construction of tankers including LNG tankers, Arctic icebreakers and elements for offshore oil and gas platforms.

    On November 18 Russia’s Kommersant business daily announced that Russia’s president Putin wants to turn infrastructure development for the Northern Sea Route over to state nuclear corporation Rosatom. According to the report, Putin approved the idea, which was put to him by his prime minster, Dmitry Medvedev, and which would turn all state services for nautical activities, infrastructure development, as well as state property used along the corridor to Rosatom’s management. Among other implications the decision to make Rosatom solely responsible for the Northern Sea Route development suggests that nuclear-powered ice-breakers are to play a far larger role in the Northeast Sea Route developments.

    According to the report, which has yet to be formally confirmed, the Rosatom role was proposed by Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozin, sanctioned by Washington, has been Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Defense Industry of Russia since 2011. If the new proposal becomes law, Rosatom will oversee all infrastructure and energy building along the 6,000 kilometers of the route through its arctic division.

    According to the source, that will mean Rosatom oversees just about everything, from building ports, to building communications and navigation infrastructure, as well as coordinating scientific research. Under the plan a new Arctic Division of Rosatom would centralize ports previously controlled by the Ministry of Transport as well as non-nuclear icebreakers operated by Rosmorport and Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet. The NSR Administration, the state institution responsible for safety of navigation, would also become part of this new “Arctic Division” at Rosatom. It would be a move to greatly streamline the present fragmentation of responsibility for different aspects of Russia’s Northeast Sea Route transportation development, one of the highest priorities of Moscow and a key building block in development of the China-Russia collaboration in BRI.

    Taking all into account what is very clear is that Russia is developing cutting-edge technology and infrastructure in some of the most extreme climate conditions in the world, in building its economy new, and that it is successfully doing so in collaboration with China, South Korea and even to an extent with Japan, contrary to the hopes of Washington war-addicted neoconservatives and their patrons in the US military industrial complex.

    F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Courtesy

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    On The Classification Of Indic Languages

    Several theories have been proposed to understand the evolution of languages but most fall short due to their Eurocentric bias as well as the false notion of comparing it with genetic evolution.

    On The Classification Of Indic Languages
    Posted On: 08 Dec 2017
    Subash Kak is a scientist and a Vedic scholar, whose research has spanned the fields of information theory, cryptography, neural networks, and quantum information. He is the inventor of a family of instantaneously trained neural networks (for which he received a patent) for which a variety of artificial intelligence applications have been found. He has argued that brain function is associated with three kinds of language: associative, reorganizational, and quantum. His discovery of a long-forgotten astronomy of ancient India that has been called “revolutionary” and “epoch-making” by scholars. In 2008-2009, he was appointed one of the principal editors for the ICOMOS project of UNESCO for identification of world heritage sites. He is the author of 12 books which include “The Nature of Physical Reality,” “The Architecture of Knowledge,” and “Mind and Self.” He is also the author of 6 books of verse. The distinguished Indian scholar Govind Chandra Pande compared his poetry to that of William Wordsworth.
    Language, as part of human expression, may be viewed in analogy with genetic expression. Evolution of language is a result of complex temporal and spatial processes where, if one could aggregate the processes, one may speak in terms of parent traits and the resultant descendent traits. Insights from the theory of non-linear dynamics indicate that the multitude of interactions amongst speakers would lead to the formation of just a few languages. Strongly interacting systems of very many components, like assemblies of neurons or human speakers, have only a few stable interaction states, called attractors, associated with their behaviour,1 and these, for speakers, are the various languages. In evolving systems, the nature of these stable states will also change. This is how isolated languages can be seen to change. But more significant than this process is the change due to interaction with other languages. With this background it is clear that a correct view of language evolution is within the framework of other interacting languages.
    But for about one and a half centuries, language evolution has been studied using models inspired by early, mechanistic physics. Like a physical system that evolves due to radiation and other incident forces, languages were taken to change spontaneously. The spread of languages was explained by another mechanistic metaphor, namely, that of transfer of populations and invasions. This led to models of language families. The German philologist August Schleicher pioneered the tree approach in the 1860's which assumes that when populations are isolated their speech get increasingly differentiated until they become distinct languages; this assumption allows one to set up a family tree of languages. Representation of language families is predicated on an assumed chronology of evolution. Soon after Schleicher, another German linguist, Johannes Schmidt, theorized that linguistic changes spread in "waves" leading thereby to a convergence amongst languages that might have been dissimilar to begin with. In 1939 the Soviet linguist N.S. Trubetskoy suggested that the similarities among the Indo-European languages were due to the wave model of Schmidt. Scholarly opinion has generally dismissed "wave advance" theories and languages are generally characterized in terms of family trees.
    On Language Families
    But language family representation that does not consider the previous history of interactions cannot be reliable; even in the case of an isolated population it is too simplistic. Using the analogy of biological family trees, the daughter language must carry characteristics of the parent languages, where the parents aggregate the influence of all dissimilar languages and dialects. If language grammar and vocabulary is likened to the genes of a biological organism, the daughter language picks up genes from both the parents. But since a language is defined by the interaction and behaviour of diverse speakers across space and time, the actual inheritance in the daughter language is a chance phenomenon. Nevertheless, genetic classification of languages routinely speak of a single parent language. For example, Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian are seen to be the daughter languages of Latin without defining the other parents.
    Theories of language evolution arose in the heyday of mechanistic physics, before the laws of genetics and quantum mechanics had come to be known. Since the discovery of these laws, no successful attempt has been made to establish a rational basis for inheritance of characteristics in languages.2 Recent theories do claim to provide "genetic" classification, but the term "genetic" is used in an unscientific manner. It is used in a meaning equivalent to the old tree classification diagrams or in the operative sense of "random mutations". However, random mutations in biological evolution are supposed to represent the cumulative effect of complex interactions. Furthermore, significant mutations are seen only after many, many generations. The historical records related to languages exist over a time span that is relatively very brief and no convincing evidence exists that defines processes, over such a brief period, that are truly analogous to biological random mutations.
    The current state of linguistics is due, in part, to the central place the study of Indo-European languages has had on the subject. Implicit in such a study has been the Eurocentric notion of the special place of the hypothesized Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language and thereby its homeland. Circular arguments were used to postulate IE forms and then the words in the various IE languages were derived from it. The languages were related in terms of tree diagrams without considering the history of their interactions with other languages. Another recent tendency is to derive all languages from the same ancestor. Here the motivation is to use models that describe the genetic diversity of human populations. But I believe that we simply do not have the data at this point to determine whether language arose before the postulated early human migrations from the original single homeland of the humans. Neither do we know if there was a single such homeland.
     The comparative method that has been used to reconstruct features of ancestral languages may be compared to a sieve. Using a sieve of a certain size to find diamonds in dirt, one may theorize that such diamonds have a certain minimum size. But such a theory does nothing more than declare the limitations of the sieve! This is not to say that languages are not related, but that the relatedness is much more complex than the techniques used in historical linguistics indicate. No wonder then that linguists have reached seemingly contradictory conclusions:
     (i) There is such typological commonality between the Indo-Aryan, Munda, and the Dravidian languages that these languages should be considered a single super-group and India considered a "linguistic area," 3
    (ii) Sanskrit and Old-Indo-Aryan are strikingly similar to Old Iranian, a language taken not to have been influenced by Dravidian, so that the Avestan texts can almost be read as Vedic Sanskrit.4
    With the backdrop of the above points, we take up the question of the classification of the Indic languages to illustrate the pitfalls of current theories. We argue that based on genetic classification, both the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages have had common parents and these languages share many typological categories.

    Indo-European and Dravidian

    We first consider the wider question of the relationship between Indo-European and Dravidian. Three decades ago the Soviet linguists Vladislav M. Illich-Svitych and Aron Dolgopolsky proposed that a number of Eurasian language families including Indo-European, Dravidian, and Afro-Asiatic belong to a superfamily which they called Nostratic,5 derived from the Latin for "our (language)". Although the notion of the superfamily is sometimes taken to imply a common ancestor, it appears that a more reasonable assumption is that in the remote past the speakers of these languages interacted strongly resulting in many shared characteristics amongst the languages.
    The idea of the superfamily has been increasingly accepted in recent years. The spread of these languages has been ascribed to various mechanisms. One mechanism is the "wave of advance" model of Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza,6 according to which the surplus produced by agriculture led to rapid increase of population density over earlier hunter-gatherer communities. The second popular model is that of elite-dominance; here the spread is generally ascribed to invasions.
    It has been suggested that the ancestors of these three families may have lived in some proximity in Western Asia around 7000 B.C. Colin Renfrew sees the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans in Anatolia, those of the Afro-Asiatics in Jericho, and those of the Dravidians in the Zagros.7 If one postulates that early farming arose in these regions of Western Asia then the spread of farming by the "wave of advance" mechanism took their languages and genes into other areas. Although, the presence of Indo-European languages in Iran and India is explained by Renfrew as a later expansion by an elite that forced its language on the Elamite and the Dravidian speaking people, this is not convincing. This is a restatement of the theory articulated earlier by Childe8 and others which has no archaeological evidence to support it.9 There is no explanation for why suddenly hordes from Anatolia decided to push in the southeast direction and how they were ableto impose their language on an area which was already heavily populated.10
    There are other theories for the spread of the Indo-European languages, amongst which the most prominent is the "kurgan" theory of Marija Gimbutasz11 which is, however, concerned mainly with Europe. According to this theory kurgan warriors from north of the Black Sea invaded Europe in waves over the period 4300 to 2800 B.C. and imposed their languages on the indigenous Europeans. The expansion into Iran and India in the Gimbutas scheme is taken to be the old intrusive model as has been described by Mallory.12
    The spread of the Indo-European languages is thus related to the problem of the location of their original homeland. But as J.P. Mallory summarizes:
    Since the 19th century, attempts to resolve the problem of Indo-European origins have included evidence drawn from physical anthropology. This may be broadly divided into four traditions - pigmentation, cranial index, the correlation of physical types (based on multivariate analysis) and archaeological cultures, and genetics. None of these have satisfactorily determined the location of the Indo-European homeland.13
    The various choices for the homeland of the different language groups is quite arbitrary. It is foolhardy to associate a language to a reconstruction of an ethnic type based on archaeological records.
     If one considers the astronomical references in the Vedic literature, then one can postulate the presence of Indo-Europeans in North-west India in the fourth millennium B.C. and earlier.14 The priority of the Indic literature makes Northwestern India as another candidate for the homeland of the Indo-Europeans. But the question of the location of the homeland is in many ways an inappropriate question to ask with the current state of knowledge. The choice of the homeland and the original physical type is strongly correlated with the nationality of the proponent! Many North European scholars thus argued that the original Indo-Europeans were blond. It is not surprising then that most Western scholars did not consider Northwestern India as a viable candidate.
    Whatever model one might choose, the relationship amongst the Nostratic languages is ascribed to proximity about eight thousand years ago. In turn these languages are taken to be derived from a yet earlier parent or to have picked up their shared characteristics from their early interaction.
    The characterization of the Nostratic superfamily is based on the assumption that the relationship was defined at the pre-expansion phase. Such an assumption is inherent in a tree classification.
     The search for a single superfamily of all languages is driven by the assumption that language arose only at one place. This hypothesis cannot be proved or disproved, so its discussion falls outside the purview of science. Since there do not exist any isolated populations there is no way to determine if the commonality being seen now is a result of historical interaction or is to be explained as a remembrance of the common origins.
    In reality a tree classification is a misnomer. There is a further implicit assumption that the languages diverge from each other because their speakers are in societies undergoing different changes and are interacting with speakers of different languages.
    On Language Identity and Societal Processes
    Societal processes and organization determine how long a language will maintain its identity as the speech of a minority group. Thus Murray Emeneau reminds us that Saurashtran weavers in Tamil Nadu appear to have preserved their language for a period that could be more than a thousand years.
    After a period of at least fifteen centuries of migrations, Saurashtran still survives as the domestic language of the immigrant silk weavers of Madurai. The historical events of their migrations were certainly very complex. The sequence, partly known from their traditions, brings them from Saur astra (L ata-visaya) to Mandasor in Rajasthan prior to the fifth century A.D. (inscriptions there record the building of a temple in A.D. 437-438 and its repair in 473-474), then to Devagiri of the Maharashtran Y adavas (thirteenth century), to Vijayanagar (Telugu-speaking; fl. fourteenth-sixteenth centuries), and nally to Madurai. Whatever degree of exactness may be attributed to this tradition and history, the language certainly has traits that point to all the linguistic areas involved, but yet has been preserved over these many centuries of sojourn away from its place of origin. In every place the weavers were probably lower in the social structure than at least some of the neighbouring communities (inspite of their present brahmanical pretensions), but there was no American-like pressure for total linguistic conformity with these neighbours.15
    There are other examples that can be given from India. In contrast, minority groups have tended to lose their language within a generationor two in the United States. Language stability in India has been ascribed to stratification of society according to caste.
     Nevertheless, languages will influence each other. The question to ask is: How might the encounter between two languages take place? The answer to this would depend on whether the two languages come face to face suddenly as would happen if invaders brought a different language or if two languages grow together in vicinity. In other words the nature of the encounter depends on whether the languages meet as equals or if it is one-sided. For example, the interaction between Spanish and the American Indian languages has been one-sided. In a one-sided encounter the language of the conquering invaders is likely to be influenced little by the second language.
     The similarities between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian are well known. It is interesting that one of these similarities, namely reduplication of words which is generally assumed to have been borrowed by Indo-Aryan from Dravidian, is also to be found in the European languages. Thus in English we have words such as pooh-pooh, choo-choo that have identical reduplication; examples of a different type are chitchat, chiffchaff , knickknack, riffraff , ticktack, zigzag, hodge-podge, and thingy-wingy. Reduplication in the Indian languages is much more common than in the European languages.
     Considering the borrowings between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian, Emeneau says:
    [T]he languages of the two families, Indo-Aryan and Dravidian, seem in many respects more akin to one another than Indo-Aryan does to the other Indo-European languages.16
    For this reason India is considered a linguistic area with "languages belonging to more than one family but showing traits in common which are found not to belong to the other members of (at least) one of the families".17 This indicates that the encounter between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian must have been a long and an equal one. Nevertheless, the limitations of the philological approach are apparent if one considers that this analysis has led to the conclusion that the conservative caste system was adopted by the Indo-Aryans from the Dravidians.
     Emeneau says:
    We are almost forced to a hypothesis that the Dravidians whom the Indo-Aryan invaders met in the riverine plains of North India had a caste system with linguistic traits mirroring it, which they shared with the Dravidians of the plains of the south.18 This raises a very thorny question. If the caste system and social stratification are to be invoked for the persistence of the Saurashtran language in South India for more than a millennium, and if the Dravidians had a caste system in the north before the arrival of the Indo-Aryans, then why was there no trace of the Dravidian language in the centuries before Christ in North India which was not too long after the supposed Aryan invasion?
    At the same time scholars have argued that all ancient Indo-European societies had classes that might have been the forerunner to the caste system.19
     But if the caste system was adopted by the Indo-Europeans from the Dravidians, then the original homeland of the two groups must have been in proximity and they must have interacted amongst each other. Emeneau proposes that the North Indians themselves were originally Dravidian speaking and they adopted Indo-Aryan after a long period of bilingualism. But Emeneau's proposal does not have facts to back it. There are social practices and other features that show that Marathi speakers represent a region where bilingualism of Indo-Aryan and Dravidian was once prevalent. But such features are not to be found in the region of the Indus, Sarasvati, and the Ganga valleys.
     The only way out appears to question the traditional classification of the Indic languages and the models of their evolution.

    A Scenario Based on the Current Archaeological Evidence

    The diffi culty with most language classification models is that they do not do justice to the linguistic and archaeological evidence from the Indian subcontinent. To get over the contradictions where the current models lead us, one may propose the following scenario: Around 7000 B.C. the Indo-Europeans were located in the Indus-Sarasvati valleys, northern Iran, and southern Russia; the Afro-Asiatics were in West Asia; and the Dravidians were located just south of the Indo-Europeans in a belt stretching from South India to southern Iran. Their existed many trading links between the groups. The Vedic period is to be seen as following a long interactive era between the Indo-Aryans and the Dravidians.20 The proof of this comes in many Dravidian features of the Vedic language.
    This scenario does not address or answer the question as to the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans or the Indo-Aryans. It has the virtue of explaining the astronomical evidence from the Vedic literature as well as explaining the deep structural commonality shared not only between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian but also between European languages and Dravidian.
     This scenario also explains the striking resemblance between Vedic form and a head unearthed at Nevali C ori in Anatolia by Harald Hauptmann.21 The site of Nevali C ori dates to about 7500 B.C. The striking thing about the head is that it is clean shaven except for a long tuft at the top that looks strikingly similar in style to the  sikh a that a student wore in the Vedic times. B.G. Sidharth22 has taken this similarity to mean that this Anatolian civilization was Vedic. Our model, that considers the Indo-Europeans to be already spread from Anatolia to Northwest India at the time of Nevali C ori, is consistent with such an identification.
    An important implication of our model is that there is no need to force the placement of events of the Vedic texts and the epics Ram ayana and Mahābhārata, that are clearly defined by their contexts in Indian locales, to places outside India where they cannot be reconciled to other evidence.


    The structural relationships amongst the Indo-European family of languages are well known. Not equally well known are the structural connections between the Indo-Aryan, the Dravidian and the Munda languages. These languages may be said to belong to the Prakrit family of languages. We use the label "Prakrit" since it has been traditionally used to describe all Indian languages.
    In other words we argue that in general one might speak of membership of a language to more than one family. We believe such a usage is more accurate than the term "linguistic area" used earlier by Emeneau.
     In recent years studies have been made to correlate genetic background of populations with languages.23 These studies have had some success in describing the spread of languages. It is significant that on many counts the vast majority of the Indian population, in North as well as South India, is classed as a single group.
    The evolution of the Prakrit family over millennia through prolonged interaction of the populations explains structural as well as biological commonality. The attested migrations of the Indo-Iranians into Europe explains the presence of several Dravidian features in the European languages.
    References / Footnotes
    1. S.C. Kak. 1993. \Feedback neural networks: new characteristics and a generalization." Circuits, Systems and Signal Processing, 12, pp. 263-278
    2. P. Baldi. 1983. An Introduction to the Indo-European Languages. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. & M. Ruhlen. 1987. A Guide to World's Languages. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    3. M.B. Emeneau. 1980. Language and Linguistic Area. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    4. P. Baldi. 1983. An Introduction to the Indo-European Languages. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
    5. M. Kaiser and V. Shevoroshkin. 1988. Annual Review of Anthropology 17.309-329.
    6. A.J. Ammerman and L.L. Cavalli-Sforza. 1984. The Neolithic Transition and the Genetics of Populations in Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    7. C. Renfrew. 1989. \The origin of Indo-European languages." Scientific American, October. 106-114.
    8. V.G. Childe. 1926. The Aryans. London.
    9. S.C. Kak. 1994a. India at Century's End. New Delhi: Voice of India Publications.
    10. S.C. Kak. 1987. \On the chronology of ancient India." Indian Journal of History of Science, 22, pp. 222-234.
    11. M. Gimbutas. 1985. \Primary and secondary homeland of the Indo-Europeans." Journal of Indo-European Studies, 13, pp. 185-202.
    12. J.P. Mallory. 1992. \Human populations and the Indo-European problem." Mankind Quarterly, 33, pp. 131-154.
    13. J.P. Mallory. 1989. In Search of the Indo-Europeans. London: Thames and Hudson.
    14. S.C. Kak. 1992. \The Indus tradition and the Indo-Aryans." Mankind Quarterly, 32, pp. 195-213, S.C. Kak. 1994a. India at Century's End. New Delhi: Voice of India Publications & S.C. Kak. 1994b. The Astronomical Code of theR. gveda. New Delhi: Aditya.
    15. M.B. Emeneau. 1980. Language and Linguistic Area. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    16. ibid
    17. ibid
    18. ibid
    19. G. Dum ezil. 1988. Mitra-Varuna. New York: Zone Books.
    20. S.C. Kak. 1994b. The Astronomical Code of theR. gveda. New Delhi: Aditya. M. Kaiser and V. Shevoroshkin. 1988. Annual Review of Anthropology 17. 309-329.
    21. H. Hauptmann. 1993. \Ein kultgebaude in Nevali C ori." In Archaeologica Anatolica et Mesopotamica Alba Palmieri dedicata, M. Frangipane, H. Hauptmann, M. Liverani, P. Matthiae, M. Mellink (eds.).
    22. B.G. Sidharth. 1992. \A Lost Anatolian Civilization|Is It Vedic?" Research communication, Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad.
    23. L.L. Cavalli-Sforza. 1991. \Genes, Peoples and Languages." Scientific American, November, pp. 104-110. & R.R. Sokal, N.L. Oden and B.A. Thomson. 1992. \Origins of the Indo-Europeans: Genetic evidence." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 89, pp. 7669-7673.

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    yajñōpavītá n. ʻ investiture with the sacred thread ʼ TBr., ʻ the sacred thread ʼ Mn. [yajñá -- , úpavīta -- ]Pa. yaññōpavīta -- n. ʻ the sacred thread ʼ, Pk. jaṇṇōvavīya -- , °ōvaīya -- , °ōvīa -- n., K. yôñĕ m.; S. janoī f. ʻ breast -- strap in harness ʼ, jaṇyo m. ʻ sacred thread ʼ (?), L. jañjū m., P. janeaū°nēū m., WPah.bhad. j̈annū n., Ku. janyo, WN. janeu, N. janaï, Bi. janeu, Aw.lakh. janē, H. janeu°noī m., G. janoī f.; M. j̈ānhavī˜°vẽj̈ānvẽ°nū n. ʻ the sacred cord ʼ, j̈ānhavī f. ʻ silk cord worn round the neck by Śūdras at the Śrāddha ceremony ʼ; Ko. jānvẽ n. ʻ the sacred thread ʼ.Addenda: yajñōpavīta -- : Garh. jãdyo ʻ sacred cord ʼ?(CDIAL 10399)                                                                                                                                        18 DECEMBER 2017

    Weight Of The Poonool Wearers

    In the land of ancient architectural wonders, craftsmen also wear janeu, something ritualistic radicals don’t get
    Weight Of The Poonool Wearers

    Bhaskar, a Chennai goldsmith, is a Vishvakarma and wears a poonool

    Over the past century, the janeu—in addition to its age-old connotations—gathered an extra charge in Tamil Nadu, where to cut off the
     ‘poonool of a parppaan’ (the sacred thread of a brahmin) was considered an act of radicalism in the high noon of the state’s self-respect movement.

    Over the past century, the janeu—in addition to its age-old connotations—gathered an extra charge in Tamil Nadu, where to cut off the ‘poonool of a parppaan’ (the sacred thread of a brahmin) was considered an act of radicalism in the high noon of the state’s self-respect movement. That tradition of throwing a spanner in the works of rigid Brahminism has new adherents, armed with new, imaginative methods. A fringe group put up posters last August that declared its intention to hold a thread ceremony for pigs—to coincide with Aavani Aavittam, the day Brahmins and a few other communities change their sacred threads and renew their vows. While Brahmin groups were aghast at the proposed insult, others were merely amused. 

    “By tradition, only a father would put the poonool on his son. So, I have no objection if these Periyarists want to put a poonool on a pig. For them, anti-Brahminism equals to anti-Hinduism. But they do not equate any other community’s practice with Hinduism. Thus, they are only giving a special place to Brahmins,” says former Mylapore MLA and BJP leader S. Ve Shekher. 

    As D-Day approached, the protests petered out. The police clamped down on would-be protestors; a few doughty ones could just manage to march a few pigs, sans the threads. “The poonool is nothing but an upper caste symbol aimed solely at degrading other castes. Brahmins wear them only to assert their caste superiority. Our ‘Poonool for Pigs’ sought to discourage it, which has no place in a secular democracy,” argues a spirited L. Manoj, an ofæce-bearer of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, the organiser group. 

    HATRED FOR PIGS A poster for the ‘Poonool for Pigs’ programme In April 2015, the group had used the old method and tried to cut off janeus of Brahmins in Chennai, resulting in the hospitalisation of a victim— an old priest—and the arrest of æve members. In hindsight, Manoj admits that it was a mistake, as it had violated privacy of individuals. “Hence, we wanted to target the community for perpetrating the practice of poonool.”  

    In Tamil Nadu, only Brahmins have been targeted for wearing sacred threads, not other communities who wear them. The Vishvakarma caste, consisting of goldsmiths, carpenters, stonemasons, ironsmiths and metalworkers, has been left alone, even though its male members proudly where their janeu. “This further proves that brandishing cultural illiteracy as social reform has been one of the hallmarks of the Dravidian movement,” points out right-wing author Aravindan Neelakandan. Though Vishvakarmas and Brahmins are almost equal in numbers—forming about three per cent of the state’s population—targeting Brahmins solely gives, naturally, greater mileage for such groups. 

    “By targeting Brahmins and not other communities the so-called social reformists have themselves placed the Brahmins on a higher pedestal unwittingly,” points out Thuglak Editor S. Gurumurthy. 

    Bhaskar, a goldsmith on the narrow C.P. Koil street near Mylapore’s Kapali Temple, feels that Brahmins have not protested strongly in the face of such attacks. “These DK people know that we too wear the thread, renew them on Aavani Aavittam day and yet haven’t grabbed ours. If such a thing happened our community would have agitated as one man and jewellery stores would have shut down in protest,” he says with a note of pride, pulling out his poonool from beneath his shirt. Advertisement opens in new window Along with Vishvakarmas, a section of Chettys are the other non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu who wear the thread. “We have our own purohits who preside over our rituals, including changing the holy thread on Aavani Aavittam. Our rituals may not be as exacting as those of the Brahmins, but we wear the poonool as it is a symbol of knowledge and skill passed on by our forefathers. It is a matter of pride for us,” explains Dinesh, a Vishvakarma who conducts the community’s rituals as a priest and teaches computer science in a local school. 

    Writer Kalachakaram Narasimmaa says that the sacred thread was merely a symbol of enlightenment, not one inherited by way of birth. “The poonool merely represents the four stages of one’s life, from brahmacharya to sanyasa and used to apply to all communities. Whereas others have discarded the practice, Brahmins have clung on to it. So wearing the thread does not give them any hierarchical advantage. Some observers feel that Brahmins are still being targeted through such protests as the Dravidian movement had failed to displace them from a position of pre-eminence in society. “Politically they might have been weakened, but when it comes to industry, law, media, cinema and arts and culture, the Brahmins still have a lot of clout. Many IAS ofæcers are Brahmins, as they are recruited directly. When every community started its own self-ænancing engineering college, the Brahmins started their own. This is nothing but a failure of Periyar and DMK’s anti-Brahmin propagaNDA,” points out political commentator Raveendran Duraiswamy. 

    Even as mere protocol, the poonool has failed to cut through the caste divide. The temple archakas (priests) from non-Brahmin communities, trained and appointed by the Karunanidhi government in 2007, continue to languish in a limbo. “After being selected from among thousands of applicants, 206 of us who were appointed archakas are left jobless as the Supreme Court, while upholding the appointment of non- Brahmin archakas, laid down a rider that their appointment should conform to the local customs (agamas) of the respective temple. This effectively æltered out the 206, who had spent a year-and-a-half in training to be archakas,” points out Ranganathan. 

    A Yadava by birth, he had applied when the DMK government decided to appoint archakas from amongst non- Brahmins and was selected for the course conducted at Thriuvannamalai Shiva Temple. “Not only were the enrolment orders hand delivered, we were even given new sets of apparel. And we also took Deekshaa from a holy person to wear the poonool, which was an important ritual in the process of training as an archaka. But the SC order indirectly beneæts Brahmins, making them defacto archakas, which has made our trai-ning meaningless,” rues Ranganathan.

    Ranganathan and a fellow archaka garlanded Periyar’s statue to protest the DMK’s reluctance to push for temples free from casteism. “Even the DMK government, which enacted the law to appoint non-Brahmin archakas, left the candidates marooned, refusing to even get the interim stay against their appointment in 2010 vacated. And after the ænal verdict it was a case of ‘operation successful, patient dead’,” pointed out S. Raju, advocate who fought the aggrieved archakas’ case in the Supreme Court. To publicise their woe, Ranganathan and a fellow archaka, wearing their sacred threads, even climbed on to the Periyar statue in Thiruvannamalai and garlanded it to protest the DMK’s reluctance to bring Periyar’s dream of casteism-free temples to fruition.

    “I think the DMK government lost its resolve to bring the issue to a logical conclusion. It again proved that Karunanidhi believed more in tokenism rather than real social emancipation. The subsequent government of Jayalalithaa fought the case with even more reluctance and was greatly relieved when the SC virtually maintained status quo,” observes a former advocate-general. 

    Ironically, Karunanidhi’s last creative work—before his retirement from active public life—was the script for the TV serial Ramanujar, which was telecast on his family-run Kalaignar TV. Karunanidhi claimed that he wrote about the saint since he had broken caste barriers by letting non-Brahmins worship in temples. The DMK veteran’s critics, however, could not help but point out that for someone who had excelled in anti-Hindu posturing throughout his political career, his swansong had a Hindu saint as subject. “And thereby hangs a thread,” someone chuckles.

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    Indic Academy and Takshashila Institute of India Studies [TIIS] are jointly conducting a 2-day course on History of History by Prof. Vishwa Adluri and Dr. Joydeep Bagchee. The course will be conducted at the Mythic Society in Bengaluru on Dec 20th & 21st. This course is a deeper exploration into the concepts of Time and History that were only briefly treated in courses conducted by them in July at NIAS Bangalore and IGNCA New Delhi. 

    Does history simply mean a chronological collection of events? If we record a number of people walking on a conveyor belt at an airport, is that history? History is always a narrative, and a narrative implies some guiding principle. A principle by which these facts can be arranged in a meaningful way. And some significance from that should be drawn for other human beings. Otherwise, what's the point? 

    Take the example of the Western approach to history. Thucydides, Herodotus -- they were already doing history. Egyptians -- no one has a documentary impulse to match the ancient Egyptians. History was always there. But it is not until the renaissance that history joins the humanities curriculum. And it is only in the 19th century Germany that history displaces all other subjects from the Humanities. We cannot speak today of anything that transcends history. What explains this rise of history to occlude all other human concerns? Why has it become the discipline of all disciplines? 

    Whatever Itihāsa means, it is not history in this sense. It provides us with a new way of thinking about what to expect from history, how we theorize history, what history's proper place is, and what kinds of narratives should guide history. The Mahabharata is splendid in thinking about history without the pristine origins to which we must fall back to (like an Eden). Or an Utopia ahead of us. 

    The Mahabharata bends linear time (genealogical, for instance) into a circular narrative. Linear history is subsumed under a cosmology. How else are we going to think forward if not to take up this thing called history and try to bend it? And there the Mahabharata is already ahead of us -- the Mahabharata is not a book of the past, it is a book of the future. 

    COURSE TITLEItihāsa and Various Meanings of History

    COURSE SUMMARY This course explores the several different meanings of history—as documentary history, as a geological or an archaeological record, as a narrative, as the experience of a particular people or religion, as world history and as progress from "religious superstition" to a "secular" utopia, and, finally, as itihāsa.

    Readings include Hegel, Paul Ricoeur, Georg Iggers, selections from Ranke, Sukthankar’s On the Meaning of the Mahābhārata, and sections of Philology and Criticism. We will also read the Ādiparvan from the Mahābhārata (books 1–4) and explore a more primordial sense of time, history, and dharma in the Indian epic. The interpretation of history as it emerges from the text itself is unique and timely: it addresses the crisis of historicism and teaches philosophy and ethics.  

    COURSE DATESDec 20th (Wednesday) & Dec 21st (Thursday) from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.


    Day 1: History and Myth

    Part 1: The Several Senses of History
    Part 2: Hegel's Master Narrative

    Day 2: Itihāsa-Purāṇa

    Part 1: The primordial sense of Time and History in Mahābhārata
    Part 2: Itihāsa-Purāṇa and overcoming of Historicism

    COURSE FEECourse fee is Rs.1,800 for students, Rs.3,800 for others. For faculty or students attending as a group of 4+ from a single academic institution can pay Rs.1,200 per person. This is Inclusive of course material, lunch on both days. Not inclusive of accommodation.

    Mythic Society, 14/1 Nrupathunga Road, Opposite Reserve Bank, Bengaluru

    REGISTRATIONPlease send email to with the subject HISTORY COURSE. We will respond with further course details and instructions on payment of the fee. The last date for email registration is Dec 15th.

    CONTACTFor further queries please write to Srinivas Udumudi at

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    Are the ancient Hindu myths of a land bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka true? Scientific analysis suggests they are.

    God or Geology? The Genesis of Ram’s Bridge

    Secular and religious Indians are butting heads over the origin of an important shoal.

    by Ariel Sophia Bardi 
    The ancient Indian epic poem, the “Ramayana—a foundational text in Hinduism—is also a heart-stopping thriller.
    Its wedded heroes, Ram and Sita, exiled from their royal kingdom, are forced to live as hermits. Ravana, a 10-headed demon king, entices Sita with a magical golden deer and steals her away to Sri Lanka. It is up to Ram to slay her kidnapper. But first, he needs to find a way across nearly 50 kilometers of ocean between India and Sri Lanka.
    Standing on the shores of what is today Tamil Nadu, India’s south-eastern most state, Ram, an avatar of the god Vishnu, calls upon an army of warrior monkeys to help him bridge the two coastlines by building a footpath.
    Five thousand years later, a team of Indian archaeologists is preparing to embark on an underwater expedition to plumb the shallow strait separating India from Sri Lanka. There, a submerged 50-kilometer chain of limestone shoals—known, fittingly, as Ram Setu, or Ram’s Bridge—has become a central fixture in the ongoing debates between secular and religious India. The primary question: is Ram’s Bridge natural or man-made?
    “It’s a very sensitive matter, because the area is associated with millions of Hindus,” says Dayanath Tripathi, former chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), which is sponsoring the expedition.

    In 2005, the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project proposed cutting a path through Ram’s Bridge to open a shipping lane deep enough for cargo ships to pass through. (The idea to dredge the area was first floated by the British in the 1800s.) The plan did not get much support, particularly among Hindu groups. Protestors petitioned the national government to reject the project, and instead declare Ram’s Bridge—believed to be a site of deep religious significance older than the Great Wall of China—a national monument. Subramanian Swamy, a parliament member, urged the government to protect the “historic and sacred place.”
    But the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), a branch of the Indian Ministry of Culture—and the main governmental body overseeing India’s heritage sites—argued in an affidavit that Ram’s Bridge is little more than a ridge of sandbanks produced by sedimentation.

    The submerged limestone shoal bridging India and Sri Lanka. Photo by Universal Images Group North America LLC/Alamy Stock Photo
    “There’s no evidence from an archaeological point of view [that it’s man-made]. There’s only the religious aspect,” says Tripathi.
    In 2013, the canal project was scrapped for an entirely different reason: the projected devastation of the local ecosystem, and a forecast of an increased tsunami risk. With dredging off the table, the dispute over Ram’s Bridge was placed on hold—until now.

    Alok Tripathi, an underwater archaeologist at Assam University in northeast India, will lead the upcoming expedition, set to begin this summer. Alok Tripathi (no relation to ICHR’s Dayanath Tripathi) worked with ASI until 2009, when he left citing personal reasons. Previously, Alok Tripathi headed the 2007 excavation of Dwaraka, an ancient Hindu holy site that lies submerged off the coast of Gujarat. He says the ASI’s* declaration that Ram’s Bridge was formed by geological processes was made because of inconclusive data.
    “Without fieldwork, nothing can be said,” he says.
    In a press conference in March 2017, the ICHR chairman, Y. Sudershan Rao, compared Ram’s Bridge to Helen of Troy, a Homeric myth “proven to be true” by excavations. (While the ancient city of Troy has been uncovered, no evidence of the Trojan queen has ever been found.)
    Alok Tripathi devised a plan to comb the shoals for signs of an ancient civilization, in a project that will take anywhere from months to years. “Definitely this area has got historical importance,” he says. “We expect that there should be archaeological remains.”
    But in an increasingly intolerant, nationalistic, and zealous India—whose image abroad has been marred by recent attacks on religious minorities and lynchings of suspected beef-eaters—the maritime expedition is being launched at a particularly charged time.

    India is a secular republic of some 1.3 billion people, with a diversity of ethnicities, languages, and religions. Yet Hindu nationalism is rising in India’s mainstream. In March, the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a landslide election in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh. The win put a Hindu monk with a history of controversial claims in the state’s highest office. Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh’s newest chief minister, has publicly endorsed the idea of India as a Hindu rashtra—a Hindu nation.
    Adityanath’s contentious election has helped resurrect another national debate, one also centered on Ram. In the city of Ayodhya, considered to be Ram’s birthplace, a Hindu temple was converted in the 16th century into a Mughal-era Islamic mosque, known as the Babri Masjid. In 1992, mobs tore down the mosque, triggering a spate of deadly riots that killed upward of 2,000 people. 
    Accused of inciting the crowd was a senior BJP leader, Lal Krishna Advani, who is also a key supporter in the movement to have Ram’s Bridge declared a protected monument. Twenty-five years later, Advani is still awaiting trial on criminal conspiracy charges. The BJP remains committed to returning Ayodhya to its Hindu roots. Subramanian Swamy, the BJP politician who filed the petition to protect Ram’s Bridge, promised in May that the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be rebuilt within the next year.
    In India, archaeological investigations of religious sites such as Ram’s Bridge risk alienating some faction of the population—no matter the findings by Alok Tripathi’s team. Amid the current tensions, the maritime excavation is venturing into dark waters.
    Alok Tripathi, however, disagrees. “It’s purely an academic exercise,” he says. “If it’s done scientifically, there shouldn’t be any controversy.”
    *Correction: The declaration was made by ASI, not ICHR. Ariel Sophia Bardi is a multimedia journalist and researcher, currently based in South Asia. Her work has appeared in BBC, the Guardian, Slate, Roads & Kingdoms, the Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Quartz, and VICE.
    Ram Setu: 11 Interesting facts about ancient bridge bewteen India and Sri Lanka | Boldsky  Published on Dec 3, 2017Ram Setu or Rama's Bridge is a causeway that was created across the sea connecting Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, India to Mannar Island in Sri Lanka. The debate about whether the Ram Setu is natural or a man-made bridge is going on from years. Many discussions have led to some interesting things that make us astonished about the bridge. The Hindu religious theories believe that it is the bridge constructed by Lord Rama and his Vanara (monkey) army as mentioned in the epic Ramayana. Surprisingly, this causeway is visible from an aerial view even to this day. Check out here the mysterious story of this historic bridge between India and Sri Lanka. Gyan Published on Mar 13, 2013 The Government of India has decided to go ahead with its plans for building a shipping channel by breaking the Rama Setu, the oldest man-made bridge of our civilization, a civil engineering marvel of 5076 BCE. This bridge is believed to have been built by Rama and His team. Only if Rama is historical could this bridge be man-made. If the bridge is proved to be man-made, then Rama has to be Historical. This film brings to light the layers of bridge construction and the month and the year when the Rama Setu was built.
    Watch it and share it with others. It is not just another story but a 7100 year old engineering marvel of our civilization. link to our latest film on Dating of Rama-12:30 pm, 10 Jan, 5114 BCE: find it hard to digest that Rama is historical and He lived 7100 years ago. This is because we have been brought up with the understanding that Rama lived in Treta Yuga and when one hears the term Treta Yuga, the mind immediately imagines millions of years. However, study of various texts shows that the terms Yuga, Yojana do not have just one fixed value. Ancient texts talk of over 7 types of Yuga scales ranging from • 1 year being a Yuga (which is why we celebrate Yugadi every year) to • 60 years being a Manava Yuga (which is why we have a cycle of 60 years with names for each year) to • 12000 years being a Ayana Yuga (based on precession of the earth) to • 432000 years being a Kali Yuga unit from which comes Chathur Yuga of 4320000 years on an astronomical scale. Valmiki Ramayana does not specify which Yuga scale was used when mentioning Treta Yuga. Hence we cannot assume it to have been the astronomical Yuga scale alone. The date 7100 years fits in with Treta Yuga in the Ayana scale as well as the astronomic configurations mentioned in the text. Our book Historical Rama details how. Ramayana is an Itihasa meaning history. So Rama was historical. Rama was also an Avatar, a form in which divine forces had descended. Historicity need not take away divinity if one understands the true meaning of divinity. When a text has been classified as itihasa, it mentions facts as they were. So if the text mentions that wood of certain trees were used in building a bridge, it should have been so. Just because we are unable to understand how, need not take away authenticity from the fact and reduce it to a mere figment of imagination. What exactly was the technology that was used to prevent the wood and the stones from floating away, was beyond the scope of that text. But that need not mean that the people were devoid of technical knowhow. Please see the entire film for comments by marine archaeologists on the technical feasibility in those days. Research has found evidence of a wood layer as mentioned in the text. It is for our generation now to use this bridge not only as a showpiece for the world's oldest and available engineering marvel of an ancient civilization but also as a specimen to study further the engineering techniques of an ancient knowledge based civilization. These steps could yield lot more revenue and benefits along with undisturbed ecology and thorium than what could be yielded by a small shipping channel with a convoluted and limited use. The name Bharatha comes from "Bha" meaning knowledge, enlightenment and "ratha" meaning to relish. "Bharatha" is the land where people relish knowledge. Our land was named Bharatha for a reason. It was a knowledge base civilization. Let us not dismiss our texts and their contents as works of imagination or just containing some moral stories. There is relevant knowledge in them as otherwise these texts would not have come this far. It is for us to open our eyes and minds to see it. If interested to know more, you may read our book Historical Rama and watch a film by the same title which look at the historicity of Rama and this bridge in a wholistic manner using various disciplines. Comments on the same are welcome.

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